Archive for May, 2010
Pat Buchanan: Suggests Too Many Jews on US Supreme Court Bench:
Elena Kagan and the Supreme Court: A Barnyard Smell in Chicago, Harvard and Washington
By James Petras
Obama Picks Kagan, Backer of Indefinite Detention Without Trial, for High Court
Clinton: Iran Proving It Deserves Sanctions
Hillary working overtime for AIPAC yet again:
See the following write-up by Dr. Stephen Sniegoski (author of the ‘The Transparent Cabal’ before reading the New York Times which is included below:
Fragmentation of Iraq was Israel’s strategy:
May 2, 2010
Election Victories Help Kurds in Iraq Push for More Sovereignty
By SAM DAGHER
ERBIL, Iraq — Emboldened by his party’s electoral success, the president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region is intensifying his demands for greater sovereignty and control of oil, adding more complexity to an already tumultuous government formation period.
As the deadlock in Baghdad has deepened with the recent disqualification of some winning Sunni candidates and the coming vote recount in the capital, important bloc leaders like the Kurdish president, Massoud Barzani, have been heavily courted for support in forming coalitions.
But no one has been more openly aggressive in the jockeying for position than Mr. Barzani, and he is being closely watched because the issues he seeks to influence all have stark ramifications for Iraq’s stability. In particular, his demands for a federalist approach to governing Iraq — a weakened national government and stronger regional control — have revived fears that his Iraqi Kurdistan region may eventually try to secede.
During a recent interview, Mr. Barzani said he was determined to extract upfront commitments from any prospective coalition partners in Baghdad on potentially explosive issues like the settlement of disputed internal borders, including those of the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk, and the sharing of oil revenues.
“It is impossible for us to participate in or back a government that will operate in the same old way,” said Mr. Barzani, speaking at his mountaintop palace overlooking the regional Kurdish capital, Erbil.
The March 7 elections solidified Mr. Barzani’s position as the dominant voice in Kurdish politics, with his Kurdistan Democratic Party winning 29 of the Kurds’ 57 seats in Parliament, and with three other seats allocated to Iraq’s minorities going to candidates supported by his party.
In the weeks since, Mr. Barzani and his party have worked, with apparent success, to persuade all the Kurdish factions to go to Baghdad as a bloc unified under his banner, despite their sharp differences.
That is in part because the other main Kurdish party, led by Jalal Talabani — a Kurd who occupies the largely ceremonial post of Iraq’s president — came in a distant second. Mr. Talabani had already been losing ground, faring badly in local elections last summer as a splinter movement, known as Gorran, meaning change in Kurdish, made headway by calling for an end to the entrenched system of patronage and corruption fostered under the two governing parties.
Evidence that the Kurds are moving forward together came last week when the Kurdistan regional Parliament quietly created a new committee tasked with reclaiming “historic Kurdish land” — meaning contested areas like Kirkuk and hot spots in Nineveh Province — under the regional government’s de facto control but nominally still attached to the central government. And the Kurds are pushing for more leverage by holding out for partial vote recounts in those areas to minimize further the influence of Sunni Arabs and other groups there.
In the interview, Mr. Barzani stressed that he believed that the only hope left for stability in Iraq was in dividing it into federations, preferably three: Kurds in the north, Sunni Arabs in the middle and west and Shiites in the south. He said Baghdad would become a “federal capital” fulfilling basic government functions. He likened talk of a strongly unified Iraq to “bird dreams and wishes.”
He said he had been personally involved in drafting a tough negotiation agenda to secure territorial claims and extra money for the region’s armed forces, the pesh merga, and resolve outstanding differences with Baghdad over how to allot oil revenues.
One of the crucial Kurdish demands will be a pledge from the next prime minister to carry out Article 140 of the Constitution, a hotly contested passage that outlines the steps toward a plebiscite on the fate of the disputed northern territories, including Kirkuk.
“If Article 140 is not implemented, then this will mean the demise of the Constitution and Iraq itself,” Mr. Barzani warned.
Mr. Barzani’s strengthened hand in negotiations does not ensure a complete Kurdish victory on those issues, of course. And American officials have made a point of urging the Kurds to back down from some of their more hard-line demands.
The back and forth over Article 140 is one example of how the Americans have sought to soften the Kurds’ demands while still showing support for their relative autonomy within a larger Iraq.
Mr. Barzani noted that one of the main reason Kurds dropped their opposition to the election law in November was a promise by President Obama that the United States would “push hard” to put in effect Article 140. He said Mr. Obama first made the promise in a telephone call at the time and then reiterated it at a meeting in the Oval Office in January.
But a senior American diplomat in Baghdad said that while Mr. Obama offered broad support for Iraq’s Constitution, including Article 140, the American government at all levels made it “very clear” to Kurdish leaders that their continued insistence on an all-or-nothing plebiscite on the disputed areas without a negotiated agreement with Baghdad was a “recipe for a crisis.”
“The Balkans, when they tried an up or down referendum, it led to bloodshed,” warned the diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity under diplomatic ground rules.
He said the United States and the United Nations were still trying to persuade Kurds to back away from their ultimatum on Article 140 by highlighting the economic and financial benefits of greater integration with Iraq.
Another Western diplomat hoped the defiant Kurdish position could be balanced by the fact that Sunni Arab and Turkmen nationalists in Kirkuk and Nineveh did surprisingly well in the elections, and so far they remain adamant about opposing Article 140.
Asos Hardi, editor in chief of Awene, an independent Kurdish newspaper, said that if Kurdish leaders had been serious about Article 140 and not just concerned with preserving their powers, they would have withdrawn from the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki when he turned hostile toward Kurdish demands almost two years ago.
Mr. Hardi said the only hope left for Kurds was to exploit the divisions among Iraq’s other communities, namely the Shiites.
“There are lots of opportunities for Kurds if they play it right,” he said.
Namo Abdulla contributed reporting.
US budget deficit hits record in April:
Gregg: U.S. May Follow Greece Into a Debt Crisis
Step up Diplomacy not more Aid to Israel
See what spending billions fighting unnecessary wars for/because of Israel (and sending Billions upon Billions to foreign countries like Israel) gets US!
US Israel Policy got us into Afghanistan
Fragmentation of Iraq Was Israel’s Strategy
Americas – Obama urges funds for Israel shield
d any war with Iran with be the nail in the coffin for the international economy especially after Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz:
A Timetable for War (with Iran):
US is in a record budget deficit, but there is always more US taxpayer money for Israel:
Al Jazeera English – Americas – Obama urges funds for Israel shield
Step up Diplomacy not more Aid to Israel
Many Voices Singing One Song
Posted By Philip Giraldi On May 12, 2010
Several weeks ago the redoubtable Charles Schumer of New York announced the Yahweh himself had anointed him Israel’s defender in the US Senate. In a radio interview Schumer explained “You know, my name …. comes from the word shomer, guardian, watcher. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov. And I believe Hashem (God) actually gave me that name. One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer — to be the shomer Yisrael. And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body …”
Schumer’s very interesting comments, suggesting that he has a rather narrow view of his responsibility to represent all the people of New York State, were not reported anywhere in the mainstream media. It was apparently not considered newsworthy that a Senator from the Empire State had pledged love and loyalty to a foreign country. Schumer’s affections are particularly noteworthy as he is being spoken of as the next Senate Majority leader if Harry Reid takes a well deserved fall in the midterm elections. Schumer is, of course, not alone in his sentiments. His colleague from New Jersey Frank Lautenberg, who has traveled to Israel more than 80 times, has also been called Israel’s Senator, though perhaps it should be one of Israel’s Senators as there are clearly multiple candidates. Who could exclude Joe Lieberman of Connecticut? If one includes only Schumer, Lieberman, and Lautenberg Israel still has more senators representing its interests than any state in the union.
Both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin effused about their love for Israel during their vice presidential debate in 2008. Many lower house federal legislators could rightly be termed Congressmen from Israel, including Howard Berman, Eric Cantor, Jerrold Nadler, Anthony Weiner, Shelley Berkley, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Eliot Engel recently described Israel as the “best ally the United States has in the Middle East, but I would argue the best ally in the world”…adding that if the US pressures Israel “you’re going to hear it from me.” Congresswoman Jane Harman actually agreed to help an Israeli intelligence officer by using her influence to derail the trial of two American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) officials. Harman is still sitting in her plush office on Capitol Hill instead of in jail, where she belongs.
But there is another category of Israel firster that differs from the homegrown variety. Has anyone wondered at the large number of foreigners who have somehow made their way into Washington’s think tank and media punditry industry? They are found most commonly at places like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Hudson Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Saban Center at Brookings, and, of course at the AIPAC-founded Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy (WINEP). They come from Australia, Europe, and Israel itself but the one thing they all have in common is that they, like Schumer, love and protect Israel. If one were suspicious, it might be possible to wonder whether there is some kind of mechanism operating whereby advocates of Israel are hand-picked and godfathered through the system. With unusual persistence and a high level of resiliency, many of them eventually become the dominant voices at the various think tanks so that eventually no dissenting opinions are allowed. Hollywood billionaire Haim Saban’s money has turned the once moderate Brookings into an Israeli mouthpiece while AEI and Heritage, which used to be traditionally conservative bastions, have now become home bases for the neocon foreign policy.
A list of the prominent foreigners who attempt to shape opinion in the United States ought to begin with one of the better known, Martin Indyk. Indyk’s trajectory would appear to be fiction, but it is, alas, true. He was born in London and educated in Australia. After a stint working for the Likud Party in Tel Aviv, he came to the United States in 1982 and settled in as a lobbyist for Israel. He became head of WINEP in 1985 and was increasingly identified advising leading Democratic politicians. The payback came when George H. W. Bush refused Israeli loan guarantees in 1992 and lost the presidential election. Bill Clinton’s narrow victory was by many attributed to the help he received from the Israel Lobby and its media friends. When the new administration moved in it was time to reward Indyk. Clinton agreed to place him on the National Security Council with the Middle East portfolio with the understanding he would be fast tracked as US Ambassador to Israel. But there was only one problem: Indyk was not an American citizen. The White House had Indyk nationalized by act of Congress in 1993 so the appointment could be made. While in Israel as US Ambassador, Indyk was regarded as extremely close to the Israeli government. So close that he apparently forgot whom he worked for. In September 2000 he was detected sharing classified information with Israeli government officials and his clearance was suspended, very unusual for an ambassador. Indyk is now Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and appears frequently in the media discussing the Middle East.
Ilan Berman is another media fixture who is promoted as an expert on Iran and, per his official bio, “an expert on regional security in the Middle East.” Berman is a Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council, a neocon affiliated group that has run television ads promoting taking a hard line with Iran. Berman’s has written Tehran Rising: Iran’s Challenge to the United States and his latest work is Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive Against Radical Islam. Berman’s bio does not indicate where he was born or provide details of his education, but he would appear to be an Israeli and his actual knowledge of either Iran or of “Radical Islam” might well be derivative. He is a member of the Ariel Center, a Likud-oriented think tank in Israel, which is partially funded by California bingo magnate Irving Moskowitz.
Danielle Pletka, born in Australia, is Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policies at the neocon American Enterprise Institute. Andrew Sullivan, who once worked for her, has described the integrity of her scholarship in an article she wrote urging Washington to tighten the screws on Iran: “The form is set by the neoconservative agenda and she mobilizes a narrative that fills in the blanks to serve that agenda. Unwilling if not incapable of producing an article any other way, she is more than content to reverse engineer her position … Her final statement is telling. ‘…Iran neither needs nor wants accommodation with the West,’ and it is clear to me this would have been her conclusion regardless of what the preceding 800 words had been.” Pletka supported the Iraq war, was a leading cheerleader for Ahmed Chalabi, believes in torture, and wants to go to war with Iran.
And then there is Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch. Itamar resides in Israel but is frequently in the United States advising Americans on what they should think about Palestinians. Wikipedia reports this concerning him: “In February 2007 together with Sen. Hillary Clinton he released a report on the newest PA schoolbooks at a press conference in Washington. Marcus testified before the Education Subcommittee of the US Senate Committee on Allocations, documenting the Palestinian Authority’s indoctrination of children to seek death as Shahids –Martyrs – for public relations purposes.” Marcus is a featured source for the documentary Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. Some might recall that Obsession was a neocon DVD production mailed free to millions of Americans shortly before the 2008 election by an organization calling itself the Endowment for Middle East Truth.
Good things can sometimes come in pairs as in the case of the Wurmsers. Meyrav was born in Israel and her husband David was born in Switzerland. David was most recently the Middle East adviser to Dick Cheney and he also worked for John Bolton and Doug Feith. He was one of the authors of “A Clean Break,” a strategy document provided in 1996 to then and current Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. Wurmser advocated preemptive strikes against Iran and Syria and abandonment of land for peace deals with the Palestinians. He also supports US military action against Tehran and Damascus. In 2004 he was interviewed by the FBI regarding the passage of classified intelligence to Ahmed Chalabi and also to AIPAC. David’s wife Meyrav was a co-author of “A Clean Break” and founder of Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which assiduously translates all of the “particularly virulent and anti-US and anti-Israel articles” that it can find in the Arabic press. MEMRI is widely regarded as a front for Israeli intelligence. Meyrav is currently Director of the Center for Middle East Policy for the Hudson Institute and is a contributing expert at the Ariel Center.
The list goes on and on. There are the Canadians Anne Bayefsky of the Hudson Institute, who called US protests over the decision to announce 1600 new Jewish homes on the West Bank during Vice-President’s Biden’s visit “hysterical”, and David Frum, who allegedly coined the phrase “axis of evil” and is now advancing the new Israeli argument that peace talks with the Palestinians are irrelevant. Other prominent Israelis include Yossef Bodansky, author of The High Cost of Peace: How Washington’s Middle East Policy Left America Vulnerable to Terrorism; Yigal Carmon, a colonel in Israeli intelligence and a co-founder of MEMRI; and Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil, who has testified in Europe and the US that the Palestinian Authority uses its money to subsidize terrorism. Peruvian-born Eleana Benador has been referred to as a “theatrical agent” for a long string of neocons, arranging their generously remunerated speeches and public appearances. Iraqi-born Rita Katz of SITE has turned monitoring of what she describes as Jihadi websites into a big business, though some believe she has hyped the threat. And there are many more foreign-born neoconservatives at American universities, institutes, and even in government, all helping each other to obtain positions, favorably review each others books, and assiduously move up the ladder. Most of them connect through associations like the Ariel Center, JINSA, AIPAC, WINEP, the Committee on the Present Danger, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the Hudson Institute, and AEI. An astonishing number of them wind up at the National Defense University. Curiously, for many of them it is not altogether clear what their qualifications are to discuss the Middle East as “experts.” How many actually speak Arabic and Farsi or have lived in the countries or among the people that they regularly excoriate?
Are these people dangerous? Well, maybe. Many foreigners have come to the United States to make their fortunes and there is nothing wrong with that. But, in this case, there would appear to be a certain unanimity of viewpoint and a marching in lock step that is just a tad disconcerting, particularly as it has helped shape the foreign policy narrative. There is no deviation from hard right Likud positions, never any criticism of Israel, and always complete agreement on the need to confront Iran militarily. One might reasonably ask to what extent it is a coordinated effort to steer Washington in a certain direction, not unlike the neocons in the Pentagon under President George W. Bush. In any event, the presence of so many self-styled agenda-driven “experts” possessing regular media access raises questions about the objectivity of the policy-making process in Washington. If you seed enough partisans into the system and they are all singing the same tune that is then played and replayed in the media even a whole parcel of lies can eventually seem to be the truth.
Read more by Philip Giraldi
- A Timetable For War (http://tinyurl.com/atimetableforwar) – May 5th, 2010
- Papering the War Against Iran – April 28th, 2010
- Israel First: More on Dr. Lani Kass – April 21st, 2010
- Dr. Strangelove, Made in Israel – April 14th, 2010
- Nuking the Mullahs (http://tinyurl.com/nukingthemullahs) – April 7th, 2010
Another Retired General Sounds His Horn For War (for Israel of course!)
Take a look at the ‘A Clean Break’/war for Israel link at the upper right of http://NEOCONZIONISTTHREAT.COM for the same agenda that the neocons used to get US into Iraq for Israel as well.
A Timetable For War (with Iran)
Incoming British FM Won’t Rule Out Attacking Iran
Inside Britain’s Pro-Israel Lobby:
Hillary Clinton pushing AIPAC line against Iran yet again
Report: IAEA to discuss Israel’s nuclear activities for first time
Haaretz, Israel May 08, 2010
US-Israel – Panel Discussion
We just held another panel discussion on the US-Israel relationship.. very robust – and in the words of one of our guest, also very ‘scary’. Here’s a link to his blog post written after the debate: http://stephensizer.blogspot.com/2010/05/nightmare-zoa.html
And here is a link to the original discussion (downloadable MP3) Hour 1 –
U.S. Nuclear Option on Iran Linked to Israeli Attack Threat
WASHINGTON, Apr 23, 2010 (IPS) – The Barack Obama administration’s declaration in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that it is reserving the right to use nuclear weapons against Iran represents a new element in a strategy of persuading Tehran that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites is a serious possibility if Iran does not bow to the demand that it cease uranium enrichment.
Although administration officials have carefully refrained from drawing any direct connection between the new nuclear option and the Israeli threat, the NPR broadens the range of contingencies in which nuclear weapons might play a role so as to include an Iranian military response to an Israeli attack.
A war involving Iran that begins with an Israeli attack is the only plausible scenario that would fit the category of contingencies in the document. ….
A Timetable for War (with Iran):
Nuking the Mullahs: