Archive | November 10th, 2011

Alex Callinicos asks us to celebrate NATO’s war on Libya


Black Libyan African woman protests at treatment by the NTC in Tripoli’s Martyr’s Square

Photo: Black Libyan African woman protests at treatment by the NTC in Tripoli’s Martyr’s Square

The 29 October edition of Socialist Worker carries an article by the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) leading member Alex Callinicos entitled ‘West’s role in the dictator’s downfall shouldn’t stop us celebrating.’ Callinicos compares Colonel Gaddafi to the Italian fascist Benito Mussolini and says that Gaddafi, like Mussolini, was killed by ‘popular militias’, adding ‘we should have no qualms in joining the Libyan people’s celebrations of their tyrant’s demise’. Callinicos celebrates along with NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen who described the war on Libya as ‘a successful chapter in NATO’s history’ creating ‘a new Libya based on freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law’, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said, ‘We came, we saw, he died’, then laughed.

After repeated NATO attempts to kill Colonel Gaddafi his murder on 20 October was a depraved act. Among the final images from Gaddafi’s life is a scene with a dark-skinned man tethered to a pole in the background. Callinicos’ ‘popular militias’ have been and are committing ethnic cleansing and racist murder against black African Libyans. It is a travesty that this supposed socialist should join in the demonisation of Colonel Gaddafi with which the bourgeois politicians and media justified their war on Libya.

NATO said it was going to stop a massacre and then committed one. It flew approximately 28,000 sorties or an average of almost 133 a day for nearly eight months and killed between 50,000 and 70,000 people. Sirte, a town that once had approximately 100,000 people, is now almost completely deserted and looks like Hamburg after the Allies firebombed the city in July 1943. Tawargha, a town of 25,000 mainly black African people, ‘no longer exists’, according to one of the militia’s commanders, its inhabitants dead or scattered from Tripoli to Benghazi. In September Amnesty International said it was concerned at ‘increasing cases of violence and indiscriminate arrests against the people of Tawargha’. Many of Tawargha’s people were descendants of former slaves. Andrew Gilligan, for The Sunday Telegraph, visited the town and found slogans daubed by the militia, ‘The brigade for purging slaves [and] black skin’, (11 September 2011). Several hundred black Libyan refugees protested in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square that they had been held in camps for over two months, that women had been abducted from the camps, others raped and that men had been seized and disappeared. Human Rights Watch reported, ‘We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gaddafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, and some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot.’ This is a war crime. Mass graves are being discovered, the militias are fighting each other – are these what Callinicos wants us to celebrate?

On 23 October the leader of the National Transitional Council (NTC) Mustafa Abdul-Jalil proclaimed the liberation of Libya and announced ‘we adopted sharia as the principal law’; laws protecting women will be removed and polygamy reintroduced. Libyan women’s groups have protested. Should we have ‘no qualms’ about this, Alex Callinicos? On 31 October the NTC installed Abdurrahim al-Kreib as the new prime minister. This man was flown back to Libya from the United Arab Emirates where he served as a professor at the Petroleum Institute, which is funded by BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total. French, US, Canadian and British firms are queuing up to grab Libya’s oil. The British government’s UK Trade and Investment estimates that oil, gas, reconstruction and education contracts worth $320 billion are coming up for bids in the coming decade.

Benito Mussolini’s corpse was put on display, as was Colonel Gaddafi’s. However, Callinicos presents his readers with supposed similarities between the ‘highly contradictory ways’ of the two figures. This is a deception. Mussolini was a leader of an imperialist power, a racist and a fascist who supported Franco’s fascists in the Spanish civil war, who idealised war and launched the invasion of Ethiopia and then led Italy into the Second World War on the side of the Nazis. Mussolini was captured and executed by Italian partisans. Gaddafi was the leader of an oppressed nation, formally colonised by Italy and then run by Britain and France. The Libyan state repressed internal opposition and collaborated with the US rendition programme against Islamists. However, it achieved the highest life expectancy, lowest infant mortality rate and highest UN Human Development Index in Africa. It was for the Libyan people and them alone to deal with their government, not NATO and the British ruling class.

A decisive moment in the history of socialism came at the outbreak of the First World War. Kautsky and parties of the Second International followed their national bourgeoisies into the war. British so-called socialists backed the British state in the name of opposing Prussian militarism and for the defence of democracy and German socialists backed the German state to oppose the British monopolists and colonialists and Russian tsarism. Lenin and the Bolsheviks denounced them both and explained that the war was an imperialist war for possessions by the British, German, French and Russian ruling classes and had to be opposed by socialists and working class internationally. The point was to oppose the imperialist bourgeoisie of your own nations.

Writing a feature article in May 2011’s Socialist Review entitled ‘Imperialism and revolution in the middle east’ the SWP’s Richard Seymour avoids taking up the issue of British imperialism and focuses on US imperialism instead. This is shameful and revealing at a time when the British state was directing the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and special forces against Libya. Seymour makes it plain that he supports the initial revolt against the Libyan government. His Party did nothing to oppose the British state’s war on Libya, did nothing to oppose the war waged by the British ruling class. Dressed up in socialist rhetoric and all sorts of paeans to the working class, Seymour and Callinicos, like their Socialist Workers’ Party, stand in the traditions of Kautsky and the Second International. They supported the British troops entering the North of Ireland in 1969, they repeatedly criticised the ANC when it was fighting apartheid in South Africa, they use every opportunity they get to denounce socialist Cuba and they celebrated the collapse of the Soviet Union and socialist countries of central and eastern Europe as a victory for the working class – never as a victory for imperialism. Callinicos and his Party argue that with Colonel Gaddafi out of the way the workers can organise and fight for socialism. The reality is that what they do is demobilise potential opposition to imperialism among people here in Britain and whenever required they call for a vote for the war-mongering Labour Party.

Callinicos and his Party ask us to celebrate barbarism and, for now, a triumph for imperialism. This has nothing to do with democracy and helping the working class of the Middle East and North Africa. The SWP represent a chauvinist trend within the working class. They must be challenged and overcome if an anti-imperialist and socialist movement is ever to be built in Britain.

Trevor Rayne

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Jobless and Clueless: America’s Delusional Democracy

By Joel S. Hirschhorn

When Americans who are the most victimized by our cruel economy still believe in something that is demonstrably no longer true, they are deeply delusional.  They desperately want to believe in something once great about American society.  The reality is that upward economic mobility has been destroyed, replaced by widely observable downward mobility.  Some of the mostly younger jobless that have embraced the Occupy Wall Street and related Occupy efforts know the truth.

Consider the results of a new survey of unemployed adults this month:

“More than half of those polled said that they had experienced emotional or mental health problems like anxiety or depression because of their lack of work, and nearly half said that they had felt embarrassed or ashamed not to have jobs.”

“More than a third said that they had had more conflicts or arguments with family and friends because of being jobless.”

“Threats of foreclosure or eviction were reported by a fifth of the unemployed, and one in eight said that they had moved in with relatives or friends.”

“More than half said that they lacked health insurance.”

“A fifth said that they had received food from a nonprofit organization.”

“Nearly two-thirds said they would probably not have enough money to live comfortably during retirement.  More than half said that they had taken money out of savings or retirement accounts.”

“7 in 10 of those receiving unemployment benefits said that they feared their benefits would run out before they could find new jobs.”

So far, all those results paint an unsurprising profile of unemployed, suffering Americans.

Now, consider the result that blew my mind, the reason I am writing this, because more people need to understand something critical about delusional thinking that ultimately makes getting deep, sorely needed reforms of our government and political system extremely difficult.  Without that our economy will stay awful, unfair, promoting even more economic inequality.

“Two-thirds of those surveyed said that they still believed it was possible to start out poor in this country, work hard and become rich — only a little lower than the three-quarters of all Americans” not in the unemployed category who held the same view and were surveyed at the same time.  In fact, considerable research in recent years has consistently found that upward mobility in the US is no longer a hallmark of the society.  Indeed, there is more upward mobility in Canada and a number of European countries than in the US .  Moreover, the jobless more than most should be able to comprehend the ugly reality that downward economic mobility is now a large part of American society.

No surprise that the cover story on the new Time magazine is What Ever Happened To Upward Mobility?  The basic theme of the article is that the US is no longer an “opportunity society.”  In other words, our country is no longer a place where everyone, if he or she works hard enough, can get ahead.  But despite this reality, conservatives and Republicans love to publicly proclaim that the US still offers everyone upward economic mobility.

Those two-thirds of the unemployed will probably pay a steep price for their false optimism about their country.  They are likely to fall prey to the political propaganda of either Democrats or Republicans.  If they are delusional about the American Dream, are they also delusional about other things that may stand in the way of them getting a job?  Rather than feel ashamed or embarrassed about being jobless they should get some feedback from others so they can fix their thinking.

As Ezra Klein noted: “Americans are in the odd position of fervently believing in upward mobility while not actually having very much of it.  Europeans, conversely, don’t really believe in economic mobility but have plenty of it.”

Those jobless with this delusional thinking, refusing to think critically, judge the facts and come to a hurtful conclusion, are not the ones I expect to be participating in or supporting the Occupy Wall Street protesters, about three-quarters of whom now disapprove of Mr. Obama’s performance as president.  Though the Occupy protesters speak of the rich 1 percent, that is a big underestimate.  As Anne Applebaum correctly noted “Despite all the loud talk of the ‘1 per cent’ of Americans who, according to a recent study, receive about 17 per cent of the income, a percentage which has more than doubled since 1979, the existence of a very small group of very rich people has never bothered Americans. But the fact that some 20 per cent of Americans now receive some 53 per cent of the income is devastating.”  Becoming part of even that larger group of rich Americans is now more difficult than ever.

Do unemployed have the right kind of jobs to aspire to the top one percent of income earners?  Consider the jobs that account for the top one percent; the top four categories account for nearly 70 percent: corporate and business management not in the financial sector, medical, financial industry executives, and lawyers. This also shows how difficult it is to somehow negatively impact the one percent by protests by the Occupy movement.

In our delusional democracy with its delusional prosperity thinking that hard work, great ideas and superior performance will get you into the top one percent is self-delusion, even getting into the top 20 percent is a long shot.  The economic system is too rigged against economic justice.  Sure, every once in awhile someone starting out poor or average becomes superrich, but that is like winning a super lottery.  Best to stop believing in the rags-to-riches myth, unless the system is reformed.

new report by a German foundation examined the nation members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, essentially the world’s democracies.  The US ranked terribly low for poverty and poverty prevention as well as income inequality.  Only Chile , Mexico and Turkey were ranked lower than the US .  What a story.

The US two-party plutocracy has allowed the rich and powerful to buy the political system.  Except for the rich, the results are dreadful.  This is why 89 percent do not trust that government will do the right thing.  The best solution is what you find at the getmoneyout.comwebsite, a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.

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Fahrenheit 11/11/11

By David Swanson

Believe it or not, November 11th was not made a holiday in order to celebrate war, support troops, or cheer the 11th year of occupying Afghanistan.  This day was made a holiday in order to celebrate an armistice that ended what was up until that point, in 1918, one of the worst things our species had thus far done to itself, namely World War I.

World War I, then known simply as the world war or the great war, had been marketed as a war to end war.  Celebrating its end was also understood as celebrating the end of all wars.  A ten-year campaign was launched in 1918 that in 1928 created the Kellogg-Briand Pact, legally banning all wars.  That treaty is still on the books, which is why war making is a criminal act and how Nazis came to be prosecuted for it.

“[O]n November 11, 1918, there ended the most unnecessary, the most financially exhausting, and the most terribly fatal of all the wars that the world has ever known. Twenty millions of men and women, in that war, were killed outright, or died later from wounds. The Spanish influenza, admittedly caused by the War and nothing else, killed, in various lands, one hundred million persons more.” — Thomas Hall Shastid, 1927.

According to U.S. Socialist Victor Berger, all the United States had gained from participation in World War I was the flu and prohibition. It was not an uncommon view. Millions of Americans who had supported World War I came, during the years following its completion on November 11, 1918, to reject the idea that anything could ever be gained through warfare.

Sherwood Eddy, who coauthored “The Abolition of War” in 1924, wrote that he had been an early and enthusiastic supporter of U.S. entry into World War I and had abhorred pacifism. He had viewed the war as a religious crusade and had been reassured by the fact that the United States entered the war on a Good Friday. At the war front, as the battles raged, Eddy writes, “we told the soldiers that if they would win we would give them a new world.”

Eddy seems, in a typical manner, to have come to believe his own propaganda and to have resolved to make good on the promise. “But I can remember,” he writes, “that even during the war I began to be troubled by grave doubts and misgivings of conscience.” It took him 10 years to arrive at the position of complete Outlawry, that is to say, of wanting to legally outlaw all war. By 1924 Eddy believed that the campaign for Outlawry amounted, for him, to a noble and glorious cause worthy of sacrifice, or what U.S. philosopher William James had called “the moral equivalent of war.” Eddy now argued that war was “unchristian.” Many came to share that view who a decade earlier had believed Christianity required war. A major factor in this shift was direct experience with the hell of modern warfare, an experience captured for us by the British poet Wilfred Owen in these famous lines:

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est

Pro patria mori.

The propaganda machinery invented by President Woodrow Wilson and his Committee on Public Information had drawn Americans into the war with exaggerated and fictional tales of German atrocities in Belgium, posters depicting Jesus Christ in khaki sighting down a gun barrel, and promises of selfless devotion to making the world safe for democracy. The extent of the casualties was hidden from the public as much as possible during the course of the war, but by the time it was over many had learned something of war’s reality. And many had come to resent the manipulation of noble emotions that had pulled an independent nation into overseas barbarity.

However, the propaganda that motivated the fighting was not immediately erased from people’s minds. A war to end wars and make the world safe for democracy cannot end without some lingering demand for peace and justice, or at least for something more valuable than the flu and prohibition. Even those rejecting the idea that the war could in any way help advance the cause of peace aligned with all those wanting to avoid all future wars — a group that probably encompassed most of the U.S. population.

As Wilson had talked up peace as the official reason for going to war, countless souls had taken him extremely seriously. “It is no exaggeration to say that where there had been relatively few peace schemes before the World War,” writes Robert Ferrell, “there now were hundreds and even thousands” in Europe and the United States. The decade following the war was a decade of searching for peace: “Peace echoed through so many sermons, speeches, and state papers that it drove itself into the consciousness of everyone. Never in world history was peace so great a desideratum, so much talked about, looked toward, and planned for, as in the decade after the 1918 Armistice.”

Let us try to revive some memory of that foreign world on the occasion of the latest “veterans day” this Friday in this brave new era of searching for more war.

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I did contact you this afternoon in regards to the Tory party, which you are running on their behalf, asking you for your reviews on your party pro-zionist stand not to vote for a Palestinian state at the UN.

Sadly, you turn to be very aggressive and accusing me of being a lier.

That only shows you have a lack of knowledge on what your party stand for. Surely you know that your chances of winning in Sparkbrook is almost nil.

For future reference, please visit in order to enhance your political knowledge (abstaining is another form of rejection in the word of George W Bush ” if you are not with us, you are against us”)

The local voters are aware that the Tory party choose to set-up coloured poppet in order to maintain their power and control.

Yours sincerely,

John Phoenix 


By-Election Result 2011:

Labour          3932

Respect          2301

Lebdam           395

Green                179

Tory                  133


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Professionals said to be behind hack attack on Russell Tribunal website

Submitted by Asa 



UPDATE, 9 November: The site is finally back up as of this morning. It took 1&1 four days to restore service. It’s also worth mentioning that Harry Fear himself has now published an article on Ceasefire about the attack.

As the second day of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine’s South Africa session was underway in Cape Town on Sunday, the tribunal’s website was taken offline by a sophisticated cyber attack.

The internet consultant who founded the Russell Tribunal website says the attack was “no amateur attempt”.

He said attackers targeted the company with which domain name is registered. They appear to have used a technique known as a DNS (Domain Name System) attack. This has rendered the domain name useless for the time being, automatically redirecting all visitors straight back to their own computers.

This means that since Sunday, journalists and members of the public visiting the Russell Tribunal website will see nothing but an obtuse error message (see screen shot above). Nevertheless, the live internet stream from Cape Town went ahead as it was hosted by another site, and the tribunal continues to release news via its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Harry Fear, who built the site last year, told me the attack had been “executed, quite extraordinarily, without any ostensible compromising of the settings” that control the domain name. The attackers “penetrated the DNS system at a deeper level, showing their degree of sophistication and will,” said Fear.

In other words, the attackers appear to have compromised the domain registrar company itself, even covering their tracks as they went.

Fear has reported the attack to 1&1, the German compan with which is registered. Fear says 1&1 are now investigating but are “currently stunned” and saying little. The website remains inaccessible as I am writing this.

1&1 is one of the biggest internet hosting companies in the world. It claims to handles over 11 million domain names. Fear thinks this alone is significant: “that this monolith of a company has been hacked (it seems) is quite something”.

The cyber attack comes as part of a wider Zionist campaign against the tribunal’s South Africa session. Russell Tribunal coordinator Frank Barat wrote on Facebook last week that “Zionists in South Africa are going mad. Every newsroom in the country has received [a] gift box and anti-Russell Tribunal material”.

Zionist groups have set up “Russell the kangaroo” Facebook and Twitter accounts especially to attack the tribunal. However, this campaign seems much less successful than the cyber attack, with only 184 Facebook followers to date.

The now-infamous op-ed by Richard Goldstone denying Israel practices apartheid also appears likely to have been timed (at least in part) to coincide with the tribunal. The South Africa session examined the question: “is Israel an apartheid state?”

Until the website is back up, you can find out more on the Russell Tribunal Facebook page including by downloading the session’s preliminary findings.

Last week, internet service in Palestine was taken offline in what officials called a “serious act of sabotage,” according to the Ma’an News Agency.

Disclosure statement: I co-edited a new book with Frank Barat on the Russell Tribunal and also did some press work for the London session last year.

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Freedom Waves participants still detained in Zio-Nazi prison


by Jalal Abukhater

Only six out of the original 27 Freedom Waves participants have been released, twenty-one participants are still detained in Israeli prisons.  Egyptian journalist with Almasry Alyoum, Lina Attalah was the first to be released, she was handed over to officials at the Egyptian Embassy in Israel who later escorted her back home to Egypt through Taba crossing, Lina wrote an eyewitness account which can be found here. Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship was released the same day as the ships were taken over by Israeli navy. Majd says he has been released with a fine of 3000 NIS (~810 USD) and his passport has been confiscated for a month. Two Greek captains, Giorgos and Zacharias, and two Al-Jazeera journalists Casey and Aimane where also released.

Among those left in prison are Jihan Hafez; journalist with Democracy Now, Hassan Al-Ghani; a Scottish Journalist with Press TV, and many others including a European parliament member. Some of the detained human rights activists were allowed a 3 minutes phone call, some were cut off after one minue. Paul Murphy reported from inside detention about the Israeli navy’s violent manner of boarding the ships in international waters and the bad treatement of the activists in prison. A letter was smuggled from prison by the Canadian David Heap describing situation from inside “Cell 9 of the Apartheid State of Israel.”

A press released was released today to update on the situation of the Palestine WavesPolitical Prisoners:

Freedom Waves to Gaza
Palestine Office @PALWaves

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Violent tactics by IsraHell almost sunk Gaza-bound boats


by david

The two Gaza-bound boats intercepted by Israel on Friday almost sunk because of the violent tactics used, passengers have stated in phone messages from prison.

Both the Tahrir from Canada and the MV Saoirse from Ireland collided with each other during Israel’s three-hour operation, according to Fintan Lane, coordinator of the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign.

“It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows,” Lane, who was onboard the Saoirse, said. “I was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows were smashed and the bridge of the boat nearly caught fire.”

Lane is one of 14 Irish people now being held in Givon prison. In a telephone call from there, he has described the Israeli conduct as “dangerous to human life,” adding: “The Israeli forces initially wanted to leave the boats at sea, but the abductees demanded that they not be left to float at sea, for they would have been lost and possibly sunk. All belongings of the passengers and crew were taken from them and they still do not know if and what they will get back.”

Denied our rights

His fellow passenger Paul Murphy, a member of the European Parliament, was allowed to make a three-minute phone call, which was monitored by the prison authorities. His message has been posted on his website. “Our boat was almost sunk by the manner in which it was approached and boarded by the Israeli navy,” he said. “People were shackled and deprived of all personal belongings. In Givon prison, the authorities tried to disorientate us through sleep deprivation and the removal of our watches and the prison clock recording the wrong time. We have been given no timeframe as to how long we will be kept here before the deportation trial. We were denied our right by Israeli law to contact our families within 24 hours of our arrest.”

David Heap, a 45-year-old Canadian on the Tahrir, is known to have been assaulted. He has managed to smuggle a message out from prison, stating that he was attacked with electro-shock weapons and suffered bruising because of the heavy-handed tactics used against him.

In his message, he stated that he is walking with a limp but is “basically OK” and that the Canadian and Irish prisoners have joined together to demand that they are allowed to intermingle, that they be given “adequate writing and reading” material and phone calls with the outside world. The male prisoners are also demanding information about the female passengers, who are being detained separately from them.

Heap’s letter indicates that the Israeli authorities did not inform him what happened to the Palestinian passenger Majd Kayyal, who was “last seen by us at Ashdod [port in Israel] being photographed and put into a police car.” Kayyal has, in fact, been released.

The testimony from these prisoners exposes Israel’s claims that it intercepted the boats in a peaceful manner as blatant lies. Of course, the Israeli claims were reported verbatim by many media outlets, allowing the state that lies habitually to get its side of the story out first. Everything that the state of Israel says should be accompanied with a health warning along these lines: Israeli propaganda has been proven as dishonest more times than we could possibly remember.

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A Precursor to War? As Washington Renews Military Threats Against Iran, Cyber Attacks Escalate


By Tom Burghardt

Global Research,


As evidence mounts that the U.S. secret state is launching cyber weapons against official enemies, while carrying out wide-ranging spy ops against their “friends,” Gen. Keith Alexander, the dual-hatted overlord of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, says that the Obama administration is “working on a system” that will “help” ISPs thwart malicious attacks.

Speaking at the Security Innovation Network (SINET) “Showcase 2011” shindig at the National Press Club in Washington, Alexander told security grifters eager to gouge taxpayers for another piece of lucrative “cybersecurity” pie: “What I’m concerned about are the destructive attacks. Those are the things yet to come that cause us a lot of concern.”

That’s rather rich coming from the head of a secretive Pentagon satrapy suspected of designing and launching the destructive Stuxnet virus which targeted Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

According to fresh evidence provided by IT security experts it now appears that the same constellation of shadowy forces which unleashed Stuxnet are at it again with the newly discovered Duqu spy Trojan.

In a follow-up analysis, Kaspersky Lab researcher Alex Gostev wrote that “the highest number of Duqu incidents have been recorded in Iran. This fact brings us back to the Stuxnet story and raises a number of issues.”

Not least of which is the continuing demonization of the Islamic Republic by an unholy alliance of U.S. militarists, their Israeli pit bulls and congressional shills hyping the “Iran threat.”

War Drums Beating

With the United States and the other capitalist powers incapable of digging the world economy out from under the slow-motion meltdown sparked by 2008’s market collapse, and with tens of millions of enraged citizens rejecting austerity measures that will further enrich financial elites at their expense, will the Obama administration “go for broke” and set-off a new conflagration in the Middle East?

Ratcheting up bellicose rhetoric, John Keane, a retired four-star general, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army now currently perched on the board of General Dynamics, a major purveyor of cyber attack tools for the government, told the House Homeland Security Committee October 26, “We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now. Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who are running terrorist operations against the United States.”

AFP reported that “Iran made a formal protest” over Keane’s remarks which urged “the targeted assassination of members of its elite Quds Force military special operations unit,” over a fairy-tale plot allegedly cooked-up by Tehran, which employed a failed used-car salesman, a DEA snitch and members of the Zetas drug gang in a scheme to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

While the plot lines are as preposterous as allegations prior to the 2003 Iraq invasion that Saddam Hussein’s regime was involved in the 9/11 attacks, one cannot so easily dismiss the propaganda value of such reports by administration “information warriors.” The same can be said of the series of controlled leaks emanating from London, Tel Aviv and Washington urging immediate air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Guardian reported that “Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme.”

Chillingly, the “Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.”

On the same day that MoD’s sanctioned leak appeared in the British press, Haaretz disclosed that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a ‘small advantage’ in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack.”

“Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said he preferred an American military attack on Iran to an Israeli one. ‘A military move is the last resort,’ he said.”

The Associated Press reported that as Netanyahu moved to persuade his cabinet to “authorize a military strike against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program,” Israel successfully test-fired “a missile believed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Iran.”

Adding to the disinformational witch’s brew, The Washington Post reported that “a new spike in anti-Iran rhetoric and military threats by Western powers is being fueled by fears that Iran is edging closer to the nuclear ‘breakout’ point, when it acquires all the skills and parts needed to quickly build an atomic bomb if it chooses to,” anonymous “Western diplomats and nuclear experts said Friday.”

Post stenographer Joby Warrick informed us that a “Western diplomat who had seen drafts of the report” told him “it will elaborate on secret intelligence collected since 2004 showing Iranian scientists struggling to overcome technical hurdles in designing and building nuclear warheads.”

And late last week Reuters disclosed that “a senior U.S. military official said on Friday Iran had become the biggest threat to the United States and Israel’s president said the military option to stop the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons was nearer.”

“‘The biggest threat to the United States and to our interests and to our friends … has come into focus and it’s Iran,’ said the U.S. military official, addressing a forum in Washington.” Conveniently, “reporters were allowed to cover the event on condition the official not be identified.”

While some critics argue that Israel does not presently have the capacity to launch such an attack, and that “the volume of the war hysteria is being turned up with one purpose in mind: the Israelis want the US to do their dirty work for them,” such reasoning is hardly reassuring.

Indeed, as the World Socialist Web Site points out, “the Israeli government has already made advanced preparations for an attack on Iran.”

“On the military front,” analyst Peter Symonds warned that “Israeli warplanes last week conducted a long-range exercise–of the type required to reach Iran–using a NATO airbase on the Italian island of Sardinia.” In other words, the IDF drill was not a “rogue” exercise unilaterally conducted by Israel, but further evidence of Washington’s “desperate bid to offset its economic decline by securing its hegemony over the energy-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia.”

In the context of escalating tensions over Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, seeded by manufactured “terror” plots, the imperialist powers may choose the “cyber” route prior to launching devastating missile and bomber strikes against Iranian military installations and civilian infrastructure.

Pentagon planners now believe that attack tools have reached the point where blinding Iran’s air defenses while sowing chaos across population centers with power outages and the shutdown of financial services may now be a viable option.

This is not idle speculation. During the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, the National Journal disclosed that Central Command “considered a computerized attack to disable the networks that controlled Iraq’s banking system, but they backed off when they realized that those networks were global and connected to banks in France.”

Facing growing opposition at home and abroad to endless wars and imperial adventures, would the Obama administration have such qualms today?

Attack Tools Already in Play

As Antifascist Calling previously reported, when the Duqu virus was discovered last month, analysts at Symantec believed that the remote access Trojan (RAT) “is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack.”

“The threat was written by the same authors (or those who have access to the Stuxnet source code) and appears to have been created since the last Stuxnet file was recovered,” researchers averred.

Since their initial reporting, Symantec, drawing on research from CrySyS lab at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary, the organization which discovered the malware, reported they located an installer file in the form of a Microsoft Word document which exploits a previously unknown zero-day vulnerability.

Like Stuxnet, Duqu’s stealthiness is directly proportional to its uncanny ability to capitalize on what are called zero-day exploits hardwired into it’s digital DNA; security holes that are unknown to everyone until the instant they’re used in an attack.

Similar to other dubious commodities traded on our dystopian “free markets,” zero-days are bits of tainted code sought by criminal hackers, financial and industrial spies and enterprising security agencies that can sell for up to $250,000 a pop on the black market.

When Stuxnet appeared in dozens of countries last year, targeting what are called programmable logic controllers (PLCs) on industrial computers manufactured by Siemens that control everything from water purification and food processing to oil refining and potentially deadly chemical processes, researchers found it was designed to harm only one specific target: PLCs processing uranium fuel at a nuclear facility in Iran.

As Wired Magazine reported, when Symantec analysts who had been picking Stuxnet apart convinced internet service providers who controlled “servers in Malaysia and Denmark” where the virus “phoned home” each time it infected a new machine, to reroute the virus to a secure “sinkhole,” they were in for a shock.

“Out of the initial 38,000 infections,” journalist Kim Zetter wrote, “about 22,000 were in Iran. Indonesia was a distant second, with about 6,700 infections, followed by India with about 3,700 infections. The United States had fewer than 400. Only a small number of machines had Siemens Step 7 software installed–just 217 machines reporting in from Iran and 16 in the United States.”

“The sophistication of the code,” Wired averred, “plus the fraudulent certificates, and now Iran at the center of the fallout made it look like Stuxnet could be the work of a government cyberarmy–maybe even a United States cyberarmy.

“This made Symantec’s sinkhole an audacious move,” Zetter wrote. “In intercepting data the attackers were expecting to receive, the researchers risked tampering with a covert U.S. government operation.”

Writing in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Thomas Rid, a former RAND Corporation employee and “Reader in War Studies at Kings College in London,” who has close ties to the Western military establishment, observed in relation to Stuxnet that network “sabotage, first, is a deliberate attempt to weaken or destroy an economic or military system. All sabotage is predominantly technical in nature, but of course may use social enablers.”

“The resources and investment that went into Stuxnet could only be mustered by a ‘cyber superpower’, argued Ralph Langner, a German control system security consultant who first extracted and decompiled the attack code.”

In an interview with National Public Radio, Langer said that the “level of expertise” behind Stuxnet “seemed almost alien. But that would be science fiction, and Stuxnet was a reality.”

“Thinking about it for another minute, if it’s not aliens, it’s got to be the United States.”

“For the time being it remains unclear how successful the Stuxnet attack against Iran’s nuclear program actually was” Rid noted. “But it is clear that the operation has taken computer sabotage to an entirely new level.”

Researcher Vikram Thakur, commenting on the latest Duqu discoveries reported: “The Word document was crafted in such a way as to definitively target the intended receiving organization.” And whom, pray tell, was being targeted by Duqu? Why Iran, of course.

“Once Duqu is able to get a foothold in an organization through the zero-day exploit, the attackers can command it to spread to other computers.”

Thakur wrote, “the Duqu configuration files on these computers,” which did not have the ability to connect to the internet and the author’s command and control (C&C) server, “were instead configured not to communicate directly with the C&C server, but to use a file-sharing C&C protocol with another compromised computer that had the ability to connect to the C&C server.”

“Consequently,” Thakur concluded, “Duqu creates a bridge between the network’s internal servers and the C&C server. This allowed the attackers to access Duqu infections in secure zones with the help of computers outside the secure zone being used as proxies.”

As Kaspersky Lab researchers pointed out, “in each of the four instances of Duqu infection a unique modification of the driver necessary for infection was used.”

“More importantly,” analysts averred, “regarding one of the Iranian infections there were also found to have been two network attack attempts exploiting the MS08-067 [MS Word] vulnerability. This vulnerability was used by Stuxnet too.”

“If there had been just one such attempt, it could have been written off as typical Kido activity–but there were two consecutive attack attempts: this detail would suggest a targeted attack on an object in Iran.” (emphasis added)

Simply put, before the Pentagon decides to “kill them” as Gen. Keane indelicately put it, battlefield preparations via directed cyber attacks and other forms of sabotage may be part of a preemptive strategy to decapitate Iranian defenses prior to more “kinetic” attacks.

‘Boutique Arms Dealers’

Despite media hype about future cuts in the so-called “defense” budget, Defense Industry Daily disclosed that “the US military has announced plans to spend billions on technology to secure its networks.”

According to the Defense Department’s FY 2012 budget proposal, “the Pentagon said it plans to spend $2.3 billion on cybersecurity capabilities.”

However, when NextGov “questioned why the Air Force’s $4.6 billion 2012 budget request for cybersecurity was $2.3 billion more than Defense’s servicewide spending proposal, Pentagon officials upped their total figure from $2.3 billion to $3.2 billion.”

Why the discrepancy? A “Pentagon spokesperson explained that the service’s estimate differed dramatically because the Air Force included ‘things’ that are not typically considered information assurance or cybersecurity.”

What kind of “things” are we talking about here?

As BusinessWeek reported in July, firms such as Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics, “the stalwarts of the traditional defense industry,” are “helping the U.S. government develop a capacity to snoop on or disable other countries’ computer networks.”

Capitalizing on the Defense Department’s desire to develop “hacker tools specifically as a means of conducting warfare,” this “shift in defense policy gave rise to a flood of boutique arms dealers that trade in offensive cyber weapons.”

Investigative journalists Mike Riley and Ashlee Vance averred that “most of these are ‘black’ companies that camouflage their government funding and work on classified projects.”

As last winter’s hack of HBGary Federal by Anonymous revealed, “black” firms, including those like Palantir which received millions of dollars in start-up funding from the CIA’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, hacker tools, such as sophisticated Trojans and stealthy rootkits, believed to be the route used to introduce the Stuxnet virus, have also been used to target political activists and journalists in the United States at the behest of financial institutions such as the Bank of America and the right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As researcher Barrett Brown revealed, “Team Themis was a consortium made up of HBGary, Palantir, and Berico (with Endgame Systems serving as a ‘silent partner’ and providing assistance from the sidelines) that was set up in order to provide offensive intelligence capabilities to private clients.”

Although Endgame Systems “went dark” after Anonymous released thousands of HBGary files, The Register disclosed that the firm “helps US intelligence identify and hack into vulnerable networks, and is targeting a similar role in Britain’s nascent national cyber security operations.”

The Register noted that the “limited publicly information currently available on the firm hints at its further role assisting clandestine government cyber operations by identifying targets and developing exploits.”

As BusinessWeek revealed, the firm is “a major supplier of digital weaponry for the Pentagon. It offers a smorgasbord of wares, from vulnerability assessments to customized attack technology, for a dizzying array of targets in any region of the world.”

Unsurprisingly, this was a major draw for venture capital firms “Bessemer Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,” who collectively fronted Endgame some $30 million. According to Riley and Vance, “what really whet the VCs’ appetites, though, according to people close to the investors, is Endgame’s shot at becoming the premier cyber-arms dealer.”

While a client list has yet to emerge, it’s safe to assume that secret state agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are lining up to purchase Endgame’s toxic products.

Although no definitive answer has emerged as to whom might targeting Iran with Duqu, as BusinessWeek revealed Endgame “deals in zero-day exploits. Some of Endgame’s technology is developed in-house; some of it is acquired from the hacker underground. Either way, these zero days are militarized–they’ve undergone extensive testing and are nearly fail-safe.”

“People who have seen the company pitch its technology–and who asked not to be named because the presentations were private–say Endgame executives will bring up maps of airports, parliament buildings, and corporate offices.”

According to Riley and Vance, “the executives then create a list of the computers running inside the facilities, including what software the computers run, and a menu of attacks that could work against those particular systems.”

Indeed, “Endgame weaponry comes customized by region–the Middle East, Russia, Latin America, and China–with manuals, testing software, and ‘demo instructions.’ There are even target packs for democratic countries in Europe and other U.S. allies.”

“The quest in Washington, Silicon Valley, and around the globe is to develop digital tools both for spying and destroying,”BusinessWeek observed. “The most enticing targets in this war are civilian–electrical grids, food distribution systems, any essential infrastructure that runs on computers.”

“This stuff is more kinetic than nuclear weapons,” Dave Aitel, the founder of a computer security company in Miami Beach called Immunity told Riley and Vance. “Nothing says you’ve lost like a starving city.”

While Aitel and a host of other “little Eichmanns” who enrich themselves servicing the American secret state refused to discuss his firm’s work for the government, a source told the publication that Immunity “makes weaponized ‘rootkits’: military-grade hacking systems used to bore into other countries’ networks,” and that Aitel’s clients “include the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.”

We do not know if, or when, the United States, NATO and Israel will opt for a military “solution” to the so-called “Iranian problem.”

We do know however, as the World Socialist Web Site warned, “as global capitalism lurches from one economic and political crisis to the next, rivalry between the major powers for markets, resources and strategic advantage is plunging humanity towards a catastrophic conflict that would devastate the planet.”

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Zionist uk Mafia to abstain in a UN vote on Palestine


The UK will abstain in a United Nations (UN) vote on Palestinian statehood, Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons during a statement on the Middle East.

In response, Douglas Alexander MP, the Shadow Foreign Secretary said “Given the absence of any meaningful negotiations between the parties at present, a point which I am sure the Foreign Secretary will not dispute, can he tell the House how his position of having no position is likely to advance the peace process?

He went on to say “the decision announced by the Government today represents a further acceptance of and accommodation to a wider pattern of failure-failure to achieve meaningful negotiations, failure to meet the aspirations of the Palestinians and, indeed, the Israeli people, and continued failure by the international community to find a way through the present impasse.”

Ben Bradshaw MP said “an abstention at the United Nations would simply be an abdication of responsibility and achieve nothing?”  Jack Straw MP said “there is absolutely no evidence that holding back from a decision to vote for this will encourage Israel to come to the table. Surely the whole weight of the argument is that Israel will come to the table only if the international community is firm with it.”

Conservative MP Nicholas Soames said “Our partners in the middle east look on amazed while we support the right to self-determination in every other country in the region but deny the Palestinians the same right. I strongly urge him to order a reconsideration of the matter and exercise a positive vote at the Security Council.”

Liberal Democrat Sir Menzies Campbell said “that such a decision is wrong in principle, is ultimately against British interests and will reduce our influence in the region?”

Other MPs who raised questions included Richard BurdenJoan Ruddock, Tony Lloyd, and Sir Gerald Kaufman, and you can read a summary of the statement and questions as related to Palestine byclicking here.

“UK guilty of double standards on UN vote”  

Simon Danczuk MP, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, said:  


“Today’s announcement makes the UK look guilty of double standards when we have a Prime Minister praising the Arab Spring, saying ‘we are on your side’ and supporting the right to self-determination in the Middle East then de
nying the same right to Palestinians.

“Even Tory grandees like Nicholas Soames are warning this absurd position will mean that Britain will have to face severe consequences in the Middle East.

“David Cameron cannot travel round the world saying he is a friend of democracy while leaving Palestinians in their refugee camps and blocking their statehood bid. This is the worst kind of hypocrisy.”

National Lobby of Parliament 23rd November

Help make a difference for Palestine.  On Wednesday 23rd November 2011 there will be a national lobby of Parliament on Palestine.  Please contact your MP for a meeting if you able to attend Parliament in person on that day and urge them to press the Government to help lift the siege on Gaza, act on illegal Israeli settlement building and to help  release Palestinian child prisoners. For more information please click here.  Or simply drop us a line at   

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Nazi Detention of Activist and Journalists

Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman interviews TRNN Cairo correspondent Jihan Hafiz

on recent Gaza flotilla and the detention of activist and journalists

Watch full multipart Jihan Hifaz Reporting from Cairo

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