by Chris Genovali
I went "undercover" once with a European television producer to the workshop of a taxidermist-cum-trophy hunter on Vancouver Island. The producer and I had just spent a couple of days watching grizzly bears on British Columbia's central coast.
Sometimes, reading about the Middle East, or at least about Israel, Iran, and nuclear weapons, feels like your most basic broken-record phenomenon. As New York Times op-ed columnist Roger Cohen reminded readers recently, there's nothing new about Israeli predictions that Iranian "madmen" — or rather, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of a rather extreme new government, put it recently, "a messianic apocalyptic cult" — would soon have nuclear weapons in their hands. The charges and predictions of the imminent arrival of the Iranian bomb go back well into the 1990s and yet, despite Iran's growing nuclear enrichment program, we still don't know what the true predilections of its leaders are on the basic issue of weaponization. (They might, for instance, be planning to opt for the Japan "solution," not weaponizing, but simply being capable of doing so relatively quickly.)
The other part of that broken-record phenomenon concerns Israel's nuclear arsenal, which I wrote about at TomDispatch back in 2003, since which time remarkably little has changed. One of the genuinely strange aspects of just about anything you can read here in the U.S. on nuclear weapons and the Middle East is this: all fear and much print (and TV time) is focused on whether the Iranians may someday, in the near or far future, get a nuclear weapon; that is, we're focused on a weapon that doesn't yet exist and, for all we know, may never exist.
In the meantime, just about no mention is ever made of Israel's massive nuclear arsenal, which includes city-busting weapons, and leaves that tiny country as perhaps the fifth largest nuclear power on the planet. In addition, at least some of its nuclear weapons are on submarines in the Mediterranean, which means that the country is invulnerable to the madness of a take-out first strike by any other nation. This is simply reality.
The Israelis have long taken a position in which, as Jonathan Schell once put the matter, "They won't confirm or deny that they have [nuclear weapons], but they have this curious phrase: 'We will not introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.' Evidently, in some abstruse way, possessing them is not introducing them." Our media has, in essence, accepted the Israeli approach to its arsenal as if it were a reasonable reportorial stance on the subject. It's from within this distinctly unbalanced world of heightened fear and silence that we read of both the dangers of the Iranian bomb and responses to it, which is in itself, simply put, dangerous.
Recently, warnings from Israel about possible future attacks on Iran have multiplied. Roane Carey, managing editor of the Nation magazine and co-editor of The Other Israel, is in Israel at the moment on a journalism fellowship at the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy. As his first piece for this site, I asked him to offer an assessment from that country of just how dangerous the most recent warnings and threats actually are. Tom
Don't Flash the Yellow Light - Mixed Messages from Washington Could Lead to Catastrophe in Iran
by Roane Carey
JERUSALEM — Israel has been steadily ratcheting up pressure on the United States concerning the grave threat allegedly posed by Iran, which seems poised to master the nuclear fuel cycle, and thus the capacity to produce nuclear weapons. The new Israeli prime minister, Likud Party hawk Benjamin Netanyahu, has warned President Barack Obama that if Washington does not quickly find a way to shut down Iran's nuclear program, Israel will.
Some analysts argue that this is manufactured hysteria, not so much a reflection of genuine Israeli fears as a purposeful diversion from other looming difficulties. The Netanyahu government is filled with hardliners adamantly opposed to withdrawal from, or even a temporary freeze on, settlements in the occupied territories, not to mention to any acceptance of Palestinian statehood. On his first day as foreign minister, extremist demagogue Avigdor Lieberman, with characteristic bluster, announced that Israel was no longer bound by the 2007 Annapolis agreements brokered by Washington, which called for accelerated negotiations toward a two-state settlement.Add a comment
Response to 'The Price Someone Has to Pay'
“All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets”.
-- Vanilla or Chocolate, icing on the Devil's Cake “We Think the Price Is Worth It”
LESLIE STAHL: We have heard that half a million children have died [in Iraq due to sanctions]. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.
Here is the contrite retraction:
AMY GOODMAN: Secretary Albright–the question I have always wanted to ask’ do you regret having said, when asked do you think the price was worth it-–
MADELINE ALBRIGHT: I have said 5,000 times that I regret it. It was a stupid statement. I never should have made it and if everybody else that has ever made a statement they regret, would stand up, there would be a lot of people standing. I have many, many times said it and I wish that people would report that I have said it. I wrote it in my book that it was a stupid statement.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it laid the ground work for later being able to target Iraq and make it more acceptable on the part of the Bush administration?
MADELINE ALBRIGHT: What? You’ve got to be kidding.
Right! Again – it's not murder “to the sound of trumpets”. I think by these standards, Adolph Eichmann might have been let go – except that the victims had become the victors. The only standard of retribution that was actually established at Nuremberg!
Thank you dear DW editor for digging out the picture of the dead Afghan baby – I would also like a name to go with it:
After 15 years of legal tussling to bring democracy to the public airwaves, Adbusters has finally scored a great victory. The Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted us an appeal in our landmark case against Canada's CBC and Canwest Global, giving us the go-ahead to set a precedent and establish some public rights over the airwaves (check out the judges’ ruling here).
People are spending an unparalleled 8.5 hours per day in front of screens and even with the influx of new screen formats – cell phones, computers, Kindle – TV is still dominant. It’s the most powerful social communications medium of our time. And yet it is a place where commercial imperatives rule and dissenting voices are routinely censored. Adbusters’ attempts to purchase airtime from major commercial broadcasters for its socially-minded public service spots have been repeatedly denied over the years.
The airwaves are public property – just like city sidewalks or parks. They are a public space where freedom of speech must prevail. This is an inspiring idea for media activists and could pave the way for further legal victories down the road not only on the TV airwaves, but in cyberspace as well.
Not surprisingly, none of Canwest’s 13 daily newspapers or 23 TV channels covered the appeal court ruling. The silence has been deafening. Canadians citizens should be aware that the largest media conglomerate in our country is censoring the news to suit its own interests.
Here’s who did cover the story: CBC Radio, the Globe and Mail, the Georgia Straight and the Tyee.
CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, MTV and the Food Channel have also repeatedly refused to sell us airtime over the past 15 years and we would like to launch a freedom of speech legal action in the US. If you know an American lawyer who may be interested in being part of our legal team then let us know, email email@example.com.
The endgame will be a series of lawsuits around the world forcing the half a dozen media megacorporations controlling the bulk of news and entertainment flows around the planet to return some control back to the public.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk strategy or contribute to our legal war chest.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s new Prime Minister, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic Monthly, March 2009), ordered the new President of the United States to complete two “great missions” on behalf of Israel: “fix the economy” lest Israel not be able to collect its annual alimony of 3 billion plus the 30 billion promised by the Bush administration, and “prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons” lest Israel’s monopoly on such weapons be challenged in the Mid-East.
I woke up this morning and there was an unusual mystery stench emanating from the swamp. I know, I know, a strange aroma coming from a swamp does not seem unusual. I mean don’t us swamp rats live for the je’ne se quoi of putrefying organic matter? Well… yes… but this was worse, much worse.
I wisely hastened to put on one of my son’s gas masks… you can never be too safe… and headed out to investigate. What did I find? To my horror some scalawag had dumped a Bandini Mountain of toxic assets in my swamp!
Who could have been so low as to commit such a foul and dastardly deed and pollute my swamp with toxic assets? I have my suspicions but the mystery may never be solved.
Friends, has this happened to you? If not rest assured, it will. The foisting off of toxic assets shall come full circle back to us all… the victims of all the great Ponzi schemes and greedy skullduggery which started the train wreck in the first place.
None of us really know what a toxic asset is. But we do know this; “toxic” and “asset” are contradictory. Therefore toxic assets are bad right? We don’t want them. The banks don’t want them. The Treasury Dept. doesn’t want them. The Chinese don’t want them. They gotta go.
Unfortunately, toxic assets are like plastic bottles and Styrofoam. They are here to stay until the Mantis People and Roach Republic rule the Earth and discover how tasty they are. I’m not sure we can wait that long. Toxic assets have to be dumped toot sweet and please… not in my swamp!
We could jettison our toxic assets on the TV game show The Price Is Right. After all, TPIR is popular all over the world. Spread the “wealth” I say!
However, maybe there’s a more fiendish and devious method of disposal. Add a comment
Any variation of the words “Palestine” and “massacre” are sure to yield millions of results on major search engines on the World Wide Web. These results are largely in reference to hundreds of different dates and events in which numerous Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army or settlers. But references to massacres of similar nature precede the state of Israel itself, whose establishment was secured through the ever-expanding agenda of ethnically cleansing Palestinians. Throughout its history, this bloodletting project has been carried out for once specific purpose, that being the illegal acquirement of land and the suppression or extermination of those who dare to resist.
Israel has denied almost every massacre it has committed. Those too obvious to deny, were “investigated” by Israel itself, which predictably, mostly found its soldiers “not guilty” or culpable of minor misconduct. Israeli “investigations” served the dual purpose of helping Israelis retain their sense of moral superiority, and sending a highly touted message to international media of Israeli democracy at work and the independence of the country’s judiciary.
With the Gaza tragedy of December 2008-January 2009 being the latest in the ever growing list of Palestinian massacres, little seems to have changed the way Israel views its action, with the full approval of the US and the half hearted position of much of the international community.
Nonetheless, on April 3, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Richard Goldstone, a South-African Jewish judge to further investigate what the council had already resolved, in a vote on January 12, as “grave” violations of human rights by the Israeli army, in reference to the 22-day Israeli onslaught in Gaza, where over 1,400 Palestinians – mostly civilians – were killed and over 5,500 wounded.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP, in response to the UNHRC decision that the investigation was “not an attempt to find the truth but to tarnish Israel's reputation and to join efforts led by some countries to demonize Israel.” He added, “The investigation has no moral ground since it decided even before it started who is guilty and of what.” Palmor went on to exploit Israel’s ever winning card: democracy, claiming that democratic nations didn’t support the call to investigate the Gaza murders.
In a world where all the Western media and most of the foreign press has proven that it cannot be trusted to tell the truth we cannot possibly know who our soldiers are fighting in Pakistan or why. Every news source gives another version of the “official truth” as determined by the powers that be. We know that we are witnessing at least one strategic “great game” unfolding in the region, more likely, there are multiple psychological warfare operations playing-out in Pakistan’s western region.
When both American and Pakistani governments regularly lie about the Taliban that they fight and others that they want to fight, then it makes as much sense to find reports by someone who has interviewed the accused militants theselves. The following quotes [in yellow] are from Pakistani Taliban TTP leader Maulvi Nazir, taken from an interview with him on the Islamic site As-Sahab.
Should we ever believe the word of a “terrorist/freedom fighter,” for that matter, should we ever believe words crafted by psy-operators? Whatever the truth about this man’s words, the As-Sahab interview is a rare opportunity to peer into the mind of a TTP leader.
At 34, Mulla Nazeer Ahmad is representative of the new Taliban, just like his teammates Nek Mohammad, Baitullah Mehsud, Maulana Fazlullah and the Dadullah brothers.
This is the new Taliban, most of them bearing the honorary title of “Mullah, Maulvi or Maulana,” because they are graduates of the radical Saudi/US Sunni madrassas where, from an early age, they were brainwashed, by studying radicalized texts, such as the disinformative “jihadi textbooks” which were produced for the CIA by the University of Nebraska’s Afghanistan Department. Tutored in the guerilla sciences in the CIA/ISI training camps which were built for “jihad” against the Soviet occupation forces, too young to participate themselves, these “extremist” radicalized boys were ticking time bombs, awaiting the next jihad. Here in the tribal areas, The Mujahideen are content with war. When there is no war, they start depressing. We are not afraid of war. War has raised the spirits of the Mujahideen.
This second-generation militant army was set into play as part of the long-range plans of the first extremist American president and vice president, Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., by the same two out-of-control spy agencies who had trained and armed their brothers and fathers in the eighties. The continuity of their plan determined US foreign policy for the next thirty years. In 1996 a second extremist American president set these mujahedeen veterans and trainees loose upon the people of the former Yugoslavia. Again, in 2001, a third extremist American administration called forth the militant militia, this time to play act the part of a mythic Islamic army of superpower stature. From the remnants of the final battle of the Cold War arose “al Qaida,” the threatening slayer of superpowers.
This interview with Pakistani Taliban leader Nazir/”Nazeer” offers a unique glimpse into this “enemy” conjured-up by the CIA and the Pakistani secret service ISI, to represent all of the Islamic world in this apocalyptic Republican production of a “clash of civilizations.” In contradiction to every story on the unfolding war against Pakistan that is carried by the subservient American, Pakistani, Indian and British presses, Nazir tries to set the record straight on who he is and who his men are fighting, before the Obama escalation gets underway and every unofficial news story gets swept away by the Western news filters. Add a comment
This article addresses Washington's financial coup d'etat in the context of discussing Michael Hudson's important, very lengthy and detailed April 5 Global Research.ca one titled: "The Financial War Against Iceland - Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare." It reviews its key information in advance of Hudson's April 14 scheduled appearance on The Global Research News Hour to discuss.
What's true for Iceland holds everywhere, including the developed world, the idea being to enrich finance capitalism through state-sponsored debt bondage and neo-feudal impoverishment. The global economic crisis was no accident. It was long ago hatched, and has been brewing for years, gestating, percolating, then bubbling into the 2000 tech crash, a mere prelude for today's greater one spreading everywhere like a cancer but hitting the developing world and most indebted nations hardest.
Hudson: "Iceland is under attack - not militarily but financially."
Like many others, "It owes more than it can pay" and is bankrupt. It was planned that way, and the idea is to strip-mine the nation and its people of their resources, enterprises, assets, land, homes, jobs and futures through perpetual debt bondage. Bankers get enriched. Nations and people, however, are discarded like trash, with the IMF as enforcer, to be reinvigorated with an additional (G 20-pledged) $750 billion, quadrupling its resources to $1 trillion if fulfilled.
Wall Street and Western European bankers planned it and now ordered the government "to sell off the nation's public domain, its natural resources and public enterprises to pay (its) financial gambling debts." Also, raise permanent taxes at the worst possible time, then suck the maximum wealth from the country leaving behind an empty hulk and impoverished, desparate population. It's called dystopia Merriam-Webster defines as: "an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives," the opposite of utopia under conditions of deprivation, poverty, disease, violence, oppression, and terror, much like in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Permanent debt bondage "is as deadly as outright military" defeat. Loss of livelihoods and assets leave people vulnerable to sickness, despair, and early deaths, much like what happened to post-Soviet Russia under Washington-imposed "shock therapy:"
— 80% of farmers went bankrupt;
— around 70,000 state factories closed;
— unemployment became epidemic;
— a permanent underclass was created;
— poverty rose from two million in 1989 to 74 million by the mid-1990s, and in half the cases it was desperate;
— alcoholism and drug abuse soared;
— so did HIV/AIDS 20-fold;
— suicides also and violent crime four-fold; and
— the population declined by 700,000 a year; by 2007 it was 10% lower than in 1989 because of sharply reduced life expectancies.
Iceland, the developing world, and the West take note. This cancer is heading everywhere, courtesy of banker-imposed diktats, mainly from America and the UK. They insist Iceland "impoverish its citizens by paying debts in ways (they'd) never follow" even though the government has no way to do it.
No matter. "They are quite willing to take payment in the form of foreclosure on the nation's natural resources, land and housing, and a mortgage on the next few centuries of its future" - perpetual debt bondage no different than the spoils of war under permanent occupation.
However, in this case, debtors are convinced to pay voluntarily "to put creditor interests above the economy's prosperity (and) national interest." Their indebtedness comes at a huge cost - "chronic currency depreciation (and) domestic price inflation for many decades to come." Add a comment
Academic symposiums usually clarify history and knowledge to a select group who absorb the history and knowledge in order to impart the history and knowledge to others. The 2009 Annual Symposium of Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies accomplished more than being a routine academic program. Its April 2-3 symposium on Palestine & the Palestinians Today, at the Washington DC Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, alerted an attentive audience to situations that many didn’t realize and to realities that all should know. A series of conferences revealed a nature and debate of the Middle East conflict that is not apparent in daily media reports.
As one example, a panel on Changing Conceptions of Palestinian Nationalism provided new meanings to the Palestinian struggle and revealed Israel’s strategy for containing those meanings – a strategy whose result could vanquish the Palestinian people.
Note: The article details the writer’s summary of the panel proceedings.
The Palestinians face a dilemma.
A consensus, which notes Israel’s continuous settlement expansion and failures to negotiate sincerely, considers a viable two-state solution is not attainable. A one-state solution, in which power is democratically shared, has gained adherents, but lacks practical implementation. However, a state is not only a matter of borders; it is a matter of survival. The Palestinians want to gain what all peoples need for survival – a self- identity that derives from being part of a state that protects its citizens. Loss of safety results in loss of trust and loss of self-identity.
Nationality and religion enhance identity and are an answer to ontological security. The latter two words are more than an esoteric expression. They define what the Palestinians lack and most need. The absence of ontological security has accelerated deterioration of the Palestinian community, a process caused by the severe Israeli repression.
Ontological security “is a stable mental state derived from a sense of continuity in regard to the events in one's life…. Meaning is found in experiencing positive and stable emotions, and by avoiding chaos and anxiety. If an event occurs that is not consistent with the meaning of an individual's life, this will threaten that individual's ontological security. Ontological security also involves having a positive view of self, the world and the future.” Add a comment
"Hope must be grounded in reality; and it must be invested in the right place. When reality gives it the lie, then it must be abandoned."
It was obvious from the moment that Barack Obama appointed Leon Panetta to head the CIA that there was going to be no serious investigation — much less prosecution — of the high crimes of torture committed by the agency at the order of the Bush White House. Panetta, a Clinton retread (who actually began his career in the Nixon administration), has always been a bland, feckless, obedient servant of the Establishment; he has no outside power base, no pull, no heft, no popularity — nothing that would enable him to grab hold of the CIA with both hands and clean that fetid, blood-encrusted house. And of course, it was precisely this kind of powerless figure that Barack Obama wanted in the post.
The appointment was very typical of the Obama operation. Panetta had made a few very mild statements over the years that would allow him to be passed off as some kind of "progressive" in the witless, substanceless "process stories" that the corporate media do for new government appointees. This would be enough to keep the progressive "base" — which was overwhelmingly inclined to give Obama every benefit of every doubt — lulled long enough to get the patsy into the job. Of course, to actually get the job, Panetta had to make it clear to Congress that he wasn't going to stir up any trouble on the torture front, and was willing to play along with anything the Unitary Executive might order him to do. But the corp-media made little of this, concentrating instead on Panetta's rote assertions that "America doesn't torture," and his embrace of the Army Field Manual as the standard for CIA interrogation. (Of course, the vaunted manual also allows practices that any rational human being would consider torture, but that's another story.) Add a comment
Obstacles to Israel’s Arab minority participating in higher education have resulted in a record number of Arab students taking up places at universities in neighbouring Jordan, a new report reveals.
Figures compiled by Dirasat, a Nazareth-based organisation monitoring education issues, show 5,400 Arab students from Israel are at Jordanian universities — half the number of Arabs studying in Israel itself.
Despite the fact that most Israeli Arab students in Jordan interviewed by the researchers expressed a preference to attend university in Israel, the numbers heading to Jordan have grown four-fold since 2004.
College-age Arabs, representing nearly one-quarter of their age group in Israel, are heavily under-represented in Israeli higher education, at about eight per cent of the student intake, according to official statistics. Of those Israelis who pass their matriculation exams, three times as many Jews as Arabs are accepted into Israeli universities.
“Our findings should raise serious questions about the hurdles that have been put in the way of Arab students that make them feel they have no choice but to study abroad,” said Yousef Jabareen, a law professor at Haifa University and head of Dirasat.
Typical of the new exodus is Haneen Bader, 23, from the village of Turan in the Lower Galilee, who is in her third year studying Islamic jurisprudence at Jordan University in the capital, Amman.
Dirasat’s researchers were surprised to find that nearly one-third of all Israeli Arab students in Jordan are women. “We live in a patriarchal society and women are still usually expected to remain close to the family home until they marry,” said Dr Jabareen.
But, he added, good travel links between Amman and the Galilee — and a shared language and culture — made regular visits to Jordan a practical and inexpensive option for Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens.
Ms Bader said she was the first member of her family to study outside Israel but that, after initial doubts, her parents were won over when they saw the campus. “Now they very much approve of my decision.” Add a comment
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