Archive | October 19th, 2012

US Troops Arrive in IsraHell for Three-Week Missile Defense Drill

NOVANEWS

‘Largest US-Israeli Exercise in History’

by Jason Ditz

The first US troops are arriving in Israel today, part of a build-up for what officials are calling the single largest joint US-Israeli military exercise in history, a drill that will last three weeks and include 3,500 US troops in Israel and Europe.

Officials say the drill aims at preparing a multi-front defense against mortar fire, short and long range missiles. The drill was initially planned for earlier this year, but was postponedbecause of “regional instability.”

At the time the drill was being couched as preparing for a possible Iranian retaliation to an Israeli attack, and there was a belief that the postponement was meant to show US opposition to Israel’s initial ambition to start the war ahead of the US presidential election.

It isn’t clear, however, how “regional instability” is any less of a factor now than it was in January, and if anything regional tensions seem to be worsening as neighboring Syria implodes in an ugly civil war. Still, with military drills more a diplomatic than a strategic matter, the timing may not be so significant.

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Iran denies Strait of Hormuz oil-spill plan

NOVANEWS

Iran has denied accusations that its Revolutionary Guard was planning to cause an environmental disaster in the Strait of Hormuz and use it to have international sanctions lifted.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that it had evidence of a plan by the Revolutionary Guard commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, to cause an oil spill to block crude exports, crucial to the global economy, through the strait.

The report did not reveal its source, but said the aim was to “punish” oil-exporting Gulf Arab states hostile to Iran and force the West to request Iranian help with the clean-up operation.

Der Spiegel said: “A decontamination would only be possible with technical help from the Iranian authorities and for this, the embargo would have to be at least temporarily lifted”.

“These words show that western nations have been brought low and have resorted to making any allegation against us,” said Mohammed Reza Naqdi, the head of Iran’s Basij militia. “The [Arabian] Gulf is a part of the waters and territory of Iran and polluting it would also affect us.”

Mr Naqdi’s comments were reported by local media but also appeared on the official website of the Basij, Iran’s civil defence militia, which takes its orders from the Revolutionary Guard.

Around 40 per cent of the world’s seaborne oil exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has previously threatened to disrupt or close the waterway if its nuclear sites are attacked by Israel or the United States.

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Russia slams EU for new round of Iran sanctions

NOVANEWS

Calling for a fresh round of talks, Moscow says unilateral sanctions imposed by the EU harms unity of P5+1 who are seeking a diplomatic solution to end Iran’s race for nuclear arms.

Haaretz

Russia criticized the European Union on Wednesday for imposing new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and called for a fresh round of talks between world powers and Tehran as soon as possible.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing “deep concern” over EU sanctions imposed on Tuesday against major Iranian state companies in the oil and gas industry and the central bank.

Moscow said unilateral sanctions by the EU dealt a “palpable blow” to the unity of the six nations – the United States, France, Britain, China, Germany and Russia – leading diplomatic efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.

“We will continue to consistently seek to achieve the organization of the next round of negotiations … as soon as possible,” the statement said. No talks have been held since the last round in Moscow failed to bring a breakthrough last June.

Russia has supported four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran but says further measures are counter productive.

The West suspects Iran of using its civilian atomic energy program as a cover for ambitions to build a nuclear bomb – accusations Tehran denies.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday she hoped turning up the heat on the Islamic Republic would persuade it to make concessions and that negotiations could resume “very soon”.

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America’s Billboard Wars: Zionists vs. the Truth

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Islamophobic billboardBy Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson analyses the attempts by Zionists to promote Islamophobia in the USA through billboard campaigns, and argues that campaigns to tell the truth are hampered by the pro-Israel media and the fact that “peace seekers are ultimately at the mercy of the violent and hateful extremists”.

The savage versus the civilized

In a previous article, I reported on the placement, in the northern suburbs of New York City, of informational billboards with maps of Palestine showing the steady growth of Israeli-confiscated territory and the corresponding shrinkage of territory available to the indigenous Palestinians. The billboards also told the observer that “4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the UN as aefugees”. Although Zionists labelled the billboard as “anti-Semitic,” they were nothing of the kind. They were wholly informational, and completely accurate.

It turns out that informational effort is now part of a growing number of advertisements, signs and messages which collectively make up what I call the “billboard wars”. From San Francisco to Washington DC and New York City, both Zionists and pro-Palestinian groups have launched competing billboard efforts. This is going on mostly in publicly-owned spaces because Zionist pressure often results in private billboard companies refusing to display pro-Palestinian messages. Now, depending on how you want to read the message of the latest Zionist effort, the billboard wars battleground has widened beyond the issue of Palestine to encompass a worldwide clash between the “civilized” and the “savage”. It is to be noted that this was the sort of language used by imperial colonizers, including the US in its conquest of the American Indians, to compare themselves to the indigenous populations they oppressed.

Pamela Geller virtually topless

Pamela Geller – notorious Islamophobe and rabid Zionist

Here is what has happened. There is a Zionist group calling itself “American Freedom Defence Initiative” (AFDI) led by the infamous American Islamophobe Pamela Geller. This organization has produced a sign that reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Geller and AFDI aimed at placing this message on buses, subways and in other public venues but initially had difficulty because most transport agencies saw it as discriminatory and provocative. However, AFDI went to court and a federal judge found that their sign was an act of “free speech” protected by the First Amendment. Therefore, in late September, people of New York City who ride the buses and subways found Pamela Geller’s message in their faces. Most, of course, will pay it little mind. Yet, we should not ignore it. It is part of a propaganda effort with potentially damaging consequences.

Analysing the message

If you care to live in a world driven by the facts, then Israel is rendered “the savage”. There is a lot of evidence for this.

First – The AFDI and Geller juxtapose Israel on the one side and jihadists on the other. My experience with over a thousand college students since 9/11 is that, for Americans, the term jihadists means Al-Qaeda operatives. Most Americans do not associate this term with Palestinians. And, believe it or not, while those associated with Al-Qaeda have badmouthed Israel, they have yet to make war on that country. So, what are these Zionists talking about?

Well, they are probably trying to broaden out the definition of a jihadist to include not only Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world. That would be consistent with their Islamaphobe worldview. In addition, they are saying that Israel represents “the civilized man” who has declared war on the same enemy that has made war on the United States. By asking Americans to “support Israel”, they are reinforcing the notion that the US and Israel are allies.

Second – Is the AFDI correct in telling us that Israel is the “civilized man?” Only in their own ahistorical fantasy. If you care to live in a world driven by the facts, then Israel is rendered “the savage”. There is a lot of evidence for this.

1. On 10 October 2012 the Harvard researcher Sara Roy gave a devastating critique of what Israel, backed up by the United States, has done in the Gaza Strip. Gaza, with its population approaching two million Palestinians, is now the most densely populated place on earth. It is also the world’s most crowded open air prison. The Israeli blockade, illegal under international law, has slowly but surely destroyed the water supply, the sewage systems and the economic structure as a whole. The Israelis will tell you that Hamas, which governs Gaza, wants to destroy Israel. But that is only wishful thinking on the part of Hamas for they haven’t the ability to destroy anything. Israel, on the other hand, wishes to destroy the Palestinian people and it does have that capacity. In Gaza, as well as the West Bank, it is slowly doing so. This is genocide in slow motion.

2. Sara Roy is an extremely knowledgeable American-Jewish academic, but there are plenty of other sources, some of them Israeli, that will back up and expand on her critique. Here are a few of them:

Looking at the websites of these organizations reveals a litany of ongoing barbaric policies and actions perpetrated upon mostly unarmed Palestinians who have nothing at all to do with jihadists. Indeed, to act as Israel does in this regard is to qualify a good number of its citizens (though not all) as savages. So to be true to the facts, AFDI’s sign should really read as follows:

In any war between savage one (Israel) and savage two (Al-Qaeda), AFDI urges Americans to support savage number one. This is so even though Israel is not fighting jihadists but rather genocidally destroying Palestinians.

That would be historically accurate, although it would put the situation in a distinctly different light than does Geller’s propaganda.

The end of the billboard wars is not yet in sight. AFDI’s message is aimed at an American audience and thus can also be read as an attempt to promote Islamophobia just before a presidential election.

To counter the racist aspect of this message, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has placed sixteen-foot signs in the metro stations of Washington DC that are designed to “promote mutual understanding and challenge hate”. Their signs quote from the Quran: “Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.”

Conclusion

The unfortunate thing is that, in these sort of confrontations, Geller and her ilk have the odds on their side. This is because all the peace seekers are ultimately at the mercy of the violent and hateful extremists on both sides. However, in the US the media will only tell you about the jihadists. Therefore, all it takes is one Al-Qaeda attack on an American target to send the CAIR message into oblivion. On the other hand, the Israeli government and its settler allies can act out the Zionist version of ethnic cleansing daily and the American public will rarely, if ever, hear about it.

The truth is there are fewer civilized men and women than we like to believe. The ones in power, regardless of the nation-state, only rarely behave in civilized ways. The bulk of the citizens either gives support to or is indifferent towards their leader’s actions. The small remainders, who are indeed candidates for the category of civilized people, are left to struggle against a strong and consistent counter-current. This is nowhere more true than in the state of Israel.

Such then, for all of us, is the heart of darkness.

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Mark Dankof’s America: Mark’s refutation of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Mark Dankof’s America Oct 17, 2012

by crescentandcross

Mark Dankof is joined by Dr. Adrian Krieg of A2Z Publications and the America Third Position Party for political and news discussion and analysis.

Also–further discussion of Mark’s refutation of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) hit piece on Press TV Iran.

mark-dankofs-america.mp3

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THANK YOU FOR ASSISTING WITH THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PRODUCING THIS PROGRAM

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Who does “Agent Cameron” work for?

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Israel stooge David CameronBy Stuart Littlewood

Stuart Littlewood views the extent to which British Prime Minister David Cameron has sold himself to the Zionist lobby, as highlighted by a speech he made on 15 October to United Jewish Israel Appeal.

“Agent Cameron”, as one of my friends calls him (you’ll see why in a minute), made the speech reproduced below to Jewish fundraisers in London this week.

I’m so fizzing with rage and so ashamed that I can hardly bring myself to write about it. Such a performance must have been scripted by Israeli spin-meister Mark Regev’s office, or by some spotty student just awarded a Hasbara Fellowship by The Israel Project and now appointed communications director at Number 10.

Nothing surprises me any more.

The dinner guests were no doubt laughing all the way home. And Tel Aviv will be cock-a-hoop. Their willing fool, their top-ranking pimp, their prime-ministerial stooge is firmly on-board, and Israel’s crimes in the Holy Land will continue to be rewarded.

Marvel at Cameron’s words and throw up.

How can someone who is committed to a foreign military power like the Zionist entity possibly be loyal to Britain or any other level-headed country?

He came from nowhere with no track-record and, with Jewish money behind him, suddenly burst upon the political stage in Britain as leader of the Conservative Party. His only claim to fame up to then was that he’d been schooled at Eton and the notorious Bullingdon Club for badly behaved rich kids. It was only a matter of time before he became prime minister.

What’s truly worrying about our prime minister’s latest grovel is this statement: “There is no contradiction between being a proud Jew, a committed Zionist and a loyal British citizen.”

Ye gods! How can someone who is committed to a foreign military power like the Zionist entity possibly be loyal to Britain or any other level-headed country? Cameron’s bizarre words give his game away – he’s a self-declared Zionist and, from his remarks here, a rabid Israel-firster putting Israel’s interests, no matter how unlawful and menacing, ahead of the interests of the UK and allowing us to be drawn into conflict with Israel’s enemies such as Iran.

How many more of our young men will have to shed blood, limbs and life to satisfy the crazed ambitions and friendships of our politicians?

Iran, of course, is no enemy of Britain but soon will be if we persist with economic sanctions that needlessly hurt the Iranian people and repeat the suffering we inflicted on Iraq’s women and children for 12 years.

Israel, on the other hand, has hundreds of nukes, won’t sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Iran has done so) and won’t submit to UN inspection and safeguards. It should, of course, automatically forfeit its membership. Yet “Agent Cameron” turns a blind eye and is comfortable about rewarding Israel for its mega-crimes. He even provides a safe haven for its criminals. He’s a Blair Mark2, profoundly ignorant and a menace to our country and to the rest of the world.

Readers could have fun with the abominable speech. Scrub my remarks if you wish and Insert your own, then mail them to “Agent Cameron” and his constituency chairman, Lord Chadlington.

From the 10 Downing Street website

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Monty Python’s Life of Brian–’The aqueduct’

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by crescentandcross

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Thousands of US troops arrive in IsraHell

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by crescentandcross

 

 

 

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Turkey Leads US-sponsored Military Encirclement of Syria

NOVANEWS

By Chris Marsden

Despite widely reported concerns of blowback in Syria due to the arming of jihadist groups, a military build-up on Syria’s borders is proceeding apace.

Racep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist government in Turkey is leading the way, using the pretext of stray mortar fire from Syria that killed five civilians to legitimise the deployment of 250 tanks, jets, helicopter gunships, troops, artillery emplacements and antiaircraft batteries on the border.

The Turkish Parliament recently granted war powers to Erdogan to send troops into Syria. Daily targeting of Syrian facilities was followed last week by the use of F16s to force down a civilian Syrian Airlines Airbus en route to Damascus from Moscow, with claims that it was carrying Russian weaponry.

Erdogan used the United Nations Security Council as a platform to attack Russia and China—“one or two members of the permanent five”—for vetoing anti-Syrian resolutions and demand an overhaul of the Security Council.

Turkey, along with the Gulf States led by Qatar, is also behind a push to unite Syria’s divided opposition forces, with the explicit aim of overcoming the qualms of the Western powers over arming the opposition and backing it militarily. There is an agreement to announce a joint leadership on November 4 at a conference in Qatar, just two days before the US presidential elections.

Foreign supporters “are telling us: ‘Sort yourselves out and unite, we need a clear and credible side to provide it with quality weapons,’” a source said.

Ensuring an effective command structure under the nominal discipline of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the actual control of Turkey and its allies requires the inclusion of rival military leaders Riad al-Asaad, Mustafa Sheikh and Mohammad Haj Ali (all defectors from the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad), as well as various leaders of provincial military councils inside Syria. Funds are also being funneled into the Local Coordinating Committees—hitherto held up by various ex-left groups around the world as being independent of the imperialist powers.

UN Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is making great play of urging Iran to arrange a four-day cease-fire beginning October 25 to mark the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha. He is saying less about a proposal, more indicative of the UN’s role, to dispatch a 3,000-strong troop force to Syria.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Brahimi “has spent recent weeks quietly sounding out which countries would be willing to contribute soldiers” to such a force, ostensibly to be made operable following a future truce.

The direct involvement of US and British forces would be “unlikely”, given their role in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, so Brahimi “is thought to be looking at more nations that currently contribute to Unifil, the 15,000-strong mission set up to police Israel’s borders with Lebanon.”

These include Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Ireland—“one of which would be expected to play a leading role in the Syria peacekeeping force.”

The proposal was leaked by the Syrian National Council (SNC), with whom Brahami met in Turkey at the weekend. On Monday, the SNC was meeting for a two-day summit in the Qatari capital, Doha. Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, took the occasion to push for military intervention in Syria. He told reporters, “Any mission that is not well armed will not fulfil its aim. For this, it must have enough members and equipment to carry out its duty.”

The SNC’s 35-member general secretariat was meeting in Doha to discuss “the establishment of mechanisms to administer the areas which have been liberated” in Syria, according to sources.

Discussions of the direct involvement of European troops in Syria are in line with confirmed reports that the US and Britain have despatched military forces to Jordan, for the purported purpose of policing its border and preventing a spill-over of the conflict.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged the move at an October 10 meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels. The US has repeatedly issued denials of a growing military presence in Turkey located at the Incirlik airbase, but Panetta confirmed that Washington had “worked with” Turkey on “humanitarian, as well as chemical and biological weapons issues.”

The next day, the Times of London and the New York Times reported that Britain too has upward of 150 soldiers and military advisors in Jordan. Jordanian military sources said France may also be involved.

Anonymous senior US defence officials told Reuters that most of those sent to Jordan were Army Special Operations forces, deployed at a military centre near Amman and moving “back and forth to the Syrian border” to gather intelligence and “plan joint Jordanian-US military manoeuvres.”

There is “talk of contingency plans for a quick pre-emptive strike if al Assad loses control over his stock of chemical weapons in the civil war,” Reuters added.

Turkey’s bellicose stand has produced widespread media reports that the US and other NATO powers risk being “dragged into” a wider regional war. This in part reflects real concerns and divisions within imperialist ruling circles and in part an effort to conceal the Western powers’ instrumental role in encouraging military conflict.

Attention has been drawn to the refusal of NATO to heed appeals by Turkey for it to invoke Article 5 of its charter authorising the military defence of a member nation. But despite this, NATO has publicly gone a long way towards endorsing Turkey’s actions.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters at the same Brussels summit that “obviously Turkey can rely on NATO solidarity… Taking into account the situation at our southeastern border, we have taken the steps necessary to make sure that we have all plans in place to protect and defend Turkey,” [emphasis added].

The previous day, a senior US defence official said, “We engage with Turkey to make sure that should the time come where Turkey needs help, we’re able to do what we can.”

In an indication of the type of discussions taking place in the corridors of power, several policy advisers have gone into print to outline their proposals for a proxy military intervention by Turkey to which the US could then lend overt support.

Jorge Benitez, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, urged in the October 15 Christian Science Monitor: “To preserve its credibility in Turkey and the region, NATO should offer radar aircraft and/or rapid reaction forces.”

“Too much attention has been focused on the question of invoking Article 5, the alliance’s mutual defence clause,” he added. Other options were available. Before the US-led war against Iraq in 2003, he noted, Turkey had requested a consultative meeting under Article 4 of the NATO treaty “to discuss how the alliance could help Turkey deter an attack from Iraq.”

Using this pretext, NATO approved Operation Display Deterrence, including the dispatch of four AWACS radar aircraft, five Patriot air defence batteries, equipment for chemical and biological defence, and “more than 1,000 ‘technically advanced and highly capable forces’ to support Turkey during the Iraq conflict.”

Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published an article in the October 11 New York Times on a three-point strategy he called “the right way for Turkey to intervene in Syria.”

He urged Turkey to “continue the current pattern of shelling across the border every time Syria targets Turkey” in order to “weaken Syrian forces” and let the FSA “fill the vacuum;” to “combine shelling with cross-border raids to target Kurdish militants in Syria;” and, if things “get worse along the border,” to stage “a limited invasion to contain the crisis as it did in Cyprus in the 1970s.”

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No Panic in Iran Despite Currency Collapse, International Sanctions

NOVANEWS

By Gwynne Dyer

Iran’s currency virtually collapsed last week, and the public protests that followed in Tehran stirred memories of the massive anti-regime protests of 2009. This has caused excited speculation in the United States and its allies about the imminent fall of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the abandonment of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, or even the end of the whole Islamic regime. Don’t hold your breath.

Ahmadinejad blamed the currency crisis on the foreign sanctions that are crippling Iran’s trade, of course. His critics at home just blamed him: “The smaller part of the problem relates to sanctions while 80 per cent of the problem is rooted in the government’s mistaken policies,” said Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament. But he would say that, wouldn’t he?

It’s true that Ahmadinejad has used the country’s large oil revenues to paper over some serious mistakes in running Iran’s economy, but the current crisis was caused by a steep fall in those revenues, which is directly due to the sanctions.

Four rounds of United Nations-backed trade sanctions, ostensibly meant to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, had already cut the country’s oil exports from 2.5 million barrels a day to 1.5 million barrels by early this year.

Then came new American sanctions that blocked any international bank doing business in Iran from access to the immense U.S. market – so most of them ended their dealings with Iran.

In July came new European Union sanctions banning oil imports from Iran entirely. Since Europe was taking one-fifth of Iran’s remaining oil exports, that blow was enough to send the Iranian rial into free fall.

Until 2009, the rate of exchange was fairly stable at about 10,000 rials to the dollar. Then it started to fall slowly, and then faster – and in a hectic few days last week, it tumbled a further 40 per cent to a low of 35,000 rials to the dollar. That was when the protests began in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, whose merchants were among the strongest supporters of the revolution in 1979.

The protests were contained without any deaths, and the shops in the bazaar are now open again. The rial has recovered slightly, stabilizing at around 28,000 to the dollar. But that is one-third of what it was worth three years ago, and the effects are being felt in almost every household in the country. Formerly comfortable middle-class families are scrambling to put food on the table, and the poor are really suffering.

So the sanctions are working, in the sense that they are hurting people. But what are they accomplishing in terms of their stated purpose of forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program? More importantly, perhaps, what are they achieving in terms of their unstated purpose: triggering an uprising that overthrows the whole Islamic regime?

First of all, Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program. The International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.S. and Israeli intelligence service are all agreed on that.

A “threshold nuclear weapons capability” (but no nuclear weapons) is still not illegal. Other countries with enrichment facilities include Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands. Moreover, Iran’s stock of reactor-grade enriched uranium is under permanent IAEA supervision, and alarms would go off instantly if it started to upgrade that stock to weapons grade.

Israel’s current government has talked itself into a state of existential panic over Iran’s uranium enrichment program, but the U.S. government certainly doesn’t believe that Iran has any immediate plans to build nuclear weapons. So what are these sanctions really about?

Overthrowing the Iranian regime, of course. American sanctions against Iran long predate any concerns about Iranian nuclear weapons, and would not be ended even if Iran stopped all work on uranium enrichment tomorrow. The U.S. legislation that imposes the sanctions makes that very clear.

Since stopping the enrichment program would not end the sanctions, why would the Iranian government even consider doing so? And will the Iranian people rise up and overthrow the regime because sanctions are making their daily lives very difficult? Even anti-regime Iranians are proud and patriotic people, and the likelihood that they will yield to foreign pressures in that way is approximately zero.

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