Thursday, May 31, 2012

Political buffoons say America is under attack!

By William T. Hathaway,, May 31, 2012

Vicious fanatics are trying to kill us and destroy our country. They’re blowing up our soldiers overseas. They’ve infiltrated our country. We must defend ourselves against these mad-dog berserkers before it’s too late.

This litany has been repeated by corporate-controlled media and politicians for years now, pumping fear into us. It is used to justify a massive ongoing war that has killed hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings and almost bankrupted the USA.

But is it really true? Who started this war? When did it begin? The history of this conflict reveals a different story than the one continually beamed at us. The Romans were the first Westerners to try to dominate and plunder the Middle East; the Christian crusaders followed, then nineteenth-century imperialists. From the Arabs’ perspective, the barbarians keep descending on them from the north, and they keep throwing them out. In the past hundred years the attacks have intensified as new treasure has been discovered: vast reserves of black, liquid gold under the desert sands.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Analysis: How Obama embraced redefinition of ‘civilian’ in secret drone wars

May 29th, 2012 | by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
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Obama at the Pentagon January 2012 (Flikr/ An Honorable German)
President Obama with his Defense Secretary and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Two US reports published today provide significant insights into President Obama’s personal and controversial role in the escalating covert US drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

In a major extract from Daniel Klaidman’s forthcoming book Kill Or Capture, the author reveals extensive details of how secret US drone strikes have evolved under Obama – and how the president knew of civilian casualties from his earliest days in office.
The New York Times has also published a key investigation exploring how the Obama Administration runs its secret ‘Kill List’ – the names of those chosen for execution by CIA and Pentagon drones outside the conventional battlefield.

The Times’ report also reveals that President Obama personally endorsed a redefining of the term ‘civilian’, which has helped to limit any public controversy over ‘non-combatant’ deaths.

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America’s murderous drone campaign is fuelling terror

Hi-tech drone death squads are creating a dangerous global precedent, which will do nothing for US security

Drone warfare: illustration by Belle Mellor
Illustration by Belle Mellor

More than a decade after George W Bush launched it, the “war on terror” was supposed to be winding down. US military occupation of Iraq has ended and Nato is looking for a way out of Afghanistan, even as the carnage continues. But another war – the undeclared drone war that has already killed thousands – is now being relentlessly escalated.

From Pakistan to Somalia, CIA-controlled pilotless aircraft rain down Hellfire missiles on an ever-expanding hit list of terrorist suspects – they have already killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilians in the process.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012


Eric Margolis,, May 26, 2012


One of my favorite artists was the superb Victorian painter Lady Jane Butler who captured in oil the triumphs and tragedies of the British Empire.

Her haunting painting, “The Retreat from Kabul, ” shows the sole survivor of a British army of 16,500, Dr. William Brydon, struggling out of Afghanistan in January, 1842. All the rest were killed by Afghan tribesmen after a futile attempt to garrison Kabul.

This gripping painting should have hung over the NATO summit meeting last week in Chicago to remind the US and its allies that Afghanistan remains “the graveyard of empires.”

The latest empire to try to conquer Afghanistan has failed, and is now sounding the retreat.

All the hot air in Chicago about “transition,” Afghan self-reliance, and growing security could not conceal the truth that the mighty US and its dragooned western allies have been beaten in Afghanistan by a bunch of mountain warriors from the 12th Century.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Arab uprisings, democratic demands and the Saudi payroll

By Rupen Savoulian, Links, May 21, 2012
Hillary Clinton (centre) meets King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (right) in Riyadh to discuss Syria. Photograph: AP.

In April 2012, a number of high-level political officials attended conferences in Paris and Istanbul organised by the Friends of Syria group. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton attended these meetings, and joined the foreign ministers from the NATO powers and Arab Gulf monarchies in denouncing the killings committed by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Friends of Syria meeting brought about greater collaboration between the various imperialist countries and the Syrian rebel forces. One of the main attendees at these meetings, and now major sponsor of the Syrian rebel groups, was Saudi Arabia. Clinton and her Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, now former French President Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan all expressed their commitment to “democracy” and vowed to do all they could to topple the Ba’athist dictatorship in Damascus. Saudi Arabia, and its Gulf ally Qatar have led the charge to arm and finance Syrian rebel forces.

It is worthwhile to take a closer look at the history of cooperation between the imperialist powers and Saudi Arabia. Claims by Clinton, Sarkozy and Erdogan that democracy is uppermost in their minds are absolutely ludicrous. Last year, Amnesty International issued a report on the Saudi Arabian government called Saudi Arabia: Repression in the name of security. The report details the many crimes of the Saudi Arabian government, specifically its total repression of political dissent, the imprisonment and torture of dissidents, the repeated crackdowns on freedom of expression, and the broad and sweeping definition of terrorism as a way to suppress a wide variety of political groups.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nicola Nasser: Peace-making without Mediators

A surplus of mediators have been around all the time, including the heavy weight Quartet of the UN, U.S., EU and Russia, as well as heaps of terms of reference of UNSC resolutions, bilateral signed accords and “roadmaps,” in addition to marathon bilateral talks that have left no stone unearthed, international as well as regional conferences were never on demand to facilitate the “peace process,” which has been lavishly financed to keep moving.

However the Palestinian — Israeli peace-making is still elusive as ever as Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” has been, without a glimpse of light at the end of the endless tunnel of Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory and people.
Palestinian — Israeli peace-making has been for all practical reasons on hold since 2000, and bilateral peace contacts have been dormant since Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in 2009 except for a failed five-round “exploratory” talks hosted by Jordan last January.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

John Pilger: Never Forget That Bradley Manning, Not Gay Marriage, Is The Issue

By John Pilger, ZNet, May 17, 2012
In the week Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he ordered bombing attacks on Yemen, killing a reported 63 people, 28 of them children. When Obama recently announced he supported same-sex marriage, American planes had not long blown 14 Afghan civilians to bits. In both cases, the mass murder was barely news. What mattered were the cynical vacuities of a political celebrity, the product of a zeitgeist driven by the forces of consumerism and the media with the aim of diverting the struggle for social and economic justice.

The award of the Nobel Prize to the first black president because he “offered hope” was both absurd and an authentic expression of the lifestyle liberalism that controls much of political debate in the west. Same-sex marriage is one such distraction. No “issue” diverts attention as successfully as this: not the free vote in Parliament on lowering the age of gay consent promoted by the noted libertarian and war criminal Tony Blair: not the cracks in “glass ceilings” that contribute nothing to women’s liberation and merely amplify the demands of bourgeois privilege. 

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

P. C. Roberts: The Case of the Missing Terrorists

By ,, May 14, 2012

 Cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts

If there were any real terrorists, Jose Rodriguez would be dead.

Who is Jose Rodriguez? He is the criminal who ran the CIA torture program. Most of his victims were not terrorists or even insurgents. Most were hapless individuals kidnapped by warlords and sold to the Americans as “terrorists” for the bounty paid.

If Rodriguez’s identity was previously a secret, it is no more. He has been on CBS “60 Minutes” taking credit for torturing Muslims and using the information allegedly gained to kill leaders of al Qaeda. If terrorists were really the problem that Homeland Security, the FBI and CIA claim, Rodriguez’s name would be a struck-through item on the terrorists’ hit list. He would be in his grave.

So, also, would be John Yoo, who wrote the Justice (sic) Department memos giving the green light to torture, despite US and International laws prohibiting torture. Apparently, Yoo, a professor at the Boalt School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, was ignorant of US and International law. And so was the US Department of Justice (sic).

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Israel’s Buffoon: The UN Nakba

By Vacy Vlazna,, May 13, 2012

On May 15, 1948 the unilateral proclamation of the State of Israel which erupted into the brutal Palestinian Nakba or Catastrophe was also catastrophic for United Nations (UN) ringing the death knell for its stature and authority.

Like medieval kings, the US and Israel employed the UN to be its fool running around with a cap o’ bells and sceptre (rendered useless by US veto) beginning with the 1947 Resolution 181, passed on 29 February by members (under coercion) recommending the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states which was understandably rejected by Palestine but accepted by Israel as a step toward its Zionist expansionist goal for the full realisation of a Jewish Eretz Israel.

Ironically, on 30th February Menachem Begin, head of the terrorist gang, Irgun, brazenly announced the Zionist immutable dogma, “The partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognised… Jerusalem was and forever will be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.”

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Danny Schechter: Setting the Stage for More Wars

Danny Schechter,, May 13, 2012 

This article cross-posted from Consortium News

A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division patrolling an Afghan village at dawn on May 4, 2012, as U.S. press interest in the war declines. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Foreign correspondents have always been revered within journalism. That’s why covering Iraq or other wars are assignments so many reporters cultivate. Many see them as a ticket up the media pecking order.

Being “under fire” promises excitement, danger and — let’s face it, on TV  — precious “face time.” Going overseas is often a route to more visibility and better jobs at home on the strength of your “bravery.” War reporting can be the macho oxygen of ambition.
Just as covering a turbulent world is attractive in the ranks, up in the suites of media power “foreign news” is, according to Michael Wolff, a “nostalgist’s beat” said to turn off American audiences and tune them out. That’s why decision-makers shutter bureaus and redefine news of the world as news of American power in the world.  (They also realize financial savings by doing so, of course.)

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Noam Chomsky: The US War on Latin America

Readers Supported News, May 12, 2012
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Noam Chomsky explains why the drug war is a war on Latin America. (photo: Daniel Simpson)
Noam Chomsky explains why the drug war is a war on Latin America. (photo: Daniel Simpson)

By Noam Chomsky, Nation of Change

hough sidelined by the Secret Service scandal, last month’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, was an event of considerable significance. There are three major reasons: Cuba, the drug war, and the isolation of the United States.
A headline in the Jamaica Observer read, “Summit shows how much Yanqui influence had waned.” The story reports that “the big items on the agenda were the lucrative and destructive drug trade and how the countries of the entire region could meet while excluding one country – Cuba.”

The meetings ended with no agreement because of U.S. opposition on those items – a drug-decriminalization policy and the Cuba ban. Continued U.S. obstructionism may well lead to the displacement of the Organization of American States by the newly-formed Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, from which the United States and Canada are excluded.

Cuba had agreed not to attend the summit because otherwise Washington would have boycotted it. But the meetings made clear that U.S. intransigence would not be long tolerated. The U.S. and Canada were alone in barring Cuban participation, on grounds of Cuba’s violations of democratic principles and human rights.

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Plight Of Political Prisoners In Pakistan

By: , Eurasia Review,  May 11, 2012

 Prominent historian and philosopher Noam Chomsky and a dozen other leading authors and activists have appealed for the immediate release of five political prisoners who have languished behind the bars in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region for raising the voice of victims of climate change.
Noam Chomsky and other 12 major personalities of academia, politics, activism and journalism have called on the Government of Pakistan to drop the charge it has manufactured against a leftist political worker Baba Jan and his four fellow activists. The petition urges the Pakistani regime ‘to treat them as political prisoners-not as terrorists.’ Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian, Simon Crithcley R C Young, Farooq Tariq and others issued the appeal in order to highlight the miseries of Pakistani campaigners who have allegedly suffered from state torture in the jail and access of their lawyers has been restricted.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

USA: ‘Vomiting and screaming’ in destroyed waterboarding tapes

By Peter Taylor,  BBC Newsnight, May 9, 2012

Secret CIA video tapes of the waterboarding of Osama Bin Laden’s suspected jihadist travel arranger Abu Zubaydah show him vomiting and screaming, the BBC has learned.
The tapes were destroyed by the head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez.

In an exclusive interview for Newsnight, Rodriguez has defended the destruction of the tapes and denied waterboarding and other interrogation techniques amount to torture.
The CIA tapes are likely to become central to the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, at Guantanamo Bay.

When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appeared before a special military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay last Saturday, he refused to put on the headphones that would enable him to hear the translator.

His civilian attorney, David Nevin, said he could not wear them because of the torture he had suffered during his interrogation.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jon Mitchell: U.S. Veteran Exposes Pentagon’s Denials of Agent Orange Use on Okinawa

By Jon Mitchell,  Foreign Policy In Focus May 9, 2012
Thousands of barrels of Agent Orange were unloaded on Okinawa Island and stored at the port of Naha, and at the U.S. military’s Kadena and Camp Schwab bases between 1965 and 1966, an American veteran who served in Okinawa claims.

In a Jacksonville Florida interview in early April with The Japan Times and Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Co., a TV network based in Okinawa, former infantryman Larry Carlson, 67, also said that Okinawan stevedores were exposed to the highly toxic herbicide as they labored in the holds of ships, and that he witnessed it being sprayed at Kadena Air Base.
Carlson is one of only three American servicemen who have won benefits from the U.S. government over exposure to the toxic defoliant on Okinawa — and the first of them to step forward and reveal that massive amounts of it were kept on the island.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Drone Summit, the Lunchbox and the Invisibility of Charred Children

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 By Hugh Gusterson, Truthout 

A member of the 214th Reconnaissance Group flies a Predator aircraft drone in support of ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at Davis-Monthan Air Base in Tucson, March 10, 2009. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)
A member of the 214th Reconnaissance Group flies a Predator aircraft drone in support of ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at Davis-Monthan Air Base in Tucson, March 10, 2009. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)I kept finding myself thinking about the lunchbox.

I was at the all-day Drone Summit in Washington DC organized by Codepink, the antiwar group whose mostly female members are famous for putting on theatrical protests while wearing bold pink. I spent the day listening to human rights activists talking about civilians killed by US drone strikes, lawyers who complained that the strikes violated international law, and scientists worried that the United States is on the brink of automating the use of lethal force by drones and killer robots.

And I kept thinking about the lunchbox.

The lunchbox belonged to a schoolgirl in Hiroshima. Her body was never found, but the rice and peas in her lunchbox were carbonized by the atomic bomb. . .

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Friday, May 04, 2012

Gareth Porter: The Secret in the US-Afghan Deal

By ,, May 3, 2012

Cross-posted from Consortium News

President Barack Obama arriving in Afghanistan on his May 1 trip to sign a new strategic accord with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

The optics surrounding the Barack Obama administration’s “Enduring Strategic Partnership” agreement with Afghanistan and the Memorandums of Understanding accompanying it emphasize transition to Afghan responsibility and an end to U.S. war.

But the only substantive agreement reached between the U.S. and Afghanistan — well hidden in the agreements — has been to allow powerful U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to continue to carry out the unilateral night raids on private homes that are universally hated in the Pashtun zones of Afghanistan.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

E. C. Corrigan: Zionism and Anti-Semitism

by Edward C. Corrigan, Dissident Voice,  May 1,  2012

One of the favourite tactics of supporters of Israel and Zionism is to accuse their opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’. This argument is advanced in an attempt to prevent criticism of Israel from being presented, or to attack the individual or group, that is defending Palestinian human rights.

Implicit in this criticism is the idea that all Jews, except a handful of ‘self haters’ support the Israeli state. Such an argument is inherently anti-Semitic, based as it is on the notion of a collective ethnic adherence to a particular political position. It also ascribes guilt for Israel’s crimes upon Jewish people collectively.

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White House: Drone Strikes ‘Legal and Ethical’

Obama Aide: Constitution Makes Strikes Lawful Anywhere on Planet

by Jason Ditz,, April 30, 2012
Fresh off of an interview yesterday in which he shrugged off civilian killings in the US drone war, top White House adviser John O. Brennan was ordered to provide more “openness” on the program at a speech today in Washington.

This time, Brennan centered on the legality of the strikes, insisting that not only does the Constitution allow the president to assassinate people anywhere on the planet, but that the drone program was “legal, ethical and wise.”

Brennan went on to insist that there was “nothing in international law” that prohibits launching attacks on “enemies” outside of actual battlegrounds. Several organizations took issue with this and his other claims.

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