Friday, March 30, 2012

The U.S. Military and Massacresby

Tim Kelly,
March 29, 2012

The murderous rampage of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in Afghanistan has received much deserved media attention. Sgt. Bales’s shooting spree, killing 17 Afghan civilians, was quickly condemned by the Obama administration as a horrible incident and an aberration that was in no way representative of the “exceptional character” of the U.S. military.
It is a matter of state doctrine that such “incidents,” no matter how frequent, are treated as singular events from which no broader conclusions can be drawn. This is convenient for U.S. policy makers and politicians, for it absolves them of any responsibility for the actions of the soldiers they deploy overseas to kill people and break things.
But how isolated was this latest massacre?
Anyone following the news is aware that U.S forces are frequently responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians. These deaths may not be the result of a soldier or group of “rogue” soldiers “losing it,” but that is a meaningless distinction. After all, it was Gen. Stanley McChrystal who said of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.”
The past ten years have borne witness to one atrocity after another committed by U.S. soldiers. There was the Abu Ghraib prison-abuse scandal and the “Collateral Murder” video showing a U.S. gunship crew cheerfully mowing down Iraqi civilians. There was the Haditha massacre and the team of U.S. soldiers that were killing Afghan civilians for sport. There was the more recent “incident” of U.S. soldiers urinating on corpses. And during their occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. troops have carried out night raids into villages that have killed and injured countless civilians. How many such “incidents” have gone unreported?
Are atrocities inevitable when soldiers are being deployed multiple times to foreign countries where they are surrounded by hostile populations? Of course they are.
This is why the ultimate responsibility for the crimes of U.S. soldiers lies with those in power, for they’re the ones who make the war plans and give the orders to invade. When Donald Rumsfeld spoke obtusely of “shock and awe” in the run up to the Iraq War, he knew that it meant the suffering and death of many innocent civilians. But the carnage visited upon Iraqi society by the U.S. military was considered “worth it” by the geopolitical strategists and imperial schemers in Washington. As H.L. Mencken said, “wars are not made by common folk, scratching for livings in the heat of the day; they are made by demagogues infesting palaces.”
Perhaps U.S. troops overseas would be on better behavior if those further up the chain of command were expected to abide by the law. After all, both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have boasted of authorizing the torture of prisoners. But these admissions to what are clearly violations of federal and international law have not led to any indictments.
The decision by the Obama administration not to indict Bush, Cheney, et al. for their crimes is understandable. Having now served more than three quarters of a presidential term, President Obama and his henchmen are probably guilty of a long train of abuses, and they want similar immunity from the law.
But let’s go back to the Obama administration’s claim that Sgt. Bales’ actions are not representative of the “exceptional character” of the U.S. military. Contrary to the patriotic mythology, the U.S. military has never flinched from inflicting civilian casualties in waging war.
America’s westward expansion in 19th century was enabled by a series of ruthless military campaigns to clear out the Native American population. To justify the theft of land and the slaughter of defenseless men, women, and children, Americans adopted the myth of Manifest Destiny. The prevailing attitude among the military regarding Native Americans was perhaps best expressed in the words of Colonel John Chivington, who reportedly said to his troops at Sand Creek, “Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice!”
During the so-called American Civil War, the armies killed an estimated 50,000 civilians, mostly women and children. Entire cities in the South were bombarded and burned to the ground. Union generals like Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Philip Sheridan deliberately targeted civilians in their military campaigns to rein in the “rebellious” South.
After the United States took control of the Philippines in 1898, the U.S. military waged a brutal campaign to quell a native insurgency. The Philippine-American War (aka the Philippine War of Independence) cost the lives of an estimated 250,000 Filipinos before it ended in 1902.
During World War II, the U.S. military deliberately targeted German and Japanese civilians in a strategy of terror bombing. As General Curtis Lemay described it, American B29 bombers flying over a prostrate Japan in 1944 and 1945 “scorched, boiled, and baked to death” some 330,000 people.
America’s wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq killed more than six million people, the vast majority of them civilians. In each of these wars, U.S. soldiers have engaged in massacres, but the lion’s share of the civilian death toll was a consequence of actions occurring within the rules of engagement.
During the Korean War, American planes bombed the North with no regard for civilian life. In Vietnam, the U.S. military declared vast areas “free-fire zones,” and wiped out entire villages. The United States dropped over 8 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1962 to 1973. The United States also waged a 20-year war against Iraq, including a sanctions regime that killed 500,000 children. The total civilian death toll is estimated to exceed one million, and more than five million have fled the war-torn nation.
The fact is that the U.S. military has historically used its massive firepower to intentionally kill large numbers of civilians. Most Americans, however, are either ignorant of this ugly truth or rationalize the carnage as an unavoidable consequence of waging just, necessary, and “good” wars.
John Tirman, author of the remarkable and thought-provoking The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars, calls this phenomenon “the collective autism” of the American people. He writes,
One of most remarkable aspects of American wars is how little we discuss the victims who are not Americans. The costs of the war to the populations and common soldiers of the “enemy” are rarely found in the narratives and dissections of conflict, and this habit is a durable feature of how we remember war. As a nation that has long thought itself as built on Christian ethics, even as an exceptionally compassionate people, this coldness is a puzzle. It is in fact more than a puzzle, for ignorance or indifference has consequences for the victims of American wars and for America itself.
As General Sherman infamously said, “War is hell.” So why do so many Americans support creating hell on earth? I suppose many still think that these wars are necessary to defend the country, and thus are beguiled by all the pro-war propaganda, patriotic symbolism, and flag waving.
But the truth is that most of America’s wars have been waged neither for purposes of defense nor for the promotion of freedom abroad, but for imperial conquest. This lust for wealth and power has driven U.S. foreign policy for more than a century, and millions of innocent civilians have been the victims of Washington’s imperial ambitions.
In order to deal with the daunting problems now confronting them, Americans are going to have to come to terms with their country’s true history and admit that American political leaders and American soldiers have been guilty of ghastly crimes in pursuit of plunder and empire. James K. Galbraith put it well:
The reality is that we are a country like any other, with good and evil people, the strong and the weak, noble and criminal acts, with truth often hidden under deception and propaganda.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Will Canada’s social-democratic party be able to prevent a leadership coup? 1, 2012)

On March 24, Canada’s New Democratic Party will do more than elect a new leader; it will face a test of character.

As it stands, the NDP is the only major national party not led by an avowed zionist. Stephen Harper leads a cabal of governing “Likudniks,” who value subservience to Israel above all else, and the interim leader of the “Labour-Zionist” Liberals, Bob Rae, is on the board of the Jewish National Fund, an organization so criminal that it has been condemned in Israel as racist.
The NDP, therefore, is the only apparently Canadian governing choice that voters have, but even this modest fig leaf will be blown away if the blatant Israel-firster Thomas Mulcair becomes party leader.

On May 1, 2008, he told Canadian Jewish News:
I am an ardent supporter of Israel in all situations and in all circumstances.” [my emphasis]

Does Mulcair mean to say that he “ardently supports” Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians, which includes torturing children, bulldozing homes, and keeping Palestinians near starvation levels as a matter of national policy? Do these constitute morally defensible “situations and circumstances?” Based on his abject endorsement of Israel, the answer is clearly, “yes.” The fact that all of the preceding are contrary to Canadian and international law, to say nothing of basic humanity, doesn’t faze Mulcair one bit.

What a mensch!

How this walking advertisement for sedition found a home in a left-of-centre, social-democratic party is bizarre.

The NDP, after all, still cleaves to the quaint notions that the federal government should defend the Constitution, uphold the rule of law, oppose military aggression, stand up for victims of human rights abuses, and generally serve the public good. Such high-minded ethical standards clearly distinguish it from both “Likud” and “Labour,” which are financially and politically indentured to the Israel Lobby.

So, why would the NDP even allow someone like Mulcair in the front door?

This question takes on added significance when we recall that Mulcair had first considered joining Harper’s Likudniks, and was even said to have been tempted by a cabinet appointment. That would at least have made sense. When questioned last July about the earlier offer, though, the NDP’s newly minted interim leader Nycole Turmel seemed curiously unconcerned: “[Mulcair] was contacted by a number of people, a number of political parties and he chose to come work with us. He chose the NDP and I’m proud of that. He’s a great candidate.”
When looked at a bit more closely, however, Turmel’s praise for this crypto-Likudnik comes across more as a perfunctory platitude than a genuine endorsement; in this case the riding, not the MP, is the prize.

Mulcair represents Outremont, a small, wealthy riding on the Island of Montreal, which he won in a 2007 by-election, thus making him the NDP’s (ta-da!) first MP from Quebec to go on to win in a general election. Outremont has a substantial Jewish population, more than 20%; in the larger Labour riding of Mount Royal just to the south, represented by Israel-firster extraordinaire Irwin Cotler, it is 36%.

If the NDP expects to make inroads into Quebec it is logical for it to compete for the Jewish vote, but how far is the NDP prepared to go to mortgage its principles for electoral advantage?

As party leader, Mulcair would be expected to protect his caucus colleagues from harassment and abuse from other parties, but in 2010 he sided with Labour and Likud to call for the resignation of fellow MP Libby Davies as NDP House Leader.

Davies’s “crime” was to state that Israel’s occupation of Palestine began in 1948, not 1967.
Her statement is a fact supported by historical documents that include admissions from leading political and military Israelis like David Ben Gurion and Gen. Moshe Dayan.
Mulcair’s contemptible attack on Davies’s basic freedom of expression, to say nothing of historical honesty, showed Mulcair’s true allegiance, and the threat he poses to this country. It doesn’t matter if he believes the zionist bilge he spews or whether he’s merely pandering to the Jewish community. By rights, he should be have been expelled from the party for his misconduct.

If you are reading this and are a member of the federal NDP who plans to cast a vote at the leadership convention, ask yourself these questions before you vote:
1) Can Mulcair be trusted to put loyalty to Canada and the NDP ahead of his loyalty to Israel?
2) Would Mulcair stifle his MPs’ freedom of expression in the name of being an “ardent supporter”of Israel?
3) Would Mulcair’s overt zionism irreparably debase the NDP’s reputation as a party of law and justice?
If you answered 1) no; 2) yes; and 3) yes, then you can proudly claim to be a member in good standing of a national, Canadian political party. You know what not to do on March 24. No matter how much you may like Mulcair’s position on the environment or any other issue, anyone who bullies his own people, betrays his party’s principles, and sells out his country is unfit to lead the NDP, much less sit in the House of Commons.
As I said earlier, the NDP appears to many voters to be the only viable Canadian governing option left in this country. Don’t force them into a no-win scenario among Likud, Labour and Meretz!

The World’s Biggest Creep?

Posted on March 26, 2012

No, it’s not a weird alien! It’s the Commander in Chief of the World looking for another war.

Friends, this photograph shows the President of the United States peering at North Korea while he hides behind two-inch thick bulletproof glass.

The 17 dead Afghans, including 9 children, didn’t have any bulletproof glass to hide behind when Bales, one of Obama’s top soldiers, went on a killing spree in Afghanistan recently.

Obama, leader of the country which is the world’s major holder of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, is in South Korea to preside over a conference which supposedly is trying to limit the amount of nuclear material available for nukes.
It is especially focused on countries like Iran and North Korea and Pakistan who, bravely, don’t toe the American line.

Of course, the hypocrisy of his position (we can have nukes – you can’t!) means nothing because Americans are born with a gene that stops them from recognizing hypocrisy.

They also have a gene which allows them to kill millions of people without regret or a tinge of conscience.

And of course, he’ll say nothing about Israel’s nuclear arsenal which it acquired by stealth and deception, zippo, nada, zero. And he won’t mention the sixty-plus year occupation of Palestine either.

Yeah, your ‘allies’, just like the U.S., can do what they like, when they like, and to whom they like no matter how barbaric or immoral it is.

He is also in the region to put pressure on China to put pressure on North Korea to make it comply with Western demands. He is also wanting North Korea to stop the testing of a ballistic missile which, laughably, is claimed to be pointed at Australia. I’ve started digging my bomb shelter already!!!!!!!!!
Of course, Australia was involved in the Korean War and there may be some antagonism there after what is it: sixty years or thereabouts?

He is also in the region to make good on his promise to become more involved in the East-Asian region.
‘More involved’ means more U.S. Military Bases, more warships, more patrolling aircraft, more drones, more satellites, more missile launching sites, more people like Bales, more deception, more divide and conquer, more encirclement of China, more wars, etc.

What is my point, you ask? When Obama appears you know that bad things are going to happen. His satanic, blood-red eyes mask his purpose.
More people are going to die and peace will have another stake driven through its heart!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Tale of Two Tales: What Real World?

By Fred Reed
March 16, 2012 "Information Clearing House" ---As I listen to American fury against uncoöperative Afghans, to Congress furiously denouncing Pakistan for anemic aid in conducting the current wars, I sometimes wonder whether the US is playing with a full deck. The anger arises I suspect becaause the US and the rest of the world work from very different premises. They believe in, as we say, distinct narratives.
The American narrative holds that the United States is a light to the world, the freest, richest, most productive country the world has ever seen, the greatest military power, the most prolific producer of technlogy and of Nobel laureates. America is a force for freedom and democacry, a champion of human rights, a land of universal opportunity with liberty and justice for all. The Unites States is what all countries could be if they accepted our values. History supports this view. In a raw ccontinent, American energy and free enterprise carved a paradise from a wilderness.
This narrative, the belief that America is special among nations, favored by God, pervades the culture. Those old enough will remember that Superman fought for “truth, justice, and the American way.”
Underlying all of this is a profoundly moral view of America's place in the world. The United States does not fight, like the French, for glory or like the English, for empire, or like the Russians, to steal watches from the wounded. America fights against Evil, whether in the form of communism, terror, Islam, socialism, or the growing threat of enslavement by Chinese communism. These evils are real, Americans believe, immediate, and threaten us with tyranny.
The narrative of the US military springs from the national narrative. American soldiers are brave, wholesome young men selflessly sacrificing to overthrow brutal dictarors, to defeat terror, and to give the oppressed peoples the benefits of democracy. This actually happened in Japan, Germany, and Iraq, asserts the narrative. Sure, a bad apple among GIs may occasionally commit an atrocity, but these are isolated incidents and blown out of proportion by a leftist press.
Quite different is what might be called the World Narrative, held around the globe with differeing intensities and emphases. It holds the US to be an endlessly aggressive military power that is out of control, hypocritically speaking of democracy and freedom while supporting dictators and overthrowing elected governments. America is arrogant, crassly mateiralistic, crime-ridden, vulgar, racially unjust, the world's only avowed practicioner of torture, economically explotative, imperialistic and intolerant of other cultures.
The military form of the World Narrative holds that America savagely attacks weaker nations in pursuit of oil and empire, that it uses overwhelming technological superiority to butcher peasants armed with rifles, that atrocites are routine, that it employs Stalinist nocturnal raids to terrorize populations, that killing of children is common.
The World Narrative is closer to the truth. It is easy to compile a long list of dictatorships supported by the US, and anyone who has covered wars knows that atrocities are what militaries do. America supports Saudi Arabia and Israel, both with horrible records on human rights. It would also be easy to show that many countries that accuse the US of misbehavior commit or have committed similar crimes. This doesn't occur to these countries. Peoples see everybody's warts but their own.
The peculiar isolation in which Americans typically live shelters the national narrative. Americans are geographically isolated in that they can go nowhere without passports, which few have; linguistically isolated in that almost none speak a second language; and temporally isolated since few have even a rudimentary grasp of history. Add an odd lack of curiosity, apparenly based on a belief that the superiority of America is such that other places are not worthy of study. The result is a closed system.
This might be of minor interest if it did not affect American policy. But it does. The US operates in a world that doesn't quite exist. Think of a blind man who by error enters the wrong house. He bumps into furniture and can't find the bathroom because things are not where he thinks they are.
Consider the war to take over Afghanistan—which is what it is. The American Narrative, relentlessly moral, says that the US is there to fight Terror, to defeat Al Qaida, to save the Afghan people from repressive domination by the Taliban. The government in Kabul represents the Afghan people and is allied with the US in ridding the country of extremists. The Caspian hydrocarbons have nothing to do with it. The GIs fight to give Afghans a stable democracy, law and order, and equal rights fo women.
This is the sort of moral mission that the Narrative demands. In the real world, one might as well give art lessons to a boar hog.
By contrast, the Afghans predictably see the US as an invading army of brutal infidels—a word we see as faintly amusing but they don't—who bomb and kill, kick in their doors at three a.m, humiliate the men in front of their families and insult their women. A very little of this, a very few dead children, can arouse a whole lot of hatred, but the American Narrative doesn't allow of this truth.
Condequences ensue. Note that in Afghanistan, as in Iraq, as in Pakistan, as in Viet Nam, the national armies supposedly on America's side are never ready. Despite billions of dollars spent in training them, somehow they are always years away from being able to take over. They desert, coöperate with the enemy, sometimes murder GIs. By contrast, the enemy fights tenaciously.
The Americans are baffled and outraged. “We are here to help these people, to protect them against the evil (communists, Al Qaida, Iranians, or whatever). Where is their gratitude? Why don't they do their share?”
When you recruit citizens of a country to kill their own people in the name of a widely hated puppet government, their enthusiasm is likely to be exiguous. But since the American Narrative insists that the US seeks only to end the dominion of Evil, opposition to America becomes inexplicable.
In war after war, those attacked fail to act as the US expects. The Iraqis should have welcomed the American soldiers who were bringing them democracy and defeating an evil dictator. This fits the Narrative. That people don't like being invaded, having their cities devastated, their fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers in the army killed—this does not fit the Narative of unalloyed American virtue. It merely determines events.
Fred's Biography - As He Tells It - Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times. His website -

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beware The 'Student Debt Bomb'

Common Dreams staff
The amount of student borrowing crossed the $100 billion threshold for the first time in 2010 and total outstanding loans exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in 2011, according to a new report.
The report titled, The Student Loan "Debt Bomb": America's Next Mortgage-Style Economic Crisis? (pdf), was published the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), and paints a frightening economic picture of the world created by skyrocketing tuitions and high interest rates in a job market that continues to offer few jobs to graduates.
"How big is the danger to the US economy?" the report asks. Most worrisome to those on the ground during the 'mortgage crisis' that sent the world economy into a tailspin in 2008, is that the atmosphere and metrics around the student debt crisis feels much the same.
"As with the mortgage foreclosure crisis, the staggering amounts owed on student loans also will have repercussions for the broader economy," reads the report. "Just as the housing bubble created a mortgage debt “overhang” that absorbs the income of consumers and renders them unable to afford to engage in the consumer spending that sustains a growing economy, so too are student loans beginning to have the same effect, which will be a drag on the economy for the foreseeable future." And continues:
Most Americans see a college degree as the single most important factor for financial success and a place in the middle class. Post-secondary education and training have become essential not only to the individuals hoping to enter or remain in the middle class, but to the nation as a whole. It is widely believed that we need a well-educated workforce to create new opportunities in the United State and to remain competitive internationally.But, as family incomes, available grant aid, and state investments in higher education have failed to keep pace with college costs, students and families increasingly are turning to student loans to help bridge the college affordability gap. [...]
Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the U.S. Department of Education and others. And, because there are fewer people with student loans than there are credit card holders, the debt burden on the individual borrower is considerably higher.
And Jon Christian, writing at Campus Progress, notes:
Part of the problem, according to the report, is that students are taking on increasing debt for degrees that are not particularly lucrative. And any number of traumatic events can results in students missing a payment, according to the researchers, which sets students up to spiral from delinquency to default.
Students aren't the only demographic caught up in the crisis, according to the report: Parents who took on debt for their children, many of them near retirement age, are going to suffer as well.
The Collegians' Stephen Keheler reports on student efforts to fight back against the rising burden of student debt:
[Earlier this week], thousands of students converged on the Capitol lawn in Sacramento to protest tuition raises and demand that state representatives increase funding for schools. They also protested the growing levels of student debt.
“That was one of our demands—complete forgiveness of student loans,” Asami, who was one of the leaders, said. “I have friends that are getting their bachelor’s degree now and they have 30 to 50 thousand dollars of student loans, so they are scared. They don’t know how they are going to pay and so they just keep deferring payments.”
A borrower can defer payments, but interest keeps building up and the debt just gets higher. Student debt has grown from 3 percent in 2000 to 7.5 percent in 2012. This means that recently graduating students aren’t able to buy big-ticket items that would help the general economy to recover.
“I can’t get a new car anytime soon and mine is not running very well now,” said Thompson.
Furthermore, graduates with a massive debt burden find themselves forced to narrow their job-search options. Many do not take entry-level positions in their fields of study because the pay would be too low to service their debts.
The protests in Sacramento are just part of growing movement by students to do something about the problem. At 2011’s Sundance Film Festival, “Default: The Student Loan Documentary,” was shown and then aired on PBS last November. The film humanizes the loan crisis, following several graduates in their struggles to pay back their loans.
In addition, a petition has been started at to return bankruptcy protection to all student loans.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our Gang of War Criminals


If a bunch of street toughs decided to gang up and beat the crap out of some guy in the neighborhood because they feared he might be planning to buy a gun to protect his family, I think we’d all agree that the police would be right to bust that crew and charge them with conspiracy to commit the crime of assault and battery.
If they went forward with their plan and actually did attack the guy, injuring or killing him in the process, we’d also all agree they should all be charged with assault and battery, attempted murder, or even first-degree murder if he died.

In international relations and international law, the same applies.

Under the Nuremberg Principles, later incorporated into the United Nations Charter, to which the United States is a signatory, the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, which is defined as a war started against another nation that does not pose an imminent threat of attack on the aggressor nation or nations, is the highest of war crimes, for which the perpetrators are liable for the death penalty.

Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of those above acts is an equally serious capital crime.

How then to explain the casual way that civilian and military leaders of the US and Israel are talking openly about plans and threats to attack Iran?

The supposed casus belli or justification for such an attack is that Iran, which has a uranium enrichment program underway which it claims is to produce nuclear fuel for its new nuclear reactor (a completely legal activity for any nation under international law), secretly plans to further enrich uranium to make an atomic bomb. Yet that is aprocess which, even if it were to be implemented, would not lead to an actual bomb suitable for testing for at least a year, and which would not give Iran a functioning, useable weapon for even longer. (US intelligence sources say that Iran at this point is not even trying to make a bomb!).

That alleged threat, even if it were real, doesn’t even come close to constituting an “imminent” threat of attack of the kind which might justify a pre-emptive strike on Iran, as is being publicly contemplated and threatened by the US and Israel.

The simple fact is that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, and his top generals and cabinet officers, are committing a war crime every time they threaten Iran with attack. The president is also committing a crime of conspiracy when he sends his generals to Israel, which is also committing the crime of threatening to attack Iran and planning to attack Iran.

This is because by discussing options for an attack, or by providing Israel with the weapons and delivery systems it would need for such an attack, as the US is doing by sending Israel super large bunker-buster bombs and bomb-capable aircraft, they are furthering that conspiracy.

What is absolutely stunning is that this massive criminality at the highest levels of the US government is going on totally unchallenged by the US mainstream media.

In an editorial on Feb. 3, the New York Times acknowledged that there was “no proof” that Iran has “made the decision to move from producing fuel to building a bomb.” Yet even so, the paper went on to warn against an Israeli and/or US attack on Iran, saying only that, “The costs of an Israeli military strike — with or without American support — would be huge,” and that it could “backfire.”

There is not one word in the Times or anywhere else in the corporate media about the reality that such an attack would constitute the commission of a supreme war crime.

President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney have all publicly warned that “all options” are “on the table” in dealing with Iran’s supposed threat to construct a nuclear weapon — a clear reference to their being ready to attack Iran if necessary.

Both the president and Defense (sic) Secretary Leon E. Panetta have vowed that the US “will not allow” Iran to develop a nuclear bomb,” which comes almost as close in threatening war, since Commander in Chief Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta have already stationed the requisite three Navy aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Arabia which military experts say would be necessary for any attack on Iran.

But despite all the war talk and saber rattling, the only debate in the US media seems to be over whether the US is really planning to attack Iran, or whether it would join in attacking Iran if Israel were to launch an attack, not on whether such an attack by either nation on Iran would constitute a horrific war crime.

There are polls, some of which show a majority of Americans to favor an attack on Iran by the US, but again, there are no pollsters asking Americans whether they think such an attack would be a crime against humanity.

I suppose we should not be surprised at this sorry state of affairs.
After all, the most brutal war that the US engaged in since World War II, when it became the only nation to ever use atomic weapons, incinerating two large cities in Japan in the waning days of that conflict, was the Indochina War, and North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia never posed the slightest threat to the United States.

Nobody was tried , much less hung for that atrocity, though a string of American civilian and military leaders should have been. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, which also posed no conceivable threat to the US, was also clearly a war crime which should have sent President Bush and his grim-visaged regent, Vice President Dick Cheney, to the gallows, but they were never even indicted.

Never have the US media suggested that these past horrors were war crimes deserving prosecution (though at least the House Impeachment Committee did consider charging President Richard Nixon with a war crime for invading Cambodia).

So why should we expect things to be any different now?

Well, perhaps because the consequences of this latest war crime in the making could have far more serious consequences, even, than the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, not just for American military personnel, and not even just for America, but for the entire world.

Iran is decidedly not Iraq.

It is a country of 74 million, not 24 million. It is a country with a long history and a strong national identity, not a group of disparate, feuding tribes and regions cobbled together by a departing colonial power as was Iraq.
It also has strong backers — both Russia and China, as well as neighboring Turkey and Pakistan–all of whom could and probably would rally to its aid in the event of an attack.

The whole Islamic world would also likely rise up in support of Iran if it were attacked by Israel and the US. The likelihood of such a war remaining confined to Iran is almost nil.

As well, an attack on Iran would shut down oil shipments not just from Iran but from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states of Kuwait and the UAE, all of which have to ship out their oil through the narrow Strait of Hormuz. Even if that strait were not successfully closed by Iran, which owns half the width of the waterway, no insurance company would cover the tankers that would have to traverse it under threat of Iranian attack, so shipments would simply cease, causing a huge spike in oil prices and a collapse of the global economy.

That alone could be enough to lead China, heavily dependent upon Iranian oil, to act in Iran’s defense — something it could do by simply ratcheting up the tension level in its standing conflict with the “renegade island province” of Taiwan, which country the US is bound by law to defend.

One would think that the magnitude of the unknown and dangerous potential consequences of a criminal attack on Iran by the US and its client state Israel would lead at least some news organizations to look into the very legality of such an attack.

But no. Apparently calling the leaders of this nation criminals is beyond the imagining of the so-called chattering class and its paymasters.

I’ll do it here though:

President Obama and his key advisors, as well as Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Panetta, are all currently war criminals for threatening Iran with attack.
And if the US does attack Iran, either on its own or in support of an Israeli attack, they will be even worse war criminals, and will be deserving of the same fate met by Japan’s Imperial Army General and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, and by Nazi Germany’s Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop and Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, who all hanged for their crimes.

Israel's Chutzpah

Using a Black Icon to Sell Apartheid

Hucksters for Israel attempt to make up for in chutzpah what they lack in facts.

On opening night of the eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week at NYU — at an event featuring Omar Barghouti and Noura Erakat, leading Palestinian figures in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign — apologists for Israel’s crimes showcased one of their more curious myths. Defenders of Israel repeatedly argued in the Q & A section that America’s foremost Black icon, Martin Luther King Jr., was an arch defender of the Jewish state.

Let’s explore the evidence.

Pro-Israel Web sites, politicians and campus activists often reference the source of their claim about MLK’s defense of Israel by citing King’s “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” supposedly published in an August 1967 edition of the Saturday Review. Here’s the quote they cite:

“… You declare, my friend; that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist’ … And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews… Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.”

This quote even made its way into an excellent exposé of Israel’s deadly decades-long relationship with apartheid South Africa, Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa. In fact, I repeated part of the quote in my own review of the book, much to my regret.

Later I discovered that the MLK letter was a hoax.

Antiracist activist Tim Wise published an article on Znet in 2003, “Fraud Fit for a King,” in which he documents the fact that no such letter appears in any of the 1967 issues of the Saturday Review.

The alternative source provided by Zionists for this apparently nonexistent letter is a nonexistent book by King, This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. According to the authors of Electronic Intifada’s 2004 piece that further details this bamboozle, “Israel’s Apologists and the Martin Luther King Hoax”: ”

No such book was listed in the bibliography provided by the King Center in Atlanta, nor in the catalogs of several large public and university libraries.”

Electronic Intifada goes on to discredit another “patchwork of plagiarism” attributed to King, this one by Dr. Andrew Bostom, a Brown University medical professor who wrote an article for Front Page Magazine in 2003 citing yet another fictitious quotation from King.

In fact the only credible statements made by King regarding Israel are recounted as hearsay in the San Francisco Chronicle by former civil rights activist, Congressman John Lewis.

Lewis, who was friends with King, writes in his 2002 op-ed that a few days before MLK’s assassination in 1968 King defended Israel at an appearance at Harvard, saying, “I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews — because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all.”

Here again, stubborn facts get in the way. As the Harvard Crimson reported in April 1968, “The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago — April 23, 1967.”

Setting aside the pesky historical record of fabricated quotes from imaginary speeches and phantom texts, what if MLK really did support Israel back in 1968?

What if at a dinner in Cambridge, as has been suggested, King did defend Israel decades before the first and second intifadas, before the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatilla, before the construction of hundreds of miles of apartheid walls with militarized checkpoints, before Israel’s soldiers who killed 1,400 Palestinians in Operation Cast Lead were even born, before the murder of 9 unarmed civilians on the humanitarian aid flotilla and before contemporary, irrefutable documentation by human rights organizations of Israel’s racist apartheid practices?

If King did say or write anything to the effect that Lewis recounts, then King — who never claimed to be a Middle East scholar — was ill-informed. What’s more, he not only lived in an era before widespread exposure in the U.S. of Israel’s crimes, but he was organizing in the context of domestic disputes about multiracial, Black and Jewish organizing in the civil rights movement. Might he have had a totally separate question in mind when commenting on Jews and a Jewish state?

Notably, statements attributed to King about the Arab world go unremarked upon by Zionists. For example, this snippet also cited by Congressman Lewis: “At the same time the great powers have the obligation to recognize that the Arab world is in a state of imposed poverty and backwardness that must threaten peace and harmony.”
Surely the man who called the U.S. “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” might be referring here to the American Empire, if not its Israeli vassal, as one of the entities imposing “poverty and backwardness” on the Arab world.

And finally, is it conceivable to any but the most blinkered defenders of Israel that MLK, who gave his life fighting inequality, would stand by a nation that has turned 69 percent of its indigenous population into refugees?

No one but a craven ideologue for the indefensible would insist that King could cheer on Israel’s system of separation, discrimination and domination.
It appears that defending ethnic cleansing and Israel’s genocidal policies in the wake of Occupy and democratic Arab upheavals is not the cakewalk it once was.

The question of justice for the world’s 11.2 million Palestinian people, according to latest census figures, is no longer the third rail of American politics among a growing swath of the population, including greater numbers of Jews.

That some apologists have turned to fabricated quotes and pure slander of an icon to justify the unjustifiable is yet another sign that leading Zionists are desperate liars.

After all, they see the writing on the wall. Though Israel openly frets about the growing Palestinian population as a “demographic threat,” the rising numbers of Arab-Americans, Jews and others who are adhering to the spirit of King’s call for civil rights by joining together in the BDS movement are the real demographic threat to apartheid Israel.

Sherry Wolf is the author of Sexuality and Socialism. She blogs atSherry Talks Back.

A Mom's memory

Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Wednesday admitted to sending a racially charged email about President Barack Obama from his courthouse chambers.

"A little boy said to his mother; 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?'" the email joke reads.
Hismother replied, "Don't even go there Barack!
From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'"

"Another federal official who is entrusted to do his duties fairly and impartially has yet again sent an email from his work account during work hours that espouses deeply racist and bigoted views," Haque-Hausrath said.

"The reason why I think it's so troubling, is it espouses the deeply racist view that interracial sex is equivalent to bestiality. For a federal judge to be equating the two, and say since Barack Obama is of mixed racial background, that his mother was somehow committing acts of bestiality is incredibly racist and troubling.