Archive for January, 2011
Netanyahu: Only ‘credible’ military threat led by U.S. can stop nuclear Iran
Premier tells foreign correspondents that such a threat is necessary but need not be used once in place.
By News Agencies
Only the convincing threat of military action headed by the United States will persuade Iran to drop plans to build an atomic bomb, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
Speaking to foreign journalists, he said that although the latest round of international sanctions were hurting Iran, they would not be enough to force a u-turn on nuclear weapons.
|Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu|
|Photo by: Emil Salman|
“You have to ratchet up the pressure and … I don’t think that this pressure will be sufficient to have this regime change course without a credible military option that is put before them by the international community led by the United States,” he said.
The West believes that Iran aims to use its uranium enrichment program to build atomic weapons. Tehran denies this.
Both Israel and the United States have said all options remain on the table, but many analysts believe the threat of military intervention has receded amid signs that Iran’s contested nuclear program is suffering from sabotage, sanctions and technical glitches.
Israel’s outgoing spy chief told reporters last week that he did not believe Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb before 2015 and counseled against any pre-emptive military strikes.
A political source said Netanyahu was very unhappy with the departing Mossad director Meir Dagan for airing his views in public and the prime minister shrugged off his comments on Tuesday.
“I think that intelligence estimates are exactly that, they are estimates. They range from best case to worst case possibilities … so I think there is room for some differing assessments,” he said.
He told reporters the world had finally realized the danger posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and praised the latest round of United Nations-led sanctions for taking its toll on Tehran.
“There is no question that all these things have caused hardship but they have not in any way altered Iran’s determination to pursue its nuclear program. They are determined to move ahead despite every difficulty, every obstacle, every setback, to create nuclear weapons.”
Netanyahu also bemoaned the influence Iran exerted on the whole Middle East, suggesting it was a potential impediment to any peace deal between Israel and its northern neighbor, Syria.
“There is a very strong relationship between Syria and Iran and I don’t see any clear willingness on the part of Syria to break that relationship. That is another consideration whether things can actually move forward,” he said.
Law and Disorder
Posted By Philip Giraldi On January 5, 2011 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized | 3 Comments
The record of the America’s law making body Congress and its judiciary since 9/11 has been nothing short of pathetic. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 might well be described as one of history’s more spectacular euphemisms employed to gut a constitution, somewhat akin to Hitler’s “emergency act” in the wake of the Reichstag fire of 1933. It is better known as the Patriot Act I. Patriot Act I became law six weeks after the fall of the twin towers and was followed by the the Patriot Act II of 2006, the two laws together diminishing constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of association, freedom from illegal search, the right to habeas corpus, prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and freedom from the illegal seizure of private property. The First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments in the Bill of Rights have all been discarded or abridged in the rush to make it easier to investigate, torture, and jail both foreigners and American citizens. The Patriot Act also incorporates the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of October 17th, 2001, which permits the freezing of assets and investigation of individuals suspected of being financial supporters of terrorism. “Suspected” is the key word, as there is no oversight or appeal to the process.
The Military Commission Act of 2006 followed the Patriot Acts, creating military tribunals for the trying of “unlawful enemy combatants,” including American citizens. Unlike a civil or criminal court, the accused needs only a two-thirds vote by the commission members present to be convicted. The act permits the indefinite jailing of suspects in a military prison without providing access to a lawyer or charging with a crime. The government is not required to produce any normally admissible evidence at a commission hearing and can rely on hearsay or even on information obtained overseas during torture to make its case. Detainees do not have access to any classified information being used against them and cannot cross examine or even know the identity of witnesses. The MCA suspends habeas corpus for anyone charged and forbids the application of the Geneva Conventions to mitigate conditions of confinement or to challenge the judicial process or verdict. The Geneva Conventions also cannot be invoked if the accused subsequently claims he was tortured or otherwise abused, protecting overly zealous interrogators from later charges of “war crimes.” The act was also designed to cover all cases that were pending, meaning that it was retroactive.
More recently, the United States Attorney General has indicated that he will not prosecute government officials who committed torture under the Bush Administration in spite of Washington being a signatory to international treaties condemning the practice. The Obama Administration has also declared that it has the right to kill any American citizen anywhere in the world if it suspects that person is involved in supporting terrorism. The sole due process required to carry out the execution is review of a secret dossier by a government lawyer. The assassination, inevitably in a country with which the US is not at war since Washington is not legally at war with anyone, is carried out by a hellfire missile fired from a drone. If the target’s family is traveling with him, that is regarded as unavoidable collateral damage.
And the new judicial world order has been given its own defense mechanisms to make it bulletproof. Challenges to illegal incarceration or denial of constitutional rights are routinely rejected by the courts, concurring with Administration claims of state secrecy to keep both whistleblowers and those detained out of the legal system. Today, someone can be accused of terrorism support after sending $5 to a charity. American Muslims who voice their discontent over the internet or phone regarding heavy handed FBI tactics can themselves be targeted, frequently encountering a new friend in the form of a government informant and eventually being talked into committing a “terrorist act.” Their new friend gives them a fake bomb or unusable weapon and they are then arrested and sentenced to twenty years in prison.
The sorry state of American jurisprudence and vanishing liberties under Bush-Obama would rather suggest that the pot not be calling the kettle black, but, alas, the pumped-up-by-hubris elected and appointed leaders in Washington do not know the meaning of the expression “shut up.” One would think they might be less tone deaf at a time when they are seeking a phony legal formula to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but that would suppose that someone in the federal bureaucracy actually knows what he is doing.
The latest case of foot in mouth involves Russia. The US media has been reporting critically on the recent conviction in Moscow of Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky on charges of embezzlement and money laundering. Khodorkovsky had earlier been convicted of fraud and tax evasion in 2005 and has been in jail ever since. The conviction prompted commentary from no less than Hillary Clinton who said it “raises serious questions about selective prosecution – and the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations” while the White House saw ”…due process violations and what appears to be an abusive use of the legal system for improper ends.” In some accounts there are suggestions that the Administration will block Russian entry into the World Trade Organization to punish Moscow for its failure to establish an “independent judiciary” and a “rule of law.”
Now excuse me, one might well ask why the Clintons and Obamas of this world feel themselves empowered to criticize legal procedures in another country involving a citizen of that country while failing to protect actual American citizens like Rachel Corrie, but it is quite likely a question not worth exploring. If there is some net gain attainable by antagonizing Russia unnecessarily it is difficult to determine what exactly that might be. The Clinton/Obama comments also reveal a profound level of ignorance about recent history. Russia was looted by the so-called oligarchs in the 1990s and Hillary Clinton should be asking how it was that Mikhail Khodorkovsky became one of the richest men in the world in little more than ten years, starting as a salesman for used computer parts. His business acumen must have been truly remarkable, but he also received more than a little well documented assistance from international organized crime. The fact is that Khodorkovsky is guilty of all charges and possibly some others to include torture, criminal conspiracy, and homicide and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he stole upwards of $15 billion from the Russian people. If Clinton and Obama had bothered to check they almost certainly would have discovered a file on Khodorkovsky’s activities about a foot thick at the FBI offices on Pennsylvania Avenue. Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s move to hold the oligarchs accountable for their crimes, which included multiple murders in addition to massive corruption and fraud, is extremely popular and so it should be. Most oligarchs have fled to Western Europe or to Israel to avoid prosecution.
So why the sympathy in the media and within government circles for the oligarchs? Well, it is the usual nonsense. Hardliners in Washington, many of whom are our good old friendly neocons, need an enemy and Russia was available. Some have also cleverly woven into their narrative the theme of anti-Semitism, always available when all else fails. The fact is that most oligarchs and their enablers from the West who looted Russia were Jewish and a number were Israeli citizens. But they were also criminals. The two facts are not necessarily congruent, but if apologists for Khodorkovsky can twist reality to make it look as if someone is planning a pogrom, so much the better. What we are seeing is the usual neocon narrative: come up with a viable enemy to justify those huge defense budgets and label him an anti-Semite to make the story even more compelling.
Ironically, Hillary Clinton’s own State Department, which interviewed an international observer at the trial, reported that the legal proceedings seemed to be fair. Russian courts are not US courts but that might actually be an advantage given what we Americans have seen lately. In one respect at least their judicial system has to be regarded as better: they no longer have gulags while we Americans have offshore and secret prisons in Guantanamo and elsewhere. But the real question has to be, why are we again interfering in something that we only dimly understand when we just might leave it alone? Who named us the Lord High Executioner for the entire world? It is the ultimate tragedy, what the Greeks would call nemesis, that a nation that once prided itself as a shining city on the hill or as “indispensable” can now be summed up with another word. That word is “rogue.”
Read more by Philip Giraldi
Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com
Israeli PM asks US to pardon spy
US to review Israeli spy release case
Trade Morechai Vanunu for Jonathan Pollard (by Doug Bandow)
Thirty-Nine Congressmen Can’t Be Wrong (by Philip Giraldi)
“A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Uni…on in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and… say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union. A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union… Tells about Pollard’s sale of a highly-classified ten-volume signal intelligence “bible”… A senior intelligence official whose agency was involved in preparing the report for the White House told me, somewhat facetiously, that he would drop all objections to Pollard’s immediate release if the Israeli government would answer two questions: “First, give us a list of what you’ve got, and, second, tell us what you did with it.”…
GOP congressional leaders are acting a lot like their predecessors
First Eric Cantor’s Pledge of Allegiance
Wikileaks: Israel Plans Total War on Lebanon, Gaza
Lebanon to explode in civil war with Israel invading for Iran war
‘US to stay in Afghanistan forever’
US sends more Marines to Afghanistan (video)
U.S. to send 1,400 extra troops into Afghan quagmire: report
Dying for What in Afghanistan
Neoconned Lindsay Graham talks about cutting debt and not being in support of raising the debt ceiling but is fine with staying in the neocon driven Afghan quagmire as conveyed via following URL youtube:
Obama to face stiff opposition
PressTV – US national debt climbs to $14 trillion
Ron and Rand Paul on Good Morning America this morning
AIPAC Protests Disclosure of Its Secret Files
Posted By Grant Smith On January 2, 2011 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized | 5 Comments
On Dec. 23, 2010, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee filed a 53-page motion [.pdf] asking Judge Eric Christian to sanction former employee Steven J. Rosen over the illicit possession and release of sensitive internal AIPAC documents. Rosen’s $20 million defamation suit against his former employer seeks compensation for derogatory public statements AIPAC made to justify firing him after he was indicted under the Espionage Act in 2005 and their joint defense agreement collapsed.
AIPAC is determined to treat the Rosen defamation lawsuit as that of a “disgruntled former employee” while dodging more relevant questions about its own handling of government classified information. Rosen has continually introduced highly sensitive AIPAC documents into court filings while threatening to put more about AIPAC’s most sensitive operations into the public domain. On April 30, 2010, both parties to the suit entered into a comprehensive protective order [.pdf] that permitted plaintiff Rosen and the defendant to “classify” documents and depositions as “confidential” and “attorney’s eyes only.” But as early as May 14, 2010 [.pdf], AIPAC’s legal team began asking Rosen to return a cache of “confidential, privileged, and proprietary documents that belong to AIPAC.” Their protests and threats [.pdf] of additional legal actions have never ceased.
Proprietary documents AIPAC claims Rosen has in his possession include AIPAC’s benefits and personnel policy handbook, AIPAC’s bylaws [.pdf] (already released by Rosen), a memorandum of an AIPAC luncheon with National Security Council member Lisa Johnson, an internal memo about how limits on individual contributors would affect U.S. political campaigns, another internal memo about the individual political activities of AIPAC members, and Keith Weissman’s employee performance review. Johnson worked in the Bush 43 NSC Near East and South Asian Affairs division [.doc] under Bruce Ridell and Zalmay Khalilzad. Former AIPAC employee Keith Weissman was indicted for espionage alongside Rosen in 2005. AIPAC claims, “Most offensive is that Mr. Rosen has stolen the private employment evaluation of another employee and produced it in this litigation with no regard for that employee’s privacy and personal information.”
AIPAC makes a strong case for dismissal of the entire defamation suit while it laments press reports in the Jewish Daily Forward based on Rosen’s disclosures, “Plaintiff knowingly and intentionally directly violated the unambiguous terms of the Court’s Order, the District of Columbia Trade Secrets Act, the Joint Defense Agreement, and the terms that he agreed to when he was employed by AIPAC. Plaintiff did so with the express purpose of releasing portions of details of events, some of which transpired decades ago, which have already been taken completely out of context by the press. By his actions, Plaintiff continuously feeds and manipulates the press with inaccurate and incomplete information that have given rise to a plethora of articles about Plaintiff’s indictment, yet he complains in this lawsuit about a single generic statement made by AIPAC. Plaintiff’s actions undermine his very claims in this matter. ”
AIPAC claims Rosen’s disregard for applicable court procedure validates its own more widely broadcast official statements to the news media that Rosen was fired chiefly because his actions differed from “the conduct that AIPAC expects from its employees.”
While Rosen appears to have violated some narrow provisions of the protective order, he still has room to maneuver out of an immediate dismissal. In both his original defamation suit filing and subsequent introduction of evidence Rosen tried to thread a needle by claiming that it was somehow not unlawful for AIPAC to routinely collect and circulate classified U.S. government documents and that he was unjustly punished for such activities. Rosen could now claim the obvious – that AIPAC has long engaged in illegal activities, such as functioning as an agent of a foreign government – which drove it into the classified information-handling business. Confidentiality agreements cannot limit or supersede established whistleblower protections over disclosing illegal activities. For example, if Rosen introduces the Lisa Johnson NSC memo as proof that AIPAC acted as Israel’s foreign agent for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it could blow a hole not only in the confidentially agreement, but in AIPAC’s tattered official stance that it was not intimately involved in planning and promoting the invasion. Rosen could make similar whistleblower claims about the still-sealed deposition of AIPAC legislative director Ester Kurz’s involvement in an earlier AIPAC economic espionage affair investigated by the FBI between 1984 and 1987 but quashed [.pdf] by order of the Justice Department.
Rosen also has many options outside his lawsuit. He could become an IRS informant and claim a $5 million share of any retroactive disgorgement of benefits improperly claimed by AIPAC as a tax-exempt charity. Or, with his insider knowledge (and related secret AIPAC documents), he could become an expert witness and indispensable counter-suit asset for information about AIPAC’s illegal campaign contributor and political action committee coordination in a newly filed civil lawsuit over election law violations.
Whichever path he chooses, Rosen is inadvertently performing an invaluable public service by shedding light on the internal machinations of AIPAC. AIPAC – like Rosen himself in 2009 – may yet escape justice on the basis of contrived legal technicalities or unprecedented judicial contortions. But AIPAC clearly can no longer constrain its former associates, the destiny of other civil suits, or growing public calls for overdue accountability.
Read more by Grant Smith
- Economic Espionage Haunts AIPAC – December 17th, 2010
- AIPAC Bares All to Quash Lawsuit – November 14th, 2010
- Jonathan Pollard’s First Freedom Gambit – October 28th, 2010
- Free Pollard Now, Pay Later – September 26th, 2010
- Could Ground-Zero Mosque’s Backers Be Worse Than AIPAC’s? – August 29th, 2010
Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com
Press TV News Analysis, James Morris, Richard Millet and Dahr Jamail on Israeli Nukes # 2
Israel rebuffs call to join NPT
Israeli Nuke Double Standard:
Israel may attack Iran’s nuclear sites if diplomacy fails’