Archive | May 30th, 2012

Saudi puppet: ”Kill Syrian president and get $450,000”


Saudi scholar ? announces reward after massacre in Syrian town

A prominent Saudi Islamic ? scholar has announced a reward of $450,000 for killing Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, who he branded a murderer.

puppet Sheikh Ali Al Rubai said he would give the reward to any one who kills the Syrian leader following a massacre perpetrated by Assad’s loyalists in Houla neighbourhood in the central town of Homs this week. More than 100 civilians, including many children, were killed during the carnage. ” I never heard of this what this puppet will give for the killing of the Zionist criminals $ 000”

“We announce a reward of $450,000 to any one who will take off the head of murderer Bashar Al Assad, the perpetrator of massacres against women and children that have horrified the whole world,” he said on his Twitter page, according to the Saudi Arabic language daily Ajel.

Saudi scholar, echoing their country’s official policy, have strongly attacked Assad and called for his death. Many of them described the people’s revolt against the Syrian regime as Jihad (holy struggle).


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Syrian diplomats expelled over Houla killings

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France and Australia threw out Syrian diplomats from their capitals on Tuesday and other countries were due to follow suit as revulsion over the killing of more than 100 civilians in a Syrian town spurred them to act against President Bashar al-Assad.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Assad a murderer and Australia’s Bob Carr said those responsible for the massacre at Houla would be held to account.

“Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people. He must relinquish power. The sooner the better,” Fabius said in an interview with French daily Le Monde.

French President Francois Hollande told reporters Syria’s ambassador in Paris was being expelled. He said the decision was not unilateral but taken in consultation with France’s partners.

Diplomatic sources in several countries told Reuters other governments would take similar action — a development which would mark a new phase in the international effort to halt the repression of a 14-month-old uprising against Assad and force him to relinquish power.

The immediate catalyst for the expulsions appeared to be the massacre on Friday, including women and children, in Houla, although the international community is increasingly frustrated at the failure of a U.N.-brokered peace plan to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Syrian officials denied any army role in the massacre, one of the worst since the uprising against Assad.

Australia announced the expulsion of two Syrian diplomats including the chief of mission, Jawdat Alai, on Tuesday and gave them 72 hours to leave the country.

“The Syrian charge has again been advised to convey a clear message to Damascus that Australians are appalled by this massacre and we will pursue a unified international response to hold those responsible to account,” Foreign Minister Carr said.

“This massacre of more than 100 men, women and children in Houla was a hideous and brutal crime.”

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also condemned the killings and said there was a limit to the world’s patience.

“To carry out this kind of murder…while the United Nations observer mission is carrying out its mission in Syria is torture, it is wretched,” Erdogan said.

“There is also a limit to patience, and I believe that, God willing, there is also a limit to the patience in the U.N. Security Council,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AK Party.

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Please Give a Long-Awaited “Welcome Home” to USS LibertySurvivors


This past Memorial Day, President Barack Obama offered Vietnam veterans a “welcome home” that many feel the nation never gave them. Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC on May 28.

We strongly urge President Obama to commemorate a group of Vietnam-era veterans who have been given the silent treatment—or worse—ever since they returned home 45 years ago. Survivors of Israel’s June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, which killed 34 Americans and wounded 174 more, were forbidden to discuss Israel’s attack or the subsequent recall of the U.S. aircraft sent to assist their stricken ship. It is the only such naval incident never to have been investigated by the U.S. government or Congress.USS Liberty

  1. Please call for an investigation to help bring closure to the sailors and their families who have suffered and felt betrayed by their country for 45 years.
  2. Sign the “” petition calling for an investigation. The petition will be delivered to President Obama, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
  3. Join the memorial service for the USS Liberty victims on June 8, 2012 at noon at the Mass Grave #1817, Section 34, in Arlington National Cemetery.
  4. Encourage your member of Congress to draft a statement to be read at the USSLiberty Memorial service. A file with an example is:
  5. Watch the confrontation about the USS Liberty with Sen. John McCain on Memorial Day 2012:
  6. For more information about the USS Liberty see:

  7. Please read some of the articles about the USS Liberty published by the Washington Reportover the past 30 years.  On Jan. 12, 2004 the U.S. State Department held a highly charged panel discussion on the attack, and prevented survivors and military experts who played a role in the tragedy from speaking (see Washington ReportMarch 2004, pages 9-11,

It’s past time for a serious discussion with USS Liberty survivors and other experts. It is the least these unsung heroes—and all Americans—deserve.



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Annan: The Syrian government has cooperated in the deployment of observers .. And conducted an investigation into the incident Hula is encouraging


By Kofi Annan, the UN envoy to Syria’s appreciation for the cooperation provided by the Syrian government on the deployment of military observers quickly. Annan said at a news conference The Security Council must be pointed out that an investigation into the incident, Hula and bring those responsible to account, although the Syrian government is conducting an investigation into this incident, calling is encouraging.

He believed that the Annan plan did not apply the six points, pointing out that the international community will soon be an assessment of the situation in Syria, and called to take bold steps to create an atmosphere for the implementation of the plan. The UN envoy that he had asked the armed opposition to stop the violence. He also pointed to the need to release the detainees, considering that a major part of the six-point plan and is necessary to create the trust that must be found, he said, adding that it is necessary to allow access to all detainees and places of detention. Between Annan and he noticed that the more the press and journalists obtain visas to Syria, encouraging more openness.


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U.S. Torture Continues Despite Global OutrageObama the new king of thumbscrews

By Victor Thorn

In 2008, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama campaigned as a man of peace, promising to stop torture and close the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay. Upon moving into the White House in January 2009, Obama assured Americans that his administration would exhibit marked differences from that of George W. Bush. Ten months later, the Nobel Foundation awarded Obama its most esteemed prize, the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Today, however, “Gitmo” is still open. Some 90K U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan. When Obama took office, that number stood at only 34K. Iraq teems with tens of thousands of U.S.-paid mercenaries. Obama has launched wars in Libya, central Africa and Yemen and has authorized international assassinations.

But where the Obama administration most closely resembles the George W. Bush regime is in the numerous torture-and-murder facilities it runs around the globe.

In March, the Afghan Independent Rights Commission released a report citing reliable evidence of “beatings, suspension from the ceiling, electric shocks and threatened or actual sexual abuse” being carried out by the U.S. government at detention facilities in Afghanistan.

The current administration has dropped all criminal prosecutions against those individuals in the Bush administration that Obama accused of torture while he campaigned in 2008. In essence, as The Washington Post reported, only “two or three cases” would be investigated.

On May 18, this writer spoke with London-based writer Andrew Worthington. As author of the book The Guatanamo Files, he is the premier authority on this subject.

“It’s important to know that the landscape has shifted in the Obama administration,” Worthington told AFP. “Although there are still secret facilities in Afghanistan and other places where there isn’t much scrutiny, the main structure of the Bush administration is gone.”

Confirming these assertions, on May 17 AFP interviewed a top official at the London-basedCagePrisoners, an organization that monitors secret detention facilities. He insisted that he’d speak with us only if his exact identity was kept secret.

He told AFP that the U.S. still maintains secret prisons in Europe, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Somalia.

When asked why a country like Syria—seemingly a profound enemy of the U.S.—would allow such installations to exist, the representative replied: “Syria is similar to Libya before [Muammar] Qaddafi was overthrown. We’ve recently discovered that many citizens opposed to the  Libyan regime were tortured, and the whole operation was coordinated between Libyan intel and Britain’s MI6. The UK provided tips to the Libyan government about those who were opposed to them. So, behind closed doors, these countries have similar interests.”

AFP queried Worthington as to the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute high-ranking Bush officials who authorized torture—including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Justice Department attorney John Yoo and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. “They all committed crimes, so there is no excuse for not prosecuting them,” he said. “Obama isn’t dealing with it effectively; and if they get away with torture, it sends a message that the U.S. can do whatever it wants.”

He continued: “I’m trying to be as generous as possible, but politically—and even in terms of his own personal safety—it would be difficult to prosecute individuals from the previous administration. It would rip your entire country apart. On the other hand, Obama is a man who has lacked strength in a lot of areas. He hasn’t been bold or courageous in regard to Gitmo or the war on terror.”

Understanding political realities, Worthington said: “It’s difficult for anyone to come up against the military-industrial complex and shut it down. Components of the U.S. military and intelligence are out of control. They have insane amounts of money, and they’re not accountable to anyone. So, in this context, there is a huge gulf between what Obama said he’d do and what he’s really done.”

AFP Interviews Innocent Man Tortured by U.S.

By Victor Thorn

On May 19, AFP spoke with Moazzam Begg, a Pakistani citizen who was kidnapped in 2002 by U.S. intelligence, tortured for years and then released after U.S. officials realized he was innocent of any crime.

The story begins on Jan. 31, 2002, when CIA officials stormed into the Islamabad residence of Begg because, according to them, he was an “enemy combatant” who had trained with al Qaeda. At the time, Begg oversaw the formation of an educational program to assist local children in the area.

Begg related the experience to AFP: “It clearly dawned on me that these men, wearing hoods, were deciding to kidnap me,” he said. “I was taken to a vehicle and handcuffed, and from their accents I could tell they were Americans. Terrifying is the only way I can describe being shackled with a gun pointed to your head. It was an act of terror.”

AFP questioned Begg as to what he felt their motives were.

“We know now,” he began, “that bounties were being offered for arrests, especially by the U.S. In my particular case, I don’t think they felt I was a dangerous individual, but they hoped to glean information from me because I traveled to Bosnia and Afghanistan. I fit the profile, and they didn’t like my politics.”

Begg spent the next three years being shuttled between detention centers in Pakistan, Afghanistan’s Bagram Airbase, Kandahar and Cuba’s Guantánamo Prison.

AFP asked him to convey what he saw in these torturous atmospheres.

“From the outset, even worse than your own torture is watching someone else’s,” he said. “Men were stripped naked, beaten, thrown on the floor, had their facial hair forcibly shaven, or [were] paraded around naked, as ferocious dogs growled at them. I watched these atrocities and knew it would also happen to me.”

In regard to his own tortures, Begg said: “During CIA interrogations, my arms were hogtied to my legs as they kicked and punched me. Next, pictures of my wife and kids were revealed, with threats that they would be tortured, or I’d never see them again. To add even more impact, a woman in an adjacent room kept screaming. I was led to believe it was my wife. But the worst was watching people being beaten to death.”

On June 3, 2006 Begg expanded on these brutalities via an interview with CagePrisoners, a group that he later founded and now directs.

“[One man] was hung from the ceiling, and his body had gone limp,” said Begg. “Instead of coming in there to help him, they [soldiers] tried to get him to stand. When he couldn’t stand because he had gone weak, they started punching him. Then they dragged his body off into an isolation cell,where we all heard rumors that he was killed.”

These rumors were later confirmed to Begg at Gitmo.

He witnessed other horrors, which Begg told to AFP.

“What happened at Abu Ghraib didn’t take place until 2003, but I saw similar things with my own eyes even before then at Bagram,” he said. “It reminded me of a POW war camp. Upwards of 10 men were shackled together naked. You need to know that Muslims aren’t used to seeing other men naked. Plus, they terrorized us with rabid dogs, kind of like what I later saw with the Abu Ghraib naked pyramid photos.”

When asked for his thoughts on Gitmo, Begg simply responded, “It is the epitome of everything that is wrong in the world when it comes to extrajudicial detention.”

Now a free man, Begg spoke of his emotions upon being released in 2005: “I felt jubilation and apprehension at the same time. It was a sense of disbelief, similar to when being kidnapped. I couldn’t believe it then, and now it all seems so surreal.”

Today, with CagePrisoners, Begg is spearheading a public awareness campaign to help those detained without charges, while also trying to hold the guilty parties accountable for what they had done.

Begg’s words on what it took to survive should give everyone hope during their darkest hours.

“I didn’t care what these people did to me,” he said. “They could never break my conscience and spirit. After being released, I felt the shock of freedom, yet it’s also an ordeal trying to lead a normal life again.”

Inside the Chambers

Goal is to inflict maximum physical, psychological pain

By Victor Thorn

The mainstream media in the United States has been complicit in torture by censoring reports about what U.S. officials have done to “terrorism suspects” in secret. Journalists routinely employ euphemisms such as “enhanced interrogations” or downplay the effects of torture to keep public outrage at a minimum.

“The U.S. media is careful in finding ways not to use the word ‘torture’,” London-based author Andrew Worthington told AFP. “But it is torture, and the U.S. government at its highest levels connived to make torture not seem like torture.”

Worthington described a celebrated case currently making its way to the EU’s Human Rights Court. “In 2003, operatives of the Macedonian government working with the CIA kidnapped Khalid el-Masri,” he said. “They held Masri in a hotel room for three weeks at gunpoint until realizing they had the wrong person. In actuality, Masri worked as a car dealer in Germany. So, they dumped him alongside an Albanian road in the middle of the night.”

A representative of CagePrisoners, a human rights organization, told AFP about the case of Binyam Mohamed, kidnapped in Pakistan under the U.S. extraordinary rendition program. After being tortured at a Moroccan “ghost prison,” agents transferred him to Guantánamo Bay prison. Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ups knew Mohamed played no role in the “dirty bomb plot” supposedly engineered by Jose Padilla. U.S. government officials have yet to admit that Mohamed was held or tortured abroad. Padilla is currently in a U.S. prison, convicted of trying to blow up a radioactive “dirty bomb.”

Of special interest are claims by Mohamed that he had been jailed in Afghanistan’s notorious “Dark Prison.”

When asked about this facility, Worthington informed AFP: “The Dark Prison is a former Russian factory that looks like a medieval dungeon.  Detainees were chained to walls, barely fed, while loud music blasted in their ears day and night. It’s almost inconceivable for any of us to comprehend the naked brutality of it.”

Worthington did clarify that most detention centers weren’t akin to the Dark Prison. “Really, most of them feel like a laboratory,” he said. “They’re clean, efficiently managed, while tortures were clinically conducted. But then, behind this façade, you’d find a man hanging naked from the ceiling by chains.”

He elaborated: “Other techniques included permanent isolation in solitary confinement, nudity, extreme hot or cold conditions, sleep deprivation and psychological torture. Then, if more regimented violence was deemed necessary, guards would throw prisoners against walls or ‘waterboard’ them. Waterboarding is actually controlled drowning.”

The end result is clear, said Worthington: “The goal inside these secret prisons is to inflict the maximum amount of physical stress, in order to break a person. It’s designed to create a state of learned helplessness, where detainees are entirely dependent on their interrogators. The only way to bring this torture to an end is by cooperating.”

In addition to the U.S. rendition program, Worthington also spoke about ghost prisoners: “The identity of these men are kept off the books so prisoners can’t be inspected by the Red Cross, which guarantees minimum safeguards under the Geneva Convention.”

When questioned about who, precisely, called the shots for these torture programs, Worthington didn’t hesitate:

“You have to look at Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld,” he said. “Prior to George W. Bush’s election, both men worked for Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush Sr., while defending Iran-contra. These guys believe in unfettered power for the executive branch, power that cannot be challenged. They pushed the limits of the program and feel rules don’t apply to them. According to them, the president can do whatever he wants.”



Give Peace a Chance• Thousands of all stripes gather to demand end to war
• NATO summiteers cower behind locked doors in Chicago

By Mark Anderson

CHICAGO—Police and security personnel outnumbered and corralled the 3,500-plus protesters at the Windy City’s May 20-21 NATO summit. This was a tacit admission from the top that today’s ruling elite are running a criminally inclined operation, which must be shielded from public scrutiny.

This AFP writer ventured to Chicago and witnessed a dramatic course of events as NATO’s insular summit unfolded nearby, away from peoples’ view. Protestors, who were never allowed anywhere near the summit at McCormick Place and certainly never posed any danger to it, held a spirited four-hour rally at the Petrillo Music Shell on May 20 along Columbus Drive. There, they shared a range of crucial concerns that they want the world to hear, since the nearby leaders apparently won’t listen.

The rally laid the intellectual and moral groundwork for a massive march along South Michigan Avenue, culminating in a ceremony at the Cermak Street intersection. Some 50 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans ripped their service medals off in disgust and threw them onto the streets in the general direction of the summit. They confessed their past military misdeeds in a somber ceremony that brought hundreds to tears—precisely the kind of moral responsibility and soul-cleansing that the war makers at NATO studiously avoid.

“You are making war against the will of the people,  and it will stop,” one of many speakers proclaimed at the rally, as families, older folks, countless teens, masked anarchists and others from all walks of life cheered and held placards high.

Another activist called NATO the “North Atlantic Terrorist Organization,” denouncing NATO’s military operations in recent years in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya. “Libya was bombed for eight months by President Obama and by NATO,” he said. “Down with the African command!”—an apparent reference to NATO’s groundwork for an African Union, yet another plutocrat-inspired free-trade bloc.

Freeing imprisoned Private 1st Class Bradley Manning, who’s still languishing in solitary confinement in a military brig for allegedly sharing military secrets with the whistleblower Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, was also a rallying cry.

NATO Summit 2012

• Demonstrators decry costly imperial wars fought for bankers, corporate giants
• Top bosses want NATO more involved in decisionmaking of member nations

By Mark Anderson

Over the course of the weekend of May 20-21, representatives of more than 60 nations, plus the secretaries-general of NATO and the UN, skulked into the former domain of the late non-interventionist Chicago Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick and met at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. Officially, the gathering covered three main topics: Afghanistan and the murky timetable for withdrawal, the “Smart Defense” concept and forging new “partnerships.”

Reams could be written about NATO’s status and plans. But the Chicago summit was primarily premised on getting out of Afghanistan in 2014, even though former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ron Neumann confirmed in February that a considerable U.S.-NATO military presence will remain there at least through 2016.

More troubling still is the concept of Smart Defence, described as “a new mindset,” wherein NATO embeds itself more deeply into national decision making.

And as for reaching out to new partners, that is a complex mix of initiatives that includes NATO’s consideration to expand eastward in tandem with U.S. plans to keep building a Pacific Union by way of a huge, hazardous free-trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

NATO has transformed itself into the world’s “top cop” to support and sustain the free-trade system that “shakes hands” with private international banking and seeks to dictate the foreign and economic policies of nation-states to keep today’s usurious trade-and-monetary system alive and well. Indeed, the alliance could be seen as the multifaceted “merchant marine” of big money.

In contrast, out in the streets, thousands of demonstrators, including a group of U.S. veterans, gathered to protest the summit meeting.

Iraq Veterans Against the War member Aaron Hughes, the leader of the soldiers who threw off their service medals, walked back and forth in front of a line of people holding a wide yellow banner to prepare for the march, in what resembled “marshaling the troops.”

A two- to three-mile march along South Michigan Avenue then commenced. As the march progressed, tension increased as police in regular uniform kept the marchers tightly boxed in, bolstered by hundreds of riot cops.

Veteran Jacob Crawford said, “When they gave me the medals, I knew they were meaningless.”

Another determined ex-soldier vowed: “I’m not fighting for imperialism anymore. I’m fighting against imperialism.”

One soldier denounced Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians, and another dedicated his old medals “to the children of Iraq who don’t have mothers and fathers.”

Emotions ran high. Soon, a trumpet player performed Taps during a teary minute of silence. There was strong solidarity.

Zach LaPorte of Milwaukee added accurately: “Instead of liberating the people, I was liberating their oil fields.”

“War is a racket!” exclaimed another soldier named Richard, quoting Gen. Smedley Butler.

“Our enemies are not 7,000 miles away,” added another veteran, “they sit in our boardrooms. They are CEOs. They are bankers.” He was amplifying the theme that war-backing corporations, colluding with government, represent a clear danger to the nation’s economic well-being.

American Civil Liberties Union observers told AFP that the May 20 march was allowed to last no later than 5 p.m. under city permit. So, police soon began to squeeze everyone out of the intersection—grimly announcing via loudspeaker that they had anti-riot high-decibel sound gear, rubber bullets and water cannons, beyond hundreds of wooden batons, to clear the street corner. They began to advance as AFP’s team managed to get out of the path. The massive crowd made it hard to see what happened next.

Various accounts claim anarchists provoked skirmishes with police at the end of the march, with a few injuries reported. This left many protesters angry, some shouting expletives at police officers. There were about 45 arrests.

But the march succeeded in conveying just who is on the side of peace. If only those presidents, prime ministers and others who comprised the NATO summit would act on an old saying, “When the people lead, the leaders will follow.”

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Blackwater agents involved in Syria unrest: Political analyst


We have real evidence now that the Blackwater company is working in Syrian territories.”

Taleb Ibrahim, a political analyst


The agents of the US company Blackwater are operating inside Syria and are involved in the deadly turmoil in the Arab country that began in March 2011, a political analyst tells Press TV.

“We have real evidence now that the Blackwater company is working in Syrian territories,” said Taleb Ibrahim, a political analyst from Damascus, in an interview with Press TV on Monday.

Ibrahim also stated that there is a “third party” inside Syria that “wants to undermine” the six-point peace plan put forward by UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan in March.

“I accuse directly the Turkish intelligence and the Saudi intelligence and the Qatari intelligence.”

Over the past few months, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have expressed support for arming of the Syrian rebels.

The political analyst added that the third party seeks to “prevent any political resolution for the crisis in Syria.”

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.

While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings, Damascus blames ”outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

Sporadic clashes between Syrian forces and armed groups continue in Syria despite a ceasefire that took effect on April 12, and was part of the Annan plan.

On May 25, clashes broke out between Syrian forces and armed groups in the town of Houla, located in the central province of Homs and about 32 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of the provincial capital city of Homs.

The head of the UN observer mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, said in a briefing via video from Damascus to an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Sunday that the UN observers in Houla estimate 108 people were killed, including 49 children and 34 women.

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The Globalization of War: The “Military Roadmap” to World War III


by Michel Chossudovsky, Finian Cunningham

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO

forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

This is a thoroughly criminal process involving international aggression, crimes against humanity, and plunder and theft of sovereign resources. Iraq’s estimated hydrocarbon reserves of 112-115 billion barrels of oil – the earth’s second-largest known reserves after Saudi Arabia’s – were the main prize, incredibly downplayed or overlooked by the Western mainstream media. Having previously enjoyed a high standard of living, the majority of Iraq’s people are now struggling in poverty with power and fuel shortages, while Western oil giants Exxon, Chevron, British Petroleum and Total are tapping the country’s vast natural wealth, paying off local elites for the privilege.


The same agenda of hegemony over energy resources applies to Afghanistan, Libya and Iran. Syria is not a leading oil producer, but it is a crucial staging post towards Western regime change in oil-abundant Iran. This dynamic for rolling conquest will not stop with these countries. Recall that former US General Wesley Clark disclosed a Pentagon war plan from 2001 that included the above and additional countries for conquest – Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia. In effect, this is a global war agenda that the US-led capitalist powers are inextricably pursuing in line with their deteriorating economic status. The desperate drive for control by the US and other Western powers over the oil and gas lifeblood of the waning capitalist world economy will inevitably bring these powers into confrontation with other countries, Russia and China in particular. The seeming insanity of this seemingly wanton global militarism is dictated by the cold logic of capitalism. Understanding this underlying driving force is key to understanding, and ultimately challenging, American-led global militarism.

Such naked imperialism cannot be conducted openly in the eyes of the world; it has to be covered up with a wall of lies, the particular lie or pretext to be emphasised at any given time depending on the target country in question.

Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction that could be launched within 45 seconds” we were told by American and British leaders George W Bush and Anthony Blair, who based their claims on concocted fantasy.

Indicted War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair

Iraq was also linked to Al Qaeda, the murky global terror network created by the CIA and MI6 that allegedly carried out the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. When that lie wore thin, we were then told that Iraqis needed to be liberated from a Hitler-like dictator Saddam Hussein, who notwithstanding was formerly a favoured Western client until he blundered over the boundaries of Western oil geopolitics. Latterly, after these pretexts could no longer be sustained, Bush’s successor Barack Obama would assure the public that the American-led occupying forces were “consolidating democracy and sovereignty” – albeit in a country that was torn apart by US-induced sectarian fratricide and subordinated to foreign oil companies.

All these baseless claims, pretexts and allegations have been faithfully parroted by the mainstream media. And so the Western war and lie machine trundles on, conjuring new pretexts for smashing its way into the next countries to commit yet more atrocities and crimes against humanity in its conquest of natural resources. 

The significance of Iraq is the heinous precedent that it set. Here, Washington and its Western allies transgressed international law in the most blatant, criminal manner to commit genocide. Yet not only Western mainstream journalism, but also academia, the legal profession and other sectors of civic society gave cover to such crime, or at best failed to hold the perpetrators to account. And, as criminologists will testify, when a criminal gets away with crime, then there is nothing to hold him from committing further crime. The ongoing criminal US-led occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the murderous mass bombing of Libya by NATO, the clandestine Western-backed terrorism against Syria, America’s drone assassinations in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere in Africa, and Washington’s swivel-eyed threats towards China and Russia are all proof that America’s global war of aggression has become the perverse new normal. Western mainstream media has indeed much to answer for in its complicity in global militarism and concomitant crimes.

The reality check of how criminally deranged the US-led Western powers have become is their ongoing aggression towards Iran. Less than a decade after launching genocide on Iraq based on an outrageous fabrication of weapons of mass destruction, the same criminal powers are repeating the same calumnies against Iran with “no options off the table” threats that allude to pre-emptive nuclear attack. And the Western mainstream media that aided and abetted the genocide in Iraq are once again giving credence to the calumny over Iran.

This is the descent into barbarism that happens when victors violate history and are not held to account. We are then condemned to repeat history, no matter how barbaric and crass that repetition is.

This Interactive Book from Global Research is an attempt to set the historical record straight with a truthful perspective. By arming people with the truth, we may then stop the criminal repetition of history because, armed with the truth, we hope that Western publics in particular will begin to hold their war-mongering governments to account in the most rigorous way.

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Report from Cairo: Protests Erupt in Egypt as Mubarak’s Ex-PM Secures Spot in Presidential Runoff


Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports from Egypt, where protests erupted last night after final results were announced in the country’s first-ever competitive presidential election. The top two candidates in the first round of the race are Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular uprising 15 months ago. “[Shafik] speaks the language of Mubarak’s regime. And what that means is the retention of broad discretionary powers given to the executive and given to security forces, a very strong role for security agency involvement, whether the intelligence services or Ministry of Interior security agencies, to ensure stability and control over protests, which, as far as he is concerned, are the source of instability,” says Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch. Morsi and Shafik will face each other in a runoff vote set to begin June 16. Special thanks to Democracy Now! video producer Hany Massoud. [includes rush transcript]


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AMY GOODMAN: Protests erupted in Egypt last night after final results were announced in the country’s first-ever competitive presidential election. The top two candidates in the first round of the race are Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak who was ousted in a popular uprising 15 months ago. Morsi and Shafik will face each other in a runoff vote set to begin on June 16th.

The race was tight, with the top four candidates all garnering between 20 and 25 percent of the vote. But the so-called revolutionary votes, that were neither for Muslim Brotherhood or former members of the Mubarak regime, were split between third and fourth place. Three of the top candidates in the race filed appeals alleging violations in the vote, but they were all rejected by the presidential elections commission. The decisions by the commission are final and cannot be challenged.

Hours after the official announcement, protests erupted in Cairo and Alexandria. The headquarters of Ahmed Shafik was also stormed and set on fire. Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous is in Cairo covering events on the ground. He filed this report.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: The presidential elections commission makes the official announcement. Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, are the two top winners in Egypt’s first-ever competitive presidential election.

Hours after the official decision by the presidential election commission, that announced that Ahmed Shafik and Mohamed Morsi are in the runoff, the streets of Tahrir have once again been filled. People are chanting against Shafik. They’re chanting against the Brotherhood. They’re calling for some kind of change. And they’re here to protest.

Tarek Shalaby is a member of the Revolutionary Socialists.

TAREK SHALABY: In Tahrir, there are hundreds growing into thousands maybe, hopefully. I think it’s just a reaction to the official results that have been announced putting Morsi first and Shafik in second place. And I think it’s just a lot of people expressing discontent, one way or the other. Maybe a lot of people feel that there was fraud. Others have boycotted and just don’t trust the system, and they’re just taking the streets. Others can’t believe that the Egyptians have chosen—if they choose to believe it, have chosen Shafik and Morsi to be the final two. So I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s very difficult to generalize.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Not long afterwards, the campaign headquarters for Ahmed Shafik is stormed and set ablaze.

Outside the campaign headquarters of Ahmed Shafik here in Dokki, there’s a chaotic scene. Firetrucks are here. They put out a fire. People are blaming the Muslim Brotherhood for what happened here. People are blaming revolutionaries. They’re calling for people to respect what they say is the will of the people, respect the ballot box.

In Egypt’s first democratic presidential election, the outcome is a deeply divisive one. More than 23 million Egyptians took part in the landmark poll last week, a turnout of 46 percent. The race was very close with the Brotherhood’s Morsi coming out on top with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Shafik with 24 percent. The unanticipated first round result has been called “the nightmare scenario” by Cairo-based journalist Issandr El Amrani.

ISSANDR EL AMRANI: I do think, for a substantial number of people who were, I’d say, pro-revolution, as it’s defined here, that they had hoped for an outcome that wouldn’t be this binary choice that Hosni Mubarak had warned of so long: if it’s not him, it’s the Muslim Brotherhood.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: The so-called revolutionary votes were mostly divided among the candidates who placed third and fourth in the election: Hamdeen Sabahi, a Nasserist whose dark horse candidacy surprised many by capturing 21 percent of the vote, and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a liberal Islamist who garnered 20 percent. Many had expected the Brotherhood to do well by virtue of the group’s vast grassroots network. Abdullah Al-Arian is an assistant professor at Wayne State University.

ABDULLAH AL-ARIAN: On the one hand, the Muslim Brotherhood has demonstrated a strength, a real ability to mobilize its own base. It has an unparalleled organizational structure and hierarchy. It has unparalleled discipline within its ranks, which brought it the 25 percent or so that they demonstrated in this first round.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: What came as more of a shock was the success of Ahmed Shafik in the election. As Mubarak’s last prime minister, he was forced out of office by popular protests just three weeks after Mubarak stepped down. In his race for the presidency, he has campaigned on a law and order platform, vowing to use brutal force to restore order within a month and says he’ll act as a bulwark against Islamists in government. Heba Morayef is a researcher for Human Rights Watch.

HEBA MORAYEF: He speaks the language of Mubarak’s regime. And what that means is the retention of broad discretionary powers given to the executive and given to security forces, a very strong role for security agency involvement, whether the intelligence services or Ministry of Interior security agencies, to ensure stability and control over protests, which, as far as he is concerned, are the source of instability.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: A former air force general, Shafik is seen as the candidate of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces that has been ruling the country since Mubarak’s ouster. And experts say his campaign was boosted by Mubarak’s old party networks.

ISSANDR EL AMRANI: There still remains, I think, patronage networks that perhaps we didn’t see it work in the parliamentary elections, where the old NDP, the former ruling party, networks did not perform well. But they seem to have come back with a vengeance in this election.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: As the preliminary election results began to emerge, allegations of voter fraud and violations quickly surfaced.

ABDULLAH AL-ARIAN: Of course, there are very widespread reports of violations and all kinds of irregularities with the vote. Several of the losing candidates have already called on the elections commission in Egypt to actually not authenticate these results until a thorough investigation has been held. There are numerous reports that hundreds of thousands of government and state employees who were not authorized to vote were given false documents to actually be allowed to vote in favor of Shafik. There are other reports that whole villages were given large sums of money to basically vote in a particular way.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: While the top three candidates filed appeals alleging violations, they were all summarily rejected by the presidential elections commission two days later. The Carter Center was one of three international organizations accredited to witness the vote. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said his group was not able to monitor the entire process because authorities only granted the observers permits one week before the vote, and observers were not allowed to witness the aggregation of ballots.

JIMMY CARTER: This is the 90th election in which we have been involved as observers for almost a quarter of a century. And we have had restraints placed on us as witnesses that have never been present before. There is no way we can certify that the entire process has been proper. But what we’ve observed, I would say, has been encouraging to me.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: At the press conference, Carter also pointed out a unique aspect of Egypt’s presidential election.

JIMMY CARTER: This entire process has been exciting and gratifying, but it’s a first time that I have ever participated in an election for president of a nation when there were no description of future duties of the president who was being elected.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: The presidential elections are being held without a constitution in place. The country is being ruled under a constitutional declaration issued by the ruling military generals last year, and it remains unclear what authority the newly elected president will have when the military council hands over power on June 30th.

Further muddying the waters is the fact that Ahmed Shafik almost didn’t make it into the race at all. Last month, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament passed a law to ban former senior members of the Mubarak regime from running, but the presidential elections commission allowed Shafik to take part.

ISSANDR EL AMRANI: The presidential election commission, that makes all decisions regarding to this race, decided not to apply the law in his case. Now, there could be legal reasons, that the law came after the beginning of the registration period. But it’s still very puzzling when a democratically elected parliament has issued a law and the current executive authority, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, has approved that law, that it should not be implemented, especially when you combine that with the fact that under the current system the decisions of the presidential election commission cannot be appealed.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Both Shafik and Morsi are now looking to pick up supporters from the other front-runners who finished behind them in the first round of the vote. Both candidates face an uphill battle.

Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, is set to go into a runoff against Ahmed Shafik, the former member of the Mubarak regime. The Muslim Brotherhood is now looking to gain support from some of the revolutionary forces and the liberal forces that they distanced themselves from over the past year and a half.

ABDULLAH AL-ARIAN: They had a turnout of support of roughly 47 percent in the parliamentary elections, but now, since then, we’ve seen that support dip almost by half, to only about 24 percent, in the presidential elections. How they’re going to make up that loss of support, I think, is one of the critical questions facing the Muslim Brotherhood. The reason for that drop in support has been the perception, widespread among all of the revolutionary segments, all of the different movements within the revolution, that the Muslim Brotherhood has really just been looking out for its own interests, that at certain times when it suited the movement and the organization and its political wing, that it has cooperated with the SCAF government at the expense of the revolutionaries. And at other moments, when its own personal interests were being threatened, they then joined with the revolution against the government or against the SCAF.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Mohamed El-Sawy is a member of parliament with the Hadara Party. He briefly served as culture minister in Shafik’s cabinet, yet he says he’ll vote for Mohamed Morsi to prevent Shafik from reaching the presidency.

MOHAMED EL-SAWY: I’m really convinced, long ago, has been my life dream to get rid of being a state that is run by military people. I’m not ready to keep on living in a state that is a semi-military state.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Voters now face a choice: the Brotherhood candidate or the member of the old regime? It’s become a polarizing question that has deepened divisions in Egypt. Rasha Azab is a prominent activist and protester. She boycotted the first round of the vote and is boycotting the runoff.

RASHA AZAB: [translated] The revolution should have known from day one that our path is far away from elections. We should know that elections or the ballot box won’t make the revolution. The ballot box, in reality, toppled the revolution in Egypt. The elections are a return to Mubarak’s regime completely, hierarchically, up to the post of the president. The president is being returned in the same old way. Everything is in the hands of the military council. Mubarak was the weakest link in the chain. Mubarak, who is now in hospital, is nothing. The regime is still there and still performing. The only difference is we will change from Mubarak to Shafik or Morsi.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: The presidential election was supposed to mark the final step in Egypt’s turbulent transition. But the outcome of the first round has only sparked outrage and brought protesters once again to the streets of Cairo and elsewhere. Just weeks from the so-called handover of power from the military to a newly elected president, the future of Egypt is as uncertain as ever.

For Democracy Now! I’m Sharif Abdel Kouddous with Hany Massoud in Cairo, Egypt.

AMY GOODMAN: In a moment, Sharif interviews President Jimmy Carter, in a minute.


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Ed, David and Glenn


By Gilad Atzmon

A few days ago, in a New Statesman special Jewish edition articleLabour leader Ed Miliband explored his Jewish heritage.

As expected, Ed Miliband confessed that his father, the Marxist historian Ralph Miliband, and his mother, Marion, “raised him to appreciate various aspects of his Jewish heritage. “

But what is Jewish heritage for Ed Miliband, is it the Torah, the Ten Commandment or any particular ethical universal teaching? Not at all, Ed is not a religious Jew and is actually innocent enough to admit that  his “relationship with  Jewishness is complex.”  In fact, it amounts to a combination of suffering mixed with Woody Allen and matzo balls.

On the one hand we follow the standard trail of Jewish anguish and trauma.

“So how can my Jewishness not be part of me?” he says. “It defines how my family was treated. It explains why we came to Britain. I would not be leader of the Labour Party without the trauma of my family history.”

But for Ed suffering is just part of the story, Ed’s Jewishness has some cultural elements in it too:

“My mum got me into Woody Allen; my dad taught me Yiddish phrases, and my grandmother cooked me chicken soup and matzo balls.”

Profound indeed.

Young Miliband is also deeply immersed in Jewish ‘rituals’.  Like Zoey, Dictator Aladdeen’s Wife in Sacha Borat Cohen’s new Hasbara film, Justine, Ed’s new wife, also “broke a glass” under their wedding canopy.

I actually think that we have too many Milibands in British politics. It was revealed that David Miliband was an Israeli Hasbara author though Ed does seem to be slightly more careful than David, at least for the time being. However, I must admit that I don’t oppose all Milibands.  I actually respect the eldest Miliband brother, trombone player Glenn Miliband. And you know what? I am In The Mood for a Moonlight Serenade.

YouTube – Videos from this email

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