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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?"




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




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?




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?




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




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?"




Question 15: Did Iran implement the Additional Protocol?




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




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?




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.



Target Iran

 Target Iran - by Stephen Lendman


In the past five years, Iran faced four harsh rounds of sanctions. At issue is its alleged nuclear threat. No evidence proves it.


Last May, its Bushehr nuclear plant began operating. In September, it began supplying the national grid with 60 megawatts of electricity, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). 


Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) spokesman Khadem Qaemi said operations were at 40% of capacity. 


Earlier in 2011, the IAEA said no information suggests "possible military dimensions" to its plans.


For years, Tehran's insisted its intentions are entirely commercial and peaceful. It's emphatic claiming no interest in producing nuclear weapons. It hopes Bushehr will become one of a network of commercial reactors supplying electricity. If so, it will reduce Iran's fossil fuel reliance. Other nations do it for the same reason despite the hazards of nuclear power in all forms.


It also says only low level uranium enrichment suitable for power plant fuel or medical and agricultural uses are pursued.


Iran joined dozens of other nuclear club nations. Only ITS program is questioned with no evidence to suggest it's other than what Iran claims.


For years, however, Washington's fabricated numerous Iranian threats. Last July, newly confirmed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta denounced claimed Iranian support for Shia militia groups in Iraq, saying:


"We are very concerned about Iran and the weapons they are providing to extremists in Iraq. We're seeing more of those weapons going in from Iran, and they've really hurt us. We cannot sit back and simply allow this to continue to happen. This is not something we're going to walk away from. It's something we're going to take on head-on."


Days earlier, Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen accused Iran of "directly supporting extremist Shiite groups, which are killing our troops. There is no question they are shipping high-tech weapons in there that are killing our people. And the forensics prove that."


One of many State Department Iranian reports alleges:


"Iran's Quds Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives and indirect fire weapons."


"Since at least 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107 mm rockets and plastic explosives."


Other claims accuse Iran of using front companies to pay Taliban fighters $1,000 for each American killed and $6,000 for each US vehicle destroyed.


For years, we've heard these and similar accusations. All are suspect or clear lies. Alleged "forensics" are bogus. Slapping "made in Iran" labels on munitions proves nothing except America's duplicity in all dealings and allegations. Nothing from official Washington is credible. It's common knowledge and should be rejected out of hand.


America is a rogue terror state, an imperial predator. All nations outside its sphere of influence are targeted. It was Saddam's undoing, Gaddafi's also as well as others post-WW II, including democrats, despots and others in between.


On October 11, Washington bogusly accused Iran of plotting to murder Saudi Arabia's US ambassador (Adel al-Jubeir) in a bizarre scheme sounding more like a B film script.


Also allegedly involved were plans to bomb Israel's Washington embassy and Saudi and Israeli embassies in Argentina. 


Nothing progressed was explained. In fact, accusations were entirely baseless to further heighten US/Iranian tensions and get hawkish congressional members to call for direct confrontation. 


It takes little urging to do it, given the intellect and morality of many in political Washington from both parties. Hillary Clinton, in fact, said "a very concerted diplomatic outreach to many capitals" was initiated, adding that the issue has "potential for international reaction that will further isolate Iran."


She stopped short of calling for direct confrontation. Perhaps later belligerence is planned. Washington's always spoiling for a fight. So far, only sanctions, saber rattling, and hostile rhetoric have been used.


October 25 added another element. A Justice Department press release headlined, "Five Individuals Indicted in a Fraud Conspiracy Involving Exports to Iran of US Components Later Found in Bombs in Iraq," saying:


Five individuals and four companies were charged with "a conspiracy to defraud the United States that allegedly caused thousands of radio frequency modules to be illegally exported from the United States to Iran, at least 16 of which were later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq."


Another conspiracy was also charged, involving military antenna exports to Singapore and Hong Kong.


As a result, Singapore authorities arrested Wong Yuh Lan (Wong), Lim Yong Nam (Nam), Lim Kow Seng (Seng), and Hai Soo Gan Benson (Hai), all Singaporean citizens.


Washington wants them extradited for District of Columbia trials. Hossein Larijani is also charged, an Iranian citizen still at large.


Accusations include defrauding America, smuggling, illegally exporting US goods to Iran, illegally exporting defense products, making false statements and obstructing justice. Other charges may be added later to assure enough stick to convict.


Like many dozens of past bogus cases related to America's war on Islam and Iran, charges likely lack credibility. As a result, innocent victims may be hung out to dry to beat up on Iran fraudulently. It's how America does business. Even some in Congress understand.


On April 5, 2006, Congressman Ron Paul addressed fellow House members saying:


Iran may be America's "next neocon target....It's been three years since the US launched its war against Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction."


"Of course, now almost everybody knows" there were none, "and Saddam Hussein posed no threat to the United States."


"The significant question we must ask ourselves is: What have we learned from three years in Iraq? With plans now being laid for regime change in Iran, it appears we have learned absolutely nothing."


Over five years later, Paul's comments still apply and then some as Obama continues Bush's imperial wars, added multiple ones of his own, and threatens more.


At the February 2007 43rd annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, then Russian President Vladimir Putin sharply criticized US foreign policy, calling it:


"very dangerous (in its) uncontained hyper-use of force - military force - in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts." US imperialism, he stressed, "overstepped its national borders in every way."


"(U)nilateral illegal actions have not resolved any single problem. They have become a hotbed of further conflicts....We are seeing increasing disregard for the fundamental principles of international law....No one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them."


"Of course, such a policy stimulates an arms race. The dominance of force inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction."


Putin also addressed a "unipolar world," calling it one "in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day, this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within."


He added that "We are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves."


America never practiced democratic principles at home or abroad and doesn't now. 


Whether or not attacking Iran is planned remains unknown. Western intervention targeted Syria for months. At issue is regime change. Perhaps Iran's next. Covert operations have been ongoing for years, including cyber attacks, political assassinations, sabotage, false accusations, and other destabilizing tactics.


A Bush administration Finding authorized $400 million for covert mischief and intelligence collection. CIA operatives were given carte blanche authority to commit sabotage, recruit anti-regime insurgents, coordinate propaganda, spread malicious lies about Iran, manipulate its currency, and conduct other lawless acts.


Iran's nuclear program was specifically targeted. Regime change plans were prepared long ago. Washington favors a "Greater Baluchistan," integrating Pakistani and Iranian Baluch areas under puppet officials subservient to America. In other words, balkanizing both countries for easier control.


With America tied down waging multiple lost wars, will one or more others be launched? 


Given powerful extremists in Washington, Obama's propensity for conflict, and America's permanent war agenda, no nation anywhere is safe. Iran, Syria, and others take note. 


A Final Comment


Israel's longstanding Iranian hostility is palpable. At issue is regional rivalry. Israel wants unchallenged Middle East dominance. 


On October 31, Haaretz headlined, "Netanyahu: a nuclear Iran poses a serious, direct threat to Israel," saying:


Netanyahu racketed up tensions with bogus claims about Iranian plans to develop nuclear weapons. Never mentioned is Israel's longstanding preemptive policy to use nuclear weapons if threatened. It's well known that it's nuclear armed and dangerous.


At the same time, cooler heads argue against attacking Iran. Perhaps Defense Minister Ehud Barak is one. He recently told Israeli Radio that diplomatic pressure and sanctions are top options, adding that Israelis shouldn't be concerned about an Iranian threat. Other Israelis agree.


Why does Washington beat up on Iran? Perhaps it's to divert attention from OWS protests and America's mainstream Depression. Electoral politics always matter. Cold War tactics dictated not looking soft on communism. 


War on terror rhetoric today is key. Iran's falsely called a regional menace to incite fear, gain votes, and prevent opposition candidates from making "too soft" accusations.


Nonetheless, will Obama pursue confrontation with Iran to look tough? Voters want current wars ended. Will starting another assuage them? Perhaps, some believe, if fear's effectively generated. Voters are notoriously gullible and mindless about earlier deceptions.


Repeat big lies often enough and most people believe them. At the same time, burgeoning deficits constrain spending even though defense budgets rise annually.


In addition, attacking Iran entails huge risks. Policy experts know doing so will enflame the entire region. General war may follow involving Russia and China defending their interests. 


Moreover, nonbelligerent nations won't always put up with Washington and Israel. Both lost considerable influence but not enough to deter them. 


However, ravaging the world one country at a time is no way to win friends and allies. Hopefully more world leaders will choose better ones than rogue states. Hopefully humanity will survive long enough to see them do it.


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.



Israel Called Biggest Threat to World Peace

 Israel Called Biggest Threat to World Peace - by Stephen Lendman


America easily takes top honors, followed by Israel, Britain, and France, the real axis of evil. 


In Israel's case, it's easy to see why. It's been top regional rogue state for decades. No other Middle East nation matches it. 

solidarity graffiti from uk


PLM & Akbayan Youth (Philippines) Support Palestinian Bid For Statehood

The Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM) supports the Palestinian bid for statehood and its submission to the UN for an independent Palestinian state. We call on the Philippine government to vote in favor of this submission and campaign at the United Nations for its passage. We condemn the US government attempts to block and veto the resolution in favor of its hardened support for Israel.


Let's All Play "Bibi Says"!!!

 It was a Friday when I heard Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, was going to address the UN General Assembly ahead of the vote to recognize Palestinian statehood, so I just had to come up with a way to lighten the mood.

Let's All Play "Bibi Says"!!!

 It was a Friday when I heard Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, was going to address the UN General Assembly ahead of the vote to recognize Palestinian statehood, so I just had to come up with a way to lighten the mood.

Israel's social protests are anything but dead

The smothering trap that successive Israeli governments have put us in for the past 40 years no longer allows us to breathe. A welfare state is one that strives for genuine peace and achieves it.

Congressional Junkets to Israel

 Congressional Junkets to Israel - by Stephen Lendman


Eighty-one House members, one fifth of the chamber, will visit Israel during the traditional summer recess, instead of addressing festering local issues at home during the nation's gravest economic crisis too serious to ignore.


Arriving first were 26 Democrats together, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD). Another 55 Republicans will follow in two groups, including 47 freshmen. 


Heading each are House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) and House Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA). Spouses are also going at an estimated cost of $8,000, including business-class flights, first-class hotels, meals, transportation, side trips, guides and incidentals.


Red carpet treatment is assured along with considerable pro-Israeli messaging, especially for new incoming freshmen. They'll meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, as well as PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Legitimate Hamas leaders are excluded.


Their entire week is choreographed and full, from early morning to late evening, including breakfast and dinner speakers, as well as meetings with other government officials.


For security reasons, their schedule isn't known, but while there, they'll get walking tours of Jerusalem's Old City, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall or Kotel), as well as visits to Masada, the Dead Sea, Holocaust memorial, Golan, Lebanese border, and Tel Aviv, with moments to relax by the Mediterranean. 


Most of all, they'll get intensive pro-Israeli messaging to assure one-sided support, reinforced by party leaders back home. At the same time, out of sight and mind will be:


-- daily Israeli state terror;


-- its planes bombing Gaza;


-- extreme unaddressed needs of over 1.6 million besieged people;


-- fishermen interdicted and, at times, shot at sea;


-- Israeli snipers murdering farmers in their fields;


-- regular security force incursions into Palestinian communities;


-- almost daily arrests, detentions, and horrific treatment in Israeli prisons;


-- children beaten and arrested;


-- peaceful protests attacked viciously;


-- bulldozed homes and dispossessed residents;


-- Israel's Separation Wall, stealing about 12% of Palestinian land when completed; and


-- severe repression, poverty, and misery of millions of Palestinians whose only offense is not being Jewish.


Whether or not they know or care, If Americans Knew Executive Director Alison Weir said not every congressional member is enthused about going. One congressional wife, in fact, who's been there before, said she and her husband never before experienced such pressure.


Another representative's staff member said those invited had no choice. If they don't go, AIPAC will target them for removal, and most likely succeed. "The staffer said that the Israel Lobby is far too powerful to ignore and that American voters have no knowledge of what's going on" because major media reports won't say.


The Jerusalem Post covered this story. So did Lebanon's Daily Star, other foreign media, Commentary magazine, and the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, explaining the elaborately planned "dog and pony show" messaging. 


In contrast, it was practically ignored by America's corporate media, including The New York Times. The Washington Post discussed it on page 13, omitting important details.


It's typical of how America's media diss their regulars, excluding everything they most need to know.


At issue is why congressional members are in Israel or heading there shortly, on expense-paid week-long junkets, funded by an AIPAC affiliate - the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF).


Created in 1990, its web site says it "provides grant monies to educate opinion leaders about the US-Israel relationship, to expand public awareness about issues affecting the Middle East and to encourage participation in public affairs, especially by students on college campuses where anti-Israeli propaganda is rampant."


In fact, nowhere in the world is pro-Israeli propaganda more scandalously intense than in America, especially from distorted one-sided major media reports, leaving Palestinian issues entirely excluded. 


Mondoweiss co-editor Philip Weiss said pro-Israeli "liberal foundations" fund organizations like AIPAC and its AIEF spinoff. For example, the Kimmel Center gave AIEF $3.5 million in recent years, according to its Form 990 filings.


Weiss said his research "shows that AIEF is getting tons of money from the same people who fund good liberal institutions," including universities, the arts, and issue-oriented groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and ACLU.


AIEF also gets generous contributions from right-wing organizations. "And that's the point," says Weiss. "When you" examine who's paying for one-fifth of the House to visit Israel, it's coming from rich and powerful pro-Israeli foundations, "know(ing) which side their bread is buttered on," wanting Congress in tow supporting them.


At a time when millions of Americans are in dire need, Weir noted how angry they might be to learn that Congress gives tiny Israel "over $8 million per day of American tax money" during the nation's greatest ever economic Depression when all available resources should stay at home helping them and ending it.


It's why America's media are silent, betraying their loyalists instead of serving them, especially on war and peace, corporatism, lawlessness, domestic repression, and all issues affecting Israel.


It's why everyone needs alternative sources to stay informed and join the fight for justice. It's the only way possible to get it.


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.



Destabilizing Syria

 Destabilizing Syria - by Stephen Lendman


What began in January escalated to an uprising in March. Ever since, it's been violent, disruptive and widespread, killing hundreds, and injuring many more. 


The stakes are high. The entire region is affected. It's very similar to what began in Libya, pitting imperial powers against ruling governments for destabilization and control. 


In Libya, it's by war for regime change, colonization and plunder. In Syria, it's to establish another client state, no matter who heads it. More on that below.


On August 3, Joshua Landis' Syria Comment site (joshualandis.com) headlined, "The Armed Gangs Controversy," saying:


Some analysts say "Syrian soldiers are killing fellow soldiers (for disobeying orders), not opposition elements." In fact, nothing proves it. "Most evidence supports government statements that armed opposition elements (are) shooting security personnel."


In April in Banyas, the controversy first surfaced when nine soldiers were killed outside the city. Western media reports about fellow soldiers shooting them were false. Col. Uday Ahmad, brother-in-law of one of the dead, there at the time, said:


"(T)wo military trucks were ambushed as they crossed a highway bridge by well armed men," hiding on the ground and on rooftops. "They raked the two trucks with automatic fire, killing nine. The incident had nothing to do with soldiers refusing orders."


Other shooting reports were similar, involving armed militants, non-Syrian insurgents, responsible for much killing, Western media falsely blaming Syria's military and police. At the same time, most opposition forces are nonviolent, caught between hostile sides.


In Hama, for example, independent video footage contradicts major media reports. It shows opposition elements throwing bodies of soldiers into the Asi River, north of the city.


In fact, a CNN Arwa Damon/Nada Husseini August 2 report (a notable major media exception, perhaps airing only on CNN International) said:


"One prominent anti-government activist (unnamed for reasons of safety) told CNN the state TV account was correct. The bodies are those of Syrian secret police killed by Syrian fighters from Iraq who have joined the anti-government fight," based on information gotten "from an extensive network of informants."


Violent insurgents aren't part of the protest movement. They're destabilizing interventionist forces from outside, responsible for lots of killing. 


Of course, violence begets more of it. Opposition elements incite it. Government forces respond, and nonviolent civilians are caught in the crossfire. 


Landis believes the regime is resilient and will keep fighting, its military having "many advantage(s) over the fragmented opposition." It's "unlikely" to collapse or "fade away." Fighting will continue until one side or the other prevails. Had the Assad government "been willing to hand over power peacefully or establish some sort of constitutional convention, it would have done so already."


The longer fighting continues, the worse off Syrians will be. Many already face economic hardships, exacerbated by months of conflict, disrupting their lives, besides the human toll. 


Landis thinks "(t)he potential for (continued) violence and lawlessness is large. Most worrying is the lack of leadership among opposition forces." More on that below.


Syrian authorities believe they're in control as long as Damascus and Aleppo, its two main cities, are mostly quiet.


Business elites in both cities are pro-regime, fearing much to lose if it's ousted. Sami Moubayed, Damascus-based Forward Magazine editor-in-chief in an August 2 Gulf News article, said:


"(B)oth cities can make or break any political movement - but rarely have they been part of anything that threatens stability and their commercial interests." 


At the same time, the "silence of both cities....won't last for too long" for three reasons:


(1) "Unemployment:" If it rises too high, expect trouble. Many young people already are jobless. If many others join them for a protracted period, they'll be impoverished and angry.


(2) "Lack of community leaders:" Previous ones "pacif(ied)" angry Damascus residents. No one with similar influence is present in either city because "Baathists (haven't let) independent leaders....emerge."


(3) "Demographics:" Both cities are "melting pots," containing elements likely to demonstrate if things break down, because they don't take orders from business leaders.


On August 5, Landis headlined, "Should the US Hasten Assad's Downfall Despite Syria's Absence of Opposition Leaders?" saying:


Opposition forces are leaderless. As a result, "many US policy makers (are) scared. They don't want" the regime ousted until "some structure or leadership (can) take its place."


A power vacuum could produce chaos, an "Iraq (or Afghanistan) redux." Syrian businessmen won't support political change without a safe alternative. They're "not suicidal. They fear having their property expropriated twice in 50 years." Moreover, they've been "inextricably linked" to the regime for decades.


By "fast forward(ing)" change, Washington might "creat(e) a Frankenstein....caus(ing) more destruction and death, not less."


According to Syrian human rights activist/former judge/outspoken Assad regime critic, Haytham al-Maleh:


"If we want to own Syria after the revolution, we must win this struggle on our own," not by foreign intervention, especially imperial powers with their own agenda.


Destabilization and Possible Military Intervention


On the Progressive Radio News Hour, Mahdi Nazemroaya said outside elements are destabilizing Syria, much like how the Libyan uprising began. Where it leads bears close watching.


On Russia Today (RT.com), Michel Chossudovsky covered similar ground and more.


"This is not a peaceful protest movement," he said. "The model of insurrection (in Hama) is very similar to what happened in Daraa at the outset of these so-called protest movements."


Hama is a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold. "This essentially is a confrontation between the government and Muslim Brotherhood." It doesn't reflect Syrian public opinion, "committed to a secular Muslim society."


In fact, "Assad has very strong popular support," as demonstrated by large pro-government rallies. Against them are Islamists "supported by outside forces. We know that's the case," including insurgents from Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.


Major media reports falsify what's happening, presenting one-sided biased accounts. AFP fabricated news about Hama, claiming 500,000 anti-government protesters turned out. "In fact, it wasn't 500,000. It was 10,000." 


Moreover, when mass pro-Assad (or pro-Gaddafi) rallies occur, they're either downplayed or ignored.


In addition, major media reports suppress information about "armed gunmen shooting at police." Even the Israeli press confirmed it, while US and other Western accounts conceal what's going on - "a NATO/US military alliance committing crimes (against) humanity," targeting Syrian civilians as in Libya.


If Western forces intervene militarily, "then we are in for an extended war that goes from the Mediterranean to the Chinese border." As a result, a general war may result with potentially "devastating consequences."


On August 5, RIA Novosti headlined, "NATO plans campaign in Syria, tightens noose around Iran - Rogozin," saying:


"NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the (Assad regime) with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said."


By condemning ongoing violence in Syria, the Security Council suggested military intervention may follow. "It could be a logical conclusion of (Western) military and propaganda operations....against North Africa," Rogozin told Izvestia Friday, saying targeted regimes have opposing views to Western ones.


He also said imperial intervention in Syria and Yemen may precede attacking Iran. 


"The noose around Iran is tightening," he believes. "Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region."


In fact, military plans for wars take months to prepare. America has longstanding ones, updated as needed, against a number of targeted nations, including Iran. It also has extensive naval and other forces in the region.


Plans are one thing, however, waging wars another. Many sit on shelves unimplemented, gathering dust. For years, reports circulated about potential imminent attacks on Iran, some accompanied by powerful US naval forces deployed to the region. Nonetheless, nothing happened.


Iran is militarily strong, able to retaliate forcefully against Israel and American forces in Iraq. As a result, attacking it could prove catastrophic, not least because how disruptive it would be to regional oil supplies and prices. 


Blocking the Hormuz Straits alone would prevent around 15 - 17 millions of barrels from passing through daily on average. Attacking Western Gulf oil production, processing and transportation facilities would make things much worse, besides risking the possibility of general war. 


Some analysts, in fact, believe doing so could become WW III if Russia and China intervene to protect their own interests.


For over three decades, US/Iranian relations have been strained, but no wars resulted. Perhaps it's because once something major begins, the potential consequences may be too great to risk.


In other words, the risk/reward ratio may show odds too precarious even for go-for-broke imperial powers to chance. What's ahead this time? In the fullness of time, we'll know, with an important wild card to keep in mind.


With America's economy cratering ahead of its 2012 presidential and congressional elections, a major false flag attack, like 9/11, may be used to incite fear, divert attention from economic woes, and enlist public support for more war besides others now ongoing.


It's the oldest trick in the book, successful virtually every time tried, the Obama administration's ace in the hole perhaps to be played strategically for assured reelection, it hopes. 


As a result, anything ahead is possible to solidify power, even risked global war with potentially catastrophic consequences. Trends analyst Gerald Celente calls Washington politicians "inepts and incompetents." 


With these types in charge, future possibilities are frightening, especially since the business of America is war and grand theft. 


As a result, be wary, worried, and ready to react decisively - to the streets, if necessary, to fight the beast or be devoured by it. No other choice is possible.


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.



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