In two days time the funeral for the United States will be complete. The gravestone should read Born 1776 Died 2011. The cause of death was the total failure of the public to participate in any of the things that could have kept this nation alive. This is of course the same basic reason why every successful nation in the past also died; because of greed, corruption and lawlessness that in one way or another led to the death of so many billions of people; Only to know that the evil which conquered each and every viable state, would itself also be totally destroyed in the end"forcing the survivors to start all over again from the beginning. . .
The causes for this funeral go back into the depths of Millennia, but since this place does not believe in real history, we have only to look back as far as the beginning of the New Millennia that began in the year 2000 A.D., when the president was appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court on 12-12-2000. That was very quickly followed by the coup in the White House that was run by Dirty-Dick-Cheney who proceeded to create the US Energy Policies that have been directing virtually every decision beginning in February 2001, (when the secret spying upon every American began) all the way down to and through, all the wars that have been declared since those fateful SECRET meetings that basically began our lawless-government's intensive-intrusions into every facet of our lives"while the public did absolutely nothing-at-all about any of it!
Then came 911 and the USA Patriot Acts, (One & Two) and the introduction of HOMELAND SECURITY, which announced the murder of the United States, in favor of the Zionist-Nazi-State wherein the Constitution and the Rule-of-Law were both delegitimized. That was followed by unilateral and preemptive military strikes against Afghanistan and in 2003 on Iraq: Ironically neither of these American created wars was legal, and neither of them had any basis whatsoever for existing: yet because the public refused to speak out: Our National-Global-War-Policies became a fixture in domestic policy that has basically bankrupted the nation and now threatens the whole world with our thermonuclear desire to end the whole world in thousands of mushroom clouds most of which will have been detonated by USI, in tandem with Zionist-occupied Israel. This act that is just days away from happening, will very quickly involve Russia and China (who vowed after the US selections of 2004 to STOP this criminal cabal regardless of the cost) ) so that this conflict will be the final conflict that will enable this worldwide-war to involve the entire planet and not just a few hemispheres.
As we approach New Years Eve for 2012; we can easily see that the criminal-coup has won each and every battle in the war for the minds, and the silence of the Amerikan public on each and every subject wherein the public's rights to know and to participate have been not just stolen but actually made illegal by the Police State that has called each and every shot in their rather brief march to Fascism and our national-horror, on the way to total global-control (which is still in doubt), but which will soon find most of the world's people in that flaming-cauldron of fire that the few have been feeding since time itself began.
The time has long since past when it became fashionable to talk about a new world order. The collapse of the Soviet Union provided an opportunity to fashion one. But instead of using that opportunity to create a new security architecture in Europe, Nato expanded eastwards as the military anchor for democracy promotion. Not content to have seen off one global military competitor in the Soviet Union, the western military industrial complex and the think-tanks they funded scurried around for a worthy replacement. When 11 September happened, they thought they were in business again. For a brief moment, al-Qaida seemed to fulfil some of the characteristics of communism: it could pop up anywhere in the world; it was an existential enemy, driven ideologically and uncontainable through negotiation; and it was potentially voluminous. Neither the doctrines of the pre-emptive strike, nor attacking a foreign country abroad to ensure security at home, were new. Swap the domino theory of the Vietnam era for the crescent of crisis of the Bush and Obama eras, and you had the same formula for a foe that hopscotched across the globe.
But here's the curious thing. Al-Qaida failed, not by being bombed out of the tribal areas of Pakistan or by losing its video-hugging leader. It failed as an ideological alternative, in its own terms and for its own people. It failed in Egypt, the country that mattered most to its chief thinker, the Egyptian-born doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri. When the opportunity arose for millions of Muslims to shed their brutal Arab yoke (this was supposed to be the fourth phase in the construction of the Caliphate, to be accompanied by physical attacks against oil suppliers and cyber ones on the US economy), nothing of the sort happened. Islam is indeed winning the day, but it is political rather than military. It seeks alliances with the apostate and says it is committed to democratic partnership and the rule of law.
Al-Qaida's failure was all the more significant because the western response, the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, also failed. Not because the enemy was especially daunting, but because the mission was impossible to start with. Mission creep started with democracy promotion, continued as state-building, and ended with withdrawal at any cost, by the appointed date. The quality of life in the country US combat troops left behind – most likely one that in Iraq will break up into a loose federation on sectarian lines – became less important than the fact of departure itself. Military ceremonies proclaiming victory in the war in Iraq had as much sense of reality as Kim Jong-il's funeral. This is the next feature of the world we live in. It is an age of the self-defeating intervention. The quests through military means to build stable states out of a dictatorship in Iraq or a failed state in Afghanistan did not and are not failing at the hands of a conventional enemy. They implode. They self-destruct.
Military overreach and serial economic crises have bequeathed us a generation of small leaders who battle with events that outsize them. They have stopped trying to fashion them, but appeal instead to a defensive desire. Protectionism not internationalism rules the day. The Middle East has been transformed from a zone of allies to one in which Washington has been reduced to the role of spectator. It is now largely a taker of Middle Eastern policy, not one of its makers. There are other parts of the globe where US power projection finds natural allies, such as the Pacific, where China's rise is feared. So the paradox is that while US military power retains global reach (it is working on supersonic cruise missiles, and long-range drones) its stewardship as world leader, as a generator of the next big idea, is gradually ending. There may come a time when international institutions are rebuilt to fill this vacuum. But that time is not yet. Until then, a new world disorder would be nearer the mark.
Speaking at a meeting of top Israeli ambassadors in Jerusalem, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo rejected the notion that Iran, even if they were nuclear armed, constituted an “existential threat,” saying the term is being used “too freely.”
“If you said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an ‘existential’ threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop. That’s not the situation,” Pardo insisted. The claim that such a situation would be an existential threat has been a common talking point among hawks in both Israel and the US.
Pardo is the latest in a growing line of Israeli intelligence officials who have been making comments unfavorable to the Netanyahu government’s pro-war stance. His predecessor, Meir Dagan, had cautioned openly against attacking Iran, warning it would lead to a “regional war.” The comments spawned angry condemnations from political leaders.
Of course the entire question of what a threat Iranian nuclear weapons would be is purely hypothetical, as the IAEA continues to confirm the non-diversion of nuclear material to any non-civilian purpose and Iranian leaders have rejected the notion of obtaining such a weapon on religious grounds.
After several weeks of having no top-level administration meetings to discuss the Syria crisis, the National Security Council (NSC) has begun an informal, quiet interagency process to create and collect options for aiding the Syrian opposition, two administration officials confirmed to The Cable.
Right! According to these ‘reporters’, up until now our imperialistic hawks have been sitting on their butts and doing absolutely nothing on Syria’s months-long prewar crisis! Just read the following by MSM’s favorite source WINEP, and please try not to laugh:
Andrew Tabler, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that the administration was caught off-guard by how the opposition became militarized so quickly. The administration’s message had been to urge the opposition to remain peaceful, but that ship has now sailed, he said.
All right; I’ll forgive you for laughing out loud. I admit; I laughed so hard I ended up with the hiccups. Now, let’s look at the casual introduction of Washington’s main artery, front, in executing their next takeover [All Emphasis Mine]:
The options that are under consideration include establishing a humanitarian corridor or safe zone for civilians in Syria along the Turkish border, extending humanitarian aid to the Syrian rebels, providing medical aid to Syrian clinics, engaging more with the external and internal opposition, forming an international contact group, or appointing a special coordinator for working with the Syrian opposition (as was done in Libya), according to the two officials, both of whom are familiar with the discussions but not in attendance at the meetings.
“Between government in the republican meaning, that is, constitutional, representative, limited government, on the one hand, and Empire on the other hand, there is mortal enmity. Either one must forbid the other, or one will destroy the other. That we know. Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the people.”
Garet Garrett had been an editor of the Saturday Evening Post, a financial writer for the New York Times, a renowned author and journalist of the “roaring Twenties,” an intransigent opponent of the New Deal, and sometime novelist: his career spanned the era of Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, and Truman. In those days his was the voice of mainstream conservatism, albeit of a sort alien to the Newt Gingriches and Charles Krauthammers of this world, and he wrote the above cited words just as the US was embarking on its postwar crusade to save the world from Communism.
He had lived through the previous holy war against the Axis powers, witnessed the demise of the Old America and the rise of the Welfare-Warfare State, and saw – even then – that the country would face ruination if the crusading spirit prevailed over the need for self-preservation. He saw what would happen if we acquired an empire and sought to remake the world in our image. He annoyed his fellow libertarian, the novelist and ideologue Rose Wilder Lane, with his “keening” note of pessimism, which mourned “a world forever lost.” Lane was sure the “world revolution” of freedom was coming, yet in those dark days when the spirit of freedom was seemingly forgotten it looked as if her friend Garrett was right.
It’s the thrill of a lifetime to see the neocons in such a frothy-mouthed lather: they are calling Paul a hater, but they are the ones exuding hate from every pore. And the people can smell it as it stinks up the political atmosphere, poisoning the election and obscuring the issues they care about. That’s why the haters can’t touch Paul, and won’t touch him with their vicious tactics – although I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if their accusations of “racism” and worse inspire violence against Paul’s followers and possibly even against the candidate himself. Which is why I hope and pray Paul has some good security in place, because he represents the last chance we have to change American foreign policy before we’re all dragged down by the impending collapse of the American empire.
Barrett Brown, who has taken on the (seemingly lucrative) role of the public face of hacker group Anonymous, best known recently for breaking into Stratfor's servers, speaks about the logic behind the hacking of 2.7 million email accounts which will likely very soon be made public, in addition to the tens of thousands of credit card numbers and full client details (including home addresses) of Stratfor clients that Anonymous has already released.
In the wake of the recent operation by which Stratfor's servers were compromised, much of the media has focused on the fact that some participants in the attack chose to use obtained customer credit card numbers to make donations to charitable causes. Although this aspect of the operation is indeed newsworthy, and, like all things, should be scrutinized and criticized as necessary, the original purpose and ultimate consequence of the operation has been largely ignored.
Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were. Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm's servers. This wealth of data includes correspondence with untold thousands of contacts who have spoken to Stratfor's employees off the record over more than a decade. Many of those contacts work for major corporations within the intelligence and military contracting sectors, government agencies, and other institutions for which Anonymous and associated parties have developed an interest since February of 2011, when another hack against the intelligence contractor/security firm HBGary revealed, among many other things, a widespread conspiracy by the Justice Department, Bank of America, and other parties to attack and discredit Wikileaks and other activist groups. Since that time, many of us in the movement have dedicated our lives to investigating this state-corporate alliance against the free information movement. For this and other reasons, operations have been conducted against Booz Allen Hamilton, Unveillance, NATO, and other relevant institutions. The bulk of what we've uncovered thus far may be reviewed at a wiki maintained by my group Project PM, echelon2.org.
Although Stratfor is not necessarily among the parties at fault in the larger movement against transparency and individual liberty, it has long been a "subject of interest" in our necessary investigation. The e-mails obtained before Christmas Day will vastly improve our ability to continue that investigation and thereby bring to light other instances of corruption, crime, and deception on the part of certain powerful actors based in the U.S. and elsewhere. Unlike the various agents of the U.S. Government, the hacking team that obtained this information did not break down the doors of the target, point guns at children, and shoot down any dogs that might have been present; Anonymous does not resort to SWAT tactics, and this is simply one of many attributes that separate the movement from the governments that have sought to end our campaign and imprison our participants. Of course, such points as these will not prevent our movement from being subjected to harsher scrutiny than is given to those governments which are largely forgiven their more intrusive tactics by virtue of their status as de facto holders of power in a world that has long been governed in accordance with the dictate that might makes right.
What we often forget is that soon after the Iranian Revolution, our honorable ally, Saddam Hussein, at our beckoning and with our blessing, attacked Iran with arms we provided unto him. The Iran-Iraq War lasted 8 years. We do not know the exact number of casualties, but the figure of one million is probably far too small. We do know that Saddam Hussein did our bidding, and we do know that under the administration of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, we secretly armed Iran in order to permit the Reagan White House to wage an illegal war by arming the Nicaraguan Contras, a political movement that was nothing more than a death squad of gigantic proportions that murdered nuns, priests, women, children and poets in their campaign of carnage against a democratically elected government that sought to create economic justice within their own finite economy.
Today, the Republican presidential candidates sing from the same songbook on Iran – with one notable exception, Ron Paul. The official Republican line is: war with Iran to purge them of their Islamist regime and destroy their nuclear program. Rank and file Republicans bitterly criticize President Obama for being too soft on Iran. It is ironic that rank and file Democrats are beginning to believe the same thing.
Last week, by a margin of 410 to 11 - the House of Representatives just passed a bill that would criminalize diplomatic contact between the USA and Iran. The bill barring diplomacy with Iran is the work of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-FL) backed by Howard Berman, (D-CA). The White House, the Department of State and key members of the Senate are working to ensure the failure of this egregious piece of legislation.
Our nation is suffering deeply in the throes of Islamophobia, and now we have developed an even more virulent phobia, Iranophobia, a fear of the nation and people of Iran. America is not the only nation afflicted with Iranophobia, the small and vulnerable nation of Israel is obsessed with the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation by an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon whose existence at this point in time is totally imaginary, the hypothetical component of a conspiracy theory. If America and Israel were psychiatric patients, their condition would be described as delusional. Instead, our government and our obeisant media are doing everything in their power to brainwash the American people to inculcate into their psyches the fear of every molecule of Iranian origin.
The Iran War is the brainchild of the neocons of the Bush-Cheney administration. In top secret meetings of the national security council, Dick Cheney argued for war against Iran as early as 2002 and 2003. Cheney’s daughter, Elizabeth Cheney served in the State Department as the conduit for $85 million per year in funds to “pro-democracy” organizations inside Iran – groups like the Mujaheddin e-Khalq, a Marxist Islamist paramilitary cult of celibate terrorists, commandos, assassins and agents who sublimate their sexual desires for the practice of assassination, bomb manufacture, espionage, torture and terrorism. Today, 3000 members of the MEK are stranded in Camp Ashraf, an encampment inside Iraq that is now scheduled for demolition by the government of Prime Minister Maliki. Astonishingly, Governor Howard Dean has combined forces with Republican neoconservatives to remove the MEK from the US listing of terrorist organizations, so we can continue to provide them with more aid for their cult of terror.
In yet another reversal of his professed commitment to the rule of law, President Obama says he will sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which formalizes his authority to imprison terrorism suspects indefinitely without charge or trial.
Where is the “progressive” outrage?
George W. Bush and Obama both claimed that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) empowered them to have the military hold people merely suspected of association with al-Qaeda or related organizations without charge for the duration of the “war on terror.” It didn’t matter if the suspect was a foreigner, a U.S. citizen, or a legal resident. It also didn’t matter if the alleged offense was committed inside or outside the United States. The battlefield encompassed the whole world.
In interpreting the AUMF this way, both administrations went well beyond its language. On its face, the AUMF only authorizes “the President … to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
Clearly the power is restricted to people involved in 9/11 and those who protected them. Yet under novel theories of the executive branch’s constitutional authority, this was turned into a virtual blank check.
Kroenig's piece in Foreign Affairs is entitled "Time to Attack Iran." However, he says in his response to me that he doesn't think "Washington should immediately launch a bolt-from-the-blue attack." Indeed, he now appears to concede that Iran might not be developing nuclear weapons and that we should wait to see if it takes certain measures (expels inspectors, enriches uranium to weapons grade levels, installs advanced centrifuges, etc.) before unleashing the dogs of war. But these arguments contradict both his title and his original argument, which is that preventive war is the least bad option and now is the time to do it. We are thus left wondering: is Iran developing nuclear weapons or not ? And if Kroenig isn't sure, is it really "Time to Attack?"
Kroenig tells us that "in the coming months, it is possible, even likely, that a U.S. President will be forced to make a gut-wrenching choice" between containment or military action (my emphasis), and he recommends we "begin building global support for (military action) in advance." As I've noted before, the danger here is that if you keep repeating that preventive war against Iran is necessary, people gradually become comfortable with the idea and assume that it is going to occur eventually. In fact, if we beat the war drums for months but don't attack, you can be confident that people like Kroenig will then arguethat U.S. credibility is on the line and we have to strike, lest those dangerous Iranians conclude we are paper tigers.
As in his original article, Kroenig's image of Iran is simplistic and contradictory. He portrays it as a highly capable and dangerously ambitious power, whose support for terrorism and proxy groups is supposedly restrained only by "fear of U.S. or Israeli retaliation." But he never describes Iran's actual capabilities (which are quite modest) or explains why the threat it poses to vital U.S. interests is grave enough to warrant rolling the iron dice of war. Nor does he discuss Iranian threat perceptions, internal politics, or foreign policy strategy (including how its policies have evolved over time), or consider the possibility that some of its activities (including its support for some extremist groups) are an asymmetric response to past U.S. efforts to isolate and marginalize it. Instead, his portrait of Iran is conveniently contradictory: as Paul Pillar puts it, for Kroenig "the same regime that if not attacked can be expected to do all sorts of highly aggressive things . . . turns into a calm paragon of caution, respectful of U.S. ‘redlines' once the United States starts waging war against it." If "knowing one's enemy" is a prerequisite for going to war, Kroenig has a lot of work to do.
Finally, it is striking that Kroenig's response does not engage the legal or moral implications that I raised in my original critique. It appears that he remains untroubled by the fact that many innocent people will die and many more will be wounded if the United States follows his advice to launch a major bombing campaign against Iran. He seems equally at ease with the idea that the United States would be launching an unprovoked war of aggression, which would be in clear violation of international law. And still people wonder: "why do they hate us?"
Whenever I watch the Republican presidential debates, my mind is drawn to that important children’s book, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The six sock-puppets who have thus far managed to survive the musical-chairs comedy ballet wow Mr. and Mrs. Boobus with their visions of a violent, intrusive, policed, and war-loving America that equals, if not exceeds, what Barack Obama has been able to generate. It was but four years ago that John McCain choreographed his campaign around the lyrics "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." That so few people were repulsed by such psychopathic utterances is but one of many symptoms of a society in moral, spiritual, and intellectual collapse. The domestic police-state so passively accepted by most Americans – and insisted upon by the voices of the political establishment – reminds me of the comment made by the Prince of Wales in the 1934 film, The Scarlet Pimpernel: "if a country goes mad, it has the right to commit every horror within its own walls."
As America continues its slide down the razor-blade of history into total collapse, a growing number of men and women – whose membership is most prominent among those under forty years of age – have decided to end the collective madness that engulfs their lives and the society in which they live. While octogenarian survivors of Tom Brokaw’s "greatest generation" cheer on the sock-puppets who promise an ever-more vicious and violent government should they be elected, those who envision a world grounded in peace and liberty have an alternative agenda. Like the sub-surface energies that erupt into expressions of "plate tectonics" (e.g., earthquakes, volcanoes), there is a life-force within nature that resists its own destruction. Those in charge of institutional abstractions, such as the corporate-state forces that dominate humanity, are aware that life is increasingly insistent upon its own self-directed nature. Institutions feed upon life and regard autonomous and spontaneous impulses as forms of entropy (i.e., energies unavailable for productive organizational purposes). In an effort to retain its anti-life nature, the established order responds with increasing levels of coercion, threats, and violence to keep its conscript herd intact.
Wars, torture, militarily-policed cities, concentration camps, surveillance, persons held without trial, increased criminalization of dissent and revelation of governmental activities, and the authority of a president to order the murder of any who displease him, are manifestations of the desperate states of mind of those who regard all of humanity as resources to be exploited and devoured for their purposes.
Former German lawmaker Norman Paech says any Israeli venture to launch a military strike against Iran would spell the end of Tel Aviv regime.
A war with Iran would be different from the one with Gaza; it would mean the downfall of Zionist Israel, Norman Paech wrote on the German-based daily Jung Welt.
Paech said that in a study released on 12 February 2009, the CIA predicted that if Israel persists with its trend of warmongering policies in the Middle East, it would be destroyed within 20 years.
Referring to the recent remarks by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East, Paech said Washington is facing a real dilemma with regards to Tel Aviv.
Paech said on the one hand the US wants to save the Israeli regime, which is increasingly showing signs of a “failing state”, and on the other, they want to eliminate the Iranian government that is growing more and more dominant despite the sanctions engineered by Washington.
The US has failed in its attempts to build a “Greater Middle East”, which foresaw the alignment of all countries from Turkey to Pakistan to US interests – “by all means necessary,” Paech said.
The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, faces more mass protests over alleged election fraud as the former finance minister Alexei Kudrin warned of a ''revolution'' unless the government assuages popular anger.
At least 30,000 people packed Sakharov Prospect, a wide avenue in Moscow named after the Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sakharov, police said. The event organisers said up to 120,000 people attended the rally.
Mr Kudrin, who resigned in September after a clash with the President, Dmitry Medvedev, over military spending, backed opposition calls for the resignation of Russia's most senior election official and their demand for a repeat of the disputed December 4 parliamentary election.
The demonstration, the largest in Moscow since the break-up of the Soviet Union, was a direct rebuff of Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev, both of whom have sought to mollify critics by promising political reforms.
The protesters, who braved below-freezing temperatures and snow, wore white ribbons that have become a symbol of the anti-Putin movement. Some held up signs saying, ''For Russia without Putin.''
Prophets fare poorly in their own country, yet countries would do well to hearken to their prophets. Scorn, ridicule, and innuendo attend their pronouncements as the righteous defend their actions as logical, existential and necessary. Jeremiah Wright suffered such scorn and mockery because he understood the consequences of revenge on the innocent and the defenceless, justified by whatever inane discourse. Wright spoke truth to power that Sunday after 9/11 and the righteous cried to heaven condemning him to perdition for defaming America, for even suggesting that revenge for the sake of revenge is the motivation of the arch fiend against the Almighty, the foulest, most ignorant, most amoral rational for action.
Prophets anticipate truth; they review a nation’s past history and can predict its future. Witness America’s past as the Reverend Wright did that Sunday morning, and what America is doing now repeats its ugliness. Wright said this about America’s past:
He pointed out, a white man, an ambassador, he pointed out that what Malcolm X said when he was silenced by Elijah Mohammad was in fact true, he said Americas chickens, are coming home to roost.”
“We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, Arikara, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism.
The numbers slaughtered in this review is in the millions–not all dressed in combat fatigues. The numbers of the defenceless and the innocent outstrips those trained to kill. All of those slaughtered happened outside the United States and every son and daughter, mother and father, sister and brother, aunt and uncle, grandfather and grandmother felt the pain of loss that was to our forces a “body count.” “Revenge is mine sayeth the Lord.” “Violence begets violence, hatred begets hatred, terrorism begets terrorism,” so rings the prophetic knell of the Reverend Wright to his congregation one of whom happened to be our current President Barack Obama. Would that he had listened, for if any man was ever elected to the office of President to change the world, this was the man and he has failed.
The world has said goodbye to two leaders who were worlds apart. One was a widely celebrated anti-communist, the other a widely despised communist. However, both the lives and thoughts of the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel, and North Korea’s Kim Jung-il were given short shrift.
The playwright turned President Havel who parlayed human rights activism into becoming Czechoslovakia‘s post-Communist President was a leader for the pro-democracy Charter 77 Movement, not just a Red-hating politician on a power trip.
Yet, the press praised him more for what he opposed than what he believed. The people who loved him adored him for both.
One report: “Thousands of silent mourners have accompanied the body of Vaclav Havel through central Prague as the Czech Republic began three days of national mourning for the icon of the Velvet Revolution.
About 10,000 mourners mostly in black, some carrying Czech or Slovak flags, joined a solemn procession taking the former president's coffin from a church through narrow cobbled streets to Prague Castle, the seat of Czech presidents, on Wednesday.”
Havel was an intellectual, a non-violent revolutionary who also presided over the break up of his country into two: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
As the world celebrates the birthday of the Prince of Peace, the Lord of War looms large over the land. The shrikes and talking heads are screeching for Iranian blood, and there are ominous signs in the stars. The war god’s acolytes flood the airwaves with “a complex of vaunting and fear,” as an old prophet once put it, and men of peace are disdained as “weak,” “dangerous,” and “extreme.”
Who will save us from the coming slaughter?
There is no Savior, no man on a white horse or divine sacrificial offering who can stop or appease the gathering demons: they will quaff their chalice of blood, have their pound of flesh, these cannibals of the spirit who demand human sacrifice as the price of propitiation. Blood, honor, “national security,” “world leadership,” the “free world” – these are the words they will invoke, the ritual prayers to the great god Mars that will excuse the thousands killed, tens of thousands maimed – and for what?
For Israel – which must be saved at all costs, even at the price of its very soul.
For the authority of the United Nations – a “den of thieves,” as Lenin rightly called it, and Robert Welch agreed.
For the reelection of a failed president – who would gain the opportunity to blame Iran for the economic catastrophe we brought upon ourselves.
We have an obligation to every last victim of this illegal aggression because all of this carnage has been done in our name. Since World War II, 90% of the casualties of war are unarmed civilians. 1/3 of them children. Our victims have done nothing to us. From Palestine to Afghanistan to Iraq to Somalia to wherever our next target may be, their murders are not collateral damage, they are the nature of modern warfare. They don't hate us because of our freedoms. They hate us because every day we are funding and committing crimes against humanity. The so-called "war on terror" is a cover for our military aggression to gain control of the resources of western Asia.
This is sending the poor of this country to kill the poor of those Muslim countries. This is trading blood for oil. This is genocide, and to most of the world, we are the terrorists. In these times, remaining silent on our responsibility to the world and its future is criminal. And in light of our complicity in the supreme crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ongoing violations of the U.N. Charter in International Law, how dare any American criticize the actions of legitimate resistance to illegal occupation.
Our so-called enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, our other colonies around the world, and our inner cities here at home, are struggling against the oppressive hand of empire, demanding respect for their humanity. They are labeled insurgents or terrorists for resisting rape and pillage by the white establishment, but they are our brothers and sisters in the struggle for justice. The civilians at the other end of our weapons don't have a choice, but American soldiers have choices, and while there may have been some doubt 5 years ago, today we know the truth. Our soldiers don't sacrifice for duty-honor-country, they sacrifice for Kellogg Brown & Root.
They don't fight for America, they fight for their lives and their buddies beside them, because we put them in a war zone. They're not defending our freedoms, they're laying the foundation for 14 permanent military bases to defend the freedoms of Exxon Mobil and British Petroleum.
Every one of us, every one of us must keep demanding, keep fighting, keep thundering, keep plowing, keep speaking, keep struggling until justice is served. NO justice, NO peace.
Finnish authorities have confirmed the seizure of 69 Patriot missiles manufactured by Raytheon Corporation today. During a routine search of the MS Thor Liberty, a ship flagged by the Isle of Man, at the Finnish port of Kotka, authorities found 69 Patriot missiles of a type capable of intercepting ICBMs, the most modern available and America’s most sensitive military technology.
The next stop for this cargo, valued at over $4 billion even without the associated radar, which may well have been shipped via some other method, was Shanghai, China. Yet the Chinese government has given an official denial of any knowledge of this transaction. They went even further, they claimed the missiles were heading to South Korea. However, were China to have given the issue a second’s thought, it would have been advisable to have failed to acknowledge any familiarity with the issue whatsoever.
China walked into a trap.
The US and Israel had scheduled an air defense exercise this week but no Patriot missiles were to be shipped to Israel as part of their mission, DOD sources indicate. This week’s exercise was to use Patriot missiles deployed from American ships in the eastern Mediterranean to test Israeli missile defenses. Reports indicate that all missiles for this exercise have been accounted for.
These units, the most advanced Patriot system had only been supplied to nation, Israel. The 69 Patiot ICBM interceptors are believed to be a highly secret consignment demanded by Israel as protection from any retaliatory strike by Iran were war to break out in the region, Instead of deploying them, the missiles were apparently sold to China labeled as “fireworks” accoring to Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen.
Though the missiles themselves were worth only $4 billion, the technology transfer itself would be worth over $125 billion, and represent a signficant loss of defense capability for the United States. Sources termed it, “An absolute disaster, even if they only received the radar systems alone, much less the missiles. That this would go unreported though the story was broken in Europe 48 hours ago is astounding. Nobody in Washington has this although even the BBC report contains more than enough information to bring Washington to a halt.
The end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq coincided with Bradley Manning’s military hearing to determine whether he will face court-martial for exposing U.S. war crimes by leaking hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents to Wikileaks. In fact, there is a connection between the leaks and U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.
When he announced that the last U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year’s end, President Barack Obama declared the nine-year war a “success” and “an extraordinary achievement.” He failed to mention why he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. He didn’t say that it was built on lies about mushroom clouds and non-existent ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Obama didn’t cite the Bush administration’s “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq,” drawn up months before 9/11, about which Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill reported that actual plans “were already being discussed to take over Iraq and occupy it – complete with disposition of oil fields, peacekeeping forces, and war crimes tribunals – carrying forward an unspoken doctrine of preemptive war.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also defended the war in Iraq, making the preposterous claim that, “As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” including the loss of American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world.”
The price that Panetta claims is worth it includes the deaths of nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It includes untold numbers wounded - with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and suicides, as well as nearly $1 trillion that could have prevented the economic disaster at home.
The price of the Iraq war also includes thousands of men who have been subjected to torture and abuse in places like Abu Ghraib prison. It includes the 2005 Haditha Massacre, in which U.S. Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians execution-style. It includes the Fallujah Massacre, in which U.S. forces killed 736 people, at least 60% of them women and children. It includes other war crimes committed by American troops in Qaim, Taal Al Jal, Mukaradeeb, Mahmudiya, Hamdaniyah, Samarra, Salahuddin, and Ishaqi.
If Manning did what he is accused of doing, he should not be tried as a criminal. He should be hailed as a national hero, much like Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of the Pentagon Papers helped to expose the government’s lies and end the Vietnam War.
One of the most disturbing aspects of contemporary America is its absolute determination to deceive itself. As the last U.S. soldiers and Marines leave Iraq, we have heard President Obama, Senator McCain, Defense Secretary Panetta, and numerous others speak as if U.S. forces accomplished something positive in Iraq. Indeed, our service personnel have been welcomed home as “liberators” and told — ominously — that there are other peoples in the world who yearn for the sort of liberation the United States brought to Iraqis.
What to make of this species of lunacy? In recent years it has been popular to compare the United States to the ancient Romans, at least in terms of military power and the geographic reach that military power can attain. This sort of historical nuttiness sells well in the media, the academy, and the mouths of war-mongering politicians like Senators McCain, Graham, and Lieberman, but it will not stand scrutiny.
The Romans were a superb military power that brought peace and prosperity to much of Europe for 500 years or more, and they brought it mostly by waging wars that literally annihilated their enemies. The precursors to the Roman peace were complete military victories that left Rome‘s enemies with no doubt that they had been totally defeated, and believing the beginning of wisdom was to become Rome‘s friend, or at least not cross Rome a second time. Reality was the pivotal component here. Rome’s enemies always knew they were defeated, one historian has written, and the Romans were always realistic and manly enough to know when they had won and — as important — when they had loss.
The evolving aftermath of the Iraq war in the American mind proves that, at least among our bipartisan governing elite, there is not a single Roman to be found. In Iraq, the United States was defeated in every conceivable way. Not one of Washington’s clearly delineated war aims was accomplished. The Sunni-based tyranny of Saddam Hussein has been replaced by a Shia-dominated tyranny whose leader’s contempt for the United States is so strong that he did not bother to wait until the last U.S. soldier departed before starting what will be a relentless persecution of Iraq’s Sunni minority. For Obama and McCain, this sort of tyranny is acceptable because Maliki and his Shia thugs won office in a fair but meaningless election. For Obama, McCain and their ilk the important thing is just having an election, the fact that an election simply delivers a replacement tyranny is irrelevant.
According to hundreds of documents from the FBI, CIA and other agencies recently declassified under the Freedom of Information Act, the United States contracted oversight of its nuclear materials stockpile to Zalman Shapiro, president of Numec Inc., an Apollo, Pa.-based company that U.S. intelligence suspected had ties to the newly formed Zionist government in Palestine. Over the next 11 years, 269 kilograms of enriched uranium were stolen from the plant in an operation guided by four known Mossad Israeli intelligence agents: Rafael Eitan, Avraham Ben-Dor, Ephraim Biegun and Avraham Hermoni.
Eitan went on to become the Mossad director who commandeered intelligence operations that kidnapped Adolf Eichmann from his home in Argentina in the 1960s. Eitan also headed the Lekem, which is a Jewish intelligence bureau in charge of stealing nuclear secrets from the United States and other nations. Ben-Dor was long considered Eitan’s right-hand man, but was forced out of his position in Shin Bet in 1986 for the torture and murder of two Palestinian men in his custody. Hermoni went on to direct “Rafael,” which was the program that developed the Zionist nuclear bomb.
Despite warnings of potential sabotage and evidence of nuclear plants being infiltrated, Congress and members of the Energy Department refused to revoke Numec’s contract or view the firm as a security risk.
When CIA agents picked up radioactive material from the Numec facility outside the Zionist nuclear plant in Dimona, Israel, further warnings were sent that Israelis, with the help of sympathetic Zionist-Americans in the United States, were stealing nuclear material and using it to manufacture weapons.
In 2001, the Department of Energy confirmed that 269 kilograms of nuclear material were stolen from the Numec facility.
When I was asked to speak at Saturday’s rally at Fort Meade in support of Pvt. Bradley Manning, I wondered how I might provide some context around what Manning is alleged to have done.
(In my talk, so as not to think I had to insert the word “alleged” into every sentence, I asked for unanimous consent to using the indicative rather than the subjunctive mood.)
What jumped into my mind was the letter Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham City jail in April 1963, from which I remembered this:
“Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”
I suggested that this is precisely what Bradley Manning did when he saw the need to uncover war crimes like the indiscriminate murder of civilians and torture he witnessed in Baghdad and read about in cables.
What he had become witness to was the inevitable result of aggressive war, which the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal called the “supreme international crime,” differing from other war crimes only inasmuch as it contains within itself the “accumulated evil of the whole.” Was he to obey orders to keep his mouth shut? Or was he to follow his conscience and lance this ugly boil of accumulated evil?
Americans should be concerned about what is happening in Syria, if only because it threatens to become another undeclared war like Libya but much, much worse. Calls for regime change have come from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who several weeks ago predicted a civil war. That is indeed likely if the largely secular and nationalist regime of Bashar al-Assad falls, pitting Sunni against Shia against Alawite. Indigenous Christians will be caught in the meat grinder. Ironically, many of the Christians in Damascus are Iraqis who experienced the last round of liberation in their own country and had to flee for their lives.
NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. Turkish sources suggest that intervention would start with creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border and then be expanded. Aleppo, Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, would be the crown jewel targeted by liberation forces.
Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.
CIA analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. The Agency has refused to sign off on the claims. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.
A longer headline would have added the words because of President Obama’s grovelling for Jewish campaign funding and votes.
On 19 December, in the Jewish Daily Forward, Josh Nathan-Kazis wrote this:
“Top-level Jewish fundraisers from President Obama’s 2008 campaign are sticking with the president in 2012.
“Despite reports that President Obama faces a loss of Jewish funders due to his Middle East policy, analysis of a list of elite bundlers from his 2008 race shows no defections among the president’s top Jewish supporters in 2012.”
That’s not good news for the would-be presidents on the Republican side who are grovelling for Jewish campaign funds and votes.
On the same day, in what the BBC’s Barbara Plett called “a highly unusual move”, all the regional and political groupings on the UN Security Council sharply criticised Israeli settlement activities. They said in their statements that “continued settlement building threatened the chances of a future Palestinian state.” They also expressed dismay at rising settler violence. (“They” were the envoys representing the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab Group and a loose coalition of emerging states known as IBSA).
According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has appropriated $806 billion for the direct cost of invading and occupying Iraq. Including debt service since 2003, that sum rises to approximately $1 trillion. The White House estimates the number of U.S. military wounded at 30,000; the web site icasualties.org states that U.S. military fatalities from the Iraq war now stand at 4484. It is impossible to estimate precisely the numbers of Iraqi civilian deaths, but they are frequently cited as being in excess of 100,000. There are now around two million internally displaced Iraqis in a country of 30 million inhabitants. As United States armed forces (but not up to 17,000 State Department employees, contractors and mercenaries) leave the country, Iraq is plunging into a sectarian and ethnically-fueled political crisis. Even if it survives that crisis and remains a unitary state, it will almost certainly be pulled closer to the orbit of Iran, our bogeyman du jour.
In view of the crippling costs both human and financial as well as the strategic and moral disaster the invasion of Iraq precipitated, what sort of verdict do you think our leaders – leaders representing a presidential administration ostensibly opposed to the invasion and promising hope and change – bother to offer us? While junketing in Turkey on December 17, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told the press the following:
As difficult as [the Iraq war] was, I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world.
One’s only reaction to this statement is to blink in disbelief and wonder: is Panetta that stupid, or does he think that we, the supposedly self-governing citizens of this country, are that stupid? The kindest thing one can conclude is that this is some sort of throw-away line intended to provide solace to the families of those killed, or consolation to survivors who were maimed. But that is pretty thin gruel; one imagines those people, and their kin, have formed their own opinions about what happened and do not require a patronizing justification. And, in any case, if it was “worth it,” why shouldn’t we keep doing it, not only in Iraq but all over the world? Perpetual war for stable government, one might call it.
Council on Foreign Relations, a corporate-financier funded think-tank that represents the collective interests and agenda of Wall Street and London, had in 2009 published an extensive, 52 page report titled, "Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea."
The report covered "Scenarios for Change in North Korea" and included "managed," "contested," and "failed successions." The report makes no secret of US foreign policy toward North Korea and the desire to see the nation "integrated" with the South, a nation whose political system has long been co-opted by the United States, kept a watchful eye on by USPACOM's regional presence, and only saved by the nationalism of the South Korean people themselves.
On page 36 of the report, it is stated that chaos within a "changing" North Korea would raise concerns including, "maintaining security and stability in the North, locating and securing Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction, dealing with potentially serious humanitarian problems such as large-scale refugee flows or starvation, managing the political and legal issues relating to the formation of a transitional government, and addressing the economic challenges posed by the demise of the North and its possible integration with the South."
Of course, these are "concerns" the "international order" led by Wall Street and London would deal with, not the people actually living on the Korean Peninsula. And to address these concerns the report actually suggests deploying 115,000 to 230,000 foreign troops along with tens of thousands of "police" to support them in establishing "security and stability."
A senior Israeli official has called on the US to impose sanctions on Iran's oil sector in a meeting with a number of American foreign and defense ministry officials.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon tried to persuade Americans to target Iran's oil sector during a meeting with US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, the Israeli news outlet Ynet reported on Monday.
Israel reportedly told the US that an oil ban on Iran would not drive up global price.
Tel Aviv says other oil manufacturers, including Saudi Arabia, should increase production in order to reduce global dependency on Iranian oil supply.
Sherman is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf littoral states following the meeting to discuss the Israeli plan.
Israeli officials are also lobbying for the plan by talking to oil manufacturers.
This is while IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associate reported this month that the plans to enforce sanctions on Iran's oil industry could drive up oil price and wreak havoc on the global market.
North Korea’s eccentric regime is a close, useful ally of China. Beijing wants a stable North Korea outside of the US-South Korean strategic orbit. China’s most sensitive military and industrial region, Manchuria, is just across the border from North Korea. Any US intrusion into the North would arouse great alarm in China, as it did in December, 1950, during the Korean War.
If a violent power struggle or chaos breaks out in North Korea, Chinese military intervention is possible. Beijing has already issued veiled warnings.
What frightens South Korean strategists the most is not North Korea’s small nuclear program, but rather what they call, "unexpected reunification:" the total collapse of the North Korean state, sending millions of starving refugees south across the Demilitarized Zone. South Korea is in no financial position to feed million or, more onerous, build a viable North Korean. In any event, many South Koreans do not want reunification.
Caution, diplomacy, and tact are required in dealing with North Korea right now, not the kind of warlike, imperial bombast coming from many US Republican candidates. As the Chinese say: "great dangers; great opportunities."
North Korea’s nuclear weapons are not a threat so long as the North is not attacked or invaded. Washington must drop its obsession with this issue and look beyond.
What are our new hopes? We hope our own military and police will refuse the orders we now know are coming.
These will be orders to put Americans into prisons or simply kill them and bury the bodies in public dumps as though they were our heroic war dead turned over to the Air Force. (You didn’t know?)
Our government has thrown down the gauntlet.
We can stay stupid, support the two political parties they offer, vote for their judges, obey their police, starve quietly, living as slaves or we can die at their hands.
Ordering any member of the police or military to enforce a law that violates, not one or two constitutional provisions but nearly all of them, has to be a criminal act, minimally a felony, probably treason.
Arrest of such people must be prepared for.
We will protect our country but we also remain a nation of laws, we will keep our decency, our honor and our system of justice.
In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation which had not attacked it and posed no threat to it. This act led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It drove millions more from their homes, and plunged the entire conquered nation into suffering, fear, hatred and deprivation.
This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin. It is the only reality; there is no other. And it was done deliberately, knowingly, willingly. Indeed, the bipartisan American power structure spent more than $1 trillion to make it happen. It is a record of unspeakable savagery, an abomination, an outpouring of the most profound and filthy moral evil.
Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children -- the infants, the toddlers, the schoolkids -- whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces, those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness.
This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality.
The Iraq War has not ended. Not for the dead, not for their survivors, not for the displaced, the maimed, the lost, the suffering, not for all of us who live in the degraded, destabilised, impoverished world it has spawned, and not for the future generations who will live with the ever-widening, ever-deepening consequences of this irrevocable evil.
In Arab culture there is a strong imperative to not speak ill of the dead, but I’m going to have to make an exception for Christopher Hitchens. Knowing Hitchens, I’m sure he’d approve. Hitchens had a tenacity and ferociousness that would not compromise for considerations of tact, tradition, or politeness.
Hitchens took the pulpit and started hyperventilating about Hamas winning the Palestinian elections. He went on for 20 minutes on the evils of religion in politics. A theocracy, he said, could never make peace with its neighbors and will always discriminate based on idiotic religious grounds. Palestinians thus deserved to be isolated and punished by the USA for choosing a religious regime.
After his talk, I took Hitchens aside and asked him why he didn’t feel the same way about the other religious fundamentalist regime in Palestine: Zionism. If he was so concerned about Hamas’s religious fundamentalism, why was he silent about the religious fundamentalism that is driving millions of Palestinians out of their homes, occupying their land and denying them freedom because of their religion? Shouldn’t America deal with Jewish fundamentalism in the same way he wants it to deal with Islamic fundamentalism?
For once, I saw him flustered and speechless. It was clear he genuinely had not thought of this and now he felt thoroughly embarrassed. He smiled, looked around, tried to find something to say, but came up with nothing. He then tried to ignore me by going back to his comfort zone and engaging in a shouting match with a Muslim and calling him a “fucking peasant.” (That man was Ashraf Laidi, a currency trader and author whose CV indicates he’s never really been a peasant.) I asked Hitchens if he’d make my point in his next talk about Palestine/Israel, and again, he had nothing to say. I ended with: “well, either tell me why I’m wrong or admit you’re wrong and that in your next speech you’ll denounce Islamic and Jewish fundamentalism in the same way.” The stupid smirk left his face, and he walked away.
News of the United States' formal withdrawal from Iraq is receiving mediocre coverage in mainstream Arab media. On the popular al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera television networks, for example, Iraqi news come forth on the list, after Syria, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
In popular pan-Arab dailies, like Asharq Alawsat, Syria rather than Iraq was the main headline. Although glad to see the Americans leave after nearly nine years - ending a very long and unwelcomed stay - the Arab masses feel that they have too much on their plates in countries experiencing the Arab Spring to mind about Iraqi affairs any longer.
The same applies to anything related to the Palestinians, who for over 60 years were the Arab world’s main - and only - obsession. Too much effort, time, money and tears have been shed for Iraq during the years 2003-2011 and on Palestine since 1948.
for the exit, ordinary Iraqis are asking themselves plenty of questions. One is: "Had it not been for the 2003 war, is there the slightest chance in a million that we would have rid ourselves of Saddam Hussein?" The answer is no. Probably had there been no war, Iraqis would have been stuck with Saddam, although he might have bequeathed power to his son Uday.
The second question is: "Looking back, was it worth it?" Again, the obvious answer - from an Iraqi perspective - is no. Human life was wasted under Saddam and equally wasted under the Americans. The current leaders of Iraq are mini-dictators, lacking Saddam's brutality no doubt, but they are as arrogant, stubborn and selfish as the former strongman.
Confronted with the reality of institutional evil, Manning risked his career - and his freedom - in order to expose everything from mass murder and child rape in Afghanistan to US support for brutal dictators across North Africa and the Middle East. His actions were heroic, and Amnesty International has even credited them as the spark for with jump-starting the Arab Spring. And yet a president who proclaims his commitment to transparency while on the campaign trail is determined to go down as the one whose administration mentally tortured, prosecuted and jailed the most famous whistle-blower in half-a-century.
Colonel Ann Wright, a former top State Department official who resigned in protest of the 2003 Iraq war, says Manning's treatment at the hands of the Obama administration is an outrage that is at odds with the norms of military justice. He's been treated "as if he were an enemy combatant in Guantanamo", she says. "His past treatment while in pre-trial confinement and the lack of compliance with the norms of the military legal system of a 'speedy' trial . . . reeks of 18 months of intimidation, retribution and retaliation."
"It's clear the military and those tasked with Manning's case are working hard to make an example of him", says Nathan Fuller, an activist with the Bradley Manning Support Network. Like many, he suspects Manning's treatment has at least in part been an attempt to get him to implicate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But even if the Obama administration can't get that, "they're more than happy to use his case to send a message to potential whistle-blowers everywhere".
Politicians aren't the only ones who can send a message. This weekend, activists from around the country, including those involved in the Occupy movement in nearby Washington, DC, will be rallying outside Maryland's Fort Meade, where the pre-trial hearings in Manning's case are being conducted. The hope is that they can convince President Obama and his military brass that punishing a whistle-blower goes against the wishes of the American public. The question is whether that's true - and whether the political establishment really cares.
It’s now clear that the Republican frontrunner in the race for the White House is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Officially the two Republican frontrunners are Newt “the Palestinians are an invented people” Gingrich and Mitt “Obama has pushed Israel under a bus” Romney.
Both are political whores locked in a competition of their own as well as with President Obama for Zionist lobby organized campaign funds and American Jewish votes. (In a very close election race the latter could determine who becomes president).
The probability is that Romney will emerge as the winner and be the one to take on Obama. So what Romney said in the last debate with the other Republican candidates is of critical importance. He said:
“If I was president I’d get on the ‘phone to Bibi and say ‘Would it help if I said this?’”
In other words, if Romney becomes president, Netanyahu will the one determining American foreign policy for Israel-Palestine.
Because of Obama’s first-term surrender to the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress there’s a case for saying that Netanyahu already is, effectively, the president of America so far as policy for Israel-Palestine is concerned.
For the Army and Marines who lost 4,500 dead and more than 30,000 wounded, many of them amputees, the second-longest war in U.S. history is over. America is coming home from Iraq.
On May 1, 2003, on the carrier Abraham Lincoln, the huge banner behind President George W. Bush proclaimed, “Mission Accomplished!”
That was eight years ago. And so, was the mission accomplished?
Two-thirds of all Americans have concluded the war was not worth it.
And reading the description of Iraq from the editorial page of the pro-war Washington Post, who can answer yes?
“Al-Qaida continues to carry out terrorist attacks. Iranian-sponsored militias still operate, and a power struggle between Kurdish-ruled northern Iraq and Mr. Maliki’s government goes on. More Iraqis worry that, after the U.S. troops depart this month, the sectarian bloodletting that ravaged the country between 2002 and 2007 will resume.”
And not all the Americans are really coming home.
Some 16,000 will remain in the huge fortress that houses the U.S. embassy and in fortified consulates in Basra, Irbil and Kirkuk. All four sites will be self-sufficient, so U.S. personnel can stay clear of what The Wall Street Journal calls “the perilous security situation on Iraq’s city streets.
The terminology of Great Game was initially coined by Rudyard Kipling. He brought world’s attention towards the rivalry for a region between two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. The region for which they were competing holds its importance even today. Much has altered since that traditional rivalry and competition has thwarted. The Soviet empire dismembered and the United Kingdom had to abandon its colossal empire following WWII. While both Czars and British feared each other and desired to keep Afghan territory under their influence, the nature of current context is far more complicated.
The New Great Game is a strife among many powers, regional and global, as well as, big and small. Russia, China and the US are the key players. The Central Asia is a large and resourceful area as compared to barren, mountainous Afghanistan. The economic disposition of conflict makes it remarkable. The region comprises the Central Asian Muslim dominant states, bordering the Caspian basin. What makes the Caspian basin and adjoining territories so attractive is the presence of oil. The oil in general has become a source of political tussle among the states.
China is operating equally along side Russia in devouring energy deals. This provides an equal clientele to the Muslim Central Asian republics. This Chinese policy is far more attractive than facing Russian monopoly as previously. China offers a useful counterweight to Russia. A network of pipelines between Central Asia and China is gradually taking shape, and Russia appears to be realizing that China is not just a useful partner for keeping west out of Central Asia – it is also a competitor. However, as European energy growth slows, Russia too needs alternative markets for its oil and gas, and China has managed to secure preferential treatment there as well.
Many analysts who write on Central Asian energy wealth, often focus their concentration on plight of Afghanistan solely, which has made CARs vulnerable, due to the insecurity prevailing in Afghanistan more like a domino effect. At the critical juncture of their independence the Central Asians were fearful as they lost Soviet backing, their security provider. These weak and fragile states were the onlooker of Taliban civil strife in the decade of 1990’s dreading the spillover effect and that seems the same today. In 2011, the consequential effect of US war in Afghanistan is haunting the Central Asian regimes. The drug trafficking, smuggling, narcotics, human trafficking and arms trade etc is delaying their economic well being and becoming cause of derailment and frustration for many opportunists.
On December 5, the ACLU headlined, “Indefinite Detention, Endless Worldwide War and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” saying:
Enactment of this measure will authorize “the military to pick up and imprison people, including US citizens, without charging them or putting them on trial.”
Secretly with no hearings, both Houses are rushing to complete a “joint version” before leaving for Christmas break. “Fundamental American values and freedoms are on the line.” Given the stakes, they’re perilously hanging by a thread.
On December 13, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) urged Obama to veto NDAA in its present form. Otherwise, he’ll “be responsible for signing into law one of the greatest expansions of executive power in our nation’s history, allowing the government to lock up citizens and non-citizens without the right to fair trials.”
Earlier by Executive Order, he authorized indefinite detentions with or without military commission trials for persons designated national security threats. Intended specifically for Guantanamo detainees, it could be stretched to include anyone.
In 1997, the so-called 1033 Program (formerly the 1208 Program) let the Defense Secretary “transfer, without charge, excess US Department of Defense (DoD) personal property (supplies and equipment) to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs).”
One might regard the pledges made to Israel and its friends in the United States by aspiring presidential candidates as pro forma and vaguely amusing, but that would be a mistake. Policy commitments, even if they are lightly entered into, are a serious matter with real-world consequences. At the moment, the obligation to Israel goes far beyond the willingness to give Tel Aviv billions of dollars in aid and unlimited political cover each year. Every Republican candidate but one has affirmed that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of a “Jewish state,” the precise formula demanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and each has affirmed his or her eagerness to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would end forever any chance of actual peace talks with the Palestinians and would also invite a violent reaction against Americans in many parts of the Muslim world. Michele Bachmann has even found a private “donor” willing to pay for the move. Newt Gingrich, who would shift the embassy to Jerusalem within his first two hours as president and who has also promised to name John Bolton as his secretary of state, has meanwhile discovered that the Palestinian people do not actually exist, which certainly solves the problem of the two-state solution or any solution at all. They were invented by hostile Arabs and are out to destroy Israel.
Mitt Romney and Gingrich might well take the prize for lack of any connection with reality with their demand that U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman, who is Jewish, be fired for suggesting that some anti-Semitism might be the result of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Romney has also criticized President Barack Obama for “insulting” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, surely one of the most interesting inversions of truth and fiction ever to occur. Not to be outdone, Rick Perry has promised to increase assistance to Israel, calling it “strategic defensive aid” that benefits the United States.
While this kind of ignorant crackpottery is unfortunately what one expects, there might be worse to come. As part of the pro-Israel package, the same presidential hopefuls have made clear their willingness to go to war with Iran on behalf of Israel even if Israel is the initiator of the conflict, while the media and the Republican Party have together conspired to keep any contrary opinions on that issue marginalized and nearly invisible.
As Washington has demonstrated itself unwilling to negotiate with Iran over outstanding issues and has refused every attempt by the Iranians to compromise, there can be only one outcome to the game that is being played, and that is war. And the characteristically chickenhawk Republicans are ready to rock and roll based on the pseudo-information about the perfidious Persians. Gingrich again leads the charge, calling for a stepped-up program of sabotage and assassination inside Iran coupled with a covert operation to shut down the country’s main oil refinery, which will supposedly lead to “regime change.” Newt also suggested that the United States and Israel join together in “joint operations” to attack the Iranians. Perry and Rick Santorum also agree that it is time to order military strikes, while Mitt Romney is keen on indicting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for “the crime of incitement to genocide.”
Yes, the Indefinite Detention Bill DOES Apply to American Citizens Even at this 11th hour – when all of our liberties and freedom are about to go down the drain – many people still don’t understand that the indefinite detention bill passed by Congress allows indefinite detention of Americans on American soil.
The bill is confusing. As Wired noted on December 1st:
It’s confusing, because two different sections of the bill seem to contradict each other, but in the judgment of the University of Texas’ Robert Chesney — a nonpartisan authority on military detention — “U.S. citizens are included in the grant of detention authority.”
A retired admiral, Judge Advocate General and Dean Emeritus of the University of New Hampshire School of Law also says that it applies to American citizens on American soil.
They will say that American citizens are specifically exempted under the following language in Sec. 1032: “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” Don’t be fooled. All this says is that the President is not REQUIRED to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial. It still PERMITS him to do so.
Every grain of sand in the Syrian desert now knows there won't be a "responsibility to protect"-enabled North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “humanitarian” intervention to provoke regime change in Damascus. A protracted war like in Libya is not feasible - even though those faultless democratic practitioners, the House of Saud, have offered to pay for it, lavishly.
Yet the fog of near war remains impenetrable. What is NATO really up to in Syria?
It was already established (see The shadow war in Syria Asia Times Online, December 2, 2011) that NATO had set up a command and control center in Turkey's southern Hatay province - where British commandos and French intelligence are training the dodgy Free Syria Army (FSA). The target: to foment a civil war engulfing northern Syria.
To the West's despair, the Assad regime is far from being strangled. To counteract the hefty package of Arab League/Turkish sanctions, the regime has accelerated trade with China - by bartering and bypassing the international financial system.
No wonder Washington is taking the long-haul approach. It has deployed back to Damascus its ambassador Robert Ford - a former assistant to the sinister former destabilizer of Nicaragua John Negroponte when he was ambassador in Baghdad, and a current enthusiast of the House of Saud counter-revolution.
Ford will have plenty of time to exchange e-mails with a Syrian opposition totally in bed with former colonial power France. Talk about a stooge festival; this one is bound to carve its own niche in the annals of Middle East infamy.
As the evidence begins to mount pointing the accusing finger at the increasingly illegitimate corporate-financier occupiers of the West’s governments as having built up Russian opposition movements and being behind the current unrest filling Russia’s streets, the corporate media has already started to rewrite events as they unfold.
An amazing piece of mid-event revisionism titled, “Moscow braces as election protest goes viral,” desperately attempts to portray the protests as “leaderless” even as the article itself interviews “organizers.” Quoting unnamed, and most likely nonexistent protesters, the article featured in the Sydney Morning Herald insists protesters claimed, “I came on my own. I learnt about it on the web.” But the article then states (emphasis added), “and last night, thanks to the web, organisers were expecting more than 30,000 people to demonstrate against what they see as the rigged results of last Sunday’s elections, because that’s how many have committed themselves to a sign-up sheet on Facebook.”
While the article claims that no political party is recruiting protesters, earlier reports out of the Western media contradict this entirely, with the London Telegraph reproducing a blog post by US NED-funded opposition leader Boris Nemtsov stating before the December 10 protests, “I am talking about pickets at Petrovka 38 (the main police station) and on Simferopol Boulevard where the detained are being held, and other actions too. We start from today. I will take part in all this myself. On Saturday, December 10, a general meeting will be held on Revolution Square (in Moscow) at two o’clock to protest against these false elections. ”
The Daily Mail has also reported,”and Moscow rally organiser, opposition politician Vladimir Ryzhkov, has announced there will be another protest on December 24, which he says will be twice as large,” and RIA Novosti News reporting, “on a stage emblazoned with the logo “Return Power to the People” Russia’s best known opposition figures, from cultural leaders like Navalny and opposition music critic Artemy Troitsky to opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Solidarnost youth leader Ilya Yashin, addressed the hyped-up crowds.”
There’s some disturbing rhetoric flying around in the debate over the National Defense Authorization Act, which among other things contains passages that a) officially codify the already-accepted practice of indefinite detention of "terrorist" suspects, and b) transfer the responsibility for such detentions exclusively to the military.
The fact that there’s been only some muted public uproar about this provision (which, disturbingly enough, is the creature of Wall Street anti-corruption good guy Carl Levin, along with John McCain) is mildly surprising, given what’s been going on with the Occupy movement. Protesters in fact should be keenly interested in the potential applications of this provision, which essentially gives the executive branch unlimited powers to indefinitely detain terror suspects without trial.
The really galling thing is that this act specifically envisions American citizens falling under the authority of the bill. One of its supporters, the dependably-unlikeable Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, bragged that the law "basically says … for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield" and that people can be jailed without trial, be they "American citizen or not." New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte reiterated that "America is part of the battlefield."
Here’s another way to ask the question: On which side of the societal fence do you think the McCains and Grahams would put, say, an unemployed American plumber who refused an eviction order from Bank of America and holed up with his family in his Florida house, refusing to move? Would Graham/McCain consider that person to have the same rights as Lloyd Blankfein, or is that plumber closer, in their eyes, to being like the young Muslim who throws a rock at a U.S. embassy in Yemen?
A few years ago, that would have sounded like a hysterical question. But it just doesn’t seem that crazy anymore. We’re turning into a kind of sci-fi society in which making it and being a success not only means getting rich, but also means winning the full rights of citizenship. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see this ending well.
When thinking about "solutions" many are quick to cite organizing a protest and taking to the streets. Let's for a moment consider the mechanics of a protest, what it might accomplish, and what it may leave to be desired.
Take Glenn Beck's feckless and disingenuous 2010 "Restoring Honor" event in Washington D.C. It drew thousands of honest, well-intentioned people from all over the United States. Indeed, thousands of people filled up their Fortune 500 made cars with gas from Fortune 500 oil companies, drove countless miles, stopping along the way at Fortune 500 fast food restaurants, stayed at Fortune 500 run hotels, and stocked up on supplies purchased at Fortune 500 Walmart. They slaked their thirst under the hot August sun with cans of Fortune 500 Pepsi and Coke, and at the end of the day, they drove home, paid their Fortune 500 cable subscriptions to watch their Fortune 500 media reports, most likely on News Corporation's Fox News, a Council on Foreign Relations corporate member.
At best, all a protest will lead to, while we are so hopelessly dependent on this system, is a round of musical chairs inside the political arena, with perhaps superficial concessions made to the people. The vector sum however, will still be decidedly in favor of the global corporate-financier oligarchy.
If we understand that the fundamental problem facing not only America, but the entire world, is a global corporate-financier oligarchy that has criminally consolidated their wealth by "liberalizing" their own activities while strangling ours through regulations, taxes, and laws, we should then understand why events like Beck's "Restoring Honor" are not only fruitless, but in fact, counterproductive. We should also realize that any activity we commit ourselves to must be directed at this corporate-financier oligarchy rather than the governments they have co-opted and positioned as buffers between themselves and the masses.
While people understand something is wrong and recognize the necessity to do "something," figuring out what that "something" should be becomes incredibly difficult when so few understand how power really works and how to strip it away from the oligarchs that have criminally consolidated it.
In the case of the stolen CIA drone, the hardware with the backdoor was most likely embedded within he telemetry system, which is the multi-function brain of the drone, in fact every system within the drone is routed through the telemetry system, every sensor, every control, everything.
In fact the telemetry system is how the Airman at Nellis AFB uses via the joystick to fly the drone like it was a video game.
I do not know about this particular telemetry system, but from my experience at White Sands Missile Range during the early 1980’s it was common to use FM/FM modulation techniques.
All the Iranians needed was to be able to emulate one of the multitudes of frequencies used for telemetry purposes to trigger the embedded hardware purchased from the Chinese and installed within a US secret drone.
Once that hardware is triggered it is programmed to change the all the other frequencies used to control the secret drone and allow the Iranians to take total and complete control.
Imagine the young Airman with joystick in hand, and his commander at Nellis trying to capture images of any collection of buildings, gas stations, or old tires in the desert.
The United States-Pakistan relationship has reached a turning point reminiscent of the run-up to October 1958, when Washington encouraged General Ayub Khan's coup, apprehending the coming into power of an elected government in Pakistan that might have refused to collaborate as the US's Cold War ally against the Soviet Union.
An innocuous-looking thing happened on Sunday - Pakistan regained possession of the Shamsi air base in Balochistan near the border with Iran after evicting the US military presence from there. The base itself had been leased to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 1992.
The event is at once symbolic and tactical, while at the same time highly strategic even as war clouds are on the horizon over Iran. Symbolic in the sense that it is an assertion of Pakistan's sovereignty; tactical because the US war strategy, which heavily depended on the drone attacks on North Waziristan, will now have to be reworked. Is the drone era in the Afghan war coming to a brusque end?
But the crux of the matter is that the Obama administration has once again ceded policy to the Pentagon. With the Central Intelligence Agency also headed by an army general, David Petraeus, the Pentagon is pushing through a long-term military presence in Afghanistan although a political solution is Obama's stated goal. The US military aims to step up the fighting. The "drawdown" strategy outlined by Obama last year is being conveniently reinterpreted for this purpose.
"If we don't act now, we're going to find we're in a thermonuclear war; it's going to happen, if we don't act now to get this President out of office....
"Now, if we don't have him out of office, don't worry about anything—you're all going to be dead anyway."
That was the brutal reality presented by leading American economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche, during an hour-long interview with Internet radio host Alex Jones on Nov. 30. It's the reality that certain leading members of the U.S. military are trying to deal with, by moving to block Barack Obama's express intention to carry out a confrontation with Russia and China, which will lead inexorably into thermonuclear war.
In the interview with Jones, LaRouche stressed that it is British oligarchical policy which is behind the war-provoking posture of the Obama Administration and NATO, and that the only kind of war possible under the current circumstances would be thermonuclear.
One can also point to the Dec. 2 posting on the National Interest website by Paul Pillar, a retired CIA official whose last position was National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, who ripped into the oft-used Israeli attempt to justify a hit on Iran by comparing that nation to Hitler's Germany. Pillar says that's bunk, but dangerous, because the analogy is being used to drag the U.S. into another war, "with calamitous effects on U.S. interests."
If the United States wants to help Europe find a way out of its current debt crisis, we must be a strong, world economic leader, not merely the lender of last resort.
American taxpayers sent $40 billion to Greece last year, through the International Monetary Fund, to stave off an economic collapse. But the bailout did not prevent Greece's day of fiscal reckoning. It only delayed it. Austerity measures are still needed throughout Europe's socialized economy and the debt contagion has not been stopped. Financial chaos has spread from Greece to Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain, and it now threatens the very future of the 17-member euro zone.
Undeterred, President Obama last month told the press after breaking from a closed-door meeting with European leaders, "the United States stands ready to do our part to help them resolve this issue." He would do better to focus his attention stateside. The most dangerous threat to the U.S. economy is not across the pond. It's in the swampland of Washington, D.C.
The very problems that have roiled Europe's economy are coming to a slow boil in the U.S. Just as European leaders must limit deficit spending, reform unfunded entitlement programs, and resolve the underlying systemic problems in their financial systems, so must the politicians in Washington. Yet the Obama administration is burning taxpayers at each end of the dollar by bailing out failed socialist policies abroad and, at the same time, forcing them into place here at home.
This year the U.S. sent about $67 billion to the IMF, which represents 17.7% of the IMF's yearly budget—nearly three times more than any other nation. On top of that, taxpayers provided an additional $108 billion credit line to the IMF in 2009.
In 2010, the IMF sent nearly $40 billion in assistance to Greece, which did nothing to prevent the country's economic collapse in 2011. On Monday, the IMF approved another $2.95 billion worth of bailout funds for the struggling country.