Monday, November 27, 2006

Pitting the West Against Islam: M. Shahid Alam for Palestine Chronicle

Gates and the Iran Arms Sales: Robert Parry

The shipments not only were politically sensitive, but also violated federal export laws – in part because Iran was officially designated a terrorist state. So, playing down Iran’s hand in terrorism worked for the White House whether supported by the facts or not.

At that time, Gates was deputy director in charge of the DI, putting him in a key bureaucratic position as the CIA worked to justify geopolitical openings to Iran. Even earlier, in spring 1985, Gates had overseen the production of a controversial National Intelligence Estimate that had warned of Soviet inroads in Iran and conjured up supposed moderates in the Iranian government.

That Gates, two years later, would make exculpatory claims about the CIA’s reporting – assertions contradicted by an internal DI report – suggests that he remained more interested in protecting the Reagan administration’s flanks than being straight with the American public.

In his affidavit, [Ray] McGovern wrote that after Gates’s exculpatory articles in November 1987, “efforts to correct the record remained unsuccessful.”

[McGovern’s report to senior DI management about the Iran-terrorism issue was dated Oct. 30, 1987; his affidavit was signed Oct. 5, 1991, during Gates’s confirmation to be CIA director, but the sworn statement was not made public at that time.]

Lebanon and the Political Context of the Assassination of Pierre Gemayel: by Feroze H. Mithiborwala

The US policy over Palestine which is seen through the prism of Jewish and Christian Zionists is itself being challenged. Undoubtedly Palestine is the core issue and only a just solution for the people of Palestine and Israel will finally end seemingly endless cycle of hatred, violence and wars.

The struggle between the hardcore Neo-cons and Zionists represented by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Perle and Wolfowitz and the "pragmatic imperialists" led by James Baker and Hamilton as well as key sections of the Democrats will decide the future course of US foreign policy.

It is in this context that we have to analyse the assassination of Pierre Gemayel who was brutally killed on the November 21, 2006. On 19th November, Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah called for the resignation of the government and clearly stated that the Lebanese people will not accept a government that operates on on the dictats of the US embassy in Beirut. He called for a government of National Unity and for elections soon after. Earlier the cabinet ministers of the Hizbullah and the Amal resigned. General Michel Aoun who represents the majority of the Christian Maronite community, stated that the government has lost the moral right to rule as the majority of the people are no longer represented.

US in contact with anti-Iran Kurds: PKK

MOUNT QANDIL, Iraq (AFP) - The United States government is in contact with Kurds struggling against Iran, a top rebel leader of the anti-Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) told AFP in an interview.

Cemil "Cuma" Bayik, one of the main leaders and a founder of the movement that has struggled for Kurdish self-determination for the past 30 years, said the US was in touch with the Party for Freedom in Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) in Iran, but that it was not helping actively.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed recently in the New Yorker magazine that American forces were supporting the PJAK movement as part of their strategy to destabilize the Tehran government.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Jennifer Loewenstein: Alice in Erez; the Gaza Crossing

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why Are Canadians Dying in Afghanistan? For Oil? by John W. Warnock

Remembrance Day this year brought home to many Canadians the reality of Canada’s war in Afghanistan. Despite a campaign by the mass media, recent public opinion polls reveal that around fifty percent of Canadians think the government should bring our kids home. Our Conservative and Liberal leaders insist we must stay the course and continue to back the U.S. government and NATO. The Bloc Quebecois says we should pull out. Jack Layton and the NDP have offered a qualified call for withdrawal. Elizabeth May and the Green Party have maintained a strange silence on the issue.

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear some Canadian general or colonel strongly advocate an active military role in Afghanistan. We are told that Canadian forces are fighting a war to defeat the Taliban, defend the democratic government in Kabul, and help with economic reconstruction. But when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice comes to Canada, she emphasizes that Canada is in Afghanistan to support U.S. policy objectives.

The Geostrategic Implications of the Baloch Insurgency: By Tarique Niazi


Balochistan's strategic significance and natural endowment makes it a critical province for Pakistan. Strategically, Balochistan bridges Central, South, Southeast and East Asia on one end, and Central Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East on the other. Regional states, especially India, cannot reach the energy and trade markets of the Caspian Sea region without transit through Balochistan, which Pakistan denies to India despite repeated pleas on New Delhi's behalf by Washington. India absorbs punitive freight costs by routing its trade goods through the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, even for shipments to Afghanistan. Since 2001, New Delhi has made great strides in reaching out to Baloch leaders, whose National Jirga has now made it a party to the arbitration of their "Accession to Pakistan Pact" in the ICJ (The Nation, November 13).

India is also wary of the Sino-Pakistan naval port on the Arabian Sea, which has raised Beijing's profile in the Indian Ocean. India is even more concerned over Taliban-inspired "militant groups" who operate in Indian-administered Kashmir. As the Taliban are widely believed to have their operational bases in Balochistan, they equally worry India's allies in the region, especially Afghanistan and Iran. Afghanistan resents Pakistan's patronage of the Taliban, which have become the largest threat to its stability since their regrouping in 2003. Iran is also unhappy with Islamabad's policy toward the Taliban due to the group's anti-Shiite theology and the subversive operations of the Taliban's allies, such as Jandallah, in Iran's Sunni-dominated province of Sistan-Balochistan.

Besides these external dynamics, Pakistan is not helping its cause either with its continued military repression of the Baloch national movement, the latest manifestation of which is the alleged abduction by its security forces of 6,000 Baloch youth who have been kept in illegal detention for years (The Nation, November 8). Although none of Pakistan's neighboring countries threatens Pakistan's integrity, every Pakistani's worst fear, however, is that Islamabad's repressive push in Balochistan will cause the province to revisit their accession to Pakistan.

Baghdad: The New Saigon?: Patrick J. Buchanan

WND Commentary
Baghdad: The new Saigon?

Posted: November 14, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

It appears the Beltway bombing halt agreed upon at the Bush-Pelosi summit is over.

Falling in Line on Israel: Stephen Zunes

Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and the author ofTinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press). He serves as Middle East editor of Foreign Policy in Focus.

The election of a Democratic majority in the House and Senate is unlikely to result in any serious challenge to the Bush administration’s support for Israeli attacks against the civilian populations of its Arab neighbors and the Israeli government’s ongoing violations of international humanitarian law.

The principal Democratic Party spokesmen on foreign policy will likely be Tom Lantos in the House of Representatives and Joe Biden in the Senate, both of whom have been longstanding and outspoken supporters of a series of right-wing Israeli governments and opponents of the Israeli peace movement. And, despite claims—even within the progressive press—that future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a “consistent supporter of human rights,” such humanitarian concerns have never applied to Arabs, since she is a staunch defender of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his predecessor Ariel Sharon.

Upcoming 110th Congress Will Screw the Palestinians: Bill and Kathleen Christison

Kathleen and Bill Christison: Democrats Don't Care

War of Aggression Thwarted?: Gordon Prather

Well, perhaps you’d better check out the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress in 1992.

Then there’s the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Then came Title IV of the Iran Freedom Support Act [P.L. 109-293] – also passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority – which principally threatens Russia for its continued construction of a nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

The Iran Freedom Support Act also amends and updates the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996.

Christian Zionism: An Egregious Threat to US-Mideast Understanding: Council for the National Interest

U.S. Policy in the Middle EastChristian Zionism, a belief that paradise for Christians can only be achieved once Jews are in control of the Holy Land, is gathering strength in the United States and forging alliances that are giving increasingly weird shape to American policy toward the Middle East. The nature of the movement and its detrimental impact on policy was the subject of the 22nd Capitol Hill public hearing presented by the Council for the National Interest yesterday.

A new Zogby International poll commissioned by the CNI Foundation shows that 31 percent of those surveyed in the national poll strongly believe or somewhat believe in the ideas behind Christian Zionism, defined as "the belief that Jews must have all of the promised land, including all of Jerusalem, to facilitate the second coming of the messiah." Other polls bear similar messages, that 53% of Americans believe that Israel was given by God to the Jews (Pew), and that 59% of the American public believes the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelations will come true (CNN/Time.)

Let's Now Charge the Accomplices: John Pilger

In a show trial whose theatrical climax was clearly timed to promote George W Bush in the American midterm elections, Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced to hang. Drivel about "end of an era" and "a new start for Iraq" was promoted by the usual false moral accountants, who uttered not a word about bringing the tyrant’s accomplices to justice. Why are these accomplices not being charged with aiding and abetting crimes against humanity?

Why isn’t George Bush Sr. being charged?

In 1992, a congressional inquiry found that Bush as president had ordered a cover-up to conceal his secret support for Saddam and the illegal arms shipments being sent to Iraq via third countries. Missile technology was shipped to South Africa and Chile, then "on sold" to Iraq, while US Commerce Department records were falsified. Congressman Henry Gonzalez, chairman of the House of Representatives Banking Committee, said: "[We found that] Bush and his advisers financed, equipped and succored the monster . . ."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Road to Hell: Gary Kamiya Reviews George Packer's "The Assassin's Gate: America in Iraq"

The road to hell

In the definitive book about the Iraq war, liberal hawk George Packer tells the whole story of America's worst foreign-policy debacle -- and reveals how good intentions can go terribly wrong.

By Gary Kamiya

Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

BooksOctober 7, 2005 | Most of the American left lined up against the war in Iraq. But some did not. Among the liberal intellectuals who supported the invasion was George Packer, a staff writer for the New Yorker. His new book, "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq," proves that holding strong opinions about a subject does not prevent a journalist of integrity from reporting the truth, even if it flies in the face of what he had believed. "The Assassins' Gate" is almost certain to stand as the most comprehensive journalistic account of the greatest foreign-policy debacle in U.S. history.

A funny thing happened to Packer: He went to Iraq. Reporting is a solvent that dissolves illusions quickly if one has an open mind, and Packer brought that and much more. His first-rate reporting from occupied Iraq, and his superb work covering the corridors of power in Washington, offers an extraordinarily wide-ranging portrait of the Iraq war, from its genesis in neoconservative think tanks to its catastrophic execution to its devastating effects on ordinary Americans and Iraqis. Anthony Shadid, in "Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War," offers a deeper portrait of the Iraqi people, but he does not have Packer's majestic scope. "The Assassins' Gate" is the best book yet about the Iraq war.

Neo-Conservatism: R. I. P. by Gary Kamiya

Nov. 14, 2006 | The neoconservatives who dreamed up America's Iraq nightmare are rushing desperately about, searching for scapegoats. Their favorite whipping boy is yesterday's jutting-jawed hero, Donald Rumsfeld, who has been unceremoniously tossed onto the scrapheap. But they also blame the National Security Council, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Paul Bremer, Gen. Tommy Franks and George W. Bush himself. The only thing they don't blame is the actual culprit -- neoconservative ideology itself.

The neocon finger-pointing over who lost Iraq, recently showcased in Vanity Fair, obscures the fact that Bush's war was a laboratory in which their doctrine was tested -- and completely failed. This failure was manifested on the ground and confirmed by the midterms. Most Americans don't even know what neoconservatism is, but they know a failure when they see it -- and they decisively rejected it.

Unfortunately, Bush himself and the key figures in his administration continue to cling, with the fervor of true believers, to neoconservative ideology. Bush has taken some potentially positive steps, like dumping Rumsfeld and replacing him with the more pragmatic Robert Gates, and saying he's open to "any idea" on Iraq. And he is now under enormous pressure, not just from Democrats but also from his own party, to implement profound changes in his Middle East policies. But it remains doubtful whether a figure as dogmatic and inflexible as Bush, who regards his "war on terror" as a sacred duty, will be able to change his approach. It is essential that the fundamental failure of neoconservatism be recognized, to prevent more foreign policy debacles like Iraq.

Neoconservatism is a notoriously slippery and hard-to-define term, in part because its definition has shifted as its enemies have changed. The first generation of neoconservatives, including Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Irving Kristol and Norman Podoretz, were former liberals who believed that America needed to stand up and fight communism. Accusing their former colleagues on the left of going soft, they claimed that America's survival and the fate of the free world required toughness, not compromise. (Kristol defined a neoconservative as a "liberal mugged by reality," which goes a long way to explaining why the ideology gained new adherents after 9/11.) The second generation of neocons, including Robert Kagan, William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz, continued to believe in American exceptionalism and the virtues of force, but they added an idealistic note: America should not just battle evil but also promote democracies around the world. The "good" they sought, however, was not purely altruistic but inseparably bound up with America's self-interest. They wanted America to exercise "benevolent global hegemony." It was axiomatic that what is good for America is good for the rest of the world.

Israel's Key Ally: U. S. Evangelicals: International Herald Tribune

When a Christian-Jewish group ran this ad during the Lebanon war, evangelicals responded en masse to support Israel, an official said. (International Fellowship of Christians and Jews)

Israel's key ally: U.S. evangelicals

Three-way political alliance draws in Republican leaders

WASHINGTON: As Israeli bombs fell over Lebanon for a second week in July, the Reverend John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with 3,500 evangelicals for the first conference of his newly founded organization, Christians United for Israel.

At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republican senators and the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Hagee read letters of greetings from President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatched the crowd with a message for their congressmen.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cheney Pushing Israel Toward Fascism: by Dean Andromidas

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has sealed an agreement to bring into his government Israel's answer to Benito Mussolini. This new partner, Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Is Our Home) Party, has called for "transferring" Arab Israelis out of Israel, and bombing both Cairo and Tehran. An emigré from Russian Moldava in 1978, Lieberman also reputedly has ties to the Russian Mafia.

Slated to become Israel's "Minister in charge of strategic questions," Lieberman will be responsible for "coordinating" Israel's policy towards Iran. His entry into the government is widely seen as a signal that Israel would attack Iran, as Israel devolves into a full-fledged fascist state.

But make no mistake: It is not the Israeli Prime Minister who is putting Israel on the road to fascism, but U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and the powerful financial interests who stand behind him. Hell-bent on a new war against Iran, Cheney wants to ensure that he can use Israel as his hand-grenade in his plans for a new Mideast war. According to Israeli intelligence sources, since the end of the Lebanon war, Cheney and his neo-con allies have been working to bring into power their real candidate as Israel's Mussolini, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, chairman of the Likud Party and protégé of U.S. synarchist George Shultz.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

U. S. versus AIPAC by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar

Anyone remotely familiar with the American political landscape knows that the Israeli lobby plays a very large role in shaping US foreign policy in the Middle East. This influence has been achieved through clever use of financial muscle and control of large sections of the media from newspapers to cable TV channels to think-tank organisations. Many of the Israeli lobby groups of today can trace their roots to the early 50s, when the American Jewish population needed to organise itself to fight the existing hidden prejudices and discrimination and to break the hidden barriers to their advancement. In their fight to overcome these difficulties they targeted both the media and the politicians. It was thought (correctly) that media played a very important role in creating or destroying the public image of any minority group in the country.

But somehow along the way, some of these organisations were hijacked by Zionists who equated Jewishness with being the loyal supporter of Israel. This minority group set about turning these lobbying groups’ agendas from one of fighting against prejudice to one of working to advance Israel’s interest. A large number of Jewish Americans, naturally did not and do not agree with the aim of these Zionists. This silent majority (such as the Neturei Karta group, Peace now movement etc) is seen by the Zionists as traitors to the state of Israel and not real Jews.