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:: Article nr. 21577 sent on 16-mar-2006 02:40 ECT
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2006
Today in Iraq
Relatives mourn near the bodies of children, reportedly killed in a
U.S. raid, as they arrive in a hospital in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80
miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, March 15,2006. Eleven people,
most of them women and children were killed when a house was bombed
during a U.S. raid north of Baghdad early Wednesday, police and
relatives said. (AP Photo/Bassim Daham)
Bring 'em on: Two U.S. soldiers die "due to enemy action" in al Anbar Province.
Bring 'em on: British soldier wounded when roadside bomb goes off near his patrol in the southern city of Basra.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
One person killed and two wounded when minibus explodes in eastern Baghdad.
Civilian killed and five wounded when bicycle laden with explosives targets police patrol in Baquba, north of Baghdad.
Police lieutenant killed when roadside bomb explodes near his patrol in Baquba.
Iraqi soldiers arrest 20 "insurgent suspects" in operation in village near Baquba.
Gunmen kill two Shi'ite pilgrims who had been walking from Baghdad to holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala.
than 2,500 demonstrators of different religious and ethnic backgrounds
take to streets of Mosul and Baghdad to protest sectarian violence:
The March 14 demonstrations were organised by several local NGOs,
including the Peace for Life Organisation (PLO), Iraqis for Development
and Peace, the Women Rights Association and Iraq Relief for People.
opined that religious differences were being used to fuel local
disputes, which they said represented a new phenomenon in Iraq. "People
who want to cause death and destruction bomb a Shi'ite mosque one day
and a Sunni mosque the next day," said Mahmoud Zein, a protest
organiser in Mosul, located some 400km north of Baghdad. "We have to
open our eyes and prevent this dastardly game from continuing."
a show of national unity, Arab Shi'ites and Sunnis, Kurds, Christians
and Turcomans took part in the demonstrations. "We are here today from
different areas, representing different beliefs, but with the same
goals: peace and prosperity for our families and the country," Zein
capital, religious leaders - from both the Shi'ite district of Sadr
City and the Sunni district of Adhamiyah - also participated in the
demonstration. "We shouldn't blame ourselves for the ongoing violence,"
said Sheikh Ali Obaid, a Shi'ite religious leader from Sadr City.
"Instead of fanning it, we should fight to end it."
The above Reuters Alertnet report was the only I could find on these
"national unity" demonstrations held in Iraq; still, the title of the
report reads "IRAQ: Hundreds demonstrate against sectarian violence in Baghdad, Mosul" although its first four words, as quoted above, are "More than 2,500 demonstrators"…]
U.S. dispatching Army battalion of at least 700 soldiers to Iraq from their base in Kuwait to provide extra security during a Shiite Muslim holiday period.
police detained American private security contractor working at a U.S.
military base in northern Iraq for several hours on Tuesday, a U.S.
military spokesman said:
The spokesman said the man was arrested at a checkpoint in the northern
town of Tikrit. He denied initial reports that explosives were found in
the car, but said two AK-47 assault rifles were in the vehicle. "He was
picked up by Iraqi police after being detained at a checkpoint in
Tikrit," the spokesman said, adding police later released him. "We are
looking at why he left the base unescorted."
Jebara, deputy governor of Salahaddin province, earlier told Reuters
the man was arrested in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Monday
and that U.S. forces removed him from the provincial government
building on Tuesday. The man was stopped by police for violating a
daytime curfew in Tikrit, a security source said. American security
personnel rarely travel alone.
spokesman for the major crimes unit in Tikrit said he was first brought
to their headquarters but they refused to take him into custody, adding
police were told to take the man to the provincial council building.
interior minister says authorities foiled al-Qaida plot to put hundreds
of its men at critical guard posts around the Green Zone:
A senior Defense Ministry official said the 421 al-Qaida fighters were
actually recruited to storm the U.S. and British embassies and take
hostages. Several ranking Defense Ministry officials have been jailed
in the plot, the official said on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the information.
Minister Bayan Jabr, in an interview with The Associated Press, said
the 421 al-Qaida recruits were one bureaucrat's signature away from
acceptance into an Iraqi army battalion whose job is to control the
gates and main squares in the Green Zone. The plot was discovered three
can imagine what could happen to a minister or an ambassador while
passing through these gates when those terrorists are there," Jabr said
in the interview conducted at his office inside the Green Zone - a
2-square-mile hunk of prime real estate on the west bank of the Tigris
River. The area is a maze of concrete blast walls, concertina wire and
Defense Ministry official said the plot was uncovered by the military
intelligence and the General Intelligence department that works under
At trial, Saddam calls for Iraqis to end sectarian violence and fight U.S. troops instead:
Even as the judge repeatedly yelled at Saddam to stop making what he
called political speeches, the deposed leader read from a prepared
text, insisting he was still Iraq's president. "Let the (Iraqi) people
unite and resist the invaders and their backers. Don't fight among
yourselves," he said, praising the insurgency. "In my eyes, you are the
resistance to the American invasion."
Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman ordered the session closed to the
public, telling journalists to leave the chamber. The delayed video
feed also was cut.
Hurricane victims and war veterans set out on march to New Orleans to protest Iraq war and lack of relief aid for storm victims:
Paul Robinson, the local chapter president of Veterans for Peace, said
the 140-mile "Walkin' to New Orleans" march is scheduled to end
said marchers, including several victims of Hurricane Katrina, are
demanding not only an end to the war but also a large increase in
resources to help hurricane victims rebuild their lives. He expected
about 300 marchers to join in, some walking the entire distance and
other joining at the end.
activist Cindy Sheehan, who spent a month protesting outside President
Bush's ranch last summer, was expected to join the marchers in New
Orleans, her sister, Dede Miller, said Monday.
U.S. airstrikes in Iraq increase dramatically during past five months,
a change of tactics that may foreshadow how the United States plans to
battle a still-strong insurgency while reducing the number of U.S.
ground troops serving here. A review of military data shows that daily
bombing runs and jet-missile launches have increased by more than 50
percent in the past five months, compared with the same period last
year. Knight Ridder's statistical findings were reviewed and confirmed
by American Air Force officials in the region.
numbers also show that U.S. forces dropped bombs on more cities during
the last five months than they did during the same period a year ago.
Air strikes a year ago struck at least nine cities, but were mostly
concentrated in and around the western city of Fallujah. This year,
U.S. warplanes have struck at least 18 cities.
Electricity output dips to lowest point in three years in Iraq:
The overstressed network is producing less than half the electricity
needed to meet Iraq's exploding demand. American experts are working
hard to shore up the system's weaknesses as 100-degree-plus
temperatures approach beginning as early as May, driving up usage of
air conditioning, electric fans and refrigeration.
the first week of February, a busy maintenance period, output dropped
to 3,750 megawatts, reports the joint U.S. agency, the Gulf Region
Division-Project Contracting Office. That's a new low since the period
immediately after the 2003 U.S. invasion.
the U.S. reconstruction money is running out, the last generating
project is undergoing startup testing in southern Iraq, and the
Americans view 2006 as a year of transition to full Iraqi
responsibility, aided by a U.S. budget for "sustainability," including
training and advisory services. Even that long-term support may fall
short, however. The reconstruction agency allotted $460 million for
this purpose, but in a report to Congress on Jan. 30 the special
inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction estimated $720 million would
battle the insurgency, U.S. authorities shifted more than $1 billion
from power projects to security spending. Having planned to add or
rehabilitate 3,400 megawatts' worth of power production, they settled
instead for 2,000. The lack of security also slowed work: Fewer than
half the 350 local power-distribution projects planned by the Americans
had begun as of early this year, the inspector-general reported Jan. 30.
demand kept rising as Iraqis bought imported air conditioners,
washer-driers, DVD players and other power-hungry appliances. To help
fill the gap, households or neighborhood groups are buying diesel-run
generators, stringing dangerous makeshift wiring around their homes.
Demand, almost 9,000 megawatts last summer, is expected to rise sharply
this year, and the Army engineers responsible for Baghdad are worried.
"We're about 4,000 megawatts in the hole nationwide to meet our needs,"
Maj. Al Moff, 4th Infantry Division electricity specialist, noted at a
recent internal briefing for division officers.
solution could be power from Iran: one Iraqi proposal is for a
transmission line to import much more than the 100 megawatts of Iranian
power Iraq now buys. The U.S. Embassy won't talk about it, in view of
Washington's animosity toward Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.
intelligence "misinterpreted" internal Iraqi messages about WMDs,
"thinking they were being hidden" when in fact they were about
complying with UN inspections, Foreign Affairs
magazine said on its website. The article, which presents excerpts from
a recently declassified report on Iraq by the Pentagon's Joint Forces
Command, confirms misstatements by US officials on Iraq's firepower
before the 2003 US-led invasion of the country. One message about
removing the term "nerve agents" from "wireless instructions" was cited
by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in his February 5, 2003
statement to the UN Security Council as an example of Iraq's bad faith,
said the magazine.
misread Iraqi message also from 2002 referred to instructions to
"search the area surrounding the headquarters camp and (the unit) for
any chemical agents, make sure the area is free of chemical containers,
and write a report on it." "US analysts viewed this information through
the prism of a decade of prior deceit. They had no way of knowing that
this time the information reflected the regime's attempt to ensure it
was in compliance with UN resolutions," said the article.
mistaken belief that Iraq posessed weapons of mass destruction, was
nurtured in part by former dictator Saddam Hussein, who feared that if
it became known Iraq had no such weapons, "it would encourage the
Israelis to attack," the magazine said.
late 2002, it added, Hussein tilted in favour of persuading the world
that Iraq did not have nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and that
it was co-operating with UN weapons inspectors. "But after years of
purposeful obfuscation," the article said, "it was difficult to
convince anyone that Iraq was not once again being economical with the
FBI anti-terrorism agents spied on U.S. peace group simply because it opposed the Iraq war:
FBI documents acquired under the Freedom of Information [by the
American Civil Liberties Union] Act and provided to reporters show the
FBI conducted surveillance of the Pittsburgh-based Thomas Merton Center
for Peace & Justice at anti-war demonstrations and leaflet
distributions in 2002 and 2003.
of the FBI documents, unveiled at a news conference by the two groups,
carried the headline "International Terrorism Matters" and referred to
the FBI's work with an anti-terrorism task force that includes several
agencies. Another FBI document said the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task
Force had learned that "The Thomas Merton Center ... has been
determined to be an organization which is opposed to the United States'
war with Iraq."
ACLU said the spying fit a pattern of federal abuse following the Sept.
11 attacks. U.S. President George W. Bush has generally received high
marks from the public for taking a strong hand in security matters.
"From the FBI to the Pentagon to the National Security Agency, this
administration has embarked on an unprecedented campaign to spy on
innocent Americans," Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU,
said in a statement.
FBI memo dated November 2002 said the Merton Center "holds daily
leaflet distribution activities in downtown Pittsburgh and is currently
focused on its opposition to the potential war in Iraq." The war began
in March 2003. The memo called the Merton Center "a left-wing
organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism."
previously disclosed documents showed the FBI was retaining files on
anti-war groups, the ACLU said these documents were the first to show
conclusively that the FBI targeted the Merton Center because of its
U.S. VS HUMAN RIGHTS
Army dog handler charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib
says he was competing with another canine team to frighten detainees
into soiling themselves,
another soldier testified at the man's court-martial Tuesday. The
testimony on the second day of the trial was the most damaging evidence
the government has presented against Sgt. Michael J. Smith.COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
John H. Ketzer, who worked as an interrogator at the prison, testified
that he followed the sounds of screaming to a cell where Smith's black
Belgian shepherd was straining against its leash and barking at two
cowering teenagers in a part of the prison reserved for juveniles and
women. Ketzer said Smith laughed as he told Ketzer shortly thereafter,
"My buddy and I are having a contest to see if we can get them to
(defecate on) themselves because we've already had some (urinate on)
Salon: The complete CID Abu Ghraib files:
The human rights scandal now known as "Abu Ghraib" began its journey
toward exposure on Jan. 13, 2004, when Spc. Joseph Darby handed over
horrific images of detainee abuse to the Army's Criminal Investigation
Command (CID). The next day, the Army launched a criminal
investigation. Three and a half months later, CBS News and the New
Yorker published photos and stories that introduced the world to
devastating scenes of torture and suffering inside the decrepit prison
Salon presents an archive of 279 photos and 19 videos of Abu Ghraib
abuse first gathered by the CID, along with information drawn from the
CID's own timeline of the events depicted. As we reported Feb. 16,
Salon's Mark Benjamin recently acquired extensive documentation of the
CID investigation -- including this photo archive and timeline -- from
a military source who spent time at Abu Ghraib and who is familiar with
the Army probe.
the world is now sadly familiar with images of naked, hooded prisoners
in scenes of horrifying humiliation and abuse, this is the first time
that the full dossier of the Army's own photographic evidence of the
scandal has been made public. Most of the photos have already been
seen, but the Army's own analysis of the story behind the photos has
never been fully told. It is a shocking, night-by-night record of three
months inside Abu Ghraib's notorious cellblock 1A, and it tells the
story, in more graphic detail than ever before, of the rampant abuse of
prisoners there. The annotated archive also includes new details about
the role of the CIA, military intelligence and the CID itself in abuse
captured by cameras in the fall of 2003.
1. Oct. 17-22, 2003
"Standard operating procedure"
2. Oct. 24-25, 2003
3. Oct. 28-29, 2003
4. Nov. 1-4, 2003
5. Nov. 4-5, 2003
"Other government agencies"
6. Nov. 7-9, 2003
7. Nov. 17-Dec. 9, 2003
8. Dec. 12-30, 2003
9. Nov. 4-Dec. 2, 2003
US Abuses, Sense of Irony Missing in Rights Report:
Foreign policy, legal, and human rights authorities are raising serious
questions about the credibility of the U.S. State Department's annual
report on human rights, released last week: Noah S. Leavitt, an
attorney who has worked with the International Law Commission of the
United Nations in Geneva and the International Court of Justice in The
Hague, told IPS: "The sad reality is that because of the [George W.]
Bush administration's haughty unilateralism and its mockery of
international prohibitions on torture, most of the rest of the world no
longer takes the U.S. seriously on human rights matters."
most of the experts contacted by IPS found little fault with the
accuracy of the so-called Country Reports, whose 2005 edition ran to
more than 3,000 pages, they question whether U.S. human rights abuses
committed in the "global war on terror" have diminished Washington's
authority to speak out on this issue.
State Department's annual human rights report was once a beacon of
truth for American policymakers as well as the rest of the world," said
Patricia Kushlis, a retired official of the U.S. Information Agency.
"But how can it now be seen as anything more than a sham when the Bush
administration consistently breaks our own laws - from illegal wiretaps
at home to renditions abroad - yet still tries to portray itself as the
protector of freedom, democracy, and liberty for all?" she said in an
report, released in Washington March 8, reviewed human rights
achievements and setbacks in some 190 countries and regions around the
world. It called the human rights records of key Arab allies poor or
problematic, citing flawed elections and torture of prisoners in Egypt,
beatings, arbitrary arrest and lack of religious freedom in Saudi
Arabia, and floggings as punishment for adultery or drug abuse in the
United Arab Emirates. Iraq's performance was said to be "handicapped"
by insurgency and terrorism that affected every aspect of life, the
State Department said.
U.S. to vote against proposal to create new U.N. panel to replace Human Rights Commission:
The U.N. General Assembly will take up the resolution Wednesday, and a
vote is likely even though assembly president Jan Eliasson has insisted
he wants the new Human Rights Council to be approved by consensus of
the 191 U.N. member states.
The United States argues that right abusers could still
be elected to the new body under the proposed rules. U.S. Ambassador
John Bolton insisted Tuesday the only way forward was to reopen
negotiations, but Eliasson said members told him this would open
IRAQ THREE YEARS AFTER THE INVASION
Lessons of Iraq War start with U.S. history:
On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's
important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many
people into supporting the war.
I believe there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture.
One is an absence of historical perspective. The other is an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism.
we don't know history, then we are ready meat for carnivorous
politicians and the intellectuals and journalists who supply the
carving knives. But if we know some history, if we know how many times
presidents have lied to us, we will not be fooled again.
is an even bigger lie: the arrogant idea that this country is the
center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior.
our starting point for evaluating the world around us is the firm
belief that this nation is somehow endowed by Providence with unique
qualities that make it morally superior to every other nation on Earth,
then we are not likely to question the president when he says we are
sending our troops here or there, or bombing this or that, in order to
spread our values -- democracy, liberty, and let's not forget free
enterprise -- to some God-forsaken (literally) place in the world.
But we must face some facts that disturb the idea of a uniquely virtuous nation.
must face our long history of ethnic cleansing, in which the U.S.
government drove millions of Indians off their land by means of
massacres and forced evacuations.
We must face our long history, still not behind us, of slavery, segregation and racism.
And we must face the lingering memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It is not a history of which we can be proud.
leaders have taken it for granted, and planted the belief in the minds
of many people that we are entitled, because of our moral superiority,
to dominate the world. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have
embraced this notion.
But what is the idea of our moral superiority based on?
more honest estimate of ourselves as a nation would prepare us all for
the next barrage of lies that will accompany the next proposal to
inflict our power on some other part of the world.
It might also
inspire us to create a different history for ourselves, by taking our
country away from the liars who govern it, and by rejecting nationalist
arrogance, so that we can join people around the world in the common
cause of peace and justice.
We've Done It Before, So Why All The Shock?:
Many people seem to forget, or perhaps never knew, that the United
States, like other advanced capitalist countries, has been aggressively
expansionist from the beginning. From the moment of its founding, it
has been driven to extend its domain on behalf of the dominant economic
group and has used force to do so. The logic of the US slave system
drove the United States to annex Texas and wage war on Mexico. Later,
the logic of capitalism drove the US state to acquire the Philippines,
Cuba, Guam, Hawaii and Samoa as colonies and semi-colonies and
dependencies, and to intervene militarily over and over again in Latin
America to establish an effective suzerainty over the Western
hemisphere. The same logic demanded wars be fought in the post WWII
period, on north Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, as the
weakening of Japan, Germany, Britain, and later the collapse of the
Soviet Union, opened up space for the US to pursue profit-making
opportunities for its corporations on a worldwide basis. (I use
corporation throughout in its broadest sense, to include manufacturing,
service, resource-extractive and financial corporations.) Countries
that stood in the way, that nationalized assets owned by US
corporations and closed their doors to further exploitation by US
economic interests, were attacked, if not militarily, then in other
ways. The same logic is behind aggression, by threat of military
intervention, economic blockade, and the financing of internal
subversion, carried out today against Cuba, north Korea, Belarus,
Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Iran - all countries which rank at the very top
of the list of states considered by Washington to be economically
"unfree" (that is, that block, limit or place conditions on US
investment and exports.)BEYOND IRAQ
within the context of US history, and the social and economic forces
which have shaped Washington's foreign policy, the US aggression
against Iraq can be seen to be part of this coherent whole, not an
anomaly that has sprung from an immanent lust for power residing deep
in the psyches of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, nor a
consequence of a unique set of events arising out of a social-economic
vacuum. This has important implications for understanding what
realistic options are available to those who seek to change this
recurrent pattern of war, of domination, and of spoliation of foreign
countries. New personalities won't do it, because personalities aren't
the cause. Third parties alone won't do it, because third parties, as
any other, are subordinate to the same systemic logic that has driven
all parties in power, whether conservative, liberal, socialist and even
communist (e.g. Yugoslavia) to pursue policies that facilitate the
profit-making of the dominant economic class, including by the use of
force to extort or secure opportunities from unwilling third countries.
The solution is to step outside (to overthrow) the logic that compels
this behavior, not to tolerate it or assume wrongly it can be tamed and
by a French reporter whether it was cowardly to use women's baskets and
handbags to carry explosives to kill innocent people, Larbi Ben M'hidi,
leader of the resistance against the French colonial occupation of
Algeria, turned the question around. "And doesn't it seem more cowardly
to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages so that there are a
thousand times more innocent victims? Of course, if we had your
airplanes it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and
you can have our baskets."
to the impression that could be easily formed from media accounts of
armed resistance to the US and British occupation of Iraq, those
engaged in hostile acts against occupation forces and collaborationist
Iraqi police and military personnel are not, in the main, al-Qaeda
fighters who have poured into Iraq from other predominantly Islamic
countries. They're Iraqis retaliating against the invasion of their
country. All but a small percentage of political prisoners held by US
forces are Iraqi citizens (Washington Post, May 10, 2005).
the impression created by the media of resistance activities being
comprised largely of an endless series of attacks on Iraqi civilians by
suicide bombers is also wrong. To be sure, suicide bombings that kill
Iraqi civilians occur, and they occur regularly enough, but they do not
occur with anywhere near the frequency of attacks on occupying military
forces, their adjuncts, and Iraqi collaborators.
has only ever been defeated by the recalcitrance of the natives, and
the resistance of Iraqis to the blatant attempt by Anglo-American
forces to dominate Iraq to exploit the country's land, labor and
resources, is progressive, necessary and inevitable. As author Tariq
Ali told the Stop the War Peace Conference held in London, last
December, "the resistance is fighting for us all".
tempting to come up with a single motive to explain the US-British
take-over of Iraq, but while the impetus of securing profit-making
opportunities for US and British oil companies was probably central to
the decision-making of US planners, it's unlikely that it was the only,
or even the chief, factor. Instead, it seems more likely that a complex
of forces and motives impelled the US toward war on Iraq. One such
factor is the necessity of destroying a counterexample to the
self-serving trade and investment policies the US prescribes for
less-developed countries. Under the government of Saddam Hussein, Iraq
used its oil resources to build an economy that had many features of a
socialist economy: free education through university; state-owned
enterprises; subsidies to keep the prices of necessities low; a
full-employment policy; and a healthcare system that was the envy of
the Middle East. These achievements were secured by rejecting the model
of an economy open to exploitation by the corporations of advanced
capitalist countries, like the United States. Iraq's constitution, for
example, defined Iraq's oil resources as the property of the people of
Iraq, not as resources the oil majors of the US, Britain and other
advanced capitalist powers could claim title to and exploit for their
own narrow aims.
a model for how a post-colonial society could develop, Iraq was an
anathema to the governments of the First World, for Iraq's economic
nationalist policies negated the very goal to which the foreign policy
of the advanced capitalist countries is directed: securing
profit-making opportunities for their own corporations. Iraq rejected
this model, adopting a set of counter-policies, which together with the
country's native petroleum wealth, allowed it to thrive, while Third
World countries that accepted the self-serving prescriptions of the
First World for how a Third World country should develop, remained
mired in poverty and thwarted in their development. Were all Third
World countries to follow in Iraq's footsteps, the corporations of the
First World would be doubly disadvantaged. First, they would incur the
cost of lost opportunity, and second, Third World enterprises,
developing behind protective barriers, might grow large enough to
challenge their First World counterparts. For governments imbued by
their economies with the mission of promoting the profit-making
opportunities of their corporate communities, the prospect is
intolerable. The solution is to crush the counter-example, and in the
process, to send a warning to other countries inspired to follow the
same path: develop outside the self-serving parameters we set, and
we'll crush you.
long as there is oppression, there will be resistance. It's naïve to
think Washington is oblivious to the connection between its actions and
the retaliatory actions it demonizes as terrorism. The connection is
clear. However, the US state cannot, as a matter of choice, simply stop
acting in ways that victimize weak countries, ways that impel partisans
of those countries to strike back. Washington is under a structural
compulsion to pursue a predatory foreign policy, which means it can't
deal with the backlash its foreign policy generates by choosing to
pursue a different path (a non-interventionist or "democratic" foreign
policy.) Imperialism is the only option it can pursue so long as the
organizing principle of US society is the pursuit of profit. It must,
then, use force to limit the backlash as best it can. Conflict is
inevitable, and it's the only path through which the US imperialist
bloc can pursue its foreign policy and the only path through which its
opponents can defeat it.
purposes of building support for a war, the US state prefers to spin
fantastical tales of Tehran seeking to covertly develop nuclear weapons
to "wipe Israel off the map," presumably in a direct nuclear attack on
the Zionist state. The "wipe Israel off the map" line, attributed to
Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is twisted to give it a sinister
meaning: that Iran seeks to destroy every man, women and child living
in Israel. This isn't the case. What Ahmadinejad would like to wipe off
the map is Israel as an idea, that of a Jewish state based on the
expulsion of Palestinians and discrimination against Arabs who remain
in Israel; Zionism, in other words. Interpreting Ahmadinejad's words as
a promised campaign of genocide to be carried out against Israeli Jews
is tantamount to saying anyone who called for the Third Reich to be
wiped off the face of the map was calling for the genocide of Germans.
This deliberate, demagogic misinterpretation serves a purpose: to build
public support for a war on Iran.
an attack on Iran comes, by US cruise missiles or B2s or Israeli
warplanes carrying US-supplied bunker busters to penetrate deep into
the earth to cripple Iran's fledging subterranean nuclear power
industry, the fundamental reasons for the attack will remain hidden.
But the main forces that drive the US to war will be the same as those
that compelled the US, with British assistance, to attack Iraq: to
replace an economically nationalist regime that has largely walled off
the country from US and British capital, and is developing outside the
self-serving parameters established by Washington. There will also be
subsidiary factors, unique to Iran, which add or detract from these
forces (e.g., the link between Iran and pro-Palestinian groups which
threatens the viability of a country that acts as an enforcer in the
Middle East on behalf of US interests.) If an attack comes, it will
only be a military manifestation of an aggression already begun, one
based now on the threat of the use of force, diplomatic pressure and
the fomenting of internal subversion. This is part of a pattern that
reaches back to the founding of the US, and has characterized the
behavior of all advanced capitalist states. If the aggressions now
being undertaken by Washington against Iran escalate to war, we
shouldn't be shocked. It has been done before.
UK supplied Israel with plutonium while Harold Wilson was PM:
The sale was made despite a warning from British intelligence that it
might "make a material contribution to an Israeli weapons programme".
Under Wilson, Britain also sold Israel tons of chemicals used to make
boosted atom bombs 20 times more powerful than Hiroshima or even
Harold Macmillan's time the UK supplied uranium 235 and the heavy water
which allowed Israel to start up its nuclear weapons production plant
at Dimona - heavy water which British intelligence estimated would
allow Israel to make "six nuclear weapons a year".
August on BBC Newsnight we revealed the first British/Israeli deal, the
sale of the heavy water, but the government responded by telling the
International Atomic Energy Agency the UK was not a party to any sale
to Israel and that all it did was sell some heavy water back to Norway.
Freedom of Information, Newsnight has obtained top secret papers. They
show Foreign Minister Kim Howells misled the IAEA and that Britain made
not one, but hundreds of secret shipments of nuclear materials to
Israel. Britain knew all along that Israel wanted the heavy water "to
produce plutonium" and Israel paid the full military price - £1 million
- to avoid safeguards to stop the plutonium being used to make nuclear
intelligence learnt there was also a reprocessing plant and concluded
"the separation of plutonium can only mean that Israel intends to
produce nuclear weapons".
The speech that most needs to be heard today:
Were Iran and Syria bristling with nuclear weapons like America and
Israel and were Saudi Arabia shooting spy satellites into outer space,
Jyllands-Posten would be performing a public service. Were hundreds of
thousands of Iraqi soldiers camped out around Washington, DC, and
American civilians being rounded up and raped in their thousands, we
would fall over ourselves to address the terrors of Islamic
fundamentalism. Were Christianity being reviled as innately murderous,
the Cross and the Torah being flushed down toilets, and yarmulkes
banned in schools, were the Smithsonian in ruins and the Louvre burned
to the ground, were the Sistine Chapel riddled with bullets and George
Bush trapped in a spider hole in the ground, we would fight to the
death for the right to vilify Islamism.
in fact, the ideology that most terrorizes the world is not Islamic --
as yet -- but Western and the speech that most needs to be heard today
is the one that challenges the ideology of Western domination.
Not the speech that reinforces it and lays the foundation for its extension.
No "al-Qaeda" involvement in Madrid bombings:
Big surprise here. "A two-year investigation into the Madrid train
bombings concludes that the Islamic terrorists who carried out the
blasts were homegrown radicals acting alone rather than at the behest
of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, two senior intelligence
officials" told the Associated Press. Of course not. Because the Madrid
train bombings were carried out by police informants connected to a
false flag intelligence operation. "Moroccan Rafa Zuher and Spaniard
Jose Emilio Suarez had been in contact with police before the attacks,"
the BBC reported on April 29, 2004. "According to [the Spanish
newspaper] El Mundo, [Suarez] was an informant for the National Police,
providing information about trafficking in weapons, drugs and
is no mistake the Associated Press neglected to mention this
troublesome detail. It is also no mistake the Tunisian Serhan Ben
Abdelmajid Fakhet blew "himself up along with six other suspects when
police surrounded their apartment three weeks after the bombings,"
along with Jamal Ahmidan, the Moroccan "military planner" of the
operation, as the Associated Press notes. Suicide is often the fate
suffered by patsies with too much information, especially "al-Qaeda"
Zuher "was a police informer to an elite unit of the Guardia Civil
known as Unidad Central de Operaciones," writes Michel Chossudovsky. It
should come as no surprise that the Guardia Civil operated as the
secret police for Spain's long-time fascist ruler, Generalissimo
Francisco Franco, and long accused of war crimes (during the Spanish
Civil War), torture and atrocities. Moreover, Jose Emilio Suarez "had
in his possession the telephone number of the Head of Tedax, Juan Jesus
Sanchez Manzano. Tedax is Spain's Civil Guard bomb squad , a very
specialized division of the Spanish police. A official of the this
special unit was in fact involved in the deactivation of one of the
bombs which was to be placed in the train." Again, not surprising,
although completely ignored by the corporate media at the time because
the script called for blaming "al-Qaeda," who apparently wanted to get
José María Aznar (a former Falangist, or fascist) re-elected. Instead,
Spaniards elected Rodríguez Zapatero, a socialist.
addition to the direct and ignored police involvement in the Madrid
attacks, there is a suspicious connection between the Moroccan Jamal
Zougam, pegged in the corporate media as the "leader of Spain's
al-Qaida cell," and Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and London's
Finsbury Park Mosque. Abu Hamza al-Masri admitted during his recent
trial on terrorism charges that "he had met several times with police
officers and members of the MI5 spy service," the Associated Press
reported in February. Haroon Rashid Aswat, supposedly linked to the
London bombings, was revealed as a British intelligence asset last
August. Aswat was involved with al-Masri and his al-Muhajiroun group
(see a photo of the two together here). According to John Loftus, a
former US federal prosecutor, al-Muhajiroun was used "to recruit
Islamist militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs
in Kosovo," as Michael Meacher, former British MP, wrote for the
Guardian last September.
it turns out, al-Muhajiroun, and thus al-Masri, are connected to
British, U.S., Pakistani, and German intelligence, and worked for NATO
in Kosovo. Loftus told Fox News (and it is a miracle Fox News reported
this) the "CIA was funding the [Kosovo] operation to defend the
Muslims, British intelligence was doing the hiring and recruiting. Now
we have a lot of detail on this because Captain Hook [al-Masri], the
head of Al-Muhajiroun, [his] sidekick was Bakri Mohammed, another
cleric. And back on October 16, 2001, he gave a detailed interview with
al-Sharq al-Aswat, an Arabic newspaper in London, describing the
relationship between British intelligence and the operations in Kosovo
and Al-Muhajiroun" (see Michel Chossudovsky, London 7/7 Terror Suspect
Linked to British Intelligence?).
shouldn't expect the corporate media to report any of this information,
easily collated using a simple Google search, accessing "mainstream"
publications. Instead, we are expected to believe the Madrid "Islamic
terrorists" are "homegrown radicals acting on their own rather than at
the behest of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network," itself a CIA-ISI
contrivance. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that the Madrid
bombing was pulled off by a U.S.-British-Pakistani-German component of
the intelligence monolith and not "radical Algerian, Moroccan and
Syrian groups bent on carrying out attacks." Of course, since the
"mastermind" of the Madrid operation, the Tunisian Serhan Ben
Abdelmajid Fakhet, "blew himself up along with six other suspects when
police surrounded their apartment three weeks after the bombings,"
taking the "military planner" Jamal Ahmidan with him, a direct link to
the real perpetrators of the bombings no longer exists. Dead men tell
View from Moscow: George W. Bush is not evil. He is just stupid: I once saw a bumper sticker that read: "I've never made a mistake. I thought I did once, but I was wrong."
I have made a mistake. And today I must apologize to loyal Pravda.Ru
readers, and to the thirty percent of Americans still enamored with the
George W. Bush is not evil.
He's just stupid.
second thought, this stupidity does make him susceptible to the
Machiavellian machinations of evil men, like Dick Cheney, Karl Rove,
Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and the rest of the plutocratic
oligarchs who control America so extensively they can even abandon the
facade of consulting with their puppet when developing policies
detrimental to the nation and the world, but beneficial to their
avariciousness and corruption.
this reality was ever in doubt, one need only reflect upon the
oligarchs' now infamous attempt to transfer management of several
American port terminals to a Middle-Eastern company. According to
reports, Bush was not even privy to discussions about this plan until
after they had been completed.
course this was not the first time the puppet masters ignored their
puppet. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, reports
also indicated that Bush was basically treated like an annoying child
who is instructed to play in the corner while the "grown-ups" engage in
perhaps Bush's befuddled look of surprise, captured so well in Michael
Moore's documentary FAHRENHEIT 9/11, was genuine. Perhaps he had been
left out of the conspiracy designed to permit, via act or omission, the
September 11th attacks so he could appear earnest while regurgitating
the fictitious "intelligence" used to rationalize the illegal invasion
it would seem that any leader with a modicum of integrity would be
incensed over the idea of being shut out of discussions having such
momentous political ramifications. But Bush is not such a leader.
Instead he possesses two of the most dangerous attributes a stupid
person can have: arrogance and power. And history has established, time
and again, that a stupid and arrogant man with power will never admit
he is wrong.
this stupidity caused Bush to play directly into Al-Qaeda's hands.
Since terrorists have no Air Force or Navy, the opportune solution is
to make their enemies come to them. Ironically many sycophantic Bush
supporters have confirmed the effectiveness of this strategy by
proclaiming, "Better to have terrorism in Iraq than in the United
States." Translated into real terms, this means that the Bush
methodology for fighting the "war on terror" is to simply provide
terrorists with alternative targets, namely American soldiers and Iraqi
on second thought, I retract my apology. Since George W. Bush's
combustible combination of stupidity, arrogance and power makes him
susceptible to the Machiavellian machinations of evil men, he is, by
proxy, evil as well.
it is an evil that has been rewarded and applauded by the American
people. In fact, the entire creation of the Bush dictatorship was
simply a test to gauge how much freedom, justice and democracy
Americans would be willing to lose.
attacks of September 11th were designed to determine whether the
American people would allow their fundamental rights and civil
liberties to be replaced by unjust laws and inhuman barbarisms once
considered anathema to America's alleged respect for freedom and human
rights - Patriot Acts, detentions without charge or trial, the denial
of due process of law, illegal surveillance programs, torture and
build-up to the war against Iraq was a ploy intended to measure the
gullibility of the American people and their willingness to obediently
accept "great lies" while the plutocrats enriched themselves through
equally corrupt election of 2004 was used to ascertain whether the
adage "Americans are loath to change leaders during wartime" was true
even though the legality of that war was in question, and even when
that leader was directly responsible for the lies that started it.
Sheepishly, Americans validated this adage.
Now all that is left to destroy is the Bill of Rights.
I have a prediction: There will be another major terrorist attack on
American soil before the 2008 presidential election. Like the September
11th attacks, this one will also be encouraged by the Bush dictatorship.
the motive will be much more sinister. Instead of being exploited to
divert attention from a corrupt election, or as a pretense to start an
illegal war, the plutocratic oligarchs will use this attack as a ruse
to appoint their puppet "President for Life." Seizing upon the Bush
dictatorship's rhetoric that the war on terrorism will be a "lifelong"
war, these oligarchs will announce to a panicked populace that a
"lifelong" leader will be required to fight it. Then, shortly after
this announcement, the Bush dictatorship will further manipulate the
fear generated by this attack and place America under martial law,
thereby eradicating the Bill of Rights altogether.
View from Tehran: Logic out the window at the White House:
The biggest pitfall in predicting the behavior of radical groups like
the inner circle of the Bush administration is that you keep telling
yourself that they would never actually do whatever it is they're
talking about. Surely they must realize that acting like that would
cause a disaster. Then they go right ahead and do it.
Iranians) must know everything is on the table and they must understand
what that means," U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton
told a group of visiting British politicians last week. "We can hit
different points along the line. You only have to take out one part of
their nuclear operation to take the whole thing down." In other words,
he was calmly proposing an illegal attack on a sovereign state,
possibly involving nuclear weapons.
the U.S. army already mired in Iraq, the Bush administration lacks the
ground strength to invade Iran, a far larger country. The National
Security Strategy statement of September 2002 declared a new doctrine
of "preemptive" wars in which the U.S. would launch unprovoked attacks
against countries that it feared might hurt it in the future, and in
January 2003 that doctrine was elaborated into the military strategy of
"full spectrum global strike."
"full spectrum" referred specifically to the use of nuclear weapons to
destroy hardened targets that ordinary weapons cannot reach.
Earth-penetrating "mini-nukes" were an integral part of Conplan
8022-02, a presidential directive signed by Bush at the same time that
covered attacks on countries allegedly posing an "imminent" nuclear
threat in which no American ground troops would be used. Indeed, the
responsibility for carrying out Conplan 8022 was given to Strategic
Command (Stratcom) in Omaha, a military command that had previously
dealt only with nuclear weapons.
what happens if they talk themselves into unleashing Conplan 8022 on
Iran? Thousands of people would die, of course, and the surviving 70
million Iranians would be very cross, but how could they strike back at
the United States? Iran has no nuclear weapons, no weapons of any sort
that could reach America. Given the huge American technological lead,
it can't even do much damage to U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region.
But it does have two powerful weapons: its Shia faith, and oil.
is currently playing a long game in Iraq, encouraging the Shia
religious parties to cooperate with the American political project so
that a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad will turn Iraq into a
reliable ally of Iran once the Americans go home. But if Tehran
encouraged the Shia militias to attack American troops in Iraq, U.S.
casualties would soar. The whole American position there could become
untenable in months.
a "preemptive" American attack on Iran would ignite a general
insurrection against the American presence in Shia-dominated areas of
Iraq and trigger a global economic crisis. The use of nuclear weapons
would cross a firebreak that the world has maintained ever since 1945,
and convince most other great powers that the United States is a rogue
state that must be contained. All this to deal with a threat that is no
more real or "imminent" than the one posed by Iraq in 2003.
American policy-maker in his right mind would contemplate unleashing
such a disaster for so little reason. Unfortunately, that does not
guarantee that it won't happen.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The [Iraqi] resistance is fighting for us all." — Tariq Ali, author, filmmaker, historian and activist.
:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.
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