zaterdag 5 juli 2008

Theodor Holman 5

Ik werd vanochtend gefeliciteerd door mijn levenspartner. Gisteren had ik omstandig uiteen gezet dat het verhaal van de 'bevrijding' van mevrouw Betancourt en die andere gijzelaars een opzetje moest zijn geweest. Iedere journalist met enige scepsis kan door deze propaganda heen prikken. Maar niet mijn collega's van de commerciele massamedia die juichend het nieuws verspreidden. 'Veilig en zonder een schot' meldde bijvoorbeeld het Parool, om te benadrukken dat Chavez geen enkele rol had gespeeld bij deze 'bevrijding, want de consensus is dat de democratisch gekozen president van Venezuela een schoft is, omdat hij weigert te buigen voor de belangen van de VS. De hoofdstedelijke stukjesschrijver Theodor Holman riep onmiddelijk Sarkozy tot 'held' uit in dit Kuifjesverhaal. Maar nu bericht de grote mensenkrant de Guardian het volgende:
'Ransom claim in Ingrid Betancourt release

The Colombian government said that she was freed in an audacious operation after the military tricked Farc into handing the French-Colombian politician over without a shot being fired.
But quoting "reliable sources", Swiss Radio reported that a ransom was paid of around $20m (£10m).
It said that the US, which had three citizens among those freed, was behind the deal and that "the whole operation afterwards was a set-up".
The station reported that the wife of one of the hostages' guards was the go-between, having been arrested by the Colombian army.
If proved true, the allegations would be hugely embarrassing for the Colombian government which was showered with praise for the efficiency of the operation. Many commentators had predicted that it would even spell the end of Farc as a credible force.
President Nicolas Sarkozy met Betancourt at the Villacoublay military air base south of Paris.
The hero's welcome for the 46-year-old, who has held by the Farc, is being shown live on French television.'

Het verhaal van de omkoping klinkt al veel geloofwaardiger dan de officiele versie die door een praatjesmaker als Holman, die op zoek is naar een politieke held, wordt omarmd.

De auteur Milan Kundera noemt journalisten terecht de ‘termieten van de reductie,’ die ‘over de hele wereld dezelfde simplificaties en clichés uit[strooien], waarvan mag worden verwacht dat ze door de meerderheid zullen worden aanvaard, door allen, door de hele mensheid.’ En dat komt deels omdat de mens wenst zich een wereld waarin het goed en het kwaad duidelijk van elkaar te onderscheiden zijn, want in hem huist het ingeschapen en ontembare verlangen te oordelen alvorens te begrijpen.’

vrijdag 4 juli 2008

De Israelische Terreur 412

De dagelijkse terreur van de "joodse natie" die wordt gesteund door onder andere de Nederlandse regering
en beloond door de EU met een nog beter associatieverdrag. Mensenrechten spelen hierbij geen enkele rol, zoals de derde wereld maar al te goed beseft.
'Wall slices off al-Khader's famous vineyards

Adri Nieuwhof writing from al-Khader, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 4 July 2008

Since early January the Palestinian village of al-Khader located near Bethlehem in the West Bank has protested against Israel's construction of the Apartheid Wall and Jewish-only settlements built on village land every week. Al-Khader is known in the region for its vineyards which produce excellent-quality grapes. In the past they were sold all over the West Bank and Israel but farmers can no longer get their produce to the market. I traveled to al-Khader to witness the impact of the wall on the village at the invitation of Samer Jaber of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements. At his apartment in al-Khader, Samer shows me a map of the al-Khader area located on the western edge of Israel's "Greater" Jerusalem. The wall will cage the villagers of Battir, Wadi Fukin, Husan, Nahallin, and will cut off residents of al-Khader and Beit Jala from their fertile lands. Roughly 40,000 Israeli settlers inhabit this region of the West Bank with some 20,000 Palestinians. Once the wall is completed, al-Khader residents will only be able to access their land through a pedestrians-only turnstile located south of the village. The farmers will require permission from from Israel to bring vehicles and large equipment to their land through a gate 20 kilometers from the village. Samer tells me that two houses next to the wall have received demolition orders, because the owners built their houses without Israeli permission. The wall runs along the oldest part of al-Khader. Samer and I decide to visit it and a tunnel under construction near Route 60, part of Israel's parallel road system in the West Bank built to benefit its settler population at the expense of Palestinian freedom of movement. Along the way we are greeted by residents who know Samer from their shared childhood in the village or political activity during the first Palestinian intifada in the late '80s. I notice that the two men working on the road leading to the tunnel are taking our pictures with their mobile phones. After 500 meters I can see the tunnel, and the wall. We walk to the massive iron gate section of the wall next to the tunnel. Once the wall is finished Israeli forces will be able to enter al-Khader through this gate. I realize that I have passed this wall on the other side several times. Last time I took a picture of a Volvo truck delivering sand-colored bricks to soften the look of the immensely ugly concrete wall. It turns out that al-Khader is completely invisible from Route 60.This area of the wall differs from other sections I have seen snaking through the West Bank. It is composed of ugly gray eight-meter high concrete elements. Here, it resembles the wall we had close to the village where I grew up in the Netherlands, built to block the non-stop noise of the intensive traffic on a busy highway. With an estimated height of seven meters, the concrete elements bend about 60 degrees towards the road. Several schools are adjacent to the wall on the al-Khader side attended by about 2,700 schoolchildren of all ages.While we walk through the streets of old al-Khader, we meet someone who invites us to visit his balcony with a view of the wall. Route 60 was built on the land of the people who own the houses in the old street that runs parallel to it. Now, with the construction of the wall next to the road, they are cut off from their land. Our host used to have sheep, however with his land now on the other side of the wall he was forced to sell them. He now works as a laborer in the nearby Israeli settlement to provide an income for his family.'

Obama 7

En weer gaat het er als zoete koek in. Wanneer leert de mens nu eens?

What Patriotism Is, and Is Not
Thursday 03 July 2008
by: Michael Winship, t r u t h o u t Perspective

On Monday, Senator Barack Obama discussed American history, his own patriotism, and the need for service and sacrifice.(Photo: AP)
At the beginning of the week, a friend sent me a scurrilous, anonymous e-mail attacking Barack Obama that has been circulating around her elderly cousin's senior living community in New Jersey. Headlined "Something to Think About," it lists 13 acts of assassination, kidnapping, war and terrorism, all of which, it notes, were committed "by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40." After several other claims, including a bogus citation from the Book of Revelation, the e-mail concludes, semi-literately, "For the award winning Act of Stupidity Now ... the People of America want to elect, to the most Powerful position on the face of the Planet - The Presidency of the United States of America to A Muslim Male Between the ages of 17 and 40? Have the American People completely lost their Minds, or just their power of reason? I'm sorry but I refuse to take a chance on the 'unknown' candidate Obama."
To point out the obvious errors, that Barack Obama's a Christian, not Muslim, and that he's 46, not "between the ages of 17 and 40," feels a bit lame, like damning with faint fact-checking. Let's call this appalling missive what it is - bigoted, hysterical and more than a little nuts. Unless, of course, it comes from the hands not of a mere delusional crank, but one of those beneath-the-radar smear forces that we all know are out there, ratcheting into higher and higher gear as November gets closer.
E-mails such as the one my friend passed along are insidious, appealing to our deepest fears and prejudices. A front-page story in Monday's Washington Post profiled retired worker Jim Peterman of Findlay, Ohio. He's a decent guy who "believes a smart vote is an American's greatest responsibility," the Post's Eli Salsow wrote. "Which is why his confusion about Barack Obama continues to eat at him ...
"Does he trust a local newspaper article that details Obama's Christian faith? Or his friend Leroy Pollard, a devoted family man so convinced Obama is a radical Muslim that he threatened to stop talking to his daughter when he heard she might vote for him?
"'I'll admit that I probably don't follow all of the election news like maybe I should,' Peterman said. 'I haven't read his books or studied up more than a little bit. But it's hard to ignore what you hear when everybody you know is saying it. These are good people, smart people, so can they really all be wrong?'"
So it goes across the nation. Chances are, many of the perpetrators of this nonsense think they're being patriots, saving us from Obama and ourselves. And goodness knows, there's a long history of this kind of guttersnipery in American politics. As Obama pointed out in his Monday speech on the nature of patriotism, "Thomas Jefferson was accused by the Federalists of selling out to the French. The anti-Federalists were just as convinced that John Adams was in cahoots with the British and intent on restoring monarchal rule ... the use of patriotism as a political sword or a political shield is as old as the Republic."


Even wat tegenwicht nu de mediahype met in de hoofdrol onder andere de Colombiaanse president op volle toeren draait. Human Rights Watch:

'Letter to President Álvaro Uribe
May 2, 2007
President Álvaro Uribe Vélez Presidency of the Republic of Colombia Palacio de Nariño Bogota, Colombia

Dear President Uribe,
Thank you for your recent letter (which we have not yet received but have seen posted on your website) in which you express your concern over Human Rights Watch’s description of the current human rights situation in Colombia, including in the testimony we gave on April 24 before the US House of Representatives. I appreciate your statements about how much you value our extensive work on abuses committed by all actors—guerrillas, paramilitaries, and public security forces—in the internal armed conflict in Colombia. We make a great effort to cover these abuses in a balanced and objective manner. I agree with your statements about the importance of strengthening the rule of law, protecting civilians, and safeguarding human rights in Colombia. I strongly urge you to act consistently with these assertions, by taking the steps required to put these principles into practice in government policies and actions. Nonetheless, I respectfully disagree with several of the factual claims made in your letter. Killings of Trade Unionists You state that only 25 trade unionists were killed in 2006, and that so far this year only one trade unionist has been killed in Colombia. However, the only way to create these artificially low numbers is by excluding unionized teachers from the category of trade unionists. In fact, according to your own government’s official numbers, if you include unionized teachers, last year 58 trade unionists were killed, a substantial increase over the 40 killed the previous year. So far this year seven trade unionists, including unionized teachers, have been killed according to official statistics. Moreover, highly respected labor rights groups in Colombia, such as the National Labor School (Escuela Nacional Sindical) report even higher numbers: 72 trade unionists killed in 2006, an increase over the 70 reported in 2005, and nine killed so far this year—not just one, as you state. Your government asserts that, despite last year’s increase in killings, there has been a reduction in killings since they hit a peak in 2001. But in fact, current rates of killings of trade unionists are similar to those that were common in 1998 and 1999. It is, of course, helpful that the Ministry of Interior is offering a protection program for trade unionists. However, to effectively deal with the problem, it is crucial that your government take effective actions to dismantle paramilitary mafias, who have traditionally been the main perpetrators of these killings, with the acquiescence and even active support of state actors. Overall Killings You state that the overall official homicide rate in Colombia has declined substantially since you assumed office—a fact you attribute to your Democratic Security policies. We recognize that the security situation in several major cities and highways has improved, and that your government appears to have pushed the FARC guerrillas out of many regions, such as San Vicente del Caguán, where they were committing abuses. However, the official homicide rate, which lumps together deaths from common crime as well as killings committed by all sides in the conflict, is too broad to serve as a useful indicator of human rights abuses. To focus only on this general number masks several very troubling trends. The number of extrajudicial executions committed by the Army, for example, is skyrocketing—a fact that your own Minister of Defense admitted in meetings with me and other colleagues. The United Nations has a list of over 150 cases of extrajudicial executions of civilians committed by the Army throughout the country in the last two years. The Colombian Commission of Jurists, one of Colombia’s most respected human rights organizations, is reporting over 200 cases a year. In many of these cases the civilian has been killed, and later dressed up as a combatant, apparently to inflate the official enemy body count of the military unit in question. The number of selective killings committed by paramilitary groups is also cause for alarm. Starting in 2000, according to official statistics, the number of massacres by paramilitary groups started to decline sharply. As described to us by paramilitary commanders themselves in Medellin, this decline reflected a shift in tactics by paramilitaries, who had already taken over control of vast regions of the country, and were starting to focus on consolidating that power. In their view, enforcement of their control no longer required large–scale massacres, but rather only selective killings of persons who they considered enemies. Thus, the number of paramilitary massacres has dropped substantially. However, the number of selective killings attributable to paramilitaries has remained virtually unchanged for more than a decade, since 1996, despite your demobilization program. According to the Colombian Commission of Jurists, to this day paramilitary groups commit between 800 and 900 selective killings per year. Paramilitary Demobilization Process You assert that “thanks… to the Justice and Peace Law” today “31,671 Colombian members of the now-extinct paramilitary groups” have “abandoned their arms and are reintegrated into society.” It is true that over 30,000 individuals went through demobilization ceremonies. But of those 30,000 only a small fraction, 2,696, has reportedly applied for reduced sentences under the Justice and Peace Law. As we reported in Smoke and Mirrors nearly two years ago, the rest have been allowed to enjoy the benefits of reintegration programs, including government stipends, without being required to confess or turn over illegal assets, without being adequately interrogated, and without being effectively monitored by the authorities. Indeed, we understand that your government has lost track of several thousand of these supposedly demobilized troops, and does not currently know where they are or what they are doing.'

Lees verder:

Obama 6

De financiers van Obama laten deze sprekende pop hun verhaal vertellen. Vroeger heetten deze mensen in het racistische Amerika 'token niggers,' maar die woorden zijn nu politiek incorrect, dat wil zeggen: in het openbaar. Obama heet nu een Afro-Amerikaan, maar hij handelt nog steeds als een 'token nigger', en daar draait het natuurlijk om.

'Obama lijkt Irak-standpunt te wijzigen
Uitgegeven: 3 juli 2008 23:44
Laatst gewijzigd: 3 juli 2008 23:45

De Democratische presidentskandidaat Barack Obama heeft donderdag gezinspeeld op een wijziging in zijn standpunt ten aanzien van de oorlog in Irak. Tot nu toe beloofde Obama dat hij, mocht hij begin volgend jaar het Witte Huis betreden, binnen zestien maanden Amerikaanse troepen naar huis zal halen. Maar op campagne in North Dakota zei hij donderdag dat zijn geplande reis naar Irak als gevolg kan hebben dat hij zijn plannen wijzigt.
Veel hangt af van wat hij te horen krijgt van militaire commandanten ter plekke, zei hij. Opmerkelijk is dat president George Bush ook vaak zegt dat hij bij beslissingen over troepenterugtrekkingen vooral luistert naar de commandanten ter plekke.'

Lees verder:

Nederland en Afghanistan 165

Dit schreef ik op 14 november 2005, bijna drie jaar geleden, toen de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia nog erg enthousiast waren over "onze" militaire inzet in Afghanistan. Overigens zonder dat mijn collega's zelfstandig onderzoek verrichtten. De enige die dat deed was Arnold Karskens, maar die werd door de politiek en de journalistiek gemarginaliseerd:

'Vandaag zijn bij twee zelfmoordaanslagen op voertuigen van de door de NAVO geleide troepen in Afghanistan een Duitse soldaat om het leven gekomen en zijn elf mensen gewond geraakt. 'Er zullen meer zelfmoordaanslagen volgen,' zei Mullah Hanif, een woordvoerder van de Taliban.'Wij zullen met alle middelen vechten om de buitenlandse strijdkrachten te verslaan.' De BBC meldt ondertussen dat 'more than 1,400 people have been killed in violence linked to militants in Afghanistan this year - the worst violence the country has seen since US-led forces ousted the Taleban in late 2001.' Volgens Robert Fisk, Midden Oosten-correspondent van The Independent, verslechtert de situatie in Afghanistan met de dag. 15 september van dit jaar deed Amnesty International een beroep op de Afghaanse parlementsleden 'to enact legislation that will enable the women of Afghanistan to lead lives free from fear of violence, including by publicly condemning all forms of violence against women and by removing laws that are discriminatory against women. The organization urged deputies to replace the rule of the gun with the rule of law, notably through the reform, strengthening and accessibility of the justice system. It further called upon deputies to resist human rights abuses and promote accountability in the ''war on terror'' by enacting, inter alia, legislation that will end illegal detention in undisclosed locations by US and Afghan forces, which is in violation of international law; and granting all detainees full access to lawyers, doctors and families.' Maart vorig jaar al waarschuwde Human Rights Watch voor het volgende: 'today, on Afghan soil, the United States is maintaining a system of arrests and detention as part of its ongoing military and intelligence operations that violates international human rights law and international humanitarian law (the laws of war). In doing so, the United States is endangering the lives of Afghan civilians, undermining efforts to restore the rule of law in Afghanistan, and calling into question itscommitment to upholding basic rights.' Het kabinet Balkenende is mede verantwoordelijk voor deze Amerikaanse militaire terreur door de actieve inzet van Nederlandse strijdkrachten in Afghanistan.'

Wanneer zullen de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia doorkrijgen dat "ons" gewelddadig ingrijpen volslagen failliet is.

Nederland en Afghanistan 164

Het Westen, inclusief ons christelijk/sociaal democratisch kabinet, besteedt miljarden aan zijn geweld in Afghanistan en om er de krijgsheren die miljarden verdienen aan de opiumhandel in het zadel te houden. De volksvertegenwoordigers snurken en de commerciele pers doet doorgaans geen onderzoek. Even een tussenstand:

'Military Chief: US Doesn't Have Enough Troops To Send To Afghanistan
Washington Post July 3, 2008 08:56 AM
From The Washington Post:
The nation's top military officer said yesterday that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan to tamp down an increasingly violent insurgency, but that the Pentagon does not have sufficient forces to send because they are committed to the war in Iraq.
Watch the video:'

En: 'One in five Afghan troops leave fledgling military force: documents
OTTAWA - As many as one of every five soldiers in the Afghan National Army leaves the fledgling fighting force, which Canada hopes will eventually take the lead in the war-ravaged country, say newly released documents.
Defence Department documents prepared in May 2007 say between 10 and 20 per cent of Afghans who go through military training end up leaving the army.

The documents, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, note dropout rates are seasonal, with more soldiers typically leaving in the winter.
Afghan soldiers' absenteeism is often described as temporary, as they return to other parts of the country for an extended break or to bring money home to their families.
"In general the current attrition rate of the Afghan National Army (ANA) is 10-20 per cent," says one document.' Lees verder:\\

En: 'Children suffer more in Afghanistan than any other country: UN KABUL (AFP) - Children in Afghanistan suffer more than in any other country in the world from violence, war and poverty, and sometimes become suicide bombers, the United Nations Children's

Fund (UNICEF) said Thursday Afghan children were not only caught up in fighting between Taliban rebels and international forces, but there was evidence of an increasing number ending up on the frontlines.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN's Special representative for Children in Armed Conflict, said Afghan children were the "forgotten victims" of three decades of war and violence.
"I can't think of any country in the world where children suffer more than in Afghanistan," Coomaraswamy told reporters.
She said her organisation was to present a comprehensive report on the plight of children in Afghanistan to the United Nations Security Council in October.
Children in Afghanistan are suffering "not only because of the terrible violations due to war, but also the terrible poverty and hard work they have to endure," she said.' Lees verder:;_ylt=A0WTcVYCDm1I7L0AGSRvaA8F


'Bewoners Uruzgan negatief over ISAF
Van onze correspondente Deedee Derksen

gepubliceerd op 04 juli 2008 02:46, bijgewerkt op 4 juli 2008 07:32

KABUL/TARIN KOWT - De door NAVO geleide troepenmacht doet het slecht in Uruzgan. Dat zeggen de inwoners van de Afghaanse provincie, waar ongeveer 1.600 Nederlandse militairen zijn gelegerd. De houding van de bewoners ten opzichte van ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) en de Afghaanse overheid is in Uruzgan beduidend negatiever dan elders in Afghanistan.
Dat blijkt uit een geheime opiniepeiling van ISAF. Regelmatig houdt de internationale troepenmacht een peiling in Afghanistan. 5.500 Afghanen in het hele land zijn ondervraagd over onder meer veiligheid, (lokaal) bestuur en ISAF. De houding van de bevolking is cruciaal in de ‘counterinsurgency’-strategie van de internationale troepenmacht.
Belangrijke vragenUruzgan scoort verreweg het slechtst op vier belangrijke vragen. Zo staat 58 procent van de Uruzgani’s negatief ten opzichte van ISAF. Dat is een veel hoger aantal dan de volgende op de lijst: de provincie Wardak. Daar staat ongeveer 35 procent van de bewoners negatief tegenover de aanwezigheid van ISAF.
Het hele zuiden van Afghanistan scoort slecht als het gaat om de acceptatie van ISAF en de veiligheidssituatie. Maar zelfs binnen die regio scoort Uruzgan opvallend negatief. Bijna 60 procent van de bewoners vindt bijvoorbeeld dat het met de veiligheidssituatie slecht gesteld is in deze provincie. Dat staat tegenover 40 procent in het eveneens zeer turbulente Helmand, ten zuiden van Uruzgan.'

Leve de democratie!

Het Neoliberale Geloof 117

The Rise of Food Fascism: Agrarian Elite Foments Coup in Bolivia
By Roger Burbach
03/07/08 "Bolivia Rising" -- -

Like many third world countries Bolivia is experiencing food shortages and rising food prices attributable to a global food marketing system driven by multinational agribusiness corporations. With sixty percent of the Bolivian population living in poverty and thirty-three percent in extreme poverty, the price of the basic food canasta--including wheat, rice, corn, soy oil and potatoes, as well as meat—has risen twenty-five percent over the past year with prices gyrating wildly in the local markets.As in most other countries affected by the food crisis, the overall rise in food prices is attributable to the workings of the free market—when the price of one or several commodities goes up, the consumers turn to other food stuffs, thereby driving up these prices as well. In an effort to halt the effects of this unregulated market, the government has enacted price controls and even prohibited the export of beef, most of which is produced on haciendas. But these measures have been largely ineffective: A black market flourishes as agrarian commercial interests openly flaunt the central government’s price controls, even directly exporting commodities like beef and cooking oil at higher prices to the neighboring countries of Chile and Peru.This is taking place as Bolivia’s first Indian president, Evo Morales, is facing a sustained challenge by a right wing movement for autonomy that is integrally linked to the very agribusiness corporations that are profiting from the upsurge in food prices. Based in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, a powerful agrarian bourgeoisie is determined to upend the government’s agrarian reform program and to halt Morales’ efforts to more equitably distribute the wealth that flows from Bolivia’s oil and gas fields. Its ultimate goal is to topple Morales and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) that backs him.The corporate dominated agro-industrial complex in Santa Cruz is centered on the growing, processing and export of soy beans. Two of the world’s largest agribusiness multinationals, ADM and Cargill, play a major role in the regional economy. They are primarily exporters of Bolivian soybeans and sunflower seeds while ADM co-owns with a Bolivian firm the largest vegetable oil processing plant, Sociedad Aceitera del Oriente. (1) Giant agribusiness corporations like John Deere have commercial outlets in Santa Cruz as Bolivia manufactures no heavy agricultural machinery. Multinational companies supply most of Bolivia’s agrichemicals, while Monsanto and Calgene are promoting genetically modified seeds. Peruvian and Colombian agribusiness interests have also set up processing plants in Santa Cruz, including the Romero Company from Peru which has joint international operations with Cargill, while large soy growers from the neighboring Brazilian state of Mato Grosso have settled on Bolivian lands.The agrarian bourgeoisie of Santa Cruz is orchestrating the movement for provincial autonomy in order to seize control of the region’s extensive resources from the national government. The referendum on autonomy that was unconstitutionally voted on and approved in Santa Cruz on May 4, 2008 would allow the provincial administration to write its own contracts with multinationals and to exercise direct control over the police and law enforcement agencies. Autonomy would also enable the province to override national legislation promoted by Morales and MAS on agrarian reform and the control of public forests and subsoil rights, including natural gas and oil.The economic policies favoring the rise and consolidation of the agrarian bourgeoisie allied to global agribusiness took shape in the mid-1980s when the International Monetary Fund stepped in with a structural adjustment program. Hyper-inflation had gripped the country from 1983-85 and in exchange for the refinancing of Bolivia’s public and international debt the government agreed to a series of “market reforms,” including the reduction of tariffs and the slashing of state subsidies and assistance for the growing of basic food commodities. (2)

Lees verder:

Iran 218

Rep. Ron Paul Assails Congress's "Virtual Iran War Resolution"
By Congressman Ron Paul 03/07/08
"ICH" -- 01/07/08 -
Today the Dow Jones Average was down 350-some points, gold was up $32, and oil was up another $5. There is a lot of chaos out there and everyone is worried about $4 gasoline. But I don't think there is a clear understanding [of] exactly why that has occurred.We do know that there is a supply and demand issue, but there are other reasons for the high cost of energy. One is inflation. In order to pay for the war that has been going on, and the domestic spending, we've been spending a lot more money than we have. So what do we do? We send the bills over to the Federal Reserve and they create new money, and in the last three years, our government, through the Federal Reserve and the banking system, has created $4 trillion of new money. That is one of the main reasons why we have this high cost of energy and $4 per gallon gasoline.But there is another factor that I want to talk about tonight, and that is not only the fear of inflation and future inflation, but the fear factor dealing with our foreign policy. In the last several weeks, if not for months, we have heard a lot of talk about the potential of Israel and/or the United States bombing Iran. And it is in the marketplace. Energy prices are being bid up because of this fear. It has been predicted that if bombs start dropping, that we will see energy prices double or triple. It is just the thought of it right now that is helping to push these energy prices up. And that is a very real thing going on right now.But to me it is almost like deja vu all over again. We listened to the rhetoric for years and years before we went into Iraq. We did not go in the correct manner, we did not declare war, we are there and it is an endless struggle. And I cannot believe it, that we may well be on the verge of initiating the bombing of Iran!Leaders on both sides of the aisle, and in the administration, have all said so often, 'No options should be taken off the table—including a nuclear first strike on Iran.' The fear is, they say, maybe someday [Iran is] going to get a nuclear weapon, even though our own CIA's National Intelligence Estimate has said that the Iranians have not been working on a nuclear weapon since 2003. They say they're enriching uranium, but they have no evidence whatsoever that they're enriching uranium for weapons purposes. They may well be enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, and that is perfectly legal. They have been a member of the non-proliferation treaties, and they are under the investigation of the IAEA, and El Baradei has verified that in the last year there have been nine unannounced investigations and examinations of the Iranian nuclear structure and they have never been found to be in violation. And yet, this country and Israel are talking about a preventive war—starting bombing for this reason, without negotiations, without talks.Now the one issue that I do want to mention tonight is a resolution that is about to come to this floor if our suspicions are correct, after the July 4th holiday. And this bill will probably be brought up under suspension. It will be expected to be passed easily. It probably will be. And it is just more war propaganda, just more preparation to go to war against Iran.This resolution, H.J. Res 362 [listed as H. Con. Res 362 online] is a virtual war resolution. It is the declaration of tremendous sanctions, and boycotts and embargoes on the Iranians. It is very, very severe. Let me just read what is involved if this bill passes and what we're telling the President what he must do:This demands that the President impose stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran, and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials.This is unbelievable! This is closing down Iran. Where do we have this authority? Where do we get the moral authority? Where do we get the international legality for this? Where do we get the Constitutional authority for this? This is what we did for ten years before we went into Iraq. We starved children—50,000 individuals it was admitted probably died because of the sanctions on the Iraqis. They were incapable at the time of attacking us. And all the propaganda that was given for our need to go into Iraq was not true.And it is not true today about the severity [of the need to attack Iran]. But they say, "Yeah, but Ahmadinejad—he's a bad guy. He's threatened violence." But you know what? Us threatening violence is very, very similar. We must—we must look at this carefully. We just can't go to war again under these careless, frivolous conditions.

NOTE: This is an unofficial transcript of Dr. Paul's speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on June 28, courtesy of the DailyPaul web site; click here for the complete text of Congressional Resolution 362 (introduced on May 22, 2008) and here for the complete text of the companion Senate resolution 580 (introduced June 2, 2008). These bills are expected to come up for voting after the July 4th holiday.

Europese Moslims

De Independent bericht:

Muslims feel like 'Jews of Europe'
Minister's shock warning on rise of anti-Islamic prejudice
By Cahal Milmo, Chief Reporter
Friday, 4 July 2008
Britain's first Muslim minister has attacked the growing culture of hostility against Muslims in the United Kingdom, saying that many feel targeted like "the Jews of Europe".
Shahid Malik, who was appointed as a minister in the Department for International Development (Dfid) by Gordon Brown last summer, said it has become legitimate to target Muslims in the media and society at large in a way that would be unacceptable for any other minority.
Mr Malik made clear that he was not equating the situation with the Holocaust but warned that many British Muslims now felt like "aliens in their own country". He said he himself had been the target of a string of racist incidents, including the firebombing of his family car and an attempt to run him down at a petrol station.
"I think most people would agree that if you ask Muslims today what do they feel like, they feel like the Jews of Europe," he said. "I don't mean to equate that with the Holocaust but in the way that it was legitimate almost – and still is in some parts – to target Jews, many Muslims would say that we feel the exact same way.
"Somehow there's a message out there that it's OK to target people as long as it's Muslims. And you don't have to worry about the facts, and people will turn a blind eye."
The claims are made in an interview to be broadcast on Monday in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme to coincide with the third anniversary of the London bombings of 7 July.
A poll to accompany the documentary highlights the growing polarisation of opinion among Britain's 1.6 million Muslims, who say they have suffered a marked increase in hostility since the London bombings.
The ICM survey found that 51 per cent of Britons blame Islam to some degree for the 2005 attacks while more than a quarter of Muslims now believe Islamic values are not compatible with British values. While 90 per cent of Muslims said they felt attached to Britain, eight out of 10 said they felt there was more religious prejudice against their faith since the July bombings.
The Dispatches film, "It Shouldn't Happen to a Muslim", presented by the writer and broadcaster Peter Oborne, examines claims that negative attitudes to Muslims have become legitimised by think-tanks and newspaper commentators, who use language that is now being parroted by the far right.
Mr Malik, who narrowly escaped serious injury when a car was driven at him at a petrol station in his home town of Burnley in 2002, said he regularly receives anti-Muslim hate mail at his constituency office in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, which has the highest BNP vote in the country and was home to Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the suicide attackers who killed 52 people in London in 2005.
The MP said the negative portrayal of Muslims in the media, including a story run by several national newspapers in December last year wrongly stating that staff in the Dewsbury and District Hospital had been ordered to turn the beds of Muslim patients towards Mecca five times a day, was a key example of how his co-religionists were being alienated from the mainstream.
He said: "It's almost as if you don't have to check your facts when it comes to certain people, and you can just run with those stories. It makes Muslims feel like aliens in their own country. At a time when we want to engage with Muslims, actually the opposite happens."

donderdag 3 juli 2008

Gore Vidal 5

'The US is not a republic anymore'

An interview with Gore Vidal by Afshin Rattansi, Press TV, Tehran

Press TV:We hear that Michael Mukasey is going to become the latest of the President's Attorney-Generals to be subpoenaed, this time over his conversations with Bush and Cheney - does this show that Congress is serious about calling the executive to account?
Gore Vidal: No, Congress has never been more cowardly, nor more corrupt. All Bush has do is to make sure certain amounts of money go in the direction of certain important congressmen and that's end of any serious investigation. After all, one of the bravest members of Congress is Denis Kucinich who brought the article of impeachment in to the well of the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives must then try the president, and then after that it goes to the Senate for judgment. However, none of these things will happen because there's nobody there except for Mr. Kucinich who has the courage to take on a sitting president who is kind of a Mafioso.
Press TV: How can it just be one person among so many hundreds of Congressmen who wants the impeachment of George W. Bush in these circumstances?
Gore Vidal: Well it's because we no longer have a country. We don't have a republic any more. During the last 7 or 8 years of the Bush regime, they've got rid of the Bill of Rights, they've got rid of habeas corpus. They have got rid of one of the nicest gifts that England ever left us when they went away and we ceased to be colonies - the Magna Carta - from the 12th century. All of our law and due process of law is based on that. And the Bush people got rid of it. The president and little Mr. Gonzales who for a few minutes was his Attorney General. They managed to get rid of all of the constitutional links that made us literally a republic.
Press TV: You have often written about the US's superpower status in terms of the history of previous superpowers. Do you think we're witnessing the end of US power as some suggest. Will the White House be seen like Persepolis?
Gore Vidal: Well it won't make such good ruins, no. It'll be more like the tomb of Cyrus nearby. They managed to destroy the United States - why? Because they're oil and gas people and they're essentially criminals. I repeat that this is a criminal group that's seized control of the country through what looked like an ordinary election. But there's some very nice films and documentaries about what happened in the year 2000 when Albert Gore won the election for president and they saw to it that he couldn't serve. They got the Supreme Court - which is the Holy of Holies ordinarily in our system - to investigate and then accuse the thieves of being absolutely correct and the winners - Mr. Gore and the Democrats - of being the cheaters. It's the first law of Machiavelli, whatever your opponent's faults are, you pick his virtues and you deny he has them. That's what they did when Senator Kerry ran a few years ago for president. He's a famous hero from the Vietnam War. They said he was a coward and not a hero. That's how it's done. When you have a bunch of liars in charge of your government you can't expect to get much history out of that. But later on we'll dig and dig… and we will dig up Persepolis.
Press TV: Senator Obama talks about change but of course he has courting Wall Street as well as the Israeli lobby - do you see any prospect of change with him as president?
Gore Vidal: Not really. I don't doubt his good faith, just as I do not doubt the bad faith of Cheney and Bush. They are such dreadful people that we've never had in government before. They would never have risen unless they were buying elections as they did in Florida in 2000, as they did in the State of Ohio in 2004. These are two open thefts of the Presidency. When I discovered that this did not interest the New York Times or the Washington Post or any of the press of the country I realized our day was done. We are no longer a country we are a framework for crooks to go in and steal money. Knowing that they'll never be caught and they'll be admired for it. Americans always take everybody on his own evaluation. You say I'm a state and they say "oh, yeah yeah yeah, he's a state, isn't that great." And you accuse the other people of your crimes before you commit them. It's an old trick which was known to Machiavelli who wrote about it in his handbook, the Prince.
Press TV:Finally that issue which is exercising so many minds in the Middle East and beyond. You, yourself have written about so many Imperial wars of the United States. Do you think Bush and Cheney would risk another war in what Mohammad ElBaradei of the IAEA calls a fireball?
Gore Vidal: They are longing to but they have spent all of the money. They have got it in their own private companies like the Vice-President and a company called Halliburton which is stealing more money and should be on trial sooner or later before Congress. But perhaps not, who knows? But it's well known in Washington, these people are leaking away the money of the country. Well there's no more money. They are longing for a war with Iran. Iran is no more a harm to us than was Iraq or Afghanistan. They invented an enemy, they tell lies, lies, lies.

Het Neoliberale Geloof 116

'Midwest Floods Spotlight Decrepit Infrastructure

by: Andrew Stern, Reuters
Chicago - The latest U.S. natural disaster is triggering fresh rounds of concern and debate about how to repair America's aging infrastructure.
The worst Midwest flooding since 1993 has generated images of swamped towns, cracked roads, washed-out bridges, overwhelmed dams, failed levees, broken sewage systems, stunted crops and water-logged refugees. The losses are in the billions of dollars and still mounting, as the costs of crop losses alone send shocks through the inflation-wracked world food system and threaten insurers.
The disaster has reminded policymakers of the decrepit state of U.S. infrastructure, stirring concerns similar to those following the deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007 and the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Even before the latest flooding, a group representing engineers said the United States needed to spend about $1 trillion more than it does now to bring infrastructure up to par with modern needs and standards.
"The patch-and-pray approach simply won't succeed," said David Mongan, head of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
But the group also said its five-year cost estimate was outdated and does not count the price of new roads, rails, and sewers required by a growing population, nor the cost to repair damage inflicted by the recent Midwest floods.
President George W. Bush has asked Congress for $1.8 billion to boost funds for flood recovery but it is unclear how much of that money will end up in infrastructure repair.
Presidential candidates vying to succeed him have each promised quick action in Congress and offered some ideas for the larger task of repairing infrastructure.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has proposed creating a $60 billion fund for infrastructure projects, funded by money saved by a promised withdrawal from the war in Iraq.
"This can be the moment when we make a generational commitment to rebuild our infrastructure," Obama told business executives in Pittsburgh last week.
Everywhere You Look
Each need sounds dire: new wastewater treatment so sewage does not taint the same waterways that supply drinking water; repairs or replacements for thousands of corroded bridges; new and repaired dams and levees that will not fail; and upgrades to airports and air traffic control.'

Oil 42

US Marines moved quickly to protect the Iraqi oil ministry in Baghdad, surrounding the complex with razor-sharp barbed wire. US-controlled Iraq should return to the oil market within months. (AFP/EPA/Christophe Simon)

'US Advised Iraqi Ministry on Oil Deals

by: Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times

A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say.
The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts' announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq's oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism.
In their role as advisers to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, American government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting the contracts, advisers and a senior State Department official said.
It is unclear how much influence their work had on the ministry's decisions.
The advisers - who, along with the diplomatic official, spoke on condition of anonymity - say that their involvement was only to help an understaffed Iraqi ministry with technical and legal details of the contracts and that they in no way helped choose which companies got the deals.
Repeated calls to the Oil Ministry's press office for comment were not returned.
At a time of spiraling oil prices, the no-bid contracts, in a country with some of the world's largest untapped fields and potential for vast profits, are a rare prize to the industry. The contracts are expected to be awarded Monday to Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Total and Chevron, as well as to several smaller oil companies.
The deals have been criticized by opponents of the Iraq war, who accuse the Bush administration of working behind the scenes to ensure Western access to Iraqi oil fields even as most other oil-exporting countries have been sharply limiting the roles of international oil companies in development.'

Lees verder:

Het Parool berichtte gisteren dat "Irak geeft buitenland kans bij oliewinning." Hoe onwetend kan men zijn om dit soort propaganda blind door te geven. In elk geval heb ik nu toch mijn abonnement maar opgezegd. Voor het Amsterdamse nieuws hoeft het ook niet meer. Dat is al even grote nonsens. En hun Israel-correspondent, Ad Bloemendaal, een zionist die zich voor journalist uitgeeft, schrijft de legerpropaganda letterlijk over.

De Israelische Terreur 411

Crossing the Line focuses on a possible Israeli strike on Iran Podcast, Crossing the Line,
2 July 2008

This week on Crossing The Line: The Israeli Air Force recently conducted long-range exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, a move that US intelligence officials say might be a prelude to a strike on Iran. Is Israel being used as a proxy by the US to attack Iran? Or is Israel, which has struck sites it alleged to be nuclear in Iraq and Syria in the past, planning to strike Iran on its own? Bill Christison, a former CIA intelligence officer, will join host Naji Ali to discuss a possible Israeli strike on Iran.Also this week, the Israeli army assassinated two Palestinians in the West Bank while a tense cease-fire went into effect in the Gaza Strip on 19 June. With the ceasefire Israel has promised to ease restrictions on gas, and allow an increase of goods into Gaza. But how has the ceasefire improved life for Palestinians in Gaza? Are Gazans now receiving their basic necessities denied to them since the total closure began in June 2007? Palestinian journalist Rami Almeghari speaks with Ali on the new developments in Gaza.And as always, Crossing the Line begins with "This week in Palestine," a service provided by The International Middle East Media Center.

Listen Now [MP3 - 22.8 MB, 57:00 min] Crossing the Line is a weekly podcast dedicated to giving voice to the voiceless in occupied Palestine. Through investigative news, arts, eyewitness accounts, and music, Crossing the Line does its best to present the lives of people on the ground.

De Israelische Terreur 410

'When you shoot the messenger
Mel Frykberg,
The Electronic Intifada,
3 July 2008 GAZA CITY (IPS) -

The assault of IPS Gaza correspondent Mohammed Omer has left Israeli security personnel with a lot of explaining to do. And they are not doing a very good job of it.Omer was abused and assaulted by Israeli security personnel at the Allenby border crossing into Israel from Jordan as he tried to return to his home last week in the Gaza Strip.Omer was returning from Europe where he had addressed European parliamentarians on the situation on the ground in Gaza. In London he picked up a prize as joint winner of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (along with IPS correspondent Dahr Jamail).Omer, who also reports for The Washington Report, told IPS he was verbally abused, strip-searched at gunpoint and physically beaten. He was later hospitalized with broken ribs and related trauma.Israeli officials denied to IPS in Jerusalem that the award-winning journalist had been mistreated. They said the Gazan journalist had "lost his balance" after being searched on "suspicion of smuggling in illegal items."The officials were unable to explain how Omer, who is still hospitalized and in severe pain, "lost his balance" and then broke his ribs and severely bruised his arm in the "fall."The Israeli officials could not explain what illegal items they suspected Omer could have smuggled in. He was assaulted after he had passed through the x-ray machine and his belongings had twice been searched. The officials said only that they would look into the matter further.Omer's situation is neither unique nor rare. Both Israeli and international human rights organizations have accused Israel of regularly mistreating and abusing Palestinians both at border crossings and during arrests.Reporters Without Borders has "condemned abusive behavior by Israeli security agents towards Palestinian journalists moving around the territories or returning from visits abroad."The worldwide press freedom organization said it had "recorded five incidents of wrongful arrest in the past ten days. One journalist is still being held, while another needed hospital treatment after being subjected to brutality and humiliation at an Israeli checkpoint by members of Shin Bet [Israeli internal security service]."But what made Omer a particular embarrassment to Israel's slick PR machine was the media attention, both domestic and international, the issue attracted. The Guardian and The Independent in London were among several media publications that reported at length the treatment Omer had been given.Furthermore, the involvement of the Dutch Foreign Ministry and its demand for an investigation placed additional heat on the Israeli government, which maintains good relations with the Netherlands.'

The Empire 321

Col Sam Gardiner (Ret) on Seymour Hersh’s Latest And US Plans for Iran

• Bank of international Settlements estimates $62 trillion CDS outstanding in 07 (= almost 5x the U.S. national debt and more than 3x U.S. GDP)
• Job Losses in the U.S. Intensify Signaling Severe Economic Downturn
Private Sector Jobs Down by 110,000
May Payrolls down -49k (-324k ytd); unemployment rate rose to 5.5% (highest since Oct-04, sharpest rise in 22 yrs); Household survey: employment down -285k due to weak hiring of new labor force entrants (teens, graduates, summer job-seekers) and re-entrants (amid financial constraints);
• After several years of strong growth, Denmark became first EU country to slide into technical recession

I leave South Africa this morning on my way to Dubal in the United Arab Emirates. I am joining a cross cultural documentary festival, showing a film not making one. The film is WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) that I made back in 2003, and released in 2004 on the invasion of Iraq which seems so long ago, and as everyone knows by now, was driven by government fabrications and media complicity.
At that time, my argument about the media role was not really acknowledged. They are today and seem to be in play again not only because of anything Iran has done but perhaps to create an international incident that the Republicans can exploit in the campaign.
Nothing is done by this Administration which continues to do so little without that in mind. That’s their real “battlefield.”
One of the people I interviewed then was Sam Gardiner, a very smart retired Air Force Colonel, and lecturer at the war colleges who had been tracking the role of information warriors who were then targeting public opinion, and “preparing” the news battlefield.
They won that part of the war at first, even if they have ultimately lost the real one.
Sam is now doing the same type of analysis for US policy towards Iran. This morning he sent me his take on Seymour Hersh’s piece in the New Yorker offering more evidence that while the Bush Administration talks “diplomacy,” it is making serious plans for war. (Iran is now saying the last nuclear proposal from the West and China is serious and may be offering a new plan of their own to try to defuse the orchestrated tensions that, once again, the US media is playing a lap dog role in.)
Here’s what Sam Gardiner sent me today:
Generate a casus belli. Fabricate a situation that causes war. Make it look as if it were the Iranians. It’s the ultimate spin.
In an article released on Sunday by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker Magazine, we learned the White House has met, considered and is probably working to fabricate a situation that could be used by the United States as a pretext for attacking Iran. (
Hersh tells us of a brainstorming session in the Vice President’s office. The topic of the session was casus belli. How can we get the Iranians to do something that will make it appear as if they started it, as if they were the bad guys?
Based upon the article and what we have seen from other sources, it seems to me it’s possible to unravel the strategy probably discussed at that meeting. What’s the US do? How could a war with Iran be fabricated?
On the surface, the expanded US covert operations against Iran seem like pin pricks. The US is training and supporting at least four Iranian minority groups to conduct attacks against targets inside Iran. Soldiers of the Revolutionary Guard have been killed. Soldiers and police have been kidnapped. A cultural center was bombed. An air base in Tehran was struck. All are relatively minor incidents.
I see a pattern, however, that goes back over 20 years. It’s a pattern the United States seems to favor for starting wars.
The pattern can be seen with the US backed Contras in the 1980’s. The “military objective” was to strike from bases in Honduras into Sandinista controlled Nicaragua and seize and hold territory. The policy objective was to use this base to establish a provisional government and serve as a potential beachhead for overt operations. First do covert operations, to be followed by overt operations.
Before the invasion of Iraq, a covert operation called the Anabasis Project had a similar thread. Although the plan was not executed, the CIA-formed and trained Scorpions 77 Alpha group was to seize a beachhead in Iraq, take control of the base at Nukhaib near the Saudi border. Saddam would feel compelled to send troops to retake the base. He would violate the no-fly zone, and the United States would have a reason to launch Gulf II. Again, the “military objective” was to seize a beachhead to serve as the base of overt operations, create a casus belli.
The Government of Iran is not going to fall as a result of the of the four minority groups operating inside Iran with US supported activities. However, as suggested by Hersh, if the Iranians attack one of the groups attempting to gain their “freedom,” the United States could come to their rescue. We would have a casus belli.
I can hear the President words. “I have said from the beginning we support the people of Iran, and we respect their culture.”
Thinking about the strategy discussion at the Vice President’s meeting, I can hear someone saying this general approach is fine, but it is not adequate. We may not have time for all of the covert stuff to work out before the end of the Administration.
Okay, there are alternatives. There are a couple of faster paths.
The United States has Special Operations personnel with a very short chain of command to the White House. Another possibility would be to have them attack a “high value target” that would cause an Iranian response that would justify a US attack. No congressional approval is needed for this kind of operation.
President Ahmadinejad is known for his vitriolic off-the-chart rhetoric. He does not very often go off the charts with specifics. Last week he began telling foreign and Iranian press that when he visited Iraq in March the United States had planned to assassinate him. He says varying his schedule at the last minute saved his life. Maybe he was to be the path to a casus belli.
Finally, from the Hersh article, the White House seems to have concluded that the threatening maneuvers by Iranian speedboats in January in the Gulf could be just the thing. If the Iranians do it again, it could be a casus belli.
The Congress approved $400 million for covert operations against Iran. With those operations and other options available to the White House, we need to be prepared for the ultimate spin, the casus belli spin.
Iran is not on the agenda here in South Africa. Zimbabwe is, and it looks like Mugabe is under pressure to try to reach an accomodation with his opposition. Will he? It is doubtful.
Sorry I am up, up and away. Thanks for being here and your comments welcome. Back in less than a week. Happy July 4. Here’s a treat from the Black Commentator. The July 4th speech by Abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1852.
History marches on–or does it?
Comments to


The Empire 320

Our neoconservatives are as radical as they boast and an even greater danger than Walt realizes.’
Ervand Abrahamian

Stephen Walt forthrightly discusses numerous issues that have led us into our present predicament: being seen in much of the world, especially in the Middle East, as a rogue superpower and even an imminent danger to international peace. He soundly condemns our unilateralism, scorn for international organizations and world opinion, doctrine of preventive wars, uncritical support for authoritarian regimes, and, most specifically, the blank check issued to the Sharon government. As an alternative, Walt recommends a more balanced approach toward the Palestinians and the explicit rejection of the neoconservative quasi-imperial dream of using tanks to impose democracy on the Middle East. Iraq has proved this dream to be a hellish nightmare.
Although all these issues are pertinent and important, they miss a deeper and more disturbing problem that lies at the very heart of the present crisis—the attitude of our neoconservative policymakers toward war and peace. The neoconservatives flatter themselves, and are flattered by others, for being true radicals—freed from stifling traditions and customs, advocating clear breaks with the past, giving short shrift to “quaint” conventions, and wanting to scuttle the Sykes-Picot Agreement and redraw the whole map of the Middle East. One neoconservative describes himself as the new Lawrence of Arabia. Another boasts that his middle name should be “constructive destruction.” Yet another has adopted as his own Emperor Caligula’s motto Oderint dum metuant (“Let them hate so long as they fear”): “The question people are asking is why do they hate us? That’s the wrong question. . . . The question which we should be asking is why do they neither fear nor respect us?” He proposes three remedies to rectify the situation: force, more force, and yet more force. The Wall Street Journal credits him—and thus, indirectly, Caligula—for formulating the Bush Middle East doctrine.
Such sentiments reflect a fundamental break from mainstream Western tradition on the question of war. At least since the horrors of 1914–1918, we have shared the uncontested and overwhelming premise that war is a human disaster, that it should be used only as a last resort, and that only defensive wars are justifiable. Nuremberg even outlawed preventive wars. Through most of the 20th century, few on the left, in the center, or on the moderate right waxed eloquent over the virtues of war. Such sentiments were the prerogative of the extreme right.
A number of currents have converged to move the extreme to center stage. The unprecedented sums the United States now spends on its armed forces and related organizations—totaling over $450 billion a year, some $20 billion more than at the height of the Cold War and three times more than the other four major powers put together—provide Washington with the confidence (some would call it the hubris) that force can solve sundry problems throughout the world. The Vietnam Syndrome, paradoxically, pushed neoconservatives further into thinking that it is essential to act tough and never to lose face again. “Every ten years or so,” declares one neocon, “the United States needs to pick up some small, crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” Finally, Likud has brought to many neoconservatives, including Cheney and Rumsfeld, its doctrine that Arabs only understand force, that breaking bones cures acute intransigency, and that fear is the surest route to the heart. As Yitzak Shamir openly boasted, “We still need this truth today, the truth of the power of war, or at least we need to accept that war is inescapable, because without this, the life of the individual has no purpose.”
The language of our neoconservatives is now replete with terms and concepts that would have been unimaginable in previous decades. They talk of the virtues of robust imperialism; of tactical nuclear weapons, iron hammers, and shock and awe (the modern incarnation of blitzkrieg); of learning lessons from Kipling, Kitchener, and Roman emperors (they haven’t yet got round to rehabilitating Emperor Leopold of Belgium); of respecting the hard-nosed policies of General Sherman, Bomber Harris, and Curtis LeMay; of launching World War IV (the Cold War being World War III); and of treating any interlude in the ongoing war as merely brief bellum interruptum. They claim history teaches that war is natural; that it endows new generations with character; and that human nature respects force, might, and military victories. In the words of Victor Davis Hanson—our vice president’s favorite historian—war is an essential part of human nature. He claims that the West has consistently proved its “cultural superiority” over the rest of the world through such military victories as that of the Greeks over the “Peacock Throne,” the Romans over the Carthaginians, the Christian Crusaders over the Muslims, and the Spaniards over the Aztecs and the Incas.
The main “theorist” on the new thinking on war is Michael Ledeen, the in-house Middle East “expert” at the American Enterprise Institute and a veteran adviser to the White House since the Reagan years. In his hair-raising book Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli’s Iron Rules are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago, Ledeen praises his hero for seeing with “brutal clarity” that “war is normal behavior,” that in life one either “dominates or is dominated,” that peace is “not normal,” and that war is the main leitmotif of history.” War, according to Ledeen, produces “virility,” “character,” and “virtue”; peace, on the other hand, leads to “servility,” “insolence,” “corruption,” “materialism,” and, horror of horrors, “effeminate behavior,” as demonstrated by the Clinton administration. Ledeen assures the world that “Americans are a warlike people and that we love war . . . What we hate is not casualties but losing.” When Ledeen is not waxing eloquent about war and the need to invade more countries, he is writing books on how the contemporary world has misunderstood Italian fascism.
To pursue a mature foreign policy we need to do more than harness and finesse the recent excesses spelled out so well by Stephen Walt. We need to get back to basics—back to the mainstream tradition of treating war as a horror to be used only as a very last recourse. We have to appreciate that our neoconservatives are as radical as they boast. They are an even greater danger to the world than Stephen Walt realizes. < href="">In the National Interest.”
Originally published in the February/March 2005 issue of Boston Review

Iran 217

'Ironically, it is this very international crisis that may serve to save Ahmadinejad's presidency, a reality that the president undoubtedly understood all too well. As domestic difficulties mount, the emerging international crisis could at best serve as a rallying point, or at worst persuade Iran's elite that a change of guard would convey weakness to the outside world.
There can be little doubt that US hawks will interpret recent events as proof that pressure works, and that any more pressure will encourage the hawks further. Yet the reality is that while Ahmadinejad has been his own worst enemy, the US hawks are his best friends. Ahmadinejad's demise, if it comes, will have less to do with the international environment and more with his own political incompetence. There is little doubt that it will take more than a cosmetic change to get Washington to listen to Iran. But the real question mark, as the Baker-Hamilton commission found to its cost, is whether Washington is inclined to listen at all.
· Ali Ansari is director of the Iranian Institute at the University of St Andrews.'

Iran 216

Informatie die u niet vindt in de slijpsteen voor de geest:
'Ex-Agent Says CIA Ignored Iran Facts
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 1, 2008; Page A02
A former CIA operative who says he tried to warn the agency about faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs now contends that CIA officials also ignored evidence that Iran had suspended work on a nuclear bomb.
The onetime undercover agent, who has been barred by the CIA from using his real name, filed a motion in federal court late Friday asking the government to declassify legal documents describing what he says was a deliberate suppression of findings on Iran that were contrary to agency views at the time.
The former operative alleged in a 2004 lawsuit that the CIA fired him after he repeatedly clashed with senior managers over his attempts to file reports that challenged the conventional wisdom about weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Key details of his claim have not been made public because they describe events the CIA deems secret.
The consensus view on Iran's nuclear program shifted dramatically last December with the release of a landmark intelligence report that concluded that Iran halted work on nuclear weapons design in 2003. The publication of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran undermined the CIA's rationale for censoring the former officer's lawsuit, said his attorney, Roy Krieger.
"On five occasions he was ordered to either falsify his reporting on WMD in the Near East, or not to file his reports at all," Krieger said in an interview.
In court documents and in statements by his attorney, the former officer contends that his 22-year CIA career collapsed after he questioned CIA doctrine about the nuclear programs of Iraq and Iran. As a native of the Middle East and a fluent speaker of both Farsi and Arabic, he had been assigned undercover work in the Persian Gulf region, where he successfully recruited an informant with access to
sensitive information about Iran's nuclear program, Krieger said.
The informant provided secret evidence that Tehran had halted its research into designing and building a nuclear weapon. Yet, when the operative sought to file reports on the findings, his attempts were "thwarted by CIA employees," according to court papers. Later he was told to "remove himself from any further handling" of the informant, the documents say.
In the months after the conflict, the operative became the target of two internal investigations, one of them alleging an improper sexual relationship with a female informant, and the other alleging financial improprieties. Krieger said his client cooperated with investigators in both cases and the allegations of wrongdoing were never substantiated. Krieger contends in court documents that the investigations were a "pretext to discredit."'

Iran 215

'This is a tribute to Mr Howard Baskerville who went to Persia to educate and help people. when the Iranian Constitutional Revolution started and he saw people under oppression, he decided to join them and fight the oppressors. He sacrificed his life to further the cause of freedom in Persia.'

De Commerciele Massamedia 126

Leuk dat wat wij allang wisten nu ook nog eens wetenschapperlijk wordt aangetoond:

'Onderzoek wijst uit: pers is vooral rechts
Bram Logger, Bas de Vries
gepubliceerd op 03 juli 2008 02:47, bijgewerkt op 02:47
Amsterdam - De VU scande 2,2 miljoen woorden op voorpagina’s en concludeert: de Nederlandse pers is in toon en onderwerpkeuze niet links, maar rechts.
De Nederlandse pers is niet links, zoals vaak wordt beweerd. In ieder geval niet de landelijke kranten. Sterker, zij zijn verzot op rechtse onderwerpen. De partijleiders en de thema’s van rechts hebben alles wat links is bijna weggevaagd van de voorpagina’s. Bovendien is de toon van de berichtgeving net iets vaker positief gekleurd voor rechts.
Dat blijkt uit onderzoek van de Vrije Universiteit in opdracht van de gratis krant DAG. Voor het onderzoek zijn de eerste vijf maanden van dit jaar 2,2 miljoen woorden op voorpagina’s gescand. Conclusie van politicoloog André Krouwel van de VU: ‘Er is geen sprake van een linkse, maar eerder van een rechtse kerk aan het Binnenhof.’
Vooral Geert Wilders is niet van de voorpagina’s te slaan; ruim vier van de tien keer dat daar de naam van een politicus wordt genoemd, gaat het om hem. Premier Balkenende (16,2 procent) en vicepremier Bos (13,4) volgen op grote afstand.
Het Reformatorisch Dagblad is koploper in de berichtgeving over Wilders: zijn naam stond daar in de eerste vijf maanden van dit jaar 258 keer op de voorpagina. Daarna komen de Volkskrant en NRC Handelsblad, nog voor de ‘rechtse’ Telegraaf.'

Iran 214

Dit schreef de Iraanse dissident Akbar Ganji die vijf jaar gevangen zat in het Iran van de mullah's:
'The View from Tehran
Changing Iran from within

Akbar Ganji

'Most Iranians, I believe, share a broad outlook on American foreign policy: they think that Iran is valued only for its vast energy resources and its role in regional politics and that Iranian culture and economic development and the peace, welfare, and basic rights of Iranian citizens are largely irrelevant to American policymakers. I write this as an Iranian intellectual, not as a politician, and I offer these critical observations about U.S. policies with an eye toward more constructive proposals...
Iranians will never forget the 1953 U.S.-supported coup that toppled the nationalist, moderate, democratic government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq and ushered in a closed, dictatorial political system. Iranian society lost one of its most important historical opportunities for the establishment of a democracy.'

De werkelijkheid is genuanceerder en complexer dan Carolien Roelants van de NRC en alle andere westerse propagandisten doen voorkomen.

De Israelische Terreur 409

'This newsletter is sent sent once or twice a week to the Wheels Of Justice listserve and to other listserves totaling some 50,000 email addresses. We sent a survey to the WOJ listserve (part of the population which receives those messages) and asked for feedback in the form of filling a survey and adding text comments. Over 320 people responded in the first 48 hours which gave us a great statistical sample. We will spend time to analyze the data and thus modify the way the messages are sent. Thanks to all who responded to the survey request. Initial results are posted here: Areas readers are most interested in are a listing/summary at top with links for additional information as needed, Reports from people under occupations in Iraq and Palestine, and News articles (items not reported in mainstream media). Most people skimmed through the material reading only parts of it that they are interested in (57% on average) and found what they read useful (79% on average). It was very interesting to read what other topics readers were interested in besides topics we listed. The additional comments provided were insightful. We need to digest these data more carefully to act on them (more later on this). In this week's message you will see below (depending on your interest/location): * An action alert for US readers on the outrageous Congressional plan to give Israel even more aid* Israeli authorities attempts to stop Jews from romancing/dating Muslims* Links to excellent rally in London on 60 year of Nakba* Two letters published in "Indian Country" to support an editor attacked by the ADL for telling the truth about Israel.------------Take Action (for US readers): Outrageous! $170 Million More in Military Aid to Israel the civil rights struggle intensified and succeeded, white girls were warned of dating black men. This was sanctioned and supported at the highest levels of local governments. Just this week it was publicized that "Kiryat Gat tells its school girls: No romancing with Bedouin" (BTW Kiryat Gat is build on land of Iraq AlManshiyya, land stolen from Palestinian villagers who are now refugees in Gaza). Rally in London to cap June and expose Israel apartheid. Israel first celebrants shocked at success of Nakba comemorations. Here are some links to these inspiring actions
Video of singing
Photos by David Ash and more
----------------------Two letters published in Indian Country to support the stance on Native Americans who support justice and hence support indigininous Palestinians (they were attacked by Salberg of the misnamed ADL):Dares to speak outMichael Salberg of the misnamed ''Anti-Defamation League,'' in attacking Steven Newcomb [''Different circumstances,'' Vol. 28, Iss. 3], claims that the ''Israeli-Arab conflict'' is a ''political dispute over national borders'' which is not the same as other European colonization of Native American lands.Yet, 7 million of the 10 million native Palestinians (Christians and Muslims) are now refugees or displaced people, and the number grows every day. Israel defines itself as a country for and by the Jewish people everywhere. Every Jew in the world is considered as a national of the state whether they want it or not (part of 'Am Yisrael). Any Jew, including converts, can go there, get automatic citizenship and live on Palestinian lands while Palestinian refugees are not allowed to return simply because they are Christian or Muslim.Israeli artists declared in 2002: ''If the state of Israel aspires to perceive itself as a democracy, it should abandon once and for all, any legal and ideological foundation of religious, ethnic and demographic discrimination. The state of Israel should strive to become the state of all its citizens. We call for the annulment of all laws that make Israel an apartheid state, including the Jewish law of return in its present form.''The ADL persistence in obfuscating reality is not new. The ADL has always tried to stifle free speech. The ADL was also fined and signed a statement pledging not to engage in further spying and collecting information after federal investigators found that ADL had paid investigative police officers to gather information on Arab-Americans and blacks active in the movement against apartheid South Africa (see The ADL is not the only well-funded group attempting to recruit Jews to support dubious agendas by attacking anyone (Jews included) who dare to speak out. For an understanding of these attempts to silence free speech on this issue in Congress, in the media and at college campuses, people should read Rep. Paul Findley's book, ''They Dare to Speak Out.''It is sad that our media gives space to a vocal minority that believes in racial or religious superiority and a minority that insists our tax money continue to be funneled to Israel in support of the segregationist, colonialist ideology of Zionism. So far we spent more than $400 billion of our taxes to occupy Iraq for control of oil and other Zionist plans to reshape the Middle East, and more than $1 trillion to support the Israeli government. (Highest recipient of U.S. aid. We gave it more than we gave to Africa as a continent.) Yet, one-third of Israeli children live below the poverty line, while Israel is using billions of our tax dollars to ethnically cleanse and oppress the native Palestinians.Only a public outcry would force the U.S. government to change its policies of supporting oppression despite the strong lobbies in Washington. That is why groups like ADL attempt to stifle debate and any exposition of the truth. The attacks on President Jimmy Carter for his latest book on Israeli apartheid, like the letter by Mr. Salberg, are symptomatic. Peace will come, but only with justice and the return of the stolen lands to their rightful owners.- Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ph.D.Orange, Conn.Dr. Qumsiyeh is of Christian Palestinian heritage and author of ''Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle.'' All the land Michael Salberg's criticisms [''Different circumstances,'' Vol. 28, Iss. 3] of Steven Newcomb's column, ''American Zionism,'' were off the mark. The fundamental problem between Palestinians and Israel comes from the fact that the Zionist movement wanted all the land between the Mediterranean and Jordan to become a Jewish superiority state with most non-Jews expelled. This is a caricature of traditional Jewish religious aspirations for life after the return of the Messiah. Orthodox Judaism (in which I was raised, but no longer practice) taught that Jews will return to the Promised Land when God thinks they have repented for their sins. According to the Talmud, it is a serious sin for mass migration to Israel. God would bring redemption when he judged the time was right.As Newcomb wrote, Zionism is analogous to the notions of privilege and entitlement of the Pilgrims. I would also add its ''theology'' is similar to the Dutch Boers in apartheid South Africa. All the prattle about Israel's desire for peace means nothing when its leaders demand that Palestinians accept permanent submission and exile.- Stanley Heller Chairman, The Middle East Crisis CommitteeWoodbridge, Conn. ---------------------Mazin Qumsiyeh'


  S.L. Kanthan @Kanthan2030 Western politicians are absolute clowns, but they have no self-awareness. “Iran’s actions are reckless!” Surpr...