Category Archives: Stephen Lendman

This Land Is Their Land

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoPalestine belongs to Palestinians. They’re willing to settle for what lies within 1967 borders. It’s 22% of what they lost. They also rightfully claim East Jerusalem as their capital. It’s theirs, not Israel’s.

Israeli settlements are illegal. This article discusses Migron. It’s one of dozens of illegal Israeli outposts. Over 100 exist.

They were built without government authorization. International law doesn’t distinguish between settlements and outposts. They’re all illegal and have no right to exist. Israel spurns legal principles and does what it wishes. Why not when no one intervenes.

Israeli settlements, outposts, military areas, no-go zones, nature reserves, commercial areas, by-pass roads, tourist sites, checkpoints, and other barriers comprise well over 50 of West Bank land and East Jerusalem.

Over half a millions settlers live on stolen Palestinian property. Many occupy illegal outposts, including Migron. It lies northeast of Jerusalem overlooking Route 60. It’s Israel’s largest outpost.

In 1999, it was built on privately owned Palestinian land. In 2002, it expanded. It’s home for over 250 settlers. Israeli authorities never intervene to stop land theft or development. In fact, they aid and abet it.

The Ministry of Construction and Housing spent 4.3 million shekels for Migron’s infrastructure. No authorization approved it. In June 2006, Peace Now petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) to dismantle what never should have existed.

Government officials proposed building a neighborhood in Geva Binyamin settlement for Migron residents in exchange for evacuating the outpost.

Settlers said no. At the time, the HCJ refrained from ordering Migron dismantled. Government officials promised to “rapidly and effectively enforce planning and building laws.” They also called the outpost “unacceptable.”

Nonetheless, residents kept building. Nothing was done to stop them even though the HCJ said Migron violated Palestinians’ property rights.

In 1979, the HCJ’s Elon Moreh ruling prohibited seizing privately owned Palestinian land for settlement construction. Only so-called state land could be used even though no legal authority justifies classifying it that way.

Following the court ruling, Israel arbitrarily appropriated over 900,000 dunums as state land. It was brazen theft. Doing so violated international law. Palestinians were denied the right to contest loss of their own property.

Israel also invented other new ways to steal land. For example, it appropriated Jordan Valley property belonging to absentee Palestinian owners. Other land was seized. It was used for dozens of settlements. Some were claimed necessary for “military needs.” Saying so was subterfuge for theft.

All settlements and outposts should be dismantled. Migron is one stain among many. On August 2, 2011, the HCJ ordered it taken down by end of March 2012. It was the first such order since Elon Moreh was ordered shut in 1979.

The Court called Migron one of the most brazen examples of lawless development, saying:

“The establishment of the outpost and its ongoing expansion are in clear and blatant defiance of the rule of law and infringe on the proprietary rights of the Palestinian landowners.

Eighteen months later nothing changed. Knesset hardliners delayed Migron’s demolition. Orders weren’t issued to do so. A deal gave settlers until 2015 to relocate. Rule of law principles and Israel’s High Court ruling were ignored.

By March 2015, settlers agreed to move to state-owned West Bank land. Their structures would either remain vacant or Israel’s military will claim them. Palestinians won’t get back property rightfully theirs, at least not without further court action.

In 2015, further delays may follow earlier ones. Perhaps new legislation will legitimize outposts and prevent evacuations and demolitions. Hardline Knesset members support virtually anything settlers wish. Palestinian rights are ignored to please them.

In the mid-1990s, settlers began establishing unauthorized outposts after Israel pledged no new settlements. Israel did nothing to stop them. Considerable aid was given for infrastructure, security, and even planning.

In July 2012, things got worse. Netanyahu’s Levy committee rewrote international law. Its report claimed that occupation “as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.”

“Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal.”

It recommended legitimizing illegal outposts. It said zoning officials should authorize them without further political approval. It urged no restraints on settlement construction.

Netanyahu praised the report. So did Knesset hardliners. Levy served earlier on Israel’s High Court. He represents decades of occupation injustice.

He claims the West Bank and East Jerusalem aren’t occupied territories. International law, jurists who support it, and the International Court of Justice say otherwise.

Migron is a drop in an ocean of injustice. It symbolizes unbridled Israeli lawlessness. Land rights cut to the heart of Palestine’s liberating struggle.

One outpost is inconsequential. Settling it equitably, however, matters. Failure to do so legitimizes others. It also facilitates unrestrained settlement expansions.

A Glimmer of Hope or a False Positive?

On August 29, Israel’s High Court again ordered Migron evacuated. Settlers were ordered out by September 4. The site was ordered cleared by September 11. Justices rejected a petition by 17 outpost families. They wrongfully claimed establishing Migron was legal.

They said land settled on was bought. Proof doesn’t support bluster. Evidence suggests purchase documents were forged. The Court said “purchases have nothing more than (an unsubstantiated) purchase.” Construction wasn’t authorized and is illegal.

The ruling came days after government officials apparently yielded. They agreed Migron has to go. Perhaps they’re willing to exchange one outpost for another on so-called state land by changing the subject.

During the Court hearing, state prosecutor representative Osmat Mandel explained the government’s new position. Migron settlers won’t be abandoned. They’ll be moved to newly built homes on alternate Palestinian land.

Israel’s Defense Ministry said it “expect(s) residents of Migron to respect the High Court’s ruling and evacuate on their own.” They issued a statement, saying:

“It is a dark day for the State of Israel, a day that has seen the basic rights of right-wingers trampled. The High Court granted legitimacy to the ‘price tag’ tactics of the State Attorney’s office against settlers.”

“The Israeli government will not be able to clean itself of the brutal rape that took place under its nose, and which it did nothing to stop.”

They blamed Netanyahu personally, adding:

He “joins in the eternal shame of the former prime ministers that decided to strike against the settlements. We are positive that Zionist Israelis will know who to blame for this.”

“Residents of Migron are holding their heads high on this difficult day, and believe that the settlements will grow and prosper, and that soon, the story of Migron will end in at least two new settlements!”

Israel’s Yesha Council is a hardline umbrella settlement organization. It accused the HCJ of “not really being open to hear” Migron residents side of the story, adding:

“We will not give up because of this. On the contrary: We will double our efforts to legitimize the land in upper Migron, and we will settle there again, faster than people think.”

Peace Now issued a statement saying:

“The High Court’s decision is a victory for law and order over the illegal settlements in the West Bank. The decision transforms Migron from a symbol of defiance and lawlessness into a symbol for the preservation of Israeli democracy.”

“The court ruling is a beacon of light for Israeli society, proves that the settlers are not above the law, and that the West Bank is not abandoned territory. Peace Now sees the court ruling as an important achievement for all those who believe in a two state solution, and the rules of democracy.”

It remains to be seen whether Migron’s story end here or if new chapters remain to be written. On September 2, Israeli radio said settlers there began leaving of their own accord. Haaretz said within a few hours they were gone.

Longstanding battle lines aren’t dismantled. Well over 200 other settlements and outposts keep expanding. Justice for Palestinians remains distant. Their liberating struggle continues.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

 

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

“Israel” uses Palestinians for target practice

 
My PhotoSeptember 3, 2012
 
Israelis do that and much more. Gazans are locked down in isolation. They live in a virtual war zone. Incursions, bombings, and border killings happen regularly.Bogus threats are claimed. Civilians are killed or injured in cold blood. Farmers are shot in their fields. Children straying too close to Israel’s border are murdered for sport. Israeli soldiers literally use them for target practice. It’s no joke. Little boys and girls die or get injured.Others end up disabled. Many are grievously traumatized. Western media reports ignore what they and adults endured for decades. Washington aids and abets the worst of Israel’s war machine.
On September 1, Israeli F-16s attacked Gaza’s Al-Maqousy Towers residential area. Palestinian medical sources reported two injuries. Buildings were also damaged. Wounded residents were hospitalized.
These type attacks happen with sickening frequency. Gazans wonder what’s next. Imagine living in neighborhoods vulnerable to ground or air attacks. Imagine not knowing from one day to the next if you’ll live, die, or be grievously harmed.
Palestinian fishermen at sea face frequent Israeli attacks. On August 28, two men fishing close to shore were accosted and arrested in two separate incidents. One vessel was heavily damaged.
Israeli gunboats opened fire at one boat. Soldiers told a fisherman and his son to disrobe and swim towards their vessel. They were handcuffed, blindfolded, and taken to a security center. Their boat and implements were confiscated. The experience affected the young son emotionally.
In a separate incident, Israeli gunboats surrounded six Palestinian fishing vessels. Around two dozen men were on board. Soldiers opened fire. They chased the boats for about 15 minutes. They forced the fishermen to flee. Somehow they escaped injury.
Israel frequently denies Palestinians the right to fish in their own waters. Doing it risks injury, arrest, occasional deaths, and/or loss or confiscation of their vessels.
Since 2000, fishermen lost 85% of their income. Some are killed or injured. Safe waters earlier are now hazardous. Who knows who’ll live, die, or be injured next.
In the week ending August 30, Israeli soldiers shot and seriously wounded a Gazan woman. They violently dispersed a peaceful West Bank demonstration. They injured 11 Palestinian civilians. They included a child, an elderly woman, and four journalists.
They conducted 64 incursions into West Bank communities plus another four in Gaza. Thirty-three arrests were made, including 10 children.
Security forces permit regular settler attacks. Injuries and property damage result. Investigations when conducted are whitewashed. Palestinians have no place to hide. Even at home they’re unsafe.
On August 14, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel discussed government plans to build seven new lawless agricultural settlements. October 2011 plans called for establishing them in areas around Mevo’ot Arad.
Documents claimed they’re part of a “Zionist vision to make the desert blossom,” as well as “strengthening organized Jewish settlement.”
Doing so involves destroying five bedouin villages. They’re home to 8,000 Palestinians. Israel plans stealing 45,000 acres it claims are “empty of population” except for “sparse bedouin scatterings.”
 
Three of the five villages existed pre-1948. The other two were established in the 1950s when Israel forcibly moved Palestinians from other Negev locations. Israel wants their land for new settlements.
 
Seizing it also involves damaging infrastructure. Also planned is developing existing communities further by stealing more Palestinian land. According to ACRI attorney Rawia Aburabia:
“A country that is committed to equality among its citizens cannot decide to remove Bedouin communities in order to establish new communities for Jewish residents.”
Behind the words ‘vision’ and ‘making a wasteland blossom’ ” hides Israel’s lawless intention to steal all valued Judea and Samaria areas.
Bimkom city planner Nili Bruch added:

“In past decades, many resources were invested in the establishment of more and more settlements for Jews only, at the expense of veteran residents of the Negev – bedouins in unrecognized villages who suffer from criminal neglect, and residents of cities and Jewish villages who also suffer from neglect and are desperate for new residents. This plan has no justice and no logic – financially, civilly or environmentally.”

On September 1, Maan News headlined “Israeli army fires live bullets at West Bank protest,” saying:
Soldiers lied. They claimed they felt “an imminent threat to their lives.” Malik Tamimi was shot in the hand. Omar Tamimi was injured by a rubber bullet willfully fired at his head. A woman was struck in the leg by a tear gas canister fired from close range.
Israeli forces blocked off the area, made arrests, and prevented an ambulance from reaching wounded Palestinians. An Israeli military spokesperson denied responsibility for what happened.
The previous day, settlers stoned a Palestinian bus. Five injuries and damage resulted. The attack was unprovoked. Extremist settlers carry out frequent attacks with impunity.
At the same time, Israeli forces attacked peaceful Bil’in village protesters. They do it weekly against Israel’s Annexation Wall theft of their land.
Dozens were hurt from tear gas inhalation and chemical waste water spray. Among them were visiting British parliamentarians. They toured the village and surrounding areas, held talks with local leaders, and expressed support. Too bad it’s never translated into policy.
On August 29, Addameer said Israeli settlers keep targeting Daraghneh family members. They live in Laban village near Nablus. Incidents happen virtually daily. The latest one left two children hospitalized.
Settlers are armed and extremely violent. They know they can do what they want and get away with it. Women and children are attacked like men. Property is damaged or destroyed.
When Israeli forces arrived, they declared the area a closed military zone. One witness heard a commander telling settlers what to say after attacking. More incidents followed.
The latest incident is one of the most violent. Daraghmeh family members are ruthlessly harassed. Soldiers also target and arrest them. Their continued targeting shows a “complete lack of justice.”
Thousands of other Palestinians suffer the same way. Occupation harshness continues without end. Being Palestinian means vulnerability to attacks any time without redress.
On August 30, Al Haq addressed the problem. It headlined “Violent raids in the OPT: Israeli Army Vandalizes Palestinian Homes during Military Operations,” saying:

Since mid-August, Israeli forces raided Jenin, Hebron, Qalqiliya, and Gaza’s Bureij refugee camp. Twenty-four Palestinians were arrested, including five children. Homes were stormed, ransacked and vandalized.

Arbitrary incidents like these happen regularly. Civilians are targeted for being Palestinian. Their rights are systematically denied. Children are treated like adults.
On August 22, IDF troops raided Nablus’ Jabal al-Shamali neighborhood. Jamal Muhammad Samhan and his family live there. Patrolling vehicles woke him and his two sons. Ten soldiers stormed his home. Two were hooded.
They were ordered outside against a wall and searched. They were told to hand over their identity cards. Nineteen-year old Mahmoud was handcuffed, blindfolded, and arrested. When allowed back in his house, Jamal found most of his furniture destroyed.
Mahmoud remains detained. No charges were filed. On the same day, ‘Ein Beit-al-Ma’ refugee camp residents Ramadan Mustafa Shahin and Iyad ‘Issa Ma’rouf were arrested. Their homes were also ransacked and vandalized.
On August 29, Jerusalem Post writer Eyal Hareuven headlined “Susiya demolition orders not simply law enforcement issue,” saying:
Israeli Civil Administration officials distributed demolition orders for 52 Susiya village structures in South Hebron Hills. Previous ones were issued from 1994 – 2001.
If new ones are implemented, most of Susiya’s 400-member community will be destroyed. People will be displaced from their own land. They lost it twice before.
In 1986, Israel declared Susiya a national park site. In 2001, they were forcibly ordered removed again. At the time, Israel’s High Court froze the order.
Civil Administration authorities claim residents built on their own land without permits. Getting them is virtually impossible. Susiya is one of many affected villages. At issue is displacing Palestinians for Jews only construction.
Most often, Israel’s High Court goes along. Palestinian communities atrophy. Justice is systematically denied. Israeli officials claim they’re enforcing the law and nothing else. In fact, Palestinians are ruthlessly targeted, cut off from essential services, dispossessed, and forced to pay costs for their own home demolitions.
On August 28, Israel denied 100 internationals entry into Occupied Palestine, They tried crossing over from Jordan. They ranged in age from 8 to 80. Israel deports foreign visitors expressing support for Palestinian rights. They oppose irresponsible Israeli policies. They’re committed to do what they can to help.
Activists came bearing gifts. They included writing implements for children beginning their school year. They arrived at Jordan’s Allenby Bridge crossing in two buses. One vehicle entered Israel. Passengers were denied permission to disembark.
Their passports were collected and stamped “denied entry.” The other bus was prevented from leaving Jordan. Many activists participating did so earlier. They know how Israel responds. They come anyway because it’s the right thing to do.
Internationals only get in by falsifying reasons for coming. Human rights supporters and others say when governments don’t act responsibly, they must respond in protest.
Occupied Palestinians face regular assaults, incursions, air attacks, home break-ins, targeted assassinations, home demolitions, other property vandalized and destroyed, dispossessions, land theft, arrests, detention with or without charges, torture, and other forms of daily state terror.
Yet they persist. Their struggle continues. They do it despite ruthless Israeli persecution. Washington wholeheartedly supports it. Other Western countries either go along, turn a blind eye, or resort to empty rhetorical support.
Hopefully decades of courageous resistance will prevail over unconscionable Israeli injustice. Along with persecuted people everywhere, Palestinians deserve what they’ve been long denied.
 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Israeli court legitimizes murder

by Stephen Lendman

My Photo
Cindy and Craig CorrieCindy and Craig Corrie hoped for better. So did sister Sarah. The world knows Israel murdered their daughter, Rachel, in cold blood. On August 28, Israeli justice ruled otherwise.

It’s unsurprising in a nation contemptuous of rule of law principles, democratic values, and life itself. More on the court ruling below.

Israel is a rogue terror state. It’s an out-of-control blight on humanity. It’s a regional menace. Racism and persecution are institutionalized. It’s unfit to live in for most Jews. For Arabs and supporters of equal rights and justice, it’s dangerous.

On March 16, 2003, an Israeli bulldozer soldier/driver murdered Rachel Corrie in cold blood.

Courageously she tried to stop a lawless Rafah refugee camp home demolition. Eye witnesses said she climbed atop a giant militarized Caterpillar tractor, spoke to the driver, climbed down, knelt 10 – 20 meters in front in clear view, and blocked its path with her body.

Activists screamed for it to stop. The operator ignored them. He deliberately crushed Rachel to death. To be sure, he ran over her twice.

He murdered her in cold blood. Israel’s government and military supported him. They still do.
They believe Arab lives and well-being don’t matter. They target activists who support them. They’re considered enemies of the state.

Opposition isn’t tolerated. Murder is official policy to eliminate it. Rachel’s death bears stark witness to institutionalized lawlessness.

Legitimizing it reveals corrupt Israeli justice. Punishment follows Jewish killings. Arab ones or supporters are whitewashed. Orders from the top mandate it. Investigations when they’re held are shams. Israel’s said:

“The state believes that it was proved that the activity of the IDF force is within the framework of ‘war activity.”

“In addition, the state proved that the deceased willfully endangered herself and, sadly, her contributory fault stood at 100%.”

In 2005, Rachel’s family sued: “The estate of Rachel Aliene Corrie v. State of Israel, Ministry of Defense.”

They waited over nine years for justice. The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice (RCFPJ) supports it. Its mission and guiding principles state:
The Foundation continues what Rachel began. It reflects “her vision, spirit, and creative energy….” It supports “build(ing) understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities.”

The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, at first reported nothing. Belated coverage appeared. Online AM editions excluded it. The Washington Post ran an AP piece. Front page headlines omitted it.

AP said “(a)n Israeli court on Monday rejected a lawsuit brought against the military by the parents of a U.S. activist crushed to death by an army bulldozer during a 2003 demonstration, ruling the army was not at fault for her death.”

Rachel was in plain sight. Her bright orange vest and bullhorn made her easy to spot. The soldier-operator lied. He knew she protected a Palestinian home with her body. He claimed he didn’t see her.
Israel called Rachel’s death accidental. A sham investigation report said:

“Rachael Corrie was not run over by an engineering vehicle but rather was struck by a hard object, most probably a slab or concrete which was moved or slid down while the mound of earth which she was standing behind was moved.”

She and others with her were accused of “illegal, irresponsible and dangerous” behavior.
Cindy and Craig sued for justice. Israeli district court judge Oded Gershon contemptuously justified murder. “I reject the suit,” he said. “There is no justification to demand the state pay any damages.”
He claimed Rachel “put herself in a dangerous situation.” He called her death “an accident she brought upon herself.” Blame the victim is Israeli policy.

He said the IDF conducted a proper investigation. It whitewashed Rachel’s death. It absolved cold blooded murder. So did judge Gershon. He rejected her family’s symbolic suit for $1 in damages plus legal expenses.

Family lawyer Hussein Abu Hussein called the verdict “blam(ing) the victim.” His full statement was as follows:

“While not surprising, this verdict is yet another example of where impunity has prevailed over accountability and fairness. Rachel Corrie was killed while non-violently protesting home demolitions and injustice in Gaza, and today, this court has given its stamp of approval to flawed and illegal practices that failed to protect civilian life.”

“In this regard, the verdict blames the victim based on distorted facts and it could have been written directly by the state attorneys.”

“We knew from the beginning that we had an uphill battle to get truthful answers and justice, but we are convinced that this verdict distorts the strong evidence presented in court, and contradicts fundamental principles of international law with regard to protection of human rights defenders.”
“In denying justice in Rachel Corrie’s killing, this verdict speaks to the systemic failure to hold the Israeli military accountable for continuing violations of basic human rights.”

“We would like to thank everyone who supported the family and the legal team; including activists, NGOs, legal observers, US embassy officials, interpreters, reporters who covered the trial, and we look forward to talking to you at the press conference.”

Addressing reporters, Hussein called the ruling “a black day for activists of human rights and people who believe in values of dignity.”

Cindy and Craig will appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court. They’ll continue speaking publicly about Rachel, they said. They won’t let her death be in vain. They criticized Israel’s failure to properly investigate.

“A civil lawsuit is not a substitute for a legal investigation, which we never had,” said Cindy. “The diplomatic process between the United States and Israel failed us. Rachel’s killing could have been and should have been avoided.”

“We’re deeply troubled by what we heard today,” she added. “From the beginning, it was clear to us that there was….a well-heeled system to protect the Israeli military, the soldiers who conduct actions….to provide them with impunity at the cost of all the civilians who are impacted by what they do.”

Israel “worked extremely hard so that the truth behind what happened to my daughter is not exposed.”
“I believe this is a bad day not only for our family, but….for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law, and also for the country of Israel.”

According to Human Rights Watch representative Bill Van Esveld:

“The idea that there can be no fault for killing civilians in a combat operation contradicts Israel’s international legal obligations to spare civilians from harm during armed conflict and to credibly investigate and punish violations by its force.”

“Military investigators repeatedly failed to take statements from witnesses, to follow up with the witness’s lawyer and to re-interview witnesses to clarify discrepancies.”

In March 2010, multiple oral testimony sessions began. In July 2011, they concluded. They produced over 2,000 pages of court transcripts. Witnesses were flown in. Israeli ones appeared behind screens to conceal their identities. Criminals and supporters sought anonymity.

Cindy and Craig drained their savings. They spent about $200,000 on travel, legal costs, translation services, and other expenses. Their struggle for justice continues.

Sarah Corrie Simpson met with representatives in over 200 congressional offices. She said:

“I hope someday (the bulldozer operator) will have the courage to sit down in front of me and tell me what he saw and what he feels.”

Before the verdict, Craig said:

“You don’t really close a wound like this, but it certainly is a big milestone.”

For days ahead of the ruling, he carried a photo of the then six-year old Palestinian girl whose home Rachel tried to protect. “I think this (picture) in some ways is more hopeful,” he said. “She deserves a future that we all want for our children.”

AP said their case was “the first civil lawsuit of a foreigner harmed by Israel’s military to conclude in a full civilian trial.” Others were settled out of court.

Rachel was an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteer. It’s a nonviolent, direct-action Palestinian movement against occupation and injustice.

Its members used their bodies as human shields to stop home demolitions. During the second Intifada (2000 – 2004), over 1,700 Rafah homes were bulldozed. Around 17,000 Palestinians were left homeless.

Many others throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem lost their homes. Doing so violates Fourth Geneva’s Article 147. It prohibits targeting civilian property.

Rachel justifiably tried to prevent it. Fourth Geneva’s Article 10 supports humanitarian workers. Occupying powers are obligated to protect them. Moreover, Article 54 prohibits targeting civilians.
Rachel was a committed anti-war activist before coming to Gaza in 2002. She arranged peace events in Washington state.

She died in Rafah in southern Gaza. She and other ISM protesters used their bodies to stop other home demolitions. Extremist members of Netanyahu’s coalition government called judge Gershon’s ruling “vindication after vilification.”

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi denounced the decision, saying:

“Despite the testimonies of eyewitnesses, the audio-visual evidence and the overwhelming proof that Rachel was deliberately murdered, the Israeli court insists on victimizing her again in her tragic death.”

“This proves that once again the occupation has distorted the legal and judicial systems in Israel and that the lack of accountability for its violence and violations has generated a culture of hate and impunity.”

“We must make sure that Rachel Corrie’s death is not a senseless incident. It must be stressed that Israel’s habit of blaming the victim and exonerating the criminal is not applied to Palestinian victims, but has also it has extended its reach to international solidarity activists and victims of Israeli violence.”
“The U.S. government has been noticeably absent and its silence is deafening. In their lack of engagement and human empathy, both the legislative and executive branches are complicit in compounding the crime.”

“The Palestinians as a whole will continue to love Rachel and cherish her memory. Her sacrifice will always be a source of hope and a tribute to genuine humanity.”

Ahead of judge Gershon’s ruling, ISM announced it’s scheduled August 28 date, at 9:00AM, in Haifa District Court. Rachel died at age 23. A glorious human being was lost. A militarized Caterpillar D9-R bulldozer crushed her to death.

In its summer newsletter, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice highlighted the scheduled ruling date. Proceedings began seven and a half years earlier. August 28 was painfully long in coming.
On arrival it left nothing resolved. Rachel’s family members called on others “to show support for this lengthy effort and to seize this moment to challenge the home demolitions (she) opposed….”
In Israel, impunity triumphs over accountability, fairness and justice. Institutionalized lawlessness assures it.

The issue remains as urgent as when Rachel died. On August 29, a live 9:30PM EDT conference call with family members discussed the court ruling. Visits the Foundation site for details and perhaps an audio transcript.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. Supporting progressive causes and organizations, he began writing in summer 2005 on a broad range of issues. Topics regularly addressed include war and peace; social, economic and political equity; and justice for long-suffering peoples globally – notably, victims of America’s imperial wars, Occupied Palestinians and Haitians. In early 2007, he began hosting his own radio program. Currently he hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. 


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Historic Tehran Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit

Iran has multiple objectives in mind. It seeks support for its lawful nuclear program, peace, and mutually beneficial solidarity.

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My Photo After the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is the most important world body. Hopefully its 16th summit will infuse it with new life.

Historic Tehran NAM SummitAs host, Iran has a historic opportunity. At the same time, it can enhance its own prestige and enlist support against hostile Washington/Israeli designs.

August 26 began six days of sessions and discussions. Proceedings began with an experts meeting.
<font face=”Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-214333″ title=”NAM SUMMIT CONVENES IN TEHRAN” src=”http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/NAM-SUMMIT-CONVENES-IN-TEHRAN.jpg” alt=”” width=”595″ height=”414″ /></font>
During the opening session, Egypt’s permanent UN representative, Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil, ceremonially passed NAM’s presidential baton to Iran. For the next three years, Tehran will head the organization.
 
Hosting NAM is significant. Assuming leadership affords added prestige. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mihmanparast said 118 foreign delegations will attend. Russia and China are there as observer nations. So is Australia. Participants sent 27 presidents, eight prime ministers, nine vice presidents, six special envoys, up to 25 foreign ministers, other high-level ministers, and two kings.
 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, North Korea’s parliamentary chairman Kim Yong-nam, Cuba’s Raul Castro, Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan, Lebanese President Michel Sulaiman, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Despite tensions between the two countries, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (King Abdullah’s son) will attend. He’s currently acting deputy foreign minister.

Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa will also participate. In March 2011, Manama recalled its ambassador in protest over Tehran’s condemnation of Bahraini police state violence. Iran responded in kind by recalling its envoy.

On August 12, Bahrain returned it ambassador to Tehran. Days later, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein amir-Abdollahian said Iran wouldn’t return its ambassador to Manama as long as crackdowns continued.

In advance of the summit, a document with 688 articles was prepared. They’ll be discussed during the two-day meeting of experts. Topics include international issues, regional crises, human rights, food and health security, as well as matters relating to economic development.

One statement will focus on Palestine. Another will be a comprehensive plan to end Washington’s war on Syria. A contact group will be established to help defuse the conflict. One-on-one and multilateral discussions will be held on how to do it.

Iran has multiple objectives in mind. It seeks support for its lawful nuclear program, peace, and mutually beneficial solidarity.

Economic issues will be stressed. Plans will be presented to revitalize NAM. Participating delegations will be urged to transform it into a more significant organization by making its “approvals” binding. Since founded in 1961, it’s only issued statements relating to world problems.

On August 26, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi delivered the opening speech. Press TV said he “called on all member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to use their utmost potential and make collective efforts to establish peace and justice in the world.”

“At the current juncture, we have made our utmost efforts to promote general objectives of the Non-Aligned Movement including fostering solidarity among all member states, which is a prerequisite for an efficient movement.”
He said a “destructive mind” affects international relations. He urged solidarity and respect for national sovereignty in the face of a collective threat.
“We need to revive our movement in accordance with the current conditions in the world,” he urged. NAM participants “must seriously oppose unilateral economic sanctions which have been enacted by certain countries against non-aligned members.”
During its leadership period, he said Iran will try to strengthen NAM and increase its importance.
He added that world views top NAM officials share, show a clear mutual “determination to support and strengthen the movement and turn it into an effective tool to protect the interests of member states.”
He hopes mutual concerns will translate into effective peace offensive plans.

On August 26, the Tehran Times said Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will deliver the opening speech of the summit of heads of state and government.

It said the summit “will mark a turning point in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran at a time when certain Western countries and the Zionist regime are making efforts to isolate Iran in the international arena.”

Mehr News said NAM participants are invited to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities. At issue is showing them they’re peaceful and non-threatening. Scheduled trips are also scheduled to industrial and scientific sites.

Mehr News also said Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will attend. Reports disagree on whether Palestine’s elected Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will participate.

Maan News said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited him. On August 26, it said he accepted the invitation and will attend.

Unelected Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad objected, saying:

“This is a serious escalation by Iran against Palestinian unity and against the Palestinian Authority’s role as the guardian of the Palestinian people both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank including Jerusalem.” 


Hamas is Palestine’s elected government.

Abbas’ presidential term expired in January 2009.

He and appointed prime minister Fayyad have no legitimacy.

Confirming Haniyeh’s attendance, Gaza spokesman Taher Al-Nunu called on all parties to respect the Palestinian people’s democratic choice. He added that Haniyeh will participate in Tehran as elected prime minister.

On August 26, a second Maan News report said Iran’s foreign minister told his PA counterpart that Haniyeh wasn’t invited.

PA foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki said Abbas won’t attend with him and other Gaza delegates. Palestine remains a divisive issue. At the time of this writing, no further information is available.
Dominant discussion themes include solidarity, national sovereignty inviolability, economic development, and peace. The summit represents a major opportunity for Iran to enlist support. It also provides a platform against Western/Israeli imperialism.

Top officials from 118 delegations shows Washington’s attempt to isolate Iran failed. World participation is impressive.

Fidel Castro’s 1979 Havana Declaration will be stressed. He said NAM’s purpose is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of non-aligned countries (in their) struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as as against great power and bloc politics.”
Six days of discussions will focus on these and related themes. Hopefully at summit’s end Iran will have gained prestige at the expense of Washington, Israel, and key NATO allies. Perhaps unity on how to end Syria’s conflict will also emerge.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said NAM participants oppose foreign interference. A “new proposal will be presented at the sidelines….and evaluated by members.”
He added that NAM participants “want to hear the standpoints of the Syrian people and see a comprehensive plan to settle the crisis.”

“No foreign states but the people of Syria should decide about their political future.”
Achieving broad agreement on that principle alone would make Tehran’s summit successful. Translating agreement into policy matters most.

A Final Comment


Western media attempts to ignore, downplay, or demean the NAM summit may backfire. The event’s significance may be enhanced. A Washington Post editorial called it an anti-American “festival of resistance,” a “useless recreational club,” and a “bacchanal of nonsense.”
These type comments reflect imperial arrogance, the shameful state of America’s media, and why US policies and its supporters are condemned.

Iran’s UN mission press office head Alireza Miryousefi responded, saying:

The Post editorial “unjustifiably smeared Iran and mocked the upcoming” NAM summit shamelessly. Doing so “ignore(s) the growing importance of the movement…” Most UN member states belong. Other key ones are observers.
 

“In light of its focus on multilateral cooperation, disarmament, sustainable world peace, rights of nations and horizontal relations defying hegemonic structures, the Non-Aligned Movement is a major cross-regional group in the United Nations….”
 
Participation by dozens of world leaders “promises to make significant contributions to (NAM’s) lofty objectives.”
 
Iran’s agenda is peace and mutual cooperation, he stressed. Its legitimate nuclear program threatens no one. NAM principles “always supported Iran’s inalienable nuclear (and other) rights and opposed” illegal Western/Israeli threats.
 
Washington has other ideas. So does Israel. Hopefully this year’s summit will show solidarity against them. What’s more important than world peace.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

 

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Anti-Iranian Hysteria

by Stephen Lendman

Western media, hard right commentators, and pro-Israeli groups feature regular anti-Iranian denigration, slander, misinformation and lies.

Respecting its sovereignty is verboten. Regime change is prioritized. All means are OK, including war, mass killing and destruction. Warmongers relish it. Rhetoric tries justifying it.

Responsibility to protect (R2P) and humanitarian intervention are code terms. They’re cover for imperial ravaging. When is war not war? It’s when killing, terrorizing, and traumatizing victims is legitimized. It’s when lies substitute for truth. It’s when threats don’t exist so they’re created. It’s when fake objectives conceal real ones.

America and Israel are warrior states. They’d rather fight than switch policies to peaceful ones. They’d rather eliminate rivals than cooperate diplomatically, politically and economically.

Iran’s alleged nuclear threat is red herring cover for regime change by war if other methods fail.
No matter that US intelligence and IAEA inspectors found no evidence of bomb-making development, production, or violations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions.

Occasional mainstream reports provide kernels of truth. Months earlier, Haaretz headlined “Mossad, CIA agree Iran has yet to decide to build nuclear weapon,” saying:

Intelligence agencies have best information. They contradict warrior politicians itching for another fight. At times, they report accurately what warmongers don’t want to hear.

Too bad it’s not all the time. Media scoundrels don’t hold them accountable when they and political hawks choose war as their policy of choice.

Anti-Iranian threats are featured. On August 14, the London Guardian headlined “Israeli speculation over Iran strike reaches fever pitch,” saying:

Talk may or may not signal policy. Nonetheless, “a blizzard of speculative articles (suggest) a military strike against Iran’s nuclear sites is imminent.”

Weeks, not months, are mentioned. A Ma’ariv article mentioned a September 25 deadline. It’s when UN member states meet in New York for the General Assembly’s 67th session. It’s also Yom Kippur eve.

Yedioth Ahronoth Hebrew language broadsheet is Israel’s most popular daily. Writers Nahum Barnea and Simon Shiffer are respected commentators. They said:

“Insofar as it depends on Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran will take place in these coming autumn months, before the US elections in November.”
At the same time, “(t)here is not a single senior official in the establishment – neither among the (IDF) top brass nor in the security branches, or even the president – who supports an Israeli strike at the moment.”

Nonetheless, “Netanyahu assessed that this was empty talk. That Obama will not take action. Barak was less confrontational, but his conclusion was similar. He said that Israel could not entrust its security in the hands of a foreign state….The US can live with a nuclear Iran. Israel cannot.”

Former Mossad head Ehraim Halevy said if he “was an Iranian, (he’d) be very fearful of the next 12 weeks.” Former Israeli military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi Farkash said “(i)t seems to me that (an Israeli attack) could come in the near future, that is, weeks or a couple of months.”

Others accuse Netanyahu and Barak of playing a dangerous game. One hopeful sign is that war plans are publicly debated.

In “The Art of War,” Chinese general/strategist/philosopher Sun Tzu said “All warfare is based on deception.” Enemies aren’t alerted in advance.

“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable. When using our forces, we must seem inactive. When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away. When far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

He also said “(l)et your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Perhaps Israeli bombast is more bark than bite. If not, deception won’t be part of its strategy. Publicly, positions of both sides have been featured ad nauseam.

Earlier Israeli wars weren’t pre-announced. Plans were secret until initiated. Discussions were held privately. Current openness won’t affect whether or not attacking Iran follows.

Hopefully, it reflects lack of resolve rather than intent to commit to what neither side can win. Tiny Israel will be battered. Destroying or severely damaging its nuclear sites will irradiate the entire country and large parts of neighboring ones.

Striking Iran’s nuclear facilities puts millions of Iranians at risk. Contamination assures current and future generational suffering. War casualties on both sides will pale compared to far greater numbers annually.

Responsible leaders don’t take those risks. Sociopaths go where angels fear to tread. Consequences come later. They’re left for future officials to address. Radiation is unforgiving. So is other contamination too toxic to remediate.

On August 20, Haaretz headlined “Mofaz demands clarifications from Netanyahu over his ‘intention to lead Israel to war with Iran,’ ” saying:

Kadima party head Shaul Mofaz demanded an urgent meeting. “I ask that this meeting be convened without delay,” he said. He raised concerns about preparedness, US/Israeli relations, the IDF’s reserve strength, essential raw materials, other supplies, civil aviation, sea ports, evacuation of strategic facilities, and management of Israel’s strategic inventories.

He accused Netanyahu, Barak, and likeminded ministers of “crossing red lines and neglecting the public discourse on the most intimate security-related issues.” He added that this conduct “has become customary for you and your government.”

He stressed that attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities would achieve limited results at best. At the same time, it assures great “loss of life, grave damage to the home front, and deep erosion of Israel’s political situation. Such action is immoral and operationally illogical under the circumstances.”

Mofaz has extensive military experience. He served both as Deputy Chief of General Staff and chief. He also was Ariel Sharon’s defense minister. His concerns can’t be dismissed out of hand.

He accused Netanyahu of losing his senses and control. He added that hysteria he projects reflects “a grave picture illustrated by your true intentions at this time.”

Mofaz is both military strategist and politician. He alone knows where one ends and the other begins. Opposition parties criticize for political advantage. Perhaps his comments reflect future electoral considerations, not real feelings or what he’d do as prime minister.

Professor Francis Boyle is a recognized international law expert. He calls waging war on Iran a criminal act. Doing so is naked aggression. “The death toll from World War III will be incalculable,” he said. “Humanity must now allow our history to repeat itself! Otherwise, that could be the end to our Humanity.”

When Obama says “all options are on the table,” he threatening possible nuclear war. Doing so is unconscionable madness. It’s also perhaps the highest form of criminality.

Nuclear weapons and “nuclear deterrence (have) never been legitimate instruments of state policy but have always constituted instrumentalities of internationally lawless and criminal behavior,” Boyle explains.

“If mass extermination of human beings is a crime,” so is threatening to do so. Article 2 of the UN Charter “prohibits both the threat and the use of force except” in self-defense. US wars don’t qualify. Nor will attacking Syria and/or Iran.

America and Israel both are guilty of “ongoing international criminal activity.” At issue is “planning, preparation, solicitation, and conspiracy to commit Nuremberg crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide” on a regional or world scale.

In emails to this writer, Boyle added more, saying:

“If there is war against Iran, it will be because the United States has decided to sacrifice the Israelis in order to accomplish its own imperial objectives in the Middle East.”

He’s saying after both countries batter each other, America will grab easy pickings without waging war for them.

At the same time, he stresses, war assures catastrophic consequences. “(T)ens of thousands of completely innocent civilian Iranians, Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Gulf Arabs,” among others, will be affected horrifically “just for starters.”

What madness, ambitions, or other reasons drives leaders to take these risks? Why would ordinary people with everything to lose and nothing to gain support them?

What can reasoned ones do to stop them? React, stay informed, tell others, and agitate like hell to stop them.

A Final Comment
 
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries have potential clout. Key is strengthening ties and using it. From August 26 – 31, member states hold their 16th summit. Tehran is host city.
Rotating chairs head NAM. Summits are occasions when host country heads of state become secretary-general. Prestige comes with it.

Iranian leaders want NAM economic independence stressed. They’ll try to revitalize the alliance and seek support for its peaceful nuclear program. They also urge resistance against Washington’s imperial agenda.

An impressive summit looms. After toing and froing for days, reports says UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon will attend. Israeli, Western and scoundrel media pressure tried dissuading him. Apparently it failed.

On August 18, the Tehran Times said about 100 countries committed to attend. Forty-one plan high-level participation.

They’ll send 35 heads of state, five first vice presidents or vice presidents, and one parliament speaker. Twenty-one nations will send foreign ministers. Presidential envoys will represent five countries. Two others will have ministerial leaders other than their foreign minister.

In addition, deputy ministers, directors general, and UN ambassadors are coming. Some countries have yet to confirm names so more top officials may join others already committed.

At issue is potential for strengthening cooperative, mutually beneficial, ties. Key also is enhancing Iran’s status. Doing so marginalizes America’s strategy to co-opt and dominate.

Perhaps Japan one day will grow up and decide it benefits the same way. Its future depends more on Asia than Washington. That coming of age may inspire other nations to do the same thing.
What better way to beat the empire, prosper, and live in peace.

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Syrian False Flag Planned?

 
 
My PhotoWednesday Aug 22nd, 2012 12:46 AM 
Never bet against Washington’s imperial plans. New tactics follow failed ones. Efforts to oust Assad continue. Proxy killers can’t do it alone. They’re no match against Syria’s superior military strength. It’s committed to rout them.
Expect NATO intervention anytime or perhaps post-US November elections. Libya 2.0 looks increasingly likely. What better way to finesse it than by staging a false flag attack blamed on Assad.
America’s false flag history suggests it.
 
  • In 1898, Spain was falsely accused of blowing up the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba harbor. The Spanish-American war followed.
  • Roosevelt manipulated Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. South Korea was used to instigate war on the North. Lyndon Johnson wanted war on Vietnam and got it.
  • Fake threats sent US marines to Grenada. Manufactured incidents precipitated America’s Panama invasion.
  • Saddam was head-faked into invading Kuwait. The Gulf War, two decades of sanctions, another war, and occupation followed.
September 11, 2001 was the mother of all false flags. It’s the big lie of our time. Eleven years of imperial wars followed. One segues to another without end. Syria is Washington’s latest. Iran is next. Proxy wars always rage. Media silence makes pretexts unnecessary.

On August 20, Obama perhaps signaled US intervention intentions. He told reporters:

“I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down. So far, he hasn’t gotten the message, and instead has double downed in violence on his own people.”

“I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation. But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical.”

“That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us. We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.”

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

“We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”

These comments signal possible intervention. The New York Times said Obama’s warning advances things “a step closer to direct American intervention.”

Syrian Foreign Ministry Jihad Makdissi clearly said chemical weapons won’t be used internally. Nor will they be used against other nations except in self-defense.

Of course they won’t. Why would Assad give Washington and other NATO countries reason to intervene?

No matter. Incidents are easy to manufacture. Scoundrel media hyperbole manipulates readers and viewers to expect it. Propaganda hypes fear.

On August 17, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined “Syria’s neighbors braced for chemical threat. Assad warns Turkey on Stingers,” saying:

“The US and its allies are discussing a worst-case scenario that could require up to 60,000 ground troops to go into Syria to secure chemical and biological weapons sites following the fall of the Assad government, an unnamed American source said Thursday night, Aug.16.”

Securing weapons is deceptive cover perhaps for a planned chemical false flag blamed on Assad. DF, Obama, other officials, and Western media are manipulating public opinion to accept another full-scale war.

Alleged Iraq WMD threats facilitated shock and awe and occupation. Others initiated NATO’s destruction of Libya. Expect something similar for Syria. Washington’s bag of tricks contains all dirty ones.

Chemical warfare threats are hyped. DF said US special forces are positioned in Jordan, Turkey and Israel. “Reconnaissance teams from potentially targeted countries have infiltrated Syria.”

Medical preparations have been made. “Israeli hospitals are on war alert.” Fortified emergency wards were opened. “IDF Home Front Command units embarked on a series of chemical attack drills….”

Soldiers wore anti-contamination clothing. Underground parking areas are ready as bomb shelters. “Assad is resolved more than ever to stand fast” and fight.

DF hyperbole sounded like Western media reports during the Blitz.

On August 21, Voice of Russia headlined “Russia denies sending chemical weapons to Syria,” saying:

Colonel Vladimir Mandych, deputy head of Russia’s Federal Department for Safe Storage and Destruction of Chemical Weapons, said none were sent to Syria, adding:

“Chemical weapons are weapons of mass destruction. (Their) use leads to colossal consequences for people involved in armed conflicts and the civilian population and inflicts irreparable damage to the environment.”

“Of course, the international community should take measures to prevent the use of chemical weapons in different regions in the 21st century.”

At the same time, SANA state media reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejects outside intervention and safe zones. He said:

“Statements saying (the Geneva agreement) is as good as dead imply that someone seeks a pretext for military intervention. This is worrying as it can only lead to catastrophe in the region.”

He added that Russia continues discussions with “everyone” to prevent what’s bad getting worse. He fears it for good reason.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expects no Security Council resolution. On August 20, her follow-up comments suggested intervention, saying:

Washington’s position is well-known. “We don’t think there’s going to be peace in Syria until Assad steps down and the bloodshed ends.”

America’s agenda remains unchanged, “that is to get to a political transition strategy, to get to an end to the bloodshed, and to get to a real transition with those countries who are willing to participate, outside the UN if necessary.”

On August 19, SANA state media reported Britain’s Sunday Times saying UK intelligence “is covertly aiding the armed terrorists to launch terrorist attacks in Syria….”

A Syrian opposition official was quoted saying:

UK authorities “know about and approve 100%” of intelligence from their Cyprus military bases. It’s being sent through Turkey to Free Syrian Army forces.

“British intelligence is observing things closely from Cyprus. The British are giving the information to the Turks and the Americans and we are getting it from the Turks.”

Information includes Syrian army movements in Aleppo. CIA elements are involved. So is German intelligence. The Bild am Sontag weekly reported that a spy ship off Syria’s coast uses Federal Intelligence Service (BND) technology. It’s provides information to insurgents.

Germany’s Defense Ministry confirmed its presence. The vessel Oker provides early warnings, communications and reconnaissance. It’s able to monitor troop movements up to 600 km inside Syria. Information is sent to Washington, Britain and insurgents.

BND agents are also stationed in Adana, Turkey. They’re monitoring Syrian telephone and radio communications.

Oker is part of Germany’s UNIFIL mission (UN Interim Force in Lebanon since 1978 until August 31, 2012 unless renewed). It’s not authorized to conduct Syrian intelligence. No parliamentary mandate approved it.

Perhaps Angela Merkel is freelancing on her own. She’s part of NATO’s imperial regime change coalition. Germany is also involved with the “Economic Reconstruction and Development” working group.

Last May, the Syrian National Council’s (SNC) Finance and Economic Affairs Bureau (FEAB) adopted a post-Assad privatization plan. Dozens of countries and 10 organizations are involved. Germany and the UAE lead the initiative.

They want Syrian spoils carved up among them. Plunder is their mandate. Subterfuge masks it. They call it a mission to benefit all Syrians. They plan erasing the Syrian Arab Republic and remaking it in their own image.

They envision unfettered capitalism unleashed in its most savage form. They want Syria replicating the new Iraq and Libya. Profits, not people, matter. Iraq more closely resembles hell than “the cradle of civilization.”

Violence ravages Libya. No end of conflict and human misery is imminent in either country. Full-scale war rages in Afghanistan. American-style liberation is more charnel house than democratic freedom.

Syrians experienced it for months. No end in sight is near. The worst is yet to come. Bet on it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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AIPAC Wants War on Iran

by Stephen Lendman

<img class=”alignright size-full wp-image-220182″ style=”border: 1px solid black; margin: 10px;” title=”AIPAC” src=”http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/AIPAC.jpg” alt=”” width=”342″ height=”256″ />My PhotoAIPAC is an unregistered foreign agent. It calls itself “America’s Pro-Israeli Lobby.” It’s represented Israeli interests since 1953.
Virtually no one in Congress confronts it. Doing so is a career-ender. It has enormous influence over US Middle East policies affecting Israel, including war and peace.

It disseminates disinformation, lies and hate. It viciously attacks opponents. It calls Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is racing toward a nuclear weapons capability.”
It manufactures threats to promote fear. It wants the Islamic Republic destroyed. It targets other regional states. It wants unchallenged Israeli regional dominance.

Occupy AIPAC Protest Outside White House Full of Colorful Costumes
[PHOTOS]

James Petras says its sole purpose “is to ensure Israel’s unchallenged military and political power over a huge region from North Africa to the Persian Gulf.”

Its annual meeting “is the most outrageous public display of Zionist-Jewish power as it shapes US foreign policy.”

It threatens “to drag the US into another major war in the Middle East – this time against Iran.” Doing so is lawless, madness, and self-destructive.

Its web site says “While the World Talks, Iran Enriches; More Pressure Needed.” A litany of disinformation and lies followed.

Negotiations failed. Iran got more time “to advance its nuclear program and cleanse a suspected nuclear site.”

The international community “must dramatically” increase pressure.

Iran “is believed to have carried out experiments on nuclear explosives.”

“Satellite images indicate Iran has been working to cleanse (a suspect) site by removing buildings and soil.”

Iran’s nuclear capabilities have advanced. It fuel stockpile approaches nuclear weapons production capability.

“America must make clear that it will act to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to build a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing.”

Contain(ing) a nuclear Iran” is inadequate. US policy must reject any possibility of Tehran developing nuclear weapons. All options must be considered, including “military action.”

Economic sanctions must be “accelerated” and “crippling.” Washington should do whatever it takes to prevent a nuclear Iran.

AIPAC is a destructive, malevolent, evil force. It’s heading Washington for war. Waging one on Iran assures losers, not winners. Israel may self-destruct in the process. Catastrophe will affect the region. America won’t escape harm.

War on Iran may go nuclear. Weapons of mass destruction may be used against a nonbelligerent state. The potential economic and human consequences are staggering. At issue is either stopping this madness or be consumed by it.

Nuclear war leaves no middle ground. General Omar Bradley said the only “way to win an atomic war is to make certain it never starts.” It may be closer than most imagine.

Congressional and administration sentiment reject containment. Preventing an Iranian nuclear capability is prioritized. Doing so heads America closer to war. Timing alone is unknown.
In mid-August, Foreign Policy featured a debate of sorts. David Rothkopf headlined “The Drums of August.” He’s Foreign Policy’s CEO and Editor-at Large. Earlier he served as Kissinger Associates managing director and US Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy.

“Israel is not bluffing,” he said. The punch line about a boy crying wolf is that “the wolf shows up.” Reasons for attacking Iran are “clearly growing more compelling for Israeli leaders.”

A litany of canards followed, including:

Diplomacy isn’t working. Sanctions alone aren’t enough. Iran’s nuclear program is accelerating. It’s advancing closer to weapons capability. Tehran threatens to destroy Israel. It “murder(ed) five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. (It’s) hard for Americans to grasp (its) existential threat.”

Failure to confront Iran is “imprudent.” He implies might equals right as the bottom red line.
Stephen Walt‘s view differs. He headlined “Another reason the US shouldn’t go to war with Iran,” saying:

Washington should avoid war. It’s not in America’s interest. Diplomacy should be prioritized, not conflict. Policy makers mustn’t “get buffaloed into a war by Israel.” He urges reengaging Iran directly.

It “makes so much sense,” he stresses, even though AIPAC and other hardliners reject it. Together with Netanyahu, they’re heading America for war. They’re “paint(ing) the United States into a corner.”

Why is “simple.” Israel can’t go it alone. It lacks enough power. It can’t sufficiently damage Iran’s nuclear facilities without US help. Israel understands. It’s pushing Washington into a war it shouldn’t wage.

Notions about “closing windows,” “red lines,” “zones of immunity,” and other rhetoric are political ploys to “stifle diplomacy, strengthen sanctions,” and pressure Washington to use force. Israel needs America for its “heavy lifting.”

Netanyahu/Barak war talk is “bluff, but one can scarcely blame Israel for employing a tactic that keeps working so well. It’s our fault we keep falling for it.”

Walt’s argument falls short. Vital issues too important to ignore weren’t discussed. No evidence suggests an Iranian nuclear program. Nations with them don’t lob them at each other or non-nuclear states. Aggressive war is lawless.

Iran threatens no one. It urges peace, not war. It wants a nuclear free Middle East. Claiming an alleged nuclear threat is red herring cover for regime change.

Attacking Iran may go nuclear. Doing so assures mass casualties. Israel will be affected like Iran. So will America, other regional nations, and Western ones.

Anytime war is waged, it’s hell. Potential nuclear war is madness and self-destructive. Netanyahu and Barak allegedly set a September 25 deadline. Obama’s got until then to commit to military action or Israel will go it alone.

Israel’s US ambassador Michael Oren said Israel will attack even if destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities entirely isn’t possible. “Diplomacy hasn’t succeeded,” he said.

“We’ve come to a very critical juncture where important decisions do have to be made.” He added it won’t be “in the too far distant future.”

Oren also raised the bogus issue of an alleged Syrian chemical weapons threat. He suggested dealing with it might have to be prioritized. Earlier, Israel threatened to attack Syrian facilities where chemical weapons are stored. Doing so increases the likelihood of full-scale war.

Israel is spoiling for a fight. Ideally it wants Washington to do its heavy lifting. Either way, it wants regional rivals removed. War is its final solution.


A Final Comment
Last March, Occupy AIPAC said “AIPAC wants war with Iran. We don’t!” Its open letter to Congress said “AIPAC is on the warpath – this time with Iran. They say the US should be willing to attack Iran or support an Israeli attack.”

“AIPAC pushed our government into the catastrophic war in Iraq by exaggerating Saddam Hussein’s threat and lying about weapons of mass destruction. Now they are repeating history, with AIPAC lobbyists vastly exaggerating Iran’s nuclear threat and eschewing negotiations.”

“AIPAC continues to lobby for policies that prohibit a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians and support violations of international law. AIPAC’s views do not represent the values and interests of the majority of the American people who voted for you, who pay the taxes that fund our government, and whose family members serve in the U.S. military.”

“The majority of Americans do not want another war in the Middle East and the US can’t afford a war during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

“The Iraq war left thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. We implore you not to repeat this tragic mistake. Say no to AIPAC, no to war with Iran and yes to diplomacy.”
Wars don’t solve problems. They create them. War with Syria and/or Iran may cross a line too potentially catastrophic to risk. Priority one is stopping leaders willing to chance it.

About the Author: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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