Tuesday, January 31, 2012


NO war - NO sanctions - NO intervention - NO assassinations. Continue

A look at this map shows which country is surrounding Iran with military. These are the U.S. military bases we know about which surround Iran.  Who is the aggressor in the Middle East?

An Appeal to United States and Israeli Air, Missile and Drone Crews to Stand Down from Orders to Attack Iran

Call to Protest If the U.S. Attacks Iran or Syria

IRAN: Who is the real threat?
Test your knowledge, take the quiz!

 

Up to 100,000 Troops Ready By March

By Mac Slavo

The Pentagon has been quietly massing troops and armaments on two islands located just south of the Strait of Hormuz, and within easy striking distance of Iran.    Continue




With its Deadly Drones
The US is Fighting a Coward's War

By George Monbiot

January 31, 2012 "The Guardian" --  

The ancient Greeks, unlike the Jews or the Christians, invested their gods with human failings. Divine judgement, they believed, was neither flawless nor dispassionate; it was warped by lust, vengeance and self-interest. In the hands of Zeus, the thunderbolt was both an instrument of justice and a weapon of jealousy and revenge(1). 

Those now dispensing judgement from on high are not gods, though they must feel like it. The people striking mortals down with drones are doubtless as capable as anyone else of self-deception, denial and cognitive illusions. More so perhaps, as the eminent fictions of the Bush years and the growing delusions of the current president suggest. 

Barack Obama began last week’s State of the Union address by claiming that the troops who had fought the Iraq war had “made the United States safer and more respected around the world.”(2) Like Bush, like the gods, he has begun to create the world he wants to inhabit. 

These power-damaged people have been granted the chance to fulfil one of humankind’s abiding fantasies: to vapourise their enemies, as if with a curse or a prayer, effortlessly and from a safe distance. That these powers are already being abused is suggested by the mendacity of those who are deploying them. 

The CIA, running the undeclared and unacknowledged drone war in Pakistan, insists that there have been no recent civilian casualties(3). So does Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan(4). It is a blatant whitewash.

As a report last year by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed, of some 2,300 people killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan from 2004 until August 2011, between 392 and 781 appear to have been civilians; 175 were children(5). In the period about which the CIA and Brennan made their claims, at least 45 civilians have been killed. 

As soon as an agency claims “we never make mistakes”, you know that it has lost its moorings, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn suggested in his story of that title. Feeling no obligation to apologise or explain, count bodies or answer for its crimes, it becomes a danger to humanity.

It may be true, as the US air force says, that because a drone can circle and study a target for hours before it strikes, its missiles are less likely to kill civilians than those launched from a piloted plane(6). (The USAF has yet to explain how it reconciles this with its boast that drones “greatly shorten decision time”(7)). But it must also be true that the easier and less risky a deployment is, the more likely it is to happen. 

This danger is acknowledged in a remarkably candid assessment published by the UK’s ministry of defence, which also deploys drones, and has also used them to kill civilians(8). It maintains that the undeclared air war in Pakistan and Yemen “is totally a function of the existence of an unmanned capability – it is unlikely a similar scale of force would be used if this capability were not available.”(9

Citing Carl von Clausewitz, it warns that the brutality of war seldom escalates to its absolute form partly because of the risk faced by one’s own forces. Without risk, there’s less restraint. The unmanned craft allow governments can fight a coward’s war, a god’s war, harming only the unnamed. 

The danger is likely to escalate as drone warfare becomes more automated and the lines of accountability less clear. 

Last week the US navy unveiled a drone that can land on an aircraft carrier without even a remote pilot. The Los Angeles Times warned that “it could usher in an era when death and destruction can be dealt by machines operating semi-independently.”(10

The British assessment suggests that within a few years drones assisted by artificial intelligence could make their own decisions about whom to kill and whom to spare(11). Sorry sir, computer says yes. 

“Some would say one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist,” George HW Bush opined when he was vice-president. “I reject this notion. The philosophical differences are stark and fundamental.”(12) Perhaps they are; but no US administration has convincingly defined them or consistently recognised them. 

In Latin America, south east Asia, Africa and the Middle East successive presidents have thwarted freedom and assisted state terrorism. Drones grant governments new opportunities to snuff out opposition of any kind, terrorist or democrat. The US might already be making use of them. 

In October last year, a 16 year-old called Tariq Aziz was travelling through North Waziristan in Pakistan with his 12 year-old cousin, Waheed Khan. Their car was hit by a missile from a US drone(13). 

As always, their deaths made them guilty: if we killed them, they must be terrorists. But they weren’t. 

Tariq was about to start work with the human rights group Reprieve, taking pictures of the aftermath of drone strikes. A mistake? Possibly. But it is also possible that he was murdered out of self-interest. If you have such powers, if you are not held to account by Congress, the media or the American people, why not use them? 

The danger to democracy, not just in Pakistan but one day perhaps everywhere, should be evident. Yet, as fatalistic as the ancient Greeks, we drift into this with scarcely a murmur of debate, leaving the gods to decide. 

www.monbiot.com

References:
6. Colonel David M. Sullivan, cited in http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/world/asia/12drones.html
9. Ministry of Defence, 30th March 2011. Joint Doctrine Note 2/11. The UK Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Joint Doctrine Note 2/11 (JDN 2/11).
http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/F9335CB2-73FC-4761-A428-DB7DF4BEC02C/0/20110505JDN_211_UAS_v2U.pdf
11. Ministry of Defence, as above.

See also - Obama defends drone strikes: President Obama is defending his use of unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere, saying they have been used to kill more terrorists than civilians.


Crises of Capitalism
Must Watch Short Video
David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?
  This is based on a lecture at the RSA - www.theRSA.org .




The Demonisation of Iran
How Israel is using sanctions and terror bombing to provoke Iran into war

By Patrick Cockburn

The way in which the growing confrontation with Iran is being sold by the US, Israel and West European leaders is deeply dishonest.  Continue




The US dollar is fast losing out its reserve currency status with China aggressively replacing the dollar with the Yuan as a currency for bi-lateral trade. 

"The latest is an agreement signed between the China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will use the Yuan for oil trade. The deal is worth around $5.5 billion dollars and the Chinese central bank said that the deal aims at “strengthening bilateral financial cooperation, promoting trade and investments and jointly safeguarding regional financial stability”

Earlier, Russia and Iran had decided to use Rubles as a means of currency. With both China and Russia converting their bi-lateral trades into non-US dollar deals, the greenback is now under threat of losing out its status as the world reserve currency. 

And the impact of such a transition will essentially tip the balance of global power."



Fingers Itch for a War on Iran

By Vijay Prashad

If you ask Iranians, they will tell you that the war against Iran has already begun...  Continue



Any Talk of Values is a Joke
By George Galloway

HILLARY Clinton said - that the slaying of apparently unarmed, barefoot, skinny Afghan youths by armed US Marines who could hardly wait to urinate on the deceased was "inconsistent with American values". Continue




Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Confrontation with Iran: A Covert War
By Akbar E. Torbat
The purpose of the pressures on Iran is to change its leaders to those who will take orders from Washington.    Continue



World Peace Hanging By A Thread

By Fidel Castro Ruz

The sheer tranquility with which the United States and civilized Europe carry out this campaign with incredible and systematic acts of terrorism is enough to shock anybody. Continue



Most Syrians Back President Assad
But You'd Never Know From Western Media


By Jonathan Steele


Assad's popularity, Arab League observers, US military involvement: all distorted in the west's propaganda war.  Continue



Resist U.S. Imperialist War Threats On Iran

By Sara Flounders

There is growing apprehension that through miscalculation, deliberate provocation or a staged false flag operation, a U.S. war with Iran is imminent. Continue



Ecology and the Pathology of Capitalism

By Charles Sullivan

Contrary to everything we have been taught, there is no actual United States of America. The U.S. is an occupied territory that could more accurately be described as the Corporate States of America.
Continue



The World War on Democracy

By John Pilger

That the most numerous victims of terrorism – western terrorism – are Muslims is unsayable, if it is known.  Continue



Friday, January 13, 2012

War Plan Iran:
The US Finally Admits Its Criminal Bankruptcy


By Finian Cunningham

“Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No."

January 11, 2012 "Global Research" --  

Officially, America is now bankrupt: financially, economically, politically – and morally. Its criminal aggression towards Iran is just one of many parts of a jigsaw that add up to a clear and grotesque picture of what the United States of America now represents in the 21st Century world. 
 
The numbers and pictures for these constituent parts of this odious jigsaw puzzle are well known. But what has become glaringly clear is just how integrated the official image of the US now is. Bankrupt. 

Terminally in debt, mass poverty at record levels, rampant militarism, draconian curbs on civil liberties, government by the rich for the rich, and lately the reactionary, debased cat-fight that passes for political debate among Republican contenders for the Presidency...

It is a sign of how depraved the American political mind has become when would-be presidents can so openly talk of conducting foreign policy in terms of unquestioned international aggression. 

Of course, this kind of political and moral bankruptcy is not just confined to those seeking office. It is the coin of those who are already in office.

In a report in the New York Times Monday we have the startling admissions that, taken together, show that the US government should be certified as criminal (if further proof were needed) [1]. 

First we have the top US military man confirming that long-averred war plans against Iran are indeed going ahead. 

The NYT: “When asked on [CBS’s] Face the Nation about the how difficult it would be to take out Iran’s nuclear ability in a military strike, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: ‘Well, I would rather not discuss the degree of difficulty and in any way encourage them to read anything into that. But I will say that my responsibility is to encourage the right degree of planning, to understand the risks associated with any kind of military option, in some cases to position assets, to provide those options in a timely fashion. And all those activities are going on.’” [Emphasis added] 

In other words, the US is preparing for war. 

Ironically, in the above lengthy article about the imminent opening of Iran’s second uranium enrichment plant at Qom, located under a mountain and impregnable from attack, the New York Times buries General Dempsey’s admission deep within the folds of its paragraphs perhaps in a bid to make it impregnable from attack by sane readers. 

Granted, the bellicose talk from US Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama and his administration of all options on the table has become so routine that the editors at the NYT have probably become inured to criminal admissions and so don’t think them worth any higher prominence that a final paragraph. 

But here is the second part of the equation that adds up to definite criminality. 

In the same story, the New York Times quotes US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta making what should be a startling admission: that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons. 

Panetta says: “Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.”

That Panetta finally admits what many people around the world know to be true, including American intelligence agencies in at least two US National Intelligence Estimates in 2007 and 2010 – that is, that Iran is not attempting to develop a nuclear weapon, should be a front-page headline. 

Especially when taken together with the US General Dempsey’s disclosure that war plans are afoot. 

From its own admission, therefore, the US government is pushing the world into possibly a World War III scenario on the basis of a totally spurious claim that even its own top brass do not believe. 

Reflecting the bankruptcy that has corroded the US political establishment is the way that the New York Times – America’s self-styled premier newspaper – glides over these nuggets of self-indictment as if they were worthless banalities. 

So if Iran is not even trying to develop a nuclear weapon, as Panetta now admits, what then is the criminal US warmongering predicated on?

Unofficially, the real reason is imperialist rivalry with other powers (Russian and China in particular) in the energy-rich Persian Gulf and Central Asia regions, and the attempt to engineer “regime change” in Iran to one that is pliant with Washington’s geopolitical designs. 

Officially, for what it is worth, it seems now that the US is not happy even with the mere suspicion that Iran maybe, just maybe, one day capable of developing nuclear capability. 

This is where facts can be helpful. 

As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the legal right to develop nuclear capability for civilian purposes. 

This is what Iran has consistently said it is doing and what countless UN inspections of facilities over many years, including the new plant at Qom, have verified. 

The enrichment of uranium constitutes “nuclear capability” and is an essential part of harnessing nuclear energy for civilian energy. Iran should be congratulated for this achievement given years of gratuitous sanctions by the US its Western allies. 

But the way the US government and its Western allies put it, Iran’s legitimate nuclear capability is made to sound like a diabolical threat.

Panetta again: “But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us.” 

There you have it. The United States can drop nuclear weapons on civilians, possess up to 10,000 nuclear warheads, supply its allies illegally with such weapons and continue to violate the purpose of the NPT by not disarming its nuclear arsenal – yet if a country uses the provisions of the NPT legitimately to pursue nuclear capability then it is reviled and made a target for an illegal war of aggression, most probably with nuclear weapons. 

This is depravity-turned-foreign policy – emanating from supposedly the most democratic government in the world. 

In that way, the unseemly Republican Party cat-fight between Romney et al is but a symptom of the chronically bankrupt body politic that is American government in the 21st Century. 


Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa correspondent

Notes 


 


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Reserve Currency to Challenge the Dollar? 
What’s Really Going on in The Straits of Hormuz.

By David Malone

The stand off is as much with China and its allies as it is specifically with Iran...

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Iraq: A Country in Shambles

By Dahr Jamail

The state of the economy in Iraq is a disaster. Yet this irony is highlighted by the fact that Iraq has proven oil reserves third only behind Saudi Arabia and Iran - hence one would expect it to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world... Continue

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Iran: It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Aijaz Zaka Syed

Little seems to change in Washington no matter who is in the White House — a Bible-thumping gunslinger with an endless wish list of regime change or a messianic rhetorician, who earned himself a Nobel Peace Prize in his first year in office by promising all sorts of Yes-We-Cans to all sorts of folks...
Continue



Friday, January 06, 2012

Promoting War on Iran

By Stephen Lendman

In June 2009, a Brookings Institution report titled, "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran" was a regime change policy paper...

Iran poses no belligerent or terrorist threat. In contrast, America, key NATO partners and Israel are global menaces.

Initiating war on Iran and/or Syria could be catastrophic, especially if nuclear weapons are used. Yet major media scoundrels promote it, mindless of the potential consequences.

Nonetheless, more war in 2012 is likely because Washington, Britain, France, and Israel want it, no matter the risks...


Stephen Lendman
lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at
sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/

 


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Never Forget
Iraq. Began with big lies. Ending with big lies


By William Blum

... No matter ... drum roll, please ... Stand tall American GI hero! And don't even think of ever apologizing or paying any reparations.  Iraq is forced by Washington to continue paying reparations to Kuwait for Iraq's invasion in 1990 (an invasion instigated in no small measure by the United States).  

And — deep breath here! — Vietnam has been compensating the United States. Since 1997 Hanoi has been paying off about $145 million in debts left by the defeated South Vietnamese government for American food and infrastructure aid. Thus, Hanoi is reimbursing the United States for part of the cost of the war waged against it.  
(William Blum, Rogue State, p.304)...



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

Continue