Friday, December 25, 2009

"Accountability for War Crimes is Imperative"

An interview with Cindy Sheehan

December 14, 2009 "Information Clearing House"

By Mike Whitney

The US has been committing war crimes for at least the last 100 years (off the continent) and none of our leaders have ever been held accountable and that's one of the reasons that the empire is able to keep rolling.

Mike Whitney---President Barack Obama recently visited Dover Air Force Base where he was photographed with the flag-draped coffins of soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why did Obama do this and what was your reaction?

Cindy Sheehan--"I think Obama did this as a publicity stunt and used the dead troops (that he was responsible for killing) as props to show that he "cares" about the troops. This stunt was in the middle of the "discussions" about how many more troops to send to Afghanistan. (after he has already sent about 35,000)

It made me sick.

MW---On Thursday, on orders from President Obama, the US military launched cruise missile attacks on Yemen which were followed by raids by the Yemeni Security forces. An estimated 120 people were killed. Obama's actions indicate that he accepts the Bush Doctrine, that he thinks the US has the right to assassinate people without due process on the mere suspicion they may be linked to a terrorist organization. Is Obama right? Does the US need to be more aggressive in the “post 9-11" world?

Cindy Sheehan---And Obama reiterated this doctrine during his Nobel acceptance speech--which some are calling the "Obama Doctrine" now.

No, I do not agree with these extra-legal executions. I do not agree that the CIA can be jury, judge and executioner in Pakistan and indiscriminately kill people with their drones.

I adamantly disagree with the doctrine of "pre-emptive" strikes or invasions and I don't agree that they keep Americans "safer" and, even if they did, innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire and we are creating enemies that we will never be able to kill.

MW---Hugo Chavez has been demonized in the US media as anti-American and a dictator. You've met Chavez and seen first-hand what's going on in Venezuela. What's your take? Is Chavez a dictator or does he believe in democracy? Have his policies been helpful or harmful to the poor and illiterate?

Cindy Sheehan---Well, statistically, illiteracy and poverty rates have improved since Chavez has been president of Venezuela--although, it is still a very poor country.

I think we should always take governments and politicians with a grain of salt, or with high suspicion. But for a politician, I do think that Chavez cares about the people of Venezuela and democracy movements in South America. His actions have proven that and he has been pretty courageous in trying to spread populism and socialism. He has supported other leaders, like Morales of Bolivia, who have been attacked and marginalized by the ruling class.

Is Chavez a dictator? He's as much a dictator as Obama is. Chavez has put constitutional reforms before the public and has survived CIA coup and recall attempts. I am sure there is always hanky-panky in any election, but Jimmy Carter has certified elections.

MW---Here's a poem by an Iraqi blogger named Layla Anwar, which pretty well sums up the anger and anguish felt by many Iraqis:

“Come and see our overflowing morgues and find our little ones for us…
You may find them in this corner or the other, a little hand poking out, pointing out at you…
Come and search for them in the rubble of your “surgical” air raids, you may find a little leg or a little head…pleading for your attention.
Come and see them amassed in the garbage dumps, scavenging morsels of food…

Come and see, come….” (“Flying Kites” Layla Anwar)

How important to you is it that the people who are responsible for the destruction of Iraq and the slaughtering of over 1 million Iraqis be brought to justice?

Cindy Sheehan---In my opinion, accountability for war crimes committed on the people of Iraq/Afghanistan and, now Pakistan, is imperative.

The US has been committing war crimes for at least the last 100 years (off the continent) and none of our leaders have ever been held accountable and that's one of the reasons that the empire is able to keep rolling.

I also believe that the way to the rest of the world's heart is for American leaders to be held accountable.

MW--- The senate just passed the $636 billion Pentagon budget on Friday which extends the controversial US Patriot Act. Obama is expected to sign the bill sometime this week. Why is America trying to trying to "liberate" Iraq and Afghanistan, when it is spying on its people at home?

Cindy Sheehan---First of all, "liberation" was not a goal of the invasions. We, the gullible, were told that we were going into Afghanistan to get Osama and Iraq because Saddam had WMD and a connection to al Qaeda. When those rationales were proven false, we were then told that it was to liberate the people. Now in Afghanistan, we are told we are "protecting the women."

The phony war on terror has been used to steal our liberties in a full-frontal assault since 9-11 and Obama voted to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT ACT when he was a Senator, and voted for the FISA modernization act, which gave broad authority to the government to spy on our electronic communications and gave telecom companies immunity.

I not only see this as passive stealing of our liberties, but the United Police States of America is increasing in physical oppression, also. I'll be interested to see how the Police State will handle my new action: Peace of the Action.

MW---You know a lot of people across the country. What's the mood among Obama supporters? Have they thrown in the towel already or do they still think he'll turn out to be the leader they hoped he would be?

Cindy Sheehan---I lost a lot of friends when B.O. became president and it was a lonely 6 months after he was elected.

I wrote a new book called
Myth America (short title) and I started to travel around the country in April doing book events. For the first time since my activism started, people walked out on my presentations because I was telling them that it was the system--not the person who infests the White House. However, by the end of my book tour in August, the crowds were growing and more enthusiastic and less gaga-eyed over Obama.

Then I started touring again in September and the discontent is growing. I am happy about that.

The ones that upset me the most are the so-called leaders of the "progressive" movement like Tom Hayden, CODEPINK and Michael Moore who very enthusiastically endorsed, worked for, voted for, and raised money for Obama, and NOW are beginning to speak out against his carnage, when in fact, Obama has always been very pro-war. Once the horse is out of the barn, it's hard to get him back in. The movement should never have given him a "chance." Things are so much worse in foreign policy almost a year into his regime.

MW---The media has had a tough time dealing with Cindy Sheehan. On the one hand, they've done everything in their power to glorify the wars and the men and women who serve in uniform. On the other hand, they've gone to great lengths to discredit the mother of a soldier who died fighting in America's wars. Why is the media so afraid of Cindy Sheehan?

Cindy Sheehan---Because I tell inconvenient truths. War is not pretty, ever, but unnecessary wars and needless carnage are even worse.

Also, I realized very early on that the problem didn't rest with a particular political party, but it's a systemic problem and the corporate media is part of it.

MW---Here is a very long question. It's a quote from Obama's Nobel acceptance speech in Oslo: "I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict — filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other. These questions are not new. War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease — the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences.

Over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers, clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a "just war" emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence....

For most of history, this concept of just war was rarely observed. The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace.

We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified." (Obama Nobel acceptance speech)

This is a very disturbing quote. What do you think Obama is trying to say here?

Cindy Sheehan---Like I said in my speech in Oslo, the ruling class is telling us by giving Obama that award, and in his speech that "War is Peace" and the only conceivable way to peace is through war.

What is also disturbing, is the kudos he got from the left-right establishment over that speech. Disturbing, yet predictable.

MW---Last question. This is an excerpt from an article you wrote more than a year ago:

Cindy Sheehan--- "The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most....

Good-bye America are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it."

Do you feel the same way now as when you wrote that, or do you see any glimmer of hope that the country is beginning to change directions?

I wrote this in May of 2007 when I resigned from the movement--I still believe that the people have to wake up on their own, but we can give them some gentle shakes. I am still sacrificing for the enlightenment and am still trying. It was a short retirement--

Mr. 10%: Our Man in Islamabad

By Eric Margolis

Now, in a delicious irony, Washington is finally getting the democracy it has been calling for in Pakistan - and it's the Mother of all Backfires. Continue

Welcome to Pashtunistan
The Aim of America’s Secret War?

By Shaukat Qadir

Pakistan’s conspiracy theorists have long held that the real object of Xe, acting on behalf of the CIA, is to destabilise Pakistan so as to have an excuse to take over or destroy its nuclear assets, because Israel and the US remain uncomfortable with a nuclear Pakistan. I have long disputed this theory, but am finding it increasingly difficult to continue doing so. Continue

America is not a Democracy

By Noam Chomsky

America is not a democracy, nor was it intended to be.


Superpower presents a view of US foreign policy, which lies in stark contrast to that depicted by corporate media, popular pundits, and US heads of state.

This Is A Must Watch Movie

The heart of Superpower lies in the analysis produced from a re-examination of history through a series of interviews with historians, documentarians, and academians such as Bill Blum, Chalmers Johnson, Michael Chossudovsky, and Noam Chomsky, and others with expertise in this subject such as the Executive Producer of The Unit, Command Sergeant (Ret.) Eric Haney; former Chief Economist for the US Department of Labor, Morgan Reynolds; three-time Noble Peace Prize nominee, Kathy Kelly; and Lt. Col. (Ret) Karen Kwiatkowski. Continue

The Troops Protect Our Freedom, and Other Lies I Learned in School

By Kevin Carson

The United States’ military does not “defend our freedom.” There hasn’t been a war in my lifetime that involved a genuine foreign military threat to our freedom, and the United States government has been actively involved in suppressing freedom around the world for decades.

Obama Double-Crossed Progressives on Health Care

By Matthew Rothschild

If you're a good progressive, and you wanted single-payer health care for all, or, second best, Medicare for All Who Want It, or third best, a robust public option, or fourth best, a paltry public option, now you've got nothing, nada, zippo. Continue

Obama's Af-Pak War is Illegal

By Marjorie Cohn

The use of these drones in Pakistan violates both the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit willful killing. Targeted or political assassinations—sometimes called extrajudicial executions—are carried out by order of, or with the acquiescence of, a government, outside any judicial framework. Continue

Americans Are Hell-Bent on Tyranny

Paul Craig Roberts

Here in Great Moral America we only hold accountable celebrities and politicians for their sexual indiscretions. Tiger Woods is paying a bigger price for his girlfriends than Bush or Cheney will ever pay for the deaths and ruined lives of millions of people. Continue

Racism and War:
The Dehumanization of the Enemy

By Mike Prysner

Our real enemy is not the ones living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; The real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us. Continue

Iran Sanctions Are a Precursor to War

By Ron Paul

If Iran was attempting to violate the non-proliferation treaty, they could hardly be blamed, since US foreign policy gives them every incentive to do so. Continue

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Deadly Intentions: The Truth Behind The Iran Rumors

December 18, 2009 "Huffington Post"

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

For the past several days, the spin behind the headlines surrounding Iran's activities have been enough to send any one looking for cover -- or declare war. After all, nuclear bombs, missiles, and the stealing of a neighbor's oil fields is what prompted the "international community" to declare war on Iraq - twice.

Why not Iran? As Bill O'Reilly said: " What spin is, is taking a set of circumstances, all right, and taking that circumstance and making it not what it is."

The latest rumor comes from the Saudi owned al-Arabiya (partially owned by Kuwait and Persian Gulf States) which announced that 11 Iranian soldiers had taken over an Iraqi oil field. Although this report was denied by Iraq's Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Ali al-Khafaji, and "A US military spokesman told AFP at Contingency Operating Base Adder", other media sources have run off with it.

What was the intention of releasing such 'news'?

Clearly, what is not new is that Saudis (and Kuwaitis) are becoming an old hand at assisting Americans in their adventures in the region.

In 1991, Nayirah, the 15-year old daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.S., used her ties with the PR firm Hill & Knowlton and came up with the audacious lie that the Iraqis were throwing babies out of the incubators in Kuwait. Hill & Knowlton's marketing helped build domestic support for the war. $40billion of the $60 billion US costs was paid by Saudi Arabia.

Thanks to their relentless efforts, Bush Junior dared to go where his father had not - Baghdad. Of course, once again, a PR firm, The Rendon Group, was paid millions of dollars to demonize Saddam in order to persuade the American public of the necessity of an illegal invasion.

Bob Woodard (State of Denial) explains the Saudi role during his interview on '60 minutes'. "[Prince]Bandar, who's skeptical because he knows in the first Gulf War we didn't get Saddam out, so he says to Cheney and Rumsfeld, 'So Saddam this time is gonna be out, period?' And Cheney - who has said nothing - says the following: 'Prince Bandar, once we start, Saddam is toast.'" "Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: "They're [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge".

It would seem that the Saudis are at it again. They have attempted to buy the Chinese by offering them cheap oil in exchange for sanctions against Iran; but China knows better than to auction its future and national security for a bloody adventure. Saudi Arabia, in a change of tactic, spun a story about Iran invading an Iraqi oilfield which led to an immediate hike in oil prices. Could this have been intended as a punishment aimed at the Chinese for not cooperating while projecting Iran as an extreme threat?

Given their media ownership, this was easily accomplished. In 2005, while in Dubai, Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal boasted that he could change the news content that viewers around the world see on television thanks to his voting shares in News Corp. All other media jumped on the bandwagon. The only way to give authenticity and life to rumor is by ensuring that it comes from several sources.

The deep recession in America and the painful layoffs has been the result of two wars and a third silent war -- Pakistan. One in eight Americans and one in four children has turned to food stamps.

Perhaps for those with a talent and willingness to be spin-masters, there is a bright future ahead in the public relations sector should we head for another war with Iran.

For the rest who would rather live with a conscience, perhaps a little memory exercise would salvage our future.

Yemen Natural resources:

Oil, gas,
fish, rock salt, gypsum, limestone, feldspar, natural zeolite, silica sand, clay, scoria, pumice, perlite, granite, marble, basalt, tuff; gold, silver, zinc, lead, nickel, copper, and titanium; fertile soil in the west. yemenat...menatglance.htm

Where there is Gas or Oil you will find the US and it's bombs.

US Attack Kills 120 In Yemen

Obama Ordered U.S. Military Strike on Suspected "Terrorists"


As many as 120 people were killed in the three raids, according to reports from Yemen, and opposition leaders said many of the dead were innocent civilians. Continue

U.S Kill 63 Civilians, 28 Children in Yemen Air Strikes

By Press TV

Yemen's Houthi fighters say scores of civilians, including many children, have been killed in US air-raids in the southeast of the war-stricken Arab country. The Shia fighters on Friday reported the deaths of 63 people, including some 28 children, in the southeastern province of Abyan. Continue

Obama ordered deadly blitz on Yemen: US media: US Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Barack Obama has signed the order for a recent military strike on Yemen in which scores of civilians, including children, have been killed, a report says.

'US aided' deadly Yemen raids: Residents of Abyan said that there was no al-Qaeda training camp in the area and that the raids had destroyed several homes. Abbas al-Assal, a local human rights activist who was at the scene, said 64 people were killed, including 23 children and 17 women.

Yemen Opposition Says Govt Attacks Killed Civilians: "In a dangerous precedent, ... the Sanaa regime committed a brutal massacre against our people," exiled southern leader Ali Salem al-Beidh said in a statement, calling for an investigation by the United Nations, and by Arab and Muslim countries.

Asian pipeline map.

Ones built and ones they are going to build. pipeline..._pipelines.html

Where there is Gas or Oil you will find the US and it's bombs.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

War Crime Case Against Tony Blair Now Rock-solid

Tony Blair

Neil Clark: A trial would be warmly welcomed by millions – so what happens next?

December 16, 2009 "The First Post"

Tony Blair's extraordinary admission on Sunday to the BBC's Fern Britton - that he would have gone to war to topple Saddam Hussein regardless of the issue of Iraq's alleged WMDs - is sure to give fresh impetus to moves to prosecute our former prime minister for war crimes.

The case against Blair, strong enough before this latest comment, now appears rock solid.

Going to war to change another country's regime is prohibited by international law, while the Nuremburg judgment of 1946 laid down that "to initiate a war of aggression", as Blair and Bush clearly did against Iraq, "is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole".

Blair's admission, that he "would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam]" regardless of the WMD issue, is also an acknowledgement that he lied to the House of Commons on February 25, 2003, when he told MPs: "I detest his [Saddam's] regime. But even now he [Saddam] can save it by complying with the UN's demand. Even now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully. I do not want war... But disarmament peacefully can only happen with Saddam's active co-operation."

The view that Blair is a war criminal is now mainstream: when comedian Sandi Toksvig, host of Radio Four's News Quiz, called him one on air, the BBC, according to the Mail on Sunday, did not receive a single complaint.

But while it is easy to label Blair a war criminal, what are the chances of him actually standing trial - and how could it be achieved? Various initiatives have already been launched.

The Blair War Crimes Foundation, set up by retired orthopaedic surgeon David Halpin, has organised an online petition, addressed to the President of the UN General Assembly and the UK Attorney General, which lists 14 specific complaints relating to the Iraq war, including "deceit and conspiracy for war, and providing false news to incite passions for war" and violations of the Geneva Conventions by the occupying powers.

The campaigning journalist George Monbiot, who attempted a citizen's arrest of the former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, for his role in the Iraq war, said at the Hay Literary festival in 2008 that he would put up the first £100 of a bounty payable to the first person to attempt a non-violent citizen's arrest of Blair.

Monbiot has also called for the setting up of national arrest committees in countries which, unlike Britain, have incorporated the 'Crime of Aggression' into their domestic law. These committees would exchange information with one another and make sure that Blair "would have no hiding place".

If Blair is to face an international trial, then the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague - to which Britain is a signatory - would be the likeliest forum. While the ICC has said that it will not conduct prosecutions for the Crime of Aggression until it has been defined by its own working group, the court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, told the Sunday Telegraph in 2007 that he would be willing to launch an inquiry into US/UK war crimes in Iraq. Charges could also be brought against Blair at the ICC for failing to prosecute the war in a "proportionate manner".

From Iraq itself, there are also moves to bring Blair to book. It has been reported that lawyers acting for Tariq Aziz, the former deputy leader of the country, now held in captivity, have written to Britain's top legal adviser asking permission to prosecute Blair for

Lawyers acting for Tariq Aziz have written to Britain's top legal adviser asking permission to prosecute Blair for war-crimes in the light of his latest comments.

Tariq Aziz

Whichever way it comes about, if Blair is forced to stand trial, there can be no underestimating the event's significance. Up to now, the only political leaders who have faced war crimes trials since World War Two are those who fell foul of the west - and in particular the United States of America. But the notion of international justice will never be taken seriously if western politicians are deemed to be exempt from the same rules that leaders in Africa and elsewhere are supposed to adhere to.

The prospect of Teflon Tony finally having to answer for his crimes in a court of law, would be warmly welcomed by millions of people throughout the world, not least all those who marched for peace through central London in February 2003, one month before the Iraq invasion.

There is widespread contempt for a man who has made millions while Iraqis die in their hundreds of thousands due to the havoc unleashed by the illegal invasion, and who, with breathtaking arrogance, seems to regard himself as above the rules of international law.

The next decade will tell us whether that is indeed the case.

The Impunity of Israel and its Allies Will Carry a Price

Outrage over Tzipi Livni's arrest warrant would be better directed to the suffering of Gaza and the risks of a new eruption

By Seumas Milne

December 18, 2009 "
The Guardian" -- When evidence of war crimes is produced, you might expect states that claim to defend the rule of law to want those crimes investigated and the perpetrators held to account. Not a bit of it.

The decision by a London judge to issue a warrant for the arrest of Israel's former foreign minister
Tzipi Livni over evidence of serious breaches of the laws of war in Gaza has sparked official outrage in Britain.

The court's behaviour was "insufferable", foreign secretary David Miliband declared. The Times called it "repugnant". Gordon Brown yesterday assured Livni that action would be taken to ensure no such thing ever happens again.

As it turned out, Livni had cancelled her visit and the warrant was withdrawn. But for the British government, it seems, it isn't the compendious evidence of war crimes during the Gaza bloodletting – including the killing of civilians waving white flags, the use of human shields and white phosphorus attacks on schools – that is insufferable. It's the attempt to use the principle of universal jurisdiction Britain claims to uphold to bring to book the politicians who ordered the onslaught.

Of course, it would make more sense if Israel itself held an independent investigation into its soldiers' conduct in the Gaza war. That was what the UN's Goldstone report called for, on both sides – failing which, other states should start their own investigations. Instead, Israel is demanding Britain change its laws without delay, and the British government is falling over itself to oblige.

No doubt both Britain and the US, with their own record of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, fear that if universal jurisdiction is applied to Israel it could be catching.

This was a principle that was apparently only intended to apply to countries that challenge western power or African states, not a "strategic partner" and "close friend", as Miliband described Israel this week.

But Israel's claim that it is being singled out doesn't stand up to scrutiny; on the contrary, it is trying to put itself beyond the reach of international law. Attempts to hold US or British leaders to account over the Iraq and Afghan wars have also been swatted away, but there have been official inquiries and convictions lower down the chain of command. In the case of this year's Gaza war, the only Israeli convicted has been a soldier for stealing a credit card.

Nor does the argument that peace negotiations will be undermined if some Israeli politicians are unable to travel abroad cut much ice. Government ministers have legal immunity, and are therefore unaffected. And a viable Middle East settlement no more depends on the travel arrangement of Israeli opposition figures than on those of Hamas leader Khalid Mish'al.

It does, however, depend on western states starting to apply common standards to both sides in the conflict. The conviction that no such move is in prospect is what has led supporters of the Palestinians' six decade-long struggle for justice to explore any and every way to fill the gap: hence last weekend's visit to the London courts.

It's not hard to see why they feel like that. A year on from the onslaught on Gaza – which Livni described as Israel "going wild" – nothing has changed. The rockets that were supposed to be the justification for Gaza's devastation have been virtually silent all year, as they were for much of the six months before the assault, policed by Hamas.

In fact, armed resistance throughout the occupied Palestinian territories has been minimal. So evidently that's not the block on achieving a just peace, as often claimed.

But the barbaric siege of the Gaza strip continues unabated, backed by the US, Britain and the European Union, leaving 70% of Gazans living on less than a dollar a day, without clean water or the means to rebuild the 21,000 homes, 280 schools and 16 hospitals partially or completely destroyed last December and January.

That might be thought repugnant and insufferable. But far from encouraging the easing of the blockade to reward the ceasefire, the US has prevailed on Egypt to build a new wall on its border with Gaza to prevent the tunnel-smuggling that keeps Gazans from utter destitution.

Meanwhile, on the occupied West Bank, illegal Israeli land seizures and settlement building are proceeding apace, especially in Jerusalem.

Barack Obama's peace initiative has already run into the sand. Having insisted on a complete freeze on settlements, his bluff was called by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the US is now trying to bamboozle the hapless Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas into swallowing Obama's failure.

At the same time, the US and EU are bankrolling, training and directing a Palestinian security apparatus which is systematically imprisoning without trial and torturing its political opponents, in collusion with Israel.

Several hundred Hamas activists have been arrested in the last fortnight alone. It is widely understood that no genuine peace settlement can stick without Palestinian unity, but by requiring a crackdown on Hamas under the guise of fighting "terror", the US and Europe are making reconciliation impossible.

If, as expected, Israel releases hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, the captured Israeli soldier, the dynamic of Palestinian politics is likely to shift, probably in Hamas's favour. Confidence in further negotiations delivering real progress is at rock bottom.

As one veteran Fatah leader and ostensible Abbas ally, Jibril Rajoub, told me: "If the Americans were serious, they would encourage national reconciliation. But they are not, they are making excuses."

If that continues, the Palestinians will have to "consider other options", Rajoub says, though he specifies he doesn't necessarily mean armed resistance. "But the occupation has to be made painful for the Israelis, they can't have occupation and security." That is far clearer for Hamas, which certainly won't maintain a ceasefire that is only answered with blockade and violent repression.

There is talk of another intifada if the present drift continues. As has been demonstrated this week, Israel is treated with impunity by its western allies, and neither is going to shift course unless the price gets significantly higher. There's no point in western handwringing when the next upheaval comes – or crying foul if it spills over beyond the Middle East.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Obama, Is Preparing for War in South America

Interview with Eva Golinger

By Mike Whitney

....On October 30th, the US formally entered into an agreement with the Colombian government to allow US access to seven military bases in Colombia and unlimited use of Colombian territory for military operations. The agreement itself is purported to be directed at counter-narcotics operations and counter-terrorism.

But a US Air Force document released earlier this year discussing the need for a stronger US military presence in Colombia revealed the true intentions behind the military agreement.

The document stated that the US military presence was necessary to combat the "constant threat from anti-US governments in the region". Clearly, that is a reference to Venezuela, and probably Bolivia, maybe Ecuador. It's no secret that Washington considers the Venezuelan government anti-US, though it's not true. Venezuela is anti-imperialist, but not anti-US.

The US Air Force document also stated that the Colombian bases would be used to engage in "full spectrum military operations" throughout South America, and even talked about surveillance, intelligence and reconnaisance missions, and improving the capacity of US forces to execute "expeditionary warfare" in Latin America.

Clearly, this is a threat to the peoples of Latin America and particularly those nations targeted, such as Venezuela.

Most people in the US don't know about this military agreement, but if they did, they should question why their government, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama, is preparing for war in South America.

And, in the midst of an economic crisis with millions of people in the US losing jobs and homes, why are millions of dollars being spent on military bases in Colombia?...

The Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas - Trade Agreement for the People, is a regional agreement created five years ago between Venezuela and Cuba, and now has 9 members: Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

ALBA is a trade agreement based on integration, cooperation and solidarity, contrary to US trade agreements which are based on competition and exploitation. It promotes a way of trading between nations that assures mutual benefits.

For example, Venezuela sells oil to Cuba and Cuba pays with services - doctors, educators and technological experts that help to improve Venezuela's industries. Venezuela sells oil to Nicaragua and Nicaragua pays with food products, agricultural technology and aide to build Venezuela's own agricultural industry, which long ago was abandoned by prior governments only interested in the rich oil industry.

ALBA seeks to not just provide economic benefits to its member nations, but also social and cultural advances. The idea is to find ways to help members develop and progress in all aspects of society. ALBA recently created a new currency, the SUCRE, which will be used as a form of exchange between member nations, eliminating the US dollar as the standard for trade....

Through two principal Department of State agencies, USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US government has channeled more than $50 million to opposition groups in Venezuela since 2002.

The USAID/NED budget to fund groups in Venezuela in 2010 is nearly $15 million, doubled from last year's $7 million. This is a state policy of Washington, which the Obama Administration plans to amp up.

They call it "democracy promotion", but it's really democracy subversion and destabilization.

Funding political groups favorable to Empire, equipping them with resources, strategizing to help formulate political platforms and campaigns - all geared towards regime change - is a new form of invasion, a silent invasion.

Through USAID and NED, and their "partner NGOs" and contractors, such as Freedom House, International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, Pan-American Development Foundation and Development Alternatives, Inc., hundreds of political groups, parties and programs are presently being funded in Venezuela to promote regime change against the Chávez government.

US taxpayer dollars are being squandered on these efforts to overthrow a democratically elected government that simply isn't convenient for Washington.

Remember, Venezuela has 24% of world oil reserves. That's a lot!....

Actually, the Chávez government has taken important steps to shelter Venezuela from the financial crisis. People here in Venezuela absolutely understand Wall Street's role in the crisis and know that the US capitalist-consumerist system is principally responsible for causing the financial crisis, but also the climate crisis that the world is facing....

The rise of Barack Obama neutralized a growing sentiment for profound change inside the US. Hopefully, the slowdown in US activism will only be temporary.

South of the border, there is tremendous change taking place.

New social, political and economic models are being built by popular grassroots movements in Venezuela, Bolivia and other Latin American nations that seek economic and social justice.

I believe strongly that models in process, like the Bolivarian Revolution, provide inspiration and hope to those in the US and around the world that alternatives to US capitalism do exist and can be successful.

The US has a rich history of revolution. There are many groups inside the US dedicated to building a better, more humanist system. Unity and a collective vision are essential aspects of building a strong movement capable of moving forward. Every nation has its moment in history. This is the time of Latin America.

But there is great hope that the people of the US will soon unite with their brothers and sisters south of the border to bring down Empire and help build a true world community based on social and economic justice for all.

Eva Golinger, winner of the International Award for Journalism in Mexico (2009), named “La Novia de Venezuela” by President Hugo Chávez, is a Venezuelan-American attorney from New York, living in Caracas, Venezuela since 2005 and author of the best-selling books, “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press), “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press), “The Empire’s Web: Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion”, “La Mirada del Imperio sobre el 4F: Los Documentos Desclasificados de Washington sobre la rebelión militar del 4 de febrero de 1992” and "La Agresión Permanente: USAID, NED y CIA".

Since 2003, Eva, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and CUNY Law School in New York, has been investigating, analyzing and writing about US intervention in Venezuela using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about the US Government’s efforts to destabilize progressive movements in Latin America. Her first book, The Chávez Code, has been translated and published in six languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian & Russian) and is presently being made into a feature film.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

War President.
War criminal.
Nothing but a Bush Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!
We said so from the beginning. . . now will you believe it?!!!

Obama Steals Bush’s Speechwriters

By Matthew Rothschild

If you closed your eyes during much of the President’s speech on Afghanistan Tuesday night and just listened to the words, you easily could have concluded that George W. Bush was still in the Oval Office. Continue

Obama Lied:

Taliban Did Not Refuse to Hand Over Bin Laden

By Ralph Lopez

Obama slipped past a real doozy Tuesday night when he said the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden. It just ain't so. They tried three times to open negotiations for this, but Bush refused each time. He wanted to bomb people so bad it hurt. Continue

How do you ask a Man to be the Last Man to Die for a President's Political Image?

By David Sirota

There are 68,000 U.S. troops and 42,000 from other countries in Afghanistan. The U.S. Army's recently revised counterinsurgency manual estimates that an all-out counterinsurgency campaign in a country with Afghanistan's population would require about 600,000 troops. Continue

The Audacity of Ethnic Cleansing

Obama's plan for Afghanistan

By Mike Whitney

The Bush administration never had any intention of liberating Afghanistan or establishing democracy. The real aim was to remove the politically-intractable Taliban and replace them with a puppet regime run by a former-CIA asset. The rest of Afghanistan would be parceled-off to the warlords who assisted in the invasion and who had agreed to do much of the United States dirty-work on the ground. Continue

Obama’s speech on Afghanistan: A compendium of lies:

In his December 1 speech at West Point announcing the deployment of 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama attempted to justify a major escalation of a deeply unpopular war on the basis of lies and distortions. That he had to resort to such falsifications reflects both the reactionary character of his policy and the fact that it is being imposed in violation of the popular will.

President Obama's Secret:

Only 100 al Qaeda Now in Afghanistan

One Thousand U.S. Soldiers and $300 Million for Every One al Qaeda Fighter


President Barack Obama's description Tuesday of the al Qaeda "cancer" in that country left out one key fact: U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country. Continue

“More occupation means less occupation.”

Obama's Af-Pak is as Whack as Bush's Iraq

By Glen Ford

Barack Obama’s oratorical skills have turned on him, revealing, as George Bush’s low-grade delivery never could, the perfect incoherence of the current American imperial project in South Asia. Continue

Suicides and Corporate Wars


General Peter Chiarelli, US Vice Chief of Staff, has revealed in his briefing to the Pentagon that "suicides in the army will escalate." Certainly, these incidents among the troops have increased because the soldiers see no point in laying down their lives in purposeless wars. Continue

Is President Obama’s Surge A Trap?

By Cynthia McKinney

U.S. policy is not only guided by pipeline politics. There is also the consideration of chessboard geo-positioning necessary to contain Russia, China, and ensure U.S. empire—for those inclined to traditional Cold Warrior “containment” thinking. Continue

Obama's War

By Jim Hightower

Obama has been taken over by the military industrial hawks and national security theorists who play war games with other people's lives and money. Continue

Why Obama’s Surge in Afghanistan?

By Shamus Cooke

....The hope that Obama’s election would drastically change U.S. foreign policy has been destroyed. The effects of his troop surge will change the minds of millions of Americans, who, until this point, were giving Obama the benefit of the doubt....

Obama is compelled to tell the really big lie because the truth is too damning. If he remotely approached the real motives behind the war, the public would be pushed into total defiance — Obama’s new $660 billion military budget for 2010 would have caused mass demonstrations.

In reality, the war in Afghanistan was a convenient way for U.S. corporations — who dominate U.S. politics — to get a firmer hold in the resource-rich Middle East...

Who really benefits from war in the Middle East? So far, U.S. weapons manufacturers have (Boeing, etc.), U.S. oil companies (Exxon, etc.), and the big banks that help move the spoils around (Citigroup, etc.) who also dominate the finances of the conquered country. Corporations that deal with “reconstruction” contracts love war (Halliburton, etc.), while also the multitude of “private contractors” that specialize in everything from cooking (Halliburton again) to mercenary fighting (Blackwater, etc.).

The many U.S. corporations that export abroad also benefit from the war, since a dominated country offers them a monopoly market to sell their goods in, or the ability to set up shop where none existed before. It is these collective interests that are driving Obama’s foreign policy; they would rather see the U.S. and Afghani people bled dry than allow a foreign competitor — China, Russia, etc. — to dominate Afghanistan’s resources and markets.

The U.S. is certainly not fighting terrorists in Afghanistan — the Al Qaeda bogey men and the “evil genius” Osama Bin Laden are not directing military operations from a cave. The vast majority of people fighting U.S. troops are not “Islamic extremists” (another catchphrase), but average citizens enraged by foreign troops rummaging around in their homes, patting them down at check points, indiscriminately detaining them at torture centers (U.S. Bagram Air base), and killing their family members.

Yes, many Afghanis are deeply religious, but the presence of U.S. troops is the motor force behind their “radicalism,” i.e. resistance to military occupation. Islam is not inherently violent, but a military occupation unquestionably is.

Those wishing to end these wars must end their reliance on the corporate-bought two-party system, and begin organizing independently.

The anti-war movement was strong while Bush was President, based not only on mass outrage, but the cynical maneuvering of those sitting atop of Democratic Party front groups like MoveOn and others — who helped organize and fund anti-war (Bush) demonstrations.

When Obama became President, the leaders of these groups played a thoroughly destructive role in the anti-war movement, shifting away from the effective measures used against Bush, or abandoning the struggle altogether, taking their funding with them. This disruption in organization, plus the mass-effect of the Obama illusion, had a temporary derailing effect on organizing.

But Obama’s troop surge may very well breathe new life into the deflated movement. Demonstrations are being organized for the spring, and there is plenty of time to join local groups/coalitions to help with the planning.

Mass demonstrations are a very effective tool, since they educate about the undemocratic nature of the state, while showing demonstration participants that there is power in collective action.

More importantly, large marches prove to U.S. soldiers that they will have public support if they collectively choose to publicly oppose the war (by marching in a demonstration), or individually opt not to fight in these illegal wars.

The Vietnam War was ended largely because so many soldiers opposed the war, demonstrated against it, or refused to fight; a courage they found by the massive public support felt at home.

Mass demonstrations do not organize themselves. It will take ordinary people working together to make it happen, while collectively demanding:




Some Simple Questions After Obama's Afghanistan War Speech

By David Sirota

Would you be OK sending yourself or a loved one over to face combat and potentially death for the mission Obama articulated in Afghanistan?

If not, how could you support sending other people?