Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hiroshima Day Rally on Saturday 8 August

Hiroshima Day Rally on Saturday 8 August, 1pm State Library, Swanston Street, Melbourne, Australia.

Steven Starr, a visiting scientist from the US will be joined by Dave Sweeney of the ACF and Felicity Hill from WILPF on the speakers' platform.

Nestlé: Major violations of basic union rights around the world

For growing numbers of Nestlé workers around the world, it's "Good Food - Good Life - Goodbye to Union Rights in the Workplace". The IUF and its affiliates are currently fighting against major violations of basic rights at Nestlé in Indonesia, India, Korea and Hong Kong. Support our Struggle! Stop Nespressure!

For the past two years at Nestlé INDONESIA, the union has been requesting negotiations for badly needed changes to the collective agreement. Management has responded by creating a fake union and pressuring workers to join it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Read all this article, and understand the world we live in! . . .

Iran : Riding The "Green Wave"

By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

Instead of U.S. citizens asking the question, What should we do about the current situation in the United States of America? (extended to those parts of the world that suffer beneath its myriad forms of violence and oppression), the Campaign for Peace and Democracy asks: "What should we do about the current situation in Iran?"


Capitalism sucks! Bring on Socialism! . . . .

A $100 million bonus: Citigroup is considering paying a $100 million bonus -- to one guy. This is the same Citigroup that received $45 billion in bailout money. The same Citigroup that will soon be 34% owned by the U.S. government. The same Citigroup that has lost 95% of its share value since 2007.


Iran: Which Side Are You On?

By William Bowles

What is depressing is that the left is having this argument in the first place! In this sense then, the arguments on the left have been an unqualified success, for the Empire that is, for they have diverted attention away from the US and its allies attempts to install a regime favourable to the West. Instead, we bicker about which side to back and find ourselves the unwitting accomplices of the Empire regardless of which side we support.



America's Wars
How Serial War Became the American Way of Life
By David Bromwich

David Bromwich, who writes regularly and incisively for the Huffington Post and the New York Review of Books, points out, the U.S. now regularly imagines itself as a serial warrior into the distant future.

On July 16, in a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the "central question" for the defense of the United States was how the military should be "organized, equipped -- and funded -- in the years ahead, to win the wars we are in while being prepared for threats on or beyond the horizon." The phrase beyond the horizon ought to sound ominous.

Was Gates telling his audience of civic-minded business leaders to spend more money on defense in order to counter threats whose very existence no one could answer for? Given the public acceptance of American militarism, he could speak in the knowledge that the awkward challenge would never be posed.

We have begun to talk casually about our wars; and this should be surprising for several reasons. To begin with, in the history of the United States war has never been considered the normal state of things.

For two centuries, Americans were taught to think war itself an aberration, and "wars" in the plural could only have seemed doubly aberrant. Younger generations of Americans, however, are now being taught to expect no end of war -- and no end of wars.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

War Criminals: Theirs and Ours

This is from a chapter of the book

'Rogue State: A Guide to
the World's Only Superpower
', by William Blum

War Criminals: Theirs and Ours

I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as
a war criminal. Fortunately, we were on the winning side.

US General Curtis LeMay, commander of the 1945 Tokyo fire bombing operation.

On December 3, 1996, the US Justice Department issued a list of 16 Japanese citizens who would be barred from entering the United States because of "war crimes" committed during the Second World War.....

....we are faced with the fact that any number of countries would be justified in issuing a list of Americans barred from entry because of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity".

Such a list, of those still alive in 2005, might include:

William Clinton, president, for his merciless bombing of the people of Yugoslavia for 78 days and nights in 1999, taking the lives of many hundreds of civilians, and producing one of the greatest ecological catastrophes in history; for his relentless continuation of the sanctions and rocket attacks upon the people of Iraq; and for his illegal and lethal bombings of Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, for his direction of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia with an almost sadistic fanaticism ... "He would rise out of his seat and slap the table. ‘I've got to get the maximum violence out of this campaign -- now!'"[4]

George H. W. Bush, president, for the death of more than a million innocent Iraqi citizens, the result of his 40 days of bombing in 1991, the deliberate ruination of the public water supply, the widespread use of depleted uranium weapons which has brought continuing suffering to many thousands of American servicemen and to many more Iraqis, and for the institution of draconian sanctions against Iraq, which lasted 12 years.
For his unconscionable bombing of Panama in 1989, producing widespread death, destruction and homelessness, for no discernible reason that would stand up in a court of law or a court of public opinion.

General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his prominent role in the attacks on Panama and Iraq, the latter including destruction of nuclear reactors as well as plants making biological and chemical agents. Hardly more than a month had passed since the United Nations, under whose mandate the United States was supposedly operating in Iraq, had passed a resolution reaffirming its "prohibition of military attacks on nuclear facilities" in the Middle East.[5] In the wake of the destruction, Powell gloated: "The two operating reactors they had are both gone, they're down, they're finished."[6] He was just as cavalier about the lives of the people of Iraq. In response to a question concerning the number of Iraqis killed in the war, the good general replied: "It's really not a number I'm terribly interested in."[7]
For his part in the cover up of war crimes in Vietnam by troops of the same brigade that carried out the My Lai massacre.[8]

General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, for his military leadership of the Iraqi carnage in 1991; for continuing the carnage two days after the cease-fire; for continuing it against Iraqis trying to surrender.

Elliott Abrams, assistant secretary of state under Reagan; a tireless campaigner and propagandist for the vilest of dictatorships, death squads, and torturers in Central America and Pinochet's Chile; a spinmeister for the ages, who wrestled facts into ideological submission. "When history is written," he declared, "the Contras will be folk heroes," he wrote of the terrorists who carried out multiple atrocities against the people of Nicaragua.[9]

Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense for seven years under Reagan, for his official and actual responsibility for the numerous crimes against humanity perpetrated by the United States in Central America and the Caribbean, and for the bombing of Libya in 1986.

Lt. Col. Oliver North, assigned to Reagan's National Security Council, for being a prime mover behind the Contras of Nicaragua, and for his involvement in the planning of the completely illegal invasion of Grenada, which took the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians.

Henry Kissinger (who has successfully combined three careers: scholar, Nobel peace laureate, and war criminal), National Security Adviser under Nixon and Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford, for his Machiavellian, amoral, immoral roles in the US interventions into Angola, Chile, East Timor, Vietnam, and Cambodia, which brought unspeakable horror and misery to the peoples of those lands.

Gerald Ford, president, for giving his approval to Indonesia to use American arms to brutally suppress the people of East Timor, thus setting in motion a quarter-century-long genocide.

Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, a prime architect of, and major bearer of responsibility for, the slaughter in Indochina, from its early days to its extraordinary escalations; and for the violent suppression of popular movements in Peru.

General William Westmoreland, Army Chief of Staff, for the numerous war crimes under his command in Vietnam. In 1971, Telford Taylor, the chief US prosecutor at the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal, cited the "Yamashita" case as grounds for indicting Westmoreland. Following the war, a US Army Commission had sentenced Japanese General Tomayuki Yamashita to be hanged for atrocities committed by his troops in the Philippines. The Commission held that as the senior commander, Yamashita was responsible for not stopping the atrocities. The same ruling could of course apply to General Powell and General Schwarzkopf. Yamashita, in his defense, presented considerable evidence that he had lacked the communications to adequately control his troops; yet he was still hanged. Taylor pointed out that with helicopters and modern communications, Westmoreland and his commanders didn't have this problem.[10]

And the Bush administration, some of them are still at it, even as you read this: George W. Bush, president, Richard Cheney, vice president, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Colin Powell, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor, for the awful horrors and grave suffering they deliberately brought down upon the heads of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, who had done them no harm; for the unending lying they engaged in, in an attempt to enlist American and world support for these atrocities.

The crime of bombing
As mentioned in the "Bombings" chapter, the bombing of cities from airplanes goes not only unpunished but virtually unaccused. This is a legacy of World War II. The Nuremberg and Tokyo judgments are silent on the subject of aerial bombardment. Since both sides had played a terrible game of urban destruction -- the Allies far more successfully -- there was no basis for criminal charges against the Germans or Japanese, and in fact no such charges were brought. But as Telford Taylor has asked: "Is there any significant difference between killing a babe-in-arms by a bomb dropped from a high-flying aircraft, or by an infantryman's point-blank gunfire? ... The aviator's act [is described] as more ‘impersonal' than the ground soldier's. This may be psychologically valid, but surely is not morally satisfactory."[11]

No one ever thinks they're guilty of anything ... they're all just good ol' patriots
"Asked whether he wants to apologize for the suffering he caused, he looks genuinely confused, has the interpreter repeat the question, and answers ‘No'. ... ‘I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country.'"
Journalist Nate Thayer interviewing a dying Pol Pot, 1997 [12]

"I tell you how I feel. I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country, who served Chile throughout his entire life on this earth. And what he did was always done thinking about the welfare of Chile."
General Augusto Pinochet, under house arrest in England, 1998 [13]
(While Pinochet was being held, George H.W. Bush, the Pope, and the Dalai Lama all called for his release.)

How to deal with the unthinkable
At the close of World War II, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East held a trial in Tokyo of former Japanese prime minister Hideki Tojo. His lawyer asked why Tojo's crimes were any worse than dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At that moment, the prosecution interrupted the Japanese translation and ordered the removal of the remarks in the official trial record and in the press.[14]

Another unthinkable
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ("Genocide Convention"), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948: "The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish." The Convention then goes on to define genocide as certain acts, listed therein, "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such."

Missing from this list is perhaps the most significant manifestation of genocide in modern times: the extermination of people because of their political ideology. The Nazis became notorious for their slaughter of Jews and Gypsies, but German fascism, as in Italy, Spain, Greece, Chile, Indonesia, and elsewhere, was firstly and primarily directed against socialists and communists, regardless of any other characteristic. (Hitler, in any event, largely equated Jews and communists.)

As can be seen in the chapter on "Interventions" and in other chapters -- from China and the Philippines in the 1940s to Colombia and Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the United States has long been practicing this politicide. However, the CEOs of The World's Only Superpower can rest easily. There will be no international convention against it, and no American official will ever have to answer to a court for it.

Yugoslavia -- another war-crimes trial that will never be
Beginning about two weeks after the US-inspired and led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia began in March, 1999, international-law professionals from Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, and the American Association of Jurists began to file complaints with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, charging leaders of NATO countries and officials of NATO itself with crimes similar to those for which the Tribunal had issued indictments shortly before against Serbian leaders.

Amongst the charges filed by the law professionals were: "grave violations of international humanitarian law", including "wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering and serious injury to body and health, employment of poisonous weapons and other weapons to cause unnecessary suffering, wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, unlawful attacks on civilian objects, devastation not necessitated by military objectives, attacks on undefended buildings and dwellings, destruction and wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences."

The Canadian suit named 68 leaders, including William Clinton, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, Tony Blair, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and NATO officials Javier Solana, Wesley Clark, and Jamie Shea. The complaint also alleged "open violation" of the United Nations Charter, the NATO treaty itself, the Geneva Conventions, and the Principles of International Law Recognized by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

The complaint was submitted along with a considerable amount of evidence to support the charges. The evidence makes the key point that it was NATO's bombing campaign which had given rise to the bulk of the deaths in Yugoslavia, provoked most of the Serbian atrocities, created an environmental disaster, and left a dangerous legacy of unexploded depleted uranium and cluster bombs.

In June, some of the complainants met in The Hague with the court's chief prosecutor, Louise Arbour of Canada. Although she cordially received their brief in person, along with three thick volumes of evidence documenting the alleged war crimes, nothing of substance came of the meeting, despite repeated follow-up submissions and letters by the plaintiffs. In November, Arbour's successor, Carla Del Ponte of Switzerland, also met with some of the complainants and received extensive evidence.

The complainants' brief in November pointed out that the prosecution of those named by them was "not only a requirement of law, it is a requirement of justice to the victims and of deterrence to powerful countries such as those in NATO who, in their military might and in their control over the media, are lacking in any other natural restraint such as might deter less powerful countries." Charging the war's victors, not only its losers, it was argued, would be a watershed in international criminal law.

In one of the letters to Arbour, Michael Mandel, a professor of law in Toronto and the initiator of the Canadian suit, stated:

Unfortunately, as you know, many doubts have already been raised about the impartiality of your Tribunal. In the early days of the conflict, after a formal and, in our view, justified complaint against NATO leaders had been laid before it by members of the Faculty of Law of Belgrade University, you appeared at a press conference with one of the accused, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who made a great show of handing you a dossier of Serbian war crimes. In early May, you appeared at another press conference with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, by that time herself the subject of two formal complaints of war crimes over the targeting of civilians in Yugoslavia. Albright publicly announced at that time that the US was the major provider of funds for the Tribunal and that it had pledged even more money to it.[15]

Arbour herself made little attempt to hide the pro-NATO bias she wore beneath her robe. She trusted NATO to be its own police, judge, jury, and prison guard. In a year in which General Pinochet was still under arrest, which was giving an inspiring lift to the cause of international law and justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, under Arbour's leadership, ruled that for the Great Powers it would be business as usual, particularly the Great Power that was most vulnerable to prosecution, and which, coincidentally, paid most of her salary. Here are her own words:

I am obviously not commenting on any allegations of violations of international humanitarian law supposedly perpetrated by nationals of NATO countries. I accept the assurances given by NATO leaders that they intend to conduct their operations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in full compliance with international humanitarian law. I have reminded many of them, when the occasion presented itself, of their obligation to conduct fair and open-minded investigations of any possible deviance from that policy, and of the obligation of commanders to prevent and punish, if required.[16]

NATO Press Briefing, May 16, 1999:

Question: Does NATO recognize Judge Arbour's jurisdiction over their activities?
Jamie Shea: I think we have to distinguish between the theoretical and the practical. I believe that when Justice Arbour starts her investigation [of the Serbs], she will because we will allow her to. ... NATO countries are those that have provided the finance to set up the Tribunal, we are amongst the majority financiers.

The Tribunal -- created in 1993, with the US as the father, the Security Council as the mother, and Madeleine Albright as the midwife -- also relies on the military assets of the NATO powers to track down and arrest the suspects it tries for war crimes.

There appeared to be no more happening with the complaint under Del Ponte than under Arbour, but in late December, in an interview with The Observer of London, Del Ponte was asked if she was prepared to press charges against NATO personnel. She replied: "If I am not willing to do that, I am not in the right place. I must give up my mission."

The Tribunal then announced that it had completed a study of possible NATO crimes, which Del Ponte was examining, and that the study was an appropriate response to public concerns about NATO's tactics. "It is very important for this tribunal to assert its authority over any and all authorities to the armed conflict within the former Yugoslavia."

Was this a sign from heaven that the new millennium was going to be one of more equal justice? Could this really be?

No, it couldn't. From official quarters, military and civilian, of the United States and Canada, came disbelief, shock, anger, denials ... "appalling" ... "unjustified". Del Ponte got the message. Her office quickly issued a statement: "NATO is not under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There is no formal inquiry into the actions of NATO during the conflict in Kosovo."[17] And there wouldn't be, it was unnecessary to add.

But the claim against NATO -- heretofore largely ignored by the American media -- was now out in the open. It was suddenly receiving a fair amount of publicity, and supporters of the bombing were put on the defensive. The most common argument made in NATO's defense, and against war-crime charges, was that the death and devastation inflicted upon the civilian sector was "accidental". This claim, however, must be questioned in light of certain reports. For example, the commander of NATO's air war, Lt. Gen. Michael Short, declared at one point during the bombing:

If you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your stove and the bridge you
take to work is down and will be lying in the Danube for the next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, "Hey, Slobo
[Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic], what's this all about? How much more of this do we have to withstand?"[18]

General Short, said the New York Times, "hopes that the distress of the Yugoslav public will undermine support for the authorities in Belgrade."[19]

At another point, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea declared: "If President Milosevic really wants all of his population to have water and electricity all he has to do is accept NATO's five conditions and we will stop this campaign."[20]

After the April NATO bombing of a Belgrade office building -- which housed political parties, TV and radio stations, 100 private companies, and more -- the Washington Post reported:

Over the past few days, U.S. officials have been quoted as expressing the hope that members of Serbia's economic elite will begin to turn against Milosevic once they understand how much they are likely to lose by continuing to resist NATO demands.[21]

Before missiles were fired into this building, NATO planners spelled out the risks: "Casualty Estimate 50-100 Government/Party employees. Unintended Civ Casualty Est: 250 -- Apts in expected blast radius."[22] The planners were saying that about 250 civilians living in nearby apartment buildings might be killed in the bombing, in addition to the government and political party employees.

What do we have here? We have grown men telling each other: We'll do A, and we think that B may well be the result. But even if B does in fact result, we're saying beforehand -- as we'll insist afterward -- that it was unintended.

The International Criminal Court
Following World War II there was an urgent need for a permanent international criminal court to prosecute those accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, but the Cold War intervened. Finally, in 1998 in Rome, the nations of the world drafted the charter of The International Criminal Court.

American negotiators, however, insisted on provisions in the charter that would, in essence, give the United States veto power over any prosecution through its seat on the Security Council. The American request was rejected, and primarily for this reason the US refused to join 120 other nations who supported the charter.

The ICC is an instrument Washington can't control sufficiently to keep it from prosecuting American military and government officials. Senior US officials have explicitly admitted that this danger is the reason for their aversion to the proposed new court,[23] although most commonly US government spokespersons speak of "frivolous lawsuits".

They know they have no legal or moral argument to explain why the United States and its officials should be exempt from international law and justice, so they insist that all such indictments would be "frivolous" or "politically motivated"; i.e., without sufficient merit to take seriously and undertaken purely out of some perverse anti-Americanism.

Their real concern of course is not that charges of war crimes will be made against American civilian and military officials "frivolously", but that they will be made "seriously" and that there are indeed quite a few American officials who would qualify.

But this is clearly not the problem with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. It's Washington's kind of international court, a court for the New World Order.

The key human right promoted abroad by the United States is the right to shop. Washington tries to sell the notion that respect for human rights arises organically from free-market economics.

1. The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, p.48
2. Washington Post, December 4, 1996, p.1
3. Leonard A. Cole, Clouds of Secrecy: The Army's Germ Warfare Tests over
Populated Areas (Maryland, 1990), p.12-14
4. Washington Post, September 21, 1999, p.1
5. United Nations General Assembly Resolution: "Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free
zone in the region of the Middle East", December 4, 1990, Resolution No. 45/52.
6. New York Times, January 24, 1991, p.11
7. Ibid., March 23, 1991
8. Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, Four Hours in May Lai (Viking, New York, 1992),
p.175, 209-13
9. LA Weekly (Los Angeles), March 9-15, 1990, p.12
10. New York Times, January 9, 1971, p.3
11. Telford Taylor, Nuremberg and Vietnam: an American Tragedy(New York, 1970), p.140-43
12. Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong), October 30, 1997, p.15, 20
13. Sunday Telegraph (London), July 18, 1999, interview with Pinochet
14. Washington Post, May 25, 1998, p.B4
15. This and most of the other material concerning the complaints to the Tribunal
mentioned here were transmitted to the author by Mandel and other complainants.
16. Press Release from Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, The Hague, May 13, 1999.
17. The Observer (London), December 26, 1999; Washington Times, December 30 and 31, 1999;
New York Times, December 30, 1999
18. Washington Post, May 24, 1999, p.1
19. New York Times, May 13, 1999, p.1
20. NATO press conference, Brussels, May 25, 1999
21. Washington Post, April 22, 1999, p.18
22. Ibid., September 20, 1999, p.1
23. New York Times, December 2, 1998, p.1; January 3, 2000

To write to the author:

"I Was Only Following Orders!"
Being serious about torture. Or not.

By William Blum

March 05, 2009"
Information Clearing House"

In Cambodia they're once again endeavoring to hold trials to bring some former senior Khmer Rouge officials to justice for their 1975-79 war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The current defendant in a United Nations-organized trial, Kaing Guek Eav, who was the head of a Khmer Rouge torture center, has confessed to atrocities, but insists he was acting under orders.1

As we all know, this is the defense that the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected for the Nazi defendants. Everyone knows that, right? No one places any weight on such a defense any longer, right? We make jokes about Nazis declaring: "I was only following orders!" ("Ich habe nur den Befehlen gehorcht!")

Except that both the Bush and Obama administrations have spoken in favor of it.

Here's the new head of the CIA, Leon Panetta:

"What I have expressed as a concern, as has the president, is that those who operated under the rules that were provided by the Attorney General in the interpretation of the law [concerning torture] and followed those rules ought not to be penalized. And ... I would not support, obviously, an investigation or a prosecution of those individuals. I think they did their job."2

Operating under the rules ... doing their job ... are of course the same as following orders.

The UN Convention Against Torture (first adopted in 1984), which has been ratified by the United States, says quite clearly, "An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture."

The Torture Convention enacts a prohibition against torture that is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.

Of course, those giving the orders are no less guilty.

On the very day of Obama's inauguration, the United Nation's special torture rapporteur invoked the Convention in calling on the United States to pursue former president George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld for torture and bad treatment of Guantanamo prisoners.3

On several occasions, President Obama has indicated his reluctance to pursue war crimes charges against Bush officials, by expressing a view such as: “I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

And by not investigating Bush officials, Obama is indeed saying that they're above the law. Like the Khmer Rouge officials have been.

Michael Ratner, a professor at Columbia Law School and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said prosecuting Bush officials is necessary to set future anti-torture policy.

"The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don't see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable."5

One reason for the non-prosecution may be that serious trials of the many Bush officials who contributed to the torture policies might reveal the various forms of Democratic Party non-opposition and collaboration.

It should also be noted that the United States supported Pol Pot (who died in April 1998) and the Khmer Rouge for several years after they were ousted from power by the Vietnamese in 1979. This support began under Jimmy Carter and his National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and continued under Ronald Reagan.6

A lingering bitterness by American cold warriors toward Vietnam, the small nation which monumental US power had not been able to defeat, and its perceived closeness to the Soviet Union, appears to be the only explanation for this policy. Humiliation runs deep when you're a superpower.

Neither should it be forgotten in this complex cautionary tale that the Khmer Rouge in all likelihood would never have come to power, nor even made a serious attempt to do so, if not for the massive American "carpet bombing" of Cambodia in 1969-70 and the US-supported overthrow of Prince Sihanouk in 1970 and his replacement by a man closely tied to the United States.7

By the way, if you're not already turned off by many of Obama's appointments, listen to how James Jones opened his talk at the Munich Conference on Security Policy on February 8: "Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Henry Kissinger yesterday. Congratulations. As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger."8

Lastly, Spain's High Court recently announced it would launch a war crimes investigation into an Israeli ex-defense minister and six other top security officials for their role in a 2002 attack that killed a Hamas commander and 14 civilians in Gaza.9

Spain has for some time been the world's leading practitioner of "universal jurisdiction" for human-rights violations, such as their indictment of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet a decade ago.

The Israeli case involved the dropping of a bomb on the home of the Hamas leader; most of those killed were children. The United States does this very same thing every other day in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Given the refusal of American presidents to invoke even their "national jurisdiction" over American officials-cum-war criminals, we can only hope that someone reminds the Spanish authorities of a few names, names like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Feith, Perle, Yoo, and a few others with a piece missing, a piece that's shaped like a conscience.

There isn't even a need to rely on international law alone, for there's an American law against war crimes, passed by a Republican-dominated Congress in 1996.10

The noted Israeli columnist, Uri Avnery, writing about the Israeli case, tried to capture the spirit of Israeli society that produces such war criminals and war crimes. He observed:

"This system indoctrinates its pupils with a violent tribal cult, totally ethnocentric, which sees in the whole of world history nothing but an endless story of Jewish victimhood. This is a religion of a Chosen People, indifferent to others, a religion without compassion for anyone who is not Jewish, which glorifies the God-decreed genocide described in the Biblical book of Joshua."11

It would take very little substitution to apply this statement to the United States — like "American" for "Jewish" and "American exceptionalism" for "a Chosen People".


  1. Associated Press, August 1, 2007
  2. Press conference, February 25, 2009, transcript by Federal News Service
  3. Agence France Presse (AFP), January 20, 2009
  4. New York Times, December 29, 1998
  5. Associated Press, November 17, 2008
  6. See William Blum, "Rogue State", chapter 10 ("Supporting Pol Pot")
  7. See William Blum, "Killing Hope", chapter 20 ("Cambodia, 1955-1973")
  9. Reuters news agency, January 30, 2009
  10. The War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441)
  11. Haaretz, leading Israeli newspaper, January 30, 2009

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recalling the Downing Street Minutes

By Ray McGovern

Seven years ago this week, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair gathered his top national security advisers at 10 Downing St. to hear a report from U.K. intelligence chief Richard Dearlove, just back in London from face-to-face talks with then-CIA Director George Tenet in Washington....

Matthew Rycroft, aide to Blair foreign policy guru David Manning, was taking minutes at the Downing Street meeting on July 23, 2002, minutes he immediately circulated to Blair and other participants.

The minutes observed quite bluntly that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Enter an unknown patriotic truth-teller who eventually gave a copy of those minutes to London’s Sunday Times which, after performing due diligence regarding their provenance, published them on May 1, 2005. Blair himself has been careful not to dispute the authenticity of what then became known as the "Downing Street Minutes."

We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity also performed due diligence and were first off the mark with "Proof Bush Fixed the Facts," May 4, 2005.

Too Late the Leak

The Downing Street Minutes represent the kind of documentary evidence after which trial lawyers, intelligence analysts – and serious investigative journalists – lust.

Though the unauthorized disclosure did not come early enough to head off the war, which had started more than two years before the document surfaced, the unique disclosure could have thrown some harsh light on the war’s origins — IF the Fawning Corporate Media in the United States did its job.

However, having been acrobatic cheerleaders for war on Iraq, the Fawning Corporate Media did its level best to suppress this documentary evidence of the war’s fraudulent character....

Now seven years after the Downing Street Minutes were written – and more than four years after their disclosure – they remain one of the most damning pieces of evidence against both the Bush administration for its criminal deceptions in leading the nation to war and the Fawning Corporate Media for its complicity in hiding the truth from the American people....


First published at

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Osama bin Laden Dead or Alive?"

Audio Interview with Dr. David Ray Griffin

We examine all the evidence, both that indicating bin Laden died, and that suggesting he is still alive; the important bin Laden videos and audio recordings, the significance, if any, in the timing of their release; statements by significant political and intelligence figures; and why the hunt for bin Laden must proceed. Continue

In case you missed it
FBI says, it has “No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11”

By Ed Haas

When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said,

“The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”


Afghan MP Calls For Anti-war Movement to Demonstrations Against Occupation Of Afghanistan

Report by Feyzi Ismail

Malalai Joya has been called one of the bravest women in Afghanistan.


Rising Casualties Raise Doubts Abroad on War


Pressure from the public and opposition politicians is growing as soldiers' bodies return home, and a poll released Thursday shows majorities in Britain, Germany and Canada oppose increasing their own troop levels in Afghanistan.


Majority in US Oppose Both Wars

By The Associated Press

A majority of Americans oppose both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq.

Here are details

"Operation in Afghanistan is Rooted in Israel"


The real reason why the U.S. continues its presence in Afghanistan is Iran the country which is an annoyance for Israel, said Karen Kwiatkowski, a writer and former U.S. Air Force officer.


“When a government lies to you, it no longer has authority over you.”

(Cindy Sheehan. Dallas, Tx; 2005)

July 22, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- Okay, so the United States of America has had a new puppet regime for six months now. I was never so much into giving Obama a “chance” and I think it’s way past time to call Obama and his supporters out, like we called Bush and his supporters out.

Our Presidents are merely puppets for the Robber Class and Obama is no exception.

I am observing very little “change” in actual policy, or even rhetoric from an Obama regime. Granted, his style and delivery are more polished than the last puppet, but especially in foreign policy, little has changed. Evidently we elect Presidents based on empty rhetoric and if we can find someone who can say very little using many words, that’s better. I knew a year ago when Obama and his ilk were blathering on about “change” that they didn’t mean positive “change” for us, but it’s a shame Obama’s voters didn’t ask him to be a little more specific or demand some good “change.”

Besides foreign policy where he is a complete disaster, it appears Obama’s jobs program is little more than adding tens of thousands of troops to an already bloated military, instead of bringing troops home from anywhere. Billions will go to the money trap of the Pentagon to invest in recruiting, where the budgets of peace groups who do counter recruitment are tanking.

This is the 3rd week in July and already it’s the deadliest month for US and coalition troops deaths in Af/Pak. Who would ever have thought when violence is surged, then deaths would surge, also? I think I’ve seen this movie before.

The blueprint for this disastrous administration came early when O appointed nothing but neocons to his foreign policy team.

The Secretary of State and the National Security advisor have even both admitted that the Council on Foreign Relations/Henry Kissinger are calling the shots.

Sec. Clinton at a speech at the new HQ for the Council on Foreign Relations:

I have been often to, I guess, the mother ship in New York City, but it’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council (Council of Foreign Relations), so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.

National Security Advisor, James Jones, who also VERY coincidentally, I’m sure, was on the boards of directors of Chevron and Boeing, had this to say earlier this year:

"As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger."

Jones was also giving a speech to the Council on Foreign relations at the time. Kissinger is a fabulous role model for war, don’t you think.

How many deaths will Kissinger be forced to atone for when he goes to the same place as McNamara?

Wherever prosperous war criminals go to when they die?

As an early, ardent and unapologetic supporter of the Bush Pre-emptive Wars of Aggression Doctrine, Sec. Clinton showed her true colors early on in her tenure as an elected official and, of course, Jones is a war profiteer. Added to this mix is George Bush’s SecDef, Robert Gates, and these are just the main players. Contrary to his “promise” Obama has appointed former lobbyists to key positions in the Pentagon.

We all know all of these things, but the more things “change” the more they stay the same. Apparently the OBots are co-opting the excuses of the BushBots to justify their savior’s surge in Afghanistan and Pakistan and broken promise after broken promise in Iraq.

The other day Howard Dean, on DemocracyNow!, told Amy Goodman that although Iraq was bad, we need to stay in Afghanistan because, first and foremost, for the women:

And if we leave, women will experience the most extraordinary depredations of any population on the face of the earth. I think we have some obligation to try and see if we can make this work, not just for America and our security interests, but for the sake of women in Afghanistan and all around the globe. Is this acceptable to treat women like this? I think not.

Laura Bush earlier this year:

“There’s still a risk to women in Afghanistan. I hope the people of the United States will stay committed. We don’t want to see Afghanistan go back to what it was before.”

I have been on my Myth America Book Tour for three months now and almost everywhere I go, an older white male will stand up and say: “Cindy, we really need to stop allowing Iraq to distract us. Afghanistan always was the place we needed to focus our attentions!” And besides the other neocon reasons given for why US troops need to decimate that country further and kill more innocent women and children is: you guessed it: For the women!

So, we are literally sending in the cavalry to rescue the poor women of Afghanistan, and the patriarchal state apparatus and its zombie adherents don’t care how many women we have to kill to save them.


I give Obama an “F” for his first six months. There has been nothing to like from his continuing the Bush failed economic policies to excluding single-payer advocates from the table.

Not to mention reinforcing and protecting Bush Crimes.

The good news is: He’s got plenty of room for improvement!

The Hidden History of 9-11

This is a must listen interview with Paul Zarembka

How much insider trading occurred in the days leading up to 9/11?
How compromised is the evidence against alleged hijackers because of serious authentication problems with a key Dulles Airport videotape?
To what extent does the testimony of more than five hundred firefighters differ from official reports of what happened at the World Trade Center buildings that day?
How inseparably connected are Western covert operations to al-Qaeda?
How is Islamophobia used to sustain US imperialism?

Paul Zarembka is a professor of economics at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Since 1977, he has been the general editor for Research in Political Economy.
He has authored Toward a Theory of Economic Development, edited Frontiers in Econometrics, and co-edited Essays in Modern Capital Theory.

The Case of the ‘Fatwa’ to Rig Iran’s Election

By Jeremy R. Hammond

July 21, 2009 "Foreign Policy Journal" -- The propaganda campaign to paint the victory of the incumbent candidate in Iran’s June presidential election as having been a stolen one began early. Even before the election, the seed was being planted that the election would be stolen to give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a win.

This narrative played nicely into the hands of the reformist opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who cried foul following the favorable results for the incumbent. But what evidence is there to support this narrative?

In one prominent example, on June 7, five days before Iran’s presidential election, the website Tehran Bureau reported:

In an open letter, a group of employees of Iran’s Interior Ministry (which supervises the elections) warned the nation that a hard-line ayatollah, who supports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has issued a Fatwa authorizing changing votes in the incumbent’s favor......


The “fatwa” also appeared in an article in Newsmax by Kenneth Timmerman. Writing a day before the election, Timmerman followed the “narrative”:

As the wildest campaign of the past 30 years winds down, Iranians are worried that their votes won’t decide the result of the election Friday. Instead, they fear, the unelected officials at Iran’s Interior Ministry in charge of counting those votes will sway the outcome.

Timmerman provides some further insightful information about the “fatwa” letter:

Supporters of “reformist” candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, with the backing of the Persian Service of Voice of America, claim to have discovered a secret “fatwa” or religious ruling issued by a radical cleric close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They contend that it encourages bureaucrats at the Interior Ministry to do “whatever it takes” to get their man elected…. The “fatwa” was revealed in an open letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei from a pro-Mousavi group of Interior Ministry officials, who asked him to intervene to keep the election fair.

Thus, if Timmerman is correct, the “open letter” was an example of a “copy and paste” job by Tehran Bureau of information propagated by the Mousavi campaign and the VOA.

Timmerman also reported that while there was a movement among opposition groups both in Iran and the U.S. (and elsewhere) to boycott the election, the VOA had “urged Iranians to go to the polls no matter what” in coverage slanted towards Mousavi:

Well-respected parties, including the Iran Nation’s Party, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, Marze Por Gohar (Glorious Frontiers), and others have called for a boycott. But in recent weeks, editors and supervisors at the Voice of America’s Persian Service have banned them from the airwaves.

“It would be one thing if they just closed their eyes,” Roozbeh Farahanipour, a spokesman for Marze Por Gohar, told Newsmax. “But it’s as if the State Department and Voice of America had become campaign advisers to Mousavi.”

Some Iranians believe that has happened.

Saeed Behbehani, the owner of Mihan TV in suburban Washington, D.C., says he recently spoke with a well-known Iranian-American businessman who boasts of his ties to the State Department and who just returned from a trip to Dubai. The businessman said he met with Mousavi’s campaign manager, Mehdi Khazali.

“The day after they met, VOA put Khazali on the air,” Behbehani said.

Some of the VOA broadcasters themselves are upset at how slanted the U.S.-taxpayer funded network has become.

Timmerman also had this prescient comment (again, recall this was one day prior to the election):

And then, there’s the talk of a “green revolution” in Tehran, named for the omnipresent green scarves and banners that fill the air at Mousavi campaign events.

The “green revolution” as it has since come to be called, refers to protestors who support Mousavi and charge that Ahmadinejad’s win was the result of electoral fraud. Why would there be talk of a “green revolution” before the election results were announced? Unless, of course, it was all part of the “narrative”, planned beforehand to lead to the protests – which were “not spontaneous”, we may recall – in an effort to destabilize the Iranian regime.

Timmerman continues with a perhaps even more extraordinary acknowledgment about the role of the NED (emphasis added):

The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting “color” revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques.

Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.

And Kenneth Timmerman, as Daniel McAdams has pointed out, is perhaps in as good a position as anyone to know. He’s the President and CEO of The Foundation for Democracy, “established in 1995 with grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to promote democracy and internationally-recognized standards of human rights in Iran.” He’s also the author of the book Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran.

The claim of the “fatwa” was picked up by Jeremy J. Stone and repeated in the Huffington Post in a piece entitled “How the Iranian Election Was Stolen”. Stone touts the report from Tehran Bureau as evidence for his assertion that the election was stolen:

According to an open letter of early June by a group of employees who work on elections in the Interior Ministry — after May polls showed that Ahmadinejad would lose the election – [Iranian Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah] Yazdi gave the Interior Ministry employees a Fatwa, a religious degree, authorizing the changing of votes.

Muhammad Sahimi likewise repeated the claim at Antiwar, stating matter-of-factly that the results of the election had been “rigged” and describing it as an “election coup”. The men behind this “coup” have as their “spiritual leader” Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, the person who allegedly issued the “fatwa” for the elections to be rigged. Sahimi states without qualification (and without a source) that:

Two weeks before the elections Mesbah issued a secret fatwa – which was leaked by some in the Interior Ministry – authorizing the use of any means to reelect Ahmadinejad, hence giving the green light for rigging the elections.

This is the only piece of evidence in the entire article to support the assertion that the election was “rigged”.

“As loony and baseless as possible”

The Iranian regime, of course, has claimed that the U.S., Britain, and Israel are behind the claims of a fraudulent election. “Americans and Zionists sought to destabilize Iran”, asserted Intelligence Minister Mohseni Ejei, rejecting allegations of vote rigging.

While remarks from Iranian government officials are certainly not evidence for it, it nevertheless certainly remains a perfectly plausible explanation, despite a strong tendency by commentators in the U.S. media, both mainstream and alternative, corporate news and blogs, not only to dismiss the possibility, but to portray the very suggestion as an absurdity.

Noted journalist Fareed Zakaria explained this phenomenon quite candidly. He begins with an acknowledgment:

And it is worth remembering that the United States still funds guerrilla outfits and opposition groups that are trying to topple the Islamic Republic. Most of these are tiny groups with no chance of success, funded largely to appease right-wing members of Congress. But the Tehran government is able to portray this as an ongoing anti-Iranian campaign.

Notice his use of the word “portray”. The Iranian regime “is able to portray” an ongoing anti-government campaign “as an ongoing anti-Iranian campaign.” Again, the issue isn’t what the facts are, but what the perceptions are. Zakaria then praises President Obama’s response to events in Iran, saying

In this context, President Obama has been right to tread cautiously — for the most part — to extend his moral support to Iranian protesters but not get politically involved.

Remember, it’s not that funding “guerilla outfits and opposition groups that are trying to topple the Islamic Republic” isn’t being “politically involved”. It’s simply that Obama has wisely, and not without success, created the perception of being politically detached. With this as his framework, Zakaria concludes:

Ahmadinejad is also a politician with considerable mass appeal. He knows that accusing the United States and Britain of interference works in some quarters. Our effort should be to make sure that those accusations seem as loony and baseless as possible. Were President Obama to get out in front, vociferously supporting the protests, he would be helping Ahmadinejad’s strategy, not America’s.

So, accusations that the U.S. is interfering in Iran are true. But acknowledging that would be strategically unwise. “Our effort” – and by “our” Zakaria presumably includes journalists like himself – should not be to report the truth (drawing the obvious corollary), but to work to discredit anyone who observes that the long arm of the U.S. has certainly not been withdrawn from Iranian affairs.

There is a vast amount of unverified or, in some cases, verifiably false information floating around, often originating from sources with a clear bias. Tehran Bureau’s use as a primary source someone who is a member of the Mousavi campaign is just one notable example. Information from such sources is then spread around the internet, sometimes with viral effect, without attribution or sourcing and with a completely uncritical eye. This is often on account of the commentator’s own bias, such as the assumption of the teach-in Niknejad participated in that we should express “solidarity” with the “pro-democracy” – that is to say, the “pro-Mousavi” – movement.

Our effort should not be to take sides in an election campaign in a foreign sovereign nation, but rather to make the best effort to be objective and, far from reporting only that information which suits our own personal political ideology, to discern from the available information in an effort to learn the truth.

Regrettably, numerous commentators on recent events in Iran obviously disagree, preferring instead the creed of Fareed Zakaria.

Jeremy R. Hammond is the editor and principle writer for Foreign Policy Journal, an online publication dedicated to providing news, critical analysis, and commentary on U.S. foreign policy, particularly with regard to the “war on terrorism” and events in the Middle East, from outside of the standard framework offered by government officials and the mainstream corporate media. He has also written for numerous other online publications.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hamas praises anti-Zionist Jews "heroes" against Israel siege

Hamas leader Haniye met on Thursday with a group of anti-Zionism Orthodox Jews who arrived in Gaza with a US aid convoy.

Friday, 17 July 2009 12:54

It was the first time envoys from the Neturei Karta have visited the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control in June 2007.

The Hamas leader praised his four Jewish guests, saying, "Those religious figures that express their objection to the siege, the aggression and the crimes – we can't help but respect them and for their beliefs and their culture."

Haniyeh also said that the US-based Viva Palestina convoy "is proof that the American people is not entirely a people of occupation and is not entirely on the side of the criminal Zionist regime."

"We view you as heroes; you are opening the eyes of the world to the siege in the Strip," he added.

The ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist Jews arrived with the "Lifeline 2" convoy of 200 people led by antiwar British MP Galloway who made his second journey to the war-torn Strip this year. In March he donated 25,000 British pounds and a fleet of ambulances to the Hamas-run Gaza government.

During their Thursday meeting, Haniyeh told them that the "Palestinian people are not against the Israelis because they are Jewish, but they are against the occupation and the Zionism that deny Palestinians their rights."

"We feel your suffering, we cry your cry," said Rabbi Yisroel Weiss upon arriving Wednesday night. "It is your land, it is occupied, illegitimately and unjustly by people who stole it, kidnapped the name of Judaism and our identity," said Weiss.

Neturei Karta, Aramaic for "Guardians of the City," was founded some 70 years ago in Jerusalem by Jews.

Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza's sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.

Human rights groups, both international and Israeli, slammed Israel's siege of Gaza, branding it "collective punishment."

Israel killed nearly 1434 Palestinians, a third of them children and wounded more than 5000 Palestinians in the 22-day military aggression in December 2008 on Gaza.

Viva Palestina USA Aid Convoy:

24 Hours in Gaza

By Soozy Duncan

Allowed only 24 hours in Gaza under threat of not being allowed to return to Egypt, the Viva Palestina convoy has been a whirlwind of activity since crossing the border at Rafah Wednesday night. Organizers have attempted to compress 3 days of planned activities into a single day. Continue

Israel Will Implode

By Gilad Atzmon
Israel's oppressive Iron fist occupation will cause its own demise. Continue

Blustering Biden Bows To Bibi

By Paul Balles
The “logical” comments by Joe Biden should bring scathing criticism of the way Israel spends American taxpayers’ money to support its continuing ruthless inhumanity to indigenous Palestinians. Continue