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Reality Check: The Profound Hypocrisy of
President Obama’s Speech on the Middle East

By Brian Becker and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

President Obama took to the airwaves today to discuss the revolts and conflicts spreading throughout the Middle East. The U.S. dominance over this strategic and oil-rich region has been the pivot of U.S. foreign policy for decades. Utilizing a system of proxy and client regimes, in addition to its own vast military forces in the region, the United States has supported a network of brutal dictatorships and the Israeli regime for decades.

Now that system of imperial control has been shaken by the popular risings that started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt and elsewhere, the Obama administration spoke today at the U.S. State Department as part of an effort to reassert U.S. leadership over the swiftly changing region.

Using the rhetoric of democracy and freedom to mask the responsibility of U.S. imperialism in the enduring oppression and suffering of the peoples of the Middle East, President Obama’s speech was a demonstration of profound hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy: President Obama said that the “greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people.”

Reality: The U.S. strategy is based on control of the Middle East’s most coveted resource: two-thirds of the world's known oil supply. The U.S. government has given billions of dollars and armed the most brutal dictatorships in the Middle East for decades, a practice fully continued by the Obama administration. The U.S. government never cut funds to the Mubarak dictatorship even while the regime murdered more than 850 peaceful protestors. More than 5,000 civilians in Egypt have been convicted and jailed since Jan. 25 following trials conducted by the Egyptian military. The United States continues to provide massive funding to Egypt's military in spite of the ongoing repression against the people.

Hypocrisy: President Obama stated, “it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy.”

Reality: The only governments in the Middle East that have been targeted for invasion, economic sanctions and overthrow by the U.S. government are those that pursue policies that are independent of U.S. economic, political and military control. The U.S. never imposed economic sanctions on the Mubarak dictatorship and only came out publicly against Mubarak when the tide of revolution had become irresistible. Likewise, the U.S. supports the brutal Saudi monarchy.

Hypocrisy: President Obama championed for the people of the Middle East the “basic rights to speak your mind and access information,” stating, “the truth cannot be hidden; and the legitimacy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens.”

Reality: The Obama administration has gone out of its way to punish those who would inform the public by shedding light on the activities of the U.S. government. Bradley Manning remains jailed with the threat of life in prison, having been held in brutal conditions that caused the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture to seek an investigation. The Justice Department is working at full speed to find a way to prosecute Julian Assange of Wikileaks for disclosing government documents to the public, many of which expose the U.S. role in the Middle East. The Obama administration has undertaken a major campaign more aggressive than any prior administration to criminally prosecute whistleblowers who expose the truth of illegal government actions.

Hypocrisy: President Obama stated: “The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region.”

Reality: The United States under Obama is involved in the invasion, occupation, and bombings of four predominantly Muslim countries simultaneously: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Pakistan. Moreover, the head of state who has been the single biggest violator of the basic human rights of Arab people and the perpetuator of violence in the region is George W. Bush, whose illegal invasion of Iraq cost the lives of more than one million people. The March 19, 2003, invasion was a war of aggression against a country that did not pose any threat to the United States or the people of the United States. The invasion and occupation of Iraq led to the deaths of more Arab people than have been killed by all the dictatorships in the region combined. President Obama today called Osama Bin Laden a mass murderer. September 11, 2001, was indeed a great crime that took the lives of thousands of innocent working people, but measured in order of the magnitude of victims killed, Bush’s crime of mass murder in Iraq is unmatched. George W. Bush has not been arrested for the mass killings of Iraqi people but is treated honorifically by the Obama administration.

Hypocrisy: In an effort to appease Arab public opinion, President Obama's speech made it appear as if the United States was insisting that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders. Obama stated, “precisely because of our friendship, it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.”

Reality: Israel’s war against the Palestinian people would be impossible without U.S. support, which continues unabated. The single biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid is the state of Israel, which uses the $3 billion it receives annually to lay siege to the people of Gaza, continue the illegal occupation of the West Bank and prevent the return of the families of the 750,000 Palestinians who were evicted from their homes and villages in historic Palestine in 1948. The United Nations in various resolutions has condemned the 1967 Israeli invasion and occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and Syria’s Golan Heights. Far from imposing economic sanctions, President Obama has promised Israel a minimum of $30 billion in military aid over the next 10 years, thus functioning as a partner in the occupation. Obama’s speech also made it clear that the United States would support Israel retaining vast swaths of the West Bank. This is what he meant by referring to “land swaps.” In the coming days, Obama will have private meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu and will be a featured speaker at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. He will undoubtedly reinforce the strong U.S.-Israeli military ties and U.S. financial support.

Hypocrisy: President Obama stated: “We support a set of universal rights. Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to choose your own leaders – whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; Sanaa or Tehran…. [W]e will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men.”

Reality: While the U.S. government – along with Britain and France (the former colonizers of the Middle East and Africa) – are bombing Libya with the latest high-tech bombs and missiles in the name of “protecting civilians” and “promoting democracy,” the Obama administration offered the most tepid pro-forma criticism of the Bahrain monarchy as it and the Saudi monarchy kill and imprison peaceful protestors in Bahrain. No sanctions have even been hinted at for Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. The Saudi monarchy is the ultimate negation of democracy, depriving women of all rights, depriving workers of the right to form unions and depriving all sectors of the population of any right to free speech, assembly or press. There has never been an election in Saudi Arabia. But the Saudi monarchy functions as a client of the U.S. government and, as such, is not targeted for economic sanctions or “regime change” as are the governments of Syria and Libya. The Bahrain monarchy likewise functions as a U.S. client and allows the U.S. Fifth Fleet to use Bahrain as its home port, which is why he referred to the monarchy as “a long-standing partner.”

Hypocrisy: President Obama denounced the Iranian government, stating that “we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights,” and condemned what he called Iran’s “illicit nuclear program.”

Reality: He failed to mention that it was the CIA along with its British counterpart that staged the overthrow of Iran’s democratic government in 1953 and reinstated the Shah’s monarchy. They overthrew Iran’s democracy when Iran nationalized its own oil from AIOC/British Petroleum. The U.S. only broke relations with the Iranian government when the Shah’s dictatorship was overthrown by a populist national revolution. Regarding nuclear weapons, the Israeli government has refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and has accumulated 200 “illicit” nuclear weapons. Of course, the United States has thousands of nuclear weapons and remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons, destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Hypocrisy: President Obama told the world that the United States shares the goals of the Arab revolution, that “repression will fail, that tyrants will fall, and that every man and woman is endowed with certain inalienable rights.”

Reality: The U.S. government, whether it is led by Democrats or Republicans, views the oil-rich Middle East through the lens of empire. Operating through a network of proxy regimes including Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, the Shah of Iran until his overthrow in 1979, and other regimes in the region – and supplemented by tens of thousands of U.S. troops positioned in U.S. bases throughout the region and on aircraft carriers – the United States aims to dominate and control a region that possesses two-thirds of the world’s known oil supply. It has and continues to finance a network of brutal client dictatorships, and it has funded the Israeli war machine and staged repeated invasions, bombing campaigns, and occupations against the people of the region.

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Welcome to the Violent World of Mr. Hopey Changey

By John Pilger

May 26, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- --

When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed … murdered … I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt”. Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged”.

The language of colonialism may have been modified; the spirit and the hypocrisy are unchanged.

A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an Eden-style panic. The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous, though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the revolution.

The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and reclaim control.

Libya is the immediate opportunity. The Nato attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus “no fly zone” to “protect civilians”, is strikingly similar to the final destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. There was no UN cover for the bombing of Serbia and the “rescue” of Kosovo, yet the propaganda echoes today.

Like Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi is a “new Hitler”, plotting “genocide” against his people. There is no evidence of this, as there was no genocide in Kosovo.

In Libya there is a tribal civil war; and the armed uprising against Gaddafi has long been appropriated by the Americans, French and British, their planes attacking residential Tripoli with uranium-tipped missiles and the submarine HMS Triumph firing Tomahawk missiles, a repeat of the “shock and awe” in Iraq that left thousands of civilians dead and maimed. As in Iraq, the victims, which include countless incinerated Libyan army conscripts, are media unpeople.

In the “rebel” east, the terrorising and killing of black African immigrants is not news.

On 22 May, a rare piece in the Washington Post described the repression, lawlessness and death squads in the “liberated zones” just as visiting EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, declared she had found only “great aspirations” and “leadership qualities”. In demonstrating these qualities, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the “rebel leader” and Gaddafi’s justice minister until February, pledged, “Our friends … will have the best opportunity in future contracts with Libya.”

The east holds most of Libya’s oil, the greatest reserves in Africa.

In March the rebels, with expert foreign guidance, “transferred” to Benghazi the Libyan Central Bank, a wholly owned state institution. This is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the US and the EU “froze” almost US$100 billion in Libyan funds, “the largest sum ever blocked”, according to official statements. It is the biggest bank robbery in history.

The French elite are enthusiastic robbers and bombers.

Nicholas Sarkozy’s imperial design is for a French-dominated Mediterranean Union (UM), which would allow France to “return” to its former colonies in North Africa and profit from privileged investment and cheap labour. Gaddafi described the Sarkozy plan as “an insult” that was “taking us for fools”. The Merkel government in Berlin agreed, fearing its old foe would diminish Germany in the EU, and abstained in the Security Council vote on Libya.

Like the attack on Yugoslavia and the charade of Milosevic’s trial, the International Criminal Court is being used by the US, France and Britain to prosecute Gaddafi while his repeated offers of a ceasefire are ignored.

Gaddafi is a Bad Arab. David Cameron’s government and its verbose top general want to eliminate this Bad Arab, like the Obama administration [allegedly] killed a famously Bad Arab in Pakistan recently. The crown prince of Bahrain, on the other hand, is a Good Arab. On 19 May, he was warmly welcomed to Britain by Cameron with a photo-call on the steps of 10 Downing Street.

In March, the same crown prince slaughtered unarmed protestors and allowed Saudi forces to crush his country’s democracy movement. The Obama administration has rewarded Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with a $US60 billion arms deal, the biggest in US history. The Saudis have the most oil. They are the Best Arabs.

The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military “intervention” in the Middle East since 1945.

Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil.

Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.

And as “Mr. Hopey Changey” (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones – a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama.

For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalising of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W. Bush.

The Palestinians understand all this.

As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr. Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue.

What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of “America’s interests [that] are essential to them”. He insults us all.


Syria – What’s Behind Protests?

By Joyce Chediac
Both the U.S. and the Economic Union have imposed sanctions on Syrian government officials. Why?

May 25, 2011 "IAC" -- People in the U.S. and around the world have broad sympathy for the popular demonstrations taking place in the Middle East. All the uprisings, however, are not necessarily the same.

Protests against Western client regimes, such as those in Egypt and Tunisia that have so severely squeezed the workers, have the potential to liberate the people from crushing poverty and repression. However, the situations in Libya and Syria are somewhat different.

These governments, though certainly flawed, have been targets of U.S. destabilization efforts for decades because they have taken positions independent from Washington. The Western powers, led by the U.S., are trying to take advantage of the wave of protests in the region to intervene in Libya and Syria in order to make these countries captives of Western colonialism and reduce the workers there to day laborers for imperialism.

Contrast this to Bahrain and Yemen, both ruled by U.S. client regimes long alienated from the workers who live and work there. These regimes have fired upon, arrested and tortured demonstrators. Yet neither country has been declared a no-fly zone, and neither government has been the object of sanctions. In Libya, however, the West’s “humanitarian intervention” to “protect civilians” has meant six weeks of bombing that has destroyed much of the country’s civilian infrastructure.

Now the same Western powers bombing Libya are threatening Syria, the sole remaining independent secular state in the Arab world. Both the U.S. and the Economic Union have imposed sanctions on Syrian government officials. Why?

For one thing, Washington is trying to break up the strategic progressive alliance between Syria and Iran. It is also trying to stop the crucial support Syria gives to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas on the West Bank. To do this, U.S. finance capital seeks to destabilize Syria, destroy its sovereignty and bring it back into the imperialist orbit.

Who is protesting in Syria?

Demonstrations are taking place against the Bashir Assad government in Syria, which has responded with force, at least on some occasions. But the actual character of these demonstrations remains unclear. To what extent are they true popular outpourings? What has been the governing Syrian Socialist Arab Baath Party’s actual response?

Very clear is the fact that U.S. imperialism is trying to use these protests to its own advantage. This has nothing to do with any demands raised by Syrian workers, who are suffering from an austerity plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund in 2006. Michel Chossudovsky wrote on May 3 that among the protests is “an organized insurrection composed of armed gangs” that entered the Syrian town of Dara’a from Jordan. ( Dara’a is where the protests began.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government-run media is not saying much, while the Western corporate media as well as Al Jazeera have been accused of exaggerating both the protests and the Syrian government repression. Russia Today on April 30 quotes a travel agent living in Syria who says pro-Assad rallies were called “anti-Assad” by Al Jazeera; anti-government protests reported by Al Jazeera and Reuters did not take place; and protest footage from other countries has been attributed to Syria.

While front-page articles give the impression that most of Syria has taken to the streets against Assad, most establishment Middle East pundits admit that the Syrian government, at this point, is supported by most Syrians.

Marxist political perspective needed

World finance capital and its media mouthpieces appear to be “setting up” the Syrian government. But imperialism is not all-powerful. It can be fought and defeated. What could the Syrian government and people have done, and still do, to avoid leaving an opening for the U.S. to intervene? What can close this opening now? Marxism provides the tools to answer these questions.

The Marxist term for the kind of government that exists in Syria is “bourgeois nationalist.” This is also true of Libya, Iran and Iraq before the U.S. invasion. They are nationalist because they seek to develop their countries free from imperialist domination. They are bourgeois because they are ruled by an exploiting class of capitalists.

Marxists support these governments against imperialism because they are manifestations of self-determination of the oppressed. This does not mean that Marxists support every policy of these governments.

Marxists also recognize that these regimes have a dual character. Bourgeois nationalists seek to push out the imperialists so they can better exploit their workers. But they have a common interest with the workers when imperialism threatens the country’s sovereignty. These governments cannot consistently fight imperialism, however; only the working class can.

On the front line with Israel

How has this worked in Syria?

Syria has been ruled since 1966 by a secular government dominated by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. The current head of state is Bashir Assad. Syria is a “front-line state,” having a border with Israel. This fact affects every aspect of Syria’s history and has made it an object of constant imperialist and Zionist pressure, which links the fate of the Syrian people to the Palestinian struggle.

Syria’s nationalization of a U.S. oil pipeline precipitated the 1967 war, when Israel attacked and occupied Syria’s Golan Heights, the Palestinian West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The Golan Heights has since been annexed by Israel.

While Syria plays a regionally progressive role right now, this was not always the case. In 1976 the Syrian government intervened on the side of Lebanon’s fascists, who were armed by Israel, in Lebanon’s civil war against a revolutionary Palestinian-Lebanese alliance. The Syrian capitalists feared that a revolutionary Lebanon might lead to their overthrow by Syrian workers.

Relentless pressure from the U.S. and Israel, however, and the refusal to return the Golan Heights have turned Syria’s rulers back toward an anti-imperialist stance. The role they play today as an ally of Iran, of Hezbollah in Lebanon and of Hamas in Gaza is crucial to holding back U.S. and Israeli aggression in the region.

Capitalist downturn destabilizes independent states

Like other bourgeois nationalist governments, Syria has not broken with the capitalist world market, nor does it have the perspective to do so. Instead, it seeks a better deal in this market, which is completely dominated by Western banks. During economic downturns, nationalist governments like in Syria are forced by Wall Street to make economic concessions that attack the workers and stimulate the growth of a pro-imperialist elite, the “comprador bourgeoisie.” This undermines the government’s independence from imperialism while isolating it from the workers.

In 2006 Syria adopted an IMF plan calling for austerity measures, a wage freeze, opening the economy to foreign banks, and privatizing government-run industries. For working people this has meant unemployment, inflation and deteriorating social conditions. The imperialists know this.

“The Syrian state once brought electricity to every town, but ... can no longer afford the social contract of taking care of people’s needs,” wrote the New York Times on April 30.

“Critics of the regime say economic liberalization has benefited a group of élite businessmen, such as Rami Makhlouf, Mr. Assad’s maternal first cousin who controls a significant amount of the economy, including SyriaTel, the country’s mobile network operator.” (Financial Times, April 26) According to the New York Times report, Makhlouf, a focus of dissent, has become a symbol of “crony capitalism, making the poor poorer and the connected rich fantastically wealthy.”

The Syrian government could protect itself from imperialist destabilization by reversing this economic attack on the workers, whose support constitutes Syria’s best strength. Measures could include reversing the liberalization of the economy by barring the penetration of foreign capital; reinstating state ownership of electricity, communications and other key industries; prioritizing food production; and restoring subsidies. This would win back those elements of the population who are protesting, restore their faith in the government, and make sure there is no fertile soil for imperialist destabilization.

At the same time, workers and progressives here must oppose U.S. intervention in Syria in every way possible. For the imperialists to regain total control would be the worst thing for all the oppressed people in the Middle East and for the working class and oppressed people here at home as well.

Copyright International Action Center



Inside Job

Video - Full Movie

'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. The film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.


The IMF Versus the Arab Spring

By Austin Mackell

The IMF is depicted as the rich uncle saving wayward children, but proposed loans for Egypt and Tunisia could be devastating. Continue


"What Israel is Doing is not in the Best Interest of Judaism"

By Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! Interviews CodePink Activist Who Disrupted Israeli PM Speech to Congress:

Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist of Israeli descent with the peace group CodePink, disrupted Netanyahu’s speech. Standing in the congressional gallery, she yelled, “No more occupation! Stop Israel war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupation is indefensible!” As she screamed, members in the audience tackled her to the ground, and undercover security forces later dragged her outside.

She was taken to George Washington University Hospital where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. At the hospital, police arrested Abileah and charged her with disorderly conduct for disrupting Congress. Her protest came as part a week-long series of actions organized by CodePink called Move Over AIPAC. We speak to Abileah about why she used nonviolent civil disobedience to disrupt Netanayahu’s speech.



Obama Protests at Buckingham Palace


Good news for the people of Gaza: Egypt to open Rafah crossing permanently: Egypt's decision Wednesday to end its blockade of Gaza by opening the only crossing to the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory this weekend could ease the isolation of 1.4 million Palestinians there. It also puts the new Egyptian regime at odds with Israel, which insists on careful monitoring of people and goods entering Gaza for security reasons.

UN: Israel should end eviction of Palestinians from their homes: Israel should end the forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes in the occupied Palestinian territories, the UN humanitarian emergency coordinator said Tuesday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How Many SEALs Died?

By Paul Craig Roberts

As trends forecaster Gerald Celente and I have warned, the warmongers in Washington are driving the world toward World War III. Once a country is captured by its military/security complex, the demand for profit drives the country deeper into war.

May 21, 2011 "Information Clearing House" --

In a sensational and explosive TV report, the Pakistani News Agency has provided a live interview with an eye witness to the US attack on the alleged compound of Osama bin Laden.

The eye witness, Mohammad Bashir, describes the event as it unfolded. Of the three helicopters, "there was only one that landed the men and came back to pick them up, but as he [the helicopter] was picking them up, it blew away and caught fire." The witness says that there were no survivors, just dead bodies and pieces of bodies everywhere. "We saw the helicopter burning, we saw the dead bodies, then everything was removed and now there is nothing."

I always wondered how a helicopter could crash, as the White House reported, without at least producing injuries. Yet, in the original White House story, the SEALs not only survived a 40-minute firefight with al Qaeda, "the most highly trained, most dangerous, most vicious killers on the planet," without a scratch, but also survived a helicopter crash without a scratch.

The Pakistani news report is available on You Tube. The Internet site, Veterans Today, posted a translation along with a video of the interview. And, Information Clearing House made it available on May 17.

If the interview is not a hoax and the translation is correct, we now know the answer to the unasked question: Why was there no White House ceremony with President Obama pinning medals all over the heroic SEALs who tracked down and executed Public Enemy Number One?

The notion that Obama had to keep the SEALs' identity secret in order to protect the SEALs from al Qaeda detracts from the heroic tough-guy image of the SEALs, and it strains credulity that Obama's political handlers would not have milked the occasion for all it is worth.

Other than on the Veterans Today and ICH Internet sites, I have not seen any mention of the Pakistani news story. If the White House press corps is aware of the report, no one has asked President Obama or his press spokesperson about it. Helen Thomas was the last American reporter sufficiently brave to ask such a question, and she was exterminated by the Israel Lobby.

In America we have reached the point where anyone who tells the truth is dismissed as a "conspiracy theorist" and marginalized.

Recently, a professor of nano-chemistry from the University of Copenhagen made a lecture tour of major Canadian universities explaining the research, conducted by himself and a team of physicists and engineers, that resulted in finding small particles of unreacted nano-thermite in dust samples from the wreckage of the World Trade Center towers in addition to other evidence that the professor and the research team regard as conclusive scientific proof that the towers were brought down by controlled demolition.

No American university dared to invite him, and as far as I know no mention of the explosive research report has ever appeared in the American press.

I find it astonishing that 1,500 architects and engineers, who actually know something about buildings, their construction, their strength and weaknesses, and who have repeatedly requested a real investigation of the destruction of the three WTC buildings, are regarded as conspiracy kooks by people who know nothing whatsoever about architecture or engineering or buildings.

The same goes for the large number of pilots who question the flight maneuvers carried out during the attacks, and the surviving firemen and "first responders" who report both hearing and personally experiencing explosions in the towers, some of which occurred in sub-basements.

A large number of high-ranking political figures abroad don't believe a word of the official 9/11 story.

For example, the former president of Italy and dean of the Italian Senate, told Italy's oldest newspaper, Corriere delia Sera, that the intelligence services of Europe "know well that the disastrous [9/11] attack has been planned and realized by the American CIA and the [Israeli] Mossad . . . in order to put under accusation the Arabic Countries and in order to induce the western powers to take part in [the invasions].

Even people who report that there are dissenting views, as I have done, are branded conspiracy theorists and banned from the media. This extends into the Internet in addition to newspapers and TV. Not long ago a reporter for the Internet site, The Huffington Post, discovered that Pat Buchanan and I are critics of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions. He was fascinated that there were some Reagan administration officials who dissented from the Republican Party's war position and asked to interview me.

After he posted the interview on The Huffington Post, someone told him that I was not sound on 9/11. In a panic the reporter contacted me, demanding to know if I disbelieved the official 9/11 story. I replied that being neither architect, engineer, physicist, chemist, pilot, nor firefighter, I had little to contribute to understanding the event, but that I had reported that various experts had raised questions.

The reporter was terrified that he might somehow have given a 9/11 skeptic credibility and be fired for interviewing me about my war views for The Huffington Post. He quickly added at the beginning and, if memory serves, ending of the posted interview words to the effect that my lack of soundness on 9/11 meant that my views on the wars could be disregarded. If only he had known that I was unsure about the official 9/11 story, there would have been no interview.

One doesn't have to be a scientist, architect, engineer, pilot or firefighter to notice astonishing anomalies in the 9/11 story.

Assume that the official story is correct and that a band of terrorists outwitted not only the CIA and FBI, but also all 16 US intelligence agencies and those of our NATO allies and Israel's notorious Mossad, along with the National Security Council, NORAD, air traffic control and airport security four times in one hour on the same morning. Accept that this group of terrorists pulled off a feat worthy of a James Bond movie and delivered a humiliating blow to the world's only superpower.

If something like this really happened, would not the president, the Congress, and the media be demanding to know how such an improbable thing could have happened? Investigation and accountability would be the order of the day. Yet President Bush and Vice President Cheney resisted the pleas and demands for an investigation from the 9/11 families for one year, or was it two, before finally appointing a non-expert committee of politicians to listen to whatever the government chose to tell them. One of the politicians resigned from the commission on the grounds that "the fix is in."

Even the two chairmen and the chief legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission wrote books in which they stated that they believe that members of the military and other parts of the government lied to the commission and that the commission considered referring the matter for investigation and prosecution.

Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission, said: "FAA and NORAD officials advanced an account of 9/11 that was untrue . . . We, to this day don't know why NORAD told us what they told us . . . It was just so far from the truth."

Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton said: "We had a very short time frame . . . we did not have enough money . . . We had a lot of people strongly opposed to what we did. We had a lot of trouble getting access to documents and to people. . . . So there were all kinds of reasons we thought we were set up to fail."

As far as I know, not a single member of the government or the media made an issue of why the military would lie to the commission. This is another anomaly for which we have no explanation.

The greatest puzzle is the conclusion drawn by a national audience from watching on their TV screens the collapse of the WTC towers. Most seem satisfied that the towers fell down as a result of structural damage inflicted by the airliners and from limited, low-temperature fires.

Yet what the images show is not buildings falling down, but buildings blowing up. Buildings that are destroyed by fires and structural damage do not disintegrate in 10 seconds or less into fine dust with massive steel beams sliced at each floor level by high temperatures that building fires cannot attain. It has never happened, and it never will.

Conduct an experiment. Free your mind of the programmed explanation of the towers' destruction and try to discern what your eyes are telling you as you watch the videos of the towers that are available online. Is that the way buildings fall down from damage, or is that the way buildings are brought down by explosives? Little doubt, many Americans prefer the official story to the implications that follow from concluding that the official story is untrue.

If reports are correct, the US government has gone into the business of managing the public's perceptions of news and events.

Apparently, the Pentagon has implemented Perception Management Psychological Operations. There are also reports that the State Department and other government agencies use Facebook and Twitter to stir up problems for the Syrian, Iranian, Russian, Chinese, and Venezuela governments in efforts to unseat governments not controlled by Washington. In addition, there are reports that both governments and private organizations employ "trolls" to surf the Internet and to attempt to discredit in blogs and comment sections reports and writers who are out of step with their interests. I believe I have encountered trolls myself.

In addition to managing our perceptions, much is simply never reported. On May 19, 2011, the 14-decade-old British newspaper, The Statesman, reported that the Press Trust of India has reported that the Chinese government has warned Washington "in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China," and advised the US government "to respect Pakistan's sovereignty."

As trends forecaster Gerald Celente and I have warned, the warmongers in Washington are driving the world toward World War III. Once a country is captured by its military/security complex, the demand for profit drives the country deeper into war. Perhaps this news report from India is a hoax, or perhaps the never-diligent mainstream media will catch up with the news tomorrow, but so far this extraordinary warning from China has not been reported in the US media. [I had it posted on OEN.]

The mainstream media and a significant portion of the Internet are content for our perceptions to be managed by psy-ops and by non-reporting. This is why I wrote not long ago that today Americans are living in George Orwell's 1984.

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Osama bin Laden's Death: There Is Much More To Say

By Noam Chomsky

We are left with two choices: either Bush and associates are guilty of the "supreme international crime" including all the evils that follow, crimes that go vastly beyond anything attributed to bin Laden; or else we declare that the Nuremberg proceedings were a farce and that the allies were guilty of judicial murder. Continue

Bomb Everything in Libya
Pirates of the Mediterranean

By William Bowles

The outrageous call by Gen. Sir Richard Davis the other day to bomb everything in Libya illustrates what lurks beneath the veneer of civilization. Continue

Details Emerge of America's Secret Oil War with Russia

By Adam Clark Estes

Officials have downplayed the idea of calling the Nato allies' quiet conflict with Russia and others over oil a "new cold war," Continue

Bin Laden Death Script & the Needed Trigger for Next Step-Pakistan

By Sibel Edmonds

I decided to go ahead and write a fairly quick commentary on why the question of ‘why and why now’ keeps pointing to Pakistan as the next probable occupation target for our never-dying neocon objective-makers. Continue

Where Are the Christian Churches When We Need Them Most?

By Mark R. Crovelli

The Christian churches must do their best to stop Christians from killing and robbing other people. One shudders to think that the Christian Churches even need to be reminded of something as fundamental as this. Continue

The Illegal War in Libya

By Glenn Greenwald

That Congress acquiesces simply means -- like Obama's protection of Bush crimes -- that the President will get away with this lawbreaking. Continue

Imperialism: Bankers, Drug Wars and Genocide

By James Petras

While the Pentagon arms the Mexican government and the US Drug Enforcement Agency enforces the “military solution”, the biggest US banks receive, launder and transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to the drug lords’ accounts, who then buy modern arms, pay private armies of assassins and corrupt untold numbers of political and law enforcement officials on both sides of the border. Continue

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Who's Been Brainwashed?

Gaddafi - A Libyan Hero

By Philip Pank in Tripoli

Muammar Gaddafi has announced plans to dismantle the Government, hand the riches from Africa's biggest oil reserves to the people and nationalise foreign oil operations that have recently been allowed back into the country. The announcement has left diplomats and the 40 overseas oil companies operating in the country on edge.

Why the West Is Attacking Gaddafi

By Michael S. Rozeff

The basic reason is simple. Gaddafi confronts their power. He confronts the status quo of the Empire. He demands greater power for Africa and the African Union. He demands greater power for smaller countries in the United Nations.

May 12, 2011 "Lew Rockwell" --

Outside powers in the West stirred up and blessed the rebellion against Gaddafi. Through NATO and the UN, they are now aiding these same rebels.

They want to get rid of Gaddafi. They want him removed from power. This article explains why they want this.

The basic reason is simple. Gaddafi confronts their power. He confronts the status quo of the Empire. He demands greater power for Africa and the African Union. He demands greater power for smaller countries in the United Nations. Gaddafi calls for investigations of past wars. He is calling for a new way forward that reduces the powers of any one or a few countries to dominate the world.

For the sake of appearances, the Western allies are fighting the war in Libya within self-chosen limits. They need to maintain the facade of a legitimate and neutral NATO that is acting with UN approval. These organizations are under their control. They calculate that they can get rid of Gaddafi within those limits, while still not appearing to be the aggressors against him that they are.

Gaddafi’s relations with the West have always been rocky and filled with mutual distrust. They have followed many twists and turns...

George Bush and Dick Cheney brand Gaddafi as a terrorist and the West accepts this as gospel, but when they attack Iraq and kill far more people than Gaddafi has, the West mostly approves or looks the other way. Gaddafi is criticized for overseas assassinations, but Obama is lauded for his...

Why then has the West now done an about face after the period of good relations? Why have Gaddafi’s worst fears come to pass after a rather brief period of friendship?

After Gaddafi’s most friendly embrace and adoption of Obama as his African son, why has Obama turned against Gaddafi?

It is not because Gaddafi met rebellion with force. It is not because the West has humanitarian concerns. The West has done nothing against the force used by Saudi Arabia in Bahrain and the force being used by the government in Syria against Syrians in rebellion.

It is not because of a concern for democracy. In fact, Gaddafi proposed a radical form of social democracy that the Libyan government rejected. He proposed to nationalize and distribute oil revenues directly to Libyans. This placed Gaddafi at odds with members of his own state bureaucracy and with the Libyan National Oil Company. This friction between Gaddafi and the government may be one of the factors that brought about a civil war.

There are two reasons why the West is now trying to uproot Gaddafi. The first is oil contracts...

...This public threat to nationalize may have been a bargaining ploy, but combined with the renegotiated contracts, it was bound to cause the oil companies and their government friends to become somewhat uneasy about what Gaddafi’s next moves would be. Furthermore, Gaddafi had another bargaining chip, which was the prospect of utilizing Russian, Chinese and Indian oil companies...

Libyan oil has to be viewed in the broader context of African oil. It is not a well-known fact, but African oil rivals or even surpasses Middle East oil as a supplier to the U.S. There have been large oil discoveries in several regions of Africa. There is competition to secure this oil among the U.S., Europe, China, Russia, India, and South Korea.

This leads into and is connected with the second reason for the West’s desire to remove Gaddafi, which is his bid to organize African nations politically so as to have greater power as against the major powers in the world, East and West.

Under new conditions, the world is unfolding another chapter in the rivalries over African resources, reminiscent of earlier colonial-imperial rivalries. In this case, the West is still interested in controlling these resources, but it is facing competition from nations from the East...

The reason for their opposition to Gaddafi shows up in high relief in Gaddafi’s extraordinary U.N. speech of Sept. 23, 2009.

There is a video with accompanying translation of his speech, here and here. There is also a reasonably good transcript of that translation that is available.

In this speech, Gaddafi stood up against the West. He openly and pointedly criticized the U.N.’s structure. He told many uncomfortable truths.

He raised many uncomfortable questions. He proposed global political changes that reduce the powers of the big countries and raised the powers of smaller countries, African countries, and Islamic countries.

Ironically, this war against him again shows the truth in some of his harshest criticisms of the U.N.’s behavior and political structure. But this time not because of his supporting what the West calls terrorism, but for his striving to change the world’s balance of powers.

The West turned against Gaddafi because of this challenge.

As it turns out, Gaddafi’s critique of the Security Council and the U.N. was precisely on target, although he surely didn’t expect that he would be the one to provide another example so quickly. His distrust of the U.S. and its allies also proved to be warranted...

The best way to understand why the West is putting down Gaddafi is to read his speech in its entirety. Discard that which is frivolous or speculation or personal. Retain that which is serious. Be patient with the inadequacies of the translation.

This speech challenges the American Empire. It challenges the West. It challenges the dominance of a few major powers. The West wants to suppress this kind of thinking. The West is suppressing this kind of thinking. The West is in the process of removing Gaddafi and replacing him with their puppets. That is why NATO is bombing Libya.

The West is attacking Gaddafi to reduce the influence of his ideas among other nations...

Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.

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The West Is Trapped In Its Own Propaganda

By Paul Craig Roberts

What has happened to the West is that it can see itself and others only through the eyes of its own propaganda.

How To Cover Up Killing Civilians

Shocking Video!

Soldiers in Iraq describe how they can kill civilians. Continue

Creating the bin Laden Reality

By Paul Craig Roberts

Obama found Osama and had him murdered, apparently unarmed in his underwear, defended not by al Qaeda, “the best trained, most dangerous vicious killers on the planet,” but by two unarmed women.

Chris Hedges: The World As it Is
The Disease Of Empire.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Bare Feet, Iron Will"
Obsessions of an American veteran who comes to VN 50 times

From VietNamNet BridgeWithin 17 years, James G. Zumwalt, former lieutenant-colonel of the US Marines who participated in the Vietnam War, has come to Vietnam over 50 times. He has interviewed over 200 people to seek solutions for dealing with Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Zumwalt, his father and his brother in Vietnam

In his 51st visit to Vietnam, the US veteran recalled his memory in a quiet room in Saigon.

Zumwalt was born into a family with military career tradition. At the age of 20, he followed his father , Admiral Elmo Russell Zumwalt, to Vietnam. The Admiral was looking for solutions to destroy bushy brushwood along rivers. After his son came, the Admiral commanded his soldiers to use a kind of chemical to make woods along rivers in the adjacent areas of Saigon to shed leaves.

At that time, the father and his son believed that the chemical was a weeding substance, which was harmless to humans as the producer committed. Many years later, they knew that the chemical was Agent Orange, a carcinogen substance. Many American soldiers were infected by that toxic chemical. In 1988, Zumwalt’s elder brother died of this chemical.

After the death of his son, Admiral Zumwalt began convincing the US government to admit of the impacts of AO on human health and compensate infected American veterans.

In 1994, Zumwalt and his father came to Vietnam for the first time after the Vietnam War, to see Vietnamese veterans and to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to research and seek ways to solve AO consequences. In the last 17 years, Zumwalt has come to Vietnam over 50 times and interviewed over 200 veterans. His awareness of the Vietnam War has changed.

Zumwalt in his 51st visit to Vietnam

“When my father told me to go to Vietnam with him for the first time, I persistently refused because my heart was deeply resent because of the death of my brother. But he persuaded me to go to Vietnam to learn of people over the front line. Meetings with them have made me change completely,” Zumwalt said.

He said that doctor, major-general Nguyen Huy Phan, and doctor Le Cao Dai, were the ones who turned his animosity into sympathy. They have tragedies like him. His pain of losing his elder brother is similar to doctor Phan’s pain of losing his younger brother.

“I’m luckier than doctor Phan because I saw my brother before he left. It took doctor Phan 17 years to find the remains of his brother,” Zumwalt said.

Zumwalt and his father paid a visit to a charity center where takes care of disabled people, victims of war. Seeing many people who lost their limbs because of bombs and mines, the former Admiral decided to provide artificial limbs and assistant devices to Vietnamese veterans.

Zumwalt was very moved when he recalled his meeting with Vietnamese Heroic Mother Bui Thi Me.

“I’ve never seen a woman like her. Her kind face seemed to be contrast with tragedies in her heart. The pain of losing three sons and part of body of the fourth son didn’t created a smoldering hatred against the American man who stood in front of her…”

“Where is justice for this mother when she suffers so much of pain and losses?” Zumwalt thought at that moment.

The US veteran has met over 200 Vietnamese veterans and he was most impressed by the meeting with major-general Tran Hai Phung.

He said that the first time he met general Phung to learn about the operation and structure of the Cu Chi tunnel (HCM City). In the meeting, the general revealed that he was assigned to assassinate his father in 1969, which failed.

“I was sitting face to face with the one who sought to kill my father in the war. But I shook his hand in friendship. After the meeting with general Phung, I returned to the hotel and called my father to tell him about this,” Zumwalt recalled.

From changes in awareness of the Vietnam War, from the difference in viewpoints and conflict in political view, Zumwalt has partly understood the nature of war. He decided to write a memoir about the Vietnam War to help America have more objective view of the war.

“Bare Feet, Iron Will” was published in the US in 2010, and was introduced in Vietnam on April 21, 2011. The book is about Vietnamese soldiers in the Vietnam War. The day the book was launched in Vietnam, he presented $1,000 to Vietnamese AO victims.

Zumwalt planned to make a documentary about the Vietnam War, in cooperation with Florentine film studio. If the documentary is produced, he hoped that it will be an important voice in the process to claim justice for AO victims.