Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pat Buchanan: How is America threatened by Iran?

Infantile Conservatism

Pat Buchanan, ICH, Feb 27, 2013

Regularly now, The Washington Post, as always concerned with fairness and balance, runs a blog called “Right Turn: Jennifer Rubin’s Take From a Conservative Perspective.”
The blog tells us what the Post regards as conservatism.

On Monday, Rubin declared that America’s “greatest national security threat is Iran.” Do conservatives really believe this?

How is America, with thousands of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, scores of warships in the Med, Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, bombers and nuclear subs and land-based missiles able to strike and incinerate Iran within half an hour, threatened by Iran?

Iran has no missile that can reach us, no air force or navy that would survive the first days of war, no nuclear weapons, no bomb-grade uranium from which to build one. All of her nuclear facilities are under constant United Nations surveillance and inspection.
And if this Iran is the “greatest national security threat” faced by the world’s last superpower, why do Iran’s nearest neighbors — Turkey, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan — seem so unafraid of her?

Citing The Associated Press and Times of Israel, Rubin warns us that “Iran has picked 16 new locations for nuclear plants.”

How many nuclear plants does Iran have now? One, Bushehr.

Continues >>

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Afghanistan government accuses US special forces of civilian death and torture

Hamid Karzai orders US elite force to leave Maidan Wardak province after local reports of disappearance of nine people

  • Golnar Motevalli in Kabul
  •, 24 February 2013 23.17 GMT
us special forces afghanistan
US special forces in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai’s government has ordered the elite force to leave Maidan Wardak province over claims of killing or torture of disappeared civilians. Photograph: David Bathgate/ David Bathgate/Corbis

The Afghan government has ordered US special forces to leave one of Afghanistan‘s most restive provinces, Maidan Wardak, after receiving reports from local officials claiming that the elite units had been involved in the torture and disappearance of Afghan civilians.

US military officials have rejected the allegations but President Hamid Karzai, who convened a meeting of the Afghan national security council on Sunday, appears to believe the evidence was strong enough to demand US special forces leave Maidan Wardak within two weeks.

Security in the province bordering Kabul has deteriorated over the past year, and it has become a focus of US-led efforts to stop insurgents reaching the capital. The decision could have implications for relations with Washington and for US plans to maintain a counter-terrorist force in Afghanistan after Nato combat troops leave in 2014.

Continues >>

Sunday, February 24, 2013

George Bush, Tony Blair and the century’s greatest crime

What US and Britain did to Iraq is nothing short of state terrorism

By Linda S. Heard | Special to Gulf News,  February 18, 2013

  • Image Credit: Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News
It’s been almost 10 years since the US and Britain unleashed ‘Shock and Awe’ on the Iraqi capital Baghdad ostensibly to punish a rogue dictator for hoarding weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in non-compliance with binding UN Security Council resolutions. In reality, Saddam Hussain had shut down his nuclear programme and destroyed Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons more than a decade earlier.

UN weapons inspectors were almost certain of this fact and were on the point of giving Iraq a clean bill of health until they were leant-on by Uncle Sam. Indeed, the man who had supervised Iraq’s WMD programme for a decade Saddam’s son-in-law Hussain Kamal confirmed as much to CIA intelligence officers and UN officials following his defection to Jordan in 1995.

 Continues >>

Friday, February 22, 2013

Stephen Lendman: Medals for murder

Stephen Lendman, MWC, Feb 16, 2013


Extrajudicial killing is official US policy. Drone wars normalize it. Obama decides who lives or dies. He appointed himself judge, jury and executioner.

He’s got final kill list authority. His secret memo authorized Anwar al-Awlaki’s assassination. Anyone anywhere in the world can be murdered on his say.

His “white paper” inverted inviolable legal principles. It’s titled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa’ida or An Associated Force.”

It calls lawless killing without trial or evidence legal. Vague language substitutes for clear evidence and just cause. Rule of law principles don’t apply.

Continues >>

Iraq (1991): The Massacre of Al-Amiriyah Remembered

Ibrahim Ebeid,, Feb 20, 2013

While the People of the United States were celebrating Valentine’s Day, February 1991, the day of Love and Friendship, US bombs were falling all over Iraq. Destruction and death were the lot of Iraq and its People.
Al-Amiriya, a bomb shelter which was one of 38 shelters built by a Scandinavian construction company was brutally attacked by US Air Force. Fifteen hundred civilians, mostly women and children, were taking refuge in it when the precision bombs fell and turned the refuge into a death chamber. Only 11 were known to have survived after suffering different degrees of wounds, burns and psychological trauma. Whole families were wiped out, as can still be seen today from their locked houses in Amiriyah.

The temperature inside the shelter rose to thousands of degrees melting bodies along with cement and iron. The evidence is still there in the blackened ceiling where melted iron rods in the roof hang inside along the edges of the hole, which was caused by the bombs. Ripped air conditioning ducts lie on the floor to bear witness to the crimes committed by George Bush Sr. and his Administration.

Continues >>

Thursday, February 14, 2013

President Obama defends drone assassinations in State of the Union address

By  Barry Grey,, 13 February 2013

The most significant point in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night was a passing and euphemistically worded reference to his program of extra-judicial drone assassinations. “Where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans,” he declared.

Every congressman, senator, cabinet member, Supreme Court justice and general in the House chamber knew that with that statement Obama was defending his asserted power to secretly order the assassination of anyone in any part of the world, including American citizens. The president went on to make clear he was intent on making state murder a permanent and completely institutionalized government function.

His administration, he said, had worked “tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework” to guide such operations. He went on to indicate he might be open to suggestions for giving the assassination program a fig leaf of “transparency” and legality, pledging to “engage with Congress to ensure… our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances…”

Continues >>

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Robert Scheer: America’s Global Torture Network

Robert Scheer,,  Feb 7, 2013

AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Demonstrators from the groups Code Pink and Witness Against Torture protest last month against President Obama’s choice of John Brennan to head the CIA.  

The title, “Globalizing Torture,” says it all. This meticulous accounting of the network of torture chambers that the United States has authorized in more than 54 nations is a damning indictment that should make all of us in this country cringe with shame.

The report is a product of the Open Society Foundations, funded by international financier and philanthropist George Soros, who, as a young Jew, suffered through the Nazi occupation of Hungary and emerged from that experience an uncompromising fighter for human rights. That his lifelong goal to “foster accountability for international crimes,” reflected in his organization’s mission statement, now includes our government is a condemnation as awful as it is deserved.

Continues >>

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

‘Kill List’ Document Outlines When US Can Target Its Own Citizens in Drone Strikes

‘Without saying so explicitly, the government claims the authority to kill American terrorism suspects in secret.’

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer, Common Dreams, February 5, 2013
A “profoundly disturbing” Justice Department document—with “chilling” parallels to the Bush torture memos—obtained by NBC News outlines when the U.S. can put its own citizens on a “kill list” to be targeted in drone strikes.

“This is a profoundly disturbing document, and it’s hard to believe that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances. It summarizes in cold legal terms a stunning overreach of executive authority – the claimed power to declare Americans a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield and without any judicial involvement before or after the fact,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement.

Continues >>

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries ‘offered covert support’

Report finds at least 54 countries co-operated with global kidnap, detention and torture operation mounted after 9/11 attacks

John Brennan
John Brennan, Barack Obama’s choice to head the CIA. The report’s release appears timed to coincide with his confirmation hearing. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The full extent of the CIA‘s extraordinary rendition programme has been laid bare with the publication of a report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world’s governments covertly offered support.

A 213-page report compiled by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organisation, says that at least 54 countries co-operated with the global kidnap, detention and torture operation that was mounted after 9/11, many of them in Europe.

So widespread and extensive was the participation of governments across the world that it is now clear the CIA could not have operated its programme without their support, according to the OSJI.

Continues >>

Monday, February 04, 2013

The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

Translated and edited by Israel Shahak
from Oded Yinon’s
“A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”

Information Clearing House, February 4, 2013

The Association of Arab-American University Graduates finds it compelling to inaugurate its new publication series, Special Documents, with Oded Yinon’s article which appeared in Kivunim (Directions), the journal of the Department of Information of the World Zionist Organization. Oded Yinon is an Israeli journalist and was formerly attached to the Foreign Ministry of Israel. To our knowledge, this document is the most explicit, detailed and unambiguous statement to date of the Zionist strategy in the Middle East. Furthermore, it stands as an accurate representation of the “vision” for the entire Middle East of the presently ruling Zionist regime of Begin, Sharon and Eitan. Its importance, hence, lies not in its historical value but in the nightmare which it presents.

The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.

Continues >>

Friday, February 01, 2013

Blasphemy, Offence, and Hate Speech

 Nasir Khan,  A letter to Prof. Leirvik, Sep. 26, 2012

I read with great interest your response to Henk Vroom in 'Blasphemy, Offence, and Hate Speech'. The historical evolution of blasphemy laws in Norway and Pakistan you present clarifies many points in a scholarly way. (I have been aware of your serious approach to inter-religious discussions and understanding for a number of years, an admirable trait of your outlook and activity that makes a constructive contribution to the notion of peaceful coexistence and social cohesion.) The historical evolution and legislative enactments on blasphemy in the two countries have also a geopolitical and cultural context and the differences we see are enormous. Norway has been a democratic state in the modern times where the state religion did not have an open field but has operated within the confines of the state regulations. But Pakistan had a difficult political history since its inception and the people of Pakistan have been less fortunate because the political and power culture that developed in Pakistan had no substantial democratic traditions or the whole thing in the hands of our rulers after Mr. Jinnah's death was a tug of war for personal power and prestige.

In addition, religion became a power factor in the hands of politicians and religious congregations organised on sectarian lines. The role of Pakistani dictator General Zia and his 'Hudood Ordinances' which you mention have been the glaring example of curtailing the religious freedom of all those who did not conform to the dominant Sunni branch of Islam. The victimisation of Ahmadis especially accelerated throughout Pakistan and even the Pakistani immigrant communities living in Europe and North America followed the example of attacks on and propaganda against the Ahmadis. Within Pakistan, blasphemy laws could easily and falsely be used against the Ahmadis and Christians.

Your clarification of blasphemy laws and hate speech within the Norwegian context is illuminating. Many people are not clear about the distinction. Your description deals with the issue. I have not read Henk Vroom's essay but I agree with the views you advance that the distinction he draws between the two categories, the first one for race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and the second one for religion for individual's identity may not be so rigid after all. Identities seen on the basis of religion or ethnicity, etc., turn out to be social constructs for most of the people as a general rule, not a matter of choice or predilection. This point stands out clearly in your exposition.

What should be the role of the modern legislation in protecting individuals and communities and their 'religious feelings'? This theme warrants a careful analysis and the balancing of different and differing outlooks. What you write under the subheading 'A Humanising, Ethical Turn' is fair. You have given a good overview of Rushdie's Satanic Verses. I had read only parts and not the whole book. But I was not able to see many gems of wisdom or historical insights in the book. On the contrary he had regurgitated Christian polemical views against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. I still maintain that an artist and writer should not be restrained from expressing his views on matters that touch or provoke the religious sensitivities of people and Rushdie in this matter is no exception. But respect towards fellow human beings is essential and I see no need to stir social frenzy that bears negative consequences.

However, merely because I feel a contrary opinion, view or even another theological outlook as an affront to my 'religions feelings' is not a good ground to social and political confrontation. A serious contrary view whether in the matter of religion or outside religion needs a reasoned response and social discourse for the advancement of knowledge and the clarification of epistemological issues. However, there is no need to stir any religious community by any nonsensical utterance or provocation, but nonsensical and provocative utterances should not be magnified out of all proportion as it happens from time to time. The principle of freedom of speech, to question the age-old customs and beliefs should open new vistas of understanding and an inspiration to our ever-growing quest for knowledge.

Sincerely yours