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Commentary

Illegitimate Egyptian Elections

 Illegitimate Egyptian Elections - by Stephen Lendman

 

Last February, Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship ended. Another one replaced him. Egypt's military holds absolute power. 

 

Authoritarian dominance is unchallenged. Elections are more theater than real. Egypt's multi-round complex process complicates them further. So do logistics. Understanding what to do is daunting.

 

The hybrid ballot lists parties and individual candidates. Voters choose from both. Candidates represent professionals and worker/farmers. Influence peddling and fraud are rife.

 

Egypt's process perhaps has no parallel anywhere. Voters cast three votes, including for scores of new parties and candidates they don't recognize.

 

Egypt's junta deliberately designed a hard to comprehend complex system despite strong opposition from participating parties. 

 

Individual candidates will be chosen by popular vote. Party totals may not determine representation in Parliament. Party listed candidates will get seats based on how high they're listed.

 

At issue is controlling the process and outcome.

 

Vote-counting is especially prone to fraud. One of Stalin's memorable quotes was, "It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

 

Some results will be announced after each round. Party list ones won't come until January.

 

Human rights activist Hossam Bahgat complained about Egypt's allegedly first ever "free and fair election," saying "we've opted for one of the world's most complicated electoral systems."

 

Of course, regime supporters call it free and fair. Independent observers see it otherwise.

 

Procedurally it works as follows:

  •  
  • 6,700 candidates are participating;

 

  • Lower House People's Assembly voting is held on November 28, 29, December 14 and January 3; 498 members are chosen for five-year terms - 454 by proportional representation, another 44 in single-seat constituencies, and 10 more members nominated;

 

  • Upper House Shura Council voting will be on January 29, February 14 and March 4; 264 members are chosen for six-year terms; 174 are directly elected; the president appoints the others;

 

  • Presidential voting will occur sometime from mid-2012 to 2013; no date was announced.
  •  

Egypt's governorates, divided into varying numbers of districts, vote on different days, further complicating the process. Cairo, Alexandria and seven other governorates began voting on November 28. The remaining 18 will vote in two later rounds.

 

Voters will complete two ballots, choosing a party and individual candidates. Each district will elect four to 12 party MPs. They'll also choose popularly elected ones.

 

In Cairo, for example, 36 party candidates will be chosen in four districts, as well as 18 popularly elected ones in nine districts.

 

Allocating party seats in Cairo works as follows:

  •  
  • if party A gets 50% of the vote, their top 18 candidates are chosen;

 

  • if party B gets 25%, their top nine ones are picked;

 

  • if party C gets 25%, their top nine also are seated.

 

Seats are divided equally between professional and worker/farmer classifications. If the top two candidates from each category win a majority of votes, runners-up will be passed over for the highest standing candidate of the alternate working class. Try sorting that out.

 

The process is so complicated, it's hard understanding and explaining it properly. Imagine how Egypt's voters feel. Most are flying blind.

 

Egypt's Anti-Democratic Tradition

 

Last year's parliamentary elections were corrupted by fraud, violence and repression. Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) dominated. Opposition parties won only seven seats. Another seven went to independent candidates. 

 

Muslim Brotherhood candidates were entirely shut out. This year, they're expected to emerge dominant with less than a majority overall. Voting so far is reasonably orderly and peaceful. Of course, outcomes matter most. 

 

Egyptians will eventually realize they've again been had like so many previous times. Entrenched junta power won't yield. Egyptians wanting civilian rule won't get it. 

 

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will retain power to propose and veto legislation, convene and adjourn parliament, appoint and replace the prime minister and cabinet members, and have final say on how Egypt's governed. Elected officials will serve them.

 

Traditional authoritarian rule runs the country. Elections don't choose those running it. They provide a veneer of democratic change, not the real thing. 

 

During single-party elections from 1957 - 1972, candidates were screened for party loyalty. In the 1960s, dual-member constituencies were introduced with seats reserved for worker/farmers. It hardly mattered. In 1976, Anwar Sadat allowed left, center and right parties to compete. Independents could also run.

 

In 1979, however, candidates opposing Egypt's peace treaty with Israel faced repression and electoral fraud. Mubarak's 1984 and 1987 elections marginally improved the process. More parties could run, including ones Sadat excluded. Muslim Brotherhood candidates were allowed to run under the auspices of an allied secular party.

 

However, the 1984 Election Law excluded smaller parties from parliament. None getting less than 8% support won seats. Instead, their votes were added to the party receiving a plurality. 

 

In addition, the dual-member constituency system was replaced by multi-member districts in which party lists competed. Parliament remained a bourgeoisie preserve. Opposition parties were marginalized. Generals dominate to this day.

 

They've run Egypt since Nasser's Free Officers Movement gained power in 1952. They have major economic interests. Real opposition isn’t tolerated. Egypt's Emergency Law enforces power. First enacted in 1958, it remained in effect since 1967, except for a brief 1980 period. In 1981, its current version was enacted.

 

It permits suspending constitutional rights, instituting martial law, enforcing censorship, curtailing anti-regime protests, marginalizing opposition, restricting assemblies and free movement, arrests and indefinite detentions with or without charges, trials in military tribunals, and overall extralegal police state harshness.

 

Amnesty International's 2010 Egypt Report said Emergency powers are used "to detain peaceful critics and opponents as well as people suspected of security offenses or involvement in terrorism."

 

Some are detained administratively. Others get unfair military trials. Many are tortured. Death sentences are imposed. Freedom of speech, assembly and association are restricted or denied.

 

Egypt's police, other security forces, and army enforce hardline control. Activists, dissidents, anti-regime Islamists, other opposition forces, and anyone perceived threatening entrenched power can be arrested, detained, tortured and/or killed.

 

A still in force 1996 press law criminalizes defamation insults, and libel to suppress press freedom and speech, including against bloggers. Academia isn't safe either. State authorities control appointments, promotions, and university administrations. 

 

As a result, subtle self-censorship prevails. Opposition professors have been fired. Activist students are harassed. Women are regularly mistreated. A 2008 Egyptian Center for Women's Rights report said over 80% of women suffer public sexual humiliation from groping to criminal assaults.

 

Gays and other minorities are also targeted. Men accused of homosexual acts are arrested. Though religious freedom is allowed, police at times clash with Christians. Street children are especially abused. Thousands live in Cairo. 

 

Human Rights Watch estimated over 11,000 arrests and detentions for weeks in unsanitary, hazardous conditions, "often with adult criminal detainees who abuse them." In addition, they're denied adequate food, water, bedding and medical care. So are other prisoners.

 

A Final Comment

 

Institutionalized police state power runs Egypt. Generals are in charge. Parliamentary and presidential elections won't change things. Egyptians are stuck with systemic injustice they abhor. 

 

Their liberating struggle just began. So have others across the region. They face repressive regimes unwillingly to yield power. They'll crack down hard to keep it. Washington supports the worst of them. 

 

Democracy's nowhere in sight. Expecting it is a foolish leap of faith. Military rule remains solid. 

 

Only sustained activism can change things, but never easily, quickly, or without thousands of casualties on Egyptian and other regional streets.

 

And it can get just as nasty in America and across Europe if social justice protests reach critical mass. Hopefully it won't deter committed activism for long denied change.

 

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/.                                 

Palestinian Unity: A Threat, Says Israel

 Palestinian Unity: A Threat, Says Israel - by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestine is sovereign territory. In 1987, Law Professor Francis Boyle drafted its Declaration of Independence. On November 15, 1988, the Palestine National Council (PNC) adopted it, affirming Palestinian statehood.

 

Nonetheless, Israel's illegal occupation continues. Gaza's under siege. Israeli forces attack repeatedly. Deaths and injuries result. Dozens of weekly West Bank incursions harass Palestinians ruthlessly. Numerous arrests follow. Innocent civilians are imprisoned, including children young as 10.

 

Peaceful protesters are assaulted violently. Settlement expansions continue on stolen land. Dispossessed Palestinians have no redress. Police state repression terrorizes millions of people. World leaders yawn and do nothing.

 

Last April in Cairo, Hamas and Fatah leaders proclaimed unity. Palestinians hoped it signaled rapprochement between the two sides.

 

Both agreed to form a transitional government soon. The two delegations, headed by Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, discussed security issues and ways to coordinate forces cooperatively. They also agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections within a year.

 

Despite reservations on both sides, signing ceremony comments signaled hope. Abbas suggested turning a page, saying:

 

"Four black years have affected the interests of Palestinians. Now we meet to assert a unified will. Israel is using the Palestinian reconciliation as an excuse to evade (peace. It) must choose between peace and settlement."

 

Based on his long collaborationist history with Israel, his commitments need to be tested. Saying and doing often differ. The jury so far is out.

 

For his part, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said:

 

"Hamas was ready to pay any price for internal Palestinian reconciliation. The only battle of the Palestinians is against Israel. Our aim is to establish a free and completely sovereign Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any settlers and without giving up a single inch of land and without giving up on the right of return."

 

At the time, Netanyahu denounced unity, saying:

 

"What happened....in Cairo is a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism."

 

In fact, Israel is the region's leading purveyor of state terrorism by far. Moreover, Netanyahu, other Israeli officials, and previous ones spurn peace. Why else would decades of negotiations go nowhere.

 

Hopefully, Hamas and Fatah agreements will hold. On November 24, the International Middle East Media Center headlined, "Abbas, Mashal, Meet in Cairo, Affirm National Unity," saying:

 

Both sides affirmed "Palestinian national unity and partnership. An understanding was reached to hold legislative and presidential elections in May 2012.” Abbas said:

 

"I am pleased to inform the Arab and Islamic Nations that we started a new phase of partnership to best serve the Palestinian people. We deal with each other as partners."

 

"We have unified responsibility towards our people and our cause. We discussed the reconciliation agreement in detail, and we are pleased to say that were no disagreements on any issue."

 

It remains to be seen if he means it. 

 

Mashal also signaled hope, saying:

 

"I want to assure everybody, these are not just words. I want everybody to wait and see the real outcome on the ground. We hope that our people, all factions, will help us in serving our cause."

 

Another meeting is planned for December 22 to affirm agenda details.

 

In response, Israeli officials condemned the agreement, calling Hamas (Palestine's legitimately elected government) a terrorist organization. 

 

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said:

 

"The foreign ministry is examining the possibility of Israel pulling out of the Gaza Strip in terms of infrastructure."

 

In other words, Israel may cut off electricity, water, and other essentials in retaliation. Already, besieged Gazans lack enough food, medicines, and other basic supplies. Everything is rationed. Shortages cause harm.

 

Rolling blackouts happen daily for hours. Normality's denied. So are Palestinian tax revenues PA leaders need to function. A senior Israeli official said if Hamas and Fatah conclude unity, "it would make a transfer of funds impossible."

 

In recent weeks, Israel escalated Gaza attacks. Potentially they signal more war. In mid-November, Israel's military commander Benny Gantz warned about another large-scale operation. Palestinians take the threat seriously.

 

On November 27, Haaretz writer Amir Oren headlined, "Egypt turmoil may prompt Israel to strike Gaza," saying:

 

The possibility of a post-election Islamist Egypt raised concerns. Why isn't clear as Israel and Western nations have close ties to others. In fact, Israel's using it as a pretext perhaps to unleash what's already planned. 

 

Timing may depend on an "intelligence assessment of likely targets, the weather, the readiness levels of regular and reserve troops and, last but not least, the situation in Egypt" if new leaders are anti-Israeli.

 

These and other factors affect new conflict strategies. "During Gantz's nine months as chief of staff, plans for new operations have been drawn, old plans have been revised and numerous battle-oriented discussions have been staged."

 

Events on the ground will dictate decisions. Preemption's a strong possibility. Israel favors it, claiming it's responding defensively when, in fact, it's committing lawless aggression - especially against soft targets like Gaza.

 

Meanwhile, various UK media reports suggest Israel (with US logistical support) may attack Iranian nuclear sites by yearend or in early 2012. Britain's Foreign Office believes it could come "sooner rather than later," possibly by Christmas.

 

In mid-November, Washington held discussions with Israel to discuss sanctions. Whether or not possible belligerence was considered isn't known. Both countries bogusly call Iran a threat. Israel wants a regional rival eliminated. America wants client states throughout the Middle East to solidify its unchallenged dominance.

 

Attacking Iran and/or Syria involves huge risks. The potential for general war is real. Its dangers are frightening. In her 1962 book titled, "The Guns of August," Barbara Tuchman discussed events leading to WW I and its early weeks. 

 

Once started, things spun out of control with cataclysmic consequences, including over 20 million dead, many millions wounded, and a generation of young men lost before it ended. 

 

The lesson is be careful what you wish for. You may get more than you bargained for. A century ago, no mass destruction weapons existed. Today's can cause nuclear winter, including by accident.

 

As a result, igniting another global conflict should give officials pause about the consequences for potential gains. It should also make them consider what's next if their calculations are wrong. Nonetheless, those in charge often go for broke, and let the devil take the hindmost.

 

Iran's military chief of staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, addressed possible aggression on the country, vowing strong retaliation. General Yadollah Javani specifically warned Tel Aviv, saying:

 

"If Israel fires a missile towards our nuclear or critical facilities, it should know that every inch of Israel, including its nuclear centers, are a target for our missiles (to strike), and we have this capacity today."

 

Turkey was also warned. General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said if Iran is attacked, NATO's (offensive) missile shield there will be struck first.

 

Subduing Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya didn't go as planned, despite rhetoric claiming so. Imagine the greater challenge Syria and Iran pose, given their strength and allies. 

 

Whether it's enough to give militarists pause is uncertain. So far, it doesn't seem so. Millions tremble at what may be coming. Everyone should!

 

Some Good News

 

With so little, savor it!

 

Since its founding in July 2005, the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign convinced dozens of businesses to leave Israel. 

 

Germany's Deutsche Bank divested from Elbit earlier, a company involved in building Israel's Separation Wall. Norway's government ended operations with an Israeli security firm, and Harvard divested from Israeli companies.

 

In late November, French banking giant BNP Paribas announced it was pulling out entirely. Claiming financial reasons masked the truth. 

 

Pressure forced them out. PNB Paribas has many global operations, including in neighboring countries. Moreover, its Israeli one financed large French companies doing business in Israel.

 

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz tried, but failed, to retain them. Word is both sides exchanged harsh words.

 

Maybe other large companies will follow PNB Paribas. Some day perhaps they'll all stop doing business with an apartheid state worse than South Africa's, much worse.

 

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/.                                  

Target Syria

 Target Syria - by Stephen Lendman

 

Washington's Greater Middle East project involves waring against the region one country at a time to replace independent regimes with client ones.

 

Softer targets were attacked first. Tougher ones remain, notably Iran and Syria. Subduing them may involve turning the entire region into an uncontrollable cauldron, not least because China and Russia have interests to defend.

 

Russia maintains a strategic naval base at Tartus, Syria, its only Mediterranean location. It considers it vital protection for its Black Sea Fleet. It's being modernized to accommodate heavy warships after 2012. Russia came to stay.

 

Three Russian warships now patrol Syrian waters. Unofficial sources confirm it, saying Russia's there to protect strategic and national security interests, as well as prevent war. 

 

About 120,000 Russian citizens are in Syria. Moscow's obligated to protect them the way they aided South Ossetian Russians after Georgia attacked the province in August 2008.

 

Provocatively, America's nuclear carrier USS George HW Bush anchored off Syria. Its Strike Group and additional vessels are conducting maritime security and support operations nearby. The US 6th Fleet patrols the area.

 

Meanwhile, Washington and Turkey urged their citizens to leave Syria. A November 23 US statement said "depart immediately while commercial transportation is available." Whether something's brewing isn't known. Tough talk alone doesn't suggest it. Nonetheless, it's worrisome.

 

Syria's being assaulted like Libya. Heavily armed insurgents are involved. Washington orchestrated everything. Neighboring countries are involved, including Israel. Syria's blamed for defending itself. Libya redux looks possible. Continued violence and escalating tensions suggest it.

 

An anonymous Russian intelligence official said America "is playing a very dangerous game here. One that may result in Russia taking defensive actions to protect itself, its military installation and Russian citizens."

 

A Russian military expert called US carriers "expensive floating targets that are vulnerable to attacks by aircraft, missiles and torpedos. They were designed for Cold War scenarios, and are less useful in establishing control of areas close to shore."

 

According to Pravda.ru, Center for Military Forecasts analyst Anatoly Tsyganok said Washington no longer will inform Russia about planned troop deployments. 

 

"Apparently, it is connected with the situation in the Mediterranean Sea," he said. "One may assume that NATO will create a military group near Russia's southern borders to strike Syria."

 

"They will most likely raise this issue at the NATO summit in December. They will try to analyze Syria's actions in case NATO conducts a military operation against the country, like (earlier) in Libya."

 

Itar-Tass contributor Anatoly Lazarev accused Washington of "initia(ting) the campaign for strangling Damascus." Russia stresses dialogue for conflict resolution. "Washington obviously does not like the stand assumed by Moscow. By all appearances, it wishes to play first the Libyan and now the Syrian card" to ensure its regional interests "at all costs." Then on to new targets to control the entire region.

 

International Crisis Group (ICG) Comments on Syria

 

Founded in 1995 by World Bank vice president Mark Malloch Brown and former US diplomat Morton Abramowitz, ICG supports power, not popular interests. Comments on its Middle East Project Director Peter Harling's analysis follows below.

 

Titled, "Uncharted Waters: Thinking Through Syria's Dynamics," he assessed where things now stand, saying:

 

"The Syrian crisis may or may not have entered its final phase, but it undoubtedly has entered its most dangerous one to date. The current stage is defined by an explosive mix of heightened strategic stakes tying into a regional and wider international competition on the one hand and emotionally charged attitudes, communal polarisation and political wishful thinking on the other."

 

Based in Damascus, Harling's observing events firsthand. Entirely missing from current considerations, he believes, "is a sober assessment of the challenges provoked by (balance of power) shifts and the very real risk that they could derail or even foreclose the possibility of a successful transition."

 

Of course, it's for Syrians, not outside powers, to decide. Intervening in other nations' internal affairs is illegal. For Washington, its NATO partners, and Israel it's standard practice. Harding's analysis omitted international law issues, focusing on imperial ones instead.

 

Five key issues are excluded from Syria's debate, he believes, including:

  •  
  • the dominant Alawite community's fate;

 

  • Syrian and Lebanese ties;

 

  • implications of international intervention;

 

  • impact of the protest movement's militarization; and

 

  • "creeping social, economic and institutional decay."

 

Assad linked the Alawite community's fate to his own to assure loyalty among people who've gained little from the regime. Crisis conditions bonded them to Assad's government. The same holds for Syrian Christians.

 

Critically, the regime controls Damascus and Aleppo, Syria's largest city. It secured them because protests there remain peaceful. Its "divide-and-rule tactics have kept most Alawites, many Christians, as well as some Druze and Sunnis on its side."

 

Nonetheless, civil society segments support insurgents. The longer conflict persists, the greater the incentive for affected business, middle class, and other elements to seek ways to end it. At issue is protecting their own self-interest. They want calm to get back to business as soon as possible.

 

At the same time, Assad won't step down or be deposed internally. Regime officials need him. He's been instrumental in keeping support among BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and other countries. He's also popular so why remove a regime prop.

 

As for sanctions, civilians are mostly harmed much like everywhere they're imposed. Assad said parliamentary elections will be held next February or March. Constitutional review will follow. So will presidential elections if new provisions in it say so.

 

If Syrians agree to test him, violence might subside but won't end as long as criminal insurgents are encouraged by Washington, Turkey and other regional states to maintain pressure.

 

Nonetheless, without a political solution, violence will continue. Civilians will suffer horrifically. Military intervention may follow. For now, Assad's holding firm. Violence hasn't reached critical mass to topple him. Regime change isn't imminent. Syria's military supports him. Turkey's pressure is limited, he believes. 

 

Arab League states have no credibility whatever. They condoned Libya's ravaging, say nothing about NATO's plans to colonize another Arab state, ignore Bahraini and other regional atrocities, and brutalize their own people protesting against political, economic and social injustice.

 

On November 27, DEBKAfile said Syria's neighbors are preparing for potential retaliation after League members imposed sanctions. Israel moved armored brigades to its Lebanese and Syrian borders. Turkey's military is on alert. Lebanon and Jordan also responded defensively. 

 

"Military sources in the Gulf report that 150 Iranian Revolutionary Guards specialists had landed at a military airport south of Damascus on their way to Lebanon to join Hizbollah which began bringing its rockets out of their hideouts."

 

Russia's supplying Syria super-advanced S-300 anti-missile systems, as well as advanced Pantsir-1 (SA-22 Greyhound) anti-air missiles and supersonic Yakhont (SS-26) missiles for targeting vessels blockading Syria's coast.

 

Resolution's nowhere in sight. Conditions remain fluid. War winds are blowing. Redrawing the region is planned. Arab Spring talk belies strategies to do it. Perhaps destroying it comes first.

 

A Final Comment

 

On November 27, Arab League states approved stiff anti-Syrian economic sanctions. Their 14-point plan includes travel bans on regime officials, asset freezes, blocking sale of "nonessential" commodities, halting transactions with Syria's central bank, and ending financing for Arab-funded projects in the country.

 

Sanctions are effective immediately. Ordinary people will be hurt most. At issue is weakening popular support for Assad to facilitate regime change more easily. In fact, people under duress usually rally behind sitting governments for support. It remains to be seen if Syrians follow suit.

 

On November 28, Mathaba.net reported that Kuwait's al Rai daily learned from unnamed senior European sources that Arab states, with US logistical support, will impose a no-fly zone over Syria once an authorizing Arab League charter decree is issued, calling for the protection of Syrian civilians. 

 

With or without one, attacking a nonbelligerent state is illegal. Nations may only respond against others defensively. Intervening militarily in their internal affairs is prohibited. Nonetheless, doing it for humanitarian reasons will be invoked. It doesn't wash but may work, with or without a Security Council resolution.

 

America and NATO partners aren't deterred by international or statute laws. As a result, Syria is increasingly vulnerable.

 

According to al Rai, a no-fly ban will target Syrian artillery and military vehicles, including tanks and armored personnel carriers. They'll be prohibited from moving freely. European sources say they'd be crippled "in less than 24 hours."

 

War winds are blowing stronger. 

 

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/.                                  

Israel: Profile of a Rogue State

 Israel: Profile of a Rogue State - by Stephen Lendman

 

Rogue states spurn international law, treaties, conventions, and in Israel's case its own laws and Supreme Court decisions.

 

Daily examples offer proof, including from Ahmed el-Helah and Mariam Itani's new book titled, "The Suffering of the Palestinian Child under the Israeli Occupation," saying:

 

Over a million Palestinian children "live and suffer every moment of their lives under the painful reality of occupation."

 

Growing numbers are killed, injured, maimed, handicapped, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. Most are impoverished and many hungry.

 

"What about those who have lost their parents, friends, brothers and sisters due to" continuous Israeli oppression?

 

"What about the children who live in fear and who suffer distress or cannot sleep, who feel unprotected in the face of a ruthless and arrogant Israeli occupation?"

 

They're Palestine's children, out of sight and mind to most people everywhere. Who outside Palestine understands their suffering? 

 

Who can imagine the indifference of world leaders, supporting a ruthless, racist occupier, disdainful of human and civil rights? 

 

Who understands enduring daily assaults, police state justice, and fear of being bombed, shot, or otherwise harmed? How do you comfort young children to hold up in the face of what adults can't tolerate?

 

From September 29, 2000 (the start of the second Intifada) through December 31, 2008, Palestinian children witnessed around 5,900 killings and another 35,000 Israeli caused injuries. 

 

During Israel's war on Gaza, another 1,400 died and thousands sustained injuries, many of them permanently disabling.

 

Children enduring Israeli atrocities "lose their childhood and innocence, just as they lose hope and joy in their lives." 

 

The occupation's extreme harshness causes physical and emotional problems. It also "ignite(s) the spirit of resistance and deepen(s) hatred" against a rogue oppressor disdainful of their rights.

 

The authors concluded saying Israel's occupation must be condemned, ended, and responsible officials "prosecute(d) in international judicial institutions for committing the most horrific and inhumane crimes against" young children, wanting only to live free like Jews.

 

On November 24, Haaretz writer Ari Shavit's article headlined, "Israel is becoming a bullying and violent place," saying:

 

"It's depressing" to see free expression compromised. It's heading perhaps toward prohibiting it altogether to quash political criticism.

 

"It's depressing....to make it harder for journalists to publish in-depth investigative reports." It's unacceptable to gag the media and criminalize writers exposing vital truths everyone should know.

 

It's frightening to see "dark forces....resolved to undermine the rule of law" and defile democratic values and justice. 

 

Shavit calls it "the bacterium of the end that justifies the means; the disease of an agenda that bends the rules." No wonder Israel's not fit to live in, including for most Jews.

 

Following Palestine's UNESCO membership, Israel froze Palestinian Authority (PA) tax revenues vitally needed to operate. Doing so was lawless, malicious and vindictive.

 

On November 24, the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) headlined, "Israel Won't Release Funds to a Fatah-Hamas Unity Government," quoting Israel's ultranationalist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, saying:

 

"Israel will not recognize it, will not negotiate with it, and will not transfer it even one dime" unless it accedes to Israeli demands. In other words, only Israel's rights matter, not Palestine's under any government.

 

On November 23, IMEMC said Israel again bombed Gaza and attacked Palestinian fishing boats. No injuries were reported, but terrified fishermen "suffered anxiety attacks while trying to rush back to shore."

 

Israel forces also invaded An-Nahda, east of Rafah with tanks and military bulldozers to destroy Palestinian land and crops. Shots were fired. Helicopters used flares. No injuries occurred.

 

On November 24, the Palestine News & Information Agency (WAFA) said Israeli forces used heavy military machinery to destroy Palestinian huts and wells in Idhna, west of Hebron. 

 

Samu, Beit Awwa, Halhul, Dora, and Taffuh were also raided near Hebron. Recently released prisoners were ordered to report to Israeli intelligence for questioning. Others were targeted earlier. They'll perhaps be reincarcerated unless agree to spy on their own people. Most refuse and suffer grievously.

 

WAFA also said about 14 buses carrying around 1,400 settlers broke into Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Protected by Israeli forces, they performed rituals and prayers lawlessly.

 

An Israeli military spokeswoman called it a "coordinated entrance." Palestinians said Israeli soldier fired tear gas and stun grenades at angry residents.

 

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said Jews "must restore Israeli control over the tomb because we have to do what is best for Israel." Palestinian rights don't matter. Neither do rule of law principles. Might makes right oppresses Palestinians daily.

 

On November 23, Israel forces raided a Palestinian school in Khirbet Susiya south of Yatta in Hebron. Its principal got demolition orders for the school, a water well and three adjacent greenhouses.

 

Seven teachers and 36 students are affected. After Israel demolished the school last year, it was rebuilt with bricks and tin. Lawless demolitions are official Israeli policy.

 

On November 23, 972mag.com headlined, "Police, protesters clash in front of Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv," saying:

 

Angry about anti-democratic Knesset measures, about 200 people "block(ed) King George Street in the center of the city. Police" used pepper spray. At least one arrest occurred.

 

Earlier in the evening a larger protest was held near where summer social justice demonstrators rallied for weeks.

 

Many covered their their mouths with tape or masks to symbolize opposition against Israel's war on free expression. Increasingly, Israelis know even Jews now have fewer rights on the way perhaps to losing them entirely.

 

On November 21 in Vienna, a closed-door IAEA meeting discussed a nuclear-free Middle East. Iran boycotted the session. Syria attended and called Israel's arsenal a "grave and serious threat."

 

Attending pro-Western despotic Arab League representatives declined comment. Nothing came out of the meeting, despite calls for more Israeli transparency.

 

Israel refused, saying transparency won't come until "the threat perception of all regional members is low." In fact, Israel alone threatens neighbors, including with nuclear weapons.

 

On November 24, Netanyahu criticized Arab Spring supporters, saying it reflects "moving not forward, but backward." He added that history will prove him right about the "Islamic, anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli, and anti-democratic wave" sweeping the region.

 

"Israel is facing a period of instability and uncertainty in the region....I remember many of you urged me to take the opportunity to make hasty concessions, to rush to an agreement" with Palestinians. "But I will not establish Israel's policy on illusions. There's a huge upheaval here. Whoever doesn't see it is burying his head in the sand."

 

In fact, Israel alone menaces regional neighbors. Democracy's disappearing at home. Arab citizens are treated like fifth column threats. Most Israeli Jews are marginalized. Israel's closest Middle East allies are despots. It's only enemies are ones it creates. It needs them to justify violence, occupation and severe repression. 

 

Indeed anti-Israeli sentiment is increasing with good reason. Despots like Netanyahu and extremist MKs make it possible. Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz accused him of creating an Israeli dictatorship, saying:

 

"Orwell's world is coming to life under your government's legislation, which is aiming to enforce elements of oppression and is creating a vision of horrors the likes of which we've never seen. It is as if 1984 is here."

 

He referred to life inside Israel. Imagine how much worse conditions are for Occupied Palestinians, suffering horrific daily oppression.

 

A Final Comment

 

Even a broken clock is right twice daily. On November 22, so was The New York Times, giving rare op-ed space to legitimate commentary for Sarah Schulman's piece titled, "Israel and 'Pinkwashing,' " saying:

 

In 2005, American PR firms began a "Brand Israel" campaign, seeking to portray the Jewish state as "relevant and modern."

 

"The government later expanded the marketing plan by harnessing the gay community to reposition its global image."

 

Tel Aviv's tourism board wants the city branded as "an international gay vacation destination." Last May, "Prime Minister Netanyahu told Congress that the Middle East was 'a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted.' "

 

"The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation (calls) these tactics 'pinkwashing:' a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians' human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life."

 

Israel manipulates hard-won Israeli gay community gains for PR purposes. It also ignores Palestinian gay rights organizations, including Aswat, Al Qaws and the Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

 

Improving gay rights doesn't offset gross human rights violations, especially for Palestinians without "a land to call home."

 

Imagine if all New York Times articles, op-eds and editorials featured journalism like this daily. 

 

Imagine if all major media did, including television. 

 

Imagine the better world we'd all live in instead of one plagued by social injustice, war and environmental destruction endangering everyone.

 

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/.                                  

Rage for Change in Egypt

 Rage for Change in Egypt - by Stephen Lendman

 

Last February, Egyptians celebrated Hosni Mubarak's ouster. He became an obstacle to Washington's Middle East agenda and had to go. 

 

For years, State Department and Pentagon officials wanted him out for opposing key US policies, including Iran's nuclear program and Bush's 2003 Iraq war.

 

A military junta replaced him, headed by Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. He's a powerful old regime stalwart with close ties to Washington. However, US diplomats call him "aged and change-resistant." Notably, he opposes economic and political reform that conflicts with military rule.

 

On November 25, hundreds of thousands rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square against Washington's backed military junta. Chants included:

 

"The people demand the removal of the field marshall (aka dictator)." "We will not go, he should go," and "Down, down with military rule.”

 

Hundreds of thousands more protested in other Egyptian cities. For over a week, demonstrations rallied against Egypt's ruling junta. November 25 and the previous Friday were called the "Friday of One Demand."

 

Deaths and injuries resolved people to press on. Unconfirmed reports suggest lethal US-made tear gas was used, containing a banned chemical agent. As a result, dozens died. Perhaps two thousand or more suffered ill effects. Official numbers have been suppressed.

 

According to the International Business Times, "dangerous levels of CR gas" were used against protesters. Canisters were marked "Made in the USA."

 

CR causes epileptic-type convulsions, vomiting, miscarriages, temporary blindness, intense skin pain, asphyxiation, and other toxic effects.

 

According to Dr. Uwe Heinrich, "there is a distinct possibility that....CS exposure can significantly contribute to or even cause lethal effects."

 

Former IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei's Twitter message said Egyptian forces used "tear gas with (a) nerve agent." Cairo University Hospital's Dr. Mohamed Aden called it "some kind of neuro-toxic nerve gas."

 

On November 24, Tantawi appointed Kamal Ganzouri prime minister to select cabinet members for a new government. From 1996 - 1996, he held the same post under Mubarak, and also served as his Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.

 

Protesters reacted angrily to his appointment. Calling him old guard, they chanted "Illegitimate, illegitimate!" For months, they've expressed intermittent visceral anger against ruling junta generals they want replaced by a civilian government.

 

Obama initially called "for restraint on all sides." State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed support for the ruling junta and its plan to elect a civilian government. 

 

It provides a veneer of legitimacy, a pseudo-democratic facade, no matter how, in fact, it's manipulated. Egyptians understand and want the initial November 28 round cancelled.

 

First they want the junta out, followed by legitimate elections they don't control. Getting them is another matter in a nation with no democratic tradition. Elections under Mubarak were farcical. Improving them will be daunting, and the specter of US military power haunts nations choosing anti-Western governments.

 

For decades, Washington's given Egypt's military billions of dollars in aid, mostly weapons and munitions. Cairo's been the linchpin of US Middle East policy. Its generals are rewarded to serve it. 

 

Tantawi's government collaborated in NATO's Libya war. On March 17, the Wall Street Journal said "Egypt's military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels...." Egyptian commandos also participated.

 

Washington wants a valued ally retained. Whether or not they'll tolerate Tantawi isn't clear. He's aging, set in his ways, and Egyptians despise him. A November 25 White House Press Secretary statement suggests change, but not what Egyptians have in mind, saying:

 

"(W)e believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner....as soon as possible."

 

On November 23, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Egypt's Unfinished Revolution," saying:

 

Egyptians didn't "risk their lives....last winter just to see another military-backed tyranny. (They're) rightly fed up, and they are back in Tahrir Square demanding real democracy."

 

Trouble is they won't get what Washington and Egyptian rulers won't tolerate. Tantawi and those around him may go. However, everything in Egypt will change but stay the same. Parliamentary democracy won't happen. Electoral rules assure it.

 

Whoever they are, military officials will have final say over whoever's elected. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) declared itself the guardian of "constitutional legitimacy."

 

SCAF will retain power to propose and veto legislation, convene and adjourn parliament, appoint and replace the prime minister and cabinet members, and have final say on how Egypt's governed. "Elected" officials will serve them.

 

Those allowed to run or have a chance to win also matter. Revolutionary Egyptians will be shut out. So are women, minorities and anyone challenging entrenched rule.

 

When completed, 498 parliamentarians will be chosen. Most in some way will be tied to decades of corrupt military rule. Secular dominance will continue with likely significant Muslim Brotherhood (MB) representation. It ignited popular anger by cutting a deal with the military. It's now staying more low key.

 

Profile of the Muslim Brotherhood

 

MB leaders aren't liberal and don't threaten Washington, Israel or Western interests. Western intelligence agencies, including CIA, have had longstanding MB ties, Britain since the 1940s.

 

In his book "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude," former CIA case officer/Middle East specialist Robert Baer, described Washington's "dirty little secret," since the 1950s, saying: 

 

"The CIA funnel(led) support to the Muslim Brotherhood because of (its) commendable capacity to overthrow Nasser....The White House looked on the Brothers as a silent ally, a secret weapon against - what else? - communism."

 

"The covert action started in the 1950s with the Dulles brothers - Allen at the CIA and John Foster at the State Department. As far as Washington was concerned, Nasser was a communist."

 

In fact, he combined Pan-Arabism, nationalism, anti-colonialism and anti-Zionism. In his book, "Nasser's Egypt, Arab Nationalism, and the United Arab Republic," James Jankowski said he promoted unity, arguing that he did so to prevent Syria from going communist.

 

Referring to the "logic of the Cold War," Baer said America was willing to support radical Islamists as long as "Allah agreed to fight on our side....If Allah (wanted) political assassination(s), that was fine too, as long as no one talked about it in polite company."

 

In the 1920s, Britain established the MB's precursor, the Society of Propaganda and Guidance. They used it to back colonial rule. Its journal, The Lighthouse, attacked Egyptian nationalists wanting self-determination. 

 

They called them "atheists and infidels." Its Institute of Propaganda and Guidance taught regional Islamists political agitation methods to contest anti-colonialism back home. Hassan al-Banna, one its graduates, founded the MB in 1928.

 

In his book "Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam," Robert Dreyfuss called MB an "unabashed British intelligence front," operating in Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

 

In 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser helped overthrow the Egyptian and Sudanese monarchies. After he became president in 1956, MB was used as a weapon against him. Saudi leaders provided funding and sanctuary after his crackdown. At the same time, America offered support as a bulwark against secular nationalism and communism.

 

"In 1974, the Muslim Brotherhood formally issued a declaration commanding its members to support Sadat's pro-IMF infitah (economic opening). Such an action was true to form for political Islam."

 

Throughout its history, MB members have been militantly pro-capitalist and against class-struggle on principle. Rarely did they support the poor, disenfranchised, or downtrodden. In Egypt, they didn't side with aggrieved workers or farmers who lost out under Sadat. 

 

Instead they opposed unions and leftists besides engaging in strikebreaking. In turn, they were supported by wealthy financial and business interests, often secretly, including the Saudis. They also created their own businesses and banks, including the Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt in 1976. It became a cornerstone of Islamic banks run by Saudi Prince Mohammed al-Faisal, son of King Faisal.

 

Moreover, Uthman Ahmed Uthman, a wealthy industrialist called "the Egyptian Rockefeller" actively bankrolled the MB in the 1970s. Its ideology and Islamic banking catapulted right-wing Islam to worldwide power.

 

For nearly 90 years, Washington, Britain and other Western governments supported Islamists strategically against nationalist or democratic movements. The 1920s relationship continues today.

 

A Final Comment 

 

Though Egypt's Constitution prohibits religious political parties, MB members won small numbers of legislative seats as independents, representing the largest opposition block. In upcoming 2011/2012 elections, expect them to gain even greater representation. Washington won't object.

 

Egyptians should plenty about a manipulative process to leave wealth and power entrenched at the expense of ignored popular interests.

 

As a result, Egypt's liberating struggle continues to replace military rule with democracy. Getting it's another matter. 

 

Washington orchestrated Middle East events since last winter to solidify regional control. Change depends on challenging it successfully. 

 

Grassroots revolutionary upheaval is needed. Confronting entrenched power successfully is daunting. It remains to be seen if Egyptians will pay the price long-term.

 

Will others across the region join them? Will Europeans and Americans? Their choice is fight back or endure poverty, human misery and tyranny. 

 

They're spreading unless popular struggles stop what no one should tolerate. The time is now. The name of the game is resist!

 

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/.                                  

Heading for War on Syria?

 Heading for War on Syria? - by Stephen Lendman

 

Libya's model is being replicated in Syria. So far, it's short of war. For how long is uncertain. Expect it if current tactics fail. More on that below.

 

At issue is regime change, establishing another client state, and isolating Iran ahead of similar tactics there. It's part of America's Middle East project to redraw the region according to US/Israeli geopolitical aims.

 

Washington's dirty hands lie behind what's happening. Partners include Israel, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon's March 8 Alliance, Jordan, and other despotic Arab League states. 

 

Obama, the peace candidate, wages wars like a crazed psychopath. Already fighting multiple failed ones, he can't wait to start another. Someone please post a sign outside the White House saying stop me before I bomb again.

 

In mid-November, Russia's Vladimir Putin called NATO's Libyan intervention "a complete affront to the international community." 

 

Meeting with Valdai groups members in Moscow, he warned against similar tactics in Syria. He also accused Washington and other Western states of hypocritically attacking regimes they previously supported.

 

Saying he'll be as internationally combative if again elected president next March, he stressed that Russia won't support interventionist anti-Syrian Security Council resolutions similar to ones targeting Libya.

 

Last winter, externally generated Syrian uprisings began. National Security Council strategic communications director Ben Rhodes called the Libyan model a template for future US/NATO interventions, but "(h)ow much we translate to Syria remains to be seen."

 

"The Syrian opposition doesn't want foreign military forces, but do want more countries to cut trade with the regime and break with it politically." After that, anything is possible, including war.

 

Throughout the conflict, heavily armed insurgents are de facto death squads. They've targeted civilians, state security forces, and government buildings. Hypocritically, Assad's blamed for confronting them.

 

Syria remains the region's only independent secular state. Despite legitimate political, economic and social grievances, mass rallies confirm considerable Assad support. Typically this happens during conflicts when people back government efforts against them.

 

Imported Al Qaeda elements are involved, similar to  Libya's insurgency. Their agenda isn't freedom fighting. It's transforming Syria into a Saudi-like sheikdom under Sharia law, much different from what most Syrians know and want.

 

So far, Assad's military remains largely intact. Ruling Alawites control key units. If loyalty to the regime holds, insurgents without NATO's help won't defeat it.

 

Stiff sanctions were also imposed. For the most part, civilians are harmed. Deposing governments this way doesn't work. They didn't topple Saddam Hussain or Gaddafi. They haven't unseated governments in Iran or Sudan. Nor in besieged Gaza, despite severe poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and overall deprivation, compounded by regular Israeli attacks.

 

International law issues are also raised. Sanctions must conform to international human rights and humanitarian principles so civilian populations aren't harmed.

 

Specifically, food, medical and other essential supplies and services can't be embargoed. Humanitarian assistance must be offered. Geneva and Additional Protocols call for assurances during armed conflict. 

 

The right to life, medical care, health, food, clothing, housing, and other essentials fall under their principles. As a result, sanctions must include humanitarian considerations. Harm to civilian populations must be minimized. Permitting undo suffering is unacceptable.

 

Fourth Geneva's Article 33 prohibits collective punishment, saying:

 

"No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited....Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."

 

Western imposed economic sanctions violate fundamental international law provisions.

 

Pro-Western Arab League Duplicity

 

On November 16, Arab League officials proposed deploying 500 civilian and military monitors to assess whether Syria's abiding by their brokered peace plan to end conflict they support.

 

Syria requested modifications. Arab League officials rejected them. Assad said "(t)h conflict will continue, and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue. However, I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it."

 

Deployed monitors are a step short of occupation. It's reminiscent of events preceding NATO's 1999 Serbia/Kosovo war. In March 1999, Slobodon Milosovic got an acceptable ultimatum, the so-called Rambouillet Agreement. It was a take-it-or-leave it deal no responsible leader would accept.

 

It involved surrendering Serbia's sovereignty to NATO occupation with unimpeded access throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), including its airspace and territorial waters. Moreover, NATO demanded use of any area or facilities therein for its mission, irrespective of FRY laws.

 

It also required Milosevic's full cooperation. It was an offer designed for rejection. War, mass destruction and slaughter followed. Serbia's sovereign Kosovo territory was lost. 

 

It's now a Washington/NATO occupied colony, home to Camp Bondsteel, one of America's largest military bases. It's run by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, an unindicted drug trafficker with known organized crime ties.

 

Washington has similar designs on Syria. War's perhaps  planned. Pro-Western Arab League despots supported NATO's Libya war, mass slaughter and destruction. At the same time, they ignore ongoing atrocities in Bahrain, Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, elsewhere in the region, and internally.

 

Since March, they supported Western-backed anti-Syrian insurgents. War, occupation, and regional instability may follow.

 

On and off for months, half or more of League members attacked, killed, arrested, imprisoned, and/or brutalized their own people for protesting against political, economic and social injustice.

 

Expect them shortly to recognize the illegitimate Syrian National Council. It's similar to Libya's puppet Transitional National Council (TNC). They both abhor democracy. SNC hard-liners support Western military intervention.

 

Originally formed in 2005, it was revived on August 23, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. It represents Western-backed internal opposition elements against the rights and interests of most Syrians.

 

Iran's also being pressured. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. With Arab League backing, general war's possible, no matter how potentially disastrous.

 

Everything's being orchestrated in Washington. Its agenda includes ravaging the world one country at a time. Syria and Iran are targeted. 

 

As a result, no one anywhere is safe, including Americans ruled by rogue leaders.

 

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/.                                  

Gaza: Good News and Bad

 Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinians with Impunity - by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestinians are doubly cursed. Israel's military attacks them regularly. During the past week alone, Israeli air strikes killed four Gazans, wounding another 14.

 

Al-Nabi Saleh village residents participating in a peaceful demonstration were assaulted. Two injuries were reported, including a child. Israel's navy arrested three Palestinian fishermen, confiscating their boats.

 

Their security forces conducted 91 incursions (13 a day on average) into Palestinian communities, arresting 14 civilians. One injury was reported.

 

Israeli security forces raided homes of recently released Palestinian prisoners. They were ordered to appear for questioning to harass and perhaps re-incarcerate them.

 

In addition, Palestinian property was attacked, bulldozed, otherwise destroyed or damaged.

 

All the above incidents and similar daily ones violate international and Israeli law.

 

Lawless Israeli settlers also assault Palestinians with impunity. Investigations when held are whitewashed. Rarely is anyone prosecuted even for offenses too serious to ignore.

 

On November 11, B'Tselem reported on "Settler violence against Palestinian farmers and their property, Beitillu, Ramallah District," saying:

 

On October 24, 25 and 26, four attacks occurred. Three involved settlers damaging or uprooting olive trees on privately owned Palestinian land near Nahli'el and Talmon settlements. A Palestinian farmer was also assaulted on his land.

 

On October 24, Faiz Abu Ziyada, a Beitillu resident, saw signs posted on olive trees on his land. It's several hundred meters from the illegal Nahli'el settlement.

 

Abu Ziyada complained to police. The same day, Hassan Tabal, another Beitillu resident, found 30 of his olive trees burned. Twenty were totally destroyed. He also notified police.

 

On October 25, Abu Ziyada family members waited for Israeli soldiers to accompany them to their land to pick olives. Settlers assaulted them. Two soldiers present did nothing. Instead, they told Palestinians to leave.

 

Given no choice, they watched helplessly from a distance while settlers smashed windows in their car. Instead of stopping them, soldiers summoned police. They arrived to investigate. Palestinians know settlers commit violence with impunity. Inquiries of any sort go nowhere.

 

While family members were being questioned, Aa'il Abu Ziyada saw damage done to his olive trees. Branches were maliciously broken off. The previous day they were unharmed.

 

On October 26, Bazar family members saw branches torn off 10 of their olive trees. Later an Al Jazeera jeep arriving to document the damage was stoned. A B'Tselem volunteer with them was injured when a stone struck him in the neck.

 

Last year, B'Tselem documented six settler vandalism incidents. They happen regularly. Many aren't reported. Affected Palestinians may fear for their lives. Other times complaints lodged fall on deaf ears.

 

In 2010, B'Tselem discussed several incidents near Talmon, Dolev and Hanli'el settlements. They included assaults, threats, damage to trees, and crop theft. Farmers complained to police.

 

Four cases were closed, three on grounds of "offender unknown." It's polite language for whitewash. Another ended for reasons unknown, and a fifth one remains unresolved.

 

In 2006, Israel's High Court ruled that "protection of the safety and property of the local residents is one of the most fundamental obligations imposed on the military commander in the field."

 

The Court ordered four principles maintained:

  •  
  • assuring Palestinian farmers are safe during olive harvest;

 

  • that they have free access to their land;

 

  • that security forces protect their property; and

 

  • thoroughly investigate complaints filed.

 

Israeli government and military officials routinely ignore Supreme Court rulings, doing what they wish extralegally.

 

Instead of protecting Palestinians, Israeli soldiers prevent them from accessing their land, and require they coordinate harvesting olives to suit military commander demands.

 

They claim coordination is needed to prevent or minimize settler attacks. Of course, they'd be few or none if guilty parties were arrested and prosecuted, including being forced to make restitution for damaged property.

 

The above cases show how disdainfully authorities treat Palestinians. At the same time, settlers get free reign to assault farmers on their land and vandalize their property.

 

B'Tselem wanted answers from Israel's Binyamin brigade. Instead it got meaningless responses, signifying nothing would be done regarding the above incidents or to prevent future ones.

 

Soldiers present when Abu Ziyada family members were assaulted violated military orders to detain offenders until police arrived. It rarely happens. Settlers know they can do what they please with impunity.

 

OCHA Documents 2011 Settler Violence

 

A November Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the Occupied Palestinian Territory discussed this year's settler violence to date. These facts were covered:

  •  
  • on average, weekly settler attacks causing Palestinian injuries and property damage increased 40% compared to 2010, 165% to 2009;

 

  • settlers killed three Palestinians, injuring another 167;

 

  • another Palestinian was killed and 101 injured by soldiers intervening in settler-farmer clashes; Palestinians were harmed instead of protected;

 

  • eight settlers were killed, another 30 injured, compared to five deaths and 43 injuries in 2010;

 

  • settlers damaged or destroyed nearly 10,000 Palestinian trees, mainly olive ones; the livelihoods of hundreds of families were significantly undermined;

 

  • in July 2011, repeated attacks entirely displaced a Palestinian community of 127;

 

  • Israeli police summarily dismissed over 90% of  Palestinian complaints; and

 

  • OCHA identified over 80 Palestinian communities with a combined population of nearly 250,000 vulnerable to settler violence, including 76,000 at high risk.

 

OCHA concluded that:

 

(1) Settler violence undermines the security and livelihoods of West Bank Palestinians.

 

(2) Many attacks were committed by settlers living in unauthorized Israeli "outposts," many built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

 

(3) Settler violence stems from Israel's longstanding policy of stealing Palestinian land, displacing Arabs with Jews, and turning a blind eye to their lawlessness.

 

(4) International and Israeli laws are ignored. Most investigations are whitewashed. Settlers commit vandalism and assaults with impunity. As a result, they continue unchallenged.

 

(5) Settler violence increases the risk of Palestinian displacement. Stealing more land is facilitated.

 

(6) Israel is legally obligated to prevent settler attacks, protect Palestinian property, and prosecute settler offenders. It rarely happens.

 

A Final Comment

 

Across America, cops attack protesters with mace, pepper spray, tear gas, beatings, and other crowd dispersal methods.

 

In some parts of the world, demonstrators risk their lives protesting, in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain.

 

On November 19, an email arrived saying the following:

 

"We are very sad about the death of a child supporting the Occupy Wall St. movement. He was also one of the members of the Occupy Bahrain movement.

 

The 16 year old child was killed by (monarchal) Al Khalifa mercenaries. His name is Ali Yousif Badah. He is from Sitra City.

 

Yes it is in Bahrain - it happend after midnight on Friday night, i.e. early Saturday morning. After Ali was run over by a police car, mercenaries cleaned up blood and remains from the crime scene, and an ambulance later picked up his body.

 

His father said that it is difficult to look at Ali's body, as it has been run over in a terribly brutal way. May God help his family!"

 

Since February, dozens of other protesting Bahrainis were murdered in cold blood. So far, it hasn't gone this far in America.

 

Given Washington's appetite for violence, belligerence in all forms can't be ruled out if authorities decide on much harsher ways to crack down.

 

Some critics are silenced other ways. On November 18, Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abuninah said Washington's National Press Club suspended journalist Sam Husseini for asking former Saudi intelligence head Prince Turki al-Faisal this question:

 

"There's been a lot of talk about the legitimacy of the Syrian regime. I want to know what legitimacy your regime has, sir."

 

"You come before us, representative of one of the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth."

 

"Human Rights Watch and others report of torture and detention of activists. You squelched the democratic uprising in Bahrain. You tried to overturn the democratic uprising in Egypt, and indeed you continue to oppress your own people."

 

"What legitimacy does your regime have - other than with billions of dollars and weapons" supporting you?

 

In response, National Press Club executive director William McCarren suspended Husseini for "boisterous and unseemly conduct and language."

 

America's major media, especially television, also suppress critics of state and corporate power, as well as Israel and foreign despots allied with Washington.

 

Recognition and acceptance depend on saying nothing offensive about entrenched power interests. Criticize and risk exclusion, banishment or worse.

 

Increasingly, America's First Amendment isn't worth the parchment it's reproduced on. Cross a forbidden line and get punished. Cross it on America's streets against Wall Street and corporate greed and get brutalized by rogue cops.

 

Cross it repeatedly and risk life and limb if your views resonate globally. America won't tolerate democratic values at home or abroad.

 

In contrast, despotic rogue allies and their supporters are welcome. Husseini and courageous journalists are punished for doing what mainstream ones won't dare - their job.

 

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/.                                  

Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinians with Impunity

 Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinians with Impunity - by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestinians are doubly cursed. Israel's military attacks them regularly. During the past week alone, Israeli air strikes killed four Gazans, wounding another 14.

 

Al-Nabi Saleh village residents participating in a peaceful demonstration were assaulted. Two injuries were reported, including a child. Israel's navy arrested three Palestinian fishermen, confiscating their boats.

 

Their security forces conducted 91 incursions (13 a day on average) into Palestinian communities, arresting 14 civilians. One injury was reported.

 

Israeli security forces raided homes of recently released Palestinian prisoners. They were ordered to appear for questioning to harass and perhaps re-incarcerate them.

 

In addition, Palestinian property was attacked, bulldozed, otherwise destroyed or damaged.

 

All the above incidents and similar daily ones violate international and Israeli law.

 

Lawless Israeli settlers also assault Palestinians with impunity. Investigations when held are whitewashed. Rarely is anyone prosecuted even for offenses too serious to ignore.

 

On November 11, B'Tselem reported on "Settler violence against Palestinian farmers and their property, Beitillu, Ramallah District," saying:

 

On October 24, 25 and 26, four attacks occurred. Three involved settlers damaging or uprooting olive trees on privately owned Palestinian land near Nahli'el and Talmon settlements. A Palestinian farmer was also assaulted on his land.

 

On October 24, Faiz Abu Ziyada, a Beitillu resident, saw signs posted on olive trees on his land. It's several hundred meters from the illegal Nahli'el settlement.

 

Abu Ziyada complained to police. The same day, Hassan Tabal, another Beitillu resident, found 30 of his olive trees burned. Twenty were totally destroyed. He also notified police.

 

On October 25, Abu Ziyada family members waited for Israeli soldiers to accompany them to their land to pick olives. Settlers assaulted them. Two soldiers present did nothing. Instead, they told Palestinians to leave.

 

Given no choice, they watched helplessly from a distance while settlers smashed windows in their car. Instead of stopping them, soldiers summoned police. They arrived to investigate. Palestinians know settlers commit violence with impunity. Inquiries of any sort go nowhere.

 

While family members were being questioned, Aa'il Abu Ziyada saw damage done to his olive trees. Branches were maliciously broken off. The previous day they were unharmed.

 

On October 26, Bazar family members saw branches torn off 10 of their olive trees. Later an Al Jazeera jeep arriving to document the damage was stoned. A B'Tselem volunteer with them was injured when a stone struck him in the neck.

 

Last year, B'Tselem documented six settler vandalism incidents. They happen regularly. Many aren't reported. Affected Palestinians may fear for their lives. Other times complaints lodged fall on deaf ears.

 

In 2010, B'Tselem discussed several incidents near Talmon, Dolev and Hanli'el settlements. They included assaults, threats, damage to trees, and crop theft. Farmers complained to police.

 

Four cases were closed, three on grounds of "offender unknown." It's polite language for whitewash. Another ended for reasons unknown, and a fifth one remains unresolved.

 

In 2006, Israel's High Court ruled that "protection of the safety and property of the local residents is one of the most fundamental obligations imposed on the military commander in the field."

 

The Court ordered four principles maintained:

  •  
  • assuring Palestinian farmers are safe during olive harvest;

 

  • that they have free access to their land;

 

  • that security forces protect their property; and

 

  • thoroughly investigate complaints filed.

 

Israeli government and military officials routinely ignore Supreme Court rulings, doing what they wish extralegally.

 

Instead of protecting Palestinians, Israeli soldiers prevent them from accessing their land, and require they coordinate harvesting olives to suit military commander demands.

 

They claim coordination is needed to prevent or minimize settler attacks. Of course, they'd be few or none if guilty parties were arrested and prosecuted, including being forced to make restitution for damaged property.

 

The above cases show how disdainfully authorities treat Palestinians. At the same time, settlers get free reign to assault farmers on their land and vandalize their property.

 

B'Tselem wanted answers from Israel's Binyamin brigade. Instead it got meaningless responses, signifying nothing would be done regarding the above incidents or to prevent future ones.

 

Soldiers present when Abu Ziyada family members were assaulted violated military orders to detain offenders until police arrived. It rarely happens. Settlers know they can do what they please with impunity.

 

OCHA Documents 2011 Settler Violence

 

A November Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the Occupied Palestinian Territory discussed this year's settler violence to date. These facts were covered:

  •  
  • on average, weekly settler attacks causing Palestinian injuries and property damage increased 40% compared to 2010, 165% to 2009;

 

  • settlers killed three Palestinians, injuring another 167;

 

  • another Palestinian was killed and 101 injured by soldiers intervening in settler-farmer clashes; Palestinians were harmed instead of protected;

 

  • eight settlers were killed, another 30 injured, compared to five deaths and 43 injuries in 2010;

 

  • settlers damaged or destroyed nearly 10,000 Palestinian trees, mainly olive ones; the livelihoods of hundreds of families were significantly undermined;

 

  • in July 2011, repeated attacks entirely displaced a Palestinian community of 127;

 

  • Israeli police summarily dismissed over 90% of  Palestinian complaints; and

 

  • OCHA identified over 80 Palestinian communities with a combined population of nearly 250,000 vulnerable to settler violence, including 76,000 at high risk.

 

OCHA concluded that:

 

(1) Settler violence undermines the security and livelihoods of West Bank Palestinians.

 

(2) Many attacks were committed by settlers living in unauthorized Israeli "outposts," many built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

 

(3) Settler violence stems from Israel's longstanding policy of stealing Palestinian land, displacing Arabs with Jews, and turning a blind eye to their lawlessness.

 

(4) International and Israeli laws are ignored. Most investigations are whitewashed. Settlers commit vandalism and assaults with impunity. As a result, they continue unchallenged.

 

(5) Settler violence increases the risk of Palestinian displacement. Stealing more land is facilitated.

 

(6) Israel is legally obligated to prevent settler attacks, protect Palestinian property, and prosecute settler offenders. It rarely happens.

 

A Final Comment

 

Across America, cops attack protesters with mace, pepper spray, tear gas, beatings, and other crowd dispersal methods.

 

In some parts of the world, demonstrators risk their lives protesting, in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain.

 

On November 19, an email arrived saying the following:

 

"We are very sad about the death of a child supporting the Occupy Wall St. movement. He was also one of the members of the Occupy Bahrain movement.

 

The 16 year old child was killed by (monarchal) Al Khalifa mercenaries. His name is Ali Yousif Badah. He is from Sitra City.

 

Yes it is in Bahrain - it happend after midnight on Friday night, i.e. early Saturday morning. After Ali was run over by a police car, mercenaries cleaned up blood and remains from the crime scene, and an ambulance later picked up his body.

 

His father said that it is difficult to look at Ali's body, as it has been run over in a terribly brutal way. May God help his family!"

 

Since February, dozens of other protesting Bahrainis were murdered in cold blood. So far, it hasn't gone this far in America.

 

Given Washington's appetite for violence, belligerence in all forms can't be ruled out if authorities decide on much harsher ways to crack down.

 

Some critics are silenced other ways. On November 18, Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abuninah said Washington's National Press Club suspended journalist Sam Husseini for asking former Saudi intelligence head Prince Turki al-Faisal this question:

 

"There's been a lot of talk about the legitimacy of the Syrian regime. I want to know what legitimacy your regime has, sir."

 

"You come before us, representative of one of the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth."

 

"Human Rights Watch and others report of torture and detention of activists. You squelched the democratic uprising in Bahrain. You tried to overturn the democratic uprising in Egypt, and indeed you continue to oppress your own people."

 

"What legitimacy does your regime have - other than with billions of dollars and weapons" supporting you?

 

In response, National Press Club executive director William McCarren suspended Husseini for "boisterous and unseemly conduct and language."

 

America's major media, especially television, also suppress critics of state and corporate power, as well as Israel and foreign despots allied with Washington.

 

Recognition and acceptance depend on saying nothing offensive about entrenched power interests. Criticize and risk exclusion, banishment or worse.

 

Increasingly, America's First Amendment isn't worth the parchment it's reproduced on. Cross a forbidden line and get punished. Cross it on America's streets against Wall Street and corporate greed and get brutalized by rogue cops.

 

Cross it repeatedly and risk life and limb if your views resonate globally. America won't tolerate democratic values at home or abroad.

 

In contrast, despotic rogue allies and their supporters are welcome. Husseini and courageous journalists are punished for doing what mainstream ones won't dare - their job.

 

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/.                                  

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine: South Africa Session

 The Russell Tribunal on Palestine: South Africa Session - by Stephen Lendman

 

Launched on March 4, 2009, "The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law (to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (by focusing on) the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies (and) address(ing) the failure of application of law even though it has been so clearly identified." 

 

It begins where the International Court of Justice "stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law, including those of the international community, which cannot continue to shirk its obligations."

 

RToP follows in the BRussell Tribunal's tradition, named after famed philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970). Over 50 years ago he warned:

 

"Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war" and live in peace, because no other option is possible.

 

Established in 1967, the BRussell Tribunal investigated Vietnam war crimes. More recently, it addressed Iraq war ones and imperial America under Bush and Obama. 

 

RToP exposes Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians. It wants decades of colonialism, occupation and apartheid replaced by justice, equality, and peace.

 

RToP's Cape Town South Africa Session

 

On RToP's second day, its web site (russelltribunalonpalestine.com) was hacked and disabled. An Internet consultant called it "no amateur job."

 

Doing an important right thing has a price. Dark Israeli-connected forces attacked it in vain. RToP won't be silenced. Neither will others exposing decades of Israeli crimes.

 

On Facebook last week, RToP's coordinator Frank Barat said:

 

"Zionists in South Africa are going mad. Every newsroom in the country has received (a) gift box of anti-Russell material."

 

They also created "Russell the kangaroo" Facebook and Twitter accounts to attack RToP. So far, they've attracted scant attention. 

 

On November 6, Maan News headlined, "Israeli army, intel sites down after 'Anonymous' threat," saying Palestine Internet service was disabled by "a serious act of sabotage."

 

Held on November 5 and 6, RToP proceeded successfully as planned. Its findings are discussed below. Distribute them for maximum exposure. Everyone should understand Israeli lawlessness against nonviolent civilians.

 

Apartheid

 

RToP accused Israel of "subject(ing) the Palestinian people to an institutionised regime amounting to apartheid as defined under international law."

 

Militarized colonial rule is especially repugnant. Ongoing for over 44 years, Israel's version is monstrous. Occupied Palestinians face daily oppression and indignities. Israeli Arabs have virtually no rights in a Jewish state, affording them solely to Jews.

 

Racist discrimination defines official Israeli policy. So does systematic state terror, committing gross civil and human rights violations.

 

The 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (the Declaration on Colonialism), condemned "colonialism in all its forms and manifestations," including illegal settlements. 

 

According to the 1973 International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention), this practice is state-sanctioned discriminatory "inhuman" racism "committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them." 

 

Apartheid is an international crime. The above definition builds on the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). 

 

In addition, the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court calls apartheid a crime under the Court's jurisdiction. Though flagrantly guilty, Israel is yet to be held accountable. 

 

Inhuman Acts of Apartheid

 

Clear evidence exposed Israel's apartheid rule, including ongoing "inhuman acts" committed against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. They include:

  •  
  • targeted killings;

 

  • torture and ill-treatment;

 

  • arbitrary detentions and other deprivations of liberty;

 

  • excluding Palestinians "from participating in political, economic, social and cultural life;"

 

  • preventing diaspora Palestinians from returning as international law mandates;

 

  • denying or restricting Palestinian free movement, speech, assembly, residence, right of association, education, healthcare, housing, and other rights equal to Jews; and

 

  • stealing their land, bulldozing their homes, and forcefully displacing them.

 

As a result, Arabs and Jews are largely segregated lawlessly, a policy called "hafrada," meaning separation in Hebrew.

 

Abuses aren't random or isolated. They're willful systematic policies, rooted in law and practice. In all respects, Jews receive preferential treatment over Arabs deemed inferior, not wanted, and inside Israel called  fifth column threats.

 

Occupied Palestinians face institutionalized separation and discrimination under militarized rule. They're "subject to military law enforced by military courts that fall far short of international fair trial standards."

 

In contrast, settlers are "subject to civil law and a civil court system" under Israeli law. As a result, two vastly different systems exist side by side. One affords justice, at least to some degree. The other affords none. The entire process is rigged to convict or force plea bargains for lesser sentences and fines. Rarely are accused Palestinians acquitted, no matter their innocence.

 

Persecution as a Crime against Humanity

 

It "involves the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights of the members of an identifiable group in the context of a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population." Clear evidence is as follows:

  •  
  • besieging Gaza; committing slow-motion genocide;

 

  • collectively punishing Palestinians;

 

  • willfully targeting civilians during large-scale conflicts, on and off attacks, and regular neighborhood incursions;

 

  • lawlessly destroying civilian homes;

 

  • lawlessly building a Separation Wall to steal Palestinian land; and

 

  • forcible dispossessions to seize all valued West Bank areas and East Jerusalem to entirely Judaize it.

 

Legal Consequences

 

Militarized occupation, colonialism and apartheid violate international law and norms. So do loss of life, property and equal opportunity. Holding Israel accountable is essential, including ending lawless practices, prosecuting culpable officials, and mandating restitution insofar as possible.

 

In fact, states and organizations are required "to cooperate (in ending) Israel's apartheid and policies of persecution...." They must also "end Israel's infringements of international criminal law...." No longer can they be allowed to continue.

 

Recommendations

  •  
  • "immediately dismantle" Israel's apartheid system;

 

  • rescind its discriminatory laws and practices and prohibit new ones;

 

  • impose sanctions and sever diplomatic ties until all illegal Israeli practices end;

 

  • mandate International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations and prosecutions of culpable Israeli officials;

 

  • enlist support from all groups and individuals comprising global civil society;

 

  • support boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) worldwide;

 

  • reconstitute a General Assembly anti-apartheid Special Committee to address "individuals, organizations, banks, companies, corporations, charities, and any other private or public bodies which assist Israel's apartheid regime with a view to taking appropriate measures;

 

  • request an International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion with respect to Israel's longstanding occupation and apartheid;

 

  • have the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination address "apartheid in its forthcoming review of Israel in February 2012;" and

 

  • assure no Israeli reprisals against South Africa for hosting RToP's third session.

 

RToP is committed to ending Israel's occupation, colonialism, apartheid, persecution, injustice, and conflict over diplomatic resolutions, as well as enlisting world support toward those ends. 

 

Nothing less is acceptable or tolerable, nor will it ever be.

 

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/.

Iran: WMDs Redux

 Iran: WMDs Redux - by Stephen Lendman

 

Here we go again. Everything that goes around, comes around. We've seen it all before, each time fake. Nothing's different now. 

 

Previous articles said US intelligence assessments through March 2011 found no evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons development.

 

During his December 1, 1997 - November 30, 2009 tenure as IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei concurred. He carefully avoided anti-Iranian rhetoric and baseless charges.

 

After his departure, agency policy changed. IAEA was established as an intergovernmental scientific and technical cooperation forum. It was also to insure safe, peaceful nuclear technology applications. Initially independent, it now reports to the General Assembly and Security Council.

 

Current head, Yukiya Amano, politicized IAEA policy for Western interests, mainly Washington's. Doing so plays with fire, given nuclear technology stakes.

 

Lies launch all wars, including America's post-WW II. Israel's also.

 

Bogusly accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons refutes known evidence claiming otherwise. 

 

Washington enlisted Yamano to lie. He didn't disappoint. Ahead of his report's release, he visited Washington for instructions. Exposing his duplicity is vital. 

 

War must be prevented at all costs. Hopefully world leaders won't tolerate it.

 

On November 8, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told Press TV:

 

"There are some very serious questions (about Yamano's) study. It's obviously a basis for creating an atmosphere for launching an attack on Iran."

 

"My sources tell me here in Washington that they monitor Israeli activities, and they see (things happening) unabated. There are preparations for cancellation of civilian leave, not only these tests, but also fueling and arming missiles. It's building up to a crescendo!"

 

"I have not seen, and no one has convinced me, that Iran is going beyond just enriching uranium for the purpose of medical and other (nonmilitary) purposes."

 

"I'm really concerned that some accident is going to create another hostility."

 

He worries most about Israeli recklessness, regardless of whether Washington approves. Whether war winds target Iran isn't known. Only the fullness of time will tell.

 

Iraq - the Last Deception

 

Robert Abele discussed it in his book titled, "Anatomy of a Deception: A Reconstruction and Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq."

 

Reconstructing public dialogue, he explained events ahead of bombing, invading and occupying Iraq. No casus belli existed. Inventing one followed. Alleged evidence was fabricated. The cradle of civilization was destroyed.

 

Abele discussed manipulating public opinion four ways relating to:

  •  
  • Washington's imperial ambitions;

 

  • major media support, cheerleading US wars;

 

  • public ignorance, lack of critical thinking, and indifference; and

 

  • violations of international law and ethical principles.

 

All wars follow similar patterns based on lies, misinformation and deception, including World Wars I and II. 

 

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber's book, titled "Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq" covered similar ground, including how professional PR strategies, euphemisms, and jargon manipulate public thinking.

 

When evidence doesn't exist, it's invented. Later when discovered untrue, it's too late. People are persuaded to think wars make them safer. They never did and don't now. Wars beget more of them, benefitting profiteers and duplicitous politicians only.

 

James Bamford's book titled, "A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies" discussed destruction, detection and deception in three parts. 

 

Part three covered manipulative Washington and Israeli duplicity used to justify attacking Iraq, oust Saddam, install a pro-US puppet regime, benefit Israel by removing a rival, and change the Middle East map.

 

September 11, the war on terror, WMDs, mushroom shaped cloud hysteria, manipulated intelligence, the Al Qaeda connection, and more hyped nonexistent threats to generate fear and enlist public support.

 

Patterns repeat in all wars. Only aggressors, targets, and language change. Aims and tactics are consistent. Death, destruction and human misery follow.

 

Definition of WMDs 

 

Weapons of mass destructions (WMDs) include chemical, biological and radiological devices capable of causing widespread death and destruction.

 

Wikipedia defines them as weapons able to "kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans (and other life forms) and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e.g. buildings), natural structures (e.g. mountains), or the biosphere in general."

 

"The scope and application of the term has evolved and been disputed, often signifying more politically than technically."

 

WMDs - Pretext for Attacking Iraq

 

Iraq had no nuclear weapons. After Operation Desert Storm, UNSCOM inspectors destroyed its chemical and biological ones. In June 1999, chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter told an interviewer: 

 

"When you ask the question, 'Does Iraq possess militarily viable biological or chemical weapons?' the answer is no! It is a resounding NO."

 

"Can Iraq produce today chemical weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Can Iraq produce biological weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Ballistic missiles? No! It has 'no' access across the board." 

 

"So from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction capability."

 

Nonetheless, Bush administration officials, Ahmed Chalabi, other duplicitous Iraqis, fake intelligence sources, paid-to-lie experts, PR manipulators, and media scoundrels like New York Times writer Judith Miller falsely claimed Saddam maintained covert WMD stockpiles. 

 

Britain's Dodgy Dossier cooked the books to fit Bush administration policy to attack, invade and occupy Iraq without cause, using fake intelligence.

 

Later evidence confirmed no WMD threat when it was too late to matter. Pre-war claims were false. Mushroom shaped cloud threats were bogus. Mobile biological weapons production was nonexistent. 

 

Documents alleging Saddam bought Niger yellowcake uranium power were forged. He used aluminum tubes for artillery shells, not nuclear weapons. No evidence proved uranium centrifuge designs, development or production.

 

Nonetheless, lies justified lawless aggression against a nonbelligerent country posing no threat. Neither was Afghanistan, Libya, other post-WW II targets, and Iran.

 

Iran hasn't attacked another country in over 200 years. It's been targeted numerous times. America today covets its oil and gas resources. It wants its current regime replaced by another it controls. Bogusly calling Iran an existential threat, Israel wants a regional rival eliminated. 

 

Whether or not war's planned isn't known. Discounting it ignores a threat too serious to ignore. Haaretz military affairs writer Amos Harel believes sanctions, not conflict, is likely, saying:

 

"The vast majority of the information in (IAEA's) report has been in the hands of Western intelligence agencies for a relatively long time."

 

America's National Intelligence Estimate refuted claims about an alleged nuclear weapons program and Iranian threat. Stiffer sanctions, not war, may follow Amano's report, Harel believes. Israel wants them to be "paralyzing, delivering a deadly blow to the Iranian banking system as well as to the country's oil industry."

 

Whether China, Russia and other nations will agree is doubtful. Washington pressure may impose them anyway.

 

National Journal writer Marc Ambinder headlined, "White House: IAEA Report Doesn't Change Assessment of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions," saying:

 

An unnamed senior administration official told reporters on a conference call that:

 

"The IAEA does not assert that Iran has resumed a full scale nuclear weapons program nor does it have a program about how advanced the programs really are."

 

IAEA, however, claims Iran carried "out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device" with no evidence proving it.

 

The Washington Post headlined, "Obama administration readies new Iran sanctions in light of UN report on Tehran's nuclear aims," saying:

 

IAEA's report wasn't "a game-changer." Nonetheless, unilateral sanctions and others with international partners are planned. Efforts to isolate Iran and harm its economy will intensify. War perhaps will follow. 

 

On and off threats persisted for years. Current rhetoric is more shrill than earlier. Whether or not replicating Libya is planned isn't known. Iran represents a much greater prize.

 

In 2010, it had the world's third largest proved oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Canada. Libya has less than a third as much. After Russia, Iran has the second largest gas reserves. Washington covets control to deny enemies and rivals free access.

 

On Russia Today (RT.com), former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discounted IAEA's report, saying:

 

"I would be very skeptical about this report that is coming out of the International Atomic Energy because the IAEA doesn't really have any intelligence capabilities of its own. It is relying on reports that are coming from other people. I would rather suspect these reports are coming from the US and Israel."

 

"You may have a piece of evidence of some kind, but that piece of evidence is subject to your interpretation. When they saw aerial photographs in Iraq showing certain things, they interpreted those photographs to mean something which was not correct."

 

Iran Answers Critical Questions

 

Press TV said Iran's IAEA envoy Ali-Asghar Soltanieh offered Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members "critical information about Iran's nuclear program" to cool current hysteria following Amano's report.

 

Attending an extraordinary NAM session, he answered "20 critical questions" and related issues.

 

Question 1: After 4,000 inspection days, has IAEA detected "even one gram of uranium being diverted for military purposes?"

 

No!

 

Question 2: Has IAEA found any nuclear activities and materials used for military activities?

 

No!

 

Question 3: "Was Iran ethically obliged to declare Natanz enrichment facility before 2003?"

 

No, given nothing introduced there until 2003!

 

Question 4: "Was Iran legally obliged to declare" Arak's (IR40) heavy water research reactor before 2003?

 

No!

 

Question 5: Under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement to report Arak's heavy water production before 2003, was Iran obliged to do so for the IAEA?

 

No!

 

Question 6: Was Iran legally obliged until 2003 "to declare uranium conversion Facilities (UDF)?"

 

No!

 

Question 7: Was Iran legally obliged "to declare uranium mines including Gachin and Saghand....?"

 

No!

 

Question 8: Did IAEA inspections detect any nuclear material or activity used as part of a nuclear weapons program?

 

No!

 

Question 9: Did IAEA's Action Plan announce "no other issue in addition to what was listed in 2007?"

 

Yes!

 

Question 10: Was IAEA obliged to submit "Alleged Studies" documents to Iran?

 

Yes!

 

Question 11: Did IAEA fulfill its obligations regarding submitting alleged evidence?

 

No!

 

Question 12: Did IAEA confirm its "Alleged Studies" authenticity?

 

No!

 

Question 13: What was Iran's INFOSIRC/711 obligation?

 

Per Paragraph III, it was to study the document and report its evaluation to IAEA.

 

Question 14: Was Iran obliged to hold meetings, interviews or allow sampling regarding the "Alleged Studies?"

 

No!

 

Question 15: Did Iran implement the Additional Protocol?

 

Yes!

 

Question 16: Did Iran implement the Subsidiary Arrangement of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement Modified Code 3.1?

 

Yes!

 

Question 17: When and why did Iran halt its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and Modified Code 3.1?

 

Voluntary implementation stopped after two and a half years because Iran's technical nuclear case was unfairly referred to the Security Council in 2006.

 

Question 18: Have all Iranian nuclear materials been measured and remain supervised to assure safe, peaceful operations?

 

Yes!

 

Question 19: Did Iran cooperate with unannounced inspections?

 

Yes, including on two hours notice!

 

Question 20: "Why does Iran deem" the Board of Governors and Security Council illegal?

 

Because its legal nuclear program was politicized. Hostile countries manipulated the IAEA, turning the agency into a US-dominated Security Council watchdog to deprive Iran and other developing countries "of their 'absolute right' to use peaceful nuclear energy as stipulated in the IAEA Statute."

 

Other relevant questions include why nuclear programs of other countries aren’t as closely scrutinized as Iran's?

 

Why aren't nuclear armed and dangerous nations like America and Israel inspected? 

 

Why haven't nuclear armed Israel, India and Pakistan been sanctioned for not signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

 

Why wasn't Iran given credit for signing and abiding by its provisions?

 

Why does IAEA let America, Israel and other Western allies bully Iran unfairly?

 

Why does IAEA under Amano do it?

 

Why isn't Iran's peaceful nuclear program accepted as fact when no evidence suggests otherwise?

 

Why are secret US and Israeli nuclear weapons development, production, and testing unmentioned and unmonitored?

 

Why doesn't IAEA fulfill its peaceful nuclear energy use mandate unpoliticized?

 

Under Amano, it's a Washington controlled tool. As a result, Iran's unfairly targeted while real nuclear outlaws freely terrorize other nations lawlessly!

 

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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