Archive for March 26th, 2010
War, Fifth Columns, and What Won’t Be Asked on 60 Minutes
Have a Nice World War, Folks
By John Pilger
March 25, 2010 “Information Clearing House” — Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of “defence” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March Hare.
According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception”. Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.
“War is fun”, the helmets in Vietnam used to say with bleakest irony, meaning that if a war is revealed as having no purpose other than to justify voracious power in the cause of lucrative fanaticisms such as the weapons industry, the danger of truth beckons. This danger can be illustrated by the liberal perception of Tony Blair in 1997 as one “who wants to create a world [where] ideology has surrendered entirely to values” (Hugo Young, the Guardian) compared with today’s public reckoning of a liar and war criminal.
Western war-states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the anti-war instincts of their own citizens. Consider the draconian sentences handed down in London to scores of young people who protested Israel’s assault on Gaza in January last year. Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police “kettled” (corralled) thousands, first-offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry custodial sentences. On both sides of the Atlantic, serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime.
Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and now Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, like Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of famous writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the “market” or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them have spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On 22 January 1991, the US Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq’s clean water system and lead to “increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease”. So the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, noted Unicef, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.
Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a “pre-fascist era”. Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. “Fascism” is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is “more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent.”
This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.
In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud “our boys”. The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite loves America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a “partner”. We should interrupt their fun.
“Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety.” — Daniel Webster – (1782-1852), US Senator
Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq “1,366,350”
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America’s War On Iraq: 4,704
Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1,700
Total Cost of Wars Since 2001
Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan
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Stop Funding the Israelis
Posted By Justin Raimondo On March 23, 2010
If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the AIPAC conference isn’t a reason for the US to declare – finally – that they’ve had quite enough of the “special relationship,” then nothing is. After ambushing the Vice President of the United States with an announcement that new “settlements” are in the works, the Prime Minister then took his anti-American jihad to the enemy’s very gates, in Washington, D.C., where he invoked what Cato policy analyst Justin Logan trenchantly described as “the fallacy of ‘39″:
“Seventy-five years ago, many leaders around the world put their heads in the sand. Untold millions died in the war that followed. Ultimately, two of history’s greatest leaders helped turn the tide.
“Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save the world. But they were too late to save six million of my own people. The future of the Jewish state can never depend on the goodwill of even the greatest of men. Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.”
It’s always 1939 for Israel’s amen corner, and the Holocaust is always invoked as justification for whatever atrocities they’re whitewashing at the moment, but, really, one has to ask, if the Israelis are so damned independent-minded, why don’t they start “defending” their state all by their lonesome selves? That means we can pull the billions we send them – both economic “stimulus” and military aid, not to mention generous loan guarantees – or, better, yet, let the Israelis send those billions back. Then we’ll see how much actual substance is behind all the bluster, the boasting, the heroic posturing – exactly nil.
Referring to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, Netanyahu averred that “Today an unprecedented threat to humanity looms large.” Unprecedented? Really? Yet he’s old enough to remember the cold war well, a time when the Soviet Union and the United States faced off in a nuclear stalemate that nearly erupted into a hot war. Has he forgotten? I doubt it.
The Soviet Union possessed thousands of nukes: Iran, on the other hand, has yet to produce a single nuclear weapon, and, according to our CIA, they abandoned their nukes program in 2003. While they could restart at any time, presumably – albeit not without encountering the technical problems that seem to perpetually bedevil them – this is hardly the equivalent of the US-USSR nuclear standoff.
Yet we’re quite used to the hyperbolic language the Israelis routinely employ to describe the threats – real and imagined – faced by the Jewish state. To hear them tell it, a reincarnated Hitler is fiendishly planning a replay of the Holocaust, and the “existential” threat to Israel is imminent and unstoppable except through acts of war (sanctions, regime change, military action).
If this is true, and if Israel can only depend on itself for its defense, then what is holding the Israelis back? Why don’t they attack Iran on their own?
They don’t do it because they are completely dependent on the US, and such an attack would not only endanger US troops in Iraq but also plunge the entire Middle East into a war that would decimate American interests in the region and signal the end of the “special relationship” – a relationship based on mutual trust and understanding. That trust would be gone if the Israelis went after Iran without a green light from Washington – and the Israelis, who know what side their bread is buttered on (and who’s paying for the butter), would much prefer that someone else fight their battles. After all, it’s a strategy that’s worked so far.
Contra Netanyahu, the Israeli survival strategy has been the complete opposite of defiant independence and military self-sufficiency: they have been joined at the hip to the US military machine since the Reagan years, and they depend on us to keep their socialist economy from falling apart at the seams.
In return for such unusual generosity, Netanyahu and his fellow ultra-nationalists of the Likud party and its extremist allies are spitting in our faces, very publicly humiliating our public officials, and launching an all-out political attack on the interests of the very country they depend on for their survival.
This goes way beyond mere ingratitude – it indicates a very large gap between the values of the givers and those of the takers.
We hear much about the common aims and culture of the US and Israel, the mutual commitment to “democracy,” and the many links that tie our two nations together,. Yet all this is suddenly swept aside when the characteristically Middle Eastern touchiness and hysteria of the Israelis is provoked – and it takes very little to provoke them.
As the Israeli Prime Minister put it in his speech: “Nothing is rarer in the Middle East than tolerance for the beliefs of others.” Even rarer, however, is Israeli tolerance for the interests of their American patrons: we are expected to self-sacrificially put Israel first. American presidents have gone along with it for decades – and so no one should be surprised when they pull a stunt like the Biden ambush.
The Israelis are like spoiled children who’ve been coddled and indulged way beyond the limits of reason. If they don’t get what they want the outcry is deafening – and their agents and apologists are numerous, vocal, and well-placed enough in the US to make quite a bit of noise.
Senators McCain and Lieberman likened the dispute between Washington and Tel Aviv to a “family quarrel,” and advanced the view that the dispute should never have become public. Aside from the fact that it was the Israelis who went public by blind-siding Biden, isn’t it long past time to apply a little “tough love” to our adopted child in the Promised Land – and maybe even cut off his allowance if he persists in what can only be described as the equivalent of juvenile delinquency?
As it stands now, the US is subsidizing and supporting the expansion of the Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians, while Israel is doing its best to drag us into a war with Iran, and ignite the whole region. The ensuing chaos would give cover to complete the goal of the extremist Likud-far right alliance: the establishment of a “Greater Israel.”
This is a mission the United States should have nothing to do with, and the Obama administration knows it. Their response to Israeli intransigence is a good first step, but in order to make it stick they must go beyond mere rhetoric. The Israeli government can’t build settlements if we stop paying for them: they can’t threaten their neighbors, oppress an entire people, and maintain a working alliance with the West unless it’s with our active cooperation. Cut off their funding – and see how quickly they’ll turn, because they know their survival is at stake.
Read more by Justin Raimondo
•Israel’s Passport Farm – March 25th, 2010
•Springtime for Obama – March 21st, 2010
•Follow That Story! – March 18th, 2010
•Israel vs. America: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do – March 16th, 2010
•Al-Qaeda-in-America – March 14th, 2010
Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com
While AIPAC Was in Town (Occupation End Notes Vol 8 No 6)
AIPAC Conference Highlights U.S.-Israel Tensions
US Explicitly Opposes Palestinian Right to Self-Determination
Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:26 PM
From: “Stephen Sniegoski”
In the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, the US was the only country to vote against a resolution supporting the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Forty-five countries voted in favor, none abstained.
National self-determination has been a fundamental US ideal from at least the early part of the Twentieth Century, being made famous by Woodrow Wilson during World War I. While actual American policy often strayed from that ideal, the US government always paid at least lip service to it.
Supporting the UNHRC resolution would not really have necessitated change in the status quo; it did not mean the actual termination of the Palestinians’ subordination to Israel. But the US could not bring itself to even vote in favor of this innocuous, symbolic measure.
The “no” vote is especially significant because the US professes to believe that the Palestinians should have their own state in a two-state solution. If the Palestinians are not allowed self-determination, then what type of state would they have? It would seem that the only type of “state” without self-determination would be one controlled by Israel—in short, it would be a puppet state. This is what the critics of Israel claim is Israel’s intention.
Certainly, “despite Washington’s much-hyped tiff with Tel Aviv,” the US vote showed that it would continue to fall lockstep in line with Israel. If the US dared not to offend Israel on this inconsequential matter, it is impossible to believe that it would ever take any real action to pressure Israel to allow for the creation of an independent, viable Palestinian state.
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Israel told to pay Gaza damages
Thursday 25 March 2010
PAY-BACK TIME: The conference room during the 13th session of the human rights council at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland
The UN Human Rights Council urged Tel Aviv on Wednesday to pay reparations to the Palestinian people for the loss and damage it inflicted on them during last year’s bloody invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Pakistan tabled the motion, which also suggested that the Red Cross should investigate Israel’s use of incendiary white phosphorus weapons during Operation Cast Lead.
It passed by a majority of 29 to five at the UNHRC heaquarters in Geneva, with 11 abstentions.
The resolution was opposed by the US, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovakia.
Britain, Belgium and France were among the countries that abstained.
The council approved four other resolutions on the conflict on Wednesday.
It voted nearly unanimously in favour of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, with 45 countries voting in favour and only the United States voting against. No countries chose to abstain.
A second resolution agreed to the creation of an independent committee to monitor compliance with the Goldstone Report’s call for both sides to hold independent transparent investigations into human rights abuses during the Gaza war and from Palestinian rocket attacks.
A third slammed Israel for targeting Palestinian civilians and systematically destroying their cultural heritage.
And a fourth condemned the Netanyahu administration for pressing on with illegal settlement construction, including in occupied east Jerusalem, calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza.
Despite Washington’s much-hyped tiff with Tel Aviv, the US stood behind Israel at Wednesday’s council meeting.
US ambassador Eileen Donahoe said: “We are deeply troubled to be presented once again with a slate of resolutions so replete with controversial elements and one-sided references that they shed no light and offer no redress for the real challenges in the region.”
Ms Donahoe insisted that her country supported a two-state solution even though it had opposed the resolution in support of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.
PLO ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi pointed out that the two-state solution is predicated upon exactly that right.
US backs Israel at UNHRC
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Despite strained relations, US ambassador slams “one sided” treatment of Israel.
The US was the only country at the United Nations Human Rights Council to vote against all three anti-Israel resolutions, which were approved Wednesday in Geneva.
It was also the only country to oppose a UNHRC resolution in support of the Palestinian right to self determination.
In the last weeks America’s relationship with Israel has been strained. But in Geneva, the US took the council to task for its treatment of Israel.
“We are deeply troubled to be presented once again with a slate of resolutions so replete with controversial elements and one sided references that they shed no light and offer no redress for the real challenges in the region,” said US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe.
“The council is too often exploited as a platform from which to single out Israel, which undermines its credibility,” said Donahoe.
“The US strongly encourages the council to seek an alternative to highly politicized resolutions and a permanent agenda item focused on one country,” said Donahue.
She suggested that this issue was best addressed under “a robust common rubric.”
Both parties should examine their own human rights record, she said.
Her speech was delivered in advance of the vote on the resolution for the Palestinian right to self determination by the 47-member body.
Donahoe said that her country supported a two state solution even though it opposed the resolution.
But PLO Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said that there was no difference between belief in a two state solution and support for the Palestinian right to self determination.
The Palestinian people now live under “the yoke of unjust and bloody occupation,” said Khraishi.
He added that he hoped next year to pass a resolution that would allow Palestinians to excursive their right to a state.
On Wednesday, aside from giving its approval to Palestinian self determination, the council approved a resolution on human rights issues in what it called the “occupied Syrian Golan,” as well as two resolutions on Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Aharon Leshno Yaar said he appreciated the support of the US at the council. “We have witnessed today another anti-Israeli show,” he said.
Since its inception in 2006, most of the council’s resolutions which censure countries have dealt with Israel.
On Thursday the council is poised to approve a resolution which would create an independent committee to evaluate the compliance of both Israel and the Palestinians with the Goldstone Report.
Authored by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, the report asks both the Israelis and the Palestinians to hold independent investigations into their actions in Gaza around the time of Operation Cast Lead.
Obama hints that Two-State Solution may be Impossible