Posts Tagged ‘politics’

PN

Land Destroyer

Image: The US now openly supports chaos on the streets of Hong Kong, this
after condemning “occupy” protests in Bangkok earlier this year. The
difference being in Thailand, protests sought to oust a US proxy, Hong Kong
protests seek to put one into power. 

September 30, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong continue on – destabilizing the small southern Chinese island famous as an international hub for corporate-financier interests, and before that, the colonial ambitions of the British Empire. Those interests have been conspiring for years to peel the island away from Beijing after it was begrudgingly returned to China in the late 1990’s, and use it as a springboard to further destabilize mainland China.

Behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests, which masquerade as a “pro-democracy” movement seeking “universal suffrage” and “full democracy,” is a deep and insidious…

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nsnbc international
Aug 5, 2014

TCP : British Baroness and cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi resigned from her position Tuesday morning, protesting the British government’s Gaza policy regarding the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

“With deep regret, I have this morning written to the Prime Minister (and) tendered my registration. I can no longer support Govt, policy on #Gaza”, wrote Warsi on her official Twitter account.

Warsi_UK“Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children? Whatever our policies there can never be justification”, surly only regret #Gaza” Warsi added, on her Twitter account, criticizing Israel’s actions in Gaza.

British Labour leader Ed Miliband on his official Twitter feed seconded Warsi, posting ” I think Baroness Warsi has acted with principle and integrity. People around Britain have been shocked by the suffering we have seen i Gaza”.

On 4 September 2012 Warsi was appointed as Senior Minister of State for Foreign…

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Treasurer Joe Hockey is offering privileged access to a select group including business people and industry lobbyists in return for tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the Liberal Party via a secretive fund-raising body whose activities are not fully disclosed to election funding authorities. The Independent Commission Against Corruption is probing Liberal fund-raising bodies such as the Millennium Forum and questioning their influence on political favours in NSW. Read Full Report Here –> http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/treasurer-for-sale-joe-hockey-offers-privileged-access-20140504-zr06v.html

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/03/15/comment-no-ones-hands-are-clean-crimean-furore-escalates By Christopher Read, University of WarwickAs the ultra-right and neo-Nazi thuggery of the Kievan fringes has spread to Sevastopol and Simferopol, Crimea’s political status as a proxy in struggles between Russia, the EU and the US has taken the spotlight off the plight of its inhabitants.To the West, Crimea’s people are Ukrainian whether they like it or not; and if they don’t shut up, Putin will pay for it. We are, sadly, already accustomed to sickening violence on Kiev’s streets and squares, but both western Ukraine and Crimea have become the new focus for various militant nutcases to attach themselves to the cause as parasites.Former Chechen fighters have apparently turned up in western Ukraine to promote the anti-Russian cause. Meanwhile, in Crimea, Chetniks, extreme nationalists from Serbia, have descended to helptheir Russian “brothers and sisters” in return for Russian support for Serbia in 1914, 1941 and the 1990s.The situation is a mess, and will be for as long as the West parades its trophy “prime minister” around its capitals – a prime minister imposed without election on a now…. Source: SBS

occupysydney

Image

This is how the Australian Government enable Corporate interests. This time its #BHP . But #Chevron #Securency and a host of other Corporations have benefitted from government collaboration.

 

In a post #TPP era governments (from what we see in leaks) will be bound to spy for Transnationals like #BHP ….

read how your Australian Government spied for #BHP here

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http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/freedom-of-information-comes-at-a-hefty-price-under-ofarrell-regime-20130216-2ejs8.html

From Ecuador to Djibouti: A Tale of Cocaine Trafficking, Sex Crime Charges, Extraordinary Rendition & Julian Assange

By guest writer Danny Weil

As reported at Dailycensored.com on  November 14, 2012, two sources have alleged that the CIA has been engaging in cocaine trafficking in Chile to fund an $88 million campaign to defeat President Rafael Correa in Ecuador’s upcoming presidential election: former British Diplomat Craig Murray, and Chilean journalist Patricio Mery Bell.

It is no secret that the US wants to see Correa defeated and the presidential election scheduled next month in Ecuador will see whether he is. He has enacted policies the US government considers adverse to US interests including closing the US military base in Ecuador. Moreover, it is likely the US sees the defeat of Correa as key to getting its hands on Julian Assange.

There is also the $19 billion judgment by an Ecuadorean court against Chevron for despoiling the Amazon rainforest. A group of the plaintiffs have recently begun initiating legal proceedings to seize Chevron’s assets in Canada, Brazil and Argentina.

The allegations of Cocaine trafficking are strikingly similar to cocaine trafficking by the CIA in the 1980s to fund the Contras in Nicaragua.

Patricio Mery Bell is head of the Panorama news service in Chile. In October 2012, Bell arranged to meet with the Ecuadorian president while Correa was in Chile, to present evidence of CIA cocaine trafficking in Chile to fund Correa’s defeat.

On his way to meet with Correa, Patricio Bell was arrested and charged with assaulting a woman. His cell phone, which contained evidence to be presented to Correa, was confiscated and never returned.

Patricio Bell claims he was set up by the woman accusing him, and it has been reported that the she has ties to a CIA backed anti Castro groups in Miami. The charges against Bell are suspiciously similar to those against Assange, but the coincidences don’t end there.

Craig Murray is the other person who has disclosed allegations that the CIA was trafficking cocaine in Chile to fund the defeat of Correa in Ecuador. Murray had two independent sources, one in the UK the other in Washington.

Craig Murray is a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who exposed torture, renditions and collusion between the CIA and British MI6. He was subsequently charged with extortion for sexual purposes and blackmailing people into sex in exchange for British visas. He did get his name cleared 18 months later.

 

Sex crime charges

The sex crime charges against Assange, Bell and Murray are part of a pattern of whistle blowers being charged with sex crimes which includes Iraqi weapons inspector Scott Ritter and Guantanamo Bay Chaplain James Yee.

As Craig Murray reported: after returning to the US, Iraqi weapons inspector Scott Ritter was entrapped in a computer sex sting set up by the FBI.  Not coincidentally, this occurred after Ritter publicly stated that there were no weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq.

Chaplain James Yee exposed mistreatment of inmates at Guantanamo Bay. After espionage charges were dropped against him, Yee was convicted of adultery and having pornography on a government computer, only to have those convictions later overturned.

Sexual entrapment has long been used in espionage to blackmail adversaries and recruit spies. Now it appears it is being used against whistleblowers. The fact that Britain used sex crime charges against Craig Murray heightens suspicions of collusion with the US to render Julian Assange.

 

Djibouti

For those skeptical that Britain, Sweden and the US are collaborating to render Assange, a story out of Djibouti should put to rest any doubts.  According to an article by the UK’s Independent (thanks to Truthout.org reader Arbed121), three Somali men were arrested in the African country of Djibouti last August and accused by US agents of supporting the Somali militia Al Sabah. A lawyer for the men claim the three were sojourning in Djibouti when they crossed paths with “friendly” undercover CIA and FBI agents.

The three were interrogated by US agents in Djibouti (a country which has a history of assisting the US with renditions) without being charged with any crime. After two months, they were secretly indicted in New York, taken into custody by the FBI and flown to the US to stand trial.

Two of the men were Swedish citizens, one a resident of Britain. Britain and Sweden had been monitoring the three for some time. The UK stripped the British man of his residency. Sweden has made no effort to defend their citizens. The Independent article reported Sweden has in fact cooperated with the US on a number of rendition cases (ibid).

 

Julian Assange

The charges against Julian Assange must be viewed in context with the sex crime charges against Craig Murray, Patricio Bell, James Yee and Scott Ritter. Add the collaboration between Britain, Sweden and the US in the Djibouti renditions and we find even more evidence that these three countries may be colluding to render Assange.

At a speech from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Craig Murray claimed Wikileaks revealed how governments had colluded in the rendition and torture of individuals across the globe.  And now some of these same governments appear to be colluding to render Assange.

From renditions in Africa to cocaine trafficking in South America, the US war on terror rolls on unceasingly as it targets and takes out adversaries across the globe. Many, such as the Djibouti three, have committed no offenses against the US. Chile, Britain, Sweden, and Djibouti reveal a chilling pattern of international governments acting unlawfully – presumably at the behest of the US military-industrial complex.

It is clear the US views Julian Assange as an ongoing threat to exposing its mischief across the globe. Vice President Joe Biden has even labeled him a high-tech terrorist. And now the US has in its sights the one leader who has stood up for Assange, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, as the CIA has allegedly trafficked cocaine in Chile to fund a plot to get rid of him.

Apparently Correa now fears for his life, because he recently publicly stated there may be a CIA plan to assassinate him.

An Orwellian story

The facts of this tale bear a striking resemblance to what Orwell wrote about in his dystopic novel, 1984. We are in an unending state of perpetual war with an ill-defined and shifting enemy and the populace are under constant surveillance while individuals are labeled sex criminals and terrorists and then hunted down for offenses that often are little more than “thought crimes.”  They are then coerced into confessing their “crimes” after being subjected to techniques which include waterboarding, not unlike the practices described in Orwell’s notorious 1984, Room 101.

Newspeak and double think are now the order of the day. “Cocaine trafficking” is the “war on drugs”, “rendition is liberty”, “subverting elections” is “democracy” and “framing whistleblowers” is “justice”.

________________________________________________________________________

Danny Weil is a reporter for Truthout.com, Daily Censored.com, Project Censored.com and is the author of many books.  He has spent more than two years living in Latin America and one year working for the Sandinista government and the Ministry of Culture in 1985.  He is fluent in Spanish and has just returned from Ecuador.

As reported via Project Censored

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http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

“Settling” by Israel constitutes a WARCRIME according to International Law and the ICC statute. Even under US’ own military legislation’ it is forbidden.
Law resources below this article


BREAKING | DON’T LET ISRAEL ETHNIC CLEANSE Bab Al-Shams Village | Established by Palestinians IN Palestine! | LIVE BLOG





LAW

“States may not deport or transfer parts of their own civilian population into a territory they occupy.”

Summary

State practice establishes this rule as a norm of customary international law applicable in international armed conflicts.
International armed conflicts

The prohibition on deporting or transferring parts of a State’s own civilian population into the territory it occupies is set forth in the Fourth Geneva Convention.[1]

It is a grave breach of Additional Protocol I.[2]

Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”

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http://www.ausparty.org.au/news/media-releases/view/138

6
Dec
LNP MPs paid allowances in breach of legislation

State leader of Katter’s Australian Party, Ray Hopper, says that the LNP Government is paying some backbenchers $8,217 more than they are entitled to and is in breach of its own legislation determining the size of parliamentary committees.

Under the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001, if there are 14 non-government Members of Parliament then the seven parliamentary portfolio committees are supposed to have five government members. Currently there is an extra government member on each of these committees.

“The LNP Government is paying some backbenchers more than they are entitled to and is deliberately doing so to prevent further LNP unrest,” Mr Hopper said.

“This is a disgrace. This Christmas thousands of Queenslanders will be doing it tough after being sacked.”

“It is an insult to these hardworking Queenslanders that the government is paying its members more than they are entitled to.”

Read the full media release here

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/data-point/how-big-are-they-an-interactive-guide-to-public-sector-cuts-20120928-26pc4.html

The Newman government’s cuts to the size of the public service have generated controversy. But what do the reductions look like visually?

Our interactive graphic, above, allows readers to see the shape and size of the public sector in June 2012 and compare it with the changes outlined in the September budget papers.

The departments are scaled to show their relative sizes. It’s clear that Queensland Health and the Department of Education, Training and Employment are the two biggest employers in the state’s public sector.

Select June 2012 to see the make-up of the public sector at the time of an audit by the Public Sector Commission and then toggle to September 2012 to see the shrinkage foreshadowed by the Newman government’s first state budget.
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Hover over each department to see how many employees are expected to remain working there this financial year following the cuts. The red number in brackets indicates the exact number of full-time-equivalent staff set to receive redundancies, according to the budget papers.

Click below to view interactive map via Brisbane Times

http://m.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/public-service-job-cuts-mining-slowdown-start-to-bite-as-queensland-economy-goes-in-to-reverse/story-e6freoof-1226530816026?sv=593f5a40d624ba71b3a5e34a2c101dd2#.UMCYFNicIsA.twitter

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Silver Lining

American Cynicism

by VIJAY PRASHAD, source

The Israeli assault on Gaza continues. The death toll rises over 100, infrastructure is destroyed, and the UN relief agencies are at wit’s end. A desperate tone has entered the dispatches from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has operated in occupied Palestine since 1950. On November 19, the agency noted:

“Israeli Air Force (IAF) strikes were supported by the Israeli navy during the night. The ongoing airstrikes have again targeted leaders of militant groups, infrastructure, the security apparatus, but increasingly residential buildings as well. One hit destroyed a four-storey building belonging to the Al Dalou family in a highly-populated area in Gaza city. The families present in the house were buried under the rubble. At least 11 people died in the strike and over 20 were injured – all of them civilians, including women, an infant, and children. This is an…

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by Nile Bowie
Global Research
November 17, 2012

“The Bible finds no worse image than this of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency towards conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war. Israel’s must be the same. The two states solution doesn’t exist; there are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.” [1]– Benjamin Netanyahu

 

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Silver Lining

Press TV

Tens of thousands of Kuwaitis have held a demonstration in the capital to protest against changes to an electoral law, which the opposition has called a constitutional coup by the government.

The protesters gathered at a square opposite the country’s parliament in Kuwait City late on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the constitution and to demand the abrogation of the disputed electoral law.

According to opposition activists, around 200,000 people attended Sunday’s demonstration whereas independent sources put the figure at about 50,000.

The demonstrators chanted that “the people want the repeal of the law,” which was ordered by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to change the voting system.

“The law aims at preventing Kuwaiti popular participation in governance… and to establish autocratic rule and exploit the country’s resources,” former MP Khaled al-Sultan told the crowd.

“The amendment of the law is a breach of the constitution……

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Just before Hurricane Sandy, Obama signed executive order merging Homeland Security with private sector to create virtual dictatorship
security

(NaturalNews) While all eyes were on Hurricane Sandy in the days leading up to the storm’s breach on the mainland of the Northeast, the White House was busy devising new ways to enslave Americans under the guise of protecting national security. On October 26, 2012, Barack Obama quietly signed an Executive Order (EO) establishing the so-called Homeland Security Partnership Council, a public-private partnership that basically merges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with local governments and the private sector for the implied purpose of giving the Executive Branch complete and limitless control over the American people.

One of the most effective ways by which the federal government has been able to spread its tendrils into every level of state, regional, and local governments in years past has been to continually convince the people that terrorism lurks around every corner, and that the federal government is needed to provide safety. This, of course, is how blatantly unconstitutional provisions like the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) were able to get passed with relative ease — without these draconian expansions of federal control over American affairs, the terrorists will win, we were all told.

White House forming nationwide secret police to monitor lives of Americans

This is precisely the angle being taken with the new EO, except it goes even further in conflating federal power structures with local governments and the private sector. Based on the eery language contained in the EO, the federal government appears ready to begin rapidly expanding its command and control operations at the local level by establishing a vast network of homeland security “partnerships” throughout the country, which will be tasked with reporting back to the central command center and feeding “intelligence” information as requested by federal officials.

“[W]e must tap the ingenuity outside government through strategic partnerships with the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and community-based organizations,” says the EO. It goes on to add that the merger between the federal government and the private sector is necessary to facilitate the government’s desire to better “address homeland security priorities,” which includes things like “responding to natural disasters … (and) preventing terrorism by utilizing diverse perspectives, skills, tools, and resources.”

An official Steering Committee will be established with representatives from virtually every single three and four-letter federal agency, and this committee will be guided by a separate council on how to best incorporate the federal government and DHS into every nook and cranny of American society. Once established, this council will maintain control over presumably all aspects of society by overseeing a secret police force comprised of spies from schools, community groups, churches, and various other local institutions.

“[W]e must institutionalize an all-of-Nation effort to address the evolving threats to the United States,” adds the ominous EO, which was flown under the radar of the mainstream media.

You can read the complete EO for yourself at: http://www.whitehouse.gov

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037871_Obama_executive_order_dictatorship.html#ixzz2BXT9uOoR

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Iraq War Crimes: Kidnap and Murder of Ministry of Education Officials

Global Research, November 07, 2012
BRussells Tribunal
iraq

by Milad Rizooqi, Sawt Al-Iraq

Translation: Lubna Al Rudaini and Dirk Adriaensens,

BRussells Tribunal, 31 October 2012.

We hear a lot about “ militias” and their crimes everywhere in Iraq, but many Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish personalities still refuse to tell the media details about these militias, which persons are connected with them, and who represents them in the Parliament,in the government or even in the streets.

A couple of days ago, the Baghdad Operations Headquarter stated that they found the remains of tens of Iraqi academics that were kidnapped from the Ministry of Higher Education – Department of Missions -in 14 November 2006.They were buried in the Al-Sada Area in Sadr City. The bodies were found after one of the militia members (who is arrested by the Iraqi authorities) confessed and told about the place where the victims were buried, their number, the details of how the militias carried out the kidnapping, why they did it and who is behind all this. (2)

The Iraqi people always ask themselves when such “incidents” occur, like a kidnapping or a blast or a car bomb:“who is behind this?”

Everyone in Iraq knows that the Ministry of Higher Education kidnapping was the work of sectarian militias, more specifically the ones that are politically linked to the government.

When the Iraqi people ask about the names of these militias, and the reasons behind the secrecy of the Iraqi government, theyare surprised that no one wants to talk and no one dares to name names.The Iraqi government,the Army, the Ministry of Interior, the Parliament members,the human rights organizations, even the TV channels and media,all of them avoid to mention the names of those militias as if it was a sacred talisman or a taboo!

Do these militias consider the blood of their victims as the cheapest thing in the world, and are their crimes all sacred?

Everyone knows that the Al-Mahdi Militia, led by Muqtada Al-Sadr, is among those who committed such disgusting crimes. Some of the media dared to mention the details of this crime saying that Hakim Al-Zamili, one of the leaders of the Al-Mahdi Militia,was responsible for this crime that took the lives of more than 150 Iraqis, some of them Iraq’s best academics. Al-Zamili is a prominent member of the Iraqi Parliament, representative of the Al-Sadr Party. Many Iraqis know it, but the government and parliament representatives keep silent and never mention the name of the murderers of the academics in November 2006. (Read more about Hakim Al Zamili underneath: “A case study. The Ministry of Health, a very unhealthy Institution”)

When will the government,the parliament, and the judiciary authorities dare to name and accuse this criminal who killed numerous Iraqi citizens? When will the Iraqi government stop its courtship with the murderers,ignoring the bloodshed of innocent Iraqi people, and ignoring the judiciary authorities? A punishment is not only meant to punish the criminal, not only an attempt to do justice to the victim, it is also a way to show criminals that there’s a price to pay if they commit a crime, to set an example. But it is well known that the US occupation authorities created lawlessness themselves.

They have shown no inclination to investigate the crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. This calculated disinterest is itself revealing. And even worse, official spokespersons gave overt expression to the pervasive inclination of the occupiers to view chaos and lawlessness as “creative” in the sense of providing opportunities to wipe the state clean, to create new beginnings, or start over from scratch. In the context of engineered chaos, the wanton degradation of Iraq’s once vaunted educational and health systems represented for them an “opportunity to begin again”.

Criminal gangs could rob and kidnap and murder with impunity. They played a marginal, but instrumental role in the instability in Iraq. Because none of the committed crimes were investigated, the victims had the impression that law and order were non-existent in the “new Iraq”. So in 2005-2008many Iraqis fled the country with their families.  These bandits could do their crimes under the eyes of 750.000 security forces, without fear of being caught or prosecuted. This feeds the suspicion among the Iraqis that the occupier at least tolerated these crimes in order to create as much chaos as possible, in order to encourage the process of ethnic cleansing and erasing collective memory.

We demand that the Iraqi judiciary,especially the High Judiciary Council spokesman stop being cowards and mention the name of those bloody sectarian militia’s to the public.We also demand of Baghdad Operations, the Ministries of Defense and Interior,the Parliament (especially Al-Nujaifi), and the Ministerial Council headed by Al Maliki, that they should take their responsibilities, respect the rule of law and arrest the culprits of this horrendous crime, to show the public that the blood of the victims is not cheap. If they don’t take the necessary measures, the reputation of the country and its government will sink even deeper in the quagmire of lawlessness and overall corruption.

It’s worth to mention that a few months ago Al-Maliki declared that he knows who is responsible for the kidnapping in the Ministry of Higher Education, at the time when Muqtada Al-Sadir made a deal with the Kurdish government and IyadAllawi’s Al-Iraqiya party,and declared that Al-Maliki is not trustworthy anymore.Maliki’s words were meant as a threat. That’s why Muqtada changed his mind immediately and withdrew from this cooperation deal. The same thing is happening again now.When Muqtada wanted a vote of no confidence against Al-Maliki,the latter made his move and told the media all about the kidnapping incident. That’s how the criminal ruling eliteuses the blood of innocent citizensas a winning card:to blackmail each other whenever it suits them. All of these criminals know who is responsible for which bloodbath. And the Americans know, because they helped to put these people in power.

Long before the invasion, the US and its allies were involved in the training and arming of tens of thousands of militias and anti-Iraq collaborators. The most conspicuous of these militia groups were:

1. The Iraqi National Congress (INC) led by Ahmed Chalabi.
2. The Iraqi National Accord (INA) led by IyadAllawi, now heading the Al Iraqiya party in Parliament.
Both groups constituted of Iraqi expatriates (including ex-Ba’athists), trained and armed by the U.S. and Britain.
3. The Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Da’awa/SCIRI religious ‘parties’ led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Nuri al-Maliki. This group constituted of thousands of Iraqi expatriates and illegal Iranian immigrants expelled from Iraq in the 1980’s. The group is trained and heavily armed by Iran and the U.S.
4. Then there was the Sadr movement (known as the Mahdi Army), led by Muqtada al-Sadr. The movement has been accused of many crimes and sectarian killings since the Sadr movement entered the political process. And now they’re the ones who stand accused for the kidnapping scandal in the Ministry of Higher Education.

Since the invasion, each militia group had mutated into several groups of death squads and criminal gangs such as the Wolf Brigade, the Karar Brigade, the Falcon Brigade, the Amarah Brigade, the Muthana Brigade, the Defenders of Kadhimiyah, and in 2006 integrated in the Special Police Commandos, created by the US Army. They were armed and financed by the U.S. and its allies, and fully integrated into the Occupation. Each group was carefully used by the occupying forces to terrorize the Iraqi civilian population in a campaign designed to erode the civilian population’s support for the Iraqi Resistance against the Occupation. U.S. military sources have openly admitted that the population, where support for the Resistance was high, “is paying no price for the support it is giving to the [Resistance] … We have to change that equation”, (Newsweek, 14 January 2004). In other words, Iraqis civilians were deliberately targeted for rejecting the Occupation. (3)

A Women for Women International – Iraq 2008 report gives a pretty accurate picture of how Iraqi politics work and who is responsible for the Iraqi catastrophe:
“Within the central government in Baghdad, Iraqi politics are largely deadlocked. The current government is made up largely of Shiite politicians closely tied to various militia warlords.

The Sunnis are not well represented in the government or the parliament, and tribal sheiks of Anbar, Ninawah, and Salah al-Din provinces tend to view the government as a front for Iran. Even among the Shiites, many believe that the politicians in Baghdad are working for the best interests of the militias, not the best interests of the Shiites as a whole, let alone all Iraq.

The problem derives in large part from the flawed decisions that went into the creation of the IGC in 2003 and the interim government of 2004. Having brought exiles and militia leaders into the government and given them positions of power, it became virtually impossible to get them out, and even more difficult to convince them to make compromises. The militia leaders used their positions to maintain and expand their power at the expense of their rivals outside the government as well as in the central government itself.

As a result, each ministry in Baghdad is wholly captive to the militia that controls it.”(4)(5)

Hakim Al Zamili – A case study: the Ministry of Health, a very unhealthy institution(6)

Minister of Health in 2006, Ali Al-Shimari, belonged to Moqtada Al-Sadr’s political movement while the latter’s military arm, the Mahdi Army, was acting inside hospitals with impunity. Sick and wounded patients were abducted from public hospitals and later killed. As a consequence, more and more Iraqis were avoiding hospitals.

“The hospitals have become killing fields,” said Abu Nasr.Ali Al-Shimari fled the country as soon as charges of sectarian acts were brought against officials at the ministry. Al-Shimari was granted political asylum in the USA.(7) After the attack hit Samarra’s Askariya shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, on February 22, 2006,(8) Ali Al Shimari and his deputy Hakim Al Zamili, a commander of the Mahdi army, turned the Ministry of Health into a torture and killing centre.
In September 2006, when the streets of Baghdadwere swamped with thousands of brutally assassinated bodies, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the Ministry of Health not to release further figures about casualties to the United Nations, as it had previously done.(9)

On February8, 2007, occupation forces raided the ministry and arrested Hakim Al Zamili. He was accused of allegedly funnelling money to the militias. He used private ambulances and hospitals to carry out the killings. He was the key suspect in the kidnapping and (suspected) murder of his colleague, Ammar al-Saffar, who was also a deputy Health Minister.(10)

After a two-day trial, marred by accusations of witness intimidation, the charges were dropped and Mr. Zamili was freed after spending more than a year in American custody.(11)According to accurate Iraqi sources,Hakim Al-Zamili killed 160 persons, among them D.rRaadAl Mahdawy– a Sunni- the general director of the health department in Diyala.

Al-Zamili’s 2009 release was, according to some Iraqi witnesses, part of the deal for returning the bodies of 5 Britons, held hostage for 2 years by an obscure militia known as “Islamic Shia Resistance in Iraq.” This group of Britons was seized while they were installing anti-corruption software in Baghdad’s Ministry of Finance, by about 40 men “disguised” as Iraqi policemen, in May 2007.(12) The Iraqi authorities acted as lead negotiator and broker for the deal.(13)”The first thing Hakim Al-Zamili did after being released was killing Hassan Aziz, a judge who was involved in trying to convict Mr. Zamili. Now this criminal is a member of the Iraqi new parliament!” an anonymous Iraqi source testifies. Hakim Al-Zamili, recently elected Member of Parliament from the Sadrist bloc, is now one of the strongest advocates for carrying out the death sentence on former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.(15)

This is today’s sad reality in Iraq’s “blossoming democracy.”

And it’s not getting any better.

Dirk Adriaensens is coordinator of SOS Iraq and member of the executive committee of the BRussells Tribunal. Between 1992 and 2003 he led several delegations to Iraq to observe the devastating effects of UN imposed sanctions. He was a member of the International Organizing Committee of the World Tribunal on Iraq (2003-2005). He is also co-coordinator of the Global Campaign Against the Assassination of Iraqi Academics. He is co-author of Rendez-Vous in Baghdad, EPO (1994), Cultural Cleansing in Iraq, Pluto Press, London (2010), Beyond Educide, Academia Press, Ghent (2012), and is a frequent contributor to GlobalResearch, Truthout, The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies and other media.

References:

1 http://www.sotaliraq.com/mobile-item.php?id=120108#axzz2Arw4bF2Z
2 Read the article ‘Iraq’s Mass Graves’by Dirk Adriaensens on 23/10/2012,http://www.globalresearch.ca/crimes-against-humanity-iraqs-mass-gravesvoting-the-stolen-election-of-2004-2/5309313
3Ghali Hassan,http://www.countercurrents.org/iraq-hassan041206.htm
4http://www.womenforwomen.org/news-women-for-women/assets/files/IraqReport.03.03.08.pdf
5Alsomentioned in the BRussellsTribunal “Open Letter to the UN High Commissionerfor Human Rights, NaviPillay” by Dirk Adriaensens on 8 February 2012, http://www.brusselstribunal.org/UnspokenCrimes080212.htm
6 This case study was originally published in a BRussells Tribunal article: “Always someone’s mother or father, always someone’s child. The missing persons of Iraq.” By Dirk Adriaensens, 28 November 2010,http://www.brusselstribunal.org/pdf/Disappearances_missing_persons_in_Iraq.pdf )
7http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/29/AR2006082901680.html
8http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/885/re82.htm
9http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/22/AR2006022200454.html
10http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/feb/8/20070208-115125-4889r/
11http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/world/middleeast/04baghdad.html?_r=1&ref=world
12http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2008/03/iraq-british-oil-corruption
13http://peteinfoshare.blogspot.com/2009/09/iraq-body-confirmed-as-uk-hostage.html
14http://www.japantoday.com/category/world/view/iraq-president-opposes-tariq-azizs-death-sentence

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Greece Grinds to Halt Amid Mass Austerity Strike

RT.com
November 6, 2012

Protesters from the communist-affiliated trade union PAME march outside the parliament during a rally in central Athens November 6, 2012. (Reuters/Costas Baltas)

A far-reaching national strike against new austerity measures has left Greece paralyzed. Thousands are marching in the streets of Athens in protest against measures that unions say will sink the country’s already-flagging economy.

 

The 48-hour strikes have brought most of the country to a standstill, shutting down public transport, schools and air traffic control. Hospitals are also working with skeleton crews. Broadcasts and publications were halted until further notice as journalists joined the nationwide strike.

“About 10,000 people on Syntagma square right now. More arriving. All peaceful,” RT correspondent Peter Oliver wrote on Twitter.

Police cordoned off areas around government buildings in Athens in preparation for possible violence. Extra officers were also called for crowd control during the demonstrations.

The protests are expected to continue throughout the week, culminating on Wednesday to coincide with a parliamentary vote on the new austerity measures.

The new round of budget cuts the Greek parliament will vote on Wednesday has enraged a population already exhausted by economic belt-tightening. Athens is currently debating measures that aim to allay bankruptcy through some $17 billion in cuts by 2016.

Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against new government austerity bill aimed at securing international aid needed to prevent the debt-crippled nation from defaulting, in Thessaloniki on November 6, 2012. (AFP Photo/Sakis Mitrolidis)
Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against new government austerity bill aimed at securing international aid needed to prevent the debt-crippled nation from defaulting, in Thessaloniki on November 6, 2012. (AFP Photo/Sakis Mitrolidis)

 

The Greek government remains divided over the issue, with the Democratic Left Party that comprises one-third of the governing coalition refusing to back the measures. The second-largest member of the union government, Pasok, has also seen dissension in its ranks, with several MPs refusing to back the package.

The measures stipulate a two-year increase in the Greek retirement age to 67, and several tax hikes. The new package also includes provisions making it easier to fire civil servants, which has provoked the ire of public workers amid a current unemployment rate of over 25 percent.

The austerity package is required for Greece to qualify for a bailout loan from the ‘Troika’ – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Previous austerity measures slowed Greece’s economy, shrinking its economy by one-fifth since the financial downturn began in 2007. The outlook for 2013 is bleaker still, with the country’s debt at 189 percent of GDP and further austerity looking increasingly likely.

The Greek capital has seen numerous protests over the past months, with Athenians rallying against austerity they criticize as bringing the country perilously close to collapse.

Anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece have frequently turned violent, leading to clashes between police and disgruntled youths.

Protesters from the communist-affiliated trade union PAME march outside the parliament during a rally in central Athens November 6, 2012. (Reuters/John Kolesidis)
Protesters from the communist-affiliated trade union PAME march outside the parliament during a rally in central Athens November 6, 2012. (Reuters/John Kolesidis)

 

Protesters march in front of the Greek parliament in central Athens during a rally marking the 48-hours general strike on November 6, 2012. (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)
Protesters march in front of the Greek parliament in central Athens during a rally marking the 48-hours general strike on November 6, 2012. (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)

 

AFP Photo/Aris Messinis
AFP Photo/Aris Messinis

 

Image from Twitter/@AZakharyan_RT
Image from Twitter/@AZakharyan_RT

 

AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki

This article first appeared on RT.com.

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Israel’s Airstrike on Khartoum: Part of a Broader US-NATO-Israel Military Agenda

israelus

by Mohammad Reza Haji-Karim Jabbari

The recent attack on a weapons production plant in Ash Shajara area of Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum, on October 24, can have many reasons. However, irrespective of those reasons, this attack cannot be analyzed separate from the large-scale and main strategy of the United States and Israel in the Middle East and North Africa. This means that the aforesaid operation has been certainly part of the big puzzle of the United States’ and Israel’s strategy in these regions. Meanwhile, any analysis of the attack should first focus on the conditions under which the airstrike has taken place because those conditions will show us whether it has been a unique operation or not?

1. The Israeli airstrike against Sudan followed an earlier operation by the Lebanese Hezbollah in which an Iran-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) penetrated deep inside Israel. Many reports have been published on that operation, but the gist of all of them is that the operation greatly scared the inhabitants of Israel. On the one hand, it was a deterrent operation which aimed to change Israel’s calculations with regard to launching any possible attack in the Middle East region, and also posed a serious challenge to rumors about Israel’s attack on Iran. Therefore, the Israeli leaders needed to not only boost the morale and spirit of their people, but had to do the same for their military commanders as well. As a result, they had to launch an operation which would prove the upper hand of the Israeli forces both in military terms and in terms of intelligence and espionage in order to boost their people’s morale. The attack on weapons production facility in Sudan could be analyzed from this viewpoint.

2. There is also another large-scale aspect to this attack. Following the recent developments in the Middle East and in the light of the Arab Spring and the Islamic Awakening, Israel actually intended to test regional countries and reassess its regional standing in view of the aforesaid developments. This means that by conducting such a military operation, which amounted to a blatant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, and also by carrying out the operation against an Arab and Islamic country, Israel intended to know what changes have been made to decision-making systems of these countries in the wake of the Arab Spring and what possible reactions these countries may show to Israel’s military operation. Unfortunately, the Arab League only showed a very feeble reaction by issuing a simple statement and this issue may embolden the Israeli regime to continue such attacks.

3. To carry out the operation, Israel needed to cross the Saudi Arabian airspace or that of Egypt. Have those countries been informed in advance? Had Saudi Arabia been especially pre-warned of the attack in view of the policy that Riyadh has been following in the Persian Gulf region and the entire Middle East? In both cases, Saudi Arabia’s responsibility will not be reduced. If the attack had been carried out in coordination with Saudi Arabia, it can be considered a really catastrophic development for the Arab world and the entire Islamic world as well. If it had taken place without Saudi Arabia knowing anything about it, then it would follow that the American military advisors who are in charge of management and training of very advanced military equipment in Saudi Arabia do not provide such information to Saudi Arabian government. In fact, Saudi Arabia’s hands are totally closed for dealing with such issues as its government does not know what is going on within its borders. In both cases, Saudi Arabia should be held to account for this incident. On the other hand, the weak statement that the Arab League has issued, which has been naturally under the influence of Saudi Arabia, clearly proves that Saudi Arabia is not willing to come under pressure for this issue. Either Riyadh wants to prevent the attack from emerging as an acute issue in the Arab world, or it is not willing to support Sudan as an Islamic country which is also part of the resistance front in the Middle East and North Africa.

4. As everybody knows, the United States and Israel have started joint military drills since last week. The drills are, per se, unprecedented in the history of Tel Aviv’s relations with Washington. A total of 1,000 American troops have already arrived in Israel while another 1,000 Israeli troops are also taking part in the maneuvers. According to some reports, 2,500 American forces have been also posted in various parts of the Mediterranean region and elsewhere in Europe. The main goal of the maneuvers is to test the readiness of Israel’s missile defense system. Therefore, the operation inside Sudan has been carried out simultaneous with the joint military drills by the United States and Israel.

5. This operation has been carried out after certain developments in the besieged Gaza Strip. Israel restarted its aerial attacks on Gaza last week after which Tel Aviv accepted a cease-fire mediated by the government of Egypt. A few days later, Egypt sent its new ambassador to Israel who presented his credentials to the Israeli President Shimon Peres along with a letter from the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi which conveyed a half poetical, half reconciliatory message. These conditions have been certainly influential in emboldening Israel to carry out the attack.

6. This operation has greatly reduced defensive abilities of Sudan at a time that the government in Khartoum needs all its ammunitions and defensive capacity to repel possible attacks from South Sudan. The country’s defense capacities have been attacked on such baseless grounds as the plant belongs to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces, or under other ridiculous pretexts including that Sudan has been possibly using the demolished facility to build a nuclear bomb. However, the main goal was nothing but to undermine and weaken Sudan’s defense capacities.

7. Israel has embarked on a limited military operation in order to make up for the humiliation it suffered due to Hezbollah drone operation and at a time that despite intense rhetoric about attacking Iran, it lacks the practical ability to do so. In this way, Israel will be able to claim that it has dealt a blow to the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas as well as Iran. The operation, however, was in fact a compensation for the humiliation that has greatly undermined military and security prestige of Israel.
8. By attacking Sudan, Israel wants to show that it is aware of every political and military movement in the region and will lose no time to react to them. Israel had already carried out limited operations in Sudan in 2009 and 2011. In 2009, it attacked a convoy of trucks in Sudan which Israeli officials claimed to have been smuggling arms into Gaza Strip to be used by Hamas.

In 2011 and under the same pretext, Israel attacked another vehicle. On the other hand, the United States attacked a pharmaceutical factory called Al-Shifa (The Cure) near Khartoum in 1998 and razed it to the ground. The American officials claimed that the plant was going to be used to build chemical bombs. Later investigations refuted that allegation. Therefore, the military attacks carried out by the United States and Israel against Sudan prove that the Americans are undoubtedly providing intelligence to Israel and are thus implied in Israel’s attacks on the Arab country. Even the Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein has noted that some elements in Sudan’s military forces have possibly played a part in providing the Israelis with intelligence relevant to the attacks.

Therefore, it is clear that a host of regional, international and domestic factors in Israel have prompted Tel Aviv to take such a step. As for domestic factors, Israel is trying to repair its tarnished military prestige through the attack. On the regional scale, Tel Aviv is trying to show that it is still capable of conducting intelligence and military operations at any point in the Middle East and North Africa. When it comes to international level, Israel is trying to prove that although such operations amount to the violation of international law, Israel does not consider itself bound to any limits when its security is at stake. However, a closer look at the operation clearly shows that due to its small scale and the lame excuse used to launch it, the operation actually indicates that Israel is currently in a weak position and this point has not been overlooked by the global community.

The point which should be borne in mind here is that the mainstream Western media such as the daily Guardian in Britain and the Washington Post in the United States have tried to connect the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and finally Iran to this operation. This measure has been taken in order to discredit Iran’s allies in the region while there has been not a single shred of evidence to prove that Iran has had any role in what was going on inside Yarmouk weapons production plant in Sudan. Nobody has been so far able to produce such evidence and it seems that incriminating Iran is mostly an excuse and a cover for what Israel has done. A close review of the remarks made by the Sudanese officials is enough to show that the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has clearly stated that the main goal of the Israeli operation was to weaken the defense abilities of Sudan as a country which is supporting Hamas. He continued by warning the Israeli regime that such hopeless measures will not prevent Sudan from supporting the cause of Palestine. On the other hand, Sudan’s minister of media has pointed to various issues stipulating that Sudan will never give up its position on the issue of Palestine, noting that his country had been attacked due to Sudan’s support for Palestine. The permanent representative of Sudan to the United Nations also stated that the aftermath of Israel’s invasion of Sudan will not remain limited to his country, but will jeopardize peace and security throughout the entire region.

Of course, the Israeli officials have noted that recent attacks on Israel from Gaza have not been carried out by Hamas, but have been actually launched by Iran. Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for attacking Sudan, but no Israeli official has rejected the remarks made by Sudanese officials either. Therefore, it seems that Israel is trying to show that it is still capable of conducting operations on regional scale. The officials of Sudan have announced that they were actually planning to move Yarmouk plant from Khartoum to another region, but the Israelis had got wind of Sudan’s decision beforehand and embarked on the preemptive attack.
On the whole, Israel wants to use this very limited and actually blind operation to buy new regional credit. This is why when asked whether this operation has been carried out by Israel or not, Major General Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s diplomatic security bureau, noted that the operation aimed to boost the morale of the Israeli army. He claimed that the Israeli air force is the most prestigious among air forces of the world and has proven this more than once. The emphasis he put on the Israeli air forces was the most remarkable point in his remarks. The strange point, however, is that Sudanese officials made no effort to incriminate South Sudan for the attack while South Sudan is the main beneficiary if Sudan’s defense capacities are compromised. On the contrary, officials in Khartoum noted that recent agreements they had reached with South Sudan have infuriated Israel and the United States.

The Arab League has been also playing a very significant role in recent regional developments. In the case of Libya, the Arab League allowed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to launch military operations against the government of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The Arab League also planned to do the same in the case of Syria, but Russia and China effectively vetoed a draft resolution for military attack on Syria at the United Nations Security Council, thus foiling the Arab League’s plan. In the cases of Yemen and Bahrain, however, Saudi Arabia has been taking any unilateral measures it deems necessary to suppress popular protests in those countries. The Arab League, meanwhile, has not only refrained from making any protest to Saudi Arabia’s interventions in Yemen and Bahrain, but has also indirectly supported Riyadh’s interventionist policy.

This clearly proves that the Arab League has become a plaything in the hands of Saudi Arabia and is complying with Saudi Arabia’s policies at a time that a member state, that is, Sudan, has become target of such a large-scale military invasion. Although the invasion has been carried out by the Zionist regime of Israel, the Arab League, under the Saudi Arabia’s influence, has so far shown no serious reaction. Such double standards will certainly be detrimental to solidarity among the Arab League members in medium and long terms. Unfortunately, the international community sees the political developments in the Arab world from the viewpoint of the Arab League. Such double-standard policies have made it easy for Israel to continue its aggressive and invasive policies against a number of important regional countries even after the downfall of regional dictators without being faced with any serious protest from international community.

Mohammad Reza Haji-Karim Jabbari is Iran’s Former Ambassador to Ivory Coast 
Source: Iranian Diplomacy (IRD) http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/

Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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When will the Killing War in Iran Begin? It Already Has

Global Research, November 06, 2012
iranisrael

“Economic sanctions are, at their core, a war against public health.” –The New England Journal of Medicine [1]

While campaigns are organized to deter the United States and Israel from acting on threats to launch an air war against Iran, both countries, in league with the European Union (winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize) carry on a low-intensity war against Iran that is likely to be causing more human suffering and death than strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities would. This is a war against public health, aimed at the most vulnerable: cancer patients, hemophiliacs, kidney dialysis patients, and those awaiting transplants. Its victims are unseen, dying anonymously in hospitals, not incinerated in spectacular explosions touched off by cruise missiles and bunker buster bombs. But ordinary Iranians who can’t get needed medications are every bit as much victims of war as those blown apart by bombs. And yet, we think, that as long as the bombs don’t rain down, that peace has been preserved. Perhaps it has, in formal terms, but bleeding to death in the crater of a bomb, or bleeding to death because you can’t get hemophilia drugs, is, in either case, death.

In Iran today there is an acute shortage of pharmaceuticals for kidney dialysis and transplants and for treating cancer, hemophilia, thalessemia, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders. Hospital equipment is breaking down for want of spare parts. And raw materials used by domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers—blocked by Western sanctions—are in short supply. It adds up to a healthcare crisis. The United States and European Union say their sanctions don’t apply to drugs and medical equipment, but US and European banks are unwilling to handle financial transactions with Iran. If they do, the US Treasury Department will deny them access to the US banking system. Since isolation from the world’s largest economy would guarantee their demise, banks comply and shun Iran. As a consequence, few goods from the West make their way into the country, the exemptions for drugs and medical equipment being nothing more than a public relations ruse to disguise the barbarity of the sanctions. Not that Washington is denying that its sanctions are hurting ordinary Iranians. It’s just that responsibility for their consequences is denied. US president Barak Obama “has said the Iranian people should blame their own leaders.” [2] For what—failing to knuckle under?

“In contrast to war’s easily observable casualties, the apparently nonviolent consequences of economic intervention seem like an acceptable alternative. However…economic sanctions can seriously harm the health of persons who live in targeted nations.” [3] This has been well established and widely accepted in the cases of Iraq in the 1990s and the ongoing US blockade of Cuba. Political scientists John Mueller and Karl Mueller wrote an important paper in Foreign Affairs, in which they showed that economic sanctions “may have contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all weapons of mass destruction throughout history.” [4]

“The dangers posed today by such enfeebled, impoverished, and friendless states as Iraq and North Korea are minor indeed”, they wrote in 1999. It might be added that the dangers posed by Iran to the physical safety of US citizens are not only minor but infinitesimally small. Notwithstanding the fevered fantasies of rightwing commentators, Iran has neither the means, nor the required death wish, to strike the United States. Nor Israel, which has the means—an arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons—to wipe Iran off the face of the earth. However, the danger the country poses to the idea of US domination – and hence, to the banks, corporations, and major investors who dominate US policy-making – are admittedly somewhat greater.

“Severe economic sanctions”, the Muellers contend, ought to be “designated by the older label of ‘economic warfare’”. “In past wars economic embargoes caused huge numbers of deaths. Some 750,000 German civilians may have died because of the Allied naval blockade during World War I.” [5]

“So long as they can coordinate their efforts,” the two political scientists continue, “the big countries have at their disposal a credible, inexpensive and potent weapon for use against small and medium-sized foes. The dominant powers have shown that they can inflict enormous pain at remarkably little cost to themselves or the global economy. Indeed, in a matter of months or years whole economies can be devastated…” [6] And with devastated economies, come crumbling healthcare systems and failure to provide for the basic healthcare rights of the population.

We might ask, then, why the United States and European Union, practitioners of economic warfare against Iran, are bent on destroying Iran’s economy, along with its public health system. “Sanctions,” New York Times’ reporter Rick Gladstone writes, have subjected “ordinary Iranians” to “increased deprivations” in order to “punish Iran for enriching uranium that the West suspects is a cover for developing the ability to make nuclear weapons.” [7] In other words, Iran is suspected of having a secret nuclear weapons program, and so must be sanctioned to force it to abandon it.

Contrary to Gladstone, the West doesn’t really believe that Tehran has a secret nuclear weapons program, yet even if we accept it does believe this, the position is indefensible. Why should Iranians be punished for developing a capability that the countries that have imposed sanctions already have?

The reason why, it will be said, is because Iranians are bent on developing nuclear weapons to destroy Israel. Didn’t Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to “wipe Israel off the map”?

Regurgitated regularly by US hawks and Israeli politicians to mobilize support for the bombing of Iran, the claim is demagogic rubbish. Ahmadinejad predicted that Israel as a Zionist state would someday disappear much as South Africa as an apartheid state did. He didn’t threaten the physical destruction of Israel and expressed only the wish that historic Palestine would become a multinational democratic state of Arabs and the Jews whose ancestors arrived in Palestine before Zionist settlers. [8]

No less damaging to the argument that Iranians aspire to take Israel out in a hail of nuclear missiles is the reality that it would take decades for Iran to match Israel’s already formidable nuclear arsenal, if indeed it aspires to. For the foreseeable future, Israel is in a far better position to wipe Iran off the map. And given Israel’s penchant for flexing its US-built military muscle, is far more likely to be the wiper than wipee. Already it has almost wiped an entire people from the map of historic Palestine.

But this is irrelevant, for the premise that the West suspects Iran of developing a nuclear weapons capability is false. To be sure, the mass media endlessly recycle the fiction that the West suspects Iran’s uranium enrichment program is a cover for a nuclear weapons program, but who in the West suspects this? Not high officials of the US state, for they have repeatedly said that there’s no evidence that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program.

The consensus view of the United States’ 16 intelligence agencies is that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program years ago. Director of US intelligence James Clapper “said there was no evidence that (Iran) had made a decision on making a concerted push to build a weapon. David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director, concurred with that view…. Other senior United States officials, including Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have made similar statements.” [9]

Rather than weakening this conclusion, stepped up US espionage has buttressed it. Iran’s leaders “have opted for now against…designing a nuclear warhead,” said one former intelligence official briefed on US intelligence findings. “It isn’t the absence of evidence, it’s the evidence of an absence. Certain things are not being done” [10] that would indicate that Iran is working on nuclear weapons. Even Mossad, Israeli’s intelligence agency “does not disagree with the US on the weapons program,” according to a former senior US intelligence official. [11]

So, contrary to the claim that the West “suspects” Iran of concealing a nuclear weapons program, no one in a position of authority in the US state believes this to be true. Neither does Israeli intelligence. Why, then, is the United States and its allies subjecting ordinary Iranians to increased deprivations through sanctions?

The answer, according to Henry Kissinger, is because US policy in the Middle East for the last half century has been aimed at “preventing any power in the region from emerging as a hegemon.” This is another way of saying that the aim of US Middle East policy is to stop any Middle Eastern country from challenging its domination by the United States. Iran, Kissinger points out, has emerged as the principal challenger. [12]

Indeed, it did so as long ago as 1979, when the local extension of US power in Iran, the Shah, was overthrown, and the country set out on a path of independent economic and political development. For the revolutionaries’ boldness in asserting their sovereignty, Washington pressed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq into a war with Iran. This served the same purpose as today’s economic warfare, sabotage, threats of military intervention, and assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists: to weaken the country and stifle its development; to prevent it from thriving and thereby becoming an example to other countries of development possibilities outside US domination.

Uranium enrichment has emerged as point of conflict for two reasons.

First, a civilian nuclear power industry strengthens Iran economically and domestic uranium enrichment provides the country with an independent source of nuclear fuel. Were Iran to depend on the West for enriched uranium to power its reactors, it would be forever at the mercy of a hostile US state. Likewise, concern over energy security being in the hands of an outside power has led Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and South Korea to insist over US objections that they be allowed to produce nuclear fuel domestically, without sanction. With US nuclear reactor sales hanging in the balance, it appears that their wishes will be respected. [13] Iran will be uniquely denied.

Secondly, uranium enrichment provides Tehran with the capability of developing nuclear weapons quickly, if it should ever feel compelled to. Given Washington’s longstanding hostility to an independent Iran, there are good reasons why the country may want to strengthen its means of self-defense. The hypocrisy of the United States championing counter-proliferation—and only selectively since no one is asking Israel to give up its nuclear weapons, and the United States hasn’t the slightest intention of ever relinquishing its own—reveals the illegitimacy of the exercise.

The reason, then, for waging war on Iran’s public health, a war that intensifies the suffering of the sick and kills cancer, kidney dialysis and other patients, is not because their government has a secret nuclear weapons program —which no one in the US intelligence community believes anyway—but because a developing Iran with independent energy, economic and foreign policies threatens Washington’s preferred world political order—one in which the United States has unchallenged primacy. Primacy is sought, not to satisfy ambitions for power for power’s sake, or to provide ordinary US citizens with economic opportunities at home, or to protect them from dangers that originate abroad, but to secure benefits for the plutocrats who dominate US public policy. The benefits uniquely accrue to plutocrats: opportunities to squeeze more for themselves from our labor, our land, and our resources and from those of our brethren abroad—the 99% in other lands, with whom we’re linked by a common economic position and interests. If the plutocrats and their loyal political servants in Washington and Brussels have to kill numberless Iranians to secure these benefits, they will. And are.

Notes

1. Eisenberg L, “The sleep of reason produces monsters—human costs of economic sanctions,” New England Journal of Medicine, 1997; 336:1248-50.
2. Thomas Erdbrink, “Iran sanctions take unexpected toll on medical imports”, The New York times, November 2, 2012; Najmeh Bozorgmehr, “In Iran, sanctions take toll on the sick”, The Washington Post, September 4, 2012
3. Karine Morin and Steven H. Miles, “Position paper: The health effects of economic sanctions and embargoes: The role of health professionals”, Annals of Internal Medicine, Volume 132, Number 2, 18 January 2000.
4. John Mueller and Karl Mueller, “Sanctions of mass destruction”, Foreign Affairs, Volume 78, Number 3, May/June 1999.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Rick Gladstone, “Iranian President Says Oil Embargo Won’t Hurt”, The New York Times, April 10, 2012.
8. Glenn Kessler, “Did Ahmadinejad really say Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’?” The Washington Post, October 6, 2011.
9. James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. agencies see no move by Iran to build a bomb”, The New York Times, February 24, 2012.
10. Joby Warrick and Greg Miller, “U.S. intelligence gains in Iran seen as boost to confidence”, The Washington Post, April 7, 2012.
11. James Risen, “U.S. faces a tricky task in assessment of data on Iran”, The New York Times, March 17, 2012.
12. Henry A. Kissinger, “A new doctrine of intervention?” The Washington Post, March 30, 2012.
13. Carol E. Lee and Jay Solomon, “Obama to discuss North Korea, Iran”, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2012.

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US War Agenda: Coke or Goldman Sachs, What’s Your Poison?

Global Research, September 24, 2012

Who in their right mind would be prepared to fight and die for Shell, Chevron or Coca Cola? Who with half a brain would choose to put their life on the line for Goldman Sachs, Bank of America or General Electric? Any volunteers? I’m guessing there wouldn’t be many.

Then again, I could be wrong. Think of the tens of thousands of NATO troops who over the last decade have been in Afghanistan or Iraq. Drunk on the potent aphrodisiac of nationalism and a military that sells life in the armed forces as resembling some computer game reality, young mainly working class men have lined up in their droves to put their lives on the line for their respective governments.

Enticed by the glamour of armed forces’ adverts that proclaim ‘see the world’ or ‘learn a trade’ in an era of severe economic downturn, when few poorer people have little chance of doing either, ‘serving queen and country’ (or some other nationalistic slogan) seems like a good option.

This form of economic conscription has meant no shortage of young men signing up to fight wars in far away lands. Sold under the outright lie of ‘protecting democracy’, ‘humanitarian intervention’ or another apparent high-minded falsehood, thousands have gone off to kill and die and pledge allegiance to a ‘greater good’.

But it’s not the greater good of humankind, queen, flag or country that is at stake. Forget about blurry eyed nationalism or idealism. These young men are spilling their own blood and the blood of countless others on behalf of corporate interests.

Western ‘liberal democracy’ has nothing to do with empowering people and everything to do with enslaving them and making them blind to the chains that bind them. It is the powerful foundations and think tanks headed or funded by private corporations that drive US policies and its war agenda.

In his Global Research article ‘Tipping the balance of power’ ( 23 Sept), Tony Cartalucci highlights how, through their funding or by direct membership of various foundations, think tanks and government bodies, US domestic and foreign policies are formulated to serve corporate interests. It is the Brookings Institute, International Crisis Group and Council on Foreign Relations, among others, where the real heart of the US government lies. In Britain, Chatham House plays a similar role.

It is not without good reason that former CIA ‘asset’ Susan Linduar claimed that US oil giants Chevron and Occidental Petroleum exerted pressure on Washington to remove Gadhaffi from power because he was supposedly was exerting heavy pressure on US and British oil companies to cough up special fees and kick backs to cover the costs of Libya’s reimbursement to the families of the Pan Am plane that blew up over Lockerbie. On Washington’s nod, tens of thousands of Libyans subsequently paid the price with their lives

John Perkins book ‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman’ details how poorer countries have been neo-colonised by a cabal of US corporations, banks and government agencies. This is achieved via a combination of targeted assassinations, bribery, deceit and financial loans leading to debt dependency. If all of that fails, the troops are then sent in under the banner of ‘humanitarianism’ or protecting ‘national security’. Corporate America has been the leading hand in virtually every US led conflict since 1945, from Guatemala in the 1950s right up to Syria today.

Who but a misinformed and brainwashed public would think for one minute that such corporations and their foundations, institutes and agencies would let ordinary folk have any say in policies that would adversely affect their power or enormous wealth? There is no way they will allow any genuine form of democracy that could disrupt their aims. What is required and achieved is an ignorant and misinformed public that places an X on a ballot form every four years in favour of competing corporate-sponsored politicians. A public that readily lines up to support the corporate war agenda, and a public from which a cannon fodder army of young men is recruited to die on the battlefields of Asia.

And as those young men are delivered to their families inside a wooden box or return home suffering from the long term effects of using weapons that contained depleted uranium, there can only be one thought among decent minded folk – ‘what a waste.’

But young men being carted away in a body bag or suffering from life long illnesses means nothing to the men these wars are fought for. They are just ‘collateral damage’ in pursuit of the ‘greater good’. Not the greater good of lofty idealism. But the corporate brand of ‘greater good’ – greed, resource grabs, ever more profits and ever more power.

The mainstream media glorifies the military at every available opportunity. Obama calls armed forces personnel ‘the real patriots’. In Britain they are ‘our brave lads’. Such rhetoric serves as a smokescreen to hide the true nature of the illegal, imperialist wars NATO continues to engage in.

For many, it seems strange that our ‘brave heroes’, our ‘true patriots’ who were sent out to kill, so often have to rely on charities when back from the battlefield to piece their health and lives back together again. Not so strange really because, behind the rhetoric, the reality is they are regarded by the wealthy beneficiaries of the war agenda as constituting disposable working class fodder who have no idea about what they are really fighting for..

Don’t take my word for it. Henry Kissinger, the criminal responsible for scorching, torching, maiming and killing tens of thousands is reported in the book ‘The Final Days’ (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein) to have referred to military men as “dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”

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When Is A Terrorist No Longer A Terrorist?

Global Research, September 24, 2012

osamaQuestion: When is a terrorist a terrorist?

Answer: When the US government says so.

When the Mujhadeen in Afghanistan were assassinating members of their government and the Russian troops dispatched to support it,  they were, in Washington’s view, freedom fighters,  even as their enemies branded them terrorists.

When they turned against an Afghan government imposed by the United States or revolted against a US invasion, they were once again branded terrorists.

When armed groups battling Gadaffi’s govermment were supported by NATO, they were called freedom fighters. When some recently and  allegedly turned violently against the United States which is now dominating Libyan politics, they are once again castigated as terrorists.

And now, the United States Government through a decision by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided that the Iranian group  Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Mujahedeen, that had been on the US State Department’s  terrorist list for years, ha now been taken off the list.

That means they will no longer face financial and legal sanctions.

One day they were feared terrorists, the next day they were not. The “bad guys” became “good guys” with the swipe of a pen.

The New York Times says this feat was accomplished through what it describes as an “extraordinary” lobbying effort costing millions over many  years.

Reports the Times: “The group, known as the M.E.K., carried out terrorist attacks in the 1970s and 1980s, first against the government of the Shah of Iran and later against the clerical rulers who overthrew him. Several Americans were among those killed. In the 1980s, it allied with Saddam Hussein, who permitted it to operate from Camp Ashraf.

But by most accounts, the M.E.K. has not carried out violent attacks for many years. While it is described by some critics as cult-like and unpopular with Iranians both inside and outside the country, the group has been able to gather large crowds at rallies in the United States and Europe to press its bid to reverse the United States’ terrorist designation, imposed in 1997.”

The decision comes just before an October 1 cut off date ordered by a Federal appeals court

US News explains:  “As recently as 2007, a State Department report warned that the M.E.K., retains “the capacity and will” to attack “Europe, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, and beyond.

The M.E.K., which calls for an overthrow of the Iranian government and is considered by many Iranians to be a cult, once fought for Saddam Hussein and in the 1970s was responsible for bombings, attempted plane hijackings, and political assassinations. It was listed as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.

If the State Department does decide to delist M.E.K., whose name means “People’s Holy Warriors of Iran,” it will be with the blessing of dozens of congressmen.”

No less than 99 members of Congress—Democrats and Republican alike—signed to a Congressional resolution to take the “holy warriors” off the list.

Just last week at a rally in Paris, none other than former House speaker and hyper conservative Republican presidential candidate New Gingrich, now scurrying to pay off his campaign debts, was caught on camera bowing to the French based movement’s leader Maryam Rajavi.

Top lobbying firms have been paid high fees for rounding up support for M.E.K

US News explains: “Victoria Toensing of DiGenova & Toensing, a lobbying shop famous for its involvement in the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, was paid $110,000 in 2011 to lobby for the resolution. The firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld dedicated five lobbyists to getting signatures for the resolution, and was paid $100,000 in 2012 and $290,000 in 2011 to do so. Paul Marcone and Association similarly lobbied for the resolution, and received $5,000 in 2010 and $5,000 in 2011 for its efforts.”

Glenn Greenwald has reported on Salon, “That close association on the part of numerous Washington officials with a Terrorist organization has led to a formal federal investigation of those officials,,,, paid MEK shill Howard Dean (a former Democratic liberal presidential candiate) actuallycalled on its leader to be recognized as President of Iran while paid MEK shill Rudy Giuliani has continuously hailed the group’s benevolence.”

The Pro-publica not for profit media organization has also revealed that  a very prominent liberal journalist known for his Watergate reporting was paid to speak up for M.E.K

“On a Saturday afternoon last February, journalist Carl Bernstein got up on stage at the grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan and delivered a speech questioning the listing of an obscure Iranian group called the Mujahadin-e Khalq (MEK) on the U.S. government list of officially designated foreign terrorist organizations.

The speech, before a crowd an organizer put at 1,500, made Bernstein one of the few journalists who has appeared at events in a years-long campaign by MEK supporters to free the group from the official terrorist label and the legal sanctions that come with it. He told ProPublica that he was paid $12,000 for the appearance but that, “I was not there as an advocate.”

Bernstein told the crowd that, “I come here as an advocate of the best obtainable version of the truth” and as “someone who believes in basic human rights and their inalienable status.” He also challenged the State Department, saying that if the agency “has evidence that the MEK is a terrorist organization, have a show-cause hearing in court, let them prove it.”

Listening to the talk was a bi-partisan group of prominent pols including ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former congressman Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

This is a line up that is hard to rent, much less buy, but M.E.K and its well connected lobbyists have shown how money makes things happen in Washington.

It shows how porous the terrorism issue too is subject to how changes in political fashions, and how little the media knows or remembers and how open it is to being influenced by insiders, especially when there’s money to be paid for a few hours work.

It also shows the politics of provocation in action, part of a larger strategy of escalating tensions. The tactics range from sending a naval armada to menace Iran, perhaps in hopes of staging a contemporary “Tokin Gulf” incident in which any Iranian defensive maneuver –or attack by “militants” could be projected as an act of aggression justifying air strikes and drone attacks.

Even the decision to refuse visas to Iranians coming to a UN meeting seems part of the same strategy designed to show critics in Israel, and Republicans that the US is ready to get tough.

The delisting of an Iranian terror group fits right in to an approach that could lead to a “October Surprise” designed to get voters to rally behind the flag and their Commander in Chief.

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at http://www.newsdissector.net. His latest books are Blogothon and Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street.  He hosts a show on Progressive Radio Network (PRN.fm) Part of this piece appeard on PressTV.com Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org  

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

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Dandelion Salad

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
Global Research
http://johnpilger.com
September 20, 2012

The murder of 34 miners by the South African police, most of them shot in the back, puts paid to the illusion of post-apartheid democracy and illuminates the new worldwide apartheid of which South Africa is both an historic and contemporary model.

In 1894, long before the infamous Afrikaans word foretold “separate development” for the majority people of South Africa, an Englishman, Cecil John Rhodes, oversaw the Glen Grey Act in what was then the Cape Colony. This was designed to force blacks from agriculture into an army of cheap labour, principally for the mining of newly discovered gold and other precious minerals.

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