Archive for October, 2010

US Fights & Pays for Israel’s Wars

US Fights & Pays for Israel’s Wars

http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/10/maidhc-o-cathail-the-united-states-fights-and-pays-for-israels-wars/

Ross talks Iran, Israel with AIPAC

Ross talks Iran, Israel with AIPAC (Paul Findley & Mearsheimer/Walt validated yet again):

http://politi.co/al8QRn

   More on AIPAC Israel firster Dennis Ross

http://www.tinyurl.com/AIPACerRossedgesoutJones

US (via Obama as well): The Dishonest Broker

http://america-hijacked.com/2010/10/19/us-via-obama-as-well-the-dishonest-broker/

Cut, cut, cut the budget (just don’t touch Israel)

Cut, cut, cut the budget (just don’t touch Israel)

http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/cut-cut-cut-the-budget-just-don%e2%80%99t-touch-israel.html

Cantor: Take Israel out of foreign aid

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/10/24/2741415/cantor-take-israel-out-of-foreign-aid

US tragically attacked on 9/11 because Israel firsters like Eric Cantor support Israel to the hilt:

What Motivated the 9/11 Hijackers? See testimony didn’t!

http://tinyurl.com/911motivation

See Los Angeles Times article referenced near top of following URL:

http://tinyurl.com/motivation911

US Congress Defends Murder of American Peace Activist and Other War Crimes

Just received the following from Ambassador Ed Peck:

Ambassador Ed Peck wrote:

Friends,

Returned late last night from an absence abroad, and today found the email repeated below.  You may have already seen it, but even for those of us long steeped in the thick sauce of pro-Israel support by Congress, some of the wording in the letters is not merely shocking, it is simultaneously enraging and – to me at least – deeply depressing.  What in the world can we do?

Each time I have read over the language endorsed by a crushing majority of our elected representatives, I have become increasingly saddened, convinced that Israel and the US are on a rapid slide into  a disaster that will affect far more than just those two nations.  Based on experience, I am confident that I will recover and  soldier on, but right now, I am trashed.

I started out highlighting the most frightening parts, but eventually gave up.  there are too many of them.

With apologies,

Ed

http://www.truth-out.org/congress-defends-murder-american-peace-activist-and-other-war-crimes63941

Congress Defends Murder of American Peace Activist and Other War Crimes

Monday 11 October 2010

by: Stephen Zunes, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

Despite revelations from a detailed investigation by a special commission of the United Nations Human Rights Council confirming that Israel committed war crimes, the overwhelming majority of both Republican and Democratic members of Congress remain on record defending the Israeli attack as legitimate self-defense. This is particularly striking given evidence presented in the report that five of the nine people killed, including a 19-year-old US citizen, were murdered – shot execution-style by Israeli commandos.

In a letter to President Barack Obama dated June 17, 329  out of 435 members of the US House of Representatives announced that they “strongly support” Israel’s May 31 attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters, which resulted in the deaths of nine passengers and crew and injuries to scores of others. Similarly, a June 21 Senate letter – signed by 87  out of 100 senators – went on record “fully” supporting what it called “Israel’s right to self-defense.”

The House letter insisted that “Israeli forces used necessary force as an act of self-defense and of last resort.” Similarly, the Senate letter refers to the murders of passengers and crew resisting the illegal boarding of their vessel in international waters as a situation where the Israeli raiders were “forced to respond to that attack” when they “arrived” on the ship.

If these members of Congress believe that a foreign government has the right to murder an American peace activist on the high seas, it inevitably raises questions as to how they might react to the murder of peace activists by local, state or the federal government here at home.

There were other troubling aspects of these letters as well.

The House letter urged President Obama “to remain steadfast in defense of Israel” in the face of the near universal international condemnation of this blatant violation of international maritime law and other legal statutes, which the signatories referred to as “a rush to unfairly judge and condemn Israel.” The Senate letter condemned the near unanimous vote of the UN Human Rights Council for what it called “singling out” Israel, even though no other country in recent memory has attacked a humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters. Both letters called upon the United States to veto any resolution in the UN Security Council criticizing the Israeli attack.

The Senate letter also claimed that the widely supported effort to relieve critical shortages of food and medicine in the besieged Gaza Strip was simply part of a “clever tactical and diplomatic ploy” by “Israel’s opponents” to “challenge its international standing.”

Many of the key arguments in the letters were misleading and, in some cases, factually inaccurate.

The Israeli government had acknowledged prior to the writing of the letter that the extensive blockade of humanitarian goods was not necessary for their security, but as a means of pressuring the civilian population to end their support for Hamas, which won a majority of legislative seats in the most recent Palestinian election. In addition, the Israeli government announced a significant relaxation of the embargo two days after the letter was written. Despite this, the House letter claimed that the purpose of the blockade was “to stop terrorists from smuggling weapons to kill innocent civilians,” thereby placing this large bipartisan majority of the House even further to the right than Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s rightist coalition.

There was no mention in the letter than no such weapons were found on board any of the six ships hijacked by the Israelis nor on the previous eight ships the Free Gaza Campaign had sailed or attempted to sail to the Gaza Strip. In addition, even though the ships had been thoroughly inspected by customs officials prior to their disembarkation, the House letter claimed that had the Israelis not hijacked the ships, they would have “sailed unchecked into Gaza.”

Similarly, according to the Senate letter, Israel’s naval blockade was necessary “to keep dangerous goods from entering Gaza by sea” and falsely claimed that the intent of the Israeli blockade was “to protect Israel, while allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.” Particularly striking is the fact that, despite that the International Committee of the Red Cross and a broad consensus of international legal experts recognize that the Israeli blockade of humanitarian goods is illegal, the Senate letter insisted that the blockade “is legal under international law.”

The House letter also claimed that the other ships were “commandeered peacefully and without incident,” even though on the other ships, despite completely nonviolent resistance, passengers were tasered and brutally beaten and were attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets. Similarly, the Senate letter insisted that, in spite of these potentially fatal beatings and other assaults, “Israeli forces were able to safely divert five of the six ships challenging the blockade.”

Even though the Israeli government has never entered Gaza to disperse aid to the people of that territory since the start of the siege years earlier and reputable relief organizations have documented that the Israelis had routinely refused to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip, these House members claimed that Israel had offered to “disperse the aid … directly to the people of Gaza.” And, despite the fact that the five aid ships that Israel had allowed to dock in Gaza in previous months had distributed their humanitarian cargo directly to those in need, the senators claimed that it would have otherwise gone “into the hands of corrupt Gaza officials.”

Learning what actually transpired in the tragic incident was apparently of little interest to the 87 senators who signed the letter defending the attack. Despite the whitewash in the internal Israeli investigation, the senate letter supported Israel’s alleged intention to carry out “a thorough investigation of the incident,” insisting that Israel “has the right to determine how its investigation is conducted.” This comes in spite of a public opinion poll that showed a clear majority of Americans – including 65 percent of Democrats – favored an international inquiry over allowing Israel alone to investigate the circumstances of the attack.

Israel is the most immediate threat to the future of the planet

Israel is the most immediate threat to the future of the planet: Interview

Monday, October 25, 2010 12:45 AM
From: “Kourosh Ziabari”
 
I’ve conducted a new interview with the American pro-Palestinian journalist and activist
Jeffrey Blankfort. We discussed a variety of issues including the influence of Israeli lobby
on the decision-makers of the U.S. government, Israel’s illegal, underground nuclear program,
the prospect of Israeli – Palestinian conflict and the imminent threat of an Israeli strike
against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
 
I hope it will be useful for publication
Best regards
Kourosh Ziabari
 
—————————————–
 
Israel is the most immediate threat to the future of the planet: Jeffrey Blankfort

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

Jeffrey Blankfort is an American photojournalist, radio producer and Middle East analyst. He is a well-known pro-Palestinian activist whose articles and writings have appeared on Counter Punch, Voltairenet, Palestine Think Tank, Dissident Voice and many other publications.

He currently hosts radio programs on KZYX in Mendocino, CA and KPOO in San Francisco. Blankfort was formerly the editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin and co-founder of the Labor Committee of the Middle East. In February 2002, he won a lawsuit against the Zionist organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which was found to have been spying on the American citizens critical of Israel and its expansionistic policies.

Jeffrey joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss the influence of Israeli lobby on the decision-makers of the U.S. government, Israel’s illegal, underground nuclear program, the prospect of Israeli – Palestinian conflict and the imminent threat of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Blankfort is quite outspoken in his criticism of the apartheid regime of Israel and believes that Israel is the most immediate threat to the future of our planet.

 

Kourosh Ziabari: In your article “The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions”, you elaborately explore the dominance of Israeli lobby over the U.S. administration and cite good examples of the influence of well-off Zionists on the multinational companies and mainstream media in America. My question is that, what are the root causes of this enormous power and immense wealth which the Zionists have possessed?
How did the Jews take over the vast resources of power and money that has made them capable of framing, modifying and overturning the political equations in the United States?

 

Jeffrey Blankfort: That question requires a long and complicated answer. In short, an important, well organized segment of the American Jewish community emerged after World War II that has been dedicated to the establishment and prospering of a Jewish state in historic Palestine in which the lives and well being of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs were of no consequence.

That this segment did not and has never represented the majority of American Jews has been more than been made up for by its concerted activity on Israel’s behalf in every critical sector of U.S. society and at every level of the nation’s political life. Its success would not have been possible, however, were it not for the fact that within its ranks have been a sizeable number of wealthy Jewish businessmen who have been quite willing to expend the funds necessary to either purchase the support of the U.S. Congress as well as virtually all of the state legislatures or intimidate Israel’s would-be critics into silence.

Well before the birth of the first Zionists, Jewish bankers and capitalists had established themselves in Europe and the United States so it was not surprising that a number of them, beginning with Lord Rothschild in the early part of the century, became supporters of the Zionist project. Now, far and away, they make up the largest segment of individual donors to both political parties.

The media, as could be expected, was one of its primary targets, and that avowedly pro-Israel interests, although not exclusively Jewish, such as Rupert Murdoch, now thoroughly dominate it at every level is, unfortunately proved on a daily basis.

While there should be no question that this Israel support network, euphemistically described as a “lobby,” has been a major force in shaping U.S. Middle East policies overall, and the determinant factor in dealing with the Israel-Palestine conflict, its power has its limits. While it was able, through its agents in the White House and the Pentagon, to push the U.S. into a war on Iraq, it has yet to get Washington to bomb Iran or, apparently, to sanction an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. It is clear that there are important elements within the Pentagon as well as the intelligence agencies which know that an attack by either the U.S. or Israel on Iran would more likely than not lead to a global catastrophe.

KZ: In your articles, you’ve alluded to the conflicts and struggles between the U.S. and Israel administrations during the past decades in which the U.S. Presidents, starting from Richard Nixon, tried to curb the expansionistic policies of Israel and bring about an improved living condition for the oppressed nation of Palestine. Should you believe that there have been such efforts on the side of U.S. administration, what has led to their failure, having in mind that they’ve repeatedly proclaimed their commitment to the security of Israel?

 

JB: There has not been the slightest interest on the part of any US president, I suspect, in improving the living conditions for the Palestinians. Halting Israeli expansion and getting Tel Aviv to withdraw from all the territories it conquered in 1967 has been seen as being in the U.S. national interest.

All the past efforts have failed because none of the presidents have been willing to spend the domestic political capital that would be necessary to force an Israeli withdrawal and particularly so when they know their efforts will be opposed by the overwhelming majority of both houses of Congress irrespective of party affiliations as well as by the Zionist dominated media.

The only one who made a serious effort and who was willing to confront the Zionist network and Congress was George Bush Sr., when he denied Israel its request for $10 billion in loan guarantees in 1991 and again in 1992 but even he was eventually forced to surrender. 

KZ: Israelis are used to employing the label anti-Semitism to defame and vilify whoever dares criticize their belligerent, aggressive policies and actions. They accuse whoever criticizes them of being anti-Semitist. This makes the politicians and opinion-makers hesitant and demoralized in talking of Israel negatively. Is there any solution to reveal the futility of anti-Semitism label and educate the public that the criticism of Israel is different from criticizing Judaism?

JB: The allegation of “anti-Semitism” leveled against critics of Israel does not carry the weight it once did but it still is extremely effective, particularly, when the accused is employed by the mainstream media as we have seen recently in the case of Helen Thomas, Octavia Nasr and Rick Sanchez, and in the film industry which has long been a Zionist bastion and which was brought into existence by Jews in the last century, although none at the time were Zionists.

The power of the accusation of anti-Semitism to bring public figures to their knees will continue to exist until there is a sufficient number of prominent Americans who are willing to challenge it. When that will be I won’t begin to speculate.

KZ: Although undeclared, it’s confirmed by the Federation of American Scientists that Israel possesses up to 200 nuclear warheads. Being a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel has never allowed the IAEA to probe into its nuclear arsenal. We already know about the destiny of Mordecai Vanunu who swapped his freedom with the expression of truth. What’s your viewpoint about the destiny of Israel’s nuclear program? Will Tel Aviv continue enjoying immunity from responsibility?

JB: As long as the Zionist support network controls Congress and as long as no American president as the courage to even mention the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons, and while the U.S. continues to hold the purse strings to the UN, Israel will continue to enjoy both immunity and impunity. Had the leadership of the now non-existent anti-nuclear movement in the US, like the “peace movement” not been also Zionist-dominated, there might have been some debate on the issue but because it was, the subject was considered off limits.

KZ: Let’s turn to Iran. Iran’s is being portrayed by the U.S. mainstream media in a distorted and hypocritical way. Many Americans who even hadn’t heard the name of Iran before are now exposed to a horrifying and dreadful image of the country presented to them by the Zionist-led media outlets. They aren’t aware of the historical civilization of Iran and its unique cultural, social features. How is it possible to unveil the concealed realities of Iran for the Americans who don’t find the proper opportunities to get familiarized with the misrepresented Iran?

JB: Most American would have a problem finding Iran or any other country in the Middle East, or for that matter, anywhere in the world on a map. They are, for the most part, what can be called “geographically challenged,” as well as historically challenged. There is no antidote to that on the horizon which is why Washington is able to get away with making war on countries and peoples that have never done them harm. If there was a military draft as there was during the Vietnam War, neither the war in Iraq or Afghanistan would have gone on as long as they have and there would be opposition to an attack on Iran.

When Nixon cleverly halted the draft of 18-year olds in the early 70s, that took the backbone out of the anti-war movement and that is the reason that as hard pressed as the U.S. is today to maintain an army large enough to fight multiple wars, Washington will not bring back the draft. Hiring private contractors became the alternative. Without the fear of 18-year olds that they will be taken into the army, there is no anti-war movement and there is none worthy of the name at this moment in the United States.

KZ: Many people around the world have come to believe that the media in the United States are unrestrictedly free and can express whatever they want to, without any impediment or obstruction imposed on them by the administration. It’s almost accurate to say that the U.S. government does not have any direct involvement in the media-related affairs; however, there seems to be an implicit pressure on the media not to cross the red lines and violate the unwritten laws, including the criticism of Israel. Can you elaborate on this more precisely?

JB: It is not the government that prevents criticism from Israel in the media but fear of the repercussions that are guaranteed to follow any genuine criticism be it written or in cartoon form in the U.S. media, even when that criticism is leveled by a Jewish journalist. There are several organizations, most prominently the Anti-Defamation League, CAMERA, and HonestReporting which are able to unleash at a moment’s notice a torrent of emails and letters to the editor, and in certain cases, visits to the offices of an offending newspaper, to make sure those in the media know what they can and cannot write. Since there is no corresponding pressure from Israel’s critics in the public, most editors choose to avoid a fight.

There was a time when a number of columnists in the mainstream press did write critically of Israel and got away with it. But that was 20 years ago and they are no longer around

KZ: As the final question, what’s your prediction for the future of Israel? Will it continue to determine the U.S. foreign policy and rule the American politicians? Is it capable of maintaining the blockade of Gaza? After all, will Israel succeed in surviving politically?

JB: As long as Israel’s supporters, or agents in the U.S., are able to control the U.S. Congress and intimidate whoever happens to be president and as long as those same forces dominate the media there will be no change in the U.S. or in the situation in Gaza. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, while slowly growing in the U.S., does not have the intensity that it has elsewhere and its targets are limited to what Israel and U.S. companies do in the West Bank so, realistically, there is unlikely to be any meaningful pressure coming from the U.S.

What Israel does, however, may produce changes that are unpredictable at the moment. Having twice been defeated by Hezbollah, Israeli officials keep threatening another war on Lebanon and since the U.S., Europe and the UN have let them get away with all their previous wars on Lebanon, they are likely to try again.

Unlike the Palestinians, the Lebanese are able and willing to aggressively fight back as the Israeli soldiers know all too well, from their resistance to occupation and their halting of the vaunted Israeli wehrmacht in 2006. Should Israel find a way to attack Iran, the repercussions from that might be sufficient to send Israel on the road to what will ultimately be viewed as self-destruction. At the moment, thanks to the unconditional backing by the U.S. for all it crimes, and given its arsenal of nuclear weapons, I consider Israel to be the most immediate threat to the future of the planet.

Pro-Israel interests control AJC World News

General (Ret) James David (who is mentioned on the cover of the third edition of former Republican Congressman Paul Findley’s ‘They Dare to Speak Out’ book about the power/influence of the pro-Israel lobby on the US political system and media) sent through the following:

 James David wrote:

Take a look at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s World News, and it’s likely that the leading story will be a story on Iran.  Hardly a day goes by that the AJC doesn’t have it’s major story depicting Iran as the major threat in the Middle East, and today is no exception.  The news in the world might have many more important stories to report but it seems that the AJC prefers to publish derogatory stories on Iran in favor of the more important world news, especially when the news is unfavorable to Israel.  In that case, seldom, if ever, will this news be reported.
 
For example, we have the Israeli government issuing demolition orders on 22 Palestinian homes in Arab East Jerusalem yet nothing is mentioned about this important story in the AJC.  It’s important because the Israeli government has demolished more than 17,000 homes of Palestinians since 1967 and along with illegal Jewish settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes is the leading cause of the continued violence between Israel and the Palestinians.  This story never made today’s paper, but the supposed Iranian bribes to Afghan officials was the major “World News” story. You have to go to Israel’s leading newspaper, Haaretz, to get the story on Israel’s demolition orders Police clash with Arab youth while distributing demolition orders in East Jerusalem – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News .
 
We have the Vatican condemning Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation and criticizing Israel’s use of the Bible to justify the Jewish presence in the occupied territories.    Vatican City: Israel Should End Occupation and this important story gets just a one paragraph summary in the “World in Brief” section of today’s AJC.  This is a major story of historical relevance. Bishops from the Middle East who were summoned to Rome by the Pope demanded yesterday that Israel accept UN resolutions calling for an end to its “occupation” of Arab lands. In a final joint communique, the bishops also told Israel it shouldn’t use the Bible to justify “injustices” against the Palestinians.   Once again, a major story and we have to get the news from Israel and the Jerusalem Post  Vatican synod calls for end to Israel’s ‘occupation’
 
What is the motivation behind this trend?  Why do journalists refuse to publish stories of the real problems in the Middle East, the problems that motivated the attack on September 11?  I can only come to one conclusion and I will keep that conclusion to myself for the time being, but I think you get the story.  Is Jewish interests buying media influence in order to convince the public that Iran is our real enemy, only because Iran is really Israel’s primary enemy?   And using American blood and American money to do Israel’s dirty work is exactly what they have in mind, just as they were able to convince our leaders that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  Until we get this dangerous influence out of our government and out of our media there will never be peace in this world.
 
James J. David

 

Israel first Democrats in US Congress urge Obama to release Pollard

Democrats in US Congress urge Obama to release Pollard

http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=189117

Wake-Up, America (by Philip Giraldi)

http://america-hijacked.com/2010/09/29/wake-up-america/

‘Pollard’s release, a political gain’ (Press TV interview with Philip Giraldi)
http://www.presstv.com/detail/156709.html

The Israel Lobby: Targeting Democrats for Election Day Defeat

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/the-lobby-targeting-democ_b_771117.html

By MJ Rosenberg

October 22, 2010 “Huffington Post” — The fury of the “pro-Israel” lobby lately has truly been something to behold.

The Israel Lobby: Targeting Democrats for Election Day Defeat 

 

Israel orders demolition orders on 22 Palestinian homes

General (Ret) James David (who is mentioned on the cover of the third edition of former Republican Congressman Paul Findley’s ‘They Dare Speak Out’ book about the power/influence of the pro-Israel lobby on the US political & media) sent through the following as well!: 

Israel orders demolition orders on 22 Palestinian homes

Sunday, October 24, 2010 8:48 AM
From: General James David

Our peace loving ally in the Middle East, Israel, is planning to demolish 22 homes of Palestinians living on their own land in East Jerusalem.  The U.S. and Europe opposed the demolition order but, as usual, the Israelis just thumbed its nose at anyone who opposes anything that they do.  Too bad we don’t have political leaders who aren’t always taking their commands from the Jewish lobby.  But then, our own Congress is under zionist occupation.  Is it any wonder the U.S. is sinking to the bottom and has lost all respect all over the world?
 
Police clash with Arab youth while distributing demolition orders in East Jerusalem – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
 
 
Published 16:56 24.10.10 Latest update 16:56 24.10.10

Police clash with Arab youth while distributing demolition orders in East Jerusalem

Mayor Nir Barkat has approved a development program in Silwan to raze 22 Palestinian homes that were built without permits, and to construct a tourism center in their place.

Tags: Israel news East Jerusalem

Jerusalem municipal supervisors on Sunday distributed four demolition orders to homeowners in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan, in the east of the city. Clashes broke out between local youths and the officers accompanying the supervisors; police responded by firing tear gas.

Mayor Nir Barkat has approved a development program in that neighborhood to raze 22 Palestinian homes that were built without permits, and to construct a tourism center in their place. An additional 66 homes built without the proper permits would receive approval.

silwan - AP - October 17 2010 A Palestinian pausing after throwing stones during clashes with Border Police in Silwan on Friday.
Photo by: AP

The tourism center for the area, which is called Al Bustan in Arabic and Gan Hamelekh (King’s Garden) in Hebrew, is to include restaurants and boutique hotels

The city said it will help the residents of the 22 homes slated for demolition to move to other areas of Silwan.

Local residents oppose the plan and claim that its purpose is to increase the hold of Jewish settlers over the neighborhood. They have submitted an alternative plan that does not involve the demolition of homes but still includes the park that is part of the city’s plan. The zoning panel did not discuss the alternative plan, which angered council members on the left.

The program also met significant opposition from European states and the U.S., but was nevertheless approved by the city’s planning and building council.

In light of the pressure facing the city now with regard to construction and planning, the demolition will not likely take place in the near future.

The city called the distribution of orders a “routine procedure” of applying court rulings across the city.

Leaked Iraq war files portray weak, divided nation

Leaked Iraq war files portray weak, divided nation

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_16026/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=6RnTDl15


ROBERT BURNS

Published: Today


Founder of the WikiLeaks website, Julian Assange, speaks during a press conference in London, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010. WikiLeaks revealed on Saturday previously secret files on the Iraq war, which in the biggest leak of secret information in U.S. history suggest that far more Iraqis died than previously acknowledged during the years of sectarian bloodletting and criminal violence unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.(AP Photo/Lennart Preiss)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The enormous cache of secret war logs disclosed by the WikiLeaks website paints a picture of an Iraq burdened by persistent sectarian tension and meddling neighbors, suggesting that the country could drift into chaos once U.S. forces leave.

The reports, covering early 2004 to Jan. 1, 2010, help explain why Iraq’s struggle to create a unified, independent state continues, despite a dramatic reduction in violence. They appear to support arguments by some experts that the U.S. should keep thousands of troops there beyond their scheduled departure in 2011, to buy more time for Iraq to become stable.

The threats described in the leaked documents come from outside, including next-door Iran, as well as inside, in the form of sectarian, political and even family rivalries that predate the 2003 American-led invasion and endure today.

The reports demonstrate the weakness of Iraq’s civic institutions, court system and military, even before sectarian violence exploded in 2006-2007.

In the fall of 2005, the U.S. military discovered evidence of plots to assassinate various officials, including an Iraqi Army colonel. In September, one of the war logs said, a group of judges was abducted in Balad, beaten and forced into the trunk of a car.

Another example: On June 6, 2006, U.S. forces reported discovering large amounts of blood on the floor, a rubber hose and electric wires rigged to a metal door in a holding cell in an Iraqi police station in Husaybah, in western Iraq.

The report called the discoveries “evidence of unchecked torture” and “clear indications” of human rights violations.

The U.S. report said that for a time, U.S. military advisers slept in the police station to make sure prisoners were not abused, checked arrest logs and counseled Iraqi police, warning them against these practices.

But even a program of training and counseling didn’t put an end to the abuses. According to a report dated Feb. 16, 2009, U.S. forces reported the mistreatment of 33 detainees in custody at the same police station.

The Associated Press was given access to a redacted WikiLeaks database hours before its general release Friday, but was not provided the raw data. The documents appear to be authentic, but their origin could not be confirmed independently.

The leaked war logs reflect significant progress as well. There has been a dramatic improvement in security since the height of the violence in 2006-07, due to a weakened threat from al-Qaida and an Iraqi population weary of the sectarian bloodletting that once threatened to plunge the country into civil war.

Even so, some experts question whether the fledgling military and police forces are capable of defending Iraq after Washington completes its scheduled pullout Dec. 31, 2011.

Those who hold these pessimistic views also worry Iraq could repeat its history of turning to a military dictator in the mold of Saddam Hussein.

Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Iraq in 2007-08, said Washington has decided to turn the page on Iraq but must not close the book.

“We’re still very much at the beginning of this story, or more to the point, the Iraqis are at the beginning of their new narrative in their history, and for all of the extraordinary achievements that we’ve seen, the list of challenges is even greater,” he said Friday.

One major challenge is the country’s political paralysis. Iraqi politicians are struggling to form a new government seven months after a national election failed to produce a clear winner. That’s a symptom, to some, of the country’s stubborn religious and ethnic schisms.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s opponents said the WikiLeaks documents showed he must be stopped from consolidating power. Al-Maliki’s office responded by saying the document leak was timed to sabotage his re-election hopes.

Crocker called it “profoundly important” that the U.S. maintain a military presence in Iraq beyond 2011, despite America’s weariness with the long and costly war and pressure to shift more resources to Afghanistan.

The leaked documents posted by WikiLeaks recount Iran’s role in arming and training Shiite militia groups and seeking to influence Iraqi politics – a concern that may deepen as American influence in Baghdad wanes.

In Crocker’s view, Iraq will struggle for years with profound internal political and social problems. Meanwhile, he said, Iran is in effect telling Iraq: “Looks like the Americans are leaving, and guess what – flash news – we’re staying.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion, predominantly Arab Iraq was stronger militarily than Persian Iran, an old foe.

Today, due to the U.S. defeat of Saddam’s forces and its dismantling of his army, Iran enjoys a vast numerical advantage over Iraq in battle tanks and other weapons of war. Iran is likely to keep that edge for years to come.

Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a frequent visitor to Iraq, said that it could be another decade before Iraq has an effective air force.

In 2003, Iraq had 2,200 main battle tanks, compared with 1,565 for Iran, Cordesman wrote in a new assessment of Iraq’s military. Today, Iran’s fleet of main battle tanks has swelled to 1,613 while Iraq’s has fallen to 149.

By Cordesman’s calculations, Iraq’s security forces are going to be much less capable in December 2011 – when the last U.S. troops are scheduled to depart – than was planned when the Bush administration negotiated the withdrawal agreement just two years ago.

___

AP National Security writer Anne Gearan and Associated Press writer Pauline Jelinek contributed to this report

===================================================

Fragmentation of Iraq for Israel (by Stephen Sniegoski):