Archive | May 31st, 2012

Mask of Zion Report with Jonathon Azaziah

Mask of Zion Report with Jonathon Azaziah, May31, 2012

by crescentandcross

The Zionist infestation  of Africa–Jonathon Azaziah discusses a little-known/little-discussed aspect of Jewsh power politics these days–Africa, and the fact that its people and natural resources are being exploited to satisfy Jewish greed and to fullfill the biblical ‘Curse of Canaan’.

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How extremism is normalized

NOVANEWS

The Obama administration has converted once unthinkable government claims into permanent political fixtures

BY 

How extremism is normalized

John Brennan and President Obama (Credit: Pete Souza/The White House)

There is one important passage from yesterday’s big New York Times article on President Obama’s personal issuance of secret, due-process-free death sentences that I failed to highlight despite twicewriting about that article. The fact that I did not even bother to highlight it among all the other passages I wrote about is itself significant, as it reflects how rapidly true extremism becomes normalized:

That record, and Mr. Awlaki’s calls for more attacks, presented Mr. Obama with an urgent question: Could he order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial?

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.

Mr. Obama gave his approval, and Mr. Awlaki was killed in September 2011, along with a fellow propagandist, Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but was traveling with him.

Please just re-read that bolded part. This is something that we already knew. The New York Times‘ Charlie Savage had previously reported that Obama OLC lawyers David Barron and Marty Lederman had authored a “secret document” that ”provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war” (“The memo concluded that what was reasonable, and the process that was due, was different for Mr. Awlaki than for an ordinary criminal”). Attorney General Eric Holder then publicly claimed“‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” Both of those episodes sparked controversy, because of how radical of a claim it is (Stephen Colbert brutally mocked Holder’s speech: “Due Process just means:  there’s a process that you do”).

But that’s the point: once something is repeated enough by government officials, we become numb to its extremism. Even in the immediate wake of 9/11 — when national fear and hysteria were intense — things like the Patriot Act, military commissions, and indefinite detention were viewed as radical departures from American political tradition; now, they just endure and are constantly renewed without notice, because they’ve just become normalized fixtures of American political life. Here we have the Obama administration asserting what I genuinely believe, without hyperbole, is the most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I’ve heard in my lifetime — that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the State cannot deprive you of your life without “due process of law” is fulfilled by completely secret, oversight-free “internal deliberations by the executive branch” — and it’s now barely something anyone (including me) even notices when The New York Times reports it (as the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer asked yesterday: “These Dems who think executive process is due process: Where were they when Bush needed help with warrantless wiretapping?” — or his indefinite detention scheme?)

A couple of months ago, I spoke at Purdue University in Indiana about civil liberties in the post-9/11 era, and several high school students drove from Kentucky to attend. They were aspiring journalists who worked on their high school newspaper and were battling their county School Board officials who were attempting to censor some of their articles on gay equality; they interviewed me after my speech in the hope that I would provide critical quotes about those officials (which I happily supplied). One of the student-journalists, a girl in the 11th grade, said something to me that was striking, something I knew rationally but had not quite internalized viscerally: she pointed out that much of my speech was grounded in post-9/11 erosions of civil liberties, but that for people her age — she was 6 years old at the time of the 9/11 attack — the post-9/11 era is basically all they know.

The post-9/11 era comprises the entirety of their political experience. They have no different American political culture to which they can compare it, at least from personal experience. The post-9/11 U.S. Government is the only one they know. The rights that have been abridged in the name of Terrorism are ones they never experienced, never exercised, and thus do not expect.

Every year that these assaults on core liberties are entrenched and expanded further — the Firth Amendment guarantee of due process “can be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch” – the more normalized they become, the more invulnerable to challenge they are, the more unlikely it is that they will ever be reversed. In 2006, Al Gore gave a speech on the Bush/Cheney assault on the Constitution and asked: “If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can’t he do?” What prompted Gore’s denunciation was mere eavesdropping and detention without judicial review. That’s no longer controversial. Now we have this question: if the U.S. President can openly declare the power to order even the nation’s own citizens executed by the CIA in total secrecy, without charges or a whiff of transparency or oversight, what can’t he do?

* * * * *

I was on Democracy Now this morning discussing all of this, as well the rejection by the British High Court this morning of Julian Assange’s appeal of his extradition order to Sweden, and will post those segments here when they are available. In the meantime, there are two related articles on all of this worth reading:

(1) New York Times Editorial Editor Andy Rosenthal today writes:

Whenever I raise questions about President Obama’s “targeted killing” policy, and the cavalier way his aides dismiss criticism of it, administration officials tell me that I wouldn’t worry so much if I understood the program’s inner workings. But the more that comes to light, the more worried I feel.

He adds that “if Mr. Obama wants to authorize every drone strike, fine—but even the president requires oversight (remember checks and balances?) which he won’t allow.” And then the key conclusion:

Apologists for the president’s “just trust me” approach to targeted killings emphasize that the program is highly successful and claim that the drone strikes are extraordinarily precise. John Brennan, the president’s counter-terrorism adviser, said in a recent speech that not a single non-combatant had been killed in a year of drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And today’s Times article quoted a senior administration official who said that civilian deaths were in the “single digits.”

But it turns out that even this hey-it’s-better-than-carpet-bombing justification is rather flimsy. The Times article says “Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties …It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”

The logic, such as it is, is that people who hang around places where Qaeda operatives hang around must be up to no good. That’s the sort of approach that led to the false imprisonment of thousands of Iraqis, including the ones tortured at Abu Ghraib. Mr. Obama used to denounce that kind of thinking.

That’s not only something Mr. Obama used to denounce, but also his Democratic and progressive followers, who are largely — and disgracefully — silent about all of this, when they’re not cheering it (the very first comment to Rosenthal’s post demands that he stop criticizing Obama on the ground that doing so helps Romney).

(2) The Philadelphia Daily News‘ Will Bunch makes a very provocative though important point about that last passage. As Iwrote about yesterday, the most significant new revelation from The New York Times article is that the Obama administration now considers “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,” on the ground that such individuals “are probably up to no good.” As Bunch points out, this was the exact language used by George Zimmerman in his 911 call about Travyon Martin (“it looks like he’s up to no good”). Moreover, at exactly the time that President Obama was poignantly observing that Martin looks like a son that Obama might have had, he was classifying all males in the vicinity of suspected Terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — including teenagers — as “militants” and “combatants,” and deeming them fair game to be killed solely by virtue of their physical location, gender and age. Those are someone’s actual sons. Bunch writes: “Since they chanted ‘Drill, baby, drill!’ at the 2008 RNC, maybe they could chant ‘Kill, baby, kill’ at the 2012 DNC when they re-nominate President Obama.”

 

UPDATE: Here’s the Democracy Now segment I did this morning on Obama’s kill list (can also be seen here):

And here’s the segment on the ruling in Assange’s extradition challenge (can also be seen here):

 

UPDATE IIThe Washington Post today points out the obvious:

Across the vast, rugged terrain of southern Yemen, an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States.

After recent U.S. missile strikes, mostly from unmanned aircraft, the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists.

These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March.

Who would have guessed that continually dropping bombs on a country using remote-controlled sky robots and killing their civilians would breed hatred and a desire to attack back? Not only do these constant Obama attacks extinguish the lives of innocent people, but they also exacerbate the very threat they are ostensibly designed to address.

 

UPDATE III: Some unknown citizens decided to use the White House petition system today to start a petition asking for the creation of a “Do-Not-Kill” list, “in which American citizens can sign up to avoid being put on the president’s ‘kill list’ and therefore avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law.”

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Obama the Warrior

NOVANEWS

A new NYT article sheds considerable light on the character of the Democratic Commander-in-Chief

BY D

Obama the Warrior

President Obama (Credit: AP)

(updated below)

“I am not going to play in this dirty game. This is not democracy. These elections are a joke” — Abdel Fattah, Egyptian subway worker, explaining why he cannot support either Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, or Ahmed Shafik, President Hosni Mubarak’s final prime minister, in the two-candidate election runoff to determine Egypt’s next President (NYT, “Some Disdain Both Options in Egypt’s Narrowed Race,” May 26, 2012).

* * * * * *

Last week, the journal Foreign Policy published an extraordinary article – not extraordinary because of what it says, but because of who said it. It was written by Aaron David Miller, a lifelong D.C. foreign policy bureaucrat who served as a Middle East adviser to six different Secetaries of State in Democratic and GOP administrations. Miller’s article, which compared Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on foreign policy, was entitled “Barack O’Romney,” and the sub-headline said it all: “Ignore what the candidates say they’ll do differently on foreign policy. They’re basically the same man.” It began this way: “If Barack Obama is reelected, he ought to consider making Mitt Romney his new secretary of state” because “despite his campaign rhetoric, Romney would be quite comfortable carrying out President Obama’s foreign policy because it accords so closely with his own.”

Miller devotes himself to debunking one of the worst myths in Washington, propagated out of self-interest by conservatives and progressives alike: namely, that there is a vast and radical difference between the parties on most key issues and that bipartisanship is so tragically scarce. In the foreign policy context which is his expertise, Miller explains that — despite campaign rhetoric designed to exaggerate (or even invent) differences in order to motivate base voters — the reality is exactly the opposite:

That brings up an extraordinary fact. What has emerged in the second decade after 9/11 is a remarkable consensus among Democrats and Republicans on a core approach to the nation’s foreign policy. It’s certainly not a perfect alignment. But rarely since the end of the Cold War has there been this level of consensus. Indeed, while Americans may be divided, polarized and dysfunctional about issues closer to home, we are really quite united in how we see the world and what we should do about it.

Ever wondered why foreign policy hasn’t figured all that prominently in the 2012 election campaign? Sure, the country is focused on the economy and domestic priorities. And yes, Obama has so far avoided the kind of foreign-policy disasters that would give the Republicans easy free shots. But there’s more to it than that: Romney has had a hard time identifying Obama’s foreign-policy vulnerabilities because there’s just not that much difference between the two.

A post 9/11 consensus is emerging that has bridged the ideological divide of the Bush 43 years. And it’s going to be pretty durable. . . .  As shown through his stepped-up drone campaign, Barack Obama has become George W. Bush on steroids.

None of this is new to anyone paying attention (people like former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith long ago gleefully pointed out that Obama was doing more to entrench Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies than anything his GOP predecessors could have dreamed of achieving on their own). But what’s remarkable here is that it’s coming from someone like Aaron David Miller, a long-time member in good standing of America’s Foreign Policy Community. A proven devotee of Israeli interests, Miller is not lamenting this bipartisan consensus but celebrating it: “ I, for one, am ecstatic about it.” And he does so by repudiating a standard D.C. trope — that bipartisanship is woefully lacking and the parties are so very far apart — because, in the age of Obama, that trope, at least when it comes to foreign policy, Terrorism and civil liberties, has become so glaringly false as to be unsustainable (Matt Taibbi, among others, has made similar arguments in the domestic policy context: namely, that the two parties adopt wildly disparate Election Year rhetoric and campaign vows but end up serving the same interests).

Today, the New York Times has a long, detailed article about the personal role played by President Obama in the massive amount of death and destruction the U.S. has brought to the Muslim world at his direction. The article, by Jo Becker and Scott Shane, is based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers” and thus uses sources who — with a couple of exceptions — attempt to cast the Commander-in-Chief in the best and most glorious possible light. Nonetheless, the article provides as clear a picture of the character of this individual politician as any stand-alone article in some time. Earlier today, I wrote about one specific revelation from the article that I most wanted to highlight — the way in which Obama, in order to conceal the civilian casualties he causes and justify the raining down of death he orders, has re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone” – but there are numerous other revealing passages in this article meriting attention.

* * * * *

The article describes in detail how “Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret ‘nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical” — an actual presidential-led death panel (as always in American media parlance, “Terrorist” means: individuals alleged by the U.S. Government — with no evidence, transparencey or due process — to be Terrorists). Specifically, Obama himself “insisted on approving every new name on an expanding ‘kill list,’ poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre ‘baseball cards’ of an unconventional war.” In total secrecy — with no transparency or oversight of any kind — he then selects who will live and who will die. The ugliest detail about this may be the presence of one of the attendees at these death sentence meetings:

It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the presidentwho should be the next to die.  . . . David Axelrod, the president’s closest political adviser, began showing up at the “Terror Tuesday” meetings, his unspeaking presence a visible reminder of what everyone understood: a successful attack would overwhelm the president’s other aspirations and achievements.

In other words, the person in charge of Obama’s political fortunes attends the meetings where the Leader decrees who lives and dies. Just think about how warped that is, or what progressives would be saying if Karl Rove did that with George Bush. Here are some of the fabulous results of Obama’s sophisticated wisdom and progressive judgment that come from his death panel, including one incident that took place a mere two months after he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize:

The very first strike under his watch in Yemen, on Dec. 17, 2009, offered a stark example of the difficulties of operating in what General Jones described as an “embryonic theater that we weren’t really familiar with.”

It killed not only its intended target, but also two neighboring families, and left behind a trail of cluster bombs that subsequently killed more innocents. It was hardly the kind of precise operation that Mr. Obama favored. Videos of children’s bodies and angry tribesmen holding up American missile parts flooded You Tube, fueling a ferocious backlash that Yemeni officials said bolstered Al Qaeda.

Beyond telling a fun joke about his drone strikes, here’s how Obama responded to the carnage he caused in Yemen:

In Pakistan, Mr. Obama had approved not only “personality” strikes aimed at named, high-value terrorists, but “signature” strikes that targeted training camps and suspicious compounds in areas controlled by militants.

But some State Department officials have complained to the White House that the criteria used by the C.I.A. for identifying a terrorist “signature” were too lax. The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp, said one senior official. Men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers — but they might also be farmers, skeptics argued.

Now, in the wake of the bad first strike in Yemen, Mr. Obama overruled military and intelligence commanders who were pushing to use signature strikes there as well. . . .

Mr. Obama had drawn a line. But within two years, he stepped across it. Signature strikes in Pakistan were killing a large number of terrorist suspects, even when C.I.A. analysts were not certain beforehand of their presence. And in Yemen, roiled by the Arab Spring unrest, the Qaeda affiliate was seizing territory.

Today, the Defense Department can target suspects in Yemen whose names they do not know. Officials say the criteria are tighter than those for signature strikes, requiring evidence of a threat to the United States, and they have even given them a new name — TADS, for Terrorist Attack Disruption Strikes. But the details are a closely guarded secret — part of a pattern for a president who came into office promising transparency.

In the wake of massacres like the December, 2009 slaughter of dozens of women and children in Yemen, Obama has steadily escalated his drone attacks in multiple countries — not just numerically, but in terms of how indiscriminate they can be.

Many Obama fans claimed during the 2008 election that his background as a constitutional lawyer would ensure reversal of the most extremist Bush/Cheney policies, but he has instead used that background for the opposite goal:

When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaignagainst Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”  .  . . .

Asked what surprised him most about Mr. Obama, Mr. Donilon, the national security adviser, answered immediately: “He’s a president who is quite comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States.”

No late-night wrestling with conscience for this Nobel Peace laureate. Even his most radical decision — ordering an American citizen assassinated without a whiff of due process or transparency — is “easy” for him, and he’s so very “comfortable” with ordering people killed, say his aides who believe this to be a compliment.

No article about Obama’s Terrorism policies would be complete without noting the extensive continuity between Bush/Cheney and the progressive Democratic leader:

A few sharp-eyed observers inside and outside the government understood what the public did not. Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies — rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention — that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Nor would it be complete without the most extremist right-wing Bush officials lavishing praise on Obama for this continuity:

Mr. Hayden, the former C.I.A. director and now an adviser to Mr. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mr. Romney, commended the president’s aggressive counterterrorism record, which he said had a “Nixon to China” quality. . . .

No one would have imagined four years ago that his counterterrorism policies would come under far more fierce attack from the American Civil Liberties Union than from Mr. Romney.

One of the most glaring myths progressives like to tell themselves and others is that the GOP refuses to praise Obama no matter what he does. This is patently false. Virtually every one of the most far-right neocon Bush officials — including Dick Cheney himself — has spent years now praising Obama for continuing their Terrorism policies which Obama the Senator and Presidential Candidate once so harshly denounced. Every leading GOP candidate except Ron Paul wildly praised Obama for killing U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki without a shred of due process and for continuing to drop unaccountable bombs on multiple Muslim countries.

But the most amazing thing about the quotes from Gen. Hayden — who implemented George Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program while NSA chief and then became Bush’s CIA Director — is that he actually thinks Obama has gone much too far in his secrecy obsessions:

But, [Hayden] said, “secrecy has its costs” and Mr. Obama should open the strike strategy up to public scrutiny.

“This program rests on the personal legitimacy of the president, and that’s not sustainable,” Mr. Hayden said. “I have lived the life of someone taking action on the basis of secret O.L.C. memos, and it ain’t a good life. Democracies do not make war on the basis of legal memos locked in a D.O.J. safe.” . . .

As the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer put it today: “That Hayden, of all people, is complaining about secrecy is one measure of how far Obama has strayed from his commitment to transparency.” Of course, that Hayden — George Bush’s handpicked NSA and CIA chief — has spent two years lavishing Obama with praise on the substance of his Terrorism policies demonstrates even more about who Obama is.

And then finally we have this, the most consequential aspect of the Obama legacy:

Moreover, Mr. Obama’s record has not drawn anything like the sweeping criticism from allies that his predecessor faced.John B. Bellinger III, a top national security lawyer under the Bush administration, said that was because Mr. Obama’s liberal reputation and “softer packaging” have protected him. “After the global outrage over Guantánamo, it’s remarkable that the rest of the world has looked the other way while the Obama administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several different countries, including killing at least some civilians,” said Mr. Bellinger, who supports the strikes.

As I’ve written about many times before, Obama — by leading blind-partisan Democrats and progressives to cheer for these policies rather than denounce them — has converted what were just recently highly divisive and controversial right-wing Assaults on Our Values into fully entrenched bipartisan consensus. But worse than that, he has put a prettier and more palatable face on extremely ugly policies.

Recall the 2010 CIA Report, leaked to WikiLeaks, which discussedhow Barack Obama was the key asset for preventing Western European populations from abandoning war policies in Afghanistan. That’s because with Obama, rather than the swaggering cowboy George Bush, as the face of these wars, they would be more effectively marketed. That is precisely what Obama has done to the American citizenry with regard to what was recently known in Democratic Party circles as the Radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism agenda.

Just to underscore the level of right-wing extremism which Obama has normalized, consider his deceitful re-definition of the term “militant” to encompass ”all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,” which I wrote about earlier today. In 2006, the pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz created a serious scandal when he argued – mostly in order to justify Israeli aggression — that “civilian causalties” are a “gray area” because many people in close proximity to Terrorists — even if not Terrorists themselves — are less than innocent (“A new phrase should be introduced into the reporting and analysis of current events in the Middle East: ‘the continuum of civilianality’ . . . . Every civilian death is a tragedy, but some are more tragic than others”).

Even more repellent was John Podhoretz’s argument in 2006 that “the tactical mistake” which “we made in Iraq was that we didn’t kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything,” specifically that the real error was that the U.S. permitted “the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35.” In other words, “all military-age males” in Sunni areas should have been deemed “combatants” and thus killed. Podhoretz’s argument created all sorts of outrage in progressive circlesJohn Podhoretz is advocating genocide!

But this is precisely the premise that President Obama himself has now adopted in order to justify civilian deaths and re-classify them as “militants.” Here is the rationale of Obama officials as described by the NYT: “people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.” Probably up to no good. That’s a direct replica of Dershowitz’s argument, and is closely related to Podhoretz’s. They count someone as a “militant” — worthy of death — based purely on the happenstance of where they are and the proximity they’re in to someone else they suspect is a Bad Person. If such a person is killed by a U.S. missile, then, by definition, they are “militants,” not “civilians” — even if we don’t know the first thing about them, including their name.

That’s official Obama policy. It won’t even be reported on most MSNBC shows, and won’t even be acknowledged, let alone denounced, by the vast majority of Democrats, including progressives. That’s the Obama legacy.

And it’s all justified by this definitively warped premise: we have to keep doing things we know will result in large-scale civilian deaths in order to stop the Terrorists, who are really terrible because they keep killing civilians. Besides, continuously killing a bunch of foreigners is hardly some reflection on our President’s character, especially in an Election Year.

* * * * *

Note how the Obama administration clearly wanted this discussion to appear in the New York Times — believing that depictions of Obama as Brave Warrior would result in political gain – even as they continue to insist to federal courts that their actions cannot be subject to judicial review because national security would be jeopardized if they were forced to acknowledge these programs in a judicial proceeding.

 

UPDATEAs John Santore correctly notes — and he confirmed it with both Shane and Becker — Axelrod attends the “Tuesday Terror” meetings where decisions are made about who will die, not the larger teleconference calls where “nominations” are made. It doesn’t change the point at all, but the way I quoted the NYT article gave the incorrect impression that Axelrod attends the latter, not the former. It’s the other way around.

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“Militants”: media propaganda

NOVANEWS

To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”

BY 

Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in

headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.

This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).

This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” I’mwriting separately about the numerous revelations contained in that article, but want specifically to highlight this one vital passage about how the Obama administration determines who is a “militant.” The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:

Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.

This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.

But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.

“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”

For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’ve written. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).

What kind of self-respecting media outlet would be party to this practice? Here’s the New York Times documenting that this is what the term “militant” means when used by government officials. Any media outlet that continues using it while knowing this is explicitly choosing to be an instrument for state propaganda — not that that’s anything new, but this makes this clearer than it’s ever been.

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The Authoritarian Mind

NOVANEWS

Yet another Afghan family (and a bakery in Pakistan) is extinguished by an airstrike: unleash the justifications

BY 

The Authoritarian Mind

More than 1,500 Afghans block the highway between Kabul and Kandahar in Seed Abad, Wardak province, Afghanistan, Saturday, May 26, 2012. (Credit: AP/Rahmatullah Nikzad)

(updated below – Update II)

Yesterday, I wrote about the rotted workings of the Imperial Mind, but today presents a tragic occasion to examine its close, indispensable cousin: the Authoritarian Mind. From CNN today:

A suspected NATO airstrike killed eight civilians — including six children — in eastern Afghanistan, a provincial spokesman said.

The airstrike took place Saturday night in Paktia province, said Rohullah Samoon, spokesman for the governor of Paktia. He said an entire family was killed in the strike.

The LA Times identified the victims as “Mohammed Shafi, his wife and his six children,” and cited the statements from the spokesman for the Paktia governor’s office that “there is no evidence that Shafi was a Taliban insurgent or linked with Al Qaeda.” The Afghan spokesman blamed the incident on the refusal of NATO to coordinate strikes with Afghan forces to ensure civilians are not targeted (“If they had shared this with us, this wouldn’t have happened”). Also yesterday:

An American drone fired two missiles at a bakery in northwest Pakistan Saturday, killing four suspected militants, officials said, as the U.S. pushed ahead with its drone campaign despite Pakistani demands to stop. This was the third such strike in the country in less than a week. . . .

The officials said the victims were buying goods from a bakery when the missiles hit. Residents were still removing the debris, officials said. All of the dead were foreigners, but the officials did not have any information on their identities or nationalities.

All of this is so widely tolerated, even cheered, among large factions of the American citizenry due to three premises:

(1) I have absolutely no idea who my government is continuously bombing to death by drone, but I assume they deserve it;

(2) when my government extinguishes the lives of entire families, including small children, as it often does, I know it’s all for a just and important cause even if I can’t identify it; and,

(3) we have to stop the Terrorists, because they keep killing innocent civilians.

That’s the Authoritarian Mind, and it appears everywhere the Imperial Mind does.

* * * * *

The Washington Post yesterday reported that “on the periphery of Bagram Airfield, farmers, scrap-metal collectors and sheep herders have been crippled, blinded and burned by U.S. military ammunition on an unfenced and poorly marked training ground.” Because “there is no barrier between nearby villages and the range — it is unclear where the dusty townships end and the vast military training area begins,” Afghan villagers routinely stumble into unexploded ordnance and are severely injured or even killed, all because the U.S. military never bothered to demarcate the base. In 2009, its Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

UPDATE: This contrast from MSNBC’s home page, as it appears right now, speaks volumes about the mindset of the American government and its establishment media:

For why this is exactly the reverse of what a responsible U.S. media outlet would do, see here.

 

UPDATE IIABC News‘ Jake Tapper this morning interviewed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and asked him about civilian deaths caused by U.S. drones: specifically, whether the U.S.’s relentless air strikes in multiple Muslim countries are exacerbating rather than containing the problem of anti-American Terrorism:

TAPPER:  President Obama recently said that — recently told John Brennan, his counterterrorism adviser at the White House that he wanted a little bit more transparency when it comes to drones, which are the – is one of the approaches that you’re alluding to in Yemen.

And “The Times of London” reported last week that the civilian casualties in Yemen as a result of drone strikes have, quote, “emboldened Al Qaeda.”

Is there not a serious risk that this approach to counterterrorism, because of its imprecision, because of its civilian casualties, is creating more enemy than it is killing?

PANETTA:  First and foremost, I think this is one of the most precise weapons that we have in our arsenal.  Number two, what is our responsibility here?  Our responsibility is to defend and protect the United States of America.

And using the operations that we have, using the systems that we have, using the weapons that we have, is absolutely essential to our ability to defend Americans. That’s what counts, and that’s what we’re doing.

Note that Panetta studiously ignored, rather than addressed, the question of whether the U.S. — by continuously killing Muslim civilians and thus intensifying anti-American animus — is creating more Terrorists than it is killing and thus making the U.S. less safe. That’s because there is no answer. Continuously bombing Muslim countries and killing civilians ostensibly as a means of combating anti-American Terrorism is exactly like smoking six packs of cigarettes a day to treat emphysema: one would do it only if one wanted to make the problem worse, or, at best, was recklessly indifferent to the outcome.

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on The Authoritarian Mind

The Imperial Mind

NOVANEWS

American rage at Pakistan over the punishment of a CIA-cooperating Pakistani doctor is quite revealing

BY 

     

    Americans of all types — Democrats and Republicans, even some Good Progressives — are just livid that a Pakistani tribal court (reportedly in consultation with Pakistani officials) has imposed a 33-year prison sentence on Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani physician who secretly worked with the CIA to find Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil. Their fury tracks the standard American media narrative: by punishing Dr. Afridi for the “crime” of helping the U.S. find bin Laden, Pakistan has revealed that it sympathizes with Al Qaeda and is hostile to the U.S. (NPR headline: “33 Years In Prison For Pakistani Doctor Who Aided Hunt For Bin Laden”; NYT headline: “Prison Term for Helping C.I.A. Find Bin Laden”). Except that’s a woefully incomplete narrative: incomplete to the point of being quite misleading.

    What Dr. Afridi actually did was concoct a pretextual vaccination program, whereby Pakistani children would be injected with a single Hepatitis B vaccine, with the hope of gaining access to the Abbottabad house where the CIA believed bin Laden was located. The plan was that, under the ruse of vaccinating the children in that province, he would obtain DNA samples that could confirm the presence in the suspected house of the bin Laden family. But the vaccine program he was administering was fake: as Wired‘s public health reporter Maryn McKenna detailed, “since only one of three doses was delivered, the vaccination was effectively useless.” An on-the-ground Guardian investigation documented that ”while the vaccine doses themselves were genuine, the medical professionals involved were not following procedures. In an area called Nawa Sher, they did not return a month after the first dose to provide the required second batch. Instead, according to local officials and residents, the team moved on.”

    That means that numerous Pakistani children who thought they were being vaccinated against Hepatitis B were in fact left exposed to the virus. Worse, international health workers have long faced serious problems in many parts of the world — including remote Muslim areas — in convincing people that the vaccines they want to give to their children are genuine rather than Western plots to harm them. These suspicions have prevented the eradication of polio and the containment of other preventable diseases in many areas, including in parts of Pakistan. This faux CIA vaccination program will, for obvious and entirely foreseeable reasons, significantly exacerbate that problem.

    As McKenna wrote this week, this fake CIA vaccination program was “a cynical attempt to hijack the credibility that public health workers have built up over decades with local populations” and thus “endangered the status of the fraught polio-eradication campaign, which over the past decade has been challenged in majority-Muslim areas in Africa and South Asia over beliefs that polio vaccination is actually a covert campaign to harm Muslim children.” She further notes that while this suspicion “seems fantastic” to oh-so-sophisticated Western ears — what kind of primitive people would harbor suspicions about Western vaccine programs? – there are actually “perfectly good reasons to distrust vaccination campaigns” from the West (in 1996, for instance, 11 children died in Nigeria when Pfizer, ostensibly to combat a meningitis outbreak, conducted drug trials — experiments — on Nigerian children that did not comport with binding safety standards in the U.S.).

    When this fake CIA vaccination program was revealed last year, Doctors Without Borders harshly denounced the CIA and Dr. Afridi for their “grave manipulation of the medical act” that will cause “vulnerable communities – anywhere – needing access to essential health services [to] understandably question the true motivation of medical workers and humanitarian aid.” The group’s President pointed out the obvious: “The potential consequence is that even basic healthcare, including vaccination, does not reach those who need it most.” That is now clearly happening, as the CIA program “is casting its shadow over campaigns to vaccinate Pakistanis against polio.” Gulrez Khan, a Peshawar-based anti-polio worker, recently said that tribesman in the area now consider public health workers to be CIA agents and are more reluctant than ever to accept vaccines and other treatments for their children.

    For the moment, leave to the side the question of whether knowingly administering ineffective vaccines to Pakistani children is a justified ruse to find bin Laden (just by the way, it didn’t work, as none of the health workers actually were able to access the bin Laden house, though CIA officials claim the program did help obtain other useful information). In light of all the righteous American outrage over this prison sentence, let’s consider what the U.S. Government would do if the situation were reversed: namely, if an American citizen secretly cooperated with a foreign intelligence service to conduct clandestine operations on U.S. soil, all without the knowledge or consent of the U.S. Government, and let’s further consider what would happen if the American citizen’s role in those operations involved administering a fake vaccine program to unwitting American children. Might any serious punishment ensue? Does anyone view that as anything more than an obvious rhetorical question?

    There are numerous examples that make the point. As’ad AbuKhalilposes this one: “Imagine if China were to hire an American physician who would innocently inject unsuspecting Americans with a chemical to obtain information for China.  I am sure that his prison term would be even longer.” Or what if an American doctor of Iranian descent had done this on behalf of the Quds Force, in order to find a member of the designated Iranian Terror group MeK who was living in the United States (one who, say, has been working with Israel to help assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists and wound their wives, or one who was trained by the U.S.), after which Iranian agents invaded his American home, pumped bullets in his skull and shot a few others (his wife and a child) and then dumped his corpse into the Atlantic Ocean? Or take the case of Orlando Bosch, the CIA-backed anti-Cuban Terrorist long harbored by the U.S.; suppose a Cuban-American doctor sympathetic to Castro had injected American children as part of a fake vaccination program in order to help Cuba find and kill Bosch on U.S. soil; he’d be lucky to get 33 years in prison.

    In fact, the U.S. Government tries to impose the harshest possible sentences on Americans who do far less than Dr. Afridi did in Pakistan. The Obama administration charged former NSA official Thomas Drake with espionage and tried to imprison him fordecades merely because he exposed serious waste, corruption and illegality in surveillance programs — without the slightest indication of any harm to national security. Right now, they’re charging Bradley Manning with “aiding the enemy” — Al Qaeda — and attempting to impose life imprisonment on the 23-year-old Army Private, merely because he leaked information to the world showing serious war crimes and other government deceit (something The New York Times does frequently) which nobody suggests was done in collaboration with or even with any intent to help Al Qaeda or any other foreign entity. Given all that, just imagine how harshly they’d try to punish an American who secretly collaborated with a foreign intelligence service — who created a fake vaccine program for American kids — to enable secret military action on U.S. soil without their knowledge.

    But of course none of these comparisons is equivalent. It’s all different when it’s done to America rather than by America. That’s the great prize for being the world’s imperial power: the rules you impose on others don’t bind you at all. I’m quite certain that none of the people voicing such intense rage over Pakistan’s punishment of Dr. Afridi would voice anything similar if the situation were reversed in any of the ways I’ve just outlined. Can you even imagine any of them saying something like: yes, this American doctor injected American kids with ruse vaccines in order to help the intelligence service of Iran/Pakistan/China/Cuba conduct clandestine operations on U.S. soil without the knowledge of the U.S. Government, but I think that’s justified and he shouldn’t be punished.

    If you read or watch any accounts of life in the Roman empire, what you will frequently witness is someone being severely punished for an act against a Roman citizen. That was the most severe crime and the one most harshly punished: one could do any manner of bad things to non-citizens, but not so much as raise a hand to a Roman citizen.

    Watch how often that formulation is used in our political discourse: he tried to kill Americans, people will emphasize when justifying all sorts of U.S. government actions. In other words, there are ordinary, pedestrian crimes (like this one, from today: “An American drone fired two missiles at a bakery in northwest Pakistan Saturday and killed four suspected militants, officials said, as the U.S. pushed on with its drone campaign despite Pakistani demands to stop. This was the third such strike in the country in less than a week”). But then there is the supreme crime: he tried to kill Americans! It’d be one thing if this outrage were honestly expressed as self-interest (we give massive aid to Pakistan so they should do our bidding), but instead, it is, as usual, couched in moral terms.

    That is the imperial mind at work. Its premises are often embraced implicitly rather than knowingly: American lives are inherently more valuable; foreign lives are expendable in pursuit of American interests; the U.S. has the inalienable right to take action in other countries that nobody is allowed to take in the U.S. (just imagine: “An Iranian drone fired two missiles at a bakery in the northwest U.S. Saturday and killed four suspected militants, Iranian officials said, as Iran pushed on with its drone campaign despite American demands to stop. This was the third such strike in the country in less than a week” or “Thirty five women and children were killed by a Yemeni cruise missile armed with cluster bombs which struck an alleged Marine training camp in Texas”).

    These self-venerating imperial prerogatives are the premises driving the vast bulk of American foreign policy and military discourse. It is certainly what’s driving the spectacle of so many people pretending that the punishment of Dr. Afridi is some sort of aberrational act which the U.S. and other Decent, Civilized Countries would never do.

    * * * * *

    Two related points:

    (1) NPR emphasizes what appear to be the genuine due process deficiencies in the punishment imposed on Dr. Afridi, though he certainly is receiving more due process than those informally and secretly accused of Treason by the U.S. Government and given the Anwar Awlaki treatment, or accused of Terrorism and targeted with a U.S. drone or locked for a decade or so in a cage without charges of any kind.

    (2) Zaid Jilani, formerly of Think Progress, asks a really good question about the Hollywood Election Year film depicting the bin Laden raid being produced by Sony Pictures with the help of the Obama administration: “Will the movie feature Pakistani kids tricked into getting fake vaccines? Probably not.” If the film does mention this, I’d bet it will be to marvel at and celebrate the James-Bond-like ingenuity of the CIA.

    Posted in USA, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on The Imperial Mind

    A reminder about WikiLeaks

    NOVANEWS

    As the risk intensifies that Assange may be prosecuted for his journalism, it is vital to remember what’s at stake

    BY 

    A reminder about WikiLeaks

    Julian Assange (Credit: AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    “Just in time to spoil the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Obama Justice Department is trying to do what Richard Nixon couldn’t: indict a media organization. . . . Charging Julian Assange with ‘conspiracy to commit espionage’ would effectively be setting a precedent with a charge that more accurately could be characterized as ‘conspiracy to commit journalism‘” — James Goodale, General Counsel of The New York Times during its Pentagon Papers fight with the Nixon administration, writing in The Daily Beast, June 12, 2011.

    * * * * *

    When, many years ago, I first read about the Nixon administration’sinfamous break-in to the office of Daniel Ellberg’s psychiatrist as a means to discredit the Pentagon Papers leak, I was baffled by the motivation. The Pentagon Papers revealed systematic lying on the part of the U.S. Government to the American public about the Vietnam War. Why, I wondered with a not insubstantial amount of naïveté, would public revelations about Ellsberg’s personality and psyche have any impact on how those leaks were perceived?

    But the answer to that is obvious, as Nixon well knew: by demonizing Ellsberg personally, even those inclined to defend the leak would be reluctant to be associated with him. If Ellsberg became associated in the public mind not with his noble exposure of government lies but rather with “strange” psychological drives or bizarre sexual fantasies — the sort of thing one is supposed to reveal to one’s psychoanalyst — then he would become a figure of derision, an embarrassment, and nobody would want anything to do with him for fear of having his foibles reflect negatively on them. You smear the messenger, and the message is smeared along with him — or, just as good, the message is forgotten and the messenger is abandoned to whatever punishments are doled out.

    This has been exactly the strategy used to ward off support for Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and Bradley Manning, with one difference: leaving aside Joe Biden, who denounced Assange as a “high-techterrorist,” this time the role of Nixonian henchmen is played by establishment-defending or Obama-loyal media figures rather than the administration itself. The New York Times — led by John Burns andBill Keller — has continuously obsessed on Assange’s alleged personality flaws while all but ignoring the vital disclosures about the U.S. Government for which he is partially responsible (Keller, the son of a Chevron CEO, wrote an article infamously complaining that Assange’s socks were “filthy” and that he “smelled”).

    The NYT and numerous other media outlets also aggressively promoted a new group, “Open Leaks,” started by former WikiLeaks volunteers offended by Assange’s “imperious behavior” — a group which, to date, has failed to produce a single leak. Meanwhile, people like this former Obama campaign press aide and current MSNBC contributor (a virtual redundancy) have continually demeaned Bradley Manning as “a guy seeking anarchy as a salve for his own personal, psychological torment” caused by his sexuality while ominously alluding to “plenty of other evidence that something wasn’t quite right with Manning.”

    As Ellsberg himself has repeatedly pointed out, this is the same sleazy strategy employed by Nixon to personally smear whistleblowers and demonize their psyches in order to discredit the substance of their disclosures and make it uncomfortable for anyone to support them. And it works.

    While WikiLeaks enjoyed widespread support just a couple of years ago, the personal attacks on Assange and Manning — along with the unproven and even uncharged sexual assault allegations in Sweden — have dried up much of that support. Who wants to be seen advocating for an unhygienic, abusive egomaniac or a psychologically crippled, gender-confused, vengeful freak: the caricatures of Assange and Manning that have been successfully implanted in the public mind by today’s Nixonian smear artists? The truth or falsity of these caricatures matters little for this tactic to work: once someone is rendered sufficiently radioactive in Decent Society, even many who are sympathetic to their cause will turn away, become unwilling to defend them, lest any of the slime relentlessly poured on the whistleblowers splatter onto their defenders.

    But given what is at stake in the Manning case and especially the potential prosecution of WikiLeaks and Assange, this tactic must not be permitted to succeed. The judicial process in Sweden should and will be permitted to resolve the sexual allegations against Assange one way or the other — given that he’s not even charged, let alone convicted, he should enjoy the presumption of innocence — but whatever the outcome of that case, the personal attributes or failings of Assange or Manning have no bearing on the threat posed by the U.S. Government’s prosecution for the publishing WikiLeaks has done.

    A coalition of leading journalists and media outlets in Australia have explained: WikiLeaks “is doing what the media have always done: bringing to light material that governments would prefer to keep secret” and prosecuting them “would be unprecedented in the US, breaching the First Amendment protecting a free press“; they added: “To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks . . . is a serious threat to democracy.” The Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder expressing “deep concern” over “reports about a potential WikiLeaks prosecution,” which “would threaten grave damage to the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and the press.” Although American journalists were reluctant at first to speak out, even they have come around to recognizing what a profound threat an Assange indictment would be to press freedoms, with The Washington Post Editorial Page denouncing any indictment on the ground that it “would criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk responsible media organizations,” and even editors of the Guardian and Keller himself — with whom Assange has feuded — are now vowing to defend Assange if he were to be prosecuted.

    All of this merits particular emphasis now in light of yesterday’s rulingby Britain’s Supreme Court that Assange must be extradited to Sweden. For reasons I explained yesterday on Democracy Now, there is a very well-grounded fear that this extradition is intended to be the first step in his inevitable rendering to the U.S. for prosecution.Ample evidence, including my prior reporting, proves the Obama DOJ has an active Grand Jury investigation of WikiLeaks. Some evidence, albeit not entirely reliable, has emerged stating that they have already obtained a sealed indictment. That there is now a flurry of recent activity at exactly the time when it was known the British Supreme Court would issue its extradition ruling — suspected WikiLeaks supporters being aggressively accosted by the FBI while Hillary Clinton is now meeting with top officials in Sweden — adds to the reasonable suspicion that the U.S. is seeking to exploit Assange’s extradition to Sweden as a means of bringing him to the U.S. to face prosecution under espionage charges. That this administration has an unprecedented fixation on secrecy and prosecuting whistleblowers — while key Democratic Senators such as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein have publicly called for Assange’s prosecution for espionage — makes this all the more likely.

    It’s vital that this not be permitted to happen. Whatever one’s discomfort with Assange’s supposed personal flaws, that must not deter anyone from standing against what would truly be an odious indictment for the publication by WikiLeaks of critical information in the public interest. Last December in The Guardian, I argued that Bradley Manning deserves a medal, not imprisonment, if he actually did what he is alleged to have done. Here is a two-minute clip from my Democracy Now appearance where I made the case for why defending WikiLeaks is so crucial (this was not included in the segment I posted yesterday):

     

     

     

    Posted in Campaigns, PoliticsComments Off on A reminder about WikiLeaks

    Act now: Stop the Bulldozers

    NOVANEWS
    Dear ALL
     

    JCB claim on their website that “JCB’s bright yellow machines make a difference in improving people’s lives”. At 6am on Monday 13 February, bright yellow JCB machines were caught on camera demolishing the children’s playground in Silwan, East Jerusalem. JCB equipment has also been used in the construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall, Israeli settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes.

    We have now uncovered evidence that JCB is involved in the direct sale of military equipment to the Israeli army. The company has supplied its armoured bulldozer, the High Mobility Engineer Excavator, for use by paratroopers in the Israeli army’s central command unit.

    It is unacceptable that a British company like JCB should profit from the violation of Palestinian human rights.

    On 1 June, people will be phoning JCB to demand that the company stop the bulldozers and end their complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. 

    JCB have ignored War on Want’s call for the company to stop the use of JCB equipment in violations of Palestinian rights.

    It’s time to show JCB that people in the UK think it is unacceptable too.

    Act now: Tell JCB to stop the bulldozers

    Best wishes

    Kat Hobbs
    Save Silwan Campaigner
    War on Want

    P.S. Read War on Want’s report Stop The Bulldozers: JCB’s complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian peopleand find out more about the situation in Silwan and follow the campaign on Twitter @SaveSilwan.

    Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Act now: Stop the Bulldozers

    Zio-Nazi Occupation Forces Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property

    NOVANEWS 
    • IOF use force to disperse peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

    –       8 demonstrators, including two children, were wounded.

     

    • A Palestinian civilian was wounded by IOF in the central Gaza Strip.

     

    • IOF conducted 50 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two limited ones into the Gaza Strip.   

    –     IOF arrested 13 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children in the West Bank.

    –     IOF summoned 12 Palestinian civilians for interrogation.

    –     Two dunums[1] of agricultural land in the central Gaza Strip were burnt by Israeli gunfire.

     

    • IOF continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

    –       IOF arrested 5 Palestinian fishermen and confiscated two fishing boats.

     

    • Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

    –       IOF arrested a Palestinian civilians at a checkpoint in the West Bank.

     

    • IOF have continued efforts to create a Jewish demographic majority in East Jerusalem.

    –       Funds were allocated for a new Israeli tourist settlement project in Silwan village in Jerusalem.

    –       IOF destroyed some civilian facilities in Hazma village, northeast of Jerusalem. 

     

    • IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

    –       IOF razed 30 dunums of agricultural land in al-Baq’a area, east of Hebron.

    –       A Palestinian civilian was seriously wounded by Israeli settlers.

    –       Israeli settlers set fire to cultivated areas in the south of Nablus.

    Summary

    Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (24 – 30 May 2012):

    Shooting:

    During the reporting period, 8 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded by IOF and a 9th one was wounded by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.  A 10th civilian was also wounded by IOF in the Gaza Strip.  Additionally, a Palestinian civilian was stabbed by Israeli soldiers at Kfar Etzion checkpoint near Bethlehem. 

    During the reporting period, IOF wounded 8 demonstrators, including two children, during the dispersion of peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. Dozens of demonstrators also suffered from tear gas inhalation. 

    On 26 May 2012, Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian agricultural lands in al-Qisma and al-Marah areas in the north of ‘Ourif village, south of Nablus.  A number of Palestinian civilians rushed to the affected areas, where they found Israeli settlers and IOF stationed there.  Clashes erupted between the two sides, during which Israeli soldiers intensively fired tear gas canisters.  As a result, a number of civilians suffered from tear gas inhalation and we forced to move back to the village.  Soon, they heard the sounds of shooting coming from the mountain located between the village and “Yits’har” settlement.  They went to the area to check what happened. When they arrived at the area, they found Najeh As’ad al-Safadi, 21, handcuffed and bleeding.  They evacuated him to a hospital in Nablus.  According to medical sources, he was seriously wounded by a bullet to the abdomen.  This attack was the second of its kind in less than one week.  On 19 May 2012, Nember ‘Assaira, 24, from Southern ‘Assira village south of Nablus, was wounded by a bullet to the right eye. An Israeli settler fired at ‘Assaira, while IOF were present in the area.

     

    The full report is available online at:

    http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8470:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-24-30-may-2012&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183

    Posted in Palestine Affairs, Human RightsComments Off on Zio-Nazi Occupation Forces Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property

    Laying the Foundations for Preemptive Nuclear War Against Iran

    NOVANEWS
    By Nile Bowie
    Nilebowie.blogspot.ca

    As prospects for a preemptive strike on Iran remain ever present, the recent round of talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Baghdad on May 23rd, 2012 have resulted in a familiar stalemate. As a precondition for any deal to stop higher-grade uranium enrichment, Tehran requested immediate relief from economic sanctions as a show of reciprocity [1]. 


    Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili emphasized Tehran’s right to develop peaceful nuclear energy as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the P5+1 refused to scale back economic sanctions, insisting Iran suspend its 20% uranium enrichment program [2].

    As leaders in Tel Aviv assert that Israel may conduct military strikes against Iran before the US Presidential elections in November [2], Major General Hassan Firouzabadi of the Iranian Armed Forces reiterated Iran’s commitment to the full annihilation of the Zionist regime and the continual support of Palestinian autonomy [3]. Even if Tehran reaches an agreement with the IAEA, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak refused to rule out a military strike against Iranian facilities, demanding that Iran dismantle its uranium enrichment sites and use only imported fuel [4].


    Although the recent conference in Baghdad failed to meet the expectations of its participants, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have agreed to hold another round of talks in Moscow on June 18th [5]. As a further indication of division between P5+1 participants, Germany has pledged to work toward a political and diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear energy issues by providing Tehran with technical assistance in developing a peaceful nuclear program [6], while the US Senate recently approved a new round of sanctions against Iran aimed at any country or company that provides technology or resources to develop Tehran’s oil and uranium resources [7]. The new legislation targets Iran’s national oil and tanker firms and widens sanctions on Iran’s energy sector to any international joint venture where Tehran is a substantial partner or investor. As the US continually pressures Beijing to join its oil embargo, the Chinese Foreign Ministry remains vocally opposed to the new package of economic sanctions against Iran [8].


    Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich blasted the US for imposing new unilateral sanctions against Iran, describing the move as an irrational measure intended to the harm pace of negotiations [9]. India has remained adamant against expanding sanctions on Iran [10], as New Delhi and Tehran agree to increase annual bilateral trade two thirds to $25 billion by 2015, confirming their intent to bypass US sanctions by making payments for a significant portion of its oil purchases from Iran in rupees [11]. As further cooperation between the US and the Persian Gulf monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remains evident through their unanimous support of Syria’s armed opposition, Saudi Arabia remains a major beneficiary under the continued imposition of sanctions on Tehran from Washington. Japan and South Korea once accounted for 26% of Iran’s oil exports [12], now both Seoul [13] and Tokyo [14] have sought stable supplies of crude oil from Saudi Arabia. As South Africa turns to Saudi Arabia after halting business with Iran [15], the kingdom’s crude output is at a thirty-year high [16], as shipments to the United States quietly rise to 25% [17].


    As a result of sanctions on Iran, Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund predicts that oil prices could spike as much as 30% and hover around $160 per barrel if Iran’s crude oil exports fell sharply [18]. As Iranian production hits a ten-year low as of March 2012, industry-wide fears of a recession-fueled fall in demand have prompted the reduction of total world oil production through the imposition of embargoes on Iranian oil; higher prices triggered by a supply squeeze from the sanctions work to further benefit international oil companies and producers like Saudi Arabia [19]. In March 2012, the US granted Japan and 10 EU nations a six-month reprieve to gradually cut their imports of Iranian oil, lest they be subjected to their own financial sanctions and cut off from the US financial system [20]. Under the 2012 US National Defense Authorization Act, Barack Obama can impose financial sanctions on foreign banks that carry out financial transactions with Iran’s central bank “for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran” [21].


    Given the fragile state of the European economy, the further implementation of financial sanctions on nations who fail to comply with the oil embargo on Iran is thoroughly unreasonable, with entirely negative implications for the European Union. Any further escalation of tensions with Iran would likely trigger inflated oil prices, which could further cripple the unstable economies of Greece and Portugal and potentially lead to those nations leaving the European Union. Despite Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi downplaying the negative effects of sanctions [22], inflation is soaring within Iran as the cost of food increases between 25% to 125%, with 60% of the population relying on cash subsidies handed out by Tehran [23]. Iran’s budget deficit for the 2011/2012 fiscal year is expected to be between $30 to $50 billion, as the Iranian rial continues to plunge after the imposition of the oil embargo, causing widespread panic buying of gold among the Iranian public [24].


    As commodity prices in Iran continue to skyrocket, former Mossad director Efraim Halevy remarked, “The rial is going down, it’s gone down by over 50 percent. It’s almost impossible to describe the damage done,” while former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami forewarns, “When a national currency loses 50% of its value in a matter of weeks, economic collapse is at hand.” [25][26]. As Iran struggled to replace it’s client base following the imposition of US-led economic sanctions, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke before the Israeli cabinet predicting the collapse of the Iranian economy [27]. Haaretz reports the remarks of an unnamed senior official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, “These aren’t sanctions against Iran. Instead, they are sanctions imposed by the West to curb Israel’s attack plans, had Israel not spoken out about its intention to attack, none of this would be happening. The Iranians are frightened. You have to understand what’s going on there in stores; citizens grab food off the shelves because they are worried about an impending attack. Inflation is soaring and the currency has lost half its value. All this attests to fear.” [28]


    As the black market in Iran expands amid an increasing lack of public confidence in the rial, the role of the state is indirectly strengthened because smuggling imports requires strong connections within the regime, leaving the poor and lower middle class susceptible to poverty while the officials being targeted by sanctions themselves benefit from the embargo [29]. The fact that Obama administration chose to preemptively impose sanctions on Iran before the P5+1 meeting in Baghdad even took place indicates that the objective of US-Israeli policy toward Iran seeks not mutual agreement and reconciliation, but the further perpetuation of conflict to ensure that the question of Iran’s nuclear energy issue remains unsolved. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the scope for sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program had been exhausted and any additional measures were intended to provoke discontent in the Iranian population [30].


    As the United States and its allies offer unflinching support to armed opposition groups under cover of “democratic activism” in non-acquiescent countries in the region, any popular revolution in Iran would unquestionably be supported and used to pressure the government from within, even using the opportunity to launch an armed opposition insurrection. An articled published in The New Yorker by Seymour M. Hersh entitled, “Our Men in Iran?,” documents how members of Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian dissident group and US State Department-listed terrorist organization, were trained in communications, cryptography, small-unit tactics and weaponry by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at a base in Nevada starting in 2005 [31]. JSOC instructed MEK operatives on how to penetrate major Iranian communications systems, allowing the group to intercept telephone calls and text messages inside Iran for the purpose of sharing them with American intelligence. The group has been implicated in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists [32] and the planting of the Stuxnet malware that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz [33].


    MEK was founded in 1965 as a Marxist Islamic mass political movement aimed at agitating the monarchy of the US-backed Iranian Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The group initially sided with revolutionary clerics led by Ayatollah Khomeini following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but eventually turned away from the regime during a power struggle that resulted in the group waging urban guerilla warfare against Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1981. The organization was later given refuge by Saddam Hussein and mounted attacks on Iran from within Iraqi territory, killing an estimated 17,000 Iranian nationals in the process [34]. MEK exists as the main component of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a “coalition of democratic Iranian organizations, groups and personalities,” calling itself a “parliament-in-exile” seeking to “establish a democratic, secular and coalition government” in Iran [35]. Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, UN special representative in Iraq Martin Kobler organized efforts to relocate MEK insurgents to a former US military base near the Baghdad airport, with the full support of the US Embassy in Iraq and the State Department to avoid violent clashes between the MEK and the Shiite-led Iraqi government [36].


    MEK has long received material assistance from Israel, who assisted the organization with broadcasting into Iran from their political base in Paris, while the MEK and NCRI have reportedly provided the United States with intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program. Despite the documented cases of atrocities committed by MEK forces, elder statesmen such as former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley K. Clark, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former 9/11 Commission Chairman Lee Hamilton were paid $20,000 to $30,000 per engagement to endorse the removal of the Mujahideen-e Khalq from the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations [37]. NBC News reports that Israel provided financing, training and arms to Mujahideen-e Khalq, who are responsible for killing five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 using motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars [38]. A recent investigation by the US Treasury Department has indicated that Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization is financially sponsored by the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia [39].


    Upon launching a war against Iran, aggressor nations would likely utilize MEK forces as opposition insurgents and could even recognize the touted “parliament-in-exile”, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, as Iran’s legitimate representative, much like how the Friends of Syria group has recognized the opposition Syrian National Council [40]. From her political base in Paris, exiled NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi is a strong candidate for Western support in contrast to internal opposition figures such as Mir-Hossein Mousavi, former Iranian Prime Minister turned political reformist and figurehead of the Green Movement demonstrations in 2009 following the victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in elections widely perceived as a fraudulent [41]. Although Mousavi has advocated greater personal freedoms in Iran and the disbanding of religious police enforcers, he is a strong advocate of Iran’s nuclear energy program and would likely never yield the kind of acquiescence to Western policy that exiled figures such as Maryam Rajavi would uphold in exchange for political support and material assistance [42]. It is widely believed that Mousavi is currently held under house arrest without an arrest warrant, charge or trial [43].


    While figures such as Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi publically renounce nuclear weapons [44], Iranian scientists claim to be enriching uranium to 20% to develop radiopharmaceuticals and industrial isotopes under the supervision of the IAEA inspectors [45]. On October 1, 2010, the IAEA proposed a deal according to which Iran would send 3.5% enriched uranium abroad and receive 20% enriched uranium from potential suppliers in return, namely France and the United States, who Tehran accused of stalling negotiations from the start [46]. Tehran was offered a deal at a time when its supplies of 20% enriched uranium were nearly depleted, however Iranian lawmakers rejected the deal after technical studies showed that it would only take two to three months for any country to further enrich the nuclear stockpile and turn it into metal nuclear plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, while suppliers had announced that they would not return fuel to Iran in any time less than seven months [47].


    Iran has made efforts to ensure the transparency of its nuclear program by allowing IAEA probes to inspect Iranian sites such as the Parchin military complex where the agency has reported suspicious activities in the past [48]. The IAEA’s recent discovery of traces of uranium enriched up to 27% at Iran’s Fordo enrichment plant sparked controversy, although the enrichment figure is still substantially below the 90% level needed to make the fissile core required in nuclear arms; officials conceded that the likely explanation for the increased level of enrichment was attributed to centrifuges initially over-enriching at the start as technicians adjusted their output [49]. It should be noted that former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Hans Blix has challenged the IAEA’s own reports on Iran’s nuclear activities, accusing the agency of relying on unverified intelligence from the US and Israel [50]; the IAEA’s most recent report cited Tehran’s progress toward enrichment technology with complete cooperation with the agency and confirms the non-weaponized status of Iranian nuclear activities [51].


    Clinton Bastin, former director of US nuclear weapons production programs, has sent an open letter to President Obama regarding the status of Iran’s capacity to produce nuclear weapons [52]. Bastin reiterates, “The ultimate product of Iran’s gas centrifuge facilities would be highly enriched uranium hexafluoride, a gas that cannot be used to make a weapon. Converting the gas to metal, fabricating components and assembling them with high explosives using dangerous and difficult technology that has never been used in Iran would take many years after a diversion of three tons of low enriched uranium gas from fully safeguarded inventories. The resulting weapon, if intended for delivery by missile, would have a yield equivalent to that of a kiloton of conventional high explosives” [53]. The US-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has recently released claims that Iran’s total production of enriched uranium over the past five years would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons stating, “This total amount of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium hexafluoride, if further enriched to weapon grade, is enough to make over five nuclear weapons.” [54]


    Bastin’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear program further emphasizes the impracticality of weaponizing the hexafluoride product of Tehran’s gas-centrifuges, as the resulting deterrent would yield the equivalent explosive capacity equal to a kiloton of conventional explosives, producing a highly inefficient nuclear weapon. If Iran chose to produce nuclear weapons in this way, it would take several years to reach the 90% enrichment levels needed for a nuclear deterrent; Iran has complied with the IAEA and the United Nations on this issue and there is no substantial evidence indicating that Tehran has any intention of enriching uranium to 90% for the purpose of creating nuclear weapons. On March 23rd, 2012, Reuters released a special report entitled, “Intel shows Iran nuclear threat not imminent”, concluding that the United States, its European allies and even Israel agree that Tehran does not have a bomb, it has not decided to build one, and it is years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead [55]. As the West continually implements an unyielding regime of sanctions against Iran when they themselves acknowledge the civilian nature of the Iranian nuclear program, the overwhelming motive behind their actions to pressure Iran into full-scale war on an unprecedented scale is self-evident.


    The United States has produced more than 70,000 nuclear weapons between 1951 and 1998 [56], while Israel possess a nuclear weapons stockpile ranging from 75 to 400 warheads [57]. While the hazardous ramifications of Iran’s nuclear development pervade public consciousness, the fact that US legal doctrine has worked to further blur the line between conventional and nuclear warfare remains rarely acknowledged. The March 2005 Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations released by the Joint Chiefs of Staff envisages “contingency plans” for an offensive first strike use of nuclear weapons against both Iran and North Korea, providing the legal mandate to carry out pre-emptive nuclear war, both in terms of military planning as well as defense procurement and production [58] The 2002 adoption of the Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review by the US Congress marked the cease of prohibition on low yield nuclear weapons and provided funding allocations to pursue the development of tactical nuclear weapons, such as bunker buster (earth penetrator) mini-nukes [59].


    The revised Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations (March 2005) envisaged five scenarios where “the use of nuclear weapons might be requested,” namely, “to attack adversary installations including weapons of mass destruction, deep, hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons, or the command and control infrastructure required for the adversary to execute a WMD attack against the United States or its friends and allies” and “to counter potentially overwhelming adversary conventional forces”. The doctrine further cites, “Responsible security planning requires preparation for threats that are possible, though perhaps unlikely today. The lessons of military history remain clear: unpredictable, irrational conflicts occur. Military forces must prepare to counter weapons and capabilities that exist in the near term even if no immediate likely scenarios for war are at hand. To maximize deterrence of WMD use, it is essential US forces prepare to use nuclear weapons effectively and that US forces are determined to employ nuclear weapons if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use” [60].


    The possibility of nuclear strikes against Iran pose staggeringly frightening implications for the human family, as the very nations crying foul about the danger of nuclear weapons have prepared the legal infrastructure to use them against others, preemptively. While trust towards the Iranian regime remains questionable among segments of the Iranian population and the international community, Tehran has complied with the IAEA and no evidence exists to implicate Iran with constructing a nuclear weapon. While the fiery rhetoric of Iranian and Israeli officials remains entirely counterproductive, Tel Aviv has shown the least initiative to constructively partake in diplomacy with Iran, as top Israeli officials refuse to even meet with US envoy to the P5+1, Wendy Sherman, who reportedly was sent to Tel Aviv to “reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security” [61]. As Israel aggressively employs an apartheid policy domestically, nuclear-armed Tel Aviv boasts its right to strike Iran without consent from any other nation [62]. As our species approaches the increasingly dangerous crossroads of the 21st Century, nations such as Germany, Russia, India and China must utilize their collective influence and technology to mediate this impending security crisis in the Middle East.


    Although Iran has asserted its right to develop peaceful nuclear technology as a signatory to the nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, its uranium-based fuel has wrought negative and inaccurate accusations regarding Tehran’s intentions to weaponize. To ensure the further deflection of erroneous accusations, Iran can truly make an example of itself by phasing out uranium-based nuclear technology and shifting to a liquid fuel based on molten-fluoride salts used in Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) nuclear technology powered by thorium, an obscure, mildly radioactive metal produced as a waste product from the mining of rare earth minerals. Thorium is plentiful, easily accessible and energy dense, a metric ton produces as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3,500,000 ton of coal [63]. Thorium-based reactors consume their own hazardous waste and would serve Iran’s internal needs far more effectively than its current technology. As a nuclear fuel, thorium is both cleaner and safer than uranium and produces benign alpha radiation, unable to even penetrate skin [64].


    The governments of China [65] and India [66] have expressed great interest in further developing thorium molten-salt reactor technology. Iran holds 9% of the world’s oil reserves and 17% of its natural gas reserves; the abundant supply of fossil fuel resources has indirectly discouraged the pursuit of alternative renewable energy sources [67]. Iran has enormous potential as a producer of geothermal energy, particularly in the provinces of Azerbaijan and Tehran [68]. There is no shortage of solutions to the current problems faced by the international community in its efforts to oversee peaceful energy technology in Iran. China, Germany and India could share their growing technical expertise with Iran to develop energy solutions that can never be used as a pretext for external military strikes. No credible basis exists to warrant the implementation of economic sanctions against Iran, which are ostensibly in place to coax social unrest and collapse the Iranian economy.


    For all the belligerence exuded by the current Iranian regime, the unwavering aggressive it receives from outside forces does nothing to offer the people of Iran any tangible solutions to better themselves and their standard of living. Although the further application of sanctions will inevitably have damaging effects on Tehran, inflated oil price fluctuations have the potential to fracture the fledging austerity-states of the European Union. The failure of emerging markets to adhere to full embargoes on Iran once they come into effect would send a strong message to the architects of such disastrous policy. As nations such as China and Russia acknowledge the imbalanced nature of power in the Security Council and the aggressive stance of the United States and Israel, these nations can best utilize their power by offering technological and diplomatic solutions to avert the detrimental social, economic and spiritual consequences of war.

    Nile Bowie is an independent writer and photojournalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Notes

     

    [1] Iran accuses world powers of creating ‘difficult atmosphere’ in nuclear talks, Haaretz, May 24, 2012


    [2] Iran claims ‘undeniable right’ to enrich Uranium: new talks, same deadlock, Russia Today, May 25, 2012


    [3] Israel takes back promise to Obama not to attack Iran before the election, Russia Today, May 24, 2012


    [4] Top Commander Reiterates Iran’s Commitment to Full Annihilation of Israel, FARS, May 20, 2012


    [5] Deal or no deal, Iran may be bombed – Israeli minister, Russia Today, May 23, 2012


    [6] Germany Ready to Find Diplomatic Solution to Iran’s N. Issue, FARS, May 25, 2012


    [7] US Senate approves sanctions against Iran, New Straits Times, May 22, 2012


    [8] China slams new US sanctions against Iran, PressTV, May 23, 2012


    [9] Moscow Raps US New Sanctions against Iran as Irrational Move, FARS, May 25, 2012


    [10] India against more sanctions on Iran, The Hindu, February 11, 2012


    [11] India, Iran look at $25 billion trade by 2015, The Economic Times, March 12, 2012


    [12] Japan to reduce oil imports, BBC, January 12, 2012


    [13] Saudi oil minister pledges Seoul stable crude supply, The Korea Herald, February 3, 2012


    [14] Japan to seek stable oil supply from Saudi Arabia, Reuters, May 7, 2012


    [15] South Africa Engen buys Saudi crude to replace Iranian supplies, Al Arabiya, May 9, 2012


    [16] Saudi Arabia says kingdom pumping 10 million bpd, the most in 5 months, Al Arabiya, May 8, 2012


    [17] Exclusive: Iran sanctions seen spurring more Saudi oil sales to U.S. Reuters, March 16, 2012


    [18] Iran: Meetings with IAEA Head Paves Way for Negotiations with 5+1, FARS, May 24, 2012


    [19] Turkey cuts 20% of oil purchases from Iran, Financial Times, March 30, 2012


    [20] U.S. exempts 11 states from Iran sanctions; China, India exposed, Reuters, March 21, 2012


    [21] Ibid


    [22] Iranian Minister Blames EU Sanctions for Hike in Oil Prices, FARS, March 25, 2012


    [23] No One Can Afford Another Round of Iran Sanctions, OilPrice, May 21, 2012


    [24] Iran raises interest rate on bank deposits, Financial Times, January 27, 2012


    [25] Warning Iran, and lacerating Mitt Romney, a former Mossad chief steps out of the shadows, The Times of Israel, March 28, 2012


    [26] Iran’s Nuclear Grass Eaters, Project Syndicate, April 4, 2012


    [27] Steinitz: SWIFT sanctions may lead to Iran’s economic collapse, YNET News, March 18, 2012


    [28] Israeli threats of attack sparked new wave of Iran sanctions, officials say, Haaretz, March 16, 2012


    [29] Iran’s Middle Class on Edge as World Presses In, The New York Times, February 6, 2012


    [30] Q&A: Iran sanctions, BBC, February 6, 2012


    [31] Our Men in Iran? The New Yorker, April 6, 2012


    [32] Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News, MSNBC, February 9, 2012


    [33] Stuxnet Loaded by Iran Double Agents, ISSSource, April 11, 2012


    [34] Moqtada Sadr Reiterates Iraqis’ Demand for Expulsion of MKO Terrorists, Fars News Agency, September 19, 2011


    [35] About the National Council of Resistance of Iran, The National Council of Resistance of Iran, 2010


    [36] Are the MEK’s U.S. friends its worst enemies? Foreign Policy, March 8, 2012


    [37] Mujahideen-e Khalq: Former U.S. Officials Make Millions Advocating For Terrorist Organization,/A> Huffington Post, August 8, 2011


    [38] Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News, MSNBC, February 9, 2012


    [39] Israel funds terrorist MKO: Investigation, PressTV, May 24, 2012


    [40] Friends of Syria recognize SNC as ‘legitimate representative’, Russia Today, April 1, 2012


    [41] Iran’s supreme leader orders investigation into claims of vote fraud, Xinhua, June 15, 2009


    [42] Iran’s presidential candidates, BBC, June 12, 2009


    [43] Iran: Further information: Opposition leaders arbitrarily held, Amnesty International, 2011


    [44] Iran: We do not want nuclear weapons, The Washington Post, April 13, 2012


    [45] Iranian Experts Place Fuel Plates into Heart of Tehran Research Reactor, FARS, May 23, 2012


    [46] Ibid


    [47] Ibid


    [48] UN nuclear chief: Deal reached on Iran probe, Russia Today, May 22, 2012


    [49] Traces of uranium enriched to higher than previous levels found at Iran site, Haaretz, May 25, 2012


    [50] Blix: US, Israel source most of IAEA allegations, PressTV, March 25, 2012


    [51] Envoy: UN Atomic Report Endorses Peaceful Nature of Iran’s N. Activities, FARS, May 26, 2012


    [52] Iran has a Nuclear Power, Not a Weapons Program, 21st Century & Technology, December 2, 2011


    [53] Top US Nuclear Expert Tells Obama: There Is No Weapons Threat From Iran, LaRouche Pac, February 25, 2012


    [54] ‘Iran has enough enriched uranium for 5 nuclear bombs’ The Times of India, May 26, 2012


    [55] SPECIAL REPORT-Intel shows Iran nuclear threat not imminent, Reuters, March 23, 2012


    [56] 50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons, Brookings Institute, August 1998


    [57] Nuclear Weapons – Israel, Federation of American Scientists, January 8, 2007


    [58] Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff, March 2005


    [59] Ibid


    [60] Ibid


    [61] U.S. sends senior envoy to Israel to brief government on Iran nuclear talks, Haaretz, May 25, 2012


    [62] Bad news unwelcome: Israel refuses to listen to US envoy’s report on Iran, Russia Today, May 26, 2012


    [63] How Iran can have nuclear power and the world can have peace, Russia Today, May 07, 2012


    [64] Thorium: How to save Europe’s nuclear revival, Centre for European Reform, June 2011


    [65] India plans ‘safer’ nuclear plant powered by thorium, The Guardian, November 1, 2011


    [67] Renewable energy in Iran: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable development, International Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, Spring 2004


    [68] Status of Geothermal Energy in Iran, 19th World Energy Congress, September 2004 

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