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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 10 april 2010

De Westerse Terreur 74


Rory O'Connor: Not in Our Town

by: Laura Flanders | GRITtv

A new report shows that U.S. soldiers tampered with the scene of the deaths of three women, including digging bullets out of the bodies, to cover up their involvement. Are the new procedures for the war under General McChrystal really minimizing civilian casualties, as they are supposed to?

Joining us to discuss this story and more in today's news is Rory O'Connor, author of Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio. He's also on the board of a new organization, Not In Our Town, designed to fight back against hate groups.

http://www.truthout.org/not-in-our-town-standing-against-hate-domestic-terrorism-video58362

De Westerse Terreur 73

Via Paul:


Veteran of "Collateral Murder" Company Speaks Out

WASHINGTON - April 9 - Josh Stieber, who is a former soldier of the “Collateral Murder” Company, says that the acts of brutality caught on film and recently released via Wikileaks are not isolated instances, but were commonplace during his tour of duty.



“A lot of my friends are in that video,” says Stieber. “After watching the video, I would definitely say that that is, nine times out of ten, the way things ended up. Killing was following military protocol. It was going along with the rules as they are.”



Stieber deployed to Baghdad with Bravo Company 2-16, whose members were involved in the incident captured in Wikileaks' “Collateral Murder” video, which has made international headlines by depicting a July 2007 shooting incident outside of Baghdad in which over a dozen people, including two Reuters employees, were killed. Although he was not present at the scene of the video, he knows those who were involved and is familiar with the environment. Stieber, who now works to promote peace and alternatives to war, is speaking publicly about his time in Iraq and the incident captured in this video.



“If these videos shock and revolt you, they show the reality of what war is like,” says Stieber. “If you don’t like what you see in them, it means we should be working harder towards alternatives to war.”



Stieber currently lives in Washington, D.C.



BACKGROUND ON JOSH STIEBER:
Branch of service: United States Army (USA)

Unit: 1st ID

Rank: Spc.

Home: Laytonsville, Maryland

Served in: Baghdad (Rustamiyah) 07-08 Fort Riley, KS 06-07, 08-09




http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/09

http://zaplog.nl/zaplog/article/veteraan_van_collateral_murder_compagnie_vertelt_openlijk

Het Slakje

Lech Kaczynski, een benepen en tirannieke kleinburger die de dood van 95 medemensen op zijn geweten heeft.
De Volkskrant bericht:

Dichte mist
Alle 96 inzittenden kwamen om bij de crash. Het toestel had enkele bomen geraakt toen het probeerde te landen in dichte mist. De piloot en de Poolse president Lech Kaczynski hadden het dringende advies gekregen om te keren en te landen in de Wit-Russische stad Minsk, omdat het militaire vliegveld onvoldoende was uitgerust om vliegtuigen in dichte mist te ontvangen. Maar de piloot en het staatshoofd sloegen het advies in de wind.

De Poolse piloot zou ondanks de waarschuwing vier keer hebben geprobeerd te landen. De luchtverkeersleiding heeft niet het recht de landing van een Pools presidentieel toestel te weigeren.

Een Poolse luchtvaartexpert merkte op dat het de Poolse piloot waarschijnlijk aan de nodige vasthoudendheid heeft ontbroken. Hij herinnerde aan een incident in de zomer van 2008. Toen had een piloot een bevel van de president naast zich neergelegd om in Georgië te landen. Omdat hij het te gevaarlijk vond om daar te landen, landde hij in een buurland, waardoor Kaczynski met de auto naar Tbilisi moest. Het staatshoofd verweet de piloot later dat hij weigerde bevelen op te volgen.


Een half uur eerder had een ervaren Russische piloot, die het gebied goed kent, nog rechtsomkeert gemaakt naar Moskou, nadat hij twee keer had geprobeerd te landen.

Polen heeft een week van nationale rouw afgekondigd. De Russische regering heeft een diepgaand onderzoek naar de toedracht van het ongeluk beloofd. De regering van Polen komt zaterdag in buitengewone zitting bijeen, zo meldde de regeringsvoorlichtingsdienst in Warschau. In binnen- en buitenland is geschokt gereageerd op de dood van Kaczynski.

http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/article1368209.ece/Bemanning_crash_negeerde_instructies

Nu even ter zake beste vrienden: de Poolse president, een reactionaire rotzak zoals er maar weinigen zijn, die de dood van 95 medemensen op zijn geweten heeft, is door eigen schuld dood. Wat bedoelt de Volkskrant dan precies met deze zin: 'In binnen- en buitenland is geschokt gereageerd op de dood van Kaczynski.' Ik zou denken dat alle fatsoenlijke mensen in het binnen- en buitenland 'geschokt' zijn door het feit dat de reactionaire rotzak 95 medemensen de dood in heeft gejaagd.

En wat de dood van een Poolse president betreft. Ik verpletterde vorige week zondag bij het tuinieren per ongeluk een slak. Dat trof me meer dan de dood van Kaczynski, het beestje kon er niets aan doen, ik had beter moeten opletten. Een ode aan het slakje, An' fellow mortal.


Robbert Burns. To a mouse.

Burns Original

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!


Standard English Translation


Small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast,
O, what a panic is in your breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With hurrying scamper!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;
What then? Poor beast, you must live!
An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.

Your small house, too, in ruin!
It's feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December's winds coming,
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plough past
Out through your cell.

That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blest, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

The Empire 548

The Cover-Ups That Exploded

by: Alexander Cockburn, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

photo
(Photo: The U.S. Army; Edited: Lance Page /t r u t h o u t)

The Pentagon is reeling after two lethal episodes uncovered by diligent journalism show trigger-happy U.S. Army helicopter pilots and U.S. Special Forces slaughtering civilians, then seeking to cover up their crimes.

The World Wide Web was transfixed Monday when Wikileaks put up on YouTube a 38-minute video, along with a 17-minute edited version, taken from a U.S. Army Apache helicopter, one of two firing on a group of Iraqis in Baghdad at a street corner in July 2007. Twelve civilians died, including a Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and a Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40.

At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Wikileaks said it had got the footage from whistle-blowers in the military and had been able to break the encryption code. The Pentagon has confirmed the video is genuine.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has finally admitted that Special Forces troops killed two pregnant Afghan women and a girl in a February 2010, raid, in which two Afghan government officials were also killed. Brilliant reporting by Jerome Starkey of The Times of London has blown apart the U.S. military's cover-up story that the women were killed by knife wounds administered several hours before the raid.

It now appears that the knife wounds may have been inflicted by the Special Forces troops retrieving their bullets from the dead or dying women's bodies. Starkey's story last Sunday in The Times reported that "Afghan investigators also determined that American forces not only killed the women but had also 'dug bullets out of their victims' bodies in the bloody aftermath" and then "washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened."

The 17-minute video recording the U.S. military's massacre from the air in Baghdad is utterly damning. The visual and audio record reveal the two Apache helicopter pilots and the U.S. Army intelligence personnel monitoring the real-time footage falling over themselves to make the snap judgment that the civilians roughly a thousand feet below are armed insurgents and that one of them, peeking round a corner, was carrying an RPG -- that is, a rocket-propelled antitank grenade launcher.

The dialogue is particularly chilling, revealing gleeful pilots gloating over the effect of their initial machine-gun salvoes. "Look at those dead bastards," one pilot says. "Nice," answers the other. Then, as a wounded man painfully writhes toward the curb, the pilots eagerly wait for an excuse to finish him off. "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon," one pilot says yearningly.

Then suddenly, a civilian van, seeing the carnage, pulls up. A man jumps out and starts dragging the wounded man around to load him in. The pilots implore the intelligence monitors to give them the go-ahead to strafe the van, about which they have made the instant, fatally erroneous judgment that this is an insurgent rescue squad. A few moments later, the intelligence monitors, with zero visual evidence underpinning their judgment, give the go-ahead.

Another salvo finishes off the wounded man and his would-be rescuer, kills other civilians in the van and wounds two children in the front seat.

U.S. ground troops arrive on the scene, report the presence of wounded children. "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle," one pilot tells the other. There are further sniggers as a U.S. armored vehicle rolls up. "I think they just drove over a body," one of the pilots cackles.

One disgraceful exchange discloses a brutal order to the U.S. ground troops not to take the wounded children to the nearest military hospital, thus condemning them to the long waits and understaffed, under-equipped Baghdad civilian hospitals. It clearly shows the culpability of the next command echelon, which is just as great as that of the pilots.

In the wake of the lethal onslaught, the U.S. military denied that any error had taken place, its version of events faithfully cited by The New York Times under the headline "2 Iraqi Journalists Killed as U.S. Forces Clash With Militias": "According to the (U.S. military's) statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine (sic) insurgents were killed."

The footage made public by Wikileaks makes it clear this was fiction, from start to finish.

Defense analyst Pierre Sprey, who led the design teams for the F-16 and A-10 and who spent many years in the Pentagon, stresses two particularly damning features of the footage. The first is the claim that Noor-Eldeen's telephoto lens could be mistaken for an RPG. "A big telephoto for a 35mm camera is under a foot and half at most. An RPG, unloaded, is 3 feet long, and loaded, 4 foot long. These guys were breathing hard to kill someone."

Sprey's second point is that an Apache helicopter makes a very loud "whomp, whomp" noise. " Twelve guys are unconcerned, with loud helicopters right overhead. Imagine if they were planning an assault on American troops. They'd be crouched down and skulking along walls, spread out. They would not be walking casually down the middle of the street, totally ignoring the helicopters."

A retired U.S. Marine was even blunter in an e-mail exchange:

"Not a good show at all. The group on the ground were banishing nothing that 'looked' or appeared as weapons, especially the voiced 'RPG' which is so obvious when loaded. And then again -- they were told in advance by intelligence (I am sure by the tone in the flight) that these people were bad guys. The Apache crews were just stupid and the intelligence clowns pointing them and egging them on are guilty of murder -- 'you are clear to engage.'"

In the aftermath, the U.S. military claimed that some AK-47s and a grenade launcher had been found at the scene. Sprey comments that, in the course of the subsequent cover-up, the weapons may well have been planted, LAPD style. According to Reuters, their men had been working on a story about weightlifting when they heard about a military raid in the neighborhood, and decided to drive there to check it out. Local witnesses say there was no firefight anywhere near where they were gunned down by the Apaches.

Reuters, which by that time had already had four employees killed in Iraq by the U.S. military (ultimately, to date, at least seven), demanded an investigation, which the Army says it undertook but found no breach of its Rules of Engagement by the pilots or U.S. Army intelligence.

Leave the last word to a retired U.S. Army man, answering the e-mail from the retired U.S. Marine quoted above:

"The damage this incident and its video evidence will do is immense ... it will irrefutably confirm for many that large chunk of anti-American propaganda which insists the American flyers are just playing computer shoot-em-up games using real flesh and blood as a proxy for the digital figures they usually slaughter only in the arcades.

"How much is simulator training responsible for the disconnection from reality demonstrated in this incident? The crew was detached from reality ... How (is) the Army ... producing crews that, having the potential for such incompetence, cannot detect it among themselves. If anyone in that crew had paused and asked if the action being taken was correct, surely it would have been aborted ... The Army has to find out why."

Alexander Cockburn is co-editor with Jeffrey St. Clair of the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch. He is also co-author of the new book "Dime's Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils," available through www.counterpunch.com.


http://www.truthout.org/alexander-cockburn-the-cover-ups-that-exploded58463

Israel als Schurkenstaat 103

Israel als enige democratie in het Midden-Oosten? De feiten:

Israel: operation media crackdown


Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s military offensive against the Gaza Strip, had an impact on the press. As regards its internal situation, Israel sank 47 places in the index to 93rd position. This nose-dive means it has lost its place at the head of the Middle Eastern countries, falling behind Kuwait (60th), United Arab Emirates (86th) and Lebanon (61st).

Israel has begun to use the same methods internally as it does outside its own territory. Reporters Without Borders registered five arrests of journalists, some of them completely illegal, and three cases of imprisonment. The military censorship applied to all the media is also posing a threat to journalists.

As regards its extraterritorial actions, Israel was ranked 150th. The toll of the war was very heavy. Around 20 journalists in the Gaza Strip were injured by the Israeli military forces and three were killed while covering the offensive.


http://blogs.rnw.nl/medianetwork/rsf-press-freedom-index-2009-published-today

De Westerse Terreur 72

Via Paul:


Wiki Leaks publiceert binnenkort video van massamoord op meer dan 100 Afghaanse burgers

Door Tzolkin, Op vri 9 apr 2010 20:02, 130x bekeken, 8 reacties , citaat / intro / linkdump
In een interview met MSNBC kondigt Julian Assange aan dat zijn organisatie WikiLeaks binnenkort een video zal publiceren met beelden van de moord op meer dan 100 burgers in mei 2009 door Amerikaanse soldaten in Afghanistan. Assange deed zijn aankondiging in een interview met Dylan Ratigan van MSNBC over de deze week gepubliceerde video van een moordpartij in Baghdad.

Yoram Stein 4



Sluit dit venster
Toon op originele grootte

Toon op originele grootteDe vraag is of er niet meer aan de hand is met Yoram Stein dan alleen maar een zogenaamde 'wiet verslaving'. Een lezer stuurde me deze emails:


Onderwerp: emails Yoram Stein aan Norman Finkelstein

Datum: 10 april 2010 0:23:19 GMT+02:00

Aan: stan10@planet.nl


From: Yoram Stein

Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 8:22 AM

To: normangf[at]hotmail.com


You are a greater enemy to the jewish people then Hitler !

Its petty only the part of of the brains that controlls mouth and writing is funcktioning- the part of gathering information and proccesing is at low level.


Go look for a real job whereyou should swet for the buk.


you are the hero of all people that hate Israel! The country were i was born also to Holocoust survivers they country i love.


You dont have a counry you belong no where not even in your own body-a real devil.


Yoram Stein

------------------



From: "Yoram Stein"

To: "Norman Finkelstein"

Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003


In reaction to you MP3 lecture


You forget to tell your listners that:

Salah Adin concord Israel round 600, At that time there were no Mouslims in Palestine at all .


Arabs arrived from the Saudian Desert so there were no Arabs there at all.


Zionism did not came to solve Jewish assimilation!

End of 19 century Palestine was almost empty! at most 500,000 inhabitants!


About a some Morris you said his fact are correct -interpretation wrong.

by you fact selection is 1 basic fact lie and upon that a theory and conclutions-

whith them you feed your listners.


In fact you only tell Palestinian propoganda.


No real research by youself at location.


No wonder they call you at the states Kike! Shadow of an Human !


You are enemy not of israel but of the Jewish nation!


Yoram Stein

------------------


From: "Yoram Stein"

To: "Norman Finkelstein"

Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003


Regarding your speech at Toronto University


If I was between the audience you would hear from me after third sentence of yours the remark:

In year 600 there were no Muslims in Israel ! Give us lecture how they arrived there? What was their way to gain control on the land?


Second remark would have been:

What happened in Tel Chai (north of galil) tell us about the story there! (Trumpeldor and his friends).


Third: you bring a fact (wonder what are your resources-often wrong statistics-wrong citations of people) and you build the most crazy conclusions upon.

How did (do) you collect your Historical knowledge (you where citating Ben Gurion with words and thoughts -did you read his mind-Do you have contact with the dead?)


Now some of mine impression of you:

If you have tasted the breath of freedom of being grown in your own county, instead of being grown under the smell of Gefilte fish,

in a Jewish ghetto somewhere in Anti-Semitic Racist USA without the traumatic parents that have tasted 2nd world war

you would not have spreading the poison you are busy with now.


Did you serve ever your country in any way?Other then spreading thought and Philosophy based on whatever?


Why were you afraid to lecture in front of the Hezbollah in Lebanon?

Do you know what the word "Koran" means? Do you know the history of Islam?Do you speak Hebrew (has nothing to do with Israel)?


Next e-mail i'll be more specific and will correct your wrong facts.


In the mean time ill ask you to wright an speak on the base of fact you 100 % shure they are truth.and save your intreptetastion of fact to the listners

People can judge bij themself -give them only facts and choose fact carefully!


-----------------


Bron: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/content.php?pg=14


----------------------------------------------------------


From: ajaxole[at]yahoo.com

Subject: Solution to the Mid east conflict

Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 15:11:17 -0700 (PDT)


So what's your solution to the Mid. East- Do you want all Auschwitz survivors (like mom and dad, but with a bit of more balls. They have dared the difficut choice) and their children in Israel to the the county to the Palestinians and join you in cockroached Chicago? Chicago Polaks would not like the idea I guess.


How much the Arab( university clubs) are paying to hear a Jew spits on other Jews and Jewish organisation? Was it 5000 $ ? I think that if they are no antisemits, they become after they hear your lectures, in the begining they lough (vancouver)but i wonder whats in their mind while lieaving the hall


About you, about Bnei brit, About Darshowits that comes 4 bloks from you (the diff can not be that great - some people belive that place has influence on mans psycho )


Have a nice day


Yoram Stein


Bron: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/content.php?pg=15

----------------------------------------------------------


From: info[at]yotex.speedlinq.nl

To: normangf[at]hotmail.com

Subject: Dear Mr.Professor-now karikature tomorrow in yours and your parents backyard

Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 01:59:11 +0200


You were too coward to go visit Hezbolla in South Lebanon have have chosen to stay in Beiruth, so whats your Bla Bla about the Hezbolla-Your a Galut Jew with big mouth and small balls.


De idiots(the ones that does not know the facts) of Amsterdam in Cafe de Ballie can buy your stupid stories but not someone that knows the facts for real. Come on if you need money look for a decent job, do not spit on your own people.You remind me a prostitue.


Bah


Yoram Stein




From: info[at]yotex.speedlinq.nl

To: normangf[at]hotmail.com

Subject: why not

Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 02:20:46 +0200


If a Galut Jew (proffesor and graduate of mamous US university) can change events led to the birth the state of Israel and make a buisiness out of it, why can not some scum Arab make from Jesus a Palestinian?


bron: http://archiveforme.blogspot.com/2009/02/finkelstein-letters-2008.html


Iran 327


http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LB18Ak01.html
The case for an Israeli strike against Iran
By Spengler

The fact that Ha'aretz, Israel's left-leaning daily, found it necessary on February 17 to warn the Benjamin Netanyahu government not to attack Iran [1] strongly suggests that the option is on the table.

It seems clear that the administration of US President Barack Obama never will use force against Iran, despite the Iranian regime's open contempt for Washington and the international community. US Secretary of State Clinton this week responded with a direct "no" - not "all options are on the table" - when asked if America was planning a military strike.

During a February 16 visit to Saudi Arabia, Clinton talked about responses to Iran as if America had already decided that Iran was



developing nuclear weapons, something Tehran vigorously denies. Clinton was quoted as saying that the "evidence doesn'tsupport" Iran's claim it is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program.

Israel has a strategic problem broader than the immediate issue of Iran's possible acquisition of nuclear weapons: it is an American ally at a moment when America has effectively withdrawn from strategic leadership. That leaves Israel at a crossroads. It can act like an American client state, or a regionalsuperpower. Either decision would have substantial costs. To remain in Washington's pocket is to show weakness and invite the contempt of its adversaries; to ignore Washington's demands would incur the wrath of its most important financier and arms suppliers and possibly result in a reduction of aid.

That is the concern of the editors of Ha'aretz: "The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, warned in Tel Aviv on Sunday of the unexpected consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran, just as he did during the days of the [George W] Bush administration. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Qatar that Iran's neighbors, who are worried about its nuclear plans, must rely on the American defense umbrella. And next week, Vice President Joseph Biden will visit Israel to pass on a similar message."

Ha'aretz concludes, "The likelihood that the American move will succeed is unclear, but Israel is required to give Obama a chance, for one simple reason: Israel will need full Americansupport for any actions it may decide to take against the Iranian threat. If Israel goes to war, it will need intelligence help, prior warning, military equipment and diplomatic support from the United States."

That is not quite right. No matter how much "intelligence help" and "diplomatic support" Israel might get from the United States,Israel's capacity to deliver conventional munitions at a distance of 1,250 miles (2,012 kilometers) could not eradicate the Iranian nuclear program, which is located in hardened underground facilities. At best, Israeli efforts could set the program back a year or so. Low-yield nuclear weapons delivered by ballistic missile would be required to strike a devastating blow to Iran's nuclear program. But the political and strategic costs of the first use of nuclear weapons are grave, and Israel may not be ready to assume them. It probably doesn't need to.

The trouble is that Israel's strategic problem is usually presented in reductive terms: Iran (in the standard view) represents an existential threat to Israel in that it might get nuclear weapons; this would give it the capacity to destroy Israel, and thereforeIsrael must nip the existential threat in the bud. In this narrow framework, pushing back Iran's nuclear development by six to 18 months hardly seems worth the cost.

Iran's perceived attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, though, is not Israel's problem as such; the problem is that Israel is the ally of a superpower that does not want to be a superpower, headed by a president with a profound emotional attachment to a nostalgic image of the Third World. If America were in fact acting like a superpower, the problem would not have arisen in the first place, for the United States would use its considerably greater resources to destroy Iran's nuclear program.

Rather than focus on the second-order effect - the consequences of Iran's possible acquisition of nuclear weapons - Israeli analysts should consider the primary issue, namely the strategic zimzum[2] of the United States. The correct questions are: 1) can Israelact as a regional superpower independently of the United States, and 2) what would Israel do to establish its regional superpowerstatus?

The answer to the first question obviously depends on the second. To act as a regional superpower, Israel would have to take actions that shift the configuration of forces in its favor. No outside analyst has sufficient information to judge the issue - with the best of information a great deal of uncertainty is inevitable - but there are several reasons to believe that an Israeli attack on Iran would establish the Jewish state as an independentsuperpower and compel the United States to adjust its policy toIsrael's strategic requirements.

First, the Sunni Arab states have a stronger interest than Israel's to stop Iran from possibly going nuclear. Israel, after all, possesses perhaps two hundred deliverable nuclear devices, including some very big thermonuclear ones, and is in position to wipe Iran off the map. But none of Iran's Arab rivals is in such a position. The Saudis have done everything but take out a full-page ad in the Washington Post to encourage the Obama administration to attack Iran. Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, warned on February 15 that sanctions were a long-term measure while the world faces a short-term threat from Iran. Egypt reportedly has allowed Israeli missile ships to pass through the Suez Canal en route to the Persian Gulf.

Secondly, Russia well might prefer to deal with Israel as an independent regional power than as an ally of the United States. A stronger Israeli presence in the region also might contribute to Russia's market share in missiles and eventually fighter aircraft. Russian-Israeli cooperation in a number of military fields has improved markedly during the past year, including the first-ever sale of Israeli weapons to Russia (drones) and Israeli help for the Russian-Indian "fifth generation" fighter project.

Third, the United States would have to respond to a new strategic situation in the Middle East were Israel to inflict even moderate damage on Iran's nuclear program. The consequences would include, among other things:
  • Aggressive retaliation by Iran against American targets in Iraq. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have opposed bombing of Iran for years in part because they fear that Iran could inflict significant casualties on American forces.
  • Stronger Iranian support for the Taliban. Washington's plan for Afghanistan depends in part on the fanciful notion that Iran will be persuaded to support the Shi'ite Hazara minority against the Pashtun Taliban. Iran has always played both sides and in the event of an Israeli strike would shift resources towards whatever America liked the least.
  • Greater tensions between Pakistan and Iran. Iran's credibility in the region depends on its perception of being the protector of Pakistan's 35 million Shi'ites, the second-largest concentration outside of the 70 million people of Iran.

    To the extent Washington has a Middle East policy, it seems to involve playing balance-of-power games on the scale of the Mad Hatter's tea party, as I wrote at year-end (The life and premature death of the Pax Obamicana Asia Times Online, December 24, 2009). Whatever Washington thought it was doing would come unstuck in the wake of an Israeli strike against Iran. Rather than attempt to lead events - in no particular direction - Washington would have no choice except to follow until it arrived at its own foreign policy at some unspecified future date. Although Washington would scream like a scalded pig, Israel's influence is more likely to rise than to fall in the aftermath.

    There are numerous variables I cannot possibly estimate, of which the most important have to do with the technical feasibility of a long-distance strike. The political variables are too fuzzy to pin down. The strategic framework in which a unilateral Israelstrike on Tehran makes sense is one in which all depends onIsrael's capacity to improvise and dominate the situation through a combination of force and unpredictability.

    Once again, the words of my favorite character in American literature - Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op - come to mind: "Plans are all right sometimes ... And sometimes just stirring things up is all right - if you're tough enough to survive, and keepyour eyes open so you'll see what you want when it comes to the top."

    Notes
    1. See Israel should heed Obama's warning not to strike Iran
    2. Zimzum, also tsimtsum (Hebrew "contraction"). Jewish kabbalistic doctrine. The kabbalists taught that, in order that creation could take place, God had in some sense to make a space for it.

    Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman, senior editor of First Things (www.firstthings.com).
  • Iran 327

    The case for an Israeli strike against Iran
    By Spengler

    The fact that Ha'aretz, Israel's left-leaning daily, found it necessary on February 17 to warn the Benjamin Netanyahu government not to attack Iran [1] strongly suggests that the option is on the table.

    It seems clear that the administration of US President Barack Obama never will use force against Iran, despite the Iranian regime's open contempt for Washington and the international community. US Secretary of State Clinton this week responded with a direct "no" - not "all options are on the table" - when asked if America was planning a military strike.

    During a February 16 visit to Saudi Arabia, Clinton talked about responses to Iran as if America had already decided that Iran was



    developing nuclear weapons, something Tehran vigorously denies. Clinton was quoted as saying that the "evidence doesn'tsupport" Iran's claim it is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program.

    Israel has a strategic problem broader than the immediate issue of Iran's possible acquisition of nuclear weapons: it is an American ally at a moment when America has effectively withdrawn from strategic leadership. That leaves Israel at a crossroads. It can act like an American client state, or a regionalsuperpower. Either decision would have substantial costs. To remain in Washington's pocket is to show weakness and invite the contempt of its adversaries; to ignore Washington's demands would incur the wrath of its most important financier and arms suppliers and possibly result in a reduction of aid.

    That is the concern of the editors of Ha'aretz: "The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, warned in Tel Aviv on Sunday of the unexpected consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran, just as he did during the days of the [George W] Bush administration. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Qatar that Iran's neighbors, who are worried about its nuclear plans, must rely on the American defense umbrella. And next week, Vice President Joseph Biden will visit Israel to pass on a similar message."

    Ha'aretz concludes, "The likelihood that the American move will succeed is unclear, but Israel is required to give Obama a chance, for one simple reason: Israel will need full Americansupport for any actions it may decide to take against the Iranian threat. If Israel goes to war, it will need intelligence help, prior warning, military equipment and diplomatic support from the United States."

    That is not quite right. No matter how much "intelligence help" and "diplomatic support" Israel might get from the United States,Israel's capacity to deliver conventional munitions at a distance of 1,250 miles (2,012 kilometers) could not eradicate the Iranian nuclear program, which is located in hardened underground facilities. At best, Israeli efforts could set the program back a year or so. Low-yield nuclear weapons delivered by ballistic missile would be required to strike a devastating blow to Iran's nuclear program. But the political and strategic costs of the first use of nuclear weapons are grave, and Israel may not be ready to assume them. It probably doesn't need to.

    The trouble is that Israel's strategic problem is usually presented in reductive terms: Iran (in the standard view) represents an existential threat to Israel in that it might get nuclear weapons; this would give it the capacity to destroy Israel, and thereforeIsrael must nip the existential threat in the bud. In this narrow framework, pushing back Iran's nuclear development by six to 18 months hardly seems worth the cost.

    Iran's perceived attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, though, is not Israel's problem as such; the problem is that Israel is the ally of a superpower that does not want to be a superpower, headed by a president with a profound emotional attachment to a nostalgic image of the Third World. If America were in fact acting like a superpower, the problem would not have arisen in the first place, for the United States would use its considerably greater resources to destroy Iran's nuclear program.

    Rather than focus on the second-order effect - the consequences of Iran's possible acquisition of nuclear weapons - Israeli analysts should consider the primary issue, namely the strategic zimzum[2] of the United States. The correct questions are: 1) can Israelact as a regional superpower independently of the United States, and 2) what would Israel do to establish its regional superpowerstatus?

    The answer to the first question obviously depends on the second. To act as a regional superpower, Israel would have to take actions that shift the configuration of forces in its favor. No outside analyst has sufficient information to judge the issue - with the best of information a great deal of uncertainty is inevitable - but there are several reasons to believe that an Israeli attack on Iran would establish the Jewish state as an independentsuperpower and compel the United States to adjust its policy toIsrael's strategic requirements.

    First, the Sunni Arab states have a stronger interest than Israel's to stop Iran from possibly going nuclear. Israel, after all, possesses perhaps two hundred deliverable nuclear devices, including some very big thermonuclear ones, and is in position to wipe Iran off the map. But none of Iran's Arab rivals is in such a position. The Saudis have done everything but take out a full-page ad in the Washington Post to encourage the Obama administration to attack Iran. Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, warned on February 15 that sanctions were a long-term measure while the world faces a short-term threat from Iran. Egypt reportedly has allowed Israeli missile ships to pass through the Suez Canal en route to the Persian Gulf.

    Secondly, Russia well might prefer to deal with Israel as an independent regional power than as an ally of the United States. A stronger Israeli presence in the region also might contribute to Russia's market share in missiles and eventually fighter aircraft. Russian-Israeli cooperation in a number of military fields has improved markedly during the past year, including the first-ever sale of Israeli weapons to Russia (drones) and Israeli help for the Russian-Indian "fifth generation" fighter project.

    Third, the United States would have to respond to a new strategic situation in the Middle East were Israel to inflict even moderate damage on Iran's nuclear program. The consequences would include, among other things:
  • Aggressive retaliation by Iran against American targets in Iraq. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have opposed bombing of Iran for years in part because they fear that Iran could inflict significant casualties on American forces.
  • Stronger Iranian support for the Taliban. Washington's plan for Afghanistan depends in part on the fanciful notion that Iran will be persuaded to support the Shi'ite Hazara minority against the Pashtun Taliban. Iran has always played both sides and in the event of an Israeli strike would shift resources towards whatever America liked the least.
  • Greater tensions between Pakistan and Iran. Iran's credibility in the region depends on its perception of being the protector of Pakistan's 35 million Shi'ites, the second-largest concentration outside of the 70 million people of Iran.

    To the extent Washington has a Middle East policy, it seems to involve playing balance-of-power games on the scale of the Mad Hatter's tea party, as I wrote at year-end (The life and premature death of the Pax Obamicana Asia Times Online, December 24, 2009). Whatever Washington thought it was doing would come unstuck in the wake of an Israeli strike against Iran. Rather than attempt to lead events - in no particular direction - Washington would have no choice except to follow until it arrived at its own foreign policy at some unspecified future date. Although Washington would scream like a scalded pig, Israel's influence is more likely to rise than to fall in the aftermath.

    There are numerous variables I cannot possibly estimate, of which the most important have to do with the technical feasibility of a long-distance strike. The political variables are too fuzzy to pin down. The strategic framework in which a unilateral Israelstrike on Tehran makes sense is one in which all depends onIsrael's capacity to improvise and dominate the situation through a combination of force and unpredictability.

    Once again, the words of my favorite character in American literature - Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op - come to mind: "Plans are all right sometimes ... And sometimes just stirring things up is all right - if you're tough enough to survive, and keepyour eyes open so you'll see what you want when it comes to the top."

    Notes
    1. See Israel should heed Obama's warning not to strike Iran
    2. Zimzum, also tsimtsum (Hebrew "contraction"). Jewish kabbalistic doctrine. The kabbalists taught that, in order that creation could take place, God had in some sense to make a space for it.

    Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman, senior editor of First Things (www.firstthings.com).
  • vrijdag 9 april 2010

    Israel als Schurkenstaat 102

    Iraq: Seven Years of Occupation

    by: Raed Jarrar, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

    photo
    An Iraqi man waits in line outside a government headquarters building for food supplies from a humanitarian-aid delivery in northern Iraq. (Photo: DVIDSHUB / Flickr)

    On April 9, 2003, exactly seven years ago, Baghdad fell under the US-led occupation. Baghdad did not fall in 21 days, though; it fell after 13 years of wars, bombings and economic sanctions. Millions of Iraqis, including myself, watched our country die slowly before our eyes in those 13 years. So, when the invasion started in March of 2003, everyone knew it was the straw that would break the camel's back.

    I still remember the day of the fall of Baghdad very clearly, as if it happened yesterday. My family and I had fled to my uncle's home in southern Baghdad because our neighborhood, located near Baghdad's airport, was bombarded by US airplanes in the days before. I remember the first US tank rolling down the street with a US soldier, wearing black gloves, waving his hand and some people waving back. That was one of the sadist day of my life, not only because Baghdad fell under a foreign occupation, but also because I knew it would be the beginning of another disastrous chapter in Iraq's history. Now, when I look back at all that happened under the occupation, I find that I was, unfortunately, right.

    In the last seven years, one million Iraqis have been killed and millions more injured and displaced from their homes. The country's infrastructure was destroyed and Iraq's civil society has been severely damaged. A video posted this week by WikiLeaks is not an exception to how the US occupation operated in Iraq all along, but rather an example of it. While the video is shocking and disturbing to the US public, from an Iraqi perspective it just tells a story of an average day under the occupation. But even from the Pentagon's perspective, that attack was nothing exceptional. Reuters demanded an investigation into this particular attack because two of its employees were killed in it, and the Pentagon has already conducted an investigation that cleared all soldiers who took part of the attack of any wrongdoing. The video does not show an operation that went wrong, or where "rules of engagement" were not followed. It is simply how the US military has been doing business in Iraq for seven years now.

    What is equally disturbing is the mainstream media coverage of the event. For example, in a piece published the day of the attack, The New York Times reported that two Iraqi Journalists were killed "as US forces clash with Militias." The New York Times' piece confirmed "American forces battled insurgents in the area" and covered the following statement from the US military:

    The American military said in a statement late Thursday that 11 people had been killed: nine insurgents and two civilians. According to the statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine insurgents were killed. ''There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force,'' said Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad.

    Now, after the video was leaked, we know that none of this is true. Iraqis killed in the attack were not "insurgents." US troops were not "hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades," the attack helicopters were not "called in" in response to hostilities and there was no "ensuing fight" that caused the massacre. In fact, after watching the video, there is no question that the US forces were clearly NOT engaged in combat operations against a hostile force. In addition to making the entire story up, the Pentagon has very conveniently omitted the part about the two children being injured.

    This story is similar to hundreds of other stories printed by The New York Times and other mainstream media during the last seven years. Imagine how many tens of thousands of Iraqis who were labeled as "insurgents" and "militias" were killed and injured the same way. Imagine how many Iraqi children were killed and injured without a mention by the Pentagon or mainstream media. A number of international organizations, including Amnesty International, are now calling for an independent and impartial investigation into the July 12, 2007, helicopter attack shown in the leaked video. But I think this leaked video tells a bigger story than the attack itself. It tells a story of systemic, cold-blooded murder, and the shameful cover up by mainstream media and silence by international organizations.

    Remembering the last seven years and conducting investigations is important, but what is more important and urgent is to end this occupation. This month marks both the seventh year of occupation and the beginning of the combat forces withdrawal in accordance with President Obama's plan. The current plan for US withdrawal is based on two sets of time-based deadlines. Obama's own plan to withdraw combat forces between April and August 31, 2010, and the bilateral security agreement's deadline for the withdrawal of all troops and contractors and shutting down all US bases by December 31, 2011.

    While the Bush administration adopted a conditions-based withdrawal plan based on the mantra "as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," the withdrawal doctrine under Obama has been time-based, not linked to conditions on the ground. The main problem with a condition-based withdrawal plans is that it creates an equation where deteriorating conditions lead to an extension of the military occupation. Unfortunately, many groups would like to see the US occupation of Iraq continue. Some groups, such as the Iraqi ruling parties or the military industrial complex in the United States, believe the occupation is in their self-interest. Others, such as al-Qaeda, hope to cripple the United States by keeping it engaged in a conflict that is taking an enormous toll on human lives, money and global reputation. And still others, such as Iran and other regional players, fear the re-emergence of a strong independent and united Iraq that would change the power balance in the Middle East.

    The conditions on the ground are rapidly deteriorating in Iraq. After last month's general election, there is a dramatic spike in violence and growing threats to the security and political stability of the country. This week alone, hundreds of Iraqis were killed and injured because of car bombs, assassinations, and other armed attacks. Meanwhile, the Iraqi political establishment is struggling to form the new government. The US war machine is already trying to use this deterioration as an excuse to delay or cancel the withdrawal plan, or at least link it to conditions on the ground.

    Going back to a condition-based plan will cost the US hundreds of billions more, will result in the deaths of countless more US soldiers and Iraqi civilians and, most importantly, will not bring Iraq closer to being a stable and prosperous country. The US occupation has never been a part of the solution and it will never be. Delaying or canceling the US withdrawal will only diminish what's left of US credibility and will add another layer of complications to the war-torn country. Many national US organizations, including Peace Action, are calling for a national day of action today to ask Congress and the White House to stick to the time-based withdrawal plan and bring the US combat forces as promised before the end of August.

    The US has been engaged in military hostilities with Iraq and Iraqis since 1991. Even when Obama abides by the security agreement and ends the occupation next year, the US responsibility to compensate and help Iraqis help themselves will not be over. Our responsibility starts by ending the 20-year war, but it doesn't end there.

    http://www.truthout.org/iraq-seven-years-occupation58428