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Guess Who’s Loving Saudi Bombs in Yemen?

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | April 4, 2015

As the US-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen enters into its second week, more than 500 people — including many civilians — have been killed, what infrastructure existed in the impoverished country has been destroyed, and the ousted president cheers on the destruction of his country within the protective embrace of the country that is bombing his own.

What is less reported in a US mainstream media is that one group in Yemen seems to be making out quite well in the US-backed and Saudi-created chaos: al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Yes, al-Qaeda. The group that the US has been droning in Yemen since 2010. The drone strikes that set the population and especially various tribes like the Houthis against the US-accommodating Hadi. The Houthis who had been fighting al-Qaeda in Yemen before they started being bombed by Saudi Arabia. That al-Qaeda.

A Thursday prison raid by al-Qaeda operatives in the port city of Mukalla freed one of their commanders, “emir” Khaled Batarfi. Barfi celebrated his freedom by taking up residence in the abandoned regional governor’s palace as Saudi planes continued to bomb al-Qaeda’s enemy in Yemen, the Houthis. Barfi even used the palace telephone apparently to issue orders to his minions. It must have been hard for him to believe his incredible good luck!

The Saudis are said to have air-dropped weapons to supporters of ousted president, Mansur Hadi, in the battleground port city of Aden. How long before al-Qaeda shows up with these gifts from the Saudis by way of the US military-industrial complex?

So why is the US backing the Saudi attack on its neighbor? It is complicated. According to US government logic, when Yanukovych was chased by a mob from his office in Ukraine, by leaving the country he lost legitimacy. In Yemen, on the other hand, when president Hadi was chased by a mob from his office he retained his legitimacy and Saudi airstrikes were approved and coordinated by the US to put him back in office.

It had something to do with democracy, it was said. However, Hadi was “elected” after overthrowing his predecessor in a coup and standing for office as the only candidate on the ballot. Not surprisingly in the circumstance, he “won” more than 99 percent of the vote. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was effusive in her praise, claiming the Soviet-style election and inauguration “were promising steps on the path toward a new, democratic chapter in Yemen’s history.”

Yanukovych, in contrast, was elected in a contested election judged to be “free and fair” by international monitoring bodies.

Watching State Department Spokesman Jen Psaki defend these double standards is one of those golden comedy moments that makes you laugh and then cry.

So the US backs Saudi attacks on Yemen in the name of democracy even though neither country is remotely democratic, and even though none except al-Qaeda and the US military-industrial complex seems to be benefiting. Is this incompetence, arrogance, ignorance, or something darker?

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia to raze around 100 villages at Yemen border

Press TV – April 5, 2015

Saudi Arabia plans to raze to the ground around one hundred villages in areas near the border with Yemen, amid airstrikes on the impoverished country.

According to the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper on Sunday, out of 96 border villages targeted for demolition, as many as 10 have been destroyed since Riyadh started its airstrikes on Yemen.

The border guard chief in the area, Hassan Aqili, said the decision is to prevent the empty houses in the villages from turning into “a safe haven for traffickers and infiltrators,” the Saudi newspaper reported.

Saudi Arabia’s air campaign in Yemen started on March 26 in a bid to restore power to fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

An exchange of fire between Saudi security forces and Yemen’s Ansarullah fighters on Friday claimed the lives of two Saudi soldiers on the kingdom’s border with Yemen as resistance against the Saudi aggression on the Arabian Peninsula country continues.

On Thursday, a Saudi soldier was killed and 10 others were wounded in a similar exchange of fire across the Yemeni border.

Hundreds of people have lost their lives since the Saudi airstrikes started more than a week ago, with the UN humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, saying she is “extremely concerned” about the fate of the civilians.

Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Houthi revolutionaries.

The Ansarullah movement later said Hadi had lost his legitimacy as president of Yemen after he escaped the capital to the southern port of Aden in February.

In late March, Hadi fled Aden, where he had sought to set up a rival power base, to Riyadh after Ansarullah revolutionaries advanced on the port city.

April 5, 2015 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Who’s Playing “Hide and Cheat”?

By Sherwood Ross | Aletho News | April 5, 2015

The estimable McClatchy News Service says President Obama “scored a decisive win” by negotiating an agreement that “will prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon” and termed it “a personal triumph for the President.”

Not surprisingly, the painfully negotiated pact was denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has repeatedly, and illegally, threatened Iran over its alleged desire to build an atomic bomb. But Obama’s rebuff of Netanyahu’s position was well deserved, given Israel’s record of stealing American military secrets and spying on private American talks with its allies.

If Iran had been guilty of such crimes, the American public would now be deaf from the outcry of the Republicans in Congress. Americans need to remember that Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American civilian naval intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty in 1987 to selling classified information to Israel. At least 800 documents were snitched. Pollard, who became an Israeli citizen, sits in a U.S. prison today in Butner, N.C., serving a life sentence. Former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger said his espionage “would cause the greatest harm to our national security.”

Israel admitted its role in Pollard’s theft. Israel had him on a monthly payroll, the better to enable him to do his dirty work. When the spying was disclosed, Israel apologized for its role. So sorry, right? Maybe so, but just two weeks ago Adam Entous of The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel spied on the recent closed-door talks between the U.S. and its European allies concerning the Iranian negotiations. Do these repeated episodes of spying suggest that Israel is not exactly a trustworthy ally?

Not to our Congress, which keeps voting Israel $3-billion a year in military aid! According to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, between 1949 and 2008 alone, Israel hauled in $56 billion in American military handouts. One could make a case that it was the American public that paid Mr. Pollard’s salary to steal American military secrets.

Now Mr. Netanyahu trumpets that no matter what agreement is reached, Israel will take action against Iran as it chooses. Of course, it’s illegal for one UN member to threaten another, much less attack it, but no matter.

Republicans in Congress might keep in mind that when Mr. Netanyahu addressed Congress last month he accused the Iranians of playing “a pretty good game of hide and cheat” but presented zero evidence of any sort to prove it. Here was a golden opportunity for him to show what his brilliant spy service had come up with. Yet all he produced were accusations.

If anyone is playing a game of “hide and cheat” with the UN inspectors it is Mr. Netanyahu, who does not allow them to enter Israel to inspect his nuclear facilities—reported to conceal between 80 or more (200?) atomic bombs. Iran lets the UN inspectors in, of course, but UN inspectors cannot get in to Israel.

What’s more, “Israelis who reveal details about the weapons program can face prosecution and lengthy prison terms,” wrote John Cassidy in The New Yorker on March 5, 2012:

“In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, gave photographs he had taken of the Negev Nuclear Research Center, near the city of Dimona, in the Negev desert, to the Sunday Times of London. After the publication of Vanunu’s story, Mossad agents snatched him from Rome, where he had been lured on vacation, and returned him to Israel. There he served eighteen years in jail, eleven of them in solitary confinement.”

If Netanyahu belittles the work of UN investigators by charging the Iranians are deceiving them, maybe that’s because they tell the truth—Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon and is not making one. In fact, the former Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, told investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that he had not seen “a shred of evidence” that Iran was “building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials.”

ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who spent 12 years at the IAEA, told Hersh, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.” Hersh pointed out that the last two U.S. National Intelligence Estimates on Iranian nuclear progress “have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003.”

Meanwhile, American spies in Iran are doing their very best to find any traces of military nuclear development. If they had found anything, most likely it would be on front pages globally by now. Hersh says some of the tactics our spies resorted to included:

# Surreptitiously removing street signs and replacing them with signs containing radiation sensors.

# Removing bricks from buildings suspected of containing nuclear enrichment activities and replacing them “with bricks embedded with radiation-monitoring devices.”

# Spreading high-powered sensors disguised as stones randomly along roadways where a suspected underground weapon site was under construction.

As for the Congressional critics of the new deal, McClatchy News quotes President Obama as saying, “Do you (critics of the deal) really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?”

Summing up: President Obama has not only made the right decision in negotiating an agreement with Iran but could strike another blow for peace by terminating U.S. military aid to Israel (and every other nation as well.) Dare we say it? America first! #

Sherwood Ross can be reached at sherwoodross10@gmail.com

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Former Israeli security chief called for ‘Sunni coalition’ to assail Shias, Iran in 2012

By Brandon Martinez | Non-Aligned Media | April 4, 2012

Ami Ayalon, the former chief of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet, told Charlie Rose in a 2012 interview that Israel hoped to foster a ‘Sunni coalition’ led by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to assail Shia Muslims of the region led by Iran.

Ayalon told Rose that, “Iran is a huge threat. We cannot live with Iran having nuclear military power. We should not accept it.”

“How much time do we have and what do we do?” the Israeli spook asked.

“[We need to create] a kind of a Sunni coalition … with Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia… who understand that the major conflict is with Shia [Muslims] led by Iran.”

Interestingly, such a coalition has indeed formed in recent weeks with the Saudi-led bombing offensive in Yemen against the Iran-aligned Shia Houthi rebels who have seized power in the war-torn country.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt and other Sunni-oriented dictatorships and Western-backed quisling regimes have formed a ‘coalition’ to stamp out the Shia rebellion in Yemen.

ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other extremist groups currently fighting to topple the Shia/Alawite Assad regime in Syria may also be considered part of this ‘Sunni coalition’ that Ayalon speaks of. The Wahhabi militants who have besieged Syria and who previously attacked Libya were and continue to be subsidized and supported by Washington’s regional puppets (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Turkey).

In a 2014 interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu argued that the US should strive to weaken both Sunnis and Shias by letting them fight each other.

In a 2013 interview with the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s former ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, revealed that Israel’s main goal was to break down the Shia alliance of Damascus, Tehran and the Lebanese Hezbollah by siding with the Wahhabist radicals of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” Oren said.

Reports of Israel aiding and abetting anti-Assad militants, including those of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, are abundant and well-founded.

Oren went on to remark with glee that the Gulf sheikhdoms have in recent years come to embrace Israel’s designs vis-a-vis Syria, Iran and even the Palestinian issue, saying:

In the last 64 years there has probably never been a greater confluence of interest between us and several Gulf States. With these Gulf States we have agreements on Syria, on Egypt, on the Palestinian issue. We certainly have agreements on Iran. This is one of those opportunities presented by the Arab Spring.

Ayalon’s admission confirms what many suspect is an Israeli-led divide and conquer strategy where Israel and the West are using Sunni and Wahhabi zealots, useful idiots, and sell-outs to do the bidding of the Zionist regime.

Copyright 2015 Non-Aligned Media

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sociopath Karl Rove unapologetic over genocidal Iraq war

Brandon Martinez | Non-Aligned Media | April 4, 2015

The former Bush administration Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has said that he has no regrets about the genocidal war in Iraq which cost the lives of more than a million Iraqis and thousands of American soldiers.

Responding to Iraq war veteran Ryan Henowitz who demanded an apology for Rove’s role in sending thousands of Americans to their deaths based on lies, the unrepentant war criminal said that “it was the right thing to remove Saddam Hussein from power.” Rove went on to say the US should be “proud” of “what we were able to do in Iraq” and that his only qualm was that the US military didn’t occupy the country longer.

Rove and company launched the Iraq war in 2003 based upon purposeful disinformation that Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction,” which it did not. The Bush administration contrived a number of phony pretexts in order to convince the American public that the war was necessary for national security.

The logic of the war was comically incoherent, considering much of Saddam Hussein’s weapons stockpiles were provided to him by the US throughout the 70s and 80s when the Iraqi dictator was an ally of Washington.

Another false myth promoted by Washington to justify the war was that Hussein was supporting al-Qaeda militants – a claim which was not only patently false, but an example of imperial hubris and Orwellian projection seeing as the American CIA was responsible for creating and sponsoring thousands of Mujahideen militants, some of whom later formed al-Qaeda, as a proxy army against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s.

The hogwash used to justify the Iraq war was so laughable and so thoroughly discredited that it beggars belief how anyone can still defend it.

Copyright 2015 Non-Aligned Media

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran, Yemen and nuclear negotiations

By Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi | Press TV | April 5, 2015

Western governments, their Middle Eastern allies, and many major media outlets have much in common with Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

Similarly, in the lexicon of western powers and their regional partners, the meaning of words such as moderation, legitimacy, human rights, democracy, extremism, terrorism, and fundamentalism are about as consistent as a chameleon’s color.

In Ukraine, the United States and its allies supported and facilitated the overthrow of a democratically elected president, immediately recognizing the successor regime as “legitimate.”

Many dead in ‘air strike on north Yemen refugee camp’

But, in Yemen – despite Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi having been the sole candidate in the February 2012 presidential election, despite his term as transitional president having expired after two years, despite his lack of popular support, despite his having resigned in January, despite his having fled his capital and later his country – the US and its allies consider Hadi the “legitimate” president.

Question of legitimacy

When Hadi invited foreign powers to bomb his country’s flimsy infrastructure and military, they rushed to do so.

US logistical and intelligence support may help explain why the Saudi Kingdom chose America’s favorite “shock and awe” tactics for its war against Yemen. Netanyahu also supports air strikes against Yemen’s armed forces and fragile infrastructure; perhaps Saudi leaders should have asked him why the Israeli regime’s multiple barbaric onslaughts against much smaller areas like Gaza and South Lebanon all ended in failure and humiliation.

Sadly, history is repeating itself like a rogue merry-go-round. The same countries that, as US Vice President Joe Biden admits, helped destroy much of Libya, Syria, and Iraq are now fighting on the same side as al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Is it really a good idea to strengthen al-Qaeda’s most dangerous branch alongside Bab El Mandab, the narrow waterway linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden – especially as Somalia has no effective central government and al-Qaeda affiliates like al-Shabab are on the other side of the strait?

Cronyism, poverty, injustice, corruption, and decades of foreign domination drove Hadi’s overthrow. Ceaseless attempts to deny this and depict the Yemeni situation as a sectarian conflict reflect a worn-out strategy. This strategy has shaped the creation of the Taliban, ISIL, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia, and Jundullah, among others.

It has caused pain and devastation across North Africa, where there are no Shia Muslims – or “majus” and “Safavids,” to use the derogatory terminology of the tens of well-funded sectarian and ethnocentric extremist television channels.

Iranian proxies?

Describing the Houthis or Ansarullah as Iranian proxies insults their millions of followers and allies across Yemen, including southerners who well remember past devastation inflicted upon them by the same forces. It is an obvious attempt to push a non-sectarian country towards sectarianism, even though this policy has already failed in Syria.

It is difficult to imagine how these air strikes across Yemen – killing significant numbers of innocent civilians, including women and children huddled in refugee camps – will make the “coalition” look like liberators.

That none of these pilots flew anywhere near Palestine during the Israeli regime’s 2014 onslaught against Gaza has not escaped notice, either.

Iranians have also noticed that the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm coincides with the most sensitive phase of negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 in Lausanne, Switzerland. It has been clear for some time that the Israeli and Saudi regimes want to prevent a successful outcome in these talks.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, Yemen’s tormentors should remember what happened along the Saudi-Yemeni border in 2009 when Ansarullah was a much smaller, more isolated, and less experienced military force. Purchasing Pakistani or Egyptian troops will not solve the problem; both of those regimes are floundering, barely able to contain their own extremists.

Appreciation for Iran among Iraqis, Syrians, Bahrainis, Omanis, and Yemenis is rooted in Iran’s independence, participatory Islamist governance (Western claims to the contrary notwithstanding), civilization, tolerance, and rejection of sectarian ideology.

While stale accusations will undoubtedly continue to be leveled at Iran, this aggression is not about the Islamic Republic’s alleged regional domination, it is about silencing the aspirations of the Yemeni people.

Those who spread civil war, extremism, and war should ponder the final words of Lady Macbeth: “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Judy Miller: Hans Blix Bears More Responsibility For The Iraq War Than I Do

 No More Mister Nice Blog | April 4, 2015
The Wall Street Journal has published Judith Miller’s defense of her Iraq War writings, in which she specifically denies responsibility for helping lead America into that war. There are others far more qualified than I am to pick apart what she’s written in the Journal (and what will appear in Miller’s book The Story, from which the Journal piece is excerpted). I’ll limit myself to this:

Another widespread fallacy is that such neoconservatives as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz strong-armed an inexperienced president into taking the country to war. President Bush, as he himself famously asserted, was the “decider.” One could argue, however, that Hans Blix, the former chief of the international weapons inspectors, bears some responsibility. Though he personally opposed an invasion, Mr. Blix told the U.N. in January 2003 that despite America’s ultimatum, Saddam was still not complying fully with his U.N. pledges. In February, he said “many proscribed weapons and items,” including 1,000 tons of chemical agent, were still “not accounted for.”

Did Blix say in January 2003 that Iraq wasn’t fully compliant? Yes, he did. You can read the January 27, 2003, report here. Though please note that Blix says that Iraq was largely cooperative with regard to process:

Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt. We have further had great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable.

Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas day and New Years day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections.

But yes, there was some resistance by Iraq up to that point. Blix said so. However, a few days later, he made it abundantly clear, in an interview published in The New York Times, that nothing he’d seen at the time justified war:

Mr. Blix said he continued to endorse disarmament through peaceful means. “I think it would be terrible if this comes to an end by armed force, and I wish for this process of disarmament through the peaceful avenue of inspections,” he said.

And he specifically rebutted a large number of allegations advanced by the Bush administration:

Mr. Blix took issue with what he said were Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s claims that the inspectors had found that Iraqi officials were hiding and moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their discovery. He said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents.

Similarly, he said, he had not seen convincing evidence that Iraq was sending weapons scientists to Syria, Jordan or any other country to prevent them from being interviewed. Nor had he any reason to believe, as President Bush charged in his State of the Union speech, that Iraqi agents were posing as scientists.

He further disputed the Bush administration’s allegations that his inspection agency might have been penetrated by Iraqi agents, and that sensitive information might have been leaked to Baghdad, compromising the inspections.

Finally, he said, he had seen no persuasive indications of Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda, which Mr. Bush also mentioned in his speech. “There are other states where there appear to be stronger links,” such as Afghanistan, Mr. Blix said, noting that he had no intelligence reports on this issue.

It’s good that Miller is at least honest enough to acknowledge Blix’s opposition to war, given his debunking of administration claims and his belief that persistence in pursuing inspections was a better path to disarmament.

(Did I mention that Miller was the lead author of the Times interview story?)

In his February report, Blix did say that “many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for.” But let’s put that quote in context (emphasis added):

How much, if any, is left of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and related proscribed items and programmes? So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed. Another matter — and one of great significance — is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were “unaccounted for”. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded.

Blix’s February report suggested that Iraq was cooperative and the process as working well:

Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.

The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centres, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites…..

Through the inspections conducted so far, we have obtained a good knowledge of the industrial and scientific landscape of Iraq, as well as of its missile capability….

More than 200 chemical and more than 100 biological samples have been collected at different sites. Three-quarters of these have been screened using our own analytical laboratory capabilities at the Baghdad Centre (BOMVIC). The results to date have been consistent with Iraq’s declarations.

We have now commenced the process of destroying approximately 50 litres of mustard gas declared by Iraq that was being kept under UNMOVIC seal at the Muthanna site. One-third of the quantity has already been destroyed. The laboratory quantity of thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor, which we found at another site, has also been destroyed.

Blix made clear that the process required more time. He wasn’t going to get more time, however. The bombing started less than a week later. It wasn’t his idea. It wasn’t his fault.

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

The Crimes the New York Times Believes Should Go Unpunished

By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts | April 3, 2015

The New York Times recently published an editorial lamenting the “shameful impunity of the Islamic State” and encouraging the United Nations Security Council to refer the group’s crimes to the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.). The editorial, titled “The Crimes of Terrorists” (4/2/2015), should more accurately be titled “The Crimes of the U.S. and Its Allies Should Go Unpunished.”

In the last several months alone, the Times has repeatedly failed to condemn crimes by the U.S. government and its allies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories.

When the Times writes that “the Islamic State’s campaign of religious and cultural cleansing has shocked the world and terrified the peoples of Iraq and Syria who don’t fit into the group’s fanatical vision of a neo-Islamist caliphate” and that the Security Council should address the “shameful impunity of the Islamic State, and refer the group to the I.C.C.,” they are stating the obvious.

That crimes should be punished is beyond dispute. Condemning the crimes of official enemies of the United States does not take particular moral or political courage. Whether it was the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the Taliban after 9/11, or Iraq before the 2003 invasion, a media organization would be hard pressed to find a less controversial editorial position.

What would take courage is opposition to the criminal actions of the U.S. government and governments or groups it is aligned with. This is something the Times has failed to do for decades. You don’t have to go back in time to find multiple examples.

Just two days before the editorial on the Islamic State, the Times published another editorial titled “Saudi Arabia’s Ominous Reach Into Yemen” (3/3/2015). The Times does not condone the Saudi-led bombing campaign, stating: “Rather than bombing, Saudi Arabia should be using its power and influence to begin diplomatic negotiations, which offer the best hope of a durable solution.” They note the pitfalls of the Saudi military invention by claiming it “threatens to turn what has been a civil war between competing branches of Islam into a wider regional struggle involving Iran. It could also destroy any hope of stability in Yemen.”

But the strongest position the Times can muster is to encourage President Obama to push for a “political solution.” They fail to mention that the Saudi military intervention is itself a crime, no different than the crimes of the Islamic State they would oppose two days later with such vigor. Bombing a sovereign nation is indisputably a violation of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter: “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

Violation of the prohibition against the use of force in the UN Charter amounts to the crime of aggression, which was defined in the Nuremberg Trials as “not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (italics added).

On the same day the Times published its editorial, Amnesty International reported: “There is growing evidence that the Saudi Arabian-led military coalition is failing to take precautions to prevent civilian deaths amid ongoing airstrikes around Yemen.” They reported that “at least six civilians, including four children, were among 14 people who burned to death in further airstrikes.”

The Guardian reported that it had obtained images from a humanitarian worker in Yemen that “showed gruesome scenes – charred bodies immolated by the blast, mangled corpses in plastic bags, and wounded childred being treated,” The humanitarian worker “said he saw scattered limbs littering the area nearby.”

Yet the Times does not even mention these Saudi crimes (backed by the U.S. government), much less demand accountability. They do not claim that Saudi Arabia enjoys “shameful impunity” they way they do for the Islamic State.

Neither does the Times condemn Israeli crimes against Palestinians, especially last summer’s slaughter in Gaza, euphemistically called “Operation Protective Edge” by the Israeli government. In a New York Times editorial titled “Keeping Palestinian Hopes Alive” (3/24/2015) the editorial board calls for a two-state political solution to the conflict in order to avoid Palestinians seeking justice in the I.C.C.

The call for a two-state solution is disingenuous and hollow. With more than 500,000 Israeli settlers now squatting on stolen land in the West Bank, there is no practical way to implement such a plan. Furthermore, this nominal “solution” has been the U.S.-Israeli policy for more than 20 years since the Oslo Accords and has led nowhere. A call for a two-state solution is nothing more than an appeal to continue the status quo indefinitely while using different language.

The Times states that “a clear Security Council statement in favor of a two-state solution would be an important benchmark. If the United States and other major powers quickly show commitment to that approach, they might be able to keep Palestinians from pressing a complaint against Israel in the International Criminal Court.” This, the editorial board claims, “would poison relations even more and alienate many Americans.”

Even if a two-state solution were feasible, why would implementation of such a plan preclude justice in a court of law for the nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, who were killed, most of whom were civilians?

Human rights organizations have found extensive evidence of war crimes and reckless disregard for human life by the Israeli military in Gaza during the 50-day war.

Amnesty International reported on “extensive, wanton and unjustified” targeting of civilian infrastructure including multi-story buildings by Israel in Gaza.

“Both the facts on the ground and statements made by Israeli military spokespeople at the time indicate that the attacks were a collective punishment against the people of Gaza and were designed to destroy their already precarious livelihoods,” states Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme. Collective punishment is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

In a report on Israeli attacks against inhabited homes, Amnesty International found that “whole families were killed or injured by these targeted strikes.” The report focuses on eight cases “in which targeted Israeli attacks resulted in the deaths of at least 111 people, of whom at least 104 were civilians, including entire families and 62 children, and destroyed civilian homes.”

Amnesty recommended, “given Israel’s long-standing failure to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes … that the international community should ensure that possible crimes under international law, including war crimes, committed during Operation Protective Edge” should be pursued in court in states exercising universal jurisdiction or through the I.C.C.

This is the opposite of the position taken by the Times. When it comes to official enemies, the Times righteously claims that their crimes have “shocked the world” and “terrified” the local population. But when it comes to the U.S. and its allies, the Times believes that equivalent crimes should be swept under the rug.

The New York Times has had a long-standing record of this type of hypocritical logic. As the NYTimes Examiner noted last year in an article titled “The New York Times Excorciates ‘Aggression’: The Washington Exception” (3/5/2014):

Over the last quarter century the New York Times’ Editorial board has made editorial decisions that illustrate a peculiar pattern. Times readers could otherwise overlook the pattern in everyday reading. However, when viewed through a wider historical lens, the pattern lays bare biased reporting that should concern readers.

In five editorial pieces, spanning a period from December 1989 to March 2014, and encompassing nearly 3,000 words, the Times’ Editorial board has weighed in on cross-border military actions. The selectivity of their language shows a political bias in favor of upholding what they believe is best for Washington’s interests and therefore, under the guise of ‘objectivity,’ report expectedly in opposition to Washington’s adversaries.

Indeed, in editorials on Panama (“Why the Invasion Was Justified”) (12/21/1989), Yugoslavia (“Air Campaign Against Yugoslavia”) (3/25/1999), and Iraq (“The War Begins”) (3/20/2003), the Times stood firmly behind American use of military force.

Despite the fact that each of these military attacks were clear cases of aggression, the “supreme international crime,” the Times never once broached the idea that the U.S. government should face repercussions for their many severe violations of international law.

Even in their most ambivalent stance, on Iraq, they stated that “even those who sharply disagree with the logic behind this war are likely to end up feeling reassured, almost against their will, by the successful projection of American power.”

There is the hypocrisy laid bare. For the Times editorial board, as for much of the American public, blind worship of American power is more important than their professed concern for the rule of law. That concern is reserved only for those who do not enjoy the support of the U.S. government, and who can thereby be excoriated for their crimes relentlessly.

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Saudi Arabia rejects all-inclusive arms embargo on Yemen proposed by Russia

RT | April 5, 2015

Saudi Arabia has rejected Russia’s amendments to a Security Council draft resolution which would see an all-inclusive arms embargo on all parties in the Yemeni conflict, as it continues to spiral out of control with the civilian death toll climbing higher.

“There is little point in putting an embargo on the whole country. It doesn’t make sense to punish everybody else for the behavior of one party that has been the aggressor in this situation,”Saudi Arabia’s representative to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said after a closed emergency UN Security Council meeting on Saturday.

Al-Mouallimi added that he “hopes” Russia won’t resort to its veto power in case the all-inclusive embargo clause is not added into the draft submitted by the Gulf Cooperation Council that urges an arms embargo only on the Houthis.

At the same time, Riyadh agreed with Moscow’s calls for need of “humanitarian pauses” in the Saudi-led coalition’s air campaign in Yemen – though saying that Saudi Arabia already cooperates fully in this regard.

“We always provided the necessary facilities for humanitarian assistance to be delivered,” Al-Mouallimi told reporter heading out of the meeting. “We have cooperated fully with all requests for evacuation.”

Moscow convened an emergency meeting on a draft resolution demanding “regular and obligatory” breaks in air assaults against Houthi rebels, in which many civilians keep dying in increasing numbers. The Russian-proposed draft circulated on Saturday demanded “rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need.”

The current council president and Jordan’s Ambassador Dina Kawar said that the council members “need time” to consider the Russian draft resolution, adding that the talks would continue. “We hope that by Monday we can come up with something,” Kawar said.

The 15-member council is considering the possibly of merging the Russian and Gulf Cooperation Council proposed drafts into one.

The Security Council meeting coincided with the call from the International Committee of the Red Cross for a “humanitarian pause.” The NGO urged to break hostilities for at least 24 hours.

“We urgently need an immediate halt to the fighting, to allow families in the worst affected areas, such as Aden, to venture out to get food and water, or to seek medical care,” said Robert Mardini, head of the ICRC’s operations in the Near and Middle East.

Meanwhile intensive airstrikes early Saturday morning targeted Houthi positions near Aden and in the Houthi stronghold of Saada in the north of the country. At least 185 people were left dead and more than 1,200 wounded as a result of fighting in Aden, a medical official told AFP Saturday, three-quarters of them civilians.

A coalition of Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, has been engaging Houthi militias from the air for over a week now, after the Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was forced to flee the country and asked for an international intervention to reinstate his rule.

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran backs national talks to end Yemen crisis: Larijani

Press TV – April 5, 2015

Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani says the Islamic Republic supports negotiations among representatives from all parties involved in the Yemeni crisis, describing national dialog as the only way to end the conflict.

During a telephone conversation with Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Sunday, Larijani lamented the ongoing Saudi airstrikes that have led to the deaths of hundreds of Yemenis and destroyed the country’s infrastructure.

“Such military aggression, irrespective of its objectives, is a blow to the Muslim Ummah and benefits the Zionist regime (of Israel) and major powers. The aggressive countries must explain why they are using their facilities to deal a blow to a Muslim state,” the top Iranian legislator pointed out.

Larijani also described Yemenis as a courageous nation, which has bogged foreign intruders down and made them regret their measures throughout history.

He called on aggressive governments to take salutary lessons from the failed Soviet and US-led military campaigns against Afghanistan.

Sadiq, for his part, stated that Islamabad has no intention to become engaged in the Yemen crisis, and seeks the establishment of calm and peace in Yemen in line with the Muslim world’s interests.

Saudi Arabia’s air campaign against Yemen started on March 26 without a UN mandate in a bid to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

On March 25, the embattled president fled Aden, where he had sought to set up a rival power base, to Riyadh after Ansarullah revolutionaries advanced on the port.

The Ansarullah fighters took control of Sana’a in September 2014 and are currently moving southward. The revolutionaries said the Hadi government was incapable of properly running the affairs of the country and containing the growing wave of corruption and terror.

April 5, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment