Saturday, September 22, 2007
“Iran draws up plans to bomb Israel…. The deputy commander of Iran’s air force said Wednesday that plans have been drawn up to bomb Israel if the Jewish state attacks Iran, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency…. The announcement came amid rising tensions in the region, with the United States calling for a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program and Israeli planes having recently overflown, and perhaps even attacked, Iranian ally Syria.”
Imagine the shoe on the other foot: Syria bombs Israel’s nuclear facility at Dimona in the Negev, its German-built Dolphin-class submarines equipped with American-made Harpoon missiles modified to carry small nuclear warheads, and the Israel Institute for Biological Research at Ness Ziona, where Israel allegedly manufactures Sarin nerve gas, a weapon of mass destruction.
Now imagine the blood red 72 point headlines in the New York Times calling for turning Syria into a glass parking lot.
“On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the international community should prepare for the possibility of war in the event that Iran obtains atomic weapons, although he later appeared to soften that statement.”
Let’s turn this one on its head: “On Sunday, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara said the international community should prepare for the possibility of war due to fact Israel has nuclear weapons and has threatened to use them under the dictates of its Samson Option. In 2002, before Bush invaded Iraq, Ariel Sharon threatened to ‘a retaliatory strike … if Iraq launched a pre-emptive strike against the Jewish State before an American military campaign had got underway,’" according to the Scotsman.
In addition, according to strategic planners and analysts, Israel would certainly use its ‘weapons of mass destruction’ against Iraq in the event of an attack in response to the U.S. invasion of the country. Louis Rene Beres, Professor Department of Political Science, Purdue University, in a spring, 2001 open letter to Sharon reviewed by Israeli Insider wrote that Israel ‘must rely upon complementary nuclear and conventional forces, and upon the continuing and associated availability of critical preemption options.’ Beres suggests that Israeli nuclear deterrence has been significantly eroded and offers little protection against the irrational calculations of Islamic fanatics who see the destruction of the Zionist entity as a religious commandment. He argues that the cost of an Israeli first strike on sources of the nuclear, chemical and biological threats may be lower than waiting, hopefully, for the elimination of these threats by other means or the possibility that political agreements will reduce the likelihood of their use.”
News geared for clueless Yahoos continues:
“We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers if this regime (Israel) makes a silly mistake,” Gen. Mohammad Alavi was quoted as telling Fars in an interview.
Fars confirmed the quotes when contacted by The Associated Press, but would not provide a tape of the interview. The Iranian air force had no immediate comment.
Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar told the official IRNA news agency Wednesday that “we keep various options open to respond to threats. … We will make use of them if required.”
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards released a statement that the nation was ready for a military confrontation.
“Iran, having passed through crises … has prepared its people for a possible confrontation against any aggression,” IRNA quoted the statement as saying.
White House press secretary Dana Perino called Alavi’s comment “unhelpful.”
“It is not constructive and it almost seems provocative,” she said. “Israel doesn’t seek a war with its neighbors. And we all are seeking, under the U.N. Security Council resolutions, for Iran to comply with its obligations.”
In other words, if Iran defends itself, this would be considered “unhelpful” for the long planned effort to slaughter untold numbers of Iranian grandmothers and grade school kids. In fact, Israel has consistently agitated for war with its neighbors, as an unbiased reading of history reveals. “The Israeli political/military establishment aimed at pushing the Arab states into military confrontations which the Israeli leaders were invariably certain of winning,” writes the Israeli journalist Livia Rokach (Israel’s Sacred Terrorism: A Study Based on Moshe Sharett’s Personal Diary and Other Documents, Assn of Arab-Amer Univ Graduates; 3rd edition, August 1985).
“The goal of these confrontations was to modify the balance of power in the region radically, transforming the Zionist state into the major power in the Middle East…. In order to achieve this strategic purpose the following tactics were used… Large- and small-scale military operations aimed at civilian populations across the armistice lines, especially in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, then respectively under the control of Jordan and Egypt. These operations had a double purpose: to terrorize the populations, and to create a permanent destabilization stemming from tensions between the Arab governments and the populations, who felt they were not adequately protected against Israeli aggression… Military operations against Arab military installations in border areas to undermine the morale of the armies and intensify the regimes’ destabilization from inside their military structures… Covert terrorist operations in depth inside the Arab world, used for both espionage and to create fear, tension and instability.”
On May 26 of this year, Gordon Prather, a former physicist with the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army, wrote: “Contrary to what you’ve been told by the same folks—minus Judith Miller—who sold you on Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq, ElBaradei reports that Iran continues to be in complete compliance with its NPT Safeguards Agreement.”
In other words, neocon mouthpiece Dana Perino is lying. Imagine my surprise.
The IAEA adds: “Pursuant to its NPT Safeguards Agreement, Iran has been providing the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and facilities,” thus “the Agency is able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.”
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States is committed to diplomacy. But she said “it can’t be business as usual” with a country whose president has spoken of wiping Israel off the map.
For diplomacy to work, Rice said during a visit to Jerusalem, “it has to have both a way for Iran to pursue a peaceful resolution of this issue and it has to have teeth, and the U.N. Security Council and other measures are providing teeth.”
Like Hitler’s “Big Lie,” so outrageous no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously,” Rice is repeating the facile and repeatedly debunked lie that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be wiped off the map. “Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ because no such idiom exists in Persian,” notes academic blogger Juan Cole, who provided the correct translation: “The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).” Of course, neocons, such as Canada’s former PM, Paul Martin, irresponsibly interpreted Ahmadinejad’s speech as a call for genocide and said “Iran’s obvious nuclear ambitions is a matter that the world cannot ignore,” in other words, the “world,” i.e., the neocons, need to kill scads of Iranian grandmothers and toddlers. Rice, as well, is calling for such mass murder, calling it part of “measures” with “teeth.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said his government took Iran’s “threat very seriously and so does the international community.”
“Unfortunately we are all too accustomed to this kind of bellicose, extremist and hateful language coming from Iran,” he said.
Translation: it is “bellicose, extremist and hateful language” when a threatened state declares it will defend its sovereignty and people.
Israeli warplanes in 1981 destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor being built by Saddam Hussein’s regime, and many in the region fear Israel or the U.S. could mount airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities if Tehran doesn’t bow to Western demands to cease uranium enrichment.
Iran, which says it isn’t trying to produce material for atomic bombs but rather fuel for reactors that would generate electricity, has said in the past that Israel would be the first retaliatory target for any attack. But Alavi’s comments were the first to mention specific contingency plans.
David Ochmanek, an international policy analyst with the U.S.-based RAND Corporation, said Iran has the capability to attack Israel with a limited number of ballistic missiles, but Israel could potentially inflict greater damage on Iran.
“If Israelis attacked Iran it would be with high precision weapons that could destroy military targets,” he said. “They could destroy Iran’s nuclear reactor and do damage to the enrichment.”
“The Iranian response would be quite different,” Ochmanek said. “It would be small numbers of highly inaccurate missiles and the intention would be to do this for psychological purposes rather than to destroy discrete targets. It’s an asymmetrical relationship.”
Again, uranium enrichment completely legal under the terms of the NPT, not that this matters, same as it did not matter than the French sold the Osirak reactor to the Iraqis, constructed the facility, provided technical assistance, and sold around 28 lb (12.5 kg) of 93% highly enriched uranium fuel, the usual fuel world-wide for research-type reactors at that time. It also does not matter no shortage of Europeans and Americans sold Saddam Hussein all the material he desired to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. According to former Reagan official and National Security Council staffer Howard Teicher, the United States “actively supported the Iraqi war effort [against Iran] by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing US military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure Iraq had the military weaponry required.” In 2002, I wrote (Bush Senior: Hating Saddam, Selling Him Weapons):
In 1982, Reagan “legalized” direct military assistance to Iraq. This resulted in more than a billion dollars in military related exports. According to Kenneth R. Timmerman (author of The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq) the US government under Reagan and Bush sold Iraq 60 Hughes MD 500 “Defender” helicopters, eight Bell Textron AB 212 military helicopters equipped for anti-submarine warfare, 48 Bell Textron 214 ST utility helicopters (sold for “recreational” purposes), and US military infra-red sensors and thermal imaging scanners (sold illegally to Iraq through a Dutch company). After the Gulf War, the International Atomic Energy Agency found the following US equipment in Iraq: spectrometers, oscilloscopes, neutron initiators, high-speed switches for nuclear detonation, and other tools used to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons.
“One entire facility, a tungsten-carbide manufacturing plant that was part of the Al Atheer complex,” Timmerman told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, “was blown up by the IAEA in April 1992 because it lay at the heart of the Iraqi clandestine nuclear weapons program, PC-3. Equipment for this plant appears to have been supplied by the Latrobe, Pennsylvania manufacturer, Kennametal, and by a large number of other American companies, with financing provided by the Atlanta branch of the BNL bank.”
The US Department of Commerce licensed 70 biological exports to Iraq between 1985 and 1989, including at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. The French newspaper Le Figaro, in an article published in 1998, said researchers at the Rockville, Maryland lab of the American Type Culture Collection confirmed sending anthrax samples via mail order to Iraq. After the Gulf War, Iraq made several declarations to UN weapons inspectors about how they had weaponized the anthrax sent to them by the American corporation. In 1985, the US Centers of Disease Control sent samples of an Israeli strain of West Nile virus to a microbiologist at the Basra University in Iraq. In addition, Iraq received other “various toxins and bacteria,” including botulins and E. coli.
And then—not that it matters to amnesiac Americans—the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran during the so-called Iran-Contra scandal, with Israel acting as a middle man and facilitator, a blatant violation of the Arms Export Control Act. Interestingly, the fanatical neocon Iran hater, Michael Ledeen, who now calls for mass murdering Iranian school children, played an instrumental role in these illegal transactions. Instead of spending his golden years in federal prison, Ledeen works for the American Enterprise Institute, where he calls for killing Iranians in broken record fashion.
But never mind.
Tensions have been raised by a mysterious Israeli air incursion over Syria on Sept. 6. Israel has placed a tight news blackout on the reported incident, while Syria has said little. U.S. officials said it involved an airstrike on a target.
One U.S. official said the attack hit weapons heading for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, an ally of Syria and Iran, but there also has been speculation the Israelis hit a nascent nuclear facility or were studying routes for a possible future strike on Iran.
Former Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he was involved “from the beginning” in the alleged airstrike, the first public mention by an Israeli leader about the incident. Netanyahu, the leader of the parliamentary opposition, did not give further details.
Hardly surprising, as Bibi Netanyahu is a world class war criminal and Arab-hating Jabotinskyite of the most fanatical order. It should be noted that few if any members of the corporate media, so eager to suck up to Bibi when he comes to town—basking in his mass murder aura—called the attack against Syria for what it was: an in-your-face violation of national sovereignty.
Edward Djerejian, founding director of Rice University’s Baker Institute, said the accusation that Israel had violated Syrian airspace, and possibly launched an attack on Syrian territory, was putting new concerns on an already tense situation.
“The region is very nervous,” said Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Syria.
No, you think? But then this nervousness is precisely what the neocons want. “As we undertake these efforts in the Middle East and elsewhere, occasionally by force of arms but generally not, generally by influence, by standing up for brave students in the streets of Tehran, we will hear people say, from President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt or from the Saudi royal family, that we are making them very nervous,” declared James “World War IV” Woolsey, a sickeningly arrogant and despicable neocon and former CIA director. “And our response should be, ‘Good. We want you nervous. We want you to change, but realize that now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, the democracies are on the march. And we are on the side of those whom you most fear: your own people.’”
Actually, the people of Iran probably fear suffering a mirror image of Iraq—civilian infrastructure in ruins, child mortality and disease rates rocketing skyward, precious little electricity or clean water, millions of people dying from leukemia and other cancers, thanks to depleted uranium and other lethal side effects of “democracy,” neocon style.
With Iran adding to the talk of military options, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns called Wednesday for U.N. Security Council members and U.S. allies to help push for a third round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
But Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow opposes new sanctions, adding they could hurt a recent agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency aimed at resolving questions about the Iranian program.
Two U.N. resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran have failed to persuade the country to suspend uranium enrichment.
Burns said he would host a Friday meeting of the Security Council’s permanent members—the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France. Talks on a new resolution are also expected next week in New York, when world leaders attend the annual ministerial session of the U.N. General Assembly.
Call it a rerun, so pathetically reminiscent of the transparent neocon one act plays conducted on the United Nations stage, primarily to lend a gleam of legitimacy to a series of war crimes. In fact, the neocons do not want sanctions against Iran—they want to flatten the country and kill as many Iranians as possible—and this time around they will not take their manufactured lies to the United Nations, as they ordered Colin Powell to present his ludicrous dog and pony show, complete with charts and test tubes.
In the waning hours of the Bush administration, they will simply attack Iran and leave the mess for Hillary to clean up.
It should come as no surprise Rudy Giuliani is a stark raving neocon. One glance at Giuliani’s foreign policy team—stacked with the usual suspects from the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and the Heritage Foundation—and it should be obvious what sort of decider-commander guy Giuliani would be, not that he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting anywhere near the White House. No, the White House is reserved for the Bilderberg Queen, Hillary, and the “field,” as it is called, is little more than a dog and pony show for distracted Americans, who think they live in a democracy.
“Rudy Giuliani talked tough on Iran yesterday, proposing to expand NATO to include Israel and warning that if Iran’s leaders go ahead with their goal to be a nuclear power ‘we will prevent it, or we will set them back five or 10 years,’” Newsday reported earlier this week. “Giuliani’s implied threat of a U.S. or allied attack on Iran’s nuclear capabilities goes further than the hard line against Iran by most other Republican presidential hopefuls, and even exceeds the stern warnings of the Bush White House.” In fact, this “hard line” is more of the same, albeit a bit shriller than the typical neocon superfluity of warmongering. But then Rudy is attempting to stand out from the other “hopefuls,” all of them down to the man and women—with the notable exception of Ron Paul—calling for continued mass murder and war crimes.
According to Celia Sandys, Winston Churchill’s grand daughter, Giuliani is Winton “in a baseball cap,” an appropriate designation, as Churchill was renown for his hatred for and violence against Arabs. In 1920, as colonial secretary, Churchill declared he was “strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes,” namely Iraqis and Kurds, who didn’t take kindly to occupation by the Empire. Giuliani, of course, does not suggest the use of gas, but instead favors the continued use of an even more pernicious substance, depleted uranium. For his effort and emulation of Churchill, who blithely declared the “story of the human race is war,” Giuliani received an award named for “iconic conservative” Margaret Thatcher from the U.S.-U.K. think tank Atlantic Bridge, a coming together of neocons heralding the “special relationship” between the United States and England, that is to say a fellowship of warmongers. “America and Britain, with their special relationship, should lead the fight against radical Islamists threatening terror by creating stronger intelligence cooperation among Western nations, a massive U.S. military build-up, an expanded NATO and a redoubled effort in the ‘war of ideas,’ Giuliani said,” Newsday continues. In other words, more of the same, only “redoubled,” never mind the reservations of the vast majority of American who want the neocon drive, promised to last a hundred years or more, to end.
All of this bothers Glenn Greenwald. “In London this week, Rudy Giuliani proposed what is probably the single most extremist policy of any major presidential candidate, certainly this year and perhaps in many years,” Greenwald writes for Salon. Mr. Greenwald is only partially correct, as Giuliani’s “extremist policy” is nothing new, a fact revealed upon even cursory examination of what the neocons say and do.
In particular, a declaration uttered by Nile Gardiner, a former Thatcher aide and Heritage Foundation wonk recently announced as a new Giuliani adviser, crawls under Greenwald’s skin. Giuliani and Gardiner propose including Israel in NATO, a dingy proposal, as Israel is a bit too far away to be considered part of Europe, never mind the gobs of money streaming out of Europe, destined for the tiny outlaw and criminal state. “While Giuliani did not explicitly address the implications for Iran of adding Israel to NATO in his speech,” Newsday notes, that “step would ‘leave the mullahs with no illusions about the West’s determination to respond to Iran’s strategic threat to the region,’ Gardiner wrote. ‘Any nuclear or conventional attack on Israel, be it direct or through proxies such as Hezbollah or other terrorist groups, would be met by a cataclysmic response from the West.’” For example, the next time Hezbollah defends the people of Lebanon after yet another Israeli invasion and butchering of school children, the “West” will be obliged to respond in cataclysmic fashion.
“Like most countries, Israel deems all of its wars to be defensive wars in response to threats,” Greenwald writes. “So Rudy Giuliani, as President, would in essence deem any war in which Israel is involved to be, by definition, a war on the U.S., and would use American resources and lives to become involved in any such war and fight on behalf of Israel. Shouldn’t the fact that the leading GOP candidate for President believes such a thing be the source of a bit more discussion? Other than John Edwards’ views regarding haircuts, is there any major presidential candidate who has espoused a view anywhere near this radical or controversial?”
First and foremost, Israel’s wars are not “defensive wars in response to threats,” but rather “self-provoked incidents,” as Livia Rokach notes, reading from the personal dairy of Moshe Sharett, the second prime minister of Israel. As Naseer H. Aruri notes in the preface to Rokach’s book, Israel’s policy toward the Arabs “in its most intimate particulars, is one of deliberate Israeli acts of provocation, intended to generate Arab hostility and thus to create pretexts for armed action and territorial expansion.”
It is amusing, if not pathetic, that Mr. Greenwald calls for “a bit more discussion” on the part of a corporate media legendary for obfuscating the truth, especially in regard to the neocons. “American resources and lives,” according to the neocons, are naturally squandered for the sake of “deliberate Israeli acts of provocation, intended to generate Arab hostility and thus to create pretexts for armed action and territorial expansion,” as noted above. Greenwald writes:
In a rational world, Giuliani’s proposal would be a major controversy, and the other presidential candidates—Republican and Democrat alike—would be loudly pointing to this extremist view to harm the Giuliani campaign. After all, if Americans are asked: “Do you think the U.S. should fight in any wars that Israel fights?” or “do you believe the U.S. should consider any attack on Israel to be an attack on the U.S.?”, is there really any doubt what the views of most Americans would be? Giuliani’s desire to commit the U.S. military to fighting in any Israeli wars is obviously a fringe position—the type that normally harms presidential candidates greatly.
Of course, in Bushzarro world, it is not a “major controversy,” but rather a minor bump in the news cycle. Indeed, the neocon position is a “fringe position,” but the fringe, pushed by the likes of AIPAC and a gaggle of pro-Israel think tanks, dominate U.S. foreign policy, and that includes fighting Israel’s war in Iraq—as admitted by Bush crime family insider Philip Zelikow—and will soon include the shock and awe and granny and toddler slaughter campaign against Iran. Giuliani’s focus on this “fringe position,” supposedly to the detriment of “presidential candidates,” i.e., selectees, demonstrates the staying power of the neocons.
During the Israel-Hezbollah war last summer—even with virtually no significant political figures criticizing the Bush administration for involving itself so blatantly in supporting Israel’s war effort — the vast majority of Americans wanted the U.S. to stay out of that war. A Washington Post poll found that a plurality (46%) blamed “both sides equally” (Israel and Hezbollah) for the war; a plurality (48%) believed that Israel’s claimed “bombing [of] rocket launchers and other Hezbollah targets located in civilian areas” was “not justified”; and a solid majority (54-38%) said Israel “should do more to try to avoid civilian casualties in Lebanon.”
As if Israel, or rather its current and enduring crop of rulers, cared about “civilian casualties in Lebanon.” It can be persuasively argued that in fact civilians were the primary target, as the Jabotinskyites in control of the horizontal and vertical in Israel are legendary for the hatred of Arabs and have consistently lumped civilians in with Hezbollah, a creation that would have never likely occurred without Israel’s serial invasions of Lebanon. “Zionist designs upon Lebanon long antedated the formation of the state of Israel,” writes Ralph Schoenman. “The invasion of Lebanon in 1982 followed a series of raids and invasions in 1968, 1976, 1978 and 1981. Plans to dismember Lebanon were joined now to the primary objective of dispersing the Palestinian inhabitants of Lebanon through massacre followed by expulsion…. The slaughter and dispersal of the Palestinian people was one component of Israeli strategy. Another was the decimation of the vital Lebanese economy which, despite Israeli efforts, had emerged as the finance capital of the Middle East.” Giuliani, regardless of what the American people want, will facilitate this process, not that he will be given the opportunity. But then Hillary’s “policy” toward the Arabs—and specifically, the Persians of Iran—enunciated before the AIPAC gathered, will suffice, even if it leaves out the hyperbole of Giuliani and his neocon advisors.
Plainly, the last thing most Americans want is for the U.S. to expand its involvement in Middle East wars, particularly when doing so is on behalf of the interests not of the U.S., but of another country. Yet here is Giuliani advocating that we do exactly that—embrace an obviously radical strategy opposed by the overwhelming majority of Americans, likely vehemently opposed—and the silence is deafening.
Again, this is irrelevant, as the neocons are Machiavellian fascists, quite remarkably unconcerned with the growing opposition of “the overwhelming majority of Americans,” who are to be fleeced and eventually chewed up as conscripted slaves in coming wars in the name of the “clash of civilizations,” that is to say the neocon-neolib shared conquest project, beginning in the Middle East and expanding outward, as promised by the PNAC gang.
Of course, none of Giuliani’s extremism on this issue should be surprising, given that his senior foreign policy advisor is Norman Podhoretz, whose life has been devoted to trying to induce the U.S. to wage war against any country hostile to Israel. Podhoretz was one of the signatories on the 2002 PNAC letter to President Bush which declared that “No one should doubt that the United States and Israel share a common enemy” and—listing Iraq, Iran and Syria, among others—argued that “Israel is fighting the same war.” Podhoretz currently “prays” that the U.S. bomb Iran.
One way or another, Podhoretz will get his wish, no matter who ends up in the White House, as Hillary Clinton shares the “common enemy” theology, albeit with less of a neocon and more of a neolib slant. Clinton believes the United States and Israel are “fighting the same war,” that is to say a war to flatten Arab and Muslim countries, a belief she has elucidated on numerous occasions, most notably before the AIPAC gathered. For the neolibs, the neocon plan is useful, as the idea is to standardized the Muslim world and dispense with any silly Muslim ideas about usury. Islamic contract law prohibits trading on credit, a precept of course anathema to everything the banker one-world neolibs believe. For the neocons, it has more to do with a visceral and racist hatred of all things Arab, but at the end of the day the neolibs and neocons believe likewise that Arab and Muslim society and culture must be flattened and eradicated.
Now that we are occupying two Middle Eastern countries, with a broken military, and are threatening imminent war with at least another one, isn’t it long past time to have the discussion about the extent to which the U.S. is willing to wage war on behalf of Israel’s interests? Do Americans really think that Iranian hostility towards Israel or its support for “terrorists groups” that are hostile to Israel are grounds for declaring Iran to be our Enemy or waging war against them? If so, then let proponents of war with Iran make that case expressly. And for the rest of the presidential campaign, shouldn’t Giuliani’s desire to involve the U.S. military in every war Israel fights be a rather central feature in discussions of his potential presidency?
Sorry, Glenn, but discussion is out of the question—the American people will be obliged to weather total and unremitting war, no matter who the resident is at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In fact, the “proponents of war with Iran” have made “that case expressly,” a fact obvious enough if one can stomach an hour or so of Fox News or read the neocon magazines and web sites. Giuliani is simply keeping the neocon agenda under the limelight and in the face of the American people, who must be conditioned to accept—or at least acquiesce, it is all the same to the neocons. Giuliani will not be the next selectee of the United States, Hillary Clinton will, as she was anointed by the same people who anointed her husband, on par and even exceeding George W. Bush and the neocons when it comes to war crimes and the psychotic proclivity toward mass murder.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to express some gratitude to Mark Glenn and the other folks organizing the No More Wars For Israel conference in southern California for inviting me to be on the roster of slated speakers at this forum. This event promises to be an exciting and enlightening experience for all in attendance. I look forward to meeting and talking with many of the writers, academics and activists who have had such a powerful influence on my own thinking and my own awakening.
Yes, we must stand against world Zionism and Jewish supremacism. We must not shy away from wrestling with the three most taboo topics in all the universe, those being organized Jews, international Zionism and the terrorist country of Israel. Until we tackle all of these subjects and many more, we will never have freedom. We will be serfs in our own nations, second-class citizens subjugated by a fiefdom of wealthy media magnates, banking kingpins and totalitarian politicos who tell us what we can and cannot say. I don’t wish to live in such a world.
What the No More Wars For Israel conference is all about is simply a group of patriots and thinkers uniting to oppose the planet’s most archaic and supreme hatred, a hatred that if unopposed, will bring every corner of the earth to slavery and to ruination. Even now the defilement and the despoilment is incessant and unflagging and brazen in the course, the wide swath it is cutting across the globe. Silence and yielding to the status quo are no longer acceptable.
Being just a small part of this movement for justice and truth has provided a great deal of joy to me. I want to be able to say at the end of my life that I stood against tyranny, I fought for the survival of my people, and indeed all people who only desire their own heritage and their own independence from Jewish control. “I did all I could, and I did it to the best of my ability,” I hope to look back and recount.
Thank you, Mark and everyone else who has worked so hard to make this upcoming event a reality. I look forward to seeing all of you in October.
For more info on the No More Wars For Israel conference, go here: http://nomorewarsforisrael.blogspot.com/
Source: Zionist Watch
by Michael Freund, The Jerusalem Post
For a country short on allies, Israel sure needs to learn how to start treating its friends a little better. Just over a week from now, during the Succot holiday, thousands of Bible-believing Christians from over 100 countries will converge on the streets of Jerusalem.
They come here not as conquerors, nor as soul-snatchers, but as devoted,God-fearing individuals who wish to stand in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people. Just as they have been doing for nearly 30 years, they will parade through the capital, wave their national flags and express their love for Israel as they heap blessings on the Jewish people and their miraculous return to Zion.
Anywhere else in the world such a display of unbounded affection and unconditional support would be greeted with open arms and touted as a welcome demonstration of philo-Semitism in an age of increasing peril for Jews.
Anywhere, it seems, except here.
According to media reports, a committee appointed by Israel's Chief Rabbinate has recommended barring participation by Jews in the parade,fearing that the event will be used to entice Israelis to betray their faith. The recommendation is said to be in the process of being formally approved, and is set to be published shortly by the Rabbinate.
This is a highly regrettable development. It represents a gratuitous slap in the face to the organizers of the parade, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, and to the thousands of pro-Israel Christians who are coming here to take part.
They are taking time off of work, leaving behind families, friends and loved ones, and coming here at their own expense to champion Israel and show the world their commitment to its well-being and security.
And how do we react? By tarring them all with the label of "missionaries"and showing little appreciation of the sincerity of their friendship and support.
PROHIBITING participation in the parade simply makes no sense. The Jerusalem Municipality even issued a statement saying there are no grounds to fear that the event will be used as a platform for missionary activity.
"Participation in the parade," the municipality said, "is planned in advance and approved by the city, whose inspectors wouldn't allow a missionary group or any other political group to attend."
But the damage has been done, as many Christians must surely be scratching their heads and wondering why anyone could possibly object to their marching through Jerusalem in support of Israel.
Now, don't get me wrong. The threat posed by missionary activity in Israel is real, and steps must be taken to curtail it. But to label all pro-Israel Christians as "missionaries" is neither fair nor accurate.
Sure, some would like to convert Jews, and they make little or no attempt to hide their agenda. But the vast majority simply wants to bless Israel because that is what they believe the Divine Will wants them to do.
IN OTHER words, a little nuance can go a long way. Instead of lumping all Christian supporters of Israel together and classifying them as "missionaries in disguise," we should make sure to distinguish between those who truly and unreservedly love us and the small minority who
surreptitiously seek to bring about our spiritual demise.
Similarly, too many Israeli officials and Jewish organizations have come to view the burgeoning relationship with evangelicals as little more than just another opportunity to solicit funds, rather than to seek genuine and lasting friendship.
By focusing on dollars instead of devotion, the Jewish state runs the risk of portraying itself as just another pitiful charity case in need of assistance, rather than as the vital partner and ally of the West that it is.
And so, thanks to a combination of short-sighted thinking and occasional avarice, Israel might just be causing irreparable damage to one of its most important wellsprings of support.
The timing could not possibly be worse. After all, we are currently facing an array of powder-keg issues, such as the nuclear threat from Iran, the Hamas takeover in Gaza, and Hizbullah's arms buildup in Lebanon.
Pro-Israel Christians, many of whom proudly refer to themselves as "Christian Zionists," number in the tens of millions and wield increasing power and influence across the United States. They love Israel passionately and pray for her well-being, and they play a progressively more important
role in the formulation of American policy.
Now, more than ever, Israel should be cultivating Christian support, both in the US and elsewhere. Done properly, it can blossom into a lasting friendship of historical, political and diplomatic significance.
But by raining on their parade and not treating our Christian friends with the respect and admiration they deserve, we do them, and ultimately ourselves, a terrible disservice.
by Charles E. Carlson
A lady named Sue called saying she is a bible prophesy researcher for a Christian group and discovered Project Strait Gate while researching John Hagee. She was excited to learn we confront him. Why? She said we are in the Bible, prophesied in the book of Revelations, in conflict with John Hagee who is a “False Prophet.” One could get a head rush from finding oneself in the Bible, even if not by name. Sue wanted to talk about all kinds of wonderful and frightening prophesy about the end times. It seems her purpose was not to join us in our work, but to educate us about our importance. After a few minutes of polite listening I excused myself without learning our place in history. There is just too much to do trying to get there. We are busy working and Sue’s group is wrapped up in writing and talking about future events, so I thanked Sue and moved on.
On that very same day a news letter from a friend, analyzing the letter 34 "Evangelical" pastors who recently wrote to President Bush standing up against his blanket support of Israel, right or wrong. Project Strait Gate is all about seeing pastors change, it is the result we work for, the pot at the end of our rainbow. Here in part is what the 34 said:
“As evangelical Christians, we embrace the biblical promise to Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you." (Genesis 12:3). And precisely as evangelical Christians committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures, we know that blessing and loving people (including Jews and the present State of Israel) does not mean withholding criticism when it is warranted. Perhaps the best way we can bless Israel is to encourage her to remember, as she deals with her neighbor Palestinians, the profound teaching on justice that the Hebrew prophets proclaimed so forcefully as an inestimably precious gift to the whole world.”
I, of course, applaud the 34 Pastors trained in the dispensational school to think as John Hagee and thousands like him do. They have reject his conclusions. This is a part of the “great turning” from the age of dispensational heresy. The 34 are truly a revolt from within the roots of Christian Zionism. But in reading the statement the 34 pastors made I have a question for them.
Why are they still “evangelicals?” If one DOES NOT believe he is commanded by God to support the political state of Israel, and DOES NOT believe he will be cursed for failing to do so, as seminary students are taught from Scofield References Bibles, then why be a dispensationalist (“Evangelical”)? After all, dispensationalism is about Israel and has Israel at its root and core belief, which is why its hard-liners like Hagee and hundreds of others now proudly label themselves “Christian Zionists. They are proud to put Israel first, ahead of American and perhaps ahead of Jesus Christ as the “fulfillment of prophesy.” Without Israel dispensationalism is an empty bag.
Conversely, if one believes his obligation is to follow Christ's teachings, as we find them in His words, and if one is willing to be judged accordingly by Christ as he said (be it heaven or hell, whatever hell is), then it also should not matter to that person if there is an "end times" now, in the future or never. What difference if there is a battle of Armageddon, rapture, a rebuilt Jewish Temple, or any of the other dispensational trappings in earthbound prophesies? Jesus says nothing about an allegiance to any political unit then or now, and telling the truth about Israel, and everything else, is part of His rules. Furthermore, if following Christ is the formula to secure heaven for the faithful, as Jesus told His followers, then what difference does it make if there is a rapture, a new Jewish temple, or a red heifer to be sacrificed there? And if it matters not, why would Sue or the 34 Pastors waste a single moment of time in speculation over Armageddon, left behind, or any of the dispensational questions? Why spend time researching prophesies if political Israel is not in it? Could it be that vanity tweaks us to look for our own type in the Bible?
One whose life goal becomes following Christ on the “narrow path”, hopefully toward the “strait gate” would seem to be traditional Christian under the standards set by the original dozen or two who falteringly followed Jesus. They managed without Scofield Reference Bibles, TV evangelists, or even church buildings. Christian Zionism, Mormonism, and all the "ism" cults that claim to be important by supposedly unraveling God’s plan for other people, would be irrelevant if we recognized that none of these prophesies, and fantasies should logically matter to Christ following believers.
The “if it does not matter, don’t bother with it” Christ following seems to negate the need for brainy and intellectual studies of the bible, nor is there much need for good commentaries to counteract the bad commentaries on the end times.
This author had the unique experience of hearing our mission defined in two words, restoring Christianity, by a perceptive Muslim cleric who heard me explain Oxford University Press' contribution to Christian Zionism four year ago. Indeed We Hold These Truths' mission is about restoring Christianity; however it might be better to say we are trying to do our part to rescue Christianity from suicide by explaining where it has been misled to follow Christian Zionism. I now know that this goal is possible; if 34 dispensational scholars can reject Christian Zionism there is no reason the rest cannot do the same.
Letter to President Bush from 34 Evangelical Leaders. http://whtt.org/index.php?news=2&id=1635
I really don't think the Iraqis can handle much more of America's "freedom and democracy."
by Sameer N. Yacoub - September 21, 2007
BAGHDAD (AP) — Cholera was confirmed Friday in a baby in Basra, the farthest south the outbreak has been detected. Officials expressed concern over a shortage of chlorine needed to prevent the disease from spreading.
A shipment of 100,000 tons of the water purifier has been held up at the Jordanian border over fears the chemical could be used in explosives. Baghdad, which has doubled the amount of chlorine in the drinking water, now has only a week's supply.
World Health Organization spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said in Geneva that Iraq has registered 29,000 cases of acute watery diarrhea, with 1,500 of those confirmed as cholera. All but two confirmed cases are in the north.
The bottle-fed, 7-month-old infant is the only confirmed case in Basra, Iraq's second-largest and southernmost city, WHO reported.
On Thursday, WHO confirmed the first case in Baghdad since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, saying a 25-year-old woman turned up at a hospital with a severe case of diarrhea that proved to be caused by cholera.
Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease typically spread by drinking contaminated water. It can cause severe diarrhea that in extreme cases can lead to fatal dehydration. It broke out in Iraq in mid-August, but until this week had been limited to three northern provinces.
Naeema al-Gasseer, WHO's representative for Iraq, said there have been 10 deaths in the north, a number she said indicates the disease is not getting out of hand.
"We are treating this as an outbreak, not an epidemic," al-Gasseer said. "People are panicking because of the numbers. We are trying to focus them away from the numbers. We tell everyone in Iraq: Wash your hands with disinfectant, boil water at least five minutes, don't eat fruit and vegetables that cannot be peeled and may have been washed with contaminated water."
Cholera is endemic to Iraq, with about 30 cases registered each year. The last epidemic was in 1999, when 20 cases were discovered in one day, said Adel Muhsin, the Health Ministry's inspector-general.
The number of confirmed cases does not always indicate the scope of the problem; many people who get cholera do not develop symptoms but can pass on the disease.
The current outbreak has sharply increased Iraq's needs for chlorine. But Muhsin and the WHO said 100,000 tons of the chemical were being held at the border with Jordan, apparently due to fears that the chlorine might fall into the hands of insurgents and be used in bombs.
Several chlorine truck bombings earlier this year killed scores of Iraqis.
The head of Baghdad's Water Department, Sadiq al-Shimmari, said the capital had only a week's supply of chlorine. After the outbreak was detected last month, officials doubled the daily amount of the chemical being dumped into Baghdad's drinking water.
"Without chlorine, the water stations will shut down," al-Shimmari warned. "God willing, we will not reach that point."
Diyala province north of Baghdad, the site of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and militants, has reported scores of suspected cholera cases.
Hom Suhail al-Khishali, head of the provincial health department, said none were confirmed. But he warned that the province's "bad security situation ... is preventing medical teams from reaching the residents."
VIENNA, September 21, 2007
Iran called for UN inspectors to be dispatched to verify whether Israel has nuclear weapons, in a heated showdown with the Jewish state at a meeting of the UN atomic agency Friday.
The face-off between the two nations came as Arab states condemned Israel for hiding an atomic arsenal, at a general conference of the 144-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh told the conference that IAEA inspectors should be sent "to Israel to verify who is telling the truth."
Israel neither confirms nor denies it has nuclear weapons, but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had hinted in a German television interview in December 2006 that Israel did in fact have the bomb.
Soltanieh's comments came after Israeli ambassador Israel Michaeli told the conference that Arab speakers' assertions that Olmert had said Israel had nuclear weapons were "lies".
As for Arab condemnation of Israel for failing to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and accept IAEA safeguard inspections, Michaeli said: "Those who call for the elimination of Israel have no moral standing when they criticise Israeli policies aimed at defending Israel's very existence."
The 50-year-old IAEA's tradition of consensus on decisions has broken down over Middle East issues, with debate now highly politicized.
Arab states had Thursday pushed through a resolution clearly aimed at Israel, calling for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.
But it had to go to a vote, even though Israel backs a nuclear weapons-free-zone (NWFZ) within the framework of a Middle East peace settlement.
In the end, the resolution was backed by 53 votes, with two against and 47 abstentions.
Some Western and non-aligned diplomats said Iran was agitating behind the scenes for a showdown over Israel to distract from its own civilian nuclear programme, which is suspected of aiming to make nuclear weapons
On Friday, Omani ambassador Salim Mohammed Al-Riyami presented the agenda item "Israeli nuclear capabilities and threat" saying there was concern over the "failure of the universality" of the NPT since Israel refuses to sign it.
"Israel still benefits from total freedom to develop its nuclear capacities," Al-Riyami told the IAEA, which uses safeguard agreements to monitor compliance with the treaty.
Al-Riyami had said in a document submitted along with the agenda item: "The policies of successive Israeli governments have obstructed the peace process in the Middle East and all initiatives to free the region . . . of weapons of mass destruction, and in particular of nuclear weapons, have failed."
The IAEA also debated a resolution on safeguards, with Western nations pushing through language on strengthening IAEA inspections.
But non-aligned nations which back Iran got the wording weakened somewhat, dropping for instance the word "universally" in a call for strengthened safeguards.
The resolution finally passed with 80 votes in favour, zero against and 12 abstentions.
The general conference approves broad policy lines for the IAEA.
But the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors, which meets separately from the general conference, makes decisions for the agency on how policy is implemented.
In the past at the IAEA's general conference, Arab states introduce a resolution on the Israeli nuclear threat but withdraw it in the face of strong Western opposition.
It is then postponed to the following year in return for Israel agreeing to the call for a NWFZ in the Middle East.
This arrangement fell apart for the first time at last year's general conference, when the NWFZ resolution was forced to a vote and adopted by a vote of 89-2.
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.—Ephesians 2:14
"On a pleasant Sunday afternoon in July 2000, members and pastors belonging to local Palestinian Evangelical congregations from the Palestinian territories gathered at the Bethlehem Hotel to celebrate the formation of their council. An American woman who was present at the meeting approached one of the pastors and asked him if she could say a few words to the assembly…When the lady took the microphone, I couldn't believe the words that came out of her mouth. She professed to the Palestinian Evangelical Christians assembled there that she had a word from the Lord for them. 'God,' she said, 'wanted them all to leave Israel and go to other Arab countries.' She added that they must leave to make room for God's chosen people, the Jews. She warned the pastors and the audience that if they did not listen to the instructions which God had given her, God would pour his wrath on them. When her agenda was recognized, one of the pastors came and whisked her away from the pulpit, but not before she served the whole assembly a mouthful of what is known today as Christian Zionism."
This story, related by Alex Awad, the Palestinian pastor of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church, poignantly reveals the extent to which some Christian voices invalidate the concrete historical realities of their Christian brothers and sisters living under occupation. Such Christian Zionist voices not only ignore the realities of dispossession that have marked the experiences of both Christian and Muslim Palestinians, past and present, but also go so far as to justify violence, dispossession, and discrimination perpetrated against Palestinians.
Stories like these reveal our need to be constantly vigilant about how we read Scripture and how we do theology. We need to ask basic questions about our identities, the agendas that we bring to the text, and about who benefits from our reading and interpretation, so as to avoid doing violence to others.
When we talk about Christians in Palestine-Israel it is important to pay attention to our language of who is "in" and who is "out." As the story above indicates, some people may not see our Palestinian brothers and sisters as being "in." From one perspective, Palestinians, be they Christians or Muslims, are usurpers who should leave the land. A reading of Scripture that erases Palestinians from the land is tantamount to a biblically-justified ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
Reflecting biblically on these lines we draw, if we take a look at the ministry of Jesus and the witness of the early church we see that all people are invited to become part of God's household. In the book of Ephesians, Gentiles are welcomed into "one new humanity" (2:15), because Christ has made peace between Jew and Gentile.
For Christians living in the United States, it is sometimes difficult to think about the church as the new multi-ethnic, multi-racial people of God. Many Christians have a hard time seeing and relating to Christianity in the Arab world as living, vibrant communities of faith with rich spiritual and theological traditions. This may be partly due to our lack of understanding about the shape of Christianity in other parts of the world, and may also be partly due to our often racist and ethnocentric notions of what a Christian should look like.
Christianity in Palestine-Israel today is experiencing what many describe as a crisis. This crisis is not due to the growth of so-called Islamic fundamentalism or the persecution of "believers" by their Muslim neighbors, misrepresentations that are unfortunately used to distract from the realities of military occupation. Instead, the plight of the Palestinian Christian is very much connected to that of the Palestinian Muslim in that both, whether in the Occupied Territories or inside Israel itself, are experiencing daily injustices in the form of oppressive policies imposed on them by the Israeli government.
Palestinian Christians, like their Muslim brothers and sisters, have experienced a long history of dispossession and have not been immune to Israeli policies of occupation and discrimination. If anything, they have felt more strongly the feelings of forsakenness, knowing full well that many Christians in North America and Europe support without question the state of Israel in its oppression of their people.
Meanwhile, daily experiences of humiliation at checkpoints, of land confiscation to make way for the separation barrier, the illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory, lack of mobility and access to basic services, unemployment, poverty, and no sense of hope for a better future for their children all contribute to a growing emigration of Palestinian Christians from the historical land of Palestine.
Struggling with the tensions of feeling forsaken while seeking a critical hope is a great challenge. Despair in the Holy Land is very real, and learning how to talk about God in the midst of such pain requires recognizing that the starting point of any relevant theological reflection must begin with the question "My God, why have you forsaken us?" For Western Christians concerned with justice, peace and reconciliation in Palestine-Israel, discovering our role as one of listening to the cries of despair seriously while being a witness to critical hope begins with seeing our inextricable connectedness—it begins with us not forsaking each other.
As Christians who come from a privileged part of the world, our convictions should compel us to listen to the voices of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, voices too often silenced. As we learn from Jesus' experience of "God-forsakenness" we should also learn from Palestinians who share their lives with us—their despair and their hopes—what it means to participate in God's reign of peace and justice.
The Bush administration is compiling electronic records on the travel habits of million of Americans travelling overseas, retaining data on whom they associate or plan to stay with, the personal items they carry and even the books they read, reported the Washington Post on Saturday, September 22, citing documents obtained by civil liberties advocates.
The Post said that the travel records are being collected through border points, airlines and commercial reservation systems.
The records, which are analyzed by the Department of Homeland Security's Automated Targeting System, include information and notes taken during secondary screenings of travelers.
They include "passenger name record" (PNR), which are provided to airlines and other companies when reservations are made.
The PNR includes names, addresses and credit-card information, telephone and e-mail contact details, itineraries, hotel and rental car reservations, and even the type of bed requested in a hotel.
The personal travel records are stored for as long as 15 years, said the American daily.
Former DHS officials told the Post said that the data retention has been greatly expanded and automated since 2002.
Officials claim that the records are part of efforts to help border officials to track down potential terrorists.
Details of the data retention surfaced after civil liberties activists requested copies of official records on their own travel.
The records included a description of a book on marijuana that one of the advocates carried and small flashlights bearing the symbol of a marijuana leaf.
Ever since 9/11, the Bush administration has been spying on Americans and tapping into the country's main communication networks without court warrants.
Civil liberties advocates blasted the Bush administration for intruding into the lives of ordinary people.
"The federal government is trying to build a surveillance society," said John Gilmore, a civil liberties activist in San Francisco.
Gilmore said the Bush administration "may be doing it with the best or worst of intentions".
". . . But the job of building a surveillance database and populating it with information about us is happening largely without our awareness and without our consent."
Gilmore's travel records included a note from a Customs and Border Patrol officer that he carried the marijuana-related book during a trip abroad.
"My first reaction was I kind of expected it," he said. "My second reaction was, that's illegal."
Civil liberties activists say that the data retention violates the Privacy Act, which bars the gathering of data related to Americans' exercise of their First Amendment rights, such as their choice of reading material or persons with whom to associate, according to the report.
Edward Hasbrouck, a civil liberties activist, said his file contained coding that reflected his plan to fly with another individual.
Though Hasbrouck did not fly with that person, the other passenger's name remained in the record.
"The Automated Targeting System is the largest system of government dossiers of individual Americans' personal activities that the government has ever created," said Hasbrouck, who was a travel agent for more than 15 years.
He said that travel records are among the most potentially invasive of records because they can suggest links.
"If you sat next to someone once, that's a coincidence. If you sat next to them twice, that's a relationship," he said.
Ann Harrison, the communications director for a technology firm in Silicon Valley, was among those that their personal files were obtained by US authorities.
"It was surprising that they were gathering so much information without my knowledge on my travel activities,'' said Harrison, whose record included data on her race and on a European flight that did not begin or end in the US or connect to a US-bound flight.
"It was distressing to me that this information was being gathered in violation of the law."
The records of Harrison's brother, James, included information about another sister's phone number in Tokyo as an emergency contact.
"So my sister's phone number ends up being in a government database," said James, director of the Identity Project.
"This is a lot more than just saying who you are, your date of birth."
By SAMANTHA GROS - September 21, 2007
Dan Rather said Thursday that the undue influence of the government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company.
"Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news," he said on CNN's "Larry King Live."
In the suit, filed a day earlier in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Rather claimed CBS and Viacom Inc. used him as a "scapegoat" and intentionally botched the aftermath of a discredited story about President Bush's military service to curry favor with the White House. He was removed from his "CBS Evening News" post in March 2005.
"They sacrificed support for independent journalism for corporate financial gain, and in so doing, I think they undermined a lot at CBS News," he told King.
Rather didn't mention other instances in which he believed news organizations bowed to corporate and government pressure.
CBS spokesman Dana McClintock did not return an after-hours call seeking comment Thursday. He has called Rather's complaints "old news" and said the lawsuit was "without merit." A spokesman for Viacom declined to comment.
Journalism ethics scholar Bob Steele said Rather would have a difficult time proving that the White House or other political operatives exerted undue influence on CBS.
"It would be naive for us to believe that there was no influence from powerful institutions and individuals on journalism," said Steele, a scholar at the Poynter Institute, a journalism foundation in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Still, he said: "For the most part, the journalists who run news organizations and who report the news fight hard to protect the independence of the journalism, and most of the time succeed."
Rather narrated the September 2004 report that said Bush disobeyed orders and shirked some of his duties during his National Guard service. It also said a commander felt pressured to sugarcoat Bush's record.
The story relied on four documents, supposedly written by Bush's commander in the Texas Air National Guard, the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. Critics questioned the documents' authenticity and suggested they were forged.
A panel selected by the network to investigate the story determined that it was neither fair nor accurate. CBS fired the story's producer and asked for the resignations of three executives because it could not authenticate documents used in the story. Rather was forced out of the anchor chair he had occupied for 24 years.
On CNN, Rather dismissed the panel's review, claiming it was not impartial.
"This was in many ways a fraud. It was a setup," he told King.
Louis D. Boccardi, the retired chief executive of The Associated Press who made up the two-man investigative panel with Richard Thornburgh, the former U.S. attorney general, defended the panel's work Thursday night.
"Our report was independent, and it speaks for itself," he said, echoing comments made by Thornburgh on Wednesday. Both declined to comment further.
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran told Western powers on Saturday that they would regret launching any attack over Tehran's nuclear activities and it rolled out a display of missiles and other hardware that underscored its warning.
"Our message to the enemies is: Do not do it," the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said, speaking to reporters less than a week after France's foreign minister publicly raised the prospect of war.
"They will regret it, as they are regretting it in Iraq," Jafari added, speaking on the sidelines of an annual military parade.
The Islamic Republic put on show medium-range missiles it has previously said could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf at the parade marking the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq conflict.
Iran is embroiled in a deepening standoff with the West over its atomic ambitions, which the United States suspects is aimed at making bombs but which Tehran says is solely for generating electricity.
Washington has said it wants a diplomatic resolution to the dispute but has not ruled out military action if that fails.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner last Sunday raised the specter of war, but has since backed away from the comment.
Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, has threatened to hit back at regional U.S. interests if attacked.
Jafari's words of defiance came a day after major powers, meeting in Washington, said they had "serious and constructive" talks about new U.N. Security Council sanctions aimed at trying to force Iran to halt its sensitive nuclear program.
The officials of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany said they will keep pursuing a "dual track" approach to Iran -- trying to persuade it to abandon such activities via negotiations while considering new sanctions.
"DEATH TO AMERICA"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressing the parade, made clear Tehran would not bow to Western pressure.
"Those who think, that by using such decayed tools as psychological warfare and economic sanctions, they can stop the Iranian nation's progress are making a mistake," he said.
The Islamic Republic showed among its weaponry a type of missile it has said has a range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles) -- enabling it to hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region.
But the television commentator said Shahab-3 had a range of only 1,300 km (812 miles). Another missile at the parade, Ghadr-1, can reach targets 1,800 km (1,125 miles) away, he said. It was believed to be the first time it has been shown publicly.
Troops, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and armored personnel carriers passed in front of the podium. One truck carried the words "Death to America".
Western military experts say Iranian forces would be no match for U.S. military technology but that they could still create havoc in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, through which a large volume of the world's traded oil passes.
Jafari admitted Western powers enjoyed air superiority but suggested Iran would be able to outwit them. Asked how Iran would respond if any country allowed its territory to be used as a base for an attack, he said: "You have seen the missiles --just pull the trigger and shoot."
By Jeffrey Bartholet
Newsweek - September 14, 2007
Israel has imposed strict military censorship over news of a recent air strike deep inside Syrian territory. U.S. officials have confirmed that an air strike did take place on Sept. 6 but have not provided further details. Vaguely sourced reports, including accounts of a Syrian-North Korean nuclear program that have yet to be substantiated, are seeping into the media. What do the Syrians have to say about it? NEWSWEEK’s Jeffrey Bartholet sat down with Syria’s ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, to get his version of events.
NEWSWEEK: We’re told the [Israeli] target was in a place called Dayr az Zawr.
Imad Moustapha: No, Dayr az Zawr is a major city; it was not targeted. The Israeli planes threw their ammunition close to Dayr az Zawr, but outside Dayr az Zawr, and then they made a U-turn and threw their reserve fuel tanks. And because they were flying above the Syria-Turkish border, they threw those on the Turkish side of the border. Nothing was damaged.
What were they bombing?
They didn’t bomb anything. Once they were spotted by our defense systems and we started attacking them, they threw their ammunition because this makes them lighter. And they threw their additional fuel tanks, which were not empty by the way, and they made a U-turn and they left. You’ve got to understand, they were flying in the extreme northern part of Syria, on the Syrian-Turkish border.
How many bombs fell and what did they fall on?
They didn’t hit anything. They just fell on wasteland.
So no casualties?
No physical damage to structures?
No. Just on the ground. And Turkey protested about the two fuel tanks that fell on the Turkish side.
There have been reports, unsubstantiated at present, that what was targeted was some kind of nuclear North Korean-Syrian cooperation project.
Those reports are absolutely, totally, fundamentally ridiculous and untrue. There are no nuclear North Korean-Syrian facilities whatsoever in Syria … We know the game. [After the fall of Baghdad] some were claiming that Saddam’s WMDs were being smuggled to Syria. This is not a new story. Every now and then we hear about nuclear materials being transferred to Syria.
What is the relationship between North Korea and Syria right now?
It was noticed that North Korea immediately issued a strong and public denunciation of the Israeli attack, which seemed a bit unusual, given that North Korea is thousands of miles away.
People here can be very selective. The Lebanese government made such an announcement, Turkey made such an announcement, Indonesia made such an announcement. North Korea has very few friends around the world, and we have friendly relations with North Korea.
Do you have trade relations?
Very little actual relations … [The relationship] is real. We’re not denying it. There’s nothing to hide.
Also a trade in missiles, in the past anyway. Scuds.
I’m not privy to military details. I leave that to military experts to discuss. What I am saying is the following: There is nothing sinister. To talk about a Syrian-North Korean nuclear plant is really, really sad, because it reminds me of the sort of stories that used to be fabricated here in the United States before the Iraq war, about Iraq’s WMDs and such things. You would think America has learned its lesson, that it won’t buy such stories anymore. And then you are astonished when you see mainstream [media] outlets publishing such stories. Such short-term memory for the American media.
There was an International Atomic Energy Commission inspection of Syria in 2003 that gave it a clean—
We cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Commission.
There was another unsubstantiated report that the target was a joint Iranian-Syrian missile plant.
And there was a third report that that was a convoy taking arms to Hizbullah. All are ridiculous. In northeastern Syria they’d spot a convoy taking arms to Hizbullah?
The reason some in the media have been speculating, I think, is because Israeli censors are enforcing a strict clampdown and people who know something have suggested that this raid was a big deal, that something was targeted and that what was targeted was hit.
Israel usually is very boastful, very arrogant. Usually when they do something they boast about how spectacular their operation was, how successful they were. This time it’s only linkages here and there by people who claim this and that. Having said this, I’m not belittling the gravity of the Israeli provocation. It has changed dramatically the situation between us. They were sending us messages the last three months that they don’t want to further escalate tensions between Syria and Israel, they do not have plans of hostile intent for Syria. They were saying this publicly, on the record. Then they send their jet fighters into Syrian sovereign airspace. I think this is a very serious provocation.
On that point, Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa told an Italian newspaper that Damascus will retaliate.
Let us be honest with each other. Every action in the world creates a reaction. So for anyone to imagine that Syria will look at what happened and say, ‘Well, let’s just let things pass by’ is unrealistic. But this doesn’t mean that Syria will immediately retaliate in kind, exactly the same way. We have our own national priorities … Syria has been very, very clear about its desire to end the conflict in the Middle East through negotiations and the peaceful approach, based on the land-for-peace principle. We are committed to this. Having said this, until this happens we are in a state of war with Israel. And there are different ways to retaliate. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same [method].
Can you give me a couple of examples?
I’m not a military expert. But anyone who has studied the situation in the Middle East will understand. They want to occupy our territories, and they will pay a price for this.
Tell me about the diplomatic efforts that surrounded this. Did U.S. officials contact you; did you contact U.S. officials?
No, not at all. The United States continues to provide blanket support for Israel, no matter what Israel does. In a way, they have expressed tacit approval. But we have launched an official complaint to the United Nations Security Council. We have informed the Arab League, the Europeans, Russia, China … and we have publicly said that we reserve our right to retaliate in a way we choose.
Have you filed any complaint with Washington?
It would be a waste of time. I don’t think Washington today has a mindset that would allow it to understand how such grave actions can lead to further deterioration in the Middle East.
What is the situation with U.S.-Syrian relations at this point? There was a lot of intelligence cooperation, then there was a long cold spell, and then there seemed to be a little bit of an opening in the winter and spring this year.
Time and again, we have told the United States that we believe in cooperation. We can address the issues, find common ground, brainstorm for creative solutions. But in a way, there is no dialogue today between Syria and the United States. We are not happy about this. We believe we need good relations with the United States. No resolution of the [Arab-Israeli conflict] can take place without the direct, strong involvement of the United States. Having said this, we have a problem in Iraq. It is in our own national interest to help stabilize the situation in Iraq. It’s such a dangerous situation. And we are overrun with over 1.5 million Iraqi refugees. The stakes are very high. Time and again we have told the United States that it is better to stop this propaganda war with us and sit with us and see how we can help toward stabilizing the situation.
The other problem between Syria and the United States is Lebanon.
Are you sure it’s a problem between us and the United States? I think it’s a problem over what Israel wants in the Middle East.
One problem is that many opponents of Syrian policy in Lebanon have been assassinated. [Former prime minister] Rafik Hariri and—
Do you think Rafik Hariri was an opponent of Syria in Lebanon? He was the prime minister of Lebanon when we were in Lebanon. All the people who badmouth us today used to be close allies of the so-called “evil occupation of Syria in Lebanon.” That is preposterous.
There have been a number of people who have been assassinated, including journalists.
Look, listen, these assassinations are terrible crimes. There is a United Nations commission that is investigating this crime … These are serious, grave issues. Of course we say “No, we didn’t do this.” Try to understand. When an assassination takes place, within a minute we are accused of it. Tremendous political damage is inflicted on us. And yet in an extremely stupid way we are supposed to have assassinated one person after another? … Why? Something is illogical about this. Let the U.N. investigation decide who killed these guys.
During the recent tensions, was there a moment when the Syrian government considered military retaliation [against Israel], firing missiles or—
We have not forfeited our right to retaliate. But as I have said, we don’t necessarily have to retaliate in the same way that Israel has attacked. I don’t know exactly the nature of this retaliation. It can happen in various ways, sometimes in asymmetrical ways. What I’m trying to say is the following: We live in a state of war with Israel. This is not the first act of hostility between Syria and Israel … The problem is that sometimes a foolish action can provoke terrible consequences.
There was diplomacy [before the attack], when Israel was sending what were described as “calming” signals. There was tension, then a calming period, then this happened. Can you describe that period prior to the attack?
I can tell you that Israel was creating an atmosphere of brinksmanship in the region. There were unprecedentedly large maneuvers in the occupied Syrian Golan. And of course the Syrians took note of this and were in a high state of preparedness. And then the Israelis, and personally [Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert, sent personal public messages—both publicly and to European officials—in which he said Syria shouldn’t be concerned, Israel doesn’t intend to provoke Syria or attack Syria … Having noted this, Syria is not a gullible country. As long as there is no peace agreement, we have to always be prepared.
Is it possible that Syria will decide that it’s in its national interests not to respond?
That would not serve our national interests. That would be detrimental to our national interests, because it would encourage Israel to repeat the same intrusions and operations. As I have said, every reaction creates a reaction. If Israel calculates that they can do what they want, they’re making a big mistake, just as they made a mistake last summer [in 2006, by waging war against Hizbullah in Lebanon].
So if the headline on this interview was “Syria Will Retaliate,” that would not be inaccurate?
What I have said is that this is a long-term war. States have different approaches to things. What I’m trying to say is that Israel will not be permitted to do whatever it does without paying a price for it.
So Israel will pay a price.
It will. And there will always be a price for everything.
New York based Judith Karpova risks losing everything she has, or going to jail for a long time. Her crime? She went to Iraq in February 2003 as a Human Shield. She was prepared to risk her life to attempt to avert an illegal war, invasion and illegal occupation.
'The charges (are) that I violated the travel ban against Iraq' states Ms Karpova: 'No hearing was ever held. The strangest part of the decision involves the fact that the Director of OFAC changed between 2004 and 2005. Most oddly, the court resolves the issue of whether OFAC violated impartiality, by both bringing the charges and finding me guilty.'
The charge was not alone violation of the travel ban, but boosting the Iraqi economy. It is shocking to read of the plight of Ms Karpova at the hands of the U.S. 'Justice' system. I was in Iraq and Baghdad at the same time as the Human Shields. Did they break the US/UK driven UN embargo (which was to force Saddam to give up the weapons of mass destruction they knew he did not have) did they aid Iraq financially?
Well, if you call going to the local soukh to buy local produce, aiding Iraq, yes. If you call giving a few Dinars to children as young as five, forced out of school to sell cigarettes, clean shoes, as a result of the embargo (in a country which valued education above all and with Palestine had the highest PhD's per capita on earth) yes, they put a little extra food on a family table, a miniscule amount more money circulated in the soukh, in a country where many families often ate in rota, one giving up food for a day, to give a little more for the others. When children fainted in school, the reason was usually: 'It's not my turn to eat today' - courtesy USA and Britain.
When they visited the hospitals and held grief stricken parents, watching their children die, for want of often the simplest medications, vetoed by the US and UK and gave them another few Dinars to try and find that life saver, on the black market, did they re-charge the Iraqi economy? With the equivalent of usually about $5? No they re-charged, a small life, if they were in time. Don't forget, all Iraq's bank accounts were frozen, state and private.
Did they aid Iraq by the few dollars a night, they paid the family owned hotels, they stayed at near Firdos Square, where Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled? If you count giving a small living to a family, who had somehow kept the hotels going, from love and pride, through the thirteen grinding embargo years, in an outward looking country, which welcomed visitors with open arms, who now barely ever came, yes. And they gave them their pride back.
Did they aid Iraq by buying the occasional meal in the small hotel restaraunts? Yes, as above and they gave the Chef his pride back. Inventive meals were produced again, when even hotels could afford only most basic ingredients. Imagination was challenged and wonders were produced from little, in gratitude also to those who came in solidarity, in a country where 'embargo related causes' (U.N.) were estimated to have killed one and a half million people (majority the under fives, the sick and the elderly) in thirteen years.
Did they aid Iraq by their presence? Yes. The people, the children (broadly, half the population is under fifteen) had known nothing but thirteen years of deprivation (Iraq imported seventy percent of almost everything prior to the embargo) and thirteen years of illegal US and UK bombings. Iraq's children were diagnosed by child psychiatrists from the West as 'the most traumatised child population on earth', as a result. These children who had known nothing but fear and deprivation from the West, suddenly learned, either first hand, or from the media, that not all westerners were George W. Bush and Tony Blair, but there were those who were prepared to risk their lives, with them, as they waited again for the bombs to fall. They learned of the 'greater love that no man (or woman) has' than to be prepared to suffer, even die, for another.
Lastly, Ms Karpova and those who traveled to Iraq, acted explicitly in the true spirit of that which the United Nations was meant to stand, declared in San Francisco on the 26th June 1945, betrayed by the U.S. and U.K. from Hiroshima Day 1990 (the date of the imposition of the embargo) to now (there was no U.N, mandate for the invasion of Iraq) :
'We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save successive generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind - and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small - and to establish conditions under which justice and respect arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.'
Further: 'And to these ends, to practice tolerance and live together as good neighbors and unite our strength to maintain international peace and security and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used .....' And to: ' ... take effective, collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace and to bring about by peaceful means ... justice and international law, adjustment or settlement or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace'.
Ms Karpova and those prepared to risk so much in traveling to Iraq on the eve of war, uniquely embody the wondrous aspiration of the San Francisco declaration, so shamefully trashed, broken and ignored by Washington and Whitehall. It is the architects of the Iraq disaster in the latter who should be in Court. Ms Karpova and those prepared to stand for right in a far away place, should be honored by their countries, the United Nations and be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Should the Court do anything but laud and acquit her, even the Statue of Liberty should weep - or topple.
Now, this is really interesting. The Turks find and seize American weapons from the "terrorist" PKK rebels. With evidence of actual serial numbers, the US will investigate the claims. But, isn't this exactly what is happening in Iraq with Iranian made weapons? Why is it that when American weapons are sold to Kurdis "terrorists" for use against the Turks, it's a possible criminal offense by an outside few, but when Iranian weapons are found in Iraq for use against the Americans, it's an intentional act by the Iranian government?
by Matthew Lee - September 22, 2007
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press. Blackwater is based in Moyock, N.C.
A spokeswoman for Blackwater did not return calls seeking comment Friday. The U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina, George Holding, declined to comment, as did Pentagon and State Department spokesmen.
Officials with knowledge of the case said it is active, although at an early stage. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, which has heightened since 11 Iraqis were killed Sunday in a shooting involving Blackwater contractors protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad.
The officials could not say whether the investigation would result in indictments, how many Blackwater employees are involved or if the company itself, which has won hundreds of millions of dollars in government security contracts since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is under scrutiny.
In Saturday's editions, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that two former Blackwater employees — Kenneth Wayne Cashwell of Virginia Beach, Va., and William Ellsworth "Max" Grumiaux of Clemmons, N.C. — are cooperating with federal investigators.
Cashwell and Grumiaux pleaded guilty in early 2007 to possession of stolen firearms that had been shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, and aided and abetted another in doing so, according to court papers viewed by The Associated Press. In their plea agreements, which call for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the men agreed to testify in any future proceedings.
Calls to defense attorneys were not immediately returned Friday evening, and calls to the telephone listings for both men also were not returned.
The News & Observer, citing unidentified sources, reported that the probe was looking at whether Blackwater had shipped unlicensed automatic weapons and military goods to Iraq without a license.
The paper's report that the company itself was under investigation could not be confirmed by the AP.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered a review of security practices for U.S. diplomats in Iraq following a deadly incident involving Blackwater USA guards protecting an embassy convoy.
Rice's announcement came as the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad resumed limited diplomatic convoys under the protection of Blackwater outside the heavily fortified Green Zone after a suspension because of the weekend incident in that city.
In the United States, officials in Washington said the smuggling investigation grew from internal Pentagon and State Department inquiries into U.S. weapons that had gone missing in Iraq. It gained steam after Turkish authorities protested to the U.S. in July that they had seized American arms from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, rebels.
The Turks provided serial numbers of the weapons to U.S. investigators, said a Turkish official.
The Pentagon said in late July it was looking into the Turkish complaints and a U.S. official said FBI agents had traveled to Turkey in recent months to look into cases of missing U.S. weapons in Iraq.
Investigators are determining whether the alleged Blackwater weapons match those taken from the PKK.
It was not clear if Blackwater employees suspected of selling to the black market knew the weapons they allegedly sold to middlemen might wind up with the PKK. If they did, possible charges against them could be more serious than theft or illegal weapons sales, officials said.
The PKK, which is fighting for an independent Kurdistan, is banned in Turkey, which has a restive Kurdish population and is considered a "foreign terrorist organization" by the State Department. That designation bars U.S. citizens or those in U.S. jurisdictions from supporting the group in any way.
The North Carolina investigation was first brought to light by State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard, who mentioned it, perhaps inadvertently, this week while denying he had improperly blocked fraud and corruption probes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Krongard was accused in a letter by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of politically motivated malfeasance, including refusing to cooperate with an investigation into alleged weapons smuggling by a large, unidentified State Department contractor.
In response, Krongard said in a written statement that he "made one of my best investigators available to help Assistant U.S. Attorneys in North Carolina in their investigation into alleged smuggling of weapons into Iraq by a contractor."
His statement went further than Waxman's letter because it identified the state in which the investigation was taking place. Blackwater is the biggest of the State Department's three private security contractors.
The other two, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy, are based in Washington's northern Virginias suburbs, outside the jurisdiction of the North Carolina's attorneys.