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Barghouti criticizes UN draft resolution on Palestinian statehood

Al-Akhbar | December 23, 2014

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti criticized on Monday the UN resolution submitted to the Security Council by the PLO, urging the Palestinian Authority (PA) to reword the proposal.

In a letter sent to Ma’an news agency from jail, Barghouti said the UN resolution is an “unjustified fallback which will have a very negative impact on the Palestinian position.”

The senior Fatah leader said he always urged the leadership to take the question of Palestine to the UN to obtain a security council resolution, but any proposal must be in line with inalienable national principles.

Barghouti urged the leadership to comprehensively revise the wording of the draft resolution to focus on the major issues of settlement expansion, Jerusalem, prisoners, and the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

He added that any talk of land swap will weaken the sovereignty of any future Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967, and its right for self-determination, noting that such a measure would be used to legalize settlement building.

Barghouti urged the PA to insist on the illegality of the Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem, slamming settlement building as a “war crime.”

According to the Fatah leader, the PA should continue to assert on the centrality of East Jerusalem as a capital of the state of Palestine and the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Occupied Palestine as stated in UN General Assembly resolution 194.

Moreover, Barghouti criticized the UN resolution’s lack of emphasis on the issue of Palestinian prisoners.

“The PA should make it clear that freeing all prisoners is an absolute right and a precondition for peace.”

He also said the draft resolution must include an article demanding the immediate lifting of Israel’s “crippling siege” on Gaza.

“Unless all these demands are ensured, we should put an end to these useless negotiations,” Barghouti stated.

A senior figure within the Fatah, Barghouti was arrested in 2002 and sentenced two years later. He is serving five life sentences for alleged involvement in attacks on Israeli targets.

Barghouti’s letter comes after Jordan presented a resolution draft to the UN Security Council last Wednesday.

The PA has sought Arab backing for a draft UN resolution that would set a two-year deadline for reaching a final settlement with Israel and pave the way for a two-state solution.

The draft resolution calls for a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation” of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and “fulfills the vision” of a Palestinian state, within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the “shared capital.”

The measure also provides for a phased Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 according to a timeframe that doesn’t “exceed the end of 2017.”

If the resolution is to be put to vote, the US State Department will most probably use its right to veto.

Many international players have long insisted that a promised Palestinian state must come through negotiations with Israel. Palestinians have retorted that repeated rounds of talks have gone nowhere, with Israel unwilling to compromise on the issues of illegal settlements and prisoners.

European politicians have become more active in pushing for a sovereign Palestine since the collapse of US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in April, and the ensuing conflict in Gaza, where more than 2,000 Palestinians, at least 70 percent of them civilians, and 72 Israelis were killed this summer.

Sweden’s decision in October to recognize Palestine preceded non-binding votes by parliaments in Britain, France, Ireland, and Spain in favor of recognition demonstrated growing European impatience with the stalled peace process.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous “Balfour Declaration,” called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1988, Palestinian leaders led by Yasser Arafat declared the existence of a state of Palestine inside the 1967 borders and the state’s belief “in the settlement of international and regional disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the charter and resolutions of the United Nations.”

Heralded as a “historic compromise,” the move implied that Palestinians would agree to accept only 22 percent of historic Palestine in exchange for peace with Israel. It is now believed that only 17 percent of historic Palestine is under Palestinian control following the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.

It is worth noting that numerous Palestinian factions and pro-Palestine advocates support a one-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians would be treated equally, arguing that the creation of a Palestinian state beside Israel would not be sustainable and that it would mean recognizing a state of Israel on territories seized forcefully by Zionists before 1967.

They also believe that the two-state solution, which is the only option considered by international actors, won’t solve existing discrimination, nor erase economic and military tensions.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

China’s Second ‘Cultural Revolution’

By James Petras :: 12.23.2014


China is in the midst of its second ‘cultural revolution’ in a half century. While the first (under Chairman Mao Tse Tung) was intended to ‘revitalize socialism’; the current is directed to ‘moralizing’ capitalism.

The first CR was a frontal attack on the hierarchy of power and privilege inside and outside of the Communist Party, launched from above by Mao Tse Tung, but taken up from below by Red Guards in order to bring about a more egalitarian society.

The current ‘cultural revolution’, launched by President Xi Jinping, is directed at ending widespread corruption, theft and pillage of the Chinese economy and society by high and low officials in government and the capitalist sector.

The two cultural revolutions are linked by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who officially put closure on the first and set in motion the policies and slogans (“Getting Rich is Good!”), necessitating a second cultural revolution three decades later.

The Socio-Economic Roots of the Cultural Revolution Today

Deng’s call to ‘get rich’ was directed at the Communist Party elite, their family, friends and overseas backers; it was an open invitation to the multi-nationals of the world to freely exploit China’s resources, infrastructure and labor – educated, nurtured and organized through the collective efforts of the preceding Communist regime. Deng ‘liberated’- or privatized – the means of production and rapidly turned public control and appropriation of earnings over to emerging private capitalists. The corollary was the elimination of all social rights, benefits and protections of labor. The dual incentives were designed to maximize private profits in order to attract long-term, large-scale investments and to achieve high growth in the shortest time possible. Deng telescoped a century of growth and exploitation into a few decades.

His strategy succeeded.

Profits soared. By the late 1980’s and early 1990’s millionaires multiplied like mushrooms after a downpour. Then came the billionaires. Aided and abetted by the wholesale privatization of lucrative industries and public lands, a new class of real estate speculators and so-called ‘developers’ emerged , closely linked to corrupt local municipal, regional and national state officials. Millions of peasants were dispossessed and barely (if ever) compensated; hundreds of millions of workers were employed at starvation wages without the free housing, medical care, education, recreational benefits and lifetime employment of the past, socialist system.

China’s GNP exploded at a double-digit rate for three decades – an unprecedented performance. Most of the profits circulated among a narrow elite of party – state officials and capitalists, while a smaller share ‘trickled down’ to middle and low level functionaries. The seizure of public wealth, followed by three decades of intense exploitation of labor and the private land grabbing of farmland and homesteads, spurred the boom in real estate profits and laid the basis for all pervasive and large-scale corruption .The pillage of the public treasury led to large-scale conspicuous consumption – of imported luxury goods, multi-tiered mansions in gated communities, multiple purchases of luxury condos for offspring, mistresses and bribe-takers and givers.

By the mid 2000’s the concentration of wealth, property and privilege had reached astronomical heights: hundreds of billions accrued to the top 2%, millions to the top 10%, and hundreds of thousands to the top 15% – the self-styled ‘middle class’ who thrived on lesser but equally pervasive corruption and theft and who aped the elite and imitated their life style of luxury consumerism.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, hundreds of strikes by exploited factory workers demanded and secured higher wages; millions of households, farmers and peasants fought against municipal party officials, linked to real estate capitalists, who were attempting to ‘grab’ their land, homes and neighborhoods. Hundreds of millions of Chinese in the countryside protested exorbitant medical and educational costs, induced by the privatized health and educational system, which had bankrupted millions of households. They quickly became aware of the luxurious private medical facilities and specialized clinics for the rich -capitalists and corrupt officials. The internal migrant workers, who built the hyper-luxury condos and mansions, lived in paper shacks, far from the twelve-course banquets celebrating the ‘grand openings’ by business swindlers and ‘bought officials’. As wealth grew among the elite, so did the people’s hostility and rejection of the Party and the State, which they personified.

The ever-cautious klepto-capitalists and public pillagers, fearing for their illicit fortunes, smuggled out enormous wealth. Big swindlers, with big fortunes engaged in massive money laundering while publicly demanding the ‘de-regulation” of the financial sector (i.e. to make it easier to launder and hide their fortunes in overseas accounts). Between 2005-2011 China hemorrhaged over $2.83 trillion in illegal overseas financial outflows.

Part II: The Consequences of Corruption, Pillage and Exploitation

The illicit flow of Chinese wealth overseas resulted from the elite’s savage and illegal exploitation of labor (failure to meet minimum official standards concerning pay, work safety, child labor, excessive hours). Wealth from bribes, kickbacks on government contracts, speculation on illicit seizures of land, and making false invoices overpricing imports and underpricing exports, flowed upward and outward. While China was profiting from double-digit growth the regime could ‘tolerate’ corruption and illicit outflows. However, by the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, when China’s economy de-accelerated to about 7 – 7.5%, the regime became less tolerant of wholesale corruption accompanied by capital flight.

Moreover, the new billionaires, millionaires and affluent middle class indulged in what Thorsten Veblen described as “conspicuous consumption”, the purchase and ostentatious display of superfluous luxury products as status symbols of “success”. According to a Special Report on “Luxury” in the Economist (12/13/14, p.8 -10) “nearly one-third of all personal luxury goods sold worldwide are bought by Chinese consumers.” Since the global crises of 2009, 70 – 80% of global growth in the (luxury) sector has come from China.

China’s emerging private-public ruling class has advanced from concentrating wealth, to consolidating political power to seeking prestige and social status – recognition from their domestic and foreign peers. Ideologically, they are decidedly neo-liberal and pro-Western – as evidenced by the billions they spend in the top-end real estate markets of North America, Europe and Australia as well as the millions they spend on their pampered offspring for ‘elite’ private education. Their children live in half-million dollar condos in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Oxford and Cambridge (England), Toronto and Vancouver (Canada), Sydney and Melbourne Australia. The Chinese oligarchs “make the market” for six-figure Swiss watches, five figure handbags and four digit French cognac.

Corruption, conspicuous consumption and class polarization has delegitimized the ruling Communist Party elite in the eyes of the great mass of the Chinese working class, as well as the professionals and salaried employees who make-up the lower middle class.

The ‘political rot’- the privileged social networks derived from kinship ties-is leading to a relative closed ruling class – excluding the mass of urban workers and rural peasants, with potentially explosive social consequences.

Already thousands of local protests, strikes and other forms of direct action occur every year, even as they are repressed or resolved.

In addition to the social and political dangers resulting from the massive illegal, ‘squandering and theft of wealth’, the illicit outflow of wealth is undermining domestic investment and productive overseas investments, and corruption is preparing the way for stagnation and financial crisis.

The stars are lining up for a ‘perfect political storm’ – which has unfolded in the form of President Xi Jingping’s launch of China’s second cultural revolution (CR).

Xi Jingping’s Cultural Revolution

From the start of the 2nd CR in 2012 to mid-2014, the Chinese Communist Party’s internal corruption body has prosecuted and punished 270,000 cadres. That figure includes both the “tigers” (high officials) and the “flies” (low level functionaries). “Over three dozen officials with ranks of ministers or above, including former security Tsar and Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang”, have been arrested and jailed (Financial Times 12/4/14, p. 4). Earlier, the former Railways Minister was arrested and sentenced to death for rigging contracts worth about $26 billion dollars over his seven-year tenure. Hundreds of thousands of private business people, paying bribes, have been arrested and sentenced.

President Xi’s campaign has attacked bribes, ‘gift giving’, frequent ostentatious banquets serving expensive delicacies, and high Party officials’ lodging in five star hotels for weeks on end, ostensibly “tending to business”, but more frequently ‘cavorting with their mistresses’.

To be precise, President Xi is attacking the triple evils of corruption, conspicuous consumption, and pillage of public wealth. The new austerity agenda and the public revelations of ill-gained wealth are focused on exposing public officials and private business people in order to regain public legitimacy. And it is succeeding,…. as far as it goes. Public indignation at the revelations is matched by high approval for the Xi leadership’s anti –corruption campaign.

What makes this far more than just a “power struggle among privileged elites” as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times have routinely claimed, are: 1. the duration of the campaign of over 2 years, 2. the scope of the campaign, covering top officials and Chinese business equivalents of Wall Street moguls, 3. The nature of the punishment including long prison terms and even death sentences (rather than the mere ‘slap on the wrists and paltry fines’ that US regulators have given to Wall Street’s billion-dollar swindlers), and 4. the ongoing nature of the process. The sweep and magnitude of Xi’s campaign has all the makings of a ‘cultural revolution’ – not the episodic ‘blowing off steam’ or ‘scapegoating of rivals’ described in the Western press.

The Nature of Xi’s Cultural Revolution

Xi’s ‘cultural revolution’ is directed and driven from above – established legal authorities are in charge – the masses are excluded, and preemptory justice is eschewed: regular court proceedings decide guilt and sentencing.

Secondly, Xi’s ‘cultural revolution’ does not, in any way or place, call into question capitalist property relations, foreign investors, or large-scale inflows and outflows of investment or legally registered speculative capital. Nor has Xi called into question existing capital-labor relations.

Xi’s ‘cultural revolution’ is an attempt to sanitize existing capitalist relations, and to infuse a new capitalist ethic. He wants to ‘revise’ Deng’s famous precept “Getting Rich is Good” to read “Get Rich Lawfully . . . or Face Jail”. China is rated number 100 out of 175, on a corruption scale published by Transparency in 2014 (Financial Times 12/4/14, p. 4). Xi’s war on corruption is based on the premise that corruption undermines China’s status as a global power – it ranks with Algeria and Surinam. Secondly, Xi hopes that he can ‘reform’ the public sector in order to privatize it and he wants the sale to go to the highest bidder, not the biggest bribe giver.

His campaign attacks privileged elites, who accumulate and dispose of wealth illegally but he has never sought to diminish the class system, the hierarchy and inequalities which concentrate political power and forms the basis of corrupt bribe giving and taking.

Xi’s ‘cultural revolution’ is continuing and corruption may lessen. Ostentatious public spending is declining. But this layer of ‘new morality’ is spread thinly over a system of power that can easily revert to the ‘old system’ once the ‘revolution’ ends.

Xi’s noteworthy ‘cultural revolution’, the moralization of public administration and private capitalism, can only succeed if it is accompanied by a social transformation: ethics at the service of social justice and equality and by a democratization of the economic decision-making process. The problem is that Xi, by family, social ties and political allegiances is deeply embedded in a milieu which absolutely rejects any such ‘deepening’ of Xi’s ‘cultural revolution’.

His cultural revolution is strictly guided by a singular objective: to force ‘morality’ on the ‘captains of capital’ in order to facilitate the smooth transition to fully liberalizing China’s economy. President Xi, along with his anti-corruption campaign, is steadily loosening state control over foreign financial investments in Chinese stocks and financial sector; he is moving strongly to expand China’s overseas investments; he is accelerating the privatization of public enterprises and increasingly opening financial services to Wall Street and the City of London. He is also internationalizing the use of the yuan-the Chinese currency- in global transactions, displacing the dollar.

In other words, his cultural revolution is a bridge to a new stage of Chinese capitalist expansion; it will lessen the crude open plunder of the public treasury, but it will not lessen the exploitation of labor nor slow the increasing concentration of wealth and privilege. That will require a different kind of ‘cultural’ revolution- one led from below by workers, peasants and salaried employees. A real ‘cultural revolution’ that realizes the ethical ideals of ‘good government’ through a transformation of class relations.

Xi’s anti-corruption campaign confirms what many workers already knew – but it also unmasks the systemic decay and forges an elementary class consciousness: counter-posing honest, hardworking workers to corrupt privileged oligarchs. Xi is aware of the danger that his campaign could ignite a popular fire: That is why he has kept a tight hold on the process. He is trying to navigate the liberal capitalist transition around the shoals of existing capitalist rot without arousing mass unrest.

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | Leave a comment

Israel, the United States and International Lies​

By Robert Fantina | IIPRC | December 22, 2014

Israel and the United States are forever talking about Israel’s ‘vulnerability’, proclaiming it as the U.S.’s ‘best friend’ in the Middle East, the only democracy there, and the one with the most moral army in the world. To paraphrase William Shakespeare, ‘Methinks they do protest too much’.

Let us look at these points in a little detail, to see how quickly they unravel.

• Thanks solely to the U.S., Israel has the fourth most powerful military organization in the world. With nothing in return but campaign contributions to so-called representatives, the U.S. gives $3 billion to Israel every year. One might think that U.S. cities, say, for example, Detroit, which earlier this year was struggling to find $1 billion to stay afloat, and which receives no money from the federal government, might be a better place to spend all that money. With that military organization, Israel periodically bombs its mortal enemy, Palestine, which has no army, navy or air force.

• It is probably true that Israel is the U.S.’s major ally in the Middle East, although prior to the bloody and violent establishment of the country, the U.S. had no real enemies there. And it can be argued that, if the U.S. were to even the playing field in the Middle East, reducing aid to Israel and increasing it (from nothing) to Palestine and other countries in the region, it might be looked upon a bit more favorably. The U.S. then might have more than one ally in the region. Additionally, if the U.S. were to stop protecting Israel from the international consequences of its abominable human rights abuses, the reputation of the U.S. might improve, not only in that part of the world, but around the globe.

• Elections do not a democracy make. Arabs living in Israel have fewer rights than Israelis, and this lack of equal rights is institutionalized. Africans living there are also not afforded the same rights as Israelis. A foundational precept of democracy is the equality of the people living in that country, each with the same power to enact laws and live by those laws. There is equality in the rights of all citizens, and in their privileges. This does not exist in Israel. For example, until a court ruled it illegal in September, Africans seeking asylum in Israel could be detained for months without charge. In October, Israelis demonstrated against this court decision, using flags that resemble those used by ISIS, with one demonstrator claiming that the court’s decision is ‘more dangerous to Israel than ISIS’. The protestors want no African non-Jews present in Israel. This demonstration took place in an African refugee neighborhood, where protesters took to the streets and damaged African-owned businesses.

Much of Israeli’s land is mandated by law to be owned and occupied only by Israelis; Arabs need not apply. There are separate schools for Arab and Israeli children, with the conditions and educational quality of the schools for Israelis being far superior.

• To say that Israel’s army has any morality at all is a joke, but, unfortunately, no one is laughing, due to the death and suffering that army causes and has caused for generations. Consider the following:

• Since 2000, while 133 Israeli children have died due to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, at least 2,060 Palestinian children have been killed. Catherine Cook, author of Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel’s Detention of Palestinian Children, said this about those children: “The majority of these [Palestinian] children were killed and injured while going about normal daily activities, such as going to school, playing, shopping, or simply being in their homes. Sixty-four percent of children killed during the first six months of 2003 died as a result of Israeli air and ground attacks, or from indiscriminate fire from Israeli soldiers.”

• During Israel’s brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip in July and August of this year, when over 500 children were killed, a video was widely circulated showing an event that was also witnessed by several journalists. During a lull in the fighting, four Palestinian children ventured out to play on a beach. Israeli soldiers shot each one to death.

• In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers routinely break into Palestinian homes at all hours of the day or night, ransack them and arrest without charge any males in the home. They routinely shoot and kill children and adults, often in reprisal for throwing stones at their tanks, and standby and do nothing as Israeli settlers harass and kill Palestinian adults and children.

Additionally, many U.S. cities, for some inexplicable reason, have received training from the Israeli military. This might explain why so many innocent, unarmed citizens die at the hands of U.S. police officers.

Today, Israel continues to violate the terms of the cease-fire agreement that ended its most recent brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Palestine has maintained its part of the bargain. Israeli terrorists, also known as IDF soldiers, continue to shoot Palestinian fishermen and sink their boats, in blatant violation of international law and the recently-signed peace agreement. Israel refuses to allow farmers in Gaza to transport their crops to the West Bank for sale, again, one of the things Israel agreed to allow as part of the cease fire.

According to international law, an occupied nation (Palestine) has the right to resist the occupying force (Israel). So any resistance efforts by Palestine are legal. The occupying force is required by international law to protect the citizens of the occupied nation. Israel kills innocent men, women and children indiscriminately. The occupied nation, according to international law, must not disrupt commerce, yet by its complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israel has destroyed the Palestinian economy. International law states that education and normal pursuits must not be disrupted any more than is absolutely necessary to keep peace, yet due to the checkpoints established by Israel in the West Bank, the simple tasks of going to school, work or the local store take hours, if they are allowed at all.

The occupying force is also forbidden from moving its own citizens onto the occupied territory. Israel has moved over 500,000 settlers onto occupied land.

And ultimately, occupation is to be a short-term, temporary measure. Israel’s occupation of Palestine has continued for decades.

The brutality of the Israelis would not be possible without the complete and total financial support of the United States. That nation, which cares nothing for human rights, as demonstrated by the racism, poverty and other injustices that are so prevalent within its own borders, legislates as powerful lobbies demand, not for the good of the citizens. Israeli lobbies funnel substantial funds to most elected officials for their election and re-election campaigns, and not wanting to jeopardize that funding, these officials will countenance any degree of horrific violations of international law, and will be blind to blatant human rights abuses. The U.S. then uses its veto power in the United Nations to prevent any real progress towards peace and justice for Palestine.

Israel and the United States, along with a few other countries, are out of step with what the rest of the world sees and is increasingly addressing. The U.S. was one of the last nations to oppose apartheid in South Africa, and will be one of the last to oppose the apartheid Israeli regime. But with world opinion now clearly moving in Palestine’s direction, the U.S. will not be able to thwart the Palestinian right to self-determination and freedom forever. The world will move ahead without the U.S.​

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Hamas: PA draft resolution at the UN does not represent the Palestinians

Palestine Information Center – December 23, 2014

673487103GAZA – Hamas Movement announced on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority’s draft resolution tabled with the UN Security Council did not represent the Palestinian people.

Official spokesman for Hamas Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press release that the resolution did not have any national backing.

He said that the resolution was widely refused by the Palestinian factions, and asked the PA to withdraw it.

A number of Palestinian factions including the peoples party, national initiative party along with both the popular and the democratic fronts for the liberation of Palestine had declared their rejection of the draft resolution’s wording.

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Israel charges 8 Palestinians over Facebook posts

Ma’an – 23/12/2014

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Eight Palestinians from annexed East Jerusalem were indicted on Monday for inciting anti-Jewish violence and supporting “terror” in postings on Facebook, an Israeli justice ministry spokeswoman said.

The eight men, aged 18-45, were charged at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court with “incitement to violence or terror and supporting a terrorist group” on Facebook, a ministry statement read.

The incriminating posts were put online in recent months as a wave of violence rocked the city during which several Palestinians staged lone wolf attacks killing nine people.

The defendants “directly called for violence and terror against (Jewish) citizens and security forces and praised, encouraged and supported these deeds and their perpetrators” on the Internet, the statement read.

Among the remarks posted online were “It is good to kidnap soldiers”, “Zionists flee because you’ll soon be killed by a car” and words expressing hope that a right-wing Jewish activist, who survived an assassination attempt in October, would die a painful death, the indictment said.

All eight Palestinians were arrested earlier this month in what police said was their biggest operation yet aimed at halting incitement to violence on social networks.

Israelis on social media routinely and openly incite violence against Palestinians, especially during heightened periods of tensions such as this summer’s military offensive on Gaza.

Ma’an staff contributed to this report

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Liberal Idiocy on Russia/Ukraine

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | December 22, 2014

Among honest and knowledgeable people, there really isn’t much doubt about what happened in Ukraine last winter. There was a U.S.-backed coup which ousted a constitutionally elected president and replaced him with a regime more in line with U.S. interests. Even some smart people who agree with the policy of going on the offensive against Russia recognize this reality.

For instance, George Friedman, the founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, was quoted in an interview with the Russian liberal business publication Kommersant as saying what happened on Feb. 22 in Kiev – the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych – “really was the most blatant coup in history.”

Brushing aside the righteous indignation and self-serving propaganda, Stratfor’s Friedman recognized that both Russia and the United States were operating in what they perceived to be their own interests. “The bottom line is that the strategic interests of the United States are to prevent Russia from becoming a hegemon,” he said. “And the strategic interests of Russia are not to allow the U.S. close to its borders.”

Another relative voice of reason, at least on this topic, has been former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who – in an interview with Der Spiegel – dismissed Official Washington’s conventional wisdom that Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked the crisis and then annexed Crimea as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim territory lost when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

“The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest,” the 91-year-old Kissinger said. “It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia” – as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had suggested.

Kissinger noted that Putin had no intention of instigating a crisis in Ukraine: “Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine.”

Instead Kissinger argued that the West – with its strategy of pulling Ukraine into the orbit of the European Union – was responsible for the crisis by failing to understand Russian sensitivity over Ukraine and making the grave mistake of quickly pushing the confrontation beyond dialogue.

While the comments by Henry Kissinger and Stratfor’s Friedman reflect the reality of what demonstrably happened in Ukraine, an entirely different “reality” exists in Official Washington. (Note that both interviews were carried in foreign, not U.S. publications.) In the United States, across the ideological spectrum, the only permitted viewpoint is that a crazed Putin launched a war of aggression against his neighbors and must be stopped.

Facts, such as the declaration in September 2013 from a leading neocon, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, that Ukraine was “the biggest prize” and an important step toward ousting Putin in Russia, do not fit into this story frame. [See’sA Shadow U.S. Foreign Policy.”]

Nor do the comments of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who was caught in a pre-coup phone call, handpicking Ukraine’s future leaders and discussing how to “glue this thing.” Nor her public statements about the United States investing $5 billion in Ukraine’s “European aspirations.”

White Hats, Black Hats

Instead of dealing with what actually happened in Ukraine, U.S. pundits and politicians – from conservative to liberal – have bought into a fantasy version of events in which the coup-makers all wore white hats and the elected president and his eastern Ukrainian supporters – along with Putin – all wore black hats.

But there are, as always, rhetorical differences across the U.S. partisan liberal-conservative divide. On Ukraine, the American Right urges an escalation of military tensions against Russia while chiding President Barack Obama for weakness (when compared with Putin’s toughness) – and liberals cheer on Obama’s supposed success in driving the Russian economy into a painful recession while accusing the Right of having a man-crush on Putin.

This liberal “theme” of jabbing the Right for its alleged love of Putin takes the Right’s comments about his forcefulness out of context, simply to score a political point. But the Right-loves-Putin charge has become all the rage with the likes of Paul Krugman, Thomas L. Friedman and other liberals who are bubbling with joy over the economic suffering being inflicted on the people of Russia and presumably eastern Ukraine.

Krugman, who is quickly jettisoning his reputation for thoughtfulness, published a second column on this topic in a row, showing that he has fully bought into all the propaganda “themes” emanating from the U.S. State Department and the compliant U.S. mainstream news media.

In Krugman’s mind, it was Putin who instigated the crisis with the goal of plundering Ukraine. Operating from that false hypothesis, Krugman then spins off this question:

“why did Mr. Putin do something so stupid? … The answer … is obvious if you think about Mr. Putin’s background. Remember, he’s an ex-K.G.B. man — which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug. Violence and threats of violence, supplemented with bribery and corruption, are what he knows.

“And for years he had no incentive to learn anything else: High oil prices made Russia rich, and like everyone who presides over a bubble, he surely convinced himself that he was responsible for his own success. At a guess, he didn’t realize until a few days ago that he has no idea how to function in the 21st century.”

But Krugman is not only operating from a false hypothesis – the reality was that the Ukraine crisis was forced on Putin, not that he went seeking it – Krugman also has a simplistic view of the KGB, which, like the American CIA, certainly had its share of thugs but also had a significant number of smart analysts. Some of those KGB analysts were in the forefront of recognizing the need for the Soviet Union to reform its economy and to reach out to the West.

Putin was generally allied with the KGB faction which favored “convergence” with the West, a Russian attitude that dates back to Peter the Great, seeking Russia’s acceptance as part of Europe rather than being shunned by Europe as part of Asia.

Putin himself pined for the day when Russia would be accepted as a part of the First World with G-8 status and other big-power accoutrements. I’m told he took great pride in his success helping President Obama in 2013 resolve crises with Syria over the mysterious sarin-gas attack and with Iran over its nuclear program.

As Kissinger noted, Putin’s hunger for Western acceptance was the reason he obsessed so much over the Sochi Olympics – and even neglected the festering political crisis in neighboring Ukraine.

In other words, Paul Krugman doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding Ukraine. His stab at offering a geopolitical analysis suffers from what an economist should recognize as “garbage in, garbage out.” [See also’sKrugman Joins the Anti-Putin Pack.”]

A Spreading Idiocy

Still, this liberal mindlessness appears to be catching. On Sunday, the New York Times’ star columnist Thomas L. Friedman weighed in with his own upside-down analysis, smirking about the economic suffering now being felt by average Russians because of the U.S.-led sanctions and the Saudi-spurred collapse of oil prices.

Friedman wrote:

“In March, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers, was asked on ‘Fox News Sunday’ how he thought President Obama was handling relations with Russia versus how President Vladimir Putin had been handling relations with the United States. Rogers responded: ‘Well, I think Putin is playing chess, and I think we’re playing marbles. And I don’t think it’s even close.’

“Hmmm. Marbles. That’s an interesting metaphor. Actually, it turns out that Obama was the one playing chess and Putin was the one playing marbles, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say today that Putin’s lost most of his — in both senses of the word.”

Ha-ha-ha. Putin has lost his marbles! So clever! Perhaps it also wouldn’t be wrong to say that Tom Friedman has lost any credibility that he ever had by getting pretty much every international crisis wrong, most notably the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 when he was just as smarmy in paving the way for that bloody catastrophe.

Washington Post liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. also joined in the “group think” on Monday, writing:

“even … some of [Obama’s] older bets were paying off. The Russian economy is reeling from sanctions imposed in response to its invasion of Ukraine (and from low oil prices). An approach seen by its critics as not tough enough is beginning to show its teeth.”

Beyond the propagandistic quality of these columns – refusing to recognize the complex reality of what actually happened in Ukraine, including the overwhelming referendum by the voters of Crimea to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia – there is this disturbingly smug pleasure at how the U.S. actions are hurting the people of Russia.

Whatever you think of Putin, a key reason why he has remained so popular is that he brought some stability to the Russian economy after the “shock therapy” days of plunder under Boris Yeltsin when many Russians were pushed to the brink of starvation. Putin pushed back against some of the corrupt oligarchs who had amassed vast power under Yeltsin (while also striking alliances with others).

But the cumulative effect of a more stable Russian economy was that a fragile middle class was taking shape in a country that has notoriously failed to generate one over the centuries. Because of the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine, which essentially forced Putin’s response and then led to Obama’s sanctions, the Russian middle class is losing its modest savings as the ruble’s value collapses.

In other words, the part of Russia’s population that could best propel Russia toward a more democratic and progressive future is being dismantled, in part, by punitive U.S. policies – while liberals Krugman, Friedman and Dionne celebrate.

Insider Rivalries

What really seems to matter to these pundits is getting a shot in at their conservative rivals, not the fate of average Russians. This attitude reminded me of an earlier phase of these mindless liberal-conservative food fights – in 1990 when conservative Robert Novak looked for ways to resolve Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait by accepting Saddam Hussein’s private offers to withdraw rather than resorting to war.

Yet, when Novak appeared on CNN’s “Capital Gang,” Al Hunt, a centrist who played the role of liberal pundit on the show, ridiculed the old “Prince of Darkness” for his uncharacteristic peaceful bent. Hunt hung the nickname “Neville Novak” around Novak’s neck, comparing him to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who sought to appease Adolf Hitler before World War II.

When I later asked Hunt why he had derided Novak for looking at more peaceful solutions to an international crisis, Hunt defended the “Neville Novak” line by noting all the times that Novak had baited opponents for their softness against communism. “After years of battling Novak from the left, to have gotten to his right, I enjoyed that,” Hunt said.

Yet, the human consequences from the failure to resolve the Kuwait crisis peacefully have been almost incalculable. Beyond the hundreds of U.S. and coalition deaths and the tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians killed, the Persian Gulf War set the stage for a decade of harsh economic sanctions against Iraq and marked a turning point for Saudi Osama bin Laden to begin targeting the United States.

Arguably, if Novak had been listened to – if Hussein’s peace feelers had been taken seriously – history might have taken a very different and less violent course. However, among Washington’s insiders, it seems that nothing is more important than their sparring with each other, in television and in print.

Now, these liberal columnists are enjoying bashing conservatives over their supposed love of Putin and their tolerance for Putin’s “invasion” of Ukraine. Not only are the likes of Paul Krugman, Thomas L. Friedman and E.J. Dionne Jr. spreading dangerous propaganda, they are setting the stage for a new Cold War and possibly even a nuclear confrontation.


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Krugman Joins the Anti-Putin Pack

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | December 19, 2014

When America’s opinion-making herd gets running, it’s hard for anyone to get in the way regardless of how erroneous or unfair the reason for the stampede. It’s much easier – and career-wise safer – to join the pack, which is what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has done regarding Russia, Ukraine and Vladimir Putin.

In the latest example of the New York Times’ endless Putin-bashing, Krugman begins his Friday column with what you might call a “negative endorsement” of the Russian president by claiming that ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has “an embarrassing crush on the swaggering statesman.”

But Krugman misleads his readers. Giuliani wasn’t really praising Putin when he said “that is what you call a leader” in commenting on Putin’s decisiveness. Some liberal defenders of President Barack Obama simply cherry-picked the quote to counter Giuliani’s attempt to disparage Obama by comparing Obama’s chronic indecisiveness to Putin’s forcefulness.

In the fuller context, Giuliani was not expressing a fondness for Putin at all. Indeed, he disparaged the Russian leader as “a bully” and urged a tough-guy response to Putin over Ukraine. “Instead of him pushing us around, we push him around,” Giuliani said in the Fox News interview. “That’s the only thing a bully understands.”

So, why did Krugman begin his Putin-bashing column by misrepresenting what Giuliani was saying? It may have been a form of “negative endorsement.” Since many American liberals hate Giuliani, Giuliani’s praise is supposed to translate into liberal hatred for Putin.

But “negative endorsements” are inherently unfair. Just because Josef Stalin might have liked Franklin Roosevelt and because we may hate Stalin, that doesn’t mean we should hate Roosevelt, too. The use of “negative endorsement” is akin to guilt by association. And, in this case, Krugman was playing fast and loose with the facts as well.

Krugman also opts for some of the most hyperbolic language that has been used in the U.S. mainstream media to distort events in Ukraine. For instance, Krugman claims that “Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine without debate or deliberation.” But that really isn’t true either.

The Ukraine crisis is far more complicated and nuanced than that, as Krugman must know. If he doesn’t, he should consult with fellow Princeton professor Stephen F. Cohen, who has bravely challenged the prevailing “group think” on both Ukraine and Russia.

Cohen, one of America’s premier Russia experts, has even warned that “American media coverage of Vladimir Putin … has so demonized him that the result may be to endanger U.S. national security. …

“[M]ainstream press reporting, editorials and op-ed articles have increasingly portrayed Putin as a czar-like ‘autocrat,’ or alternatively a ‘KGB thug,’ who imposed a ‘rollback of democratic reforms’ under way in Russia when he succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 2000. He installed instead a ‘venal regime’ that has permitted ‘corruptionism,’ encouraged the assassination of a ‘growing number’ of journalists and carried out the ‘killing of political opponents.’ Not infrequently, Putin is compared to Saddam Hussein and even Stalin.”

Yet, Cohen said, “there is no evidence that any of these allegations against him are true, or at least entirely true. Most seem to have originated with Putin’s personal enemies, particularly Yeltsin-era oligarchs who found themselves in foreign exile as a result of his policies – or, in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in prison. Nonetheless, U.S. media, with little investigation of their own, have woven the allegations into a near-consensus narrative of ‘Putin’s Russia.’” [For details from Cohen’s article, click here.]

‘Shock Therapy’

Indeed, much of what Krugman finds so offensive about Putin’s Russia actually stemmed from the Yeltsin era following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the so-called Harvard Boys flew to Moscow to apply free-market “shock therapy” which translated into a small number of well-connected thieves plundering Russia’s industry and resources, making themselves billionaires while leaving average Russians near starvation.

When Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin in 2000, Putin challenged some of the oligarchs and pushed others out of the political arena, while also moderating some of the extreme policies and thus making life somewhat better for the average Russian, thus explaining Putin’s broad popularity. Putin could be fairly criticized for not going further, but economist Krugman must surely know this history regarding how the Russian “kleptocracy” got started.

Yet, Krugman slides into the now common demonization of Putin. “Mr. Putin never had the resources to back his swagger,” Krugman smugly writes.

“It’s quite a comedown for Mr. Putin. And his swaggering strongman act helped set the stage for the disaster. A more open, accountable regime — one that wouldn’t have impressed Mr. Giuliani so much — would have been less corrupt, would probably have run up less debt, and would have been better placed to ride out falling oil prices. Macho posturing, it turns out, makes for bad economies.”

In other words, Krugman buys into the “group think” that blames Putin’s “macho posturing” over Ukraine for the current financial crisis in Russia, which has resulted from falling oil prices as well as the U.S.-led sanctions punishing Russia for its alleged “aggression” in Ukraine.

That puts Krugman in the same camp as the neocons who have pushed the bogus narrative that the megalomaniacal Putin is trying to reconstitute the Russian Empire. The actual facts, however, disprove that narrative. [See’sThe Crazy US ‘Group Think’ on Russia.”]

Putin himself has a much better understanding of recent Russian history – and what Official Washington’s goals are regarding him and Russia – as he explained in an end-of-year news conference on Thursday.

Asked if the economic pain was the price for accepting Crimea back into Russia, Putin responded:

“No. This is not the price we have to pay for Crimea. … This is actually the price we have to pay for our natural aspiration to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization, as a state. …

“I gave an example of our most recognizable symbol. It is a bear protecting his taiga. … [M]aybe it would be best if our bear just sat still. Maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga but start picking berries and eating honey. Maybe then he will be left alone.

“But no, he won’t be! Because someone will always try to chain him up. As soon as he’s chained they will tear out his teeth and claws. In this analogy, I am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. As soon as – God forbid – it happens and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over. … And then, when all the teeth and claws are torn out, the bear will be of no use at all. Perhaps they’ll stuff it and that’s all.

“So, it is not about Crimea but about us protecting our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist. That is what we should all realize.”

The Neo-Nazi Reality

There is another unpleasant reality about Ukraine that Krugman ignores — its neo-Nazi element — apparently not wanting to be out of step with his New York Times colleagues who have studiously looked the other way. Again, Krugman could learn something from his fellow Princeton professor Cohen, who has recounted the grim facts about neo-Nazism in Ukraine, facts that would put Putin’s supposed “invasion” in defense of Ukraine’s ethnic Russians in a different light.

In an article for The Nation magazine, Cohen wrote:

“Independent Western scholars have documented the fascist origins, contemporary ideology and declarative symbols of Svoboda and its fellow-traveling Right Sector. Both movements glorify Ukraine’s murderous Nazi collaborators in World War II as inspirational ancestors. Both, to quote Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok, call for an ethnically pure nation purged of the ‘Moscow-Jewish mafia’ and ‘other scum,’ including homosexuals, feminists and political leftists.

“And both hailed the Odessa massacre [on May 2 when ethnic Russian protesters were trapped in the Trade Union building and burned alive]. According to the website of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was ‘another bright day in our national history.’ A Svoboda parliamentary deputy added, ‘Bravo, Odessa…. Let the Devils burn in hell.’

“If more evidence is needed, in December 2012, the European Parliament decried Svoboda’s ‘racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views [that] go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles.’ In 2013, the World Jewish Congress denounced Svoboda as ‘neo-Nazi.’ Still worse, observers agree that Right Sector is even more extremist. …

“In December 2012, a Svoboda parliamentary leader anathematized the Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis as ‘a dirty kike.’ Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and militias have routinely denigrated ethnic Russians as insects (‘Colorado beetles,’ whose colors resemble a sacred Russia ornament). More recently, the US-picked prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, referred to resisters in the Southeast as ‘subhumans.’ His defense minister proposed putting them in ‘filtration camps,’ pending deportation, and raising fears of ethnic cleansing.

“Yulia Tymoshenko — a former prime minister, titular head of Yatsenyuk’s party and runner-up in the May presidential election — was overheard wishing she could ‘exterminate them all [Ukrainian Russians] with atomic weapons.’ ‘Sterilization’ is among the less apocalyptic official musings on the pursuit of a purified Ukraine.”

By leaving out this troubling context, it’s much easier to mislead Americans about what is actually happening in Ukraine. Instead of understanding Russia’s interest in protecting ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine from these brutal neo-Nazis, the crisis can simply be presented as Putin’s “aggression” or – as Krugman says – how “Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine.” [For an earlier case of Krugman’s distortions on Ukraine, click here.]

More fitting Krugman’s expertise about the dangers of free-market extremism, he might do better looking at the consequences of those strategies on both Russia and Ukraine, where corrupt oligarchs also took power and have now moved to the center of Ukraine’s U.S.-backed regime.

And, if Krugman wants some current example of cronyism, he might look at the curious case of Natalie Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who parlayed $150 million in U.S. AID funds designed to help Ukraine develop an investment-based economy into a personal fortune and now into the post of Ukraine’s new Finance Minister.

According to corporate records, the U.S. government-funded investment project for Ukraine involved substantial insider dealings by Jaresko, including $1 million-plus fees to a management company that she also controlled. Meanwhile, the $150 million stake provided by the U.S. taxpayers appears to have dwindled to less than $100 million. [See’sUkraine’s Made-in-the-USA Finance Minister.”]

But critical reporting about the U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime would violate Official Washington’s narrative that prefers the Kiev authorities to be dressed in white hats while Vladimir Putin wears the black hat.


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Bad Reporting and Nuclear Alarmism Return to The Guardian

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | December 22, 2014

Tehran Bureau/Digarban/The Guardian article from December 17, 2014

Last week, the Iran-focused blog, Tehran Bureau, housed online by The Guardian, posted an alarming headline: “Senior cleric: Iran has knowledge to build a nuclear bomb.” The accompanying article, co-authored by Tehran Bureau‘s new partner Digarban, was posted below a guaranteed-to-scare image simultaneously containing three beardy clerics, two Supreme Leaders, and an angry looking partridge in a pear tree.

The report announced:

An official site belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has quoted a senior conservative cleric as saying that Iran has attained the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb but doesn’t want to use it.

The IRGC site of Kurdistan province today quoted Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a leading cleric who often leads Friday prayers in Tehran, as telling a group of IRGC commanders in Iran’s Kurdistan province that Iran had the expertise to enrich uranium not just to the 5% and 20% levels required for civilian uses but to higher levels required for a bomb. “[We] can enrich uranium at 5% or 20%, as well as 40% to 50%, and even 90%,” he was quoted as saying. But he said the Islamic republic believed that the building of a bomb is religiously forbidden.

Furthermore, Tehran Bureau boasts, “Khatami’s speech was widely covered by the Iranian press, but the remarks about Iran’s nuclear bomb-making capabilities were not reported.”

What an exclusive! What breaking news!

Except not really.

Before addressing the details of the disingenuous reportage, a larger point looms. Tehran Bureau‘s headline and lede claiming that, according to a senior cleric, Iran now has “the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb” are not only irresponsible and misleading, they are genuinely incorrect.

The reporting wholly conflates uranium enrichment with nuclear bomb-making; this is absurd. Obtaining enriched uranium at weapons-grade levels (90% or more) is but one component of manufacturing a nuclear weapon, but one that pales in relative comparison to mastering the detonation process, requisite missile technology, and making a bomb deliverable. It’s like standing next to a pile of steel, plastic and glass, and claiming an ability to make a Ferrari.

Iran has the technical ability to enrich uranium up to roughly 19.75%; it began enriching to this level in February 2010, under strict IAEA monitoring. By early 2013, Iran had already begun voluntarily converting its stockpile of 19.75% LEU to reactor fuel, a process rendering such material incapable of weaponization. Conversion of all remaining 19.75% stocks was agreed to under the multilateral interim nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers in November 2013. Earlier this year, the IAEA confirmed that Iran had completed the conversion process, leaving no 19.75% LEU in the country.

As is often pointed out, the technical capacity to enrich uranium to nearly 20%, “accomplishes much of the technical leap towards 90% – or weapons-grade – uranium.”

Last year, Rob Wile explained in Business Insider:

Uranium enrichment has a kind of momentum curve, where it takes much more effort to go from 0% enriched to 20% enriched than it does 20% enriched to 90% enriched. Here’s the chart: The vertical axis represents “effort” as measured in things called Separate Work Units, which is basically the given quantity of uranium measured in kilograms needed to reach a given level of enrichment. The horizontal axis is enrichment percentage.

By virtue of having functional uranium enrichment facilities and technical expertise to spin centrifuges, Iran – like any other nation with that technology – can create weapons-grade material if it decided to. But this doesn’t mean it can already “build a nuclear bomb.”

Moreover, Tehran Bureau‘s paraphrased quote from Khatami is itself misleading. The source of the quote can be found here, although Tehran Bureau does not provide a link over to it, a highly unprofessional reporting practice.

Mohammad Ali Shabani, a doctoral researcher at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), notes that the focus of Khatami’s speech before the IRGC gathering was not the nuclear issue, but rather Iran’s Kurdistan province and Syria. While Khatami is by no means an expert on nuclear technology, when he did touch briefly on the subject, this is what he said, according to Shabani’s translation:

[But] even if we could build a bomb, we would not do such a thing as our Guardian Jurist [Ayatollah Khamenei] deems use [of such weapons] impermissible (haraam). The West’s concerns are not about a bomb, but Iran’s capabilities; just as our nuclear scientists enriched uranium from 5% to 20%, undoubtedly they can [do so] to 40%, 50% and finally 90%, which is needed in order to build a bomb, and they [Iran’s scientists] posses this knowledge. Our role model is our Dear Prophet, who even forbade the poisoning of an enemy city, and this is our evidence [basis] for not building a bomb.

This is a political statement, not a technical declaration. Nowhere does Khatami state that Iran can build a nuclear weapon. Tehran Bureau‘s reporting also omits the fact that such statements about such scientific capabilities and the nation’s official, absolute prohibition on nuclear weapons are nothing new for Iranian officials.

For instance, in February 2010, then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that “right now in Natanz, we have the capacity to enrich uranium at high levels.” He added, “We have the capability to enrich uranium more than 20 percent or 80 percent but we don’t enrich (to this level) because we don’t need it.”

A couple years later, in April 2012, The Guardian itself reported on a nearly identical statement made by Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam, a minister of the Iranian parliament. The framing in both that piece and the latest report are very similar:

Iran has the technological capability to produce nuclear weapons but will never do so, a prominent politician in the Islamic republic has said.

The statement by Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam is the first time an Iranian politician has publicly stated that the country has the knowledge and skills to produce a nuclear weapon.

Moghadam, whose views do not represent the government’s policy, said Iran could easily create the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs, but it was not Tehran’s policy to go down that route.

Moghadam told the parliament’s news website, “Iran has the scientific and technological capability to produce [a] nuclear weapon, but will never choose this path.”

The 2012 Guardian report sparked false conclusions and predictable reactions from Israeli officials,  who eagerly exploited the non-news for political posturing. The following year, a number of different reports published by The Guardian contained bad analysisdubious allegations and sloppy journalism.

Unfortunately, The Guardian, now in partnership with Tehran Bureau, is at it again.

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Lie factory

Xymphora | December 22, 2014

GAO says FBI’s investigation of anthrax attacks was flawed”:

“The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI’s conclusion that Army biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator.”

Yes, having absolutely no evidence would ‘be sure to fuel skepticism’ over the frame-up of Ivins.


“Ivins died in July 2008 of an apparently intentional Tylenol overdose as the Justice Department prepared to indict him.”

Steven Hatfill was the first patsy the FBI picked, and when he fought back too successfully, they settled on Ivins, whose personal weaknesses made it too difficult for him to challenge the lies. As we’ve seen with the recent FBI blame on North Korea for the Sony hacking case, the FBI is nothing more than a lie factory.

From the same time period (fall of 2001), a possible murder that many have wondered about:

  1. What Happened to Don Wiley?”
  2. Colleagues Doubt Wiley Suicide Theory”

The mysterious deaths of such people were fashionable at the time:

  1.  “16 renowned microbiologists died mysteriously in 4 months: 11/01-3/02″
  2. “The mysterious deaths of top microbiologists”
  3. Conspiracy didn’t kill eleven microbiologists, just coincidence –a case of “random clumping” and death by “roadway bounce””
  4. “The Very Mysterious Deaths Of Five Microbiologists”

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment