Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Editor vs. Editor: New York Times’ Rosenthal Ignores Ombudsman’s Advice on Responsible Journalism Regarding Iranian Nuclear Program

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | August 25, 2012

(Alexander Torrenegra, Flickr)

In response to the recent announcement that Ban Ki-moon will attend the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, New York Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal wrote this week:

I was appalled that the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has decided to attend an international gathering in Iran, despite the vociferous objections of the United States. Mr. Ban can accomplish nothing with this trip beyond hindering efforts to pressure Iran into giving up its nuclear weapons program.

Never mind Mr. Rosenthal’s imperial, we-own-the-world mentality that expects senior officials of international bodies to dutifully adhere to American commands.

Leave aside the clear fact that the United States intelligence community and its allies have long assessed that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program and that the IAEA has stated it has “no concrete proof” Iran “has ever had” such a program.

And ignore that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Brigadier General Martin Dempsey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Ronald Burgess, President Barack Obama and his National Security Council have all agreed Iran isn’t building nuclear weapons.  And that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and Military Intelligence Director Aviv Kochavi have said the same thing.

What is most surprising is that Rosenthal, who has held his post since 2007 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, apparently doesn’t read his own paper.

Back in January, New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane responded to reader complaints that the paper’s reporting on Iran’s nuclear program was misleading and that “The Times should avoid closing the gap with a shorthand phrase that says the IAEA thinks Iran’s program ‘has a military objective.'”

Brisbane agreed:

I think the readers are correct on this. The Times hasn’t corrected the story but it should because this is a case of when a shorthand phrase doesn’t do justice to a nuanced set of facts. In this case, the distinction between the two [a nuclear energy program and a nuclear weapons program] is important because the Iranian program has emerged as a possible casus belli.

Just days later, National Public Radio‘s ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos concurred with this assessment.  “Shorthand references are often dangerous in journalism, and listeners are correct to be on the alert for them,” he wrote. “Repeated enough as fact – “Iran’s nuclear weapons program– they take on a life of their own.”  He added that, at the behest of NPR’s Senior Editor for National Security Bruce Auster, “NPR’s policy is to refer in shorthand to Iran’s ‘nuclear program’ and not ‘nuclear weapons program'” and concluded, “This is a correct formula.”

Perhaps Rosenthal could have read the statement by Brisbane and Schumacher-Matos’ counterpart at The Washington Post, ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton, who challenged his own paper’s irresponsible reporting in December 2011, writing that the IAEA “does not say Iran has a bomb, nor does it say it is building one,” and warned that such misleading characterizations of such an important issue “can also play into the hands of those who are seeking further confrontation with Iran.”

Clearly, by expressly ignoring the advice of his own public editor, Andrew Rosenthal – and presumably the editorial page of the most influential newspaper in the country which he runs – has no problem playing into the hands of warmongers.  Regrettably, it appears quite clear that he is, in fact, one of them.

August 25, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Ban Ki-moon to attend NAM summit in Tehran: UN spokesman

Press TV – August 22, 2012

The United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Iran despite pressures from the US and Israel, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky says.

Nesirky said that Ban would “discuss frankly” the Syrian crisis but believed that Iran must be part of the solution.

Reuters reported earlier on Wednesday that according to several UN diplomats, Ban would attend the upcoming summit in Iran’s capital, Tehran.

“It’s a very important bloc of nations. Of course the SG [secretary-general] is going. He can’t not go,” Reuters quoted a diplomatic source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying.

This is while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month urged the UN secretary general not to attend the summit.

The US has also been trying to dissuade NAM member states, particularly the UN chief, from attending the summit.

The 16th summit of the NAM member states will be held in the Iranian capital August 26-31.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will address the Tehran NAM summit during which the Islamic Republic will assume the rotating presidency of the movement for three years.

NAM, an international organization with 120 member states and 21 observer countries, is considered as not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

NAM’s purpose, as stated in the Havana Declaration of 1979, is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries.”

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Egyptian president to attend NAM summit in Tehran

Press TV – August 18, 2012

Egypt’s official news agency, MENA, said on Saturday that President Mohamed Morsi plans to attend the upcoming Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran.

Morsi’s trip to Tehran will be the first such visit since Iran and Egypt severed ties more than 30 years ago after Cairo signed the 1978 Camp David Accord with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to the deposed Iranian dictator, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The 16th summit of the NAM member states will be held in the Iranian capital on August 26-31.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will address the Tehran NAM summit.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also expected to partake in the event during which the Islamic Republic will assume the rotating presidency of the movement for three years.

NAM, an international organization with 120 member states and 21 observer countries, is considered as not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

NAM’s purpose, as stated in the Havana Declaration of 1979, is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries.”

August 18, 2012 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Elevation of Jeffrey Feltman

By VIJAY PRASHAD | CounterPunch | May 25, 2012

English: Beirut, Lebanon (July 19, 2006) – Com...A blog visited mainly by UN insiders announces that US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is up for a very important UN job. Former UN Assistant Secretary General for Public Information Samir Sanbar’s blog, UN Forum, notes that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is set to replace B. Lynn Pascoe with Feltman in the post of UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs. The office was created in 1992 to help identify and resolve political conflicts around the world. Pascoe ran at least a dozen missions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, notably in Burundi, Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya. The longest running mission is in Somalia (since 1995) and the most recent is in Libya (since September 2011). With a budget of $250 million and funds for special political missions that amount, this year, to $1 billion, the post allows its leader to intervene in political crises around the world.

When Secretary General Ban began his second term in January, he promised to reshuffle some of his senior staff. Pascoe’s replacement is part of this process.

Of the proposed new appointment Sanbar writes, “Designating someone with varied field experience, though controversial, and from a substantially senior post, may mean that more issues could be referred to the Security Council.” The UN Security Council’s Secretariat is handled by the Department of Political Affairs, which would be able to have some sway on its agenda. The post is central to the UN bureaucracy.

News of Feltman’s resignation from the State Department next week simply confirmed all the rumors. Another rumor suggests that the UN will announce the appointment on Monday, May 28.

Is Jeffrey Feltman the best person to run such an influential office in the UN? Why did Sanbar believe that this appointment is “controversial.”

Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, told me that Feltman is “an accomplished and respected American diplomat.” He has been involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran, Lebanon and Syria, and other hot spots. These bring up “inevitably controversial issues,” Telhami continued. “Feltman would have his share of detractors, including in the Middle East,” he said.

But why would Feltman have these “detractors” and how did he come off on the “controversial issues”?

On one issue Feltman is remarkably consistent. When it comes to the Middle East, Feltman has been outspoken about the threats posed by Iran in the region. Whether in Beirut or Manama, he has publically denounced Iranian “interference” outside its own boundaries. At the same time, Feltman has generously offered US assistance to these same regimes. In other words, US interference is quite acceptable, but Iranian interference is utterly unacceptable. This might be adequate behavior for the diplomat of a country, but it is hardly the temperament for a senior UN official. It raises doubts about Feltman’s ability to be even-handed in his deliberations as a steward of the world’s political dilemmas.

Feltman’s intemperate logic was not of the distant past. It was on display in March 2012 at a Lebanese American Organization’s meeting at the Cannon Office Building in Washington, DC. At this meeting, the former US Ambassador to Lebanon, instructed the Lebanese people as to what they must do in their next election, “The Lebanese people must join together to tell Hezbollah and its allies that the Lebanese state will no longer be hijacked for an Iranian-Syrian agenda.” The people must “use the 2013 parliamentary elections to defeat the remnants of the Syrian occupation, the pillar of which is Hezbollah.”

Indeed, interference by speeches is not the limit of Feltman’s ambitions. On May 3, 2012, he was back in Beirut, meeting former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, former Finance Minister Mohamad Chatah, Future Movement leader Nader Hariri and others at Hariri’s residence. In the transcript of their meeting (leaked through Al-Akhbar), an older side of US policy making emerges. US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly is heard saying that the government is “Hezbollah dominated,” to which Feltman says to the Lebanese politicians in the room, “You can bring down the government if Walid [Jumblatt] is with you in the parliament or if Najib [Mikati, the PM] resigns right?” To Siniora, Feltman says, “Would it help if this government is brought down before the elections,” and then he mentions that he is seeing the Prime Minister Najib Mikati later that evening. “This place is very, very weird,” he notes, “weirder than when I left.” This is not a trivial statement. A glance at Feltman’s cables when he was ambassador to Lebanon reveals a fulsome appetite for the weird. The cables betray an obsession with the social lives of the Lebanese elite, their peccadillos and their foibles.

Feltman’s “non-interference” to prevent Iranian “interference” in Lebanon brings to mind another episode in his recent career. When the people’s protest broke out in Bahrain, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent him there at least four, perhaps six, times. He was there on the eve of the Saudi-led invasion into Manama to smash the protests in March 2011. In a visit to Manama on March 3, 2011, just before the crackdown, Feltman praised the King for his “initiatives” and urged him to “include the full spectrum of Bahraini society, without exception.” In the Shia quarters, and amongst the al-Wefaq party activists, this sounded like Feltman was urging the King to take them seriously. In language similar to what he used in Lebanon, Feltman noted that the US wants a “Bahraini process” and urges others “to refrain, as we are, from interference or trying to impose a non-Bahraini solution from outside Bahrain.” The crucial phrase here is as we are, which implies that the US is not intervening in Bahrain. The fact of the 5th Fleet stationed in Manama and of the close cooperation between the Saudi monarch, the Bahraini King and Feltman’s bosses was to be ignored. “We are not naïve,” Feltman said, pointing across the waters at Iran. They cannot be permitted to intervene, but the US, a “critical partner” of the Kingdom, and the Gulf Arab monarchs, “will support Bahrain.”

When events heated up in Bahrain, Feltman and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen went on a tour of the emirates’ capitals, declaring their unconditional support. The US stands for “universal human rights,” Feltman told the emirs, but of course since “every country is unique” these rights would emerge in their own way. Mullen was at hand to “reassure, discuss and understand what’s going on.” The key word here is reassure.

A clear-eyed assessment comes from Karim Makdisi, who teaches at the American University of Beirut. Makdisi recalls Feltman’s role as Ambassador in the area, where he made himself an extremely divisive figure. Feltman pushed for UN Resolution 1559 from 2004, to disarm the Lebanese resistance, he supported the Israeli invasion in 2006, and he provided assistance to the March 14 political party against Hezbollah. In other words, Feltman actively took sides in a divided political landscape. Feltman’s appointment “would be a disaster and send exactly the wrong signal for the UN” to the region. Having recognized its weakness, the US knows that it will be the UN that takes the lead in Syria and elsewhere for the foreseeable future. Makdisi believes that in “anticipating a larger role for the UN,” the US wishes Feltman to be well-placed to “ensure that US interests are maintained as much as possible.” Whatever credibility remains with the UN will whittle in the region with this appointment.

It is likely that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon picked Feltman for an unearned reputation. He is known around the Beltway for his work on the Arab Spring. But in the totality of the Arab world Feltman will not be seen as an open-minded professional. He has already thrown his hat into the camp of the Saudis and their satellites (the Gulf Arabs and the Hariri clan of Lebanon). This will limit Feltman’s ability to move an agenda in the region, least of all on the Arab-Israeli conflict where sober diplomacy is necessary from the UN. When I asked several people who watch the UN’s work in the Arab world carefully about this appointment, most offered me three words, “very bad news”. Not bad news for the Saudis or the US neoconservatives, but certainly bad for the people of the Arab world, whose Spring had them longing not so much for this kind of venal diplomacy but for honesty and good-will.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ban Ki-moon Slams Syria “Terrorist Attacks”

UN Monitors Continue Mission

Al-Manar | May 1, 2012

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the terrorist bomb attacks in two Syrian cities but said UN observers had brought some improvement in areas where they have been deployed.

The UN chief called on “all parties” in the Syria conflict to halt violence and work with the growing UN Supervision Mission in Syria, UN deputy spokesperson Eduardo del Buey said in a statement.

Ban “condemns” what he called “terrorist bomb attacks” in Idlib and Damascus on Monday, the spokesperson said.

“While noting improvements in areas where UN monitors are deployed, the secretary general remains gravely concerned by reports of continued violence, killing and abuses in Syria in recent days.”

“He calls for armed violence in all its forms by all parties to cease immediately and full cooperation of all parties with the work of UNSMIS as it expands its presence on the ground,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The UN monitors are scheduled to visit the western cities of Homs and Hama on Tuesday.

The latest UN schedule comes a day after at least 20 people were martyred and scores of others injured in two bomb attacks in Idlib.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ban Ki-moon Slams Syria “Terrorist Attacks”

Road to Damascus… and on to Armageddon?

By DIANA JOHNSTONE | CounterPunch | February 13, 2012

Paris – What if pollsters put this question to citizens of the United States and the European Union:

“Which is more important, ensuring disgruntled Islamists freedom to overthrow the secular regime in Syria, or avoiding World War Three?”

I’ll bet that there might be a majority for avoiding World War III.

But of course, the question is never framed like that.

That would be a “realistic” question, and we Westerners from the heights of our moral superiority have no time for vulgar “realism” in foreign policy (except Ron Paul, crying out in the wilderness of Republican primaries).

Because, in the minds of our political ruling class, the United States has the power to “make reality”, we need pay no attention to the remnants of whatever reality we didn’t invent ourselves.

Our artificial reality is coming into collision with the reality perceived by most or at least much of the rest of the world.  The tenets of these conflicting views of reality are armed to the teeth, including with nuclear weapons capable of leaving the planet to insects.

Theoretically, there is a way to deal with this dangerous situation, which has the potential of leading to World War.  It is called diplomacy.  People capable of grasping unfamiliar ideas and understanding viewpoints other than their own, examine the issues underlying conflict and use their intelligence to work out solutions that may not be ideal but will at least prevent things from getting worse.

There was even an organizational structure created for this: the United Nations.

But the United States has decided that as sole superpower it doesn’t really need to stoop to diplomacy to get what it wants, and the United Nations has been turned into the instrument of US policy. The clearest evidence of this was the failure of the UN Security Council to block the NATO powers’ abuse of the ambiguous and contested Responsibility to Protect (“R2P”) doctrine to overthrow the Libyan government by force.

Early this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon rejoiced that: “The world has embraced the Responsibility to Protect – not because it is easy, but because it is right. We therefore have a moral responsibility to push ahead.”  Morality trumps the basic UN principle of national sovereignty. Ban Ki-moon suggests that pushing ahead with R2P is no less than the “next test of our common humanity”, and announces: “That test is here – in Syria.”

So, the Secretary General of the UN considers the “moral responsibility” of R2P his main guideline to the crisis in Syria.

In case there was any doubt, the Libyan example demonstrated what that means.

A country whose rulers do not belong to the Western club made up of NATO countries, Israel, the emirs of the Gulf states and the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, is wracked by opposition demonstrations and armed rebellion, with the mix of the two making it difficult to sort out which is which.  Western mainstream media hasten to tell the story according to a standard template:

The ruler of the country is a “dictator”.  Therefore, the rebels want to get rid of him simply in order to enjoy Western-style democracy.  Therefore, the people must all be on the side of the rebels. Therefore, when the armed forces proceed to repress the armed rebellion, what is happening is that “the dictator is killing his own people”.  Therefore, it is the Responsibility 2 Protect of the international community (i.e. NATO) to help the rebels in order to destroy the country’s armed forces and get rid of (or kill) the dictator.

The happy ending comes when Hillary Clinton can shout gleefully, “We came, we saw, he died!”

Thereupon, the country sinks into chaos, as armed bands rove, prisoners are tortured, women are put in their place, salaries are unpaid, education and social welfare are neglected, but oil is pumped and the West is encouraged by its success to go on to liberate another country.

That at least was the Libyan model.

Except that in the case of Syria, things are more complicated.

Unlike Libya, Syria has a fairly strong army.  Unlike Libya, Syria has a few significant friends in the world. Unlike Libya, Syria is next door to Israel. And above all, the diversity of religious communities within Syria is much greater and more potentially explosive than the tribal divisions of Libya.  The notion that “the people” of Syria are unanimously united in the desire for instant regime change is even more preposterous.

Electoral democracy is a game played on the basis of a social contract, a general consensus to accept the rule that whoever gets the most votes gets to run the country.  But there are societies where that consensus simply does not exist, where distrust is too great between different sectors of the population. That could very well be the case in Syria, where certain minorities, including notably the Christians and Alawites, have reason to fear a Sunni majority that could be led by Islamists who make no secret of their hostility to other religions.  Still, perhaps the time has come to overcome that distrust and build an electoral democracy with safeguards for minorities.  However, the one sure way to set back such a move toward democracy is a civil war, which is certain to revive and exacerbate hatred and distrust between communities.

Last month, at CounterPunch Aisling Byrne called attention to results of a public opinion poll funded by no less than the Qatar Foundation, which cannot be suspected of working for the Assad regime, given the Qatar royal family’s lead position in favor of overthrowing that regime. The key finding was that “while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a specter that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria’s borders. What is less good news for the Assad regime is that the poll also found that half the Syrians who accept him staying in power believe he must usher in free elections in the near future.”

This indicates a very complex situation.  Syrians want free elections, but they prefer to have Assad stay in power to organize them.  This being the case, the Russian diplomatic efforts to try to urge the Assad regime to speed up its reforms appear to be roughly in harmony with Syrian public opinion.

While the Russians are urging President Assad to speed up reforms, the West is ordering him to stop the violence (that is, order his armed forces to give up) and resign.  Neither of these exhortations is likely to be obeyed.  The Russians would almost certainly like to stop the escalation of violence, for their own good reasons, but that does not mean they have the power to do so.  Their attempts to broker a compromise, decried and sabotaged by Western support to the opposition, merely put them in line to be blamed for the bloodshed they want to avoid.  In a deepening civil war situation, the regime, any regime, is most likely to figure it has to restore order before doing anything else.  And restoring order, under these circumstances, means more violence, not less.

The order to “stop killing your own people” implies a situation in which the dictator, like an ogre in a fairy tale, is busily devouring passive innocents.  He should stop, and then all the people would peacefully go about their business while awaiting the free elections that will bring the blessings of harmony and human rights. In reality, if the armed forces withdraw from areas where there are armed rebels, that means turning those areas over to the rebels.

And who are these rebels?  We simply do not know…

With uncontrolled armed groups fighting for control, the insistent Western demand that “Assad must step down” is not really even a call for “regime change”.  It is a call for regime self-destruction.

As in Libya, the country would de facto be turned over to rival armed groups, with those groups that are being armed covertly by NATO via Turkey and Qatar having an advantage in hardware.  However, the likely result would be a multi-sided civil war much more horrific than the chaos in Libya, thanks to the country’s multiple religious differences.  But for the West, however chaotic, regime self-destruction would have the immediate advantage of depriving Iran of its potential ally on the eve of an Israeli attack.  With both Iraq and Syria neutralized by internal religious conflict, the strangulation of Iran would be that much easier – or so the Western strategists obviously assume.

At least initially, the drive to destroy the Assad regime relies on subversion rather than outright military attack as in Libya.  A combination of drastic economic sanctions and support to armed rebels, including fighters from outside, notably Libya (whoever they are), reportedly already helped by special forces from the UK and Qatar, is expected to so weaken the country that the Assad regime will collapse.  But a third weapon in this assault is propaganda, carried on by the mainstream media, by now accustomed to reporting events according to the pattern: evil dictator killing his own people.  Some of the propaganda must be true, some of it is false, but all of it is selective.  The victims are all victims of the regime, never of the rebels.  The many Syrians who fear the rebels more than the present government are of course ignored by the mainstream media, although their protests can be found on the internet. A particular oddity of this Syrian crisis is the way the West, so proud of its “Judeo-Christian” heritage, is actively favoring the total elimination of the ancient Christian communities in the Middle East.  The cries of protest that Syrian Christians rely for protection on the secular government of Assad, in which Christians participate, and that they and other minorities such as the Alawites may be forced to flee if the West gets its way, fall on deaf ears.

The story line of dictators killing their own people is intended primarily to justify harsh Western measures against Syria. As in Bosnia, the media are arousing public indignation to force the US government to do what it is in fact already doing: arming Muslim rebels, all in the name of “protecting civilians”.

Last December, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said that the “end of the Assad regime would constitute Iran’s greatest setback in the region yet – a strategic blow that will further shift the balance of power in the region against Iran”.  The “protection of civilians” is not the only concern on the minds of US officials.  They do think of such things as the balance of power, in between their prayer breakfasts and human rights speeches.  However, concern with the balance of power is a luxury denied less virtuous powers such as Russia and China. Surely the shift in the balance of power in the region cannot be limited to a single country, Iran.  It is meant to increase the power of Israel, of course, but also the United States and NATO.  And to decrease the influence of Russia.  Thrusting Syria into helpless chaos is part of the war against Iran, but it is also implicitly part of a drive to reduce the influence of Russia and, eventually, China.  In short, the current campaign against Syria, is clearly in preparation for an eventual future war against Iran, but also, obscurely, a form of long term aggression against Russia and China.

The recent Russian and Chinese veto in the Security Council was a polite attempt to put a brake on this process. The cause of the veto was the determination of the West to push through a resolution that would have demanded withdrawal of Syrian government forces from contested areas without taking into consideration the presence of armed rebel groups poised to take over. Where the Western resolution called on the Assad regime to “withdraw all Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns, and return them to their original home barracks”, the Russians wished to add: “in conjunction with the end of attacks by armed groups against State institutions and quarters and towns.”  The purpose was to prevent armed groups from taking advantage of the vacuum to occupy evacuated areas (as had happened in similar circumstances in Yugoslavia during the 1990s).  Western refusal to rein in armed rebels was followed by the Russian and Chinese veto on Febuary 4th.

The veto unleashed a torrent of insults from the Western self-styled “humanitarians”.  In an obvious attempt to foster division between the two recalcitrant powers, US spokespersons stressed that the main villain was Russia, guilty of friendship with the Assad regime.

Russia is currently the target of an extraordinary propaganda campaign centered on demonizing Vladimir Putin as he faces a lively campaign for election as President.  A prominent New York Times columnist attributed Russian support to Syria to an alleged similarity between Putin and Assad.  As we saw in Yugoslavia, a leader elected in free multi-party elections is a “dictator” when his policies displease the West. The pathetically alcoholic Yeltsin was a Western favorite despite shooting at his parliament.  The reason was obvious: he was weak and easily manipulated.  The reason the West hates Putin is equally and symmetrically obvious: he seems determined to defend his country’s interests against Western pressure.

The European Union has become the lapdog of the United States. This week the European Union is continuing to impoverish the Greek people in order to squeeze out money, among other things, lent by German and French banks to pay for expensive modern weaponry sold to Greece by Germany and France.  Democracy in Europe is being undermined by subservience to a dogmatic monetary policy.  Unemployment and poverty threaten to destabilize more and more member states.  But what is the topic of the European Parliament’s main monthly political debate this week?  “The situation in Russia.”  One can count on orators in Strasbourg to lecture the Russians on “democracy”.

American pundits and cartoonists have totally internalized their double standards, so that Russia’s comparatively modest arms deliveries to Syria can be denounced as cynical support to dictatorship, whereas gigantic US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are never seen as relevant to the autocratic nature of those regimes (at most they may be criticized on the totally fictitious grounds of being a threat to Israel).  To be “democratic”, Russia is supposed to cooperate in its own subservience to Washington, as the United States pursues construction of a missile shield which would theoretically give it a first-strike nuclear capability against Russia, arms Georgia for a return war against Russia over South Ossetia, and continues to encircle Russia with military bases and hostile alliances.

Western politicians and media are not yet fighting World War III, but they are talking themselves into it. And their actions speak even louder than words… notably to those who are able to understand where those actions are leading.  Such as the Russians. The West’s collective delusion of grandeur, the illusion of the power to “make reality”, has a momentum that is leading the world toward major catastrophe.  And what can stop it?

A meteor from outer space, perhaps?

DIANA JOHNSTONE is the author of Fools Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions. She can be reached at  diana.josto@yahoo.fr

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 7 Comments