Saturday, September 15, 2007

No Kidding!! Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil

"AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says......"

Bush setting America up for war with Iran

(Click on map to enlarge)
The Sunday Telegraph

"Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq - arming and training militants - would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories.......

Recent developments over Iraq appear to fit with the pattern of escalation predicted by Pentagon officials.

Gen David Petraeus, Mr Bush's senior Iraq commander, denounced the Iranian "proxy war" in Iraq last week as he built support in Washington for the US military surge in Baghdad.

The US also announced the creation of a new base near the Iraqi border town of Badra, the first of what could be several locations to tackle the smuggling of weapons from Iran.

A State Department source familiar with White House discussions said that Miss Rice, under pressure from senior counter-proliferation officials to acknowledge that military action may be necessary, is now working with Mr Cheney to find a way to reconcile their positions and present a united front to the President......"

Was Israeli raid a dry run for attack on Iran?

Mystery surrounds last week's air foray into Syrian territory. The Observer's Foreign Affairs Editor attempts to unravel the truth behind Operation Orchard and allegations of nuclear subterfuge

Peter Beaumont
Sunday September 16, 2007
The Observer

"......In a series of piecemeal leaks from US officials that gave the impression of being co-ordinated, a narrative was laid out that combined nuclear skulduggery and the surviving members of the 'axis of evil': Iran, North Korea and Syria.

It also combined a series of neoconservative foreign policy concerns: that North Korea was not being properly monitored in the deal struck for its nuclear disarmament and was off-loading its material to Iran and Syria, both of which in turn were helping to rearm Hizbollah.

Underlying all the accusations was a suggestion that recalled the bogus intelligence claims that led to the war against Iraq: that the three countries might be collaborating to supply an unconventional weapon to Hizbollah......

According to this version of events, a North Korean ship, officially carrying a cargo of cement, docked three days before the raid in the Syrian port of Tartus. That ship was also alleged to be carrying nuclear equipment.

It is an angle that has been pushed hardest by the neoconservative hawk and former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. But others have entered the fray, among them the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who, without mentioning Syria by name, suggested to Fox television that the raid was linked to stopping unconventional weapons proliferation......

So Operation Orchard can be seen as a dry run, a raid using the same heavily modified long-range aircraft, procured specifically from the US with Iran's nuclear sites in mind. It reminds both Iran and Syria of the supremacy of its aircraft and appears to be designed to deter Syria from getting involved in the event of a raid on Iran - a reminder, if it were required, that if Israel's ground forces were humiliated in the second Lebanese war its airforce remains potent, powerful and unchallenged.

And, critically, the raid on Syria has come as speculation about a war against Iran has begun to re-emerge after a relatively quiet summer......

Perhaps more worrying are the well-sourced claims from conservative thinktanks in the US that there have been 'instructions' by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney to roll out support for a war against Iran......"

Palestinian Authority weighs postponing int'l peace summit

"Amid growing skepticism here and in several Arab capitals over the prospects of the US-sponsored Middle East conference, the Palestinian Authority is considering asking Washington to postpone it because the Palestinians are not ready to strike a deal on "fundamental issues," senior PA officials here told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend.

Those issues include the status of Jerusalem, the future borders of a Palestinian state and the problem of the Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinians, they added, are also "disturbed" by the fact that several Arab countries have hinted that they would stay away from the conference, which is slated for November.

In addition, they warned, the conference is likely to aggravate the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas, which has come out strongly against it.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who visited Jeddah and Amman last week, apparently failed to persuade the Saudis and Jordanians to take part in the conference. The Egyptians are also reported to have expressed reservations about the planned conference, warning that the lack of preparations for it would turn it into a mere photo opportunity......."


Sorry, but I don't believe this story for one minute. When the headmistress Rice tells them to attend, they will all attend; mark my words.

Iran strategy divides Bush administration

By Helene Cooper

"......Bush's language has turned up by another notch the administration's continuing proxy war with Tehran for supremacy in the Middle East. But in the administration, some of Bush's top deputies are still wrangling over whether a diplomatic strategy on Iran that is advocated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her top aides has any hope of reining in Iran's nuclear program or prompting a change in Iranian behavior.

With regard to Iraq in particular, Rice's decision that the United States would participate in talks with Iranian officials prompted second-guessing from more hawkish officials in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, who pushed for further isolation of Iran. Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, acknowledged in his testimony to Congress last week that the talks had done little to restrain what he called Iran's "malign" influence.......

"If I were the Iranians, what I'd be freaked out about is that the other Arab states didn't protest" the Israeli airstrike in Syria, said George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "The Arab world nonreaction is a signal to Iran, that Arabs aren't happy with Iran's power and influence, so if the Israelis want to go and intimidate and violate the airspace of another Arab state that's an ally of Iran, the other Arab states aren't going to do anything."......"

A Conservative Estimate of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: $108 Billion

by Shirl McArthur
(a retired U.S. foreign service officer, is a consultant based in the Washington, DC area)

Global Research, September 15, 2007
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA)

"Because of the uncertainties and ambiguities associated with U.S. aid to Israel, arriving at a precise figure for total direct U.S. aid to Israel probably is not possible. Parts of it are buried in the budgets of other government agencies—mostly the Defense Department (DOD)—or in a form not easily quantifiable—such as the early disbursement of aid, allowing Israel a direct gain and the U.S. Treasury a direct loss of interest on the unspent money. Given these caveats, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) conservatively estimates cumulative total direct U.S. aid to Israel at $107.961 billion........"

Who Killed the Sheik?

LinkTV’s “Mosaic Intelligence Report” analyzes the assassination of Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, President Bush’s chief ally in Anbar province, from a Middle Eastern perspective.

The General Came to Washington


"Blend a war and a presidential campaign and you have a recipe for 200 proof mendacity, as the Petraeus hearings at the start of the week triumphantly proved.

Take the war first. Into the witness chair in the Senate chamber marched General Petraeus, the blaze of ribbons on his chest suggesting actual combat experience somewhat longer than the modest four years his record discloses. He was once shot in he chest, it’s true, but that was in a military exercise in the U.S. when a soldier’s gun went off by accident......"

December 10, 2015:

"Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government, conducted a telephone call with Saudi monarch King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in which he underlined his government's adherence to Makkah accord signed between Hamas and Fatah factions. He also urged Mahmoud Abbas to resume dialog to resolve their differences."

US meddling in Lebanon's internal affairs again…

Al-Manar Special - Hanan Awarekeh

"15/09/2007 The US ambassador to Beirut claimed on Friday that his country would not meddle in Lebanon’s upcoming presidential poll but made clear that Washington will not recognize anyone it viewed as a "renegade" head of state.
“We continue to recognize the government that has the vote of confidence in parliament,” Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman said, referring to the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora which enjoys wide US backing.
“The new president will trigger the formation of a new government but until that time we will recognize the government that has the vote of confidence of parliament,” according to Feltman.
Feltman said that if President Emile Lahoud appoints, as he has suggested, someone to provisionally replace Saniora, in case they didn't elect someone before 25 of September, the US would not condone such a move.
In a separate issue, Feltman expressed his country's concern that Hezbollah has weapons that could reach deep inside the Palestinian occupied territories and alleged that there was clear evidence Hezbollah was still smuggling weapons across the Syrian border, in violation of UN resolutions, according to his expressions. "

Judith Miller, Report For Duty Now! Report: Suspected nuclear shipment prompted IAF raid over Syria

"An IAF raid over Syria allegedly occurred three days after the country received a shipment of material from North Korea labeled as cement, according to a senior US expert on the Middle East, as reported in the Washington Post Saturday.

The expert, who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to avoid compromising his sources, said the attack seemingly targeted a northern Syrian facility that was labeled an agricultural research center, close to the Turkish border. According to the expert, Israel has kept a close eye on the facility, believing that Syria was using it to extract uranium from phosphates.

It was not clear what the ship arriving from North Korea was actually carrying, although Israeli sources largely believed it was delivering nuclear equipment, the expert told the Washington Post. The ship arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus on September 3; the attack supposedly occurred on September 6.

The expert told the Washington Post that the attack was under such strict operational security that the pilots conducting the attack were briefed only after they were in the air......."

The Ambitious Delusions of George Bush and David Petraeus

By John Nichols

"We now learn that General David Petraeus fancies himself a Dwight Eisenhower for the 21st century......

And while the testimony of a general and the preaching of a president may move some poll numbers temporarily, their empty words cannot change the reality that Eisenhower was right about such endeavors. "All of us have heard this term 'preventative war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it," the 34th president told a press conference in 1953. "In this day and time... I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing."

Those are the words of a general who had the wisdom required to assume the presidency, and of a president who had the wisdom to serve as commander-in-chief. It is a deficit of such wisdom that disqualifies both David Petraeus and George Bush, and that ill serves both Iraq and America."

In the Colosseum, thoughts turn to death

By Robert Fisk

"......But there is, it seems, something primal in our desire for judicial killings. George Bernard Shaw once wrote that if Christians were thrown to the lions in the Royal Albert Hall, there would be a packed house every night. I'm sure he was right. Did not those thousands of Romans pack this very same, sinister Colosseum in which I was lying to watch just such carnage? Was not Saddam Hussein's execution part of our own attempt to distract the Iraqis with bread and circuses, the shrieking executioners on the mobile phone video the Baghdad equivalent of the gladiators putting their enemies to the sword? Nor, let us remember, is execution only the prerogative of states and presidents......

For bin Laden, 11 September 2001 was "punishment" for America's bloodshed in the Muslim world; indeed, more and more attacks by both guerrillas and orthodox soldiers are turning into revenge operations. Was not the first siege of Fallujah revenge for the killing and desecration of the bodies of American mercenaries? Wasn't Abu Ghraib part of "our" revenge for 11 September and for our failures in Iraq?

Many of the suicide attacks in the Middle East – in "Palestine", in Afghanistan, in Iraq – are specifically named after "martyrs" killed in previous operations. Al-Qa'ida in Iraq stated quite explicitly that it had "executed" US troops in retaliation for the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl south of Baghdad.

Yet I fear the real problem goes beyond the individual act of killing, judicial or otherwise. In a weird, frightening way, we believe in violent death. We regard it as a policy option, as much to do with self-preservation on a national scale as punishment for named and individual wrongdoers. We believe in war. For what is aggression – the invasion of Iraq in 2003, for example – except capital punishment on a mass scale? We "civilised" nations – like the dark armies we believe we are fighting – are convinced that the infliction of death on an awesome scale can be morally justified.

And that's the problem, I'm afraid. When we go to war, we are all putting on hoods and pulling the hangman's lever. And as long as we send our armies on the rampage – whatever the justification – we will go on stringing up and shooting and chopping off the heads of our "criminals" and "murderers" with the same enthusiasm as the Romans cheered on the men of blood in the Colosseum 2,000 years ago."

Proxy war could soon turn to direct conflict, analysts warn

US strikes on Iran predicted as tension rises over arms smuggling and nuclear fears

Julian Borger and Ian Black
Saturday September 15, 2007
The Guardian

"The growing US focus on confronting Iran in a proxy war inside Iraq risks triggering a direct conflict in the next few months, regional analysts are warning.....

"The proxy war that has been going on in Iraq may now cross the border. This is a very dangerous period," Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said......

In such circumstances, last week's Israeli air strike against a mystery site in northern Syria has triggered speculation over its motives. Israel has been silent about the attack.....

The US has called a meeting of major powers in Washington next Friday to discuss Iran's defiance of UN resolutions calling for its suspension of uranium enrichment. It comes amid signs that the Bush administration is running out of patience with diplomatic efforts to curb the nuclear programme. Hawks led by the vice-president, Dick Cheney, are intensifying their push for military action, with support from Israel and privately from some Sunni Gulf states.

"Washington is seriously reviewing plans to bomb not just nuclear sites, but oil sites, military sites and even leadership targets. The talk is of multiple targets," said Mr Cronin. "In Washington there is very serious discussion that this is a window that has to be looked at seriously because there is only six months to 'do something about Iran' before it will be looked at as a purely political issue."

Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief who is now a security analyst, said: "The decision to attack was made some time ago. It will be in two stages. If a smoking gun is found in terms of Iranian interference in Iraq, the US will retaliate on a tactical level, and they will strike against military targets. The second part of this is: Bush has made the decision to launch a strategic attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, although not before next year. He has been lining up some Sunni countries for tacit support for his actions."......"

70% of the Palestinian population are either refugees or displaced persons

"BETHLEHEM, (Badil)-- Twenty-five years since the massacre of Palestinian refugees committed by Lebanese Phalange militias with the complicity of Israel's army controlling the area in the camps of Sabra and Shatila, Palestinian refugees remain without protection and the search for rights-based solutions to their plight.

Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) are the largest and longest-standing unresolved case of refugees and displaced persons in the world. In 2006-2007, there were appoximately 7 million Palestinian refugees and 450,000 internally displaced Palestinians representing 70 percent of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (10.1 million). The legal status of some 400,000 additional Palestinians is unclear, but they too are likely to be refugees. The forced displacement of Palestinians, both refugee and non-refugees is ongoing in the OPT and Israel as well as in some host countries, in particular in Iraq and Lebanon.

Displacement in 2006-2007 occurred as a result of Israel's war on Lebanon (16,000 refugees displaced), the events surrounding the destruction of Nahr el-Bared camp (31,000 refugees displaced) in Lebanon and the persecution faced by Palestinian refugees in occupied Iraq (over 15,000 refugees displaced). These recent events highlight the lack of protection of Palestinian refugees and the need for rights-based durable solutions.

Right-based solutions are not, however, on the agenda of the international 'peace conference' to be held in November. This conference will likely not address the root causes of the conflict; hence, perpetuating the conditions which have led to the massacres and the forced displacement of Palestinians. In the absence of a search for durable solutions based on their right to reparations, including return and restitution, on the part of much of the international community and the United Nations, Palestinian refugees and internally displaced have ensured their own protection by attempting to effect these rights by themselves. "

Qassem: Whoever buys Israeli goods contributes in killing Palestinians

"NABLUS, (PIC)-- Abdul Sattar Qassem, professor of political science at the Najah national university in Nablus, has called for boycotting Israeli commodities, considering the continued purchase of those goods as a kind of support for the IOF troops in order to kill Palestinian.

In an article written by Abdul Sattar, he said that whoever buys Israeli goods supports the Israeli economy and gives the IOF troops donations in order to continue with their aggression against the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic peoples.

The professor elaborated: "If one kg of Israeli dates is worth about 35 shekels, and the expenses of making one bullet of M16 rifle is worth 8 agora (an Israeli currency unit), that means that the Palestinian consumer contributes to the manufacture of about 44 bullets, which is enough to kill 44 Palestinians."

"Why doesn't the PA ban the importation of Israeli goods which could be replaced with Palestinian ones or which are dispensable?" He questioned, urging the Palestinian people to take the initiative themselves and start to boycott the Israeli goods."

US, EU accomplices in PA repression of its citizens

A Good Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Israeli-occupied WB

"The United States and the European Union (EU) are once again displaying criminal hypocrisy by keeping silent in the face of mounting repressive measures and clearly serious human rights violations carried out by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in Ramallah against its citizens.

For months now, particularly since the mid-June events in the Gaza Strip, PA security forces and faceless Fatah militiamen have been carrying out a spate of repression, intimidation and human rights violations in the West Bank, targeting mostly innocent people on suspicion of supporting Hamas.

The PA government claims that the reign of repression is intended to prevent Hamas from building a militia similar to the Executive Force which defeated Fatah’s forces in the Gaza Strip a few months ago. However, it is amply clear to all keen observers that this excuse has very little credibility, given the ubiquitous presence of the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, which makes it virtually impossible for Hamas or any other anti-Israeli resistance group to establish a serious military presence in the occupied territory.

Obviously, Israel and the PA realize this fact very well. Nonetheless, the two accomplices continue to use the mendacious excuse to justify unmitigated violations of Palestinians’ human and civil rights, including murder, imprisonment and attacks on property.

American and EU diplomats, as well as a large net of spies, observers, NGOs and other agents should be fully-aware of the daily acts of repression being carried out by PA security forces, occasionally in league with Israel, against innocent Palestinians.

Last week, Abbas’s security forces violently repressed a student meeting at the Hebron University, beating savagely students for “holding a meeting without permission.” The students were protesting a tuition hike and absence of loans that would enable thousands of poverty-stricken students to pursue college education. During the ugly “beating party,” by mostly ignorant and undisciplined security personnel, five reporters were beaten, including Yosri al-Jamal of Reuters and Hazem Badr of Agance France Presse.

This writer visited al-Jamal in hospital where he was being hospitalized for severe beating on the head by none other than the Commander of the Hebron region, Samih Seifi.

I really don’t know where else in the world security commanders, let alone phony security commanders (phony because these so-called commanders cower when confronted with the lowest-ranking Israeli occupation soldier), slap respected journalists and cameramen on the face.

The incident at the Hebron University attracted wide media attention, probably because journalists were involved. However, there are daily and more dangerous violations of the human and civil rights of ordinary Palestinian citizens, including abductions, prolonged detention, physical and psychological torture which pass unreported by much of the world media, as if Palestinians were children of a lesser God, and as if citizens had to be journalists in order to be spared the savagery and brutality at the hands of security personnel.

A few weeks ago, a Fatah “officer” shot and killed another student at al-Najah National University in the northern West Bank town of Nablus in full view of hundreds of students. Until this moment, it is still unclear if the murderer is in prison or has been allowed to get away with murder.

Similarly, hundreds of licensed charities and civic organizations have been closed down for alleged connections with Hamas when in fact such connections don’t exist in 98% of cases.

Needless to say, all these crimes, carried out under the rubric of maintaining law and order, are taking place outside the confines of the rule of law since the Fayyad government in Ramallah gave the security agencies a carte blanch to act and behave as deemed fit to avenge Fatah’s defeat in Gaza. Predictably, the ultimate and natural outcome of this policy is the evaporation of the rule of law and transformation of the West Bank into a kind of a wild, wide West.

The Ramallah regime lives on financial aid from the West, particularly the EU (American aid goes mostly to strengthen Abbas’s security forces). And Western silence toward these violations is interpreted by the PA leadership as approval and encouragement.

This is really sad and lamentable since the EU and US would have protested such violations if the perpetrator had been a different regime, say Syria or Iran. I understand that insecure regimes are induced to be despotic and repressive to ensure survival and stability. However, countries claiming to be concerned for human rights, such as EU countries, ought to remind petty dictators such as the PA, which is really a blight upon itself and its own people, that wrong doing and wrong doers should be dealt with through the due process of law, not through gangsterism and lawless violence.

It is probably useless and pointless to appeal to the vast bulk of European governments, not to mention the odious Bush administration, to pay more attention to human rights violations by the PA since the conspicuously-hypocritical policies of the US and Europe toward the Palestinian people and their enduring plight are part of the problem and can’t be part of the solution.

But there are many honest-minded Europeans, including members of the EU parliament as well as ordinary citizens who wouldn’t approve of their governments and taxpayers bankrolling the repressive practices of a regime whose very survival depends on foreign aid.

No one is asking the EU to embrace Hamas. However, EU governments and peoples must always make sure that EU aid money won’t be used to repress Palestinians, already thoroughly tormented by more than 40 years of the Nazi-like Israeli occupation.

It is just unacceptable to beat people, torture detainees, and vandalize private property under the pretext of avenging Fatah’s defeat in Gaza.

In short, the EU, which has a lot of leverage on the Abbas’s regime, ought to ask the Fayyad government in Ramallah why the rule of law in the West Bank has been taking an open-ended vacation while Palestinians’ rights are being raped and violated by a police state without a state that claims to be serving Palestinian interests."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Manufacturing Consent to Attack Hizbullah: US claims HIzbullah still smuggling arms through Syria

"The US ambassador to Lebanon said on Friday that there was clear evidence the Shiite terror organization Hizbullah was still smuggling weapons across the Syrian border, in violation of UN resolutions. "We find the evidence to be strong that arms smuggling is continuing across the Syrian-Lebanese border," Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman told AFP, without giving any specific details.

"We are concerned by the reports and by the public statements by Hizbullah that Hizbullah has actively rearmed." He added: "In our view this poses one of the biggest dangers to Lebanon and it is a violation of the spirit and the letter of a number of Security Council resolutions."........"

Darth Vader: chaos if U.S. pulls out too soon from Iraq

"GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 14 (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday accused critics of the administration's war strategy of ignoring the bloodshed and chaos he said would follow a premature U.S. troop withdrawal.

Speaking shortly after President George W. Bush announced a limited withdrawal of about 20,000 U.S. troops by next July, Cheney pounded home the argument that the United States must stay in Iraq for the long haul to combat terrorism.

"In all the calls we've heard for an American withdrawal from Iraq, these negative consequences haven't really been denied, they've simply been ignored," he said.....

If U.S. and coalition forces left Iraq before Iraqis could defend themselves, moderates would be "crushed," extremists would push the country into "chaos," and competing factions including groups backed by Iran "would unloose an all-out war, with the violence unlikely to be contained within Iraq," Cheney said.

"The ensuing carnage would further destabilize the Middle East and magnify the threat to our friends throughout the region," he said. "

EXCLUSIVE: In One Of His Last Interviews Before His Death Iraqi Tribal Leader Abu Risha Details Relationship With U.S. Military

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"AMY GOODMAN: The assassinated tribal leader was named Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha. He died Thursday in a bombing near his home in Ramadi. One year ago to the day, Abu Risha organized twenty-five pro-US Sunni clans to form the Anbar Awakening to fight members of al-Qaeda. His assassination is considered a major setback for US forces in Anbar. President Bush met with Sheikh Abu Risha just ten days ago, during his brief visit to Anbar province.

Listeners and viewers of Democracy Now! might recognize Sheikh Abu Risha’s name. On Tuesday we played an excerpt from an expose that aired on Al Jazeera English. It was produced by Rick Rowley, David Enders and Hiba Dawood, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. They interviewed Sheikh Abu Risha in Jordan in July......

AMY GOODMAN: Filmmaker and journalist Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films, who produced this piece, joins us in the New York studio. He has just returned from Iraq and Jordan, interviewed the sheikh in Jordan in July.

Welcome. It's great to have you back. Just a few days ago, we played this documentary. Talk about the significance of the assassination of Abu Risha, Rick.

RICK ROWLEY: Well, his assassination just tears another huge hole in the story that the American administration has been trying to sell us about a victory and a success in Iraq. You know, in their story, Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was a Lawrence of Arabia figure who was leading an uprising of Sunni tribes that was going to kick out al-Qaeda and was going to be a close ally of the Americans. The situation is obviously much more complicated than that.

As our film showed, you know, first of all, the group is internally split and divisive. I mean, there are different factions who are fighting for control of it. Al-Qaeda or the Sunni tribes, insurgent tribes, who are opposed to Abu Risha are still active and present in Anbar. And the most important fact is that many of these groups who are part of this Anbar Awakening and Iraq Awakening are actually war criminals who are responsible for sectarian cleansing and who are arming and using US support to prepare themselves for a sectarian civil war......"

Where is Judith Miller When We Need Her?

U.S. confirms presence of North Korean nuclear experts in Syria

""Syria was on the U.S. nuclear watch list," a senior U.S. official said Friday, asserting that foreign technicians were in the country and that there had been possible contacts with suppliers for nuclear equipment.

Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary for nuclear nonproliferation policy, didn't name the suppliers, but said there were North Koreans in Syria and that he couldn't exclude that the network run by disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan was possibly involved.

Semmel was responding to questions about an alleged Israel Air Force airstrike in northern Syria last week. Neither side has explained what exactly happened, but a U.S. government official confirmed that Israeli warplanes were targeting weapons from Iran and destined for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

"There are indicators that they do have something going on there, he said," Semmel said. "We do know that there are a number of foreign technicians that have been in Syria. We do know that there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment. Whether anything transpired remains to be seen."

"So good foreign policy, good national security policy, would suggest that we pay very close attention to that, he said. We're watching very closely. Obviously, the Israelis We're watching very closely," he added.

Asked if the suppliers could have been North Koreans, he said: "There are North Korean people there. There's no question about that. Just as there are a lot of North Koreans in Iraq and Iran."...."

Poll: Civilian death toll in Iraq may top 1 million

A British survey offers the highest estimate to date

By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 14, 2007

".....The figure from ORB, a British polling agency that has conducted several surveys in Iraq, followed statements this week from the U.S. military defending itself against accusations it was trying to play down Iraqi deaths to make its strategy appear successful......

According to the ORB poll, a survey of 1,461 adults suggested that the total number slain during more than four years of war was more than 1.2 million.

ORB said it drew its conclusion from responses to the question about those living under one roof: "How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003?"

Based on Iraq's estimated number of households -- 4,050,597 -- it said the 1.2 million figure was reasonable.

There was no way to verify the number, because the government does not provide a full count of civilian deaths. Neither does the U.S. military.....

ORB said its poll had a margin of error of 2.4%. According to its findings, nearly one in two households in Baghdad had lost at least one member to war- related violence, and 22% of households nationwide had suffered at least one death. It said 48% of the victims were shot to death and 20% died as a result of car bombs, with other explosions and military bombardments blamed for most of the other fatalities.

The survey was conducted last month.

It was the highest estimate given so far of civilian deaths in Iraq. Last year, a study in the medical journal Lancet put the number at 654,965......"

هلع جنود إسرائيل

بقلم : البروفيسور عبد الستار قاسم

"بر إصابة الجنود الإسرائيليين بصاروخ فلسطيني بتاريخ 11/أيلول/2007 مثير ولا بد أن يستوقف المحللين العسكريين والسياسيين، ليس لأن الصاروخ قد أصاب الهدف، وإنما لأن عدد المصابين بالهلع من الجنود أكثر من عدد المصابين بالشظايا الحقيقية. تتضارب الأخبار حول أعداد المصابين، لكن يبقى هذا غير مهم، إنما المهم أن إسرائيل قد أقرت بأن أكثر من نصف المصابين قد أصيبوا بالهلع.

من المفترض أن جنود إسرائيل قد تعرضوا لتدريبات قاسية وصعبة، واعتادوا على أزيز الرصاص من فوقهم ومن تحتهم، وفي وعيهم ونومهم، وألفوا أصوات الانفجارات الضخمة في مناوراتهم، وخبروا الدبابات وهي تهاجمهم والطائرات وهي تقصف من فوق رؤوسهم. حسبما يظن العربي، جندي إسرائيل هو جندي مدرب ومتمرس وشجاع ويهاجم بقوة وبسالة. لكن من الواضح أن هذه الصورة العربية التقليدية ليست حقيقية، وهي موجودة في ذهن العربي من أجل إخفاء عجز الأنظمة العربية، وليس من أجل الحقيقة. الأنظمة العربية أنظمة شهوانية مأجورة متآمرة باحثة عن المتع والشهوة، وتعمل باستمرار على ترسيخ فكرة إسرائيل القوية التي لا تقهر من أجل تبرير الهزائم والذل والتنازل.

ثبت بوجه لا يقبل التأويل من خلال الحرب على لبنان، ومن خلال المواجهات مع المقاومة الفلسطينية أن الجندي الإسرائيلي خاو متهاو يحرص على حياة، وقد صدق السيد حسن عندما قال بأن إسرائيل أوهن من بيت العنكبوت.

لا بد أن تسلح أحدهم بالجرأة واستعمل الهاتف المحمول ليصور المشهد في المعسكر الإسرائيلي المستهدف، وهو سيصنع خيرا إن بث التسجيل لنرى كيف هلع جنود إسرائيل. لا بد أن أحدهم صرخ " وينك يا إمي؛ أو "يا حبيبتي يا إمي إلحقيني؛" أو هي يا بيي؛" أو ربما استغاث بفلسطينيين لرفع الصاروخ عن رأسه؛ أو استنجد "مشان محمد؛" أو مشان الله." قطعا ساد صراخ وعويل واستغاثات وجري بلا اتجاه. الأرقام التي أوردتها إسرائيل تشير بأن جنودها تحولوا إلى فئران مذعورة لا تدري إلى أي جحر تلوذ.

إذا كان صاروخ بدائي بسيط قد أصابهم بهذا الحجم من الذعر، فماذا ستفعل الصواريخ الأشد وطأة وأكثر دقة وأعظم حمولة؟ هذا حدث يؤكد بأن هذا الجيش ليس بجيش حروب حقيقية. هو جيش ممتاز في ملاقاة الأنظمة العربية، لكنه جيش هش جبان أمام محاربين حقيقيين.

ستقوم إسرائيل بالانتقام وستضرب غزة وستقتل وستدمر بسبب آلياتها العسكرية المتطورة، لكن الذي يكسب المعركة في النهاية هو الجندي على الأرض، وهو بالتأكيد ليس الجندي المذعور."

The Few Become Fewer: 1,000 Marines dead in 2 wars

Palestinian Diaspora: With or against collaboration?

An Excellent Article

Laith Marouf, The Electronic Intifada, Sep 14, 2007

"......The recent events have cast light on dark deeds: the collaboration between Mahmoud Abbas and associates like Mohammed Dahlan on the one hand, and Israel on the other; the transfer of weapons and training by the US and other countries to certain Palestinian militias whose mission was to overthrow the result of the January 2006 election. Palestinians see clearly that Abbas -- who embraces Israeli leaders while refusing to talk to other Palestinian factions -- was the author of the Oslo agreement that never even mentioned the word "occupation," and is now discussing a new "agreement of principles" that will cancel the right of return, legitimize Israeli settlements and threaten other basic rights. In short, what we have now is a clique of collaborators in control of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority "presidency" and much of what is left of the PLO.......

In the absence of alternative structures for representation, and with the emergence of the Internet, groups like SPHR and Al-Awda among others, and independent media like The Electronic Intifada started popping up across North America in the mid-1990s and early 2000s. After the second intifada broke out, they became the most visible and vocal forces standing up to Israeli and Zionist propaganda, providing a mechanism for young Palestinians in the Diaspora to talk to each other and organize. Thus, they also provided an invaluable service to the community: self-education and celebration. Zionist institutions grudgingly credited these projects with challenging the monopoly they had held on the western media narrative, making it harder to pass pro-Israeli propaganda without a response from an increasing number of articulate individuals......

.....Along with all the remarkable achievements of the movement within the student and labor unions and the anti-war movement, this created an unprecedented amount of maneuvering space for Palestinians. And here is where the problems started. Suddenly, all those "liberal" and "civilized" individuals understood that the train was leaving without them. Having failed to stop the movement, some are desperately trying to regain legitimacy in order to take control of this new space......

Why is all this happening now? When the day comes for Abbas to sign on the line -- giving up Palestinian rights -- he needs a Diaspora leadership that is in line with his decisions. In Canada, almost all Palestinian advocacy and community groups have been involved in these efforts, but our tried, tested and failed "elite" are trying very hard to take the helm once again -- if not by democracy then by any means necessary. Since these discussions started last year, some of the steadfast individuals have received physical threats and even death threats. And things have not got serious yet.

In the past two years in Europe, Palestinians were able to form an umbrella group that actually challenged the Abbas line, and tried to challenge the ban on the elected Hamas government. It may be no coincidence that now the old "elite" in Canada are receiving backing from Abbas and his entourage. Since last year there has been a rash of Fatah visits to Canada and the US where the primary goal is meeting with prospective allies here to prepare them for seats in a revived (but Abbas controlled) PLO. In recent months, Fatah has sent senior representatives to rally the support of Palestinians in Canada late last year and this summer following the events in Gaza and promised rewards to potential allies.

Palestinians in the Diaspora need to learn the lesson from Gaza and Lebanon. Although all Palestinians desire unity, it is impossible with those who are actively collaborating with the Israeli agenda and seeking to undermine the Palestinian movement for liberation. We cannot allow those who hijacked Palestinian institutions in Palestine in order to serve Israel to do the same in the Diaspora.

Many have argued that we need to revive and democratize the PLO, but the question is how. It is clear that those who still control the PLO structures will never willingly allow this to happen. There must be grassroots pressure to bring that about. If the PLO is not open to democratization, we should call for national and international conferences for all Palestinian communities to form a new democratic organization that represents all sections of our society. It will be an enormous challenge, but it is one we have to meet to make clear there is no mandate and no possibility for Abbas, or any other would-be collaborator, to sign away Palestinian rights. Judging from the emerging agenda of the US-planned "peace conference" in November, it may be now or never for us to act."

ناشط من "فتح" يتفقد "بحرارة" جنود الاحتلال الجرحى جراء قصف "زكيم"

حرّض مع الجنود الصهاينة على "حماس" عبر التلفزيون العبري

"الناصرة – المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

حملت القناة العاشرة بالتلفزيون الصهيوني مفاجأة لمشاهديها، عندما بثّت تقريراً عن جنود الاحتلال الذين أصيبوا جراء عملية قصف المقاومة قاعدة "زكيم" العسكرية الصهيونية، خلال تقديم العلاج لهم في مستشفى "برزيلاي" بالمجدل.

وتمثلت مفاجأة التقرير، في ظهور أحد ناشطي حركة فتح وهو يقوم بالاطمئنان الحار على جنود الاحتلال المصابين في عملية القصف التي نفذتها المقاومة الفلسطينية، راجياً لهم الشفاء العاجل، ومحرِّضاً جيش الاحتلال ضد حركة "حماس".

وظهر في التقرير الذي بثته القناة مساء الأربعاء (12/9)، الشاب الذي عرّف نفسه باسم "ثائر"، وهو أحد ناشطي "فتح" الذين أصيبوا في أحداث الحسم العسكري لقطاع غزة، حيث أخذ يحرِّض الجنود الصهاينة على حركة "حماس" ويؤكد في المقابل رغبة حركته في "السلام" مع الكيان الصهيوني.

وبدأ التقرير التلفزيوني بعرض لقاءات مع جنود الاحتلال من داخل المستشفى وعائلاتهم وهم يتحدثون عن حجم إصابتهم جراء سقوط صواريخ المقاومة، في العملية التي تبنتها "سرايا القدس" الجناح العسكري لحركة الجهاد الإسلامي، و"ألوية الناصر صلاح الدين" الجناح العسكري للجان المقاومة الشعبية.

وبعد هذه اللقاءات، كشف مراسل القناة العاشرة العبرية عما سماها "المفاجأة"، بوجود ناشط "فتح" المسمى "ثائر"، حيث يرقد في المستشفى ذاته الذي نقل إليه جنود الاحتلال، ولم تكن المفاجأة بهذا التزامن بل بإصرار الناشط المشار إليه على زيارة الجنود الصهاينة الجرحى والاطمئنان على وضعهم الصحي.

وعلّق المراسل على ذلك بالقول "تصادف غريب أنّ الجنود الجرحى من القصف الفلسطيني يعالجون في مستشفى برزيلاي مع الشاب الفتحاوي ثائر، وهو أصيب برصاص حركة حماس خلال أحداث غزة".

وظهر "ثائر" في التقرير وهو يتجوّل على كرسي متحرك بين غرف جنود الاحتلال ليسلم عليهم فرداً فرداً، معرباً عن حرصه على الاطمئنان على وضعهم الصحي بعد إصابتهم في قصف المقاومة، بينما أخذ يردد أمام كاميرا التلفزيون الصهيوني "إنها حماس لا تريد السلام فقط سياستها الطخ والقتل".

وأقبل "ثائر"، كما أظهر التقرير، بحرارة على أحد الجنود الصهاينة الجرحى وسلّم عليه مخاطباً إياه بالقول "حمداً لله على السلامة، نتمنى لكم السلامة والشفاء، فنحن في فتح نريد السلام أما هؤلاء في حماس فلا يريدون السلام بل القتل والدم".

وعلّق مراسل التلفزيون الصهيوني على ذلك بالقول "ثائر أصرّ على التسليم على جميع الجنود، وتمنى لهم الشفاء العاجل"، عدا عن ذلك فإنّ ثائر اتفق مع جنود الاحتلال على التحريض على المقاومة الفلسطينية وحركة "حماس".

ويُعالَج العشرات من ناشطي حركة "فتح" وما يُعرف بالتيار الانقلابي بالأجهزة الأمنية، الذين أصيبوا في أحداث الاقتتال الأخيرة التي شهدها قطاع غزة، في المستشفيات الصهيونية وبتصريح خاص من سلطات الاحتلال التي منحتهم تسهيلات العبور والعلاج."

Tomgram: Tony Karon on Growing Dissent among American Jews

Despite a Backlash, Many Jews Are Questioning Israel

By Tony Karon

".......Although I am not religious, I share Burg's view that universal justice is at the heart of the Jewish tradition. Growing up in apartheid South Africa was an object lesson in Jewish ethics. Yes, there was plenty of anti-Semitism in the colonial white society of my childhood, but the mantle of victimhood belonged to others. And if you responded to the in-no-way-exclusively-so, but very Jewish impulse to seek justice, you found yourself working side by side not only with the remarkable number of Jews who filled leadership roles in the liberation movement, but also with Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others.

Judaism's universal ethical calling can't really be answered if we live only among ourselves -- and Israel's own experience suggests it's essentially impossible to do so without doing injustice to others. Israel is only 59 years old, a brief moment in the sweep of Jewish history, and I'd argue that Judaism's survival depends instead on its ability to offer a sustaining moral and ethical anchor in a world where the concepts of nation and nationality are in decline (but the ferocity of nationalism may not be). Israel's relevance to Judaism's survival depends first and foremost on its ability, as Burg points out, to deliver justice, not only to its citizens, but to those it has hurt. "

More Hysteria From the Bitch: Rice concerned over Syrian nukes

"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in an interview on Fox New's Sean Hannity Show Thursday night expressed concern following reports that Syria may be building nuclear facilities, saying, "We have to have policies that prevent the world's most dangerous people from having the world's most dangerous weapons."

Rice did not mention any possible attack on Syria, but said the United States was working with its allies to "shut down activities".

"That's why we have a Proliferation Security Initiative that tries to intercept dangerous cargos. So this is something that's been at the highest point of the President's agenda since he came into power and we work every day and we watch it every day and we're vigilant about it and we're determined," Rice explained......."

An assassination that blows apart Bush's hopes of pacifying Iraq

Last week George Bush flew into Iraq to meet Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, leader of Anbar province
This week General David Petraeus told the US Congress how Anbar was a model for Iraq
Yesterday Abu Risha was assassinated by bombers in Anbar

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent

".......The testimony by General Petraeus to Congress earlier this week has proved effective from the point of view of the White House in establishing the US commander in Iraq as a credible advocate of the administration's military strategy.

But critics of General Petraeus have described him as "a military Paris Hilton" whose celebrity is not matched by his achievements. As commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul in 2003-4 was lauded for re-establishing Iraqi police units only for them to desert or join the insurgents who captured most of the city after the general left."

Military Drills - False Flag Provocation, Attack On Iran?

by Webster G. Tarpley

Global Research, September 14, 2007

"'Solid Curtain' And 'Citadel Shield 2007' Military Drills Raise Spectre Of Imminent False Flag Provocation And Attack On Iran By WASHINGTON, DC -- US military bases in the continental United States (CONUS) will go on special lockdown between September 17 and September 21 under the auspices of Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield '07, a reliable source reported today. Under these exercises, US installations will institute enhanced anti-terror force protection measures, with increased security at all gates. The increased security was so elaborate that base personnel were being warned to expect significant delays at all base entrances.

According to William Arkin's 2005 directory of military code names, Solid Curtain is a US Navy Fleet Forces Command anti-terrorism/force protection exercise. In Solid Curtain '03, Arkin reports, the drill scenario involved 15 simultaneous attacks across the country.....

These drills cause acute concern because they occur before the backdrop of widely reported preparations by the Cheney clique to manufacture a new 9/11 and/or a new Gulf of Tonkin incident to be used as a pretext for a US sneak attack on Iran, with an included option for martial law inside the United States.

On Friday, September 14, the US Air Force has instituted a stand-down for the alleged purpose of reviewing procedures after a B-52 transported six nuclear-armed cruise missiles from Minot AFB North Dakota to Barksdale AFB Louisiana. Intelligence community sources have pointed to the fact that Barksdale is the jumping off point for US air assets moving to the Persian Gulf, suggesting that US nuclear weapons are being readied for a strike on Iran. Another option might well be that one or more of the cruise missiles was destined for use in a false flag attack on an American city, a scenario alluded to by Cheney on April 15 in an interview on CBS New Face the Nation.

Solid Curtain and Citadel Shield will be taking place within the same general time frame as Vigilant Shield '08, scheduled to be held October 15-20, 2007, with a scenario that calls for the detonation of three radiological dispersal devices within the purview of USNORTHCOM (continental US) and the US Pacific Command.......

Recent terror events, such as London July 7, 2005, have occurred when drills and exercises went live or were flipped live by military and intelligence factions supporting the War of Civilizations, which such actions are meant to stoke. Most significantly, the original 9/11 coup d'etat by these same aggressive US military and intelligence factions was preceded and accompanied by installation security clampdowns of the type now imminent at the military bases in the Washington DC area and elsewhere......."

Mr Bush, your sheikh is dead

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

".......Consider the chain of events of the past few days.

* In a carefully stage-managed piece of theater, Bush visits al-Asad military air base in Anbar (not real Iraq) to stress his "surge" is working. He personally meets Abu Risha.
* Osama bin Laden, looking like a clone of himself with a stick-on beard, releases his first video in almost three years, proving he's alive and kicking. The video may or may be not be a fake.
* Petraeus and US Ambassador in Iraq Ryan Crocker start their presentation in front of Congress, assuring the US and the world the "surge" is a "success".
* Bin Laden releases his second tape in four days, praising one of the September 11, 2001, "martyrs". His image is on freeze-frame; his lips do not move.
*Bush announces he will recommend to the nation what he told Petraeus to recommend to Congress: not a drawdown, but the actual extension of the "surge" until next summer.
*Abu Risha, the man Petraeus relied on for the "success" of the "surge", is killed in Anbar. No wonder Petraeus defined it as "a tragic loss"......

Abu Risha may have also been killed by one of the top Sunni Iraqi-nationalist guerrilla groups for which throwing the occupation out remains the top priority - way beyond fighting the Shi'ite-dominated government in the Green Zone or Shi'ite militias. Al-Qaeda may boast a maximum of 800 or so jihadis in Iraq. The Sunni resistance has more than 100,000 fighters. The White House hurricane of spinning has simply erased the anti-occupation Sunni resistance masses from the ground........"

Mission … Evolving

By Peter Scheer

"......Nestled among assorted pseudo-announcements and stale slogans was a telling pitch from a president who has repeatedly revised his motive for war: “Our mission in Iraq will evolve.”

The surreal timeline of the Iraq war is littered with moments like these—too many about-faces and nonsensical blunders to keep a firm grip on reason. Bush invaded a country to rid it of imaginary weapons of mass destruction. When he didn’t find any, he declared victory and changed the mission to democracy building. When that strategy led to a theocratic government unresponsive to sectarian bloodletting, the mission became about stability. And now, the one goal supporters of the war seem determined to realize is to achieve some vague, if delusory, sense of victory.

So, the president tells us, as we attempt to follow his circuitous logic, that the mission is evolving, as though it were some determined organism destined to adapt to adversity and thrive......."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How Petraeus lies .. and the collaborator's handshake

"The most prominent figure in a U.S.-backed revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday by a bomb planted near his home in Anbar province, 10 days after he met with President Bush, police and tribal leaders said.
... "This is a tragic loss," said Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, in a statement released in Washington by his spokesman. "It's a terrible loss for Anbar province and all of Iraq. It shows how significant his importance was and it shows al-Qaida in Iraq remains a very dangerous and barbaric enemy. He was an organizing force that did help organize alliances and did help keep the various tribes together."
... two Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the matter, said the assassination could be a huge setback because it sends a chilling message about the consequences of cooperating with the U.S."...

"Good riddance, hopefully to the 'others' too"


I wonder if Abbas and Fayyad would have gone as far as they did in their collaboration if the Palestinians were equally serious.

A Lebanese woman married to a Palestinian from Haifa carries pictures of her children killed in the 1982 Sabra and Shatila Massacre during a 25th anniversary commemoration near the camps in Beirut, 10 September 2007. (Maureen Clare Murphy)

Abu Risha's place in history

".......Making allowances for the fact that in those days there was still room for contemplating Sunni acceptance of assistance from the US-backed Maliki administration (rather than the US directly), the breakdown was like this: Abu Risha and those ready and anxious for support from the US side; versus those who rejected the idea of US support and saw acceptance of US support as a prelude to fitna.

As things worked out, Abu Risha got all the US support anyone could dream of, sealed with that famous Bush handshake, while on the other side, Dhari's AMSI has taken on the role of a would-be leader/coordinator of the combined Sunni resistance, namely the groups that have consistently fought the US in Iraq since 2003.

But my point is that it has been apparent since at least November that this was abu-Risha the collaborator on the one side versus the principled Sunni-resistance on the other.

But "resistance" isn't an allowed expression in American media, and so the cartoon-version of this for Western consumption was "locals fighting AlQaeda". And that's why I recommend people refer back to the introductory article in the New York Times linked to above, because there you have the images to go with it: the charismatic figure in the flowing robes and the rest of it.

What Petraeus has been doing in Washington is merely extending that cartoon story about helping Abu Risha and the other virtuous locals fight the outsiders (now described as AQ and the Iranian agents). Meanwhile, if the Americans were ever to be serious about arranging for an orderly withdrawal from harms way, they would need to negotiate this with the people who have defeated them, namely the Sunni resistance. But even if other parts of the cartoon-story get debunked, still the resistance is merely referred to as those who are "killing American troops", and this is by way of chilling any idea of negotiating with them. The point is not that they are killing American troops, which is what resistance movements do, but rather that they need to be negotiated with.

What it is is flim-flam: Inundate the Americans with stories about the humanitarian efforts being exerted by our troops to save Iraqis from each other, and shut the hell up about the fact that the main struggle, against the domestic resistance, has been lost and the troops need to withdraw."

Jon Stewart Tears Apart Petraeus’ Dog and Pony Show

US isn't going to attack Iran?

Al-Manar special

"13/09/2007 For at least a year and a half, a dangerous conventional wisdom has been percolating within the foreign-policy community and it is this: The US isn't going to attack Iran. Whether ignoring familiar warning signs or waving them away, most mainstream analysts are towing this line, too.

And why shouldn't they? Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said flatly: "We are not planning for a war with Iran." But the situation appears to be changing—and fast. Germany reportedly informed the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council last week that it would not back further sanctions against the Islamic Republic. That decision could deadlock next week's meeting of the six powers in Washington, where Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns hopes to secure a new set of sanctions against Tehran. The European Union is also failing to fully back International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei's plan for new inspections in Iran. Baradei rebuffed US critics of a cooperation deal it has struck with Iran as "back-seat drivers" and urged them to give it time to work to help avoid war.
Opponents to a military strike claim that an attack would require at least one week of intense bombing, and that it would only set the Iranian nuclear program back a few years, according to a report done by Fox news (according to a Fox News report). Two other claims of the opponents is that an American strike would provoke Iran into attacking Israel, and that abandoning diplomatic action would negatively impact Iraq and the US troops stationed there, not to mention US interests in the Gulf.

Other Concepts
A senior Bush administration official told Fox that "everyone in town" was discussing the costs and benefits of a military assault on Iran that was likely to unfold within the next eight to ten months, well before the November 2008 presidential elections. According to the Fox news report, Germany's decision has spurred senior US army officials to try and convince US Foreign Secretary Condoleezza Rice to abandon once and for all the diplomatic route of preventing a nuclear Iran.
The report stated that the attack would be comprised of two main strategies: cutting off the Iranian gas supply, which the US hopes would pressure the Iranian people towards action against their government, and an aerial bombing campaign, which would be meant to paralyze Iranian defenses and allow American bombers to destroy the nuclear facilities.
Moreover, the Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said during a radio interview broadcast today that the UN Security Council should adopt more and tougher sanctions against Iran to try to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
On the other hand, the chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said on Wednesday that Iran will not stop uranium enrichment, despite a call by the European Union and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to halt sensitive nuclear work.
So, is the US seriously contemplating military attack on Iran?"

The Greatest Story Never Told

By Stephen Lendman

"No issue is more sensitive in the US than daring to criticize Israel. It's the metaphorical "third rail" in American politics, academia and the major media. Anyone daring to touch it pays dearly as the few who tried learned. Those in elected office face an onslaught of attacks and efforts to replace them with more supportive officials. Former five term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney felt its sting twice in 2002 and 2006. So did 10 term Congressman Paul Findley (a fierce and courageous Israeli critic) in 1982 and three term Senator Charles Percy in 1984 whom AIPAC targeted merely for appearing to support anti-Israeli policy......."

Police: Top Iraq sheik working with U.S. slain

"BAGHDAD - The most prominent figure in a revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday in an explosion near his home in Anbar province, police said.

Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening -- an alliance of clans backing the Iraqi government and U.S. forces....."

Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you trust the Petraeus-Crocker Iraq report?

With 1,300 responding so far, 94% said no.

More Hysteria: Livni calls for tougher UN sanctions against Iran

"The UN Security Council should adopt more and tougher sanctions against Iran to try to halt Iran’s nuclear program, Israel’s foreign minister said in a radio interview broadcast Thursday.

The foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, also said private groups and businesses should stop dealing with Iran, despite possible economic losses.

The US is to press for tougher UN sanctions when diplomats hold a strategy session next week with the five other nations that have sometimes reluctantly used the world body’s punitive powers against Iran. Two rounds of milder sanctions have not slowed or stopped Iran’s nuclear program.

Livni told Israel Radio that the world must act quickly. "There must be no delays,” she said. “The world must take all the necessary action ... While we are talking, Iran is trying to obtain nuclear weapons."......"

Bolton Wants Iran Regime Change

"John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says in an interview with U.S. News that despite the Bush administration's continued attachment to a diplomatic solution on nuclear programs in Iran, he favors seeking a change of regimes there.

"My preference is regime change," says Bolton, who is now affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. "The regime is more fragile and has less support than people think."

Bolton called military strikes on Iran's nuclear sites "the last resort" and "deeply unattractive," but he nonetheless said that the Bush administration or a future administration may have to confront that choice to prevent Iran from fielding a nuclear arsenal. On regime change, he cited the dissatisfaction with Iran's ruling mullahs among many youth and restiveness in some of the areas populated by ethnic minorities. But he says that even clandestine U.S. support for regime change "may take longer than we have" on the nuclear issue.

Iran is mastering uranium enrichment techniques despite facing technical problems, he adds, and the U.N. Security Council is not likely to direct decisive sanctions against Iran. Consequently, within the Bush administration, he says, "there is frustration, and that's an understatement."

Revved Up Manufacture of Consent to Attack Iran: Iran accused over attack on US Iraq base

"A US general today accused Shia militants backed by Iran of executing a deadly rocket attack on a US military headquarters in Iraq as the US president, George Bush, prepared to ask the American people to give his war strategy more time.
One person was killed and a dozen injured in the incident, which happened when a 240mm rocket hit Camp Victory, a sprawling base near Baghdad international airport, two days ago.

The US claims such rockets are supplied to Shia extremists by Tehran.

Major General Kevin Bergner said the rocket was launched from the Rasheed district of west Baghdad, which he said had been infiltrated by the Mahdi army militia of the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

In a speech tonight, Mr Bush is expected to cite the threat from Iran as a reason for maintaining a heavy US troop presence in Iraq......."

By Tom Toles

Petraeus out of step with US top brass

By Gareth Porter
Asia Times

"As the highly public face of President George W Bush's policy in Iraq, especially the "surge", General David Petraeus has done his boss proud in following the White House script. This spokesman's role, however, has created a deep rift between him and the nation's highest military leaders. Most notably, he is on a collision course with Admiral William Fallon, chief of Central Command, who has reportedly dismissed him as an "asskissing little chickenshit"......"

Behind the Anbar myth

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"......Petraeus' key argument this week to prove his steering of the Bush-devised "surge" was a "success" was to spin the close collaboration between the occupation and the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi government in Baghdad on the one side with Sunni tribal leaders in al-Anbar province on the other. Petraeus framed it as if this "sustainable" solution was a huge counterinsurgency success of his own making. Nothing could be further from the truth.......

Way beyond any "success" claimed by Petraeus, what's happening in Anbar is once again a replay of what happened in eastern Afghanistan in 2001. Local tribes profit from US largesse - and weapons - and then proceed with their own tribal and/or nationalist agenda. What matters for all these players, most of all, is restoration of Sunni power. The Dulaimi tribe and sub-clans, armed by the Americans, as soon as they have a chance, will try to topple the US-sponsored puppet government in Baghdad.......

So why not spice it all up with some extra divide and rule - to justify an eternal US presence? Arming Sunni tribals in Anbar, under these circumstances, makes sense. The occupation does not need to fight Sunnis in oil-deprived Anbar. The Bush administration is now full steam ahead on fighting Shi'ites - both in Iran (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) and in Iraq (from the Maliki government to Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army). Shi'ites in both Iran and southern Iraq are sitting over a wealth of oil. The Sunnis are needed to advance this agenda....."

The Barksdale Nukes

B-52s and Bush’s War Plans

former Air Force Captain at Minot AFB

"......I'm a former Air Force Captain and I was a munitions specialist in the very unit that erroneously shipped the weapons out of Minot AFB from '87 to '90. I am no Republican mouthpiece trying to cover for the administration. I'm a social liberal and fiscal conservative (basically the opposite philosophy of the administration), and I think Bush and especially Cheney are war criminals along with being the normal variety of criminals on a grand scale.......

Do I think that the administration is drawing up serious plans to attack Iran? I do. Do I think that neocon whack jobs and particularly Dick Cheney are considering the use of nuclear weapons? I do. But the facts are scarier than the conspiracy theories swirling around this B-52 incident. If a decision is made to launch nuclear strikes from US bases using B-52s, it can be done without any telltale unusual movements of assets. A single B-52H can put over 6 megatons of nuclear power on target anywhere on the planet within 30 hours from the time the order is received. "

All Lies, All The Time: U.S. warned N. Korea not to help Syria with nukes

Any day now, Judith Miller will be coming up with her fictional horror stories, this time about Syria. It worked before and it will work again; after all you are dealing with the American sheeple, 30% of them still believe that Saddam was responsible for 9-11.

"U.S. President George W. Bush warned North Korea last year against transferring nuclear material to Syria, Iran or a terrorist organization, saying such a move would be perceived as a "grave threat," a former U.S. official recently told Haaretz.

In a telephone conversation, the former U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said North Korea may be using Syria and Iran as "safe havens" for its nuclear activity.

Bolton, now affiliated with the "American Enterprise Institute" in Washington, served Bush in his first term as Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. In that capacity, as well as later, he clashed with other officials, most notably from CIA, regarding Syria's nuclear plans.

On Thursday, a U.S. official was quoted as saying Damascus may be building a nuclear facility with North Korean assistance, a week after Syria claimed Israeli aircraft violated its airspace and dropped munitions within its territory,

According to a Washington Post report, a U.S. official talking on condition of anonymity said recent satellite images gathered over the past six months mostly by Israeli sources indicate Syria may be building such a facility.

Access to the information has been heavily restricted to a team headed by security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, leaving many in the intelligence community unaware of the reports' significance, the U.S. newspaper quoted sources as saying......."

Hamas calls on Palestinian resistance to declare state of full alert in its rank

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas called on Wednesday on its armed wing and the Palestinian resistance forces to declare a state of full alert in their ranks in anticipation of any aggression on the Gaza Strip and to be fully prepared to defend the Palestinian people against the IOF troops.

Hamas's warning came after receiving confirmed information from the Palestinian lands occupied 1948 that the Israeli military war machine is preparing for a large-scale aggression against the Gaza Strip from three axes including the borderline with Egypt (Salahuddin axis), according to a statement received by the PIC.

In the same context, a Hebrew newspaper, Ha'aretz quoted an Israeli military source as saying that the IOF troops carried out a small-scale incursion into central Gaza on Wednesday night a day after a rocket attack on Israeli military base inflicted tens of injuries in the ranks of Israeli officers and soldiers.

In a meeting of the Israeli mini-cabinet chaired by Israeli premier Ehud Olmert and his war minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday, they decided to use fighter bombers to target political leaders and many areas in Gaza at the pretext of striking the infrastructure of the Palestinian resistance.

In the statement, Hamas warned that any Israeli aggression will not be a picnic for the IOF soldiers, confirming that the invasion troops will be doomed to failure and defeat......."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Look At How Petraeus Helped Arm Warring Sunni and Shia Militias in Iraq

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

Contributed by buh

"On Tuesday, President Bush's top military commander in Iraq returned to Capitol Hill for a second day to urge the continuation of the war in Iraq. We speak with Arun Gupta, an editor of "The Indypendent" about the Petraeus hearings. Gupta's most recent article is titled, "Meet Gen. David Petraeus: His Militia Strategy Plunged Iraq Into a Civil War, And Now He's Back for More."......"

The 25th Anniversary of the Massacre at Sabra-Shatilla

Will anyone remember? Does anyone really care anymore?

by Franklin Lamb / September 12th, 2007

Martyrs Square
Sabra-Shatilla Palestinian Refugee Camp

"A Letter to Janet

Dearest Janet,

It’s a very beautiful fall day here in Beirut today. Twenty-five years ago this week since the September 15-18, 1982 Massacre at the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra-Shatila. Bright blue sky and a fall breeze. It actually rained last night. Enough to clean out some of the humidity and dust. Fortunately not enough to make the usual rain created swamp of sewage and filth on Rue Sabra, or flood the grassless burial ground of the mass grave (the camp residents named it Martyrs Square–one of several so named memorials now in Lebanon)) where you once told me you that on Sunday September 19, 1982, you watched, sickened, as families and Red Crescent workers created a subterranean mountain of butchered and bullet riddled victims from those 48 hours of slaughter. Some of the bodies had limbs and heads chopped off, some boys castrated, Christian crosses carved into some of the bodies.

As you later wrote to me in your perfect cursive:

“I saw dead women in their houses with their skirts up to their waists and their legs spread apart; dozens of young men shot after being lined up against an ally wall; children with their throats slit, a pregnant woman with her stomach chopped open, her eyes still wide open, her blackened face silently screaming in horror; countless babies and toddlers who had been stabbed or ripped apart and who had been thrown into garbage piles”.

Today Martyr’s Square is not much of a Memorial to the upwards of 1,700 mainly women and children, who were murdered between Sept. 15-18. You would not be pleased. A couple of faded posters and a misspelled banner that reads: “1982: Saba Massacer”, hang near the center of the 20 by 40 yard area which for years following the mass burial was a garbage dump. Today, roaming around the grassless plot of ground is a large old yellow dog that ignores a couple of chicken hens and six peeps scratching and pecking around.

Since you went away, the main facts of the Massacre remain the same as your research uncovered in the months that followed. At that time your findings were the most detailed and accurate as to what occurred and who was responsible.

The old 7-storey Kuwaiti Embassy from where Sharon, Eytan, Yaron, Elie Hobeika, Fradi Frem and others maintained radio contact and monitored the 48 hours of carnage with a clear view into the camps was torn down years ago. A new one has been built and they are still constructing a Mosque on its grounds.

I am sorry to report that today in Lebanon, the families of the victims of the Massacre daily sink deeper into the abyss. No where on earth do the Palestinians live in such filth and squalor. ‘Worse than Gaza!” a journalist recently in Palestine exclaims......."

The Bitch is Coming, The Bitch is Coming....
U.S. Secretary of State set to visit Middle East next week (AP)

Head for the bomb shelters!

"حماس" تحذِّر الاحتلال من أنّ عدوانه "لن يكون نزهة وأنّ عليه تحمّل النتائج"

"غزة – المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

حثّت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس"، كافة أجهزتها وقوى المقاومة، على أخذ الحيطة والحذر وإعلان حالة الاستنفار القصوى لرد العدوان الصهيوني المحتمل على قطاع غزة والتصدي بكل قوة، وطالبت بالاستعداد التام له وقطع الطريق عليه، كما دعت الحركة كافة قوى المقاومة إلى أخذ استعداداتها للدفاع عن نفسها وشعبها بكل ما لديها، وقالت "ندعوهم إلى التعاون والتكاتف ووحدة الصف بين كافة المجاهدين".

وقد جاء تحذير حركة "حماس" بعد "ورود معلومات موثقة من داخل فلسطين المحتلة بأنّ قوات الاحتلال الصهيوني تعدّ العدة لعملية عدوان واسعة على قطاع غزة خلال الأيام القادمة براً وجواً وبحراً، انطلاقاً من ثلاثة محاور"، حسب البيان.

وأضافت "حماس" في بيان لها تلقى "المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام" الأربعاء (12/9)، نسخة عنه بأنه "وفقاً لمصادرنا الخاصة؛ فإنّ العدو الصهيوني سينطلق في عدوانه من ثلاثة محاور، منها احتلال الشريط الحدودي الفاصل بين قطاع غزة والأراضي المصرية (محور صلاح الدين)، المنطلق الثاني هو مدينة غزة، وتحديداً حي الشجاعية وصولاً إلى حي الزيتون والصبرة، والثالث من شمال قطاع غزة ويشمل بيت حانون وصولاً إلى جباليا".

ونقلت الحركة عن "مصادرها بأنها أكدت أنّ العدو بدأ الإعداد لهذا الهجوم عقب اجتماع مجلس الحرب الصهيوني المصغّر" برئاسة رئيس حكومة الاحتلال إيهود أولمرت ووزير حربه إيهود باراك الثلاثاء (11/9)، وأنّ "قوات الاحتلال بدأت في تحريك قواتها من الشمال إلى الجنوب، كما قرّرت قوات الاحتلال الصهيوني استخدام الطائرات لاستهداف القيادات السياسية والعسكرية والعديد من الأماكن بحجة ضرب البنية التحتية لقوى المقاومة الفلسطينية، وبذريعة أنّ هذه العملية العدوانية يمكن أن توقف إطلاق الصواريخ تجاه فلسطين المحتلة".

وأهابت حركة "حماس" بكافة المواطنين الفلسطينيين "رصّ الصفوف والتوحّد مع رجال المقاومة ومساندتهم والوقوف إلى جانبهم وتسهيل مهماتهم، والتشديد على أبنائهم بعدم التوجه إلى ساحات المقاومة حتى لا يعيق ذلك المجاهدين، وفي الوقت نفسه حتى لا يسقط منّا في المعارك من لا علاقة له بالتصدي للعدوان، كما نحثكم على الإكثار من الدعاء إلى الله بنصر المجاهدين خاصة وأننا نعيش شهر الدعاء والخير والبركة"، وفق بيانها.


Israel Bombs Syria, Neocons Cheer

By Kurt Nimmo

"Obviously, the rush to war—or unprovoked mass murder—is not going fast enough for Israel. “Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times,” Yedioth Internet reports. “The official added that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.”

It appears this ruse is a cover for Israel’s latest provocation—an airstrike against “a Syrian-Iranian missile base in northern Syria that was financed by Iran,” according to a Nazareth-based Israeli Arab newspaper.......

Predictably, Israel’s Arab and Muslim hating Jabotinskyite leaders are “very happy with the success of the operation,” apparently involving “Israeli ground forces who directed the air strike,” that is to say not only aircraft but soldiers violated Syrian sovereignty. In addition, the U.S. neocons “are happy to have Israel carry the message to both Syria and Iran that they can get in and out and strike when necessary,” according to Haaretz. On the other hand, we can assume to neocons, often more fanatical than their Israeli brethren, are unhappy with the fact Israel did not bomb Damascus and president Assad’s summer palace."

War Drums Getting Louder: U.S. Officials Begin Crafting Iran Bombing Plan

"WASHINGTON — A recent decision by German officials to withhold support for any new sanctions against Iran has pushed a broad spectrum of officials in Washington to develop potential scenarios for a military attack on the Islamic regime, FOX News confirmed Tuesday.

Germany — a pivotal player among three European nations to rein in Iran's nuclear program over the last two-and-a-half years through a mixture of diplomacy and sanctions supported by the United States — notified its allies last week that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to support the imposition of any further sanctions against Iran that could be imposed by the U.N. Security Council......"

Iraqi Air Farce ...مهزلة "القوة" الجوية العراقية

""The Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) plans to purchase as many as 18 Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft for introductory pilot training. The US Air Force (USAF) Aeronautical Systems Center released a notice on 3 August announcing a contract worth as much as USD10.5 million for the IQAF trainer aircraft, plus one year of contractor logistics support services in Iraq. Since being re-established in 2004 with just 35 pilots, the IQAF has continued to expand rapidly.."
Iraqi Air Force seeks Cessna 172s for training August 21, 2007 (Paid subscription)

And within two weeks, the first 'gift' fighter bomber arrives for the now mighty Iraqi Air Force...."

Osama’s “Trotskyite” Experiment

By Kurt Nimmo

".......In Bushzarro world, as time passes and each of us grow older, Osama gets younger and miraculously overcomes debilitating disease. Suddenly he is preaching about the evils of climate change and imperialism, same as any self-respecting and card-carrying Green party member. Osama reads Chomsky and Blum from his Afghan cave, books no doubt ordered from Amazon, as we know all cave-dwelling terrorists have Wi-Fi connections on their laptops and UPS delivers anywhere, even Jalalabad.

Meanwhile, neocon wunderkind, Walid Phares, begs to differ, if only a little. “The Trotskyite ‘experiment’ of Bin Laden of his ‘anarcho-Jihadist’ advisors may not have been the greatest idea: Because as one can see from the reactions, many of the purest Jihadists can’t absorb the Marxian theories of Global Corporations. They only seek the good old Jihad against the Kuffar. They have gotten too much Wahhabism in their madrassa ’schooling.’ Their doctrinaires are Hassan al Banna and Sayid Qutb, not Noam Chomsky… or some Harvard elitist,” the darling of Benador Associates writes. In short, let’s get back to hating Muslims for their religion, the hallmark of any neocon worth his salt, and knock off all the western ideological mumbo jumbo......."

What Would I Do Without You, Osama?

The General Lies

By Robert Scheer

"Of course, Gen. David Petraeus predicts success in the Iraq war. What wonders couldn’t generals achieve with more troops and more time? The battle is always going well until it is lost, and then they blame defeat on the politicians and the public......."

Syrian source: Israel did not target Hezbollah weapons


"12/09/2007 A Syrian source refuted the US story about Israeli jets targeting Hezbollah weapon cashes on the Syrian territory last Thursday. The source told al-Manar that this claim is totally wrong, misleading and ridiculous. It aims at putting aside the goals of this aggressive act. The Syrian source added that the details of the Israeli strike and jets having to drop their fuel tanks and ammunitions because of being confronted by the air defenses, all these facts assure that this claim is baseless.

A US Defense official had earlier said that Israel carried out an air strike well inside Syria last week, apparently to send Damascus a message not to rearm Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Israelis are trying to tell the Syrians: 'Don't support a resurgence of Hezbollah in Lebanon,' he said. The Times quoted sources as saying that Israel struck at least one target in northeastern Syria, but could not provide more details. The most likely target was, according to some administration officials, "weapon caches sent by Iran to Hezbollah through Syria." The New York Times quoted a Defense Department official as saying the IAF struck at least one target in northeastern Syria, but said it was unclear what the target was and what was the extent of the damage.

The US defense official told the New York Times that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.

Syrian Complaint
Meanwhile, Syria's envoy the United Nations said Wednesday that Damascus was reserving the right to respond to the air strike at the time and manner of its choosing.

"The Syrian response has not yet come," said Syria's Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari, in an interview with BBC Arabic. Syria complained to the UN about "aggression and violation of sovereignty," al-Jaafari said. According to Haaretz, it is still difficult to assess what the ultimate response of the Syrians would be. "On the one hand, the Syrians warn of the consequences and are angry that no one seems interested in condemning Israel's illegal raid. On the other hand, they are not talking about the strategic target that was bombed in their territory. If they admit it, this would be a troubling sign that they are weighing a serious response," Haaretz said. The ambassador said Damascus made its complaint in two letters to the UN secretary general and the president of the Security Council. The letters said the Israel Air Force action violated the 1974 disengagement agreement that was reached after the 1973 war. On, Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem confirmed that Israeli warplanes dropped live ammunition on Syrian soil, adding that Israel's decision not to comment was "appropriate." "Israel used live ammunition in a deliberate and hostile attack," Mouallem said at a news conference during an official visit to Turkey."

The Fall Meeting & the Trend to Focus on Aid Rather than Rights

by Nadia Hijab
and Diana Buttu

Institute for Palestine Studies

"The timing and substance of the international meeting called by US President George Bush in his 16 July 2007 speech on the Middle East may end up focusing on aid at the expense of a political solution. This moves further away from the 1991 Madrid international conference and the bilateral Oslo 1993-2000 negotiations and reinforces the trend that was so visible at the 2005 London meeting. This approach has not worked before and is unlikely to work today....."