• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 24 februari 2007

Klimaatverandering 92

'Global Warming: It’s All About Energy
Michael T. Klare

Finally, after years of effort by dedicated scientists and activists like Al Gore, the issue of global warming has begun to receive the international attention it desperately needs. The publication on February 2 of the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), providing the most persuasive evidence to date of human responsibility for rising world temperatures, generated banner headlines around the world. But while there is a growing consensus on humanity’s responsibility for global warming, policymakers have yet to come to terms with its principal cause: our unrelenting consumption of fossil fuels.
When talk of global warming is introduced into the public discourse, as in Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” it is generally characterized as an environmental problem, akin to water pollution, air pollution, pesticide abuse, and so on. This implies that it can be addressed – like those other problems – through a concerted effort to “clean up” our resource-utilization behavior, by substituting “green” products for ordinary ones, by restricting the release of toxic substances, and so on.
But global warming is not an “environmental” problem in the same sense as these others – it is an energy problem, first and foremost. Almost 90% of the world’s energy is supplied through the combustion of fossil fuels, and every time we burn these fuels to make energy we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; carbon dioxide, in turn, is the principal component of the “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) that are responsible for warming the planet. Energy use and climate change are two sides of the same coin.
Fossil Fuel Dependency
Consider the situation in the United States. According to the Department of Energy (DoE), carbon dioxide emissions constitute 84% of this nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, most – 98% – are emitted as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels, which currently provide approximately 86% of America’s total energy supply. This means that energy use and carbon dioxide emissions are highly correlated: the more energy we consume, the more CO2 we release into the atmosphere, and the more we contribute to the buildup of GHGs.'

Lees verder: http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3998

Irak 174


'Another U.S. Military Assault on Media
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily
BAGHDAD, Feb 23 (IPS)
Iraqi journalists are outraged over yet another U.S. military raid on the media.
U.S. soldiers raided and ransacked the offices of the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists (ISJ) in central Baghdad Tuesday this week. Ten armed guards were arrested, and 10 computers and 15 small electricity generators kept for donation to families of killed journalists were seized.
This is not the first time U.S. troops have attacked the media in Iraq, but this time the raid was against the very symbol of it. Many Iraqis believe the U.S. soldiers did all they could to deliver the message of their leadership to Iraqi journalists to keep their mouth shut about anything going wrong with the U.S.-led occupation.
"The Americans have delivered so many messages to us, but we simply refused all of them," Youssif al-Tamimi of the ISJ in Baghdad told IPS. "They killed our colleagues, closed so many newspapers, arrested hundreds of us and now they are shooting at our hearts by raiding our headquarters. This is the freedom of speech we received."
Some Iraqi journalists blame the Iraqi government.
"Four years of occupation, and those Americans still commit such foolish mistakes by following the advice of their Iraqi collaborators," Ahmad Hassan, a freelance journalist from Basra visiting Baghdad told IPS. "They (the U.S. military) have not learned yet that Iraqi journalists will raise their voice against such acts and will keep their promise to their people to search for the truth and deliver it to them at any cost."
There is a growing belief in Iraq that U.S. allies in the current Iraqi government are leading the U.S. military to raid places and people who do not follow Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's directions.
"It is our Iraqi colleagues who pushed the Americans to that hole," Fadhil Abbas, an Iraqi television producer told IPS. "Some journalists who failed to fake the truth here are trying hard to silence truth seekers by providing false information to the U.S. military in order to take advantage of their stupidity in handling the whole Iraqi issue."
The incident occurred just two days after the Iraqi Union covering journalists received formal recognition from the government. The new status allowed the Syndicate access to its previously blocked bank account, and it had just purchased new computers and satellite equipment.
"Just at the point when the Syndicate achieves formal recognition for its work as an independent body of professionals, the American military carries out a brutal and unprovoked assault," International Federation of Journalists General Secretary Aidan White said in a statement. "Anyone working for media that does not endorse U.S. policy and actions could now be at risk."
The raid was a "shocking violation of journalists' rights," White said. "In the past three years more than 120 Iraqi journalists, many of them Syndicate members, have been killed, and now their union has been turned over in an unprovoked act of intimidation."
"The Americans and their Iraqi government followers are destroying social activities and civil unions so that no group can oppose their crimes and plans," 55-year-old lawyer Hashim Jawad of the Iraqi Lawyers Union in Baghdad told IPS. "The press is our remaining lung to breathe democracy in this country and now it is being targeted."
The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), an independent humanitarian association based in Geneva which seeks to strengthen legal protection and safety of journalists around the world also strongly condemned the U.S. military raid.
The media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders lists at least 148 journalists and media workers killed in Iraq since the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
The group also compiles an annual Press Freedom Index for countries around the world. In 2002, under Saddam Hussein's rule, Iraq ranked 130. In the 2006 index, Iraq fell to position 154.
The same index listed the U.S. at 17 in 2002, a rank that fell to 56 by 2006.'

The Empire 186

De Economist bericht:

'American mortgages
Bleak houses
NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition

America's riskiest mortgages are set to pop. Where will the shrapnel land?
LAST March, ResMAE, a mortgage lender catering to risky borrowers, cut the ribbon on its new headquarters in Brea, California. The sprawling, 135,000-square-foot building dwarfed the company's 458 local employees. But it fitted the firm's outsized ambitions. Less than a year later the company, rather than its ribbon, was facing the chop. This week it said it had filed for bankruptcy and was selling its assets for a diminutive $19m.
ResMAE is one of over 20 casualties among America's “subprime” mortgage lenders, which serve borrowers with spotty credit histories at higher interest rates. This end of the market took on $605 billion of new mortgages last year, more than a fifth of the total. But as interest rates have climbed, these loans have soured and the shares of bigger subprime lenders, such as Countrywide Financial and IndyMac, have sagged.
Does the rot run deeper? That fear ran down a few spines on February 7th, when HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, revealed that bad loans at its American subprime mortgage division were 20% higher than expected. The same week New Century, the second-biggest such lender in America, projected a big drop in loans this year because of poor market conditions.
They are not the only ones exposed to America's home-loan blues. Citigroup peddles mortgages to risky borrowers through CitiFinancial, its consumer-finance arm. Subprime lenders have also been scooped up by investment banks, including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, in recent months. Notably absent are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, America's government-sponsored mortgage giants. Both were set up for people who dreamt of homeownership, but could not afford it. They also have the best data on borrowers, including those rejected for loans in the past. Perhaps they knew something others did not.
Indeed, the woes of the subprime lender are mostly self-inflicted. After interest rates turned up in 2004, mortgage-makers could no longer count on custom from homeowners looking to switch to new mortgages at cheaper rates. Saddled with expensive lending platforms, mortgage-writers were desperate for a new source of revenues. They found two: riskier borrowers and riskier products.'

Lees verder: http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8706627

11 September 2001 (22)

'9/11 Survivors and Family Members Question the 9/11 Commission Report

An estimated 2,973 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. The death toll at the World Trade Center included 60 police officers and 343 firefighters, 87 passengers aboard American Flight 11, 60 on United Flight 175, and over 2,000 occupants and neighbors of the WTC. The death toll at the Pentagon included 125 people from the Pentagon and 64 passengers on American Flight 77. And 44 people lost their lives on United Flight 93. Many 9/11 survivors and many 9/11 victim family members have expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report. Several even allege government complicity in the terrible acts of 9/11. The public statements of many survivors contradict the Commission Report. And the words and actions of some of the victims on that terrible day are in conflict with the Commission Report. This section is a collection of their statements. It should be made clear that none of these individuals are affiliated with this website. Listed below are statements by over 100 9/11 survivors, victims and family members that contradict or are critical of the 9/11 Commission Report. Their collective voices give credibility to the claim that the 9/11 Commission Report is tragically flawed. These individuals cannot be simply dismissed as irresponsible believers in some 9/11 conspiracy theory. Their statements are based on their intimate familiarity with and intense study of the events of 9/11. Their criticism of the Commission Report is not inherently irresponsible or illogical, In fact, it is based on their desire to honor the victims of that terrible day by finding the truth and bringing to justice those responsible for these terrible acts.If you are a 9/11 survivor or family member who has concerns about the 9/11 Commission Report and would like your comment added to this website, please contact me. – Alan Miller
Demand a New 9/11 Investigation!'

Lees verder: http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/survivors.html

De Israelische Terreur 157

Israel dreigt opnieuw openlijk met een een schending van het internationaal recht. En Europa staat erbij en kijkt ernaar. Dit zijn westerse normen en waarden en ons democratisch gehalte in de praktijk. Als Iran Israel zo zou hebben bedreigd, waren er onmiddellijk Kamervragen gesteld. Nu zwijgt zowel links als rechts. Totdat wij zelf de repercussies zullen ondervinden. En die gaan onherroepelijk ooit eens komen. Blijf zwijgen vrienden.

Haaretz bericht:

'Report: Israel in talks with U.S. on 'air corridor' over Iraq to Iran

Israel is negotiating with the United States over permission for an "air corridor" over Iraq should an attack on that country's nuclear facilities become necessary, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.Military authorities would need permission from the U.S. Department of Defense for any such operation, the report said.A senior Israeli defense official said talks are currently underway between Israel and the U.S. over the possibility that Jerusalem decides to take unilateral action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Advertisement

"We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important," said the official, speaking under condition of anonymity."The only way to do this is to fly through U.S.-controlled air space. If we don't sort these issues out now we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other," he said.Contingency planning has accelerated significantly, the newspaper said, since the beginning of the year in light of Mossad estimates that Iran could have the necessary amount of fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon by 2009.Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week announced that Meir Dagan, head of Mossad and a leading expert on Iran, would postpone his retirement until the end of 2007 at the earliest.Olmert also handed over coordination of military aspects of the Iran nuclear issue to Israel Air Force Commander Eliezer Shkedy.The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany will meet Monday in London for an emergency session on the matter. Officials will discuss arms control and a possible cutback in the $25 billion in export credits which European countries use to trade with Iran.Iran ignored a UN deadline set for last Wednesday to stop its uranium enrichment. This would not mark the first time IAF planes passed through Iraqi airspace. On June 17, 1981 an IAF air strike demolished the Osirak nuclear reactor being constructed under Saddam Hussein's regime. Cheney: U.S. and allies must not Iran to achieve nuclear capabilityAlso Saturday, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said that the United States and its allies must not allow Iran to become a nuclear power and raised concerns about Tehran's actions and "inflammatory" rhetoric.The stern comments from Cheney, who is known for his hawkish views, followed Tehran's refusal to heed the UN deadline to halt enrichment, and a vow by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stand up to the rest of the world and not show weakness by acceding to the West's demands."They have made some fairly inflammatory statements," Cheney said of Iran at a joint Sydney news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard. "They appear to be pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.""We are deeply concerned and have made it very clear we're deeply concerned about Iran's activities," he said.Cheney said he was concerned about Iran's "fairly aggressive" role in the Middle East, not just its decision to ignore the UN deadline.He said "all options are on the table" on Iran. The Bush administration has long maintained that it is focused on diplomacy but tacitly acknowledges that the military option has not been ruled out.Still, the administration's tough comments on Iran have been met with concern by some in the U.S. Congress and have even rattled financial markets.Cheney said that a peaceful resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran was "still our preference".The Weekend Australian newspaper reported on Saturday that Cheney had endorsed U.S. Republican Senator John McCain's view that the only thing worse than a military confrontation with Iran would be a nuclear-armed Iran.'

Lees verder: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/829673.html

Ik heb net deze email gestuurd aan alle Kamerfracties:

'Geacht Kamerlid,

http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/de-israelische-terreur-157.html

Zoals u hierboven kunt lezen bedreigt israel momenteel Iran met bombardementen. deze bedreiging is in strijd met het internationaal recht. is uw fractie van plan de Nederlandse regering te verzoeken stappen tegen israel te ondernemen?
In afwachting van uw antwoord
Met vriendelijke groet
Stan van Houcke
Journalist
Amsterdam'

U kunt dat ook doen. Britse en Amerikaanse burgers doen dit met een zekere regelmaat. Direct vragen stellen aan hun volksvertegenwoordigers. Het zou goed zijn als dit ook in Nederland een democratisch gebruik wordt. Stel uw vragen aan uw parlementsleden! U zit er niet voor spek en bonen bij. Het is uw parlementaire democratie. U betaalt ervoor. U hebt het recht gehoord te worden. Waarom blijft u dan zwijgend langs de kant staan?


'Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike

By Con Coughlin in Tel Aviv0

2/24/07


"The Telegraph" -- -- Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.A senior Israeli defence official said negotiations were now underway between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an "air corridor" in the event of the Israeli government deciding on unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear weapons."We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important," said the official, who asked not to be named."The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space. If we don't sort these issues out now we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other."As Iran continues to defy UN demands to stop producing material which could be used to build a nuclear bomb, Israel's military establishment is moving on to a war footing, with preparations now well under way for the Jewish state to launch air strikes against Teheran if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis.The pace of military planning in Israel has accelerated markedly since the start of this year after Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, provided a stark intelligence assessment that Iran, given the current rate of progress being made on its uranium enrichment programme, could have enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead by 2009.Last week Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, announced that he had persuaded Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad for the past six years and one of Israel's leading experts on Iran's nuclear programme, to defer his retirement until at least the end of next year.'




vrijdag 23 februari 2007

Iran 130

Gijsbert te Riet stuurde mij de volgende email:

'Ik heb de volgende reactie van Harry van Bommel gekregen:

Beste Gijsbert te Riet,

Uw analyse, verwachtingen en zorgen deel ik volledig. Daarom heb ik in de Kamer al meermalen aandacht gevraagd voor de dreigende taal van de Amerikanen. Minister Bot heeft dat steeds afgedaan met een bagatel. Hij sprak zelfs van een 'James Bond scenario'. Samen met enkele Iraniërs heb ik een stuk geschreven over deze materie dat een dezer dagen in de NRC verschijnt. Na plaatsing zal het ook op onze website te vinden zijn. Ik denk dat de inhoud u zeer zal aanspreken.Wij blijven inzetten op diplomatieke oplossingen in dit conflict. Het volgen van de Amerikaanse lijn leidt onherroepelijk tot het verlies van vele mensenlevens en chaos in het Midden-Oosten.
Met een groet,
Harry van Bommel

De reactie van Bot die Harry van Bommel bedoeld is hier na te lezen: http://parlando.sdu.nl/cgi/showdoc/session=anonymous@3A3636255702/
action=doc/query=1/pos=0/KST105114.pdf
De reactie van Bot is in dezelfde lijn als die van van Baalen met zijn "Ik zie Iran en Israël als twee verschillende gevallen. Israël is een democratische rechtsstaat. Iran is dat niet."Het is van de zotte om een rechtsysteem toe te passen naarmate je het met een land z'n regime eens bent. Maar dat is precies wat hij zegt.En daarnaast verteld dhr van Baalen ook nog: "Ten aanzien van Iran geldt dat de VVD ervan overtuigd is dat Iran streeft naar een atoombom."Er is geen enkel bewijs vanuit de IAEA, of wat voor instantie ook, dat Iran naar een atoombom streeft. Het enige dat zou vermoeden dat Iran wel naar een atoombom zou streven is dat ze een deterrent tegen de Amerikaanse inmenging (en de Israelische aanwezigheid) in de regio willen hebben. Iets wat niet Iran op kan lossen, maar het westen. Daarna zegt hij: "Voorts zou Iran meewerken met de IAEA-inspecties, waartoe zij op grond van het NPV verplicht is. Iran moet nu via een waaier van maatregelen ertoe gebracht worden aan de eisen van de IAEA en van de VN-Veiligheidsraad te voldoen."Iran /heeft/ sinds 2003 zijn uiterste best gedaan om mee te werken aan de IAEA inspecties. Het heeft zelfs een additioneel protocol voor inspecties nageleefd alsof ze het geratificeerd had! Echter, sinds Amerika (en Europa onder druk ervan) Iran dwingen met het stoppen van het verder verrijken van uranium - eer ze verder met Iran in bespreking willen - is het een probleem geworden. Het is hier belangrijk te weten dat Iran de NPT volledig na heeft geleefd, en dat volgens dezelfde NPT Iran het onafneembare recht heeft op het verrijken van uranium. Dus het volgende dat de heer van Baalen zegt is warmongering (a la Bush): "We spreken dus van eisen van de wereldgemeenschap. Een militaire optie daartoe kan niet worden uitgesloten, maar staat voor de VVD niet voorop."

Het is trouwens erg opmerkelijk wat van Baalen hier zegt (en niet zegt): "Voorts zou Iran meewerken met de IAEA-inspecties, waartoe zij op grond van het NPV verplicht is. Iran moet nu via een waaier van maatregelen ertoe gebracht worden aan de eisen van de IAEA en van de VN-Veiligheidsraad te voldoen."Hij zegt bijvoorbeeld niet dat Iran niet volgens afspraak mee heeft gewerkt met de IAEA. Het enige dat hij zegt is dat Iran het NPT na te leven heeft. Daarna gaat hij over op het beschrijven van het ingeslagen pad. Namelijk dat de VN /nieuwe/ regels aan Iran opgelegd heeft. Wat hij dan weer niet zegt is dat deze nieuwe regels tegen de NPT ingaan.'


Ik heb ook een reactie namens de SGP gekregen van Evert Jan Brouwer op mijn vraag over het standpunt van zijn Kamerfractie op geplande Amerikaanse bombardementen op Iran. U moet van benedenaf lezen:

vr 23-2-2007 17:04

'Geachte heer Van Houcke,

Dan even ter afsluiting: natuurlijk maken wij ons ook zorgen, maar aangezien u vroeg naar de internationaalrechtelijke kant, ben ik daar op in gegaan en die argumenten hebt u op zich niet weersproken. Bijvoorbeeld ten aanzien van resolutie 242.

Ik ken de vierde conventie en weet dat formeel gesproken die ook van toepassing is op wat Israël in 1948 gedaan heeft. U moet echter wel weten dat Israël de Palestijnen in een verdedigingsoorlog heeft verdreven. Niet dat het recht van verdediging alles wettigt, maar het moet ons wel matigen wanneer we in dat verband willen spreken over bijvoorbeeld een recht van terugkeer van Palestijnse vluchtelingen (ook al leeft er bijna niet één van de destijds gevluchten), waarbij dan nog een hele discussie te voeren is over de definitie van Palestijnse vluchtelingen (n.b. vreemd genoeg rekent de UNHCR, anders dan bij alle andere vluchtelingenpopluties, zonder meer alle nakomelingen tot in de zoveelste generatie van de daadwerkelijke vluchtelingen van toen als behorend tot de populatie – - die populatie is dus inmiddels aangegroeid van ongeveer 700.000 tot 4,5 miljoen en die zou Israël allemaal terug moeten nemen - internationaal recht is kennelijk niet altijd redelijk en billijk)? Hoeveel aandacht is er overigens internationaal besteed aan de gelijktijdig rond 1948 verdreven Joden uit Arabische landen (om en nabij de 800.000)? Nul komma nul. Wie gaat daar een artikel over schrijven?

Natuurlijk wil ik niet suggereren dat Iran maar uit het NPV moet stappen. Evenmin wil ik goedpraten dat Israël geen partij is bij het NPV. Ik zou liever zien dat ze het wel waren. Ook hier heb ik mijn antwoord alleen geformuleerd vanuit internationaalrechtelijke optiek. Gelet op de intenties van de Iraanse en Israëlische regimes ben ik overigens wel geneigd de dreiging die van de staat Israël uitgaat niet al te hoog in te schatten. Als Israël kernwapens heeft, dan heeft het die m.i. louter om af te schrikken en niet om ze te gebruiken. Wie schrijft er overigens artikelen over Rusland, Amerika en China, die wel het NPV geratificeerd hebben, maar gestopt zijn met ontwapenen? Of over India en Pakistan, die het NPV niet geratificeerd hebben en toch kernwapens hebben?

In het algemeen wil ik met mijn reactie ook twee punten overbrengen die mijns inziens te weinig aandacht krijgen.
- Beoordeel staten en hun gedrag niet alleen volgens de regels van het internationale recht, er is ook nog zoiets als Realpolitiek, waar geen staat aan ontkomt. Nederland doet daar ook aan mee, daar zijn ook zat staaltjes van te bedenken.
- Zie internationaal recht niet als het einde van alle morele tegenspraak. Veiligheidsraadresoluties zijn vaak heel erg politieke uitspraken en missen soms de billijkheid en rechtvaardigheid die men van een VN-orgaan zou mogen verwachten. Specifiek ten aanzien van Israël geldt dat zeker en zijn er daarnaast ook nog eens inconsequenties aan te wijzen tussen de verschillende uitspraken die de VN gedaan heeft.

Prettig weekend,

Evert-Jan Brouwer
Van: Stan van Houcke [mailto:stan10@planet.nl]
Verzonden: vrijdag 23 februari 2007 16:37
Aan: Brouwer E.
Onderwerp: RE: verzoek

geachte heer brouwer
ik wil niemand’s nieren proeven. de vragen die ik aan u heb komen voort uit mijn verontrusting over de politieke situatie. ik constateer een hoge mate van irrationaliteit in de politiek van zogeheten democratische volksvertegenwoordigers. ik vrees dat ik die irrationaliteit ook bij u constateer, er is een formele benadering te constateren in uw antwoord die bijkans absurd is. de Vierde Conventie van Geneve, daterend uit 1949, schrijft voor in Artikel 49: 'The occupation Power schall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’ Aangezien Israel dus duidelijk in strijd handelt met het internationaal recht, verbaast het mij dat u Iran wel wilt bestraffen en Israel niet. Er is hier helaas wel duidelijk iets aan de hand, namelijk het meten met twee maten. Als journalist en burger van Nederland probeer ik te zoeken naar rationaliteit in de standpunten van politici in de tweede kamer, die niet alleen namens zichzelf en hun partij daar zitten, maar namens de gehele Nederlandse bevolking. Ook ten aanzien van de kernwapens is er wel degelijk iets aan de hand. Europa en de VS hebben het vermoeden dat Iran nucleaire wapens zou kunnen maken. Keiharde feiten zijn er op dit moment niet. Israel daarentegen bezit volgens een van de makers van die kernwapens, die overigens tot het christendom is bekeerd, tenminste 150 kernwapens. Impliciet in uw antwoord zit de suggestie verscholen dat als Iran nu maar uit het npv stapt het dan net als israel ongestoord kernwapens kan maken. een opmerkelijke suggestie. landen die verdragen die een beschaafde oplossing voorstaan niet ratificeren beschouwen wij doorgaans als pariastaten. En terecht. Waarom Israel dan niet? Ik begrijp dat uw geloof in de christelijke god voor u doorslaggevend is bij het beoordelen van de werkelijkheid, maar ik kan me nauwelijks voorstellen dat het evangelie van christus het armaggedon van een holocaust bepleit.
in afwachting van uw antwoord
vriendelijke groet
stan van houcke

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----Van: Brouwer E. [mailto:E.Brouwer@tweedekamer.nl] Verzonden: vrijdag 23 februari 2007 15:24
Aan: Stan van Houcke
Onderwerp: RE: verzoek

Geachte heer Van Houcke,

Ik begrijp dat u mijn nieren wilt proeven over het land dat zo graag gekwalificeerd wordt als een van de grootste schenders van het internationale recht.

T.a.v. resolutie 242, want daar hebben we het dan over, daarin staat dat Israël ‘bezette gebieden’ (dus niet ‘dé bezette gebieden’) moet opgeven in het kader van een vredesregeling. Zoals u weet is er nooit een vredesregeling gekomen (zelfs de Osloakkoorden zijn dat niet). Desondanks heeft Israël toch al de bezette delen van de Sinaï en de Gazastrook opgegeven. Daarnaast heeft het meer en meer autonomie toegestaan aan de Palestijnse Gebieden. De Palestijnen en de Arabische staten hebben van hun kant resolutie 242 zonder meer verworpen. Zij hebben nog steeds aan geen enkele bepaling in die resolutie voldaan. (Even afgezien van allerlei andere, minder bekende resoluties.) Israël is dus verder met de naleving van genoemde resolutie dan de andere partij.

T.a.v. de kernwapens: Israël is geen partij bij het Non-proliferatieverdrag en kan dus niet aangesproken worden op het vermoede bezit van kernwapens. Zuiver internationaalrechtelijk gezien – over dat perspectief heb ik het hier even alleen - is hier niets aan de hand, want geen land is verplicht welk verdrag dan ook te ratificeren.

Met vriendelijke groet,
Evert-Jan Brouwer

Van: Stan van Houcke [mailto:stan10@planet.nl]
Verzonden: vrijdag 23 februari 2007 14:47
Aan: Brouwer E.
Onderwerp: RE: verzoek
Urgentie: Hoog

geachte heer brouwer

dank u voor uw uitgebreide reactie.
zoals u uit de berichten kunt opmaken die ik u gemaild had lijkt het erop dat de fase van speculatie reeds is gepasseerd. ik ben het met u eens dat landen zich aan het internationaal recht dienen te houden om zo te voorkomen dat het een nog grotere chaos in de wereld wordt. in dat kader is mijn vraag aan u: deelt u mijn mening dat ook israel via een boycot gedwongen moet worden zich uit de bezette Palestijnse gebieden te trekken, zoals de VN al sinds 1967 via resoluties eist, en om afstand te doen van de tenminste 150 kernwapens die ‘de joodse natie’ bezit?
in afwachting van uw antwoord
vriendelijke groet
stan van houcke

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----Van: Brouwer E. [mailto:E.Brouwer@tweedekamer.nl] Verzonden: vrijdag 23 februari 2007 13:49
Aan: stan10@planet.nl
Onderwerp: FW: verzoek
Urgentie: Hoog

Geachte heer Van Houcke,

Zoals u weet zijn de berichten over een mogelijke Amerikaanse aanval op Iran vooralsnog speculatief. De SGP-fractie is niet gewoon om mee te doen aan speculaties.

Als u echter toch speculeert, zou u – om daaraan wat meer body te geven – misschien een analyse kunnen maken over de politieke situatie in de VS. Dan blijkt dat president Bush op politieke zelfmoord zou aankoersen als hij, tegen de nieuwe Democratische meerderheid in, zo’n aanval zou beginnen. Daarnaast is het de vraag of de VS, naast de grote operaties in Afghanistan en Irak, die een zeer zware wissel trekken op de capaciteit van de Amerikaanse krijgsmacht, überhaupt in staat zouden zijn om langdurige, veeleisende bombardementen te beginnen op belangrijke doelen in Iran.

Wellicht dat u voor het evenwicht ook voldoende aandacht zou kunnen besteden aan de daadwerkelijke schendingen van het internationale recht die Iran voortdurend begaat door VR-resoluties aan zijn laars te lappen (gisteren opnieuw met het negeren van het ultimatum), vóórdat allerlei mogelijke Amerikaanse schendingen van het internationale recht in de toekomst breed uitgemeten worden.

Met vriendelijke groet,

Evert-Jan Brouwer
Beleidsmedewerker buitenlandse zaken SGP-fractie Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal


Van: Stan van Houcke [mailto:stan10@planet.nl]
Verzonden: donderdag 22 februari 2007 9:30
Aan: Vlies van der B. (Privé)
Onderwerp: verzoek
Urgentie: Hoog

Met vriendelijk verzoek dit even te lezen: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/iran-126_22.html

Mijn vraag is wat het standpunt is van uw fractie ten opzichte van mogelijke Amerikaanse bombardementen van Iran? En wat is het standpunt van uw fractie ten opzichte van de waarschuwingen van vooraanstaande en deskundige Amerikanen over deze geplande schendingen van het internationaal recht?
Vriendelijke groet
Stan van Houcke
Journalist
Amsterdam'

De zogeheten conservatieve partijen in de Tweede Kamer hebben de beleefdheid gehad om onmiddellijk te reageren. De SP heeft gereageerd op Gijsbert te Riet uit Enschede. Alleen de andere zogeheten hervormingsgezinde partijen, PVDA en D'66 en Groen Links hebben nog niets van zich laten horen. Zijn waarschijnlijk nog op wintersportvakantie. Ik wacht af. En als ik alle reacties binnen heb, kan ik een balans opmaken van het rationele niveau van de diverse standpunten.

Irak 173

Het gezicht van de oorlog:

'Tearful US soldier recounts rape of Iraqi girl.
By Andrea Hopkins

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. A U.S. soldier under court-martial at a Kentucky military base broke down in tears on Wednesday as he described how he and others planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murdered along with her family.
Sgt. Paul Cortez, 24, is the second U.S. soldier to plead guilty to raping the girl, killing her and her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006, then burning the bodies to cover up the crime.
He read from papers before him to describe how he, Spc. James Barker and a since-discharged soldier, Steven Green, planned the attack.
"While we were playing cards Barker and Green started talking about having sex with an Iraqi female. Barker and Green had already known..." Cortez said before breaking down. He bowed his head and remained silent, sniffling occasionally, for a full minute before continuing.
"Barker and Green had already known what, um, house they wanted to go to. They had been there before and knew only one male was in the house, and knew it would be an easy target," Cortez said.
Cortez went on to describe how the group changed their clothes so they would not be recognized as American soldiers on the way to the house.
When he began crying again, his lawyer asked the court for a recess, which was granted.
When the court-martial opened Tuesday, a military judge read a guilty plea in which Cortez described how, in addition to raping the girl, he held her down and acted as a lookout so other soldiers could take their turns raping her before she was shot to death.
The girl's mother, father and six-year-old sister were killed while she was being raped, according to the plea.
Cortez could face life in prison without possibility of parole for the rape and four counts of murder. Sentencing was expected later on Wednesday or on Thursday.
In all, four current and one former soldier were charged in the gang rape of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and the murders of her and her family, a crime that outraged Iraqis and ratcheted up tension in the war zone.
In the plea agreement, Cortez said he held the girl's hands while Barker raped her, then he raped her himself.
Meanwhile, the suspected ringleader, Steven Green, shot dead the girl's father, mother and 6-year-old sister, according to the plea agreement. He then raped the girl while Cortez acted as a lookout and Green finally shot the girl dead, according to the agreement.
Barker pleaded guilty in November and was sentenced to 90 years in a military prison. Green was discharged from the Army for a "personality disorder" and is in a Kentucky prison awaiting civilian trial.
Barker and Cortez both avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty and are expected to testify against Green and others charged in the crime.'

Lees verder: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N20239021.htm

Klimaatverandering 91

'The Denial Machine

Video
In the past few years, a hurricane has engulfed the debate about global warming. This scientific issue has become a rhetorical firestorm with science pitted against spin and inflammatory words on both sides.

This documentary shows how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences. It shows that companies such as Exxon Mobil are working with top public relations firms and using many of the same tactics and personnel as those employed by Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds to dispute the cigarette-cancer link in the 1990s. Exxon Mobil sought out those willing to question the science behind climate change, providing funding for some of them, their organizations and their studies.

C B C 2007'

Zie: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17138.htm

Noam Chomsky 15

'It all comes down to control
Noam Chomsky is a noted linguist, author and foreign policy expert.
On February 9, Michael Shank interviewed him on the latest developments in US policy toward Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Venezuela.

Michael Shank: With similar nuclear developments in North Korea and Iran, why has the United States pursued direct diplomacy with North Korea but refuses to do so with Iran?
Noam Chomsky: To say that the United States has pursued diplomacy with North Korea is a little bit misleading. It did under the [Bill] Clinton administration, though neither side completely lived up to their obligations. Clinton didn't do what was promised, nor did North Korea, but they were making progress. So when [George W] Bush came into the presidency, North Korea had enough uranium or plutonium for maybe one or two bombs, but then very limited missile capacity. During the Bush years it's exploded. The reason is, he immediately canceled the diplomacy and he's pretty much blocked it ever since. They made a very substantial agreement in September 2005 in which North Korea agreed to eliminate its nuclear programs and nuclear development completely. In return, the United States agreed to terminate the threats of attack and to begin moving toward the planning for the provision of a light-water reactor, which had been promised under the framework agreement. But the Bush administration instantly undermined it. Right away, it canceled the international consortium that was managing the the light-water-reactor project, which was a way of saying we're not going to agree to this agreement. A couple of days later they started attacking the financial transactions of various banks. It was timed in such a way to make it clear that the United States was not going to move toward its commitment to improve relations. And of course it never withdrew the threats. So that was the end of the September 2005 agreement. That one is now coming back, just in the last few days. The way it's portrayed in the US media is, as usual with the government's party line, that North Korea is now perhaps a little more amenable to accept the September 2005 proposal. So there's some optimism. If you go across the Atlantic, to The Financial Times, to review the same events they point out that an "embattled George W Bush administration", it's their phrase, needs some kind of victory, so maybe it'll be willing to move toward diplomacy. It's a little more accurate, I think, if you look at the background. But there is some minimal sense of optimism about it. If you look back over the record - and North Korea is a horrible place, nobody is arguing about that - on this issue they've been pretty rational. It's been a kind of tit-for-tat history. If the United States is accommodating, the North Koreans become accommodating. If the United States is hostile, they become hostile. That's reviewed pretty well by Leon Sigal, who's one of the leading specialists on this, in a recent issue of Current History. But that's been the general picture, and we're now at a place where there could be a settlement on North Korea. That's much less significant for the United States than Iran. The Iranian issue I don't think has much to do with nuclear weapons, frankly. Nobody is saying Iran should have nuclear weapons - nor should anybody else. But the point in the Middle East, as distinct from North Korea, is that this is center of the world's energy resources. Originally the British and secondarily the French had dominated it, but after World War II, it's been a US preserve. That's been an axiom of US foreign policy, that it must control Middle East energy resources. It is not a matter of access, as people often say. Once the oil is on the seas, it goes anywhere. In fact if the United States used no Middle East oil, it'd have the same policies. If we went on solar energy tomorrow, it'd keep the same policies. Just look at the internal record, or the logic of it: the issue has always been control. Control is the source of strategic power. [Vice President] Dick Cheney declared in Kazakhstan or somewhere that control over a pipeline is a "tool of intimidation and blackmail". When we have control over the pipelines it's a tool of benevolence. If other countries have control over the sources of energy and the distribution of energy, then it is a tool of intimidation and blackmail, exactly as Cheney said. And that's been understood as far back as [late US adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian] George Kennan and the early postwar days when he pointed out that if the United States controls Middle East resources, it'll have veto power over its industrial rivals. He was speaking particularly of Japan, but the point generalizes.'

Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17146.htm

Robert Fisk 27

Een van de vele Libanese slachtoffers van de Israelische bombardementen zomer 2006. Nog steed heeft Europa de speciale economische, militaire en politieke banden met Israel niet verbroken. Israel staat boven de wet, tot het straks te laat is.

'Lebanon will be first victim of Iran crisis
By Robert Fisk

How easily the sparks from the American-Israeli fire fall across the Middle East. Every threat, every intransigence uttered in Washington and Tehran now burns a little bit more of Lebanon. It is not by chance that the UN forces in the south of the country now face growing suspicion among the Shia Muslims who live there. It is no coincidence that Israel thunders that the Hizbollah are now more powerful than they were before last year's July war. It is not an accident that Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah's leader, says he has brought more missiles into Lebanon. Why, the Lebanese ask, did President Bashar al-Assad of Syria visit President Ahmadinejad of Iran last weekend? To further seal their "brotherly" relations? Or to plan a new war with Israel in Lebanon?The images of Iran's new missile launches during three days of military manoeuvres - apparently long-range rockets which could be fired at US warships in the Gulf - were splashed across the Beirut papers yesterday morning, along with Washington's latest threats of air strikes against Iran's military. Be certain that the Lebanese will be the first to suffer.For the West, the crisis in Lebanon - where Hizbollah and its allies are still demanding the resignation of Fouad Siniora's government - is getting more serious by the hour. Up to 20,000 UN troops - including Nato battalions of Spanish, French and Italian forces - are now billeted across the hillsides of southern Lebanon, in the very battleground upon which the Israelis and the Hizbollah are threatening to fight each other again.If Israel is America's proxy (which the Lebanese don't doubt), then Hizbollah is Iran's proxy. The more the United States and Israel warn Iran of its supposed nuclear ambitions, the more Hizbollah increases the pressure on Lebanon.Already, there are dangerous signs of what may be to come. Spanish troops were stoned by youths in a Lebanese village last week. French soldiers who arrived at Maroun al-Ras with their weekly medical convoy for local Lebanese civilians were told in no uncertain terms that they were not welcome. The French left immediately. Was this because President Jacques Chirac, busy commemorating his murdered Lebanese friend Rafiq Hariri in Paris on Monday, is now talking of placing UN forces not just along the Lebanese border with Israel but along the country's frontier with Syria as well?M. Chirac is warning that last summer's war between the Hizbollah and Israel could "re-plunge Lebanon into a deep crisis". If the Lebanese don't pull themselves together, the French President added, they could "slide once more into a fatal chasm". These are not words which are likely to commend themselves to President Assad or his opposite number in Tehran.Add to this the statement by Brigadier Yossi Baidatz, Israel's head of research for military intelligence - disputed by Amir Peretz, the country's Defence Minister - that the Hizbollah "is building up more firepower than it had before the war... some is still en route from Syria", and it's not difficult to see why a visiting delegation of Italian senators in Beirut have been expressing their fears for their own country's UN troops in southern Lebanon.An Italian major general, Claudio Graziano, has just taken command of the multinational force, Unifil, and has been described by the Israelis as an expert in "counter-terrorism" - not quite the praise that General Graziano is likely to have wanted from the Israelis as he faces the dangers of the coming weeks and months. In fact, generals seem all the rage in Lebanon these days, the latest of whom - the Lebanese army commander General Michel Sulieman - has made a speech of remarkable common sense, effectively blaming Lebanon's politicians for not creating the unity which might resolve its problems.In last month's street fighting in Beirut and other towns, General Sulieman's soldiers achieved the extraordinary feat of repeatedly breaking up riots without killing a single one of their own citizens."Lebanon cannot be governed by its military or through a dictatorship," he said. "It is a country satiated with democracy... but such a great amount of democracy in Lebanon might lead to chaos."Soldiers are even more conscientious than many leaders in this country."Up to 70 per cent of the Lebanese army - which is now a volunteer, rather than a conscript force - are Shia, which is why it cannot be used to disarm the Shia Hizbollah.'

Lees verder: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article2290044.ece
Of: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17140.htm

De Bush Bende 40

De terreur is verzevenvoudigd en dan zijn de westerse terreurdaden in Irak en Afghanistan niet eens meegerekend.

Mother Jones: 'The Iraq EffectWar Has Increased Terrorism Sevenfold Worldwide
By Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank

"If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people." So said President Bush on November 30, 2005, refining his earlier call to "bring them on." Jihadist terrorists, the administration’s argument went, would be drawn to Iraq like moths to a flame, and would perish there rather than wreak havoc elsewhere in the world.The president’s argument conveyed two important assumptions: first, that the threat of jihadist terrorism to U.S. interests would have been greater without the war in Iraq, and second, that the war is reducing the overall global pool of terrorists. However, the White House has never cited any evidence for either of these assumptions, and none appears to be publicly available.The administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate on "Trends in Global Terrorism: implications for the United States," circulated within the government in April 2006 and partially declassified in October, states that "the Iraq War has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists...and is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives."Yet administration officials have continued to suggest that there is no evidence any greater jihadist threat exists as a result of the Iraq War. "Are more terrorists being created in the world?" then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rhetorically asked during a press conference in September. "We don’t know. The world doesn’t know. There are not good metrics to determine how many people are being trained in a radical madrasa school in some country." In January 2007 Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte in congressional testimony stated that he was "not certain" that the Iraq War had been a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and played down the likely impact of the war on jihadists worldwide: "I wouldn’t say there has been a widespread growth in Islamic extremism beyond Iraq. I really wouldn’t."Indeed, though what we will call "The Iraq Effect" is a crucial matter for U.S. national security, we have found no statistical documentation of its existence and gravity, at least in the public domain. In this report, we have undertaken what we believe to be the first such study, using information from the world’s premier database on global terrorism. The results are being published for the first time by Mother Jones, the news and investigative magazine, as part of a broader "Iraq 101" package in the magazine’s March/April 2007 issue. Our study shows that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.We are not making the argument that without the Iraq War, jihadist terrorism would not exist, but our study shows that the Iraq conflict has greatly increased the spread of the Al Qaeda ideological virus, as shown by a rising number of terrorist attacks in the past three years from London to Kabul, and from Madrid to the Red Sea.In our study we focused on the following questions:
· Has jihadist terrorism gone up or down around the world since the invasion of Iraq?
· What has been the trend if terrorist incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan (the military fronts of the "war on terrorism") are excluded?
· Has terrorism explicitly directed at the United States and its allies also increased?'

Lees verder: http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2007/03/iraq_effect_4.html Of:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17137.htm

Irak 172

'War Conspiracy Documented
By John Prados

The now-infamous Downing Street documents showed how President George Bush managed his move to war by fitting intelligence to his policy, and by refusing to accept the reports of United Nations inspectors who could find no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Now there is a new hot document that confirms that Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair intended to sucker Saddam into war. It demonstrates that this aim was present long before the Bush-Blair talks, and indeed that provocation formed an integral feature of the U.S. war plan.
A January 31, 2003 meeting between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair clearly shows the two leaders discussing ways to provoke Saddam Hussein so as to justify war, indicating premeditation. Last week the National Security Archive in Washington posted the U. S. war plan—the set of briefing slides used by Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Tommy Franks to brief President Bush on “Polo Step,” CENTCOM’s Iraq invasion scheme. The PowerPoint slides were prepared for a series of presidential meetings held from December 2001 to August 2002. The slides summarized CENTCOM’s buildup and maneuver concepts for Bush’s deliberations. Bush backed Franks’ concept of “adjusting” Iraqi defenses by executing what amounted to a covert offensive air campaign. They would use forces already in the Persian Gulf region for the ostensible purpose of enforcing no-fly zones created after the first Gulf War. TomPaine.com has previously covered this operation (“The War Before the War ,” June 24, 2005), but the new evidence establishes an explicit link between the aerial offensive and the Iraq war plans.
The no-fly zones were originally designed to prevent Iraqi government interference with humanitarian efforts in northern Iraq (“Operation Northern Watch”) and against Shiite minorities in the southern region of the country (“Operation Southern Watch”). They used aircraft based in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and on aircraft carriers in the Gulf. Until 2001, it had been standard practice for U.S. and British aircraft participating in these missions to retaliate against Iraqi anti-aircraft guns, missiles, and radars that had fired at the planes. CENTCOM had a plan it called “Desert Badger” that established standard operating procedures for such strikes.
In early 2002, General Franks and his aerial component commanders revised the old arrangement. CENTCOM created a set of “response options” from 1 to 5, providing successively higher levels of violence. The Polo Step briefing slides make clear that U.S. planners envisioned using response options in the case of “triggers,”—Iraqi actions—and specified 16 different possibilities to lead to retaliation These ranged from simple interference with flights to major threats or attacks on friendly regional neighbors. One of the Downing Street documents reveals that the British realized the no-fly zones had no basis in international law and the contemplated air campaign no justification as “self defense.” A May 2002 CENTCOM slide noted that “contingency plan execution is tailored to match strategic timing and current strategic environment.”
Several additional scales of action were denoted by colors (blue, white, red). Response Option 5 and Level Blue were to be triggered by a “provocative posture” or limited violence and envisioned as small scale warfare. By August 2002, “small scale” activity was defined in the Polo Step briefings as attacks over a 48-hour timeframe on a hundred targets by up to 300 aircraft. The “white” action level, an August briefing slide reveals, would “begin to shape [the] battlefield.” Tommy Franks notes in his memoirs that another color level actually became the “running start” war option once CENTCOM planners began calling it that and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fell in love with the concept.
Southern Watch air attacks resumed in May 2002, coincident with one of the Polo Step briefings, following a six-month period in which there had been virtually no air action. In August, when Franks presented near-final versions of his war plan, Rumsfeld changed the rules of engagement for the air forces and Southern Watch became Southern Focus. Suddenly, in early September, there followed a four-day series of sustained strikes hitting Iraqi military communications, headquarters, anti-ship missile and air defense communications facilities, all considered key targets in “adjusting” Saddam’s defenses. Two-thirds of more than 21,000 attack sorties, or flights counted by single aircraft, that took place before the invasion occurred in the Southern Focus timeframe beginning in August.'

Lees verder:
http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/02/21/a_war_conspiracy_documented.php Of:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17144.htm

De Dollar Hegemonie 29


'The Second Great Depression
By Mike Whitney

“The US economy is in danger of a recession that will prove unusually long and severe. By any measure it is in far worse shape than in 2001-02 and the unraveling of the housing bubble is clearly at hand. It seems that the continuous buoyancy of the financial markets is again deluding many people about the gravity of the economic situation.” Dr. Kurt Richebacher “The history of all hitherto society is the history of class struggles.” Karl Marx
This week’s data on the sagging real estate market leaves no doubt that the housing bubble is quickly crashing to earth and that hard times are on the way. “The slump in home prices from the end of 2005 to the end of 2006 was the biggest year over year drop since the National Association of Realtors started keeping track in 1982.” (New York Times) The Commerce Dept announced that the construction of new homes fell in January by a whopping 14.3%. Prices fell in half of the nation’s major markets and “existing home sales declined in 40 states”. Arizona, Florida, California, and Virginia have seen precipitous drops in sales. The Commerce Department also reported that “the number of vacant homes increased by 34% in 2006 to 2.1 million at the end of the year, nearly double the long-term vacancy rate.” (Marketwatch) The bottom line is that inventories are up, sales are down, profits are eroding, and the building industry is facing a steady downturn well into the foreseeable future. The ripple effects of the housing crash will be felt throughout the overall economy; shrinking GDP, slowing consumer spending and putting more workers in the growing unemployment lines. Congress is now looking into the shabby lending practices that shoehorned millions of people into homes that they clearly cannot afford. But their efforts will have no affect on the loans that are already in place. $1 trillion in ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) are due to reset in 2007 which guarantees that millions of over-leveraged homeowners will default on their mortgages putting pressure on the banks and sending the economy into a tailspin. We are at the beginning of a major shake-up and there’s going to be a lot more blood on the tracks before things settle down. The banks and mortgage lenders are scrambling for creative ways to keep people in their homes but the subprime market is already teetering and foreclosures are on the rise. There’s no doubt now, that Fed chairman Alan Greenspan’s plan to pump zillions of dollars into the system via “low interest rates” has created the biggest monster-bubble of all time and set the stage for a deep economic retrenchment. Greenspan’s inflationary policies were designed to expand the “wealth gap” and create greater economic polarization between the classes. By the time the housing bubble deflates, millions of working class Americans will be left to pay off loans that are considerably higher than the current value of their home. This will inevitably create deeper societal divisions and, very likely, a permanent underclass of mortgage-slaves. A shrewd economist and student of history like Greenspan knew exactly what the consequences of his low interest rates would be. The trap was set to lure in unsuspecting borrowers who felt they could augment their stagnant wages by joining the housing gold rush. It was a great way to mask a deteriorating economy by expanding personal debt. The meltdown in housing will soon be felt in the stock market which appears to be lagging the real estate market by about 6 months. Soon, reality will set in on Wall Street just as it has in the housing sector and the “loose money” that Greenspan generated with his mighty printing press will flee to foreign shores. It looks as though this may already be happening even though the stock market is still flying high. On Friday, the government reported that net capital inflows reversed from the requisite $70 billion to AN OUTFLOW OF $11 BILLION!'

Klimaatverandering 90

Twee mannen zitten in een trein die dreigt te ontsporen. De een zegt tegen de ander. Ik trek pas aan de rem als jij trekt. Die absurde redenering volgt de Europese Unie.

De New York Times bericht:

'Europeans Agree to Cut Emissions Sharply If US and Others Follow Suit.
By James Kanter
The New York Times

Paris - Seeking to persuade other nations to curb greenhouse gas emissions, European Union ministers pledged Tuesday to raise their own targets if industrialized countries like the United States made similar efforts.
European governments would be ready to cut emissions 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, from a current pledge of 20 percent, but only if other heavy polluters joined in, said Sigmar Gabriel, the German environment minister, who led a meeting in Brussels that formally endorsed the European targets.
Germany, the biggest European economy, was already prepared to cut its emissions even further if there was a broader agreement, Mr. Gabriel said, noting that the German Parliament had supported a 40 percent target.
The pledges, which match a proposal made by the European Commission last month, are signs that nations are gearing up for new negotiations on a global climate accord after 2012, when the first period covered by the Kyoto Protocol expires.
The issue is expected to be on the agenda when Germany serves as host of a meeting in June of the Group of 8 nations. European countries are hoping to win pledges from big developing countries as well, including China and India.
"You get a deadlock in international negotiations when there's the attitude that, 'We're not going to do anything until someone goes first,' so it's good that the ministers committed to 20 percent," said Kirsty Hamilton, a policy consultant for the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a group representing British utilities.
But environmentalists were disappointed that governments postponed a more ambitious goal of 30 percent, unless other countries adopted similar policies.
Choosing a lower target "will send the wrong signal to the international community, casting a dubious light on how serious the European Union is about fighting climate change," said Jan Kowalzig, a climate and energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth in Brussels.'

Lees verder: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/21/business/worldbusiness/21warm.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Of:
http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/022107EC.shtml

De Dollar Hegemonie 28

'The Trade Quagmire
Collisions are imminent over fast-track trade authority, labor standards, and tarrifs. It's the president vs. China vs. Democrats vs. Democrats.
By Robert Kuttner

Get ready for a four-way train wreck on trade policy. The engineers: The Bush administration, the Democratic leadership in Congress, the Democratic back-benchers, and the government of China.
The Bush administration dearly wants a renewal of the president's authority to negotiate more trade deals. The House and Senate Democratic leadership sees an opportunity to win a long-sought Democratic goal -- the addition of labor standards to trade deals.
On Wednesday, at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, chairman Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat, warmly welcomed U.S. Trade Ambassador Susan Schwab. "I am very pleased with your leadership," he said. Rangel is pleased because the White House has agreed in principle to a deal bartering negotiating authority for labor standards.
But many other Democrats in Congress are not pleased. They see echoes of past trade deals such as NAFTA, whose language on labor rights turned out to be meaningless in practice.
There is widespread skepticism that the Bush administration would agree to language guaranteeing, for instance, the right of workers in countries with favorable trade deals to join or organize unions. (The administration doesn't even enforce that right for American workers.) The issue threatens to divide the Democratic leadership from most newly elected members.
And that's just the beginning of the trade wars. This week, the Commerce Department reported the trade balance for 2006 -- a record deficit of $764 billion. Nearly one-third of that was with China.
The same Democrats willing to make a deal on negotiating authority are not backing down on China. Rangel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have proposed a measure to increase tariffs on countries that subsidize their exports, the prime offender being Beijing.
The U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission has documented extensive subsidies by the Chinese government, which offers American manufacturers billions of dollars to underwrite costs of land, facilities, worker training, and tax holidays. Most products of these factories go right back to the United States and widen China's trade surplus.
While explicit export subsidies are illegal under the World Trade Organization, there is a loophole for implicit ones such as those that China uses to attract U.S. multinationals. Rangel and Pelosi intend to remedy that by changing U.S. law, and their legislation setting retaliatory tariffs is expected to attract substantial Republican as well as Democratic support.
As a challenge to Beijing, this legislation comes at a moment when Chinese officials are beginning to talk about diversifying their huge portfolio of foreign currencies, the fruits of their chronic trade surpluses. With $1.07 trillion worth of foreign currencies, China has surpassed Japan as the world's largest holder of foreign exchange. And China's immense stash of dollars happens to be a prime source of funding America's national debt.
As Congress increases the pressure on the Chinese to reform trading practices, there is anxiety in Washington about China resorting to its financial neutron bomb, the threat to diversify its currency holdings out of U.S. dollars.'

Lees verder: http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12476

Irak 171

'Leaked Iraq Oil Law Document

Global Exchange’s Iraq Project Director, Raed Jarrar, has obtained a purported Iraqi oil law document and translated it into English.
By MediaChannel.

Global Exchange’s Iraq Project Director, Raed Jarrar, has obtained a purported Iraqi oil law document and translated it into English.
The document can be downloaded here or here.
Jarrar writes:
“This law legalizes PSAs (production sharing agreements) in Iraq. Iraq will be the only country in the middle east with such contracts privatising Iraqi oil and giving foreign companies crazy rates of profit that may reach to more than three fourth of the general revenue. Iraq and Iraqis need every Dinar that comes from oil sales. In addition to the financial aspects of this law, it can be considered the funding tool for splitting Iraq into three states. It undermines the central government and distributes oil revenues directly to the three regions, which sets the foundations for what Iraq’s enemies are trying to achieve in terms of establishing three independent states.
Privatizing Iraq’s oil and splitting Iraq into three regions are just two negative features of this 29 pages law. I am translating some important analysis written by Iraqis and other Arabs, and am also working with British and U.S. experts to publish more analysis soon.”
UPDATE: Raed has made a more detailed analysis of the document available here.
This, of course, further fuels the belief that the war in Iraq was primarily about oil. For further context, check out Joshua Holland’s previous research on the Iraq oil law controversy:
“Iraq’s energy reserves are an incredibly rich prize. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Iraq contains 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the second largest in the world (behind Saudi Arabia), along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources. Iraq’s true potential may be far greater than this, however, as the country is relatively unexplored due to years of war and sanctions.” For perspective, the Saudis have 260 billion barrels of proven reserves.
Iraqi oil is close to the surface and easy to extract, making it all the more profitable. James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum, points out that oil companies “can produce a barrel of Iraqi oil for less than $1.50 and possibly as little as $1, including all exploration, oilfield development and production costs.” Contrast that with other areas where oil is considered cheap to produce at $5 per barrel or the North Sea, where production costs are $12-16 per barrel….
Depending on how Iraq’s petroleum law shakes out, the country’s enormous reserves could break the back of OPEC, a wet dream in Western capitals for three decades. James Paul predicted that “even before Iraq had reached its full production potential of 8 million barrels or more per day, the companies would gain huge leverage over the international oil system. OPEC would be weakened by the withdrawal of one of its key producers from the OPEC quota system.” Depending on how things shape up in the next few months, Western oil companies could end up controlling the country’s output levels, or the government, heavily influenced by the United States, could even pull out of the cartel entirely.
Both independent analysts and officials within Iraq’s Oil Ministry anticipate that when all is said and done, the big winners in Iraq will be the Big Four — the American firms Exxon-Mobile and Chevron, the British BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell — that dominate the world oil market.”
You can watch a Democracy Now interview with Raed Jarrar concerning this matter
here.'

Lees verder: http://www.mediachannel.org/wordpress/2007/02/20/leaked-iraq-oil-law-document/

donderdag 22 februari 2007

Iran 129

Vanmiddag kreeg ik deze email van Gijsbert te Riet uit Enschede:

'Ik heb zojuist de volgende mail naar dhr van Bommel van Buitenlandse Zaken van mijn partij gestuurd. Ik laat mijn naam, de partij en tevens zijn naam eruit zodat dit mogelijk gebruikt kan worden als een template voor anderen:

Verontrust over dreigende aanval VS op Iran

Geachte heer [..],

Als lid van [..] schrijf ik u deze e-mail om aan te geven dat ik zeer verontrust ben over het feit dat de Verenigde Staten hebben laten blijken dat ze een (nucleaire) aanval op Iran aan het voorbereiden zijn [1]. Deze aanval zou bedoeld zijn om de nucleaire faciliteiten in o.a. Natanz en Isfahan uit te schakelen, want "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons" [2]. Onder deze groep "most dangerous regimes" valt, volgens de VS, de Islamitische Republiek Iran. Ondanks de illegale invasie van Irak, het bezetten van een land dat steeds verder afzakt in een extreme burgeroorlog, en de 655.000 geschatte doden als gevolg van die invasie en bezetting [3], wordt de VS niet als een van de "most dangerous regimes" in de wereld gezien en als zijnde behandeld. Het lijkt het motto van het Ministerie van de Waarheid wel uit Orwell's 1984: "WAR IS PEACE", "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY", "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" [4]Alles lijkt er ondertussen op dat de VS inderdaad bezig is een confrontatie met Iran voor te bereiden en uit te lokken. Op 21 december 2006 bestormden Amerikaanse soldaten het partij gebouw van de SCIRI in Irak, daarbij hebben ze twee Iraniers ontvoerd. De Amerikanen zeggen dat deze twee Iraniers officieren van de Iraanse Revolutionaire Garde zijn. [5] Drie weken later hebben de Amerikanen een gebouw van Iraanse diplomaten in Irbil binnen gevallen, waarbij zes Iraniers ontvoerd zijn. Deze diplomaten werkten daar met instemming van de Iraakse overheid. Volgens Rusland en Iran is dit een overtreding van het internationale recht en onaccepteerbaar. [6]Ondertussen zijn er al twee Amerikaanse oorlogsvloten in de Perzische Golf en worden in nabij gelegen landen patriot systemen geinstalleerd. De Bush regering heeft tevens laten weten dat alle opties op tafel blijven om Iran z'n nucleaire programma te laten stoppen. Een laatste van deze opties is het gebruik maken van militaire middelen. [7]Naar mijn idee is dit een uiterst gevaarlijke dreiging van geweld tegenover een andere staat. Iets wat een overtreding is van het internationale recht. [8]Volgens Zbigniew Brzezinski, voormalig nationaal veiligheidsadviseur van president Jimmy Carter, kan "een incident in Irak of een terreuraanval in de VS .. gemakkelijk aan Iran toe worden verweten. Mijn vrees is dat wij zo een oorlog met Iran in rollen." [9] Ondertussen is de VS dan ook al druk bezig de media wijs te maken dat de Iraanse overheid zogenaamde IED's levert aan milities in Irak. Deze IED's zouden tegen de Amerikanen gebruikt worden. Er is echter nauwelijks enkel bewijs dat Iran deze IED's levert. [10] Het is ook opmerkelijk dat de datum's op deze wapens, volgens Javad Zarif, de ambassadeur van Iran bij de VN, in het formaat maand/dag/jaar geschreven zijn. Geen enkel land behalve Amerika gebruikt deze notatie. [11]Ik hoop dat ik met deze e-mail kan zorgen dat u als lid van de tweede kamer, en als de man van mijn partij voor Buitenlandse Zaken, dit punt ter sprake brengt en al het mogelijke zult doen om te zorgen dat Nederland deze dreigende oorlog voorkomt. Niets is zo erg als oorlog, en al helemaal als daarbij nucleaire wapens gebruikt worden. [12]Graag bedank ik u alvast voor uw inzet.
Ik heb zojuist de volgende mail naar dhr van Bommel van Buitenlandse Zaken van mijn partij gestuurd. Ik laat mijn naam, de partij en tevens zijn naam eruit zodat dit mogelijk gebruikt kan worden als een template voor anderen:Verontrust over dreigende aanval VS op IranGeachte heer [..],Als lid van [..] schrijf ik u deze e-mail om aan te geven dat ik zeer verontrust ben over het feit dat de Verenigde Staten hebben laten blijken dat ze een (nucleaire) aanval op Iran aan het voorbereiden zijn [1]. Deze aanval zou bedoeld zijn om de nucleaire faciliteiten in o.a. Natanz en Isfahan uit te schakelen, want "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons" [2]. Onder deze groep "most dangerous regimes" valt, volgens de VS, de Islamitische Republiek Iran. Ondanks de illegale invasie van Irak, het bezetten van een land dat steeds verder afzakt in een extreme burgeroorlog, en de 655.000 geschatte doden als gevolg van die invasie en bezetting [3], wordt de VS niet als een van de "most dangerous regimes" in de wereld gezien en als zijnde behandeld. Het lijkt het motto van het Ministerie van de Waarheid wel uit Orwell's 1984: "WAR IS PEACE", "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY", "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" [4]Alles lijkt er ondertussen op dat de VS inderdaad bezig is een confrontatie met Iran voor te bereiden en uit te lokken. Op 21 december 2006 bestormden Amerikaanse soldaten het partij gebouw van de SCIRI in Irak, daarbij hebben ze twee Iraniers ontvoerd. De Amerikanen zeggen dat deze twee Iraniers officieren van de Iraanse Revolutionaire Garde zijn. [5] Drie weken later hebben de Amerikanen een gebouw van Iraanse diplomaten in Irbil binnen gevallen, waarbij zes Iraniers ontvoerd zijn. Deze diplomaten werkten daar met instemming van de Iraakse overheid. Volgens Rusland en Iran is dit een overtreding van het internationale recht en onaccepteerbaar. [6]Ondertussen zijn er al twee Amerikaanse oorlogsvloten in de Perzische Golf en worden in nabij gelegen landen patriot systemen geinstalleerd. De Bush regering heeft tevens laten weten dat alle opties op tafel blijven om Iran z'n nucleaire programma te laten stoppen. Een laatste van deze opties is het gebruik maken van militaire middelen. [7]Naar mijn idee is dit een uiterst gevaarlijke dreiging van geweld tegenover een andere staat. Iets wat een overtreding is van het internationale recht. [8]Volgens Zbigniew Brzezinski, voormalig nationaal veiligheidsadviseur van president Jimmy Carter, kan "een incident in Irak of een terreuraanval in de VS .. gemakkelijk aan Iran toe worden verweten. Mijn vrees is dat wij zo een oorlog met Iran in rollen." [9] Ondertussen is de VS dan ook al druk bezig de media wijs te maken dat de Iraanse overheid zogenaamde IED's levert aan milities in Irak. Deze IED's zouden tegen de Amerikanen gebruikt worden. Er is echter nauwelijks enkel bewijs dat Iran deze IED's levert. [10] Het is ook opmerkelijk dat de datum's op deze wapens, volgens Javad Zarif, de ambassadeur van Iran bij de VN, in het formaat maand/dag/jaar geschreven zijn. Geen enkel land behalve Amerika gebruikt deze notatie. [11]Ik hoop dat ik met deze e-mail kan zorgen dat u als lid van de tweede kamer, en als de man van mijn partij voor Buitenlandse Zaken, dit punt ter sprake brengt en al het mogelijke zult doen om te zorgen dat Nederland deze dreigende oorlog voorkomt. Niets is zo erg als oorlog, en al helemaal als daarbij nucleaire wapens gebruikt worden. [12]Graag bedank ik u alvast voor uw inzet.
Met vriendelijke groeten,
...
Referenties:1
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-08-13-bush-iran-nuclear_x.htm8 http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-nurem.htm9 Interview met Brzezinski in het NRC van 10 februari 200710 http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=1213911 Charlie Rose, 13/02/2007, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17122.htm (de bedoelde statement is te horen op 38 minuten verder in de aflevering. Tip: de gehele interview met dhr. Zarif is zeer interessant.)12 http://ippnw-students.org/iran/iran_attack.pdf
Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/iran-126_22.html

Vandaag heb ik de fractievoorzitters in de Tweede Kamer een email gestuurd. VVD-Kamerlid Van Baalen was de eerste die reageerde. Daarna volgde de SGP en het CDA. Zoals doorgaans gebruikelijk hebben de linkse partijen (nog) niet gereageerd.
De emailwisseling met Hans van Baalen moet u van onder naar boven lezen:
'-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Baalen van Hans [mailto:J.vBaalen@tweedekamer.nl]
Verzonden: donderdag 22 februari 2007 10:30
Aan: Stan van Houcke
Onderwerp: RE: verzoek
Neen, volgens het NPV zijn alleen de 5 permanente leden van de VN-Veiligheidsraad gerechtigd tot kernwapens. Noch Israel, noch Iran, noch India, noch Pakistan, noch Monaco hebben het recht op kernwapens. T.a.v. Israël is nooit enig bewijs geleverd dat dit land kernwapens bezit. Hierbij laat ik het.
Met vr. groet, HvB


Mr Drs J.C. van Baalen VVD-Tweede-Kamerfractie Postbus 20018 2500 EA Den Haag Tel. 070-318.29.22 Fax 070-318.29.24
http://www.hansvanbaalen.nl/
Van: Stan van Houcke [mailto:stan10@planet.nl]
Verzonden: donderdag 22 februari 2007 11:37
Aan: Baalen van HansOnderwerp:
RE: verzoek

geachte heer Van Baalen

dat kan zijn, maar het laat onverlet dat israel over nucleaire wapens beschikt, in strijd met de internationale afspraken. als die geschonden worden door een VN-lid en de wereldgemeenschap laat die schending toe, dan tast men zelf de rechtsregels aan, in dit geval het internationaal recht. Met andere woorden: welk recht heeft Europa om Iran te veroordelen voor iets dat het nog niet heeft, terwijl Israel wel kernwapens bezit en niet veroordeeld wordt? Bovendien is Iran volgens u gerechtigd aan de ontwikkeling van een kernwapen te werken op het moment dat het een democratie is? die mening zit impliciet in uw antwoord verborgen.
in afwachting van uw antwoord
vriendelijke groet
stan van houcke

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----Van: Baalen van Hans [mailto:J.vBaalen@tweedekamer.nl] Verzonden: donderdag 22 februari 2007 10:30
Aan: Stan van Houcke
Onderwerp: RE: verzoek

Ik zie Iran en Israël als twee verschillende gevallen. Israël is een democratische rechtsstaat. Iran is dat niet.



Van: Stan van Houcke [mailto:stan10@planet.nl]
Verzonden: donderdag 22 februari 2007 10:28
Aan: Baalen van Hans
Onderwerp: RE: verzoek

dank u voor uw snelle reactie.

ik ben het met u eens dat een verspreiding van kernwapens een bedreiging van de wereldvrede is en de wereldgemeenschap alle wettelijke middelen moet gebruiken om dit tegen te gaan. daarom is mijn vraag aan u: indien u voor stappen tegen Iran bent, bent u ook bereid tot politieke stappen tegen Israel, die naar verluidt over tenminste 150 nucleaire wapens beschikt?
in afwachting van uw antwoord
met vriendelijke groet
stan van houcke

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Baalen van Hans [mailto:J.vBaalen@tweedekamer.nl]
Verzonden: donderdag 22 februari 2007 10:19
Aan: Stan van Houcke
Onderwerp: RE: verzoek

Geachte heer Van Houcke,
dank voor Uw bericht. In algemene termen ben ik geen voorstander van “What if” – vragen. De VVD-fractie zal een oordeel vellen wanneer zich een gebeurtenis voordoet. Ten aanzien van Iran geldt dat de VVD ervan overtuigd is dat Iran streeft naar een atoombom. Indien het alleen om het rechtmatig ontwikkelen en gebruik maken van kernenergie zou gaan, dan was Iran ingegaan op het Russische voorstel om Iraanse nucleaire splijtstof in Rusland te laten verrijken. Voorts zou Iran meewerken met de IAEA-inspecties, waartoe zij op grond van het NPV verplicht is. Iran moet nu via een waaier van maatregelen ertoe gebracht worden aan de eisen van de IAEA en van de VN-Veiligheidsraad te voldoen. We spreken dus van eisen van de wereldgemeenschap. Een militaire optie daartoe kan niet worden uitgesloten, maar staat voor de VVD niet voorop. De VVD is ook geen voorstander van eenzijdige militauire maatregelen. Mochten deze wel plaatsvinden, dan zal de VVD dan een definitief oordeel vellen. Naast het nucleaire dossier, besteedt de VVD veel aandacht aan de persvrijheid (amendment-Van Baalen-Karimi) en de mensenrechten in Iran. De uitspraken van een aantal Amerikaanse bronnen over een mogelijke militaire actie van de VS, passen, mijns inziens, in het opvoeren van de druk op Teheran.
Met vr. groet, Hans van Baalen



Van: Stan van Houcke [mailto:stan10@planet.nl] Verzonden:
donderdag 22 februari 2007 9:22
Aan: Baalen van Hans
Onderwerp: verzoek
Urgentie: Hoog


Met vriendelijk verzoek dit even te lezen:
http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2007/02/iran-126_22.html

Mijn vraag is wat het standpunt is van uw fractie ten opzichte van mogelijke Amerikaanse bombardementen van Iran? En wat is het standpunt van uw fractie ten opzichte van de waarschuwingen van vooraanstaande en deskundige Amerikanen over deze geplande schendingen van het internationaal recht?
Vriendelijke groet
Stan van Houcke
Journalist
Amsterdam'

The Empire 185

'Bush Is Losing the "War on Terror"
By Robert Parry
Consortium News

Despite the sacrifices in lives, treasure and liberties, the painful reality is that the United States is losing the "war on terror" - in large part because too many people in the Middle East and across the globe view George W. Bush as a bully and a hypocrite.
Bush has become the ugly face of America, mouthing pretty words about freedom and democracy while threatening other nations and bludgeoning those who get in his way. Perhaps even worse, Bush has shown himself to be an incompetent commander, especially for a conflict as complicated and nuanced as this one.
Indeed, it is hard to envision how the United States can win the crucial battles for the hearts and minds of key populations if Bush remains President. Arguably, Bush has become a "clear and present danger" to the interests of the American people - yet he still has almost two years left in his term.
This predicament - the desperate need for new U.S. leadership and the difficult fact of being stuck with Bush - was underscored by the Feb. 19 lead article in the New York Times describing the revival of al-Qaeda as a worldwide terror network operating out of new bases in remote sections of Pakistan.
"American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan," the Times reported.
"As recently as 2005, American intelligence assessments described senior leaders of al-Qaeda as cut off from their foot soldiers and able only to provide inspiration for future attacks. But more recent intelligence describes the organization's hierarchy as intact and strengthening," the Times wrote.
The Times quoted one American government official as saying "the chain of command has been reestablished" and that al-Qaeda's "leadership command and control is robust." [NYT, Feb. 19, 2007]
In the face of this al-Qaeda comeback, the Bush administration is reportedly debating whether to launch military strikes inside Pakistan. But that would risk destabilizing the dictatorship of Gen. Pervez Musharraf and conceivably provoking the nightmare scenario of Islamic fundamentalists gaining control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.
In other words, more than five years into the "war on terror," Bush has overseen a strategy that has simultaneously alienated world public opinion - with scandals over Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret CIA prisons - while fueling Islamic extremism and giving new life to the 9/11 masterminds.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group described the situation in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating." But the same description would fit for the broader strategic position of the United States in the Middle East.
The U.S. military is facing a worsening crisis in Iraq; the Taliban is on the rise again in Afghanistan; Hezbollah is gaining strength in Lebanon; Iran is defying international pressure over its nuclear program; and now al-Qaeda - having resettled in Pakistan - is rebuilding its capability to strike targets beyond the Middle East.
Bush's Mistakes... '

Lees verder: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/021907.html Of:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022107D.shtml

Iran 128

Democracy Now bericht:

'As Nuclear Deadline Passes, US and Iran Trade Accusations of Bombing Involvement
The White House has dismissed a suggestion from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would close its nuclear facilities as long as Western nations did the same. His comments came as a deadline set by the UN for Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program expires today. Meanwhile Iran has accused the US of backing a bomb attack that killed 11 Revolutionary Guards, just one week after the US accused Iran of supplying bombs targeting US troops in Iraq. We speak with retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner. [includes rush transcript]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran would close its nuclear facilities as long as Western nations did the same. His offer comes as a deadline set by the UN for Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program expires today. Iran has maintained it is not seeking nuclear weapons, saying its program is for purely peaceful ends.
Ahmadinejad's comments come amid steadily increasing tension between Washington and Tehran. The US military has increased its presence in the region deploying a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. The White House has repeatedly denied any intention of attacking Iran but, according to a Monday night report by the BBC, the US military has drawn up contingency plans for massive air strikes against Iran. The plans call for attacks on Iran's nuclear sites, air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centers.
The U.S. government has already determined the two circumstances which would trigger just such an attack: One is evidence that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon and the second is a “high-casualty” attack against American forces in Iraq that could be traced directly to the leadership in Tehran. The Bush administration recently accused the top levels of the Iranian government of supplying sophisticated bombs to anti-U.S. forces in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government is accusing the United States and Britain of being involved in an attack last week that killed 11 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Sam Gardiner. Retired Air Force Colonel. He has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, Air War College and Naval War College.
AMY GOODMAN: Sam Gardiner is a retired Air Force colonel. He has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, at the Air War College, at the Naval War College, joining me now on the phone from his home in Virginia. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Colonel Gardiner.
COL. SAM GARDINER: Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about these latest revelations of plans?
COL. SAM GARDINER: Sure. Actually, I find the BBC article to be completely credible. Let me take the two points that they make and explain why I think they are. The first thing is they talk about the trigger of a high casualty event in Iraq. That is totally consistent with the plans that were drawn up before the invasion of Iraq. We now know from the released plans, which at that time were classified “Top Secret, Polo Step,” that there was a series of triggers, that if they were to be pulled, the United States would go ahead of its plan in the invasion of Iraq. So, having a trigger is both in the way that the Pentagon does planning, and also it makes sense in the argument that the administration is making about what needs to be done with Iran.
The second thing about identifying a nuclear program is even more concerning and probably the one we ought to worry about. We have to remember that the President has said Iran can't be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. But he has always -- or not always -- mostly adds a phrase beyond that, which says, “or the knowledge to produce nuclear weapons.” That's a very important follow-on statement, consistent with what Israel has said. The way that is generally interpreted is that if Iran can put together 3,000 centrifuges for enrichment, they then will have the capability or the knowledge to produce a nuclear weapon. That event, according to the head of the IAEA yesterday, could occur within the next six months, so that if you take the President at his word, and if you take the estimate from the International Atomic Energy Agency, we will cross the US red line within the next six months, and presumably we can't stand that. And when we say that, that means we conduct a military operation against the Iranians.'

Lees verder of luister: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/21/1523228