09.12.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

Warning

This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Selected Episode

Sept. 12, 2007

linktv

“Palestinians & Israelis Prepare to Discuss Final Status Issues,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Simon Peres Optimistic about Peace,” IBA TV, UAE
“Al Abssi’s Fate Remains a Mystery,” NBN TV, Lebanon
“The Success in Iraq has Nothing to Do with US,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Iraqis in Iran Prepare for Ramadan,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
“Despite Threats Markets Open in Iraq for Ramadan,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Channel 4 News Interviews President Ahmadinejad (transcript; video link)

Dandelion Salad ICH
09/13/07


We’ve dissected the Ahmadinejad interview live on Channel 4 News last night and have produced a comprehensive verbatim translation and the original video in Farsi.
Click Here To Watch The Interview

Q: Mr President, thank you very much for agreeing to talk to us tonight. Let me start with Iraq. Both the UK and the US have accused Iran of fighting a proxy war inside Iraq. Is that true?

A: In the name of God, first I would like to express my greetings to all your good audience and a good evening to all the people of England.

What you are saying is an allegation; we also accuse the English and the US of occupying and violating Iraq. I think the US and Britain should amend their own views and behaviour; if they want to blame others for their defeat then they can be sure that their defeats will be repeated.

Obviously we do distinguish differences between England and the US in Iraq. We think that the British government has more quickly and more successfully realised the situation in Iraq, and withdrawing from Basra was the right thing to do and we hope they will continue this.

We are the country that has sustained the most damage from the lack of security in Iraq because the nations of Iraq and Iran are closely intertwined – our nations have been friends for thousands of years. Every year millions of Iraqis and Iranians travel to each others’ countries and the security of Iraq has a direct impact on our security and vice versa. We want security in Iraq. And let me tell you one thing – you know the people of Iraq are a great nation with culture and civilisation, they have always been against occupations and they still are.

Q: It is true that there are factions that you support in southern Iraq you support. Therefore, do you regard it as a victory for Iran that the British left Basra?

A: Does the English government think it has been defeated by Iran in Iraq or by the people of Iraq?

Q: Well, by Iran. By formal forces – Revolutionary Guard – all sorts of people who are supporting the factions in southern Iraq. A: Well you are wrong, you are definitely wrong and this will mean future decisions are also mistaken. We feel that both England and the US should understand the conditions of Iraq; the nation of Iraq is a courageous nation, a great nation that is against occupations and will not tolerate occupation. The Iraqi people do no need the Iranians in order to defend themselves they are able to defend themselves.

Q: It’s very difficult for us to find the division between the influence in southern Iraq, where you have a lot because of they are your Shia brothers and sisters, and actual military involvement. The British say they have troops killed by bombs made in Iran. A: Well look, we have influence all over Iraq because we have good relations with them. We have historical good relations with the Kurds in Northern Iraq and the president of Iraq is Kurdish and friendly and sincere with us – we talk about private issues together.

We also have a sincere relationship with the Sunni sect in Iraq, the head of the Iraqi Parliament is Sunni and he has a very good relationship with us and also the prime minister of Iraq is Shia and has a good relationship with us. Your problem, the problem of England and the US is that you do not have a good relationship with any of them. The problem is that you are uninvited guests.

Q: Can you use your influence to help free the five British hostages who are held there? Four security men and a computer technician who have now been hostage for over a hundred days. Would you use your influence?

A: We can help to sort out the problems in Iraq regarding the re-establishment of security and peace. We can help the occupiers to leave Iraq and we have announced this repeatedly. If the US and the English governments amend their behaviour and direction in Iraq they won’t have any problems and there won’t be any need for these problems.

We feel that they should officially recognise the nation of Iraq and the rights of its people. The problem is that they have gone there for the oil and to dominate the region and the people of Iraq have stood up before them and until they recognise the rights of the Iraqi people this will continue and it has nothing to do with Iran. We will be prepared if the Iraqi government asks us, to help the with the problems in Iraq.

Q: Can we move onto the nuclear issues then. Today Dr Larijani has repeated there will be no freeze on the enrichment of uranium. And immediately America is calling for UN sanctions – that’s the UN, not just America. What will happen if there are sanctions against you?

A: Well look, the nuclear issue is very clear. We are a member of the agency and we work within its framework and we have observed all our obligations but unfortunately we have not used all our rights in the way that they are put in the agency’s regulations and the main reason is the American’s hostility towards the Iranian nation.

The Iranian nuclear issue is a political one which the US is pursuing and the main reason is American enmity to Iran. They have always been our enemies and it is not that important to us. From the beginning we have said that things should be done through the agency and the agency is fulfilling its obligations. What the Americans say is not important to us.

Q: Your secrecy indicates you do want a bomb. Many people would say you feel threatened by Israel, by Pakistan. You do want a bomb don’t you?

A: We don’t need a bomb, we are fundamentally opposed to the bomb for various reasons. The main reason is we are ideologically against bombs and politically it is not beneficial.

Q: If that’s true, will you take me to (the nuclear research facility at) Natanza? That place no-one has been further than their front door. Would you take me there?

A: Would the British government allow us in to see their nuclear installations? Or the American government allow us to see their nuclear installations? We under the observation of the agency, the agency comes to visit.

Which country has done what we have done? Isn’t that asking too much?

Q: Let me ask, hand on heart – you do not want a bomb? A: What do we want a bomb for? The British and Americans have them – what does that serve?

No we don’t need it and we have a solution for the Israeli Zionist Regime. We told them that they should let the Palestinians express their views in a referendum so that the people can chose – we think that this is a humanitarian approach. We are fundamentally opposed to war.


Q: You have said that you want Israel off the map. You really cannot accept the existence of Israel?

A: We do not accept or officially recognise Israel. They are occupiers and illegitimate. But our approach is humanitarian. I ask you where is the Soviet Union now – has it been wiped out or not? It has been wiped out without a war. Let the Palestinian people chose.

It will happen.

Q: But you speak with more determination. The collapse of Soviet Union was a surprise – you’re saying you want Israel off the map now.

A: Because we analyse the problems of the region meticulously. We do not deceive ourselves. We say a regime that does not have a proper philosophy of existence, which is an occupier which bullies people, and which is without culture and civilisation and which has all the powers of the region against it – this cannot survive.

Q: Do you regret denying the holocaust?

A: I had asked a couple of questions about the holocaust and I’m sorry that some European politicians and governments instead of responding to a couple of scientific questions by a university lecturer, they made it a political issue.

I asked these two questions and I ask them of you now. First, if the holocaust is a historical fact then they should investigate it because we allow everything to be investigated

Q: But documentation is enormous…

Do we have more evidence about the holocaust or about freedom, mathematics and physics?

Q: There are people watching this programme, whose parents, sisters and aunts perished in the concentration camps.

A: Why are you accusing me? My question is pretty clear – I say if a historical event has happened we should let the scientists investigate it – maybe new dimensions will be uncovered and new issues will be discovered – why don’t they allow it?

This is suspicious. And then my second question is, if the holocaust had taken place where did it take place? What role did the Palestinian people play? The Palestinians were innocent. Why should they be punished, why should their land be occupied, why should they be killed and why should they be turned in to wanderers? These are my two questions.

Q: The issue will remain and I think the majority of people in world will not agree with you.

A: Well you are wrong. Carry out a referendum in Europe and the European people would agree with me. If the English government and the German government and all the European governments, if we go to international organisations and carry out a free referendum in Europe you will see that the European people will agree with me. I just raised a couple of questions, I did not make a judgement.

Interview – Farsi version

Q: Let me take you back to the present problem of the nuclear. Are you saying you will never cease enrichment?

For what reason should we stop? Why don’t the Brit and Americans stop? Why should we stop?

Q: You don’t fear an American or Israeli bomb?

A: Because we are peaceful. For what reason, who is going to fight us, tell me? Is England going to fight us?

No no, for what reason? Some people in America do exist who would like to use military force when they have lost a logical argument however there are many wise people in the US too. We see that as a very small probability, however we are ready for anything.

But I ask you, why shouldn’t the US be stopped if we who are just starting a nuclear programme are being stopped? Is our peaceful approach a danger and the US bombs not a danger? What sort of logic is that? I think one cannot run the world on such a logic. This is a defeated logic.

Q: When you were elected the poor believed you’d reduce their suffering – but with high unemployment – the poor are poorer – can you afford these conflicts with outside world?

A: I’m very happy that you speak as a representative of our nation, that’s very interesting. Where have you heard that our people say such things?

I have also mentioned this before the election and our people made their choice with full awareness and Iran has stood up firmly regarding the nuclear issue. You can see in all the cities and rural areas, our nation is shouting out for it – it belongs to them. The government belongs to the people and works for the people. In Iran there isn’t a distance between the government and the people, we are one.

Q: Contact between the US and Iran has so far been between ambassadors – one in Iraq and one here but negotiations have to be at top.

Would it be useful for Gordon Brown or Nicolas Sarkozy or Angela Merkel to be directly involved?

A: We would welcome that, we are interested in dialogue with Mrs Merkel, Mr Sarkozy with the respected Prime Minister of England – we don’t have any problems with communication. After the revolution they were all against us and then our nation succeeded and we actually announced that we would forget about the past. we want to have friendly relations – if someone wants to impose on us then we won’t accept it.

In friendly conditions we would talk to everyone – in fact we prefer to work more with the Europeans because we think in a way that the European nations have also been innocent, the European people have suffered two wars and the European people carry the weight of conflict, they stand in the shadow of threats and we think you can work better with the Europeans.

Q: You started tonight by sending your good wishes to the people of the United Kingdom. Can you reassure British parents and say that no Iranians are involved in the killing of British solders?

A: I tell you and I also tell the good people of England; the people of England saw the good will of the Iranian people regarding the navy personnel. We are deeply sorry about the events in Iraq, we are also sorry about the Iraqi people being killed as well as that your soldiers are being killed.

We think that this war should not exist. There can be friendship and peace – why should there be an occupation in which killings take place? Our message is that of friendship for all – we like all nations we also like all human beings. Whoever is killed we are distressed, we don’t rejoice in it because your soldiers are also human beings, poor things, they do not know where they are.

These fifteen English naval personnel they did not even know where they were – why should English youth come to Iraq and be killed – for what reason? The English people should be in their country and serve their own people. We are not happy we would like to have peace and friendship for every one – we have mentioned that we are prepared to help end the war so that there is peace and brotherhood for all.

Q: President Ahmadinejad Thank you very much indeed for agreeing us to talk to us, I’m very grateful

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The World Watches: American in Iraq (video)

Dandelion Salad

linktv

General Petraeus’ long-awaited assessment of the US “troop surge” in Iraq was a jumping-off point for broadcasters worldwide to assess the war. The BBC reported on new recruits who were less than enthusiastic about engaging in the battle, while China’s Asia Today interviewed Iraqis who want the US troops to leave. Al Jazeera English went into detail on the protesters in pink who disrupted the hearings, and Iran’s Press TV blamed the Saudis for stirring up trouble in Iraq.
The statistics flowed, too – 79% of Iraqis, and 64% of Americans, disapprove of the US presence in Iraq. 68% of Americans trust the military more than Congress or the president, but 53% think General Petraeus will try to make the Iraq situation look better than it really is.
SOURCES: BBC, U.K.; Al Jazeera English, Qatar; TV5, France; NBC News, U.S.; Asia Today, China; Once Noticias, Mexico; Saudi News, Saudi Arabia; Alalam and Press TV, Iran.

War Against Iran and the Logic of Dominance By Gareth Porter

Dandelion Salad

By Gareth Porter
ICH
09/13/07 “Huffington Post

If the Bush administration launches an attack on Iran, the reason won’t be that Iran was about to obtain a nuclear weapon. The real reason will be that United States, as the world’s only superpower, wants to establish clearly that it — not Iran — is the dominant power in the Middle East. That would make us all less secure, but the insistence on asserting dominance in the Middle East is the essence of the Bush administration’s policy.

That quest for dominance over all other states in the Middle East can be traced back to the 1992 Draft Defense Planning Guidance, drafted by Paul Wolfowitz’s staff at the Pentagon — Zalmay Khalilzad and Scooter Libby. It said, “[We] must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role”. For the neoconservatives and their allies, that has meant that Iran could not be allowed to emerge as a power center in the Middle East. Of course the Bush administration has had cover their designs in a fog of propaganda portraying Iran as the worst thing to come along since Hitler. But at least one insider in neoconservative circles has been honest enough to reveal the real problem the hawks in the administration have with Iran.
Tom Donnelly was the main author of the neoconservative September 2000 blueprint for military policy in the Bush administration, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” which involved four prominent figures on the neoconservative right who would take prominent positions in the administration: Libby, Wolfowitz, Stephen A. Cambone, and John Bolton.

In a chapter in the book “Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran”, published in 2005, Donnelly admitted that, contrary to the official U.S. line depicting Iran as a radical state threatening to plunge the region into war, Iran was “more the status quo power” in the region in relation to the Bush administration’s “project of regional transformation”. The problem with Iran, he explained, is that it “stands directly athwart this project of regional transformation”.

The Bush project for bringing the magic of advanced capitalist democracy to the benighted Arab states of the Middle East has proven to be a neoconservative pipe dream in Iraq, Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories. But forget the “spreading democracy” ploy and think of that “regional transformation” as simply another layer of justification for exerting military pressure and, if necessary, war on states that refuse to fall in line. Donnelly cut through the façade of official propaganda to write that the prospect of a “nuclear Iran” was unacceptable to the Bush administration mainly because of “the constraining effect it threatens to impose upon U.S. strategy for the greater Middle East”.

In other words, Iran could not be allowed to have even the option of a nuclear weapon capability, because the United States had to be able to operate with a completely free hand militarily in the region. What Donnelly did not say, but which follows from that posture, is that even a non-nuclear Iran that has links to strong allies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, could not be allowed to be a regional power.

What Donnelly — and presumably his friends in the Bush administration — regarded as the “greatest danger” in regard to Iran was that the “realists” in the administration would “pursue a ‘balance of power’ approach with a nuclear Iran, undercutting the Bush ‘liberation strategy'”.

With this valuable key to the real thinking of the Bush administration’s most influential figures — most, but not all of which have now departed — we can understand a series of policy decisions on Iran that otherwise make no sense.

First, there was the administration’s dismissal of the proposal from the Iranian leadership in early May 2003, to negotiate with the United States on the very issues which the administration had claimed were the basis for its hostile posture toward Tehran: its nuclear program, its support for Hizbollah and other anti-Israeli armed groups and its hostility to a peace settlement with Israel.

Instead, the Pentagon was pushing for the adoption of an official policy of regime change in Iran. Although the administration never explicitly said that it has pursued that policy, it openly wielded the threat of regime change as part of its pressure on Iran. Rice, on a trip to the Middle East in May 2005, warned Iranian leaders that were not immune to the “major changes doing on in the region” — a code phrase for the U.S. pursuit of the “regional transformation” to which Donnelly referred.

Finally, the Bush administration refused to tolerate any real negotiations by the Europeans with Iran over its uranium enrichment program in 2004-2005, even though those negotiations could have resulted in an agreement that would limited Iran to a level of uranium enrichment that would have only a small fraction of what is required for the production of a nuclear weapon. In March 2005, Iran proposed to its European negotiating partners to submit to a system of their devising to guarantee against enrichment that could support a nuclear weapons through an inspection system. But under U.S. pressure the Europeans refused even to discuss it.

The administration’s argument against such an agreement was that there was a secret enrichment program paralleling the acknowledge program that would fall under international inspection. But as Sy Hersh reported last November, after years of trying, the CIA still had found “no conclusive evidence” a such a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the one being monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. In fact the still classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program in mid-2005 concluded that no final Iranian decision had been made to pursue the manufacture of a nuclear weapon.

We know that the policy of attacking Iran is being pushed by a handful of men with extreme views, and that it has been opposed by many in the State Department, the intelligence community and the military leadership. But the “moderates” in the administration, as well as the leading Democratic candidates and virtually everyone in the Democratic Party leadership — have been supporting the threat of war against Iran for years, in large part because they share the illusions of power that go with being the militarily dominant state in the world. The chief illusion is that one can and should use U.S. power to coerce an uncooperative state.

The entire spectrum of political leadership in this country now appears to accept that idea, which is an indication of just how far U.S. military dominance has tilted the policy debate in this country.

The implication of the general acceptance of the threat of war against Iran as instrument of policy is that neither the “moderates” inside the administration nor the Democrats will be in a position to offer effective resistance to actual war against Iran before it is too late. Unless someone begins to push back soon, the distorted logic of dominance may carry this nation into an irrational and criminal war whose consequences for us and for the world would be the gravest imaginable.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Was a Covert Attempt to Bomb Iran with Nuclear Weapons foiled by a Military Leak? By Michael E. Salla, M.A., Ph.D.

Dandelion Salad

By Michael E. Salla, M.A., Ph.D.
ICH
09/13/07 “The Canadian

Critically exploring whether or not there was a covert attempt to instigate a catastrophic nuclear war against Iran is illuminated through an introduction using the recent B-52 Incident. On August 30, a B-52 bomber armed with five nuclear-tipped Advanced Cruise missiles travelled from Minot Air Force base, North Dakota, to Barksdale Air Force base, Louisiana, in the United States. Each missile had an adjustable yield between five and 150 kilotons of TNT which is at the lower end of the destructive capacities of U.S. nuclear weapons. For example, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 13 kilotons, while the Bravo Hydrogen bomb test of 1954 had a yield of 15,000 kilotons. Continue reading

The Greatest Story Never Told by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Atlantic Free Press
Thursday, 13 September 2007

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

DePaul University Professor Norman Finkelstein has long been a target as well for his courageous writing and outspokenness. Depaul formally denied him tenure June 8 even though his students call him “truly outstanding and among the most impressive” of all university political science professors. It’s why his Department of Political Science endorsed his tenure bid stating his academic record “exceeds our department’s stated standards for scholarly production (and) department and outside experts we consulted recognize the intellectual merits of his work.”

It didn’t help, and on August 26 got worse. The university acknowledged “Professor Finkelstein is a prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher.” Yet it issued a brief statement canceling his classes and placing him on administrative leave “with full pay and benefits for the 2007-8 academic year (that) relieves professors from their teaching responsibilities.” For now, Finkelstein’s long struggle with the university ended the first day of classes, September 5. Both sides agreed to a settlement, and a planned day of protests was curtailed. But as Chicago Tribune writer Ron Grossman put it in his September 6 column headlined “Finkelstein deal ends DePaul tiff….the underlying struggle between supporters of Israel and champions (like Finkelstein) of the Palestinians continues, not just at the North Side campus but across the academic world.”

That struggle is nowhere in sight in the dominant media that includes major print publications, commercial radio, television and so-called Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio both of which long ago abandoned the public trust in service to their corporate and government paymasters.

In all parts of the major media, no Israeli criticism is tolerated on-air or in print, and any reporter, news anchor, pundit or on-air guest forgetting the (unwritten) rules, won’t get a second chance. Support for Israel is ironclad, absolute, and uncompromising on everything including its worst crimes of war and against humanity. Open debate is stifled, and anyone daring to dissent or demur is pilloried, ridiculed, called anti-semetic, even threatened, ostracized, and finally ignored. In his seminal work on Middle East affairs, “Fateful Triangle,” Noam Chomsky put it this way:

“….Israel has been granted a unique immunity from criticism in mainstream journalism and scholarship….”

Call it the myth of the free press in a nation claiming to have the freest of all. It’s pure fantasy now and in an earlier era, journalist A.J Liebling said it was only for “those who own(ed) one.” Today, they’re giants operating the way Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explained in their classic book on the media titled “Manufacturing Consent.” The authors developed their “propaganda model” to show all news and information passes through a set of “filters.” “Raw material” goes through them, unacceptable parts are suppressed, and “only the cleansed residue fit to print (and broadcast on-air)” reaches the public. The New York Times calls it “All The News That’s Fit to Print.” By its standard, it means sanitized news only leaving out the most important parts and what readers want most – the full truth and nothing else.

The same goes for the rest of the dominant media that serve as collective national thought control police gatekeepers “filtering” everything we read, see and hear. They manipulate our minds and beliefs, program our thoughts, and effectively destroy the free marketplace of ideas essential to a healthy democracy. In America, that’s nowhere in sight.

The problem is most acute in reporting on Israel. Criticism of the Jewish state is stifled in an effort to portray it as a model democracy, the only one in the region, and surrounded by hostile Palestinians, other Arab/Muslim extremists and whoever else Israel cites as a threat, real or contrived. The truth is quite opposite but absent from corporate-controlled media spaces.

How “The Newspaper of Record” Reports on Israel

This article focuses mainly on the media’s lead and most influential voice, The New York Times. It’s been around since 1851 when it quietly debuted saying “….we intend to (publish) every morning (except Sundays) for an indefinite number of years to come.” Today, it’s the pillar of the corporate media and main instrument of fake news making it the closest thing in the country to an official ministry of information and propaganda. But here’s the Times 1997 Proxy Statement quote media critic Edward Herman used in his April, 1998 Z Magazine article titled “All The News Fit to Print (Part I).” Its management then (and now) claimed The Times to be “an independent newspaper, entirely fearless, free of ulterior influence and unselfishly devoted to the public welfare.” It leaves one breathless and demands an earlier used quote – “phew.”

No media source anywhere has more clout than the Times, none manipulates the public mind more effectively, and where it goes, others follow. It’s most visible supporting all things corporate, foreign wars of aggression, and everything favoring Israel it views one way. That’s the focus below – how the New York Times plays the lead cheerleading role for Israel even when its actions are unjustifiable, unconscionable and criminal.

Freelance journalist Alison Weir founded “If Americans Knew” as an “independent research and information-dissemination institute (to provide) every American (what he or she) needs to know about Israel/Palestine.” That includes “inform(ing) and educat(ing) the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.” Below is an account of her in-depth study of how the New York Times betrays its readers by distorting its coverage on Israel.

It was in her April 24, 2005 article called “New York Times Distortion Up Close and Personal.” It drew on the findings from her 23-page report, and 40 pages of supportive data, titled “Off the Charts – Accuracy in Reporting of Israel/Palestine (by) The New York Times.” To be as objective as possible, the study “count(ed) the deaths reported on both sides of the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict, and then compare(d) these to the actual number….that had occurred.” The findings showed a “startling disparity….depending on the ethnicity of the victim(s).”

The study covered two periods. The first was from the September 29, 2000 beginning of the Al-Aqsa Mosque (or second) Intifada (ignited by Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the Temple Mount Al-Aqsa Mosque site) through September 28, 2001. The second ran from January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2004. Deaths counted were only those resulting from Israeli – Palestinian confrontations.

The first study showed the New York Times reported 2.8 times the number of Israeli deaths to Palestinian ones when, in fact, three times more Palestinians were killed than Israelis. In the second one, the ratio increased to 3.6 adding further distortion to the coverage. Reporting children’s deaths was even more skewed, coming in at a ratio of 6.8 for Israeli children compared to Palestinian ones and then at 7.3 in the later study. The latter ratio is particularly startling since 22 times more Palestinian children were killed, in fact, than Israelis in 2004 according to B’Tselem – the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Terroritories. The Times simply ignored them.

In all its reporting in both periods, the Times distorted the facts egregiously. It highlighted Israeli deaths by headlining and repeating them. In contrast, there was silence on most Palestinian ones. The impression given was that more Jews died than Arabs or at times the numbers were equal on both sides. Most often, they weren’t even close.

It was startling to learn that Israeli and other human rights groups documented 82 Palestinian children killed at the Intifada’s outset (most by “gunfire to the head” indicating deliberate targeting) before a single Israeli child died. The Times willfully ignored this in its coverage the same way it obsessed last summer over Hamas’ capture of a single Israeli soldier while ignoring around 12,000 Palestinian men, women and children political detainees held by Israelis illegally. For the Times, they’re non-persons, but everyone in Israel and many outside it know that soldier’s name and still do.

Weir calls this coverage a “highly disturbing pattern of bias.” She presented her findings (“complete with charts, spread-sheets, clear sourcing, and extensive additional documentation”) to the Times’ Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, in a face-to-face meeting, but came away disappointed. It was because of a 1762-word column Okrent wrote in response. It ignored or misrepresented the facts, was unconcerned that most Times reporters covering Israel/Palestine are Jewish, all live inside Israel, and the paper claimed it’s impossible finding “sufficient numbers of high quality journalists of Muslim or Arab heritage to work on this issue.” It is when you don’t look.

Yet, it’s worth noting what Weir believes was a “personal confession” in a single line. Okrent may have slipped up saying: “I don’t think any of us (at the Times) can be objective about our own claimed objectivity.” Confession or not, it led to no change in the Times’ reporting.

Weir updated her report to include Palestinian children’s deaths in 2004 and 2005 from documented information on the “Remember These Children” web site. It uses Israeli and other human rights organizations’ sources with these findings through June, 2007:

— 118 Israeli children under 18 years years of age killed compared to 973 Palestinian youths, most shot in the head or chest indicating deliberate targeting by Israeli soldiers. This information never appears in Times’ reports.

Instead, The Times “marginalizes Palestinian women and Palestinian rights” according to a November 17, 2006 Electronic Intifada (EI) report. Its authors (Patrick O’Connor and Rachel Roberts) state: “The New York Times pays little attention to human rights in Israel/Palestine, downplays….violence against Palestinian women and generally silences (their) voices.”

Since the second Intifada began, B’Tselem, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) published 76 reports documenting Israeli abuses of Palestinian rights and four others on Palestinian violations against Israelis or other Palestinians. The Times, however, wrote only four articles on them all – two on Israeli abuses and two others on what Palestinians did suggesting both sides shared equal guilt.

Three other Times articles on the conflict focused on a Human Rights Watch report criticizing Palestinian suicide bombings, another HRW one on Israeli actions in Jenin in 2002, and a B’Tselem report on the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) exoneration of soldiers for killing a Palestinian child. The Times also published one article criticizing Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon and one other one critical of Hezbollah during that conflict. It’s the Times’ idea of fairness and balance, that distorts facts, ignores truth, and in every instance betrays its readers.

EI’s writers refer to thousands of New York Times articles on Israel/Palestine since the second Intifada began September 29, 2000. Yet in them all, it “quoted, cited or paraphrased just 4187 words….from human rights organizations in 62 articles, snippets (only) averaging just 69 words per article.” In the same articles, far more space was given to Israeli government denials even when clear evidence proved them false.

Other research shows The New York Times op ed page marginalizes Palestinian voices and completely shuts out its women who are portrayed as passive, docile and at the mercy of men. Readers aren’t told they “balance their dual commitment to the national (and feminist) struggle(s)” by courageously leading the fight against domestic and Israeli violence in the Occupied Territories. The Times also ignores Amnesty International’s emphasis on the occupation’s harmful effects on women in detention centers and from “military checkpoints, blockades and curfews” even though they cause sick and pregnant women to die for lack of aid.

It’s part of the same pattern of selective disclosure and distortion so readers don’t know what’s happening and are led to believe victims are the victimizers. Facts are ignored, international law is unmentioned and reporting “contributes to the dangerous pattern of Western disparagement of Muslim society,” made easy post-9/11.

EI sums up its article stating “If the Times cared about human rights in Israel/Palestine, (balanced reporting, and) valued independent third party perspectives, (it) would have published more than 6256 (total) words….of major human rights organizations (reports) in its thousands of articles” for the past seven years. Instead, the impression given is Israeli crimes are marginal, sporadic, inconsequential, acts of self-defense and not crimes at all. This type reporting sets the (low) standard for the rest of the dominant media and highlights why few Americans question their government’s full and unconditional support for Israeli policy.

The Times willfully ignores the following type information B’Tselem posts and updates on its website (www.btselem.org). From September 29, 2000 through August 31, 2007, it documented 4274 Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces or civilians including 857 children. That compares to 1024 Israelis killed by Palestinians including 119 children.

Throughout this period, The Times low-keyed Israeli violence in its coverage but featured dozens of articles on Palestinian suicide bombings and other acts of self-defense it portrays as “terrorism” against innocent Israelis. Left out is what B’Tselem, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), AI, HRW, ICRC and other human rights organizations report:

— willful violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s protections of civilians in times of war and under occupation by a foreign power.

— excessive use of force and abuse;

— policy of collective punishment and economic strangulation;

— growing numbers of expanding illegal settlements;

— home demolitions;

— random IDF invasions, air and ground attacks;

— many dozens of extrajudicial assassinations;

— administrative detentions without charge and routine use of torture of thousands of Palestinians including young children treated like adults;

— land expropriation;

— crop destruction;

— policies of closure, separation, checkpoints, ghettoization and curfews;

— denial of the most basic human rights and civil liberties; and

— an overall Kafkaesque “matrix of control” designed to extinguish Palestinians’ will to resist.

The Times willful distortion and indifference to Palestinian suffering highlights its coverage. Like others in the dominant media, it displays no sense of fairness, accuracy or balance in portraying Palestinians as militants, gunmen and terrorists – never as oppressed human beings under occupation struggling for freedom in their own land. In sharp contrast, Israelis are seen as surrounded, beleaguered, and innocent victims acting in self-defense. It’s sheer fantasy, the facts on the ground prove it, but Times readers aren’t given them.

They’re also not told how Israel discriminates against Palestinian Arab Israeli citizens. Patrick O’Connor explained in his March 30, 2006 Electronic Intifada article titled “The New York Times Covers Up Discrimination against Palestinian Citizens of Israel.” He noted the rise to prominence of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman and his extremist Yisrael Beiteinu party. It advocates “transferring a number of Palestinian towns in Israel to Palestinian Authority (PA) control,” thereby revoking the legalized status of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens. They’re already second class ones and are treated unequally under Israel’s Basic Law that affords rights and benefits to Jews only.

O’Connor notes the Times plays “a leading role collaborat(ing) with this strategy.” It characterizes all Palestinians as militants, gunmen and terrorists while suppressing their “experiences under….occupation (victimized by) Israeli state terrorism, and (the) systemic Israeli discrimination against Palestinian (citizens) living in Israel….”

An instance of Times distortion was from a March 21, 2006 article by Dina Kraft. In it, Israel dismissively refers to “Israeli Arabs” and so does Kraft. They’re not called Palestinian Israeli citizens “to divide and rule, and to cover up the familial, historical and cultural relationship between Palestinians” inside Israel to those in the Territories and diaspora. The Times goes along without challenge, never questioning if a self-declared Jewish state can be democratic without ensuring equal rights to its non-Jewish minority. Ignored as well is Yisrael Beiteinu’s outlandish proposal to revoke citizenship rights for Arabs inside Israel because they’re not Jews.

O’Connor stresses how the Times, Kraft and the major US media collaboratively perpetuate the myth that Israel is “a liberal, democratic state inexplicably beset by Arab/Muslim terrorism.” In so doing, they suppress the historical record that Israel ethnically cleansed 800,000 Palestinians, killed many thousands of others, and destroyed 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in cities like Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem in its 1948 “War of Independence.” They also deny that Palestinians everywhere have close historical, family and cultural ties, yet Israel discriminates against them all unfairly.

In her report, Weir noted what all people of conscience believe: that “readers of The New York Times (and all Americans) are entitled to full and accurate reporting on all issues, including the topic of Israel/Palestine.” In her study period, the Times covered it in “well over 1000 stories,” so it’s deeply troubling how much critical information was omitted.

A 9/11/07 Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) Action Alert provides more evidence of NYT cover-up and distortion. It’s titled “Whose Human Rights Matter? NYT on Hezbollah and Israeli attacks on civilians.” FAIR cites two recently released Human Rights Watch (HRW)investigations of Israel’s war against Lebanon in which The New York Times highlighted “unlawful attacks against Israel” while giving short shrift to “unlawful attacks committed by Israel.” This is de rigueur at The Times so the FAIR report is no surprise.

It noted the NYT ran its own 800 word story supportive of Israel on 8/31/07 titled “Rights Group Accuses Hezbollah of Indiscriminate Attacks on Civilians in Israel War” accompanied by a photo of “Israeli civilians at risk from Hezbollah rockets.” In sharp contrast, it settled for a 139 word AP report on Israeli unlawful attacks under its own headline titled “Israel Criticized Over Lebanon Deaths” with no photo. Even worse, The Times report on Israeli infractions omitted key information about the claim that Hezbollah used Lebanese people as human shields. HRW found no supportive evidence, and its executive director, Kenneth Roth, said the Israeli government’s assertion was false.

The Times also failed to reflect the dramatic disparity in civilian deaths on each side. HRW estimated Israel killed about 900 Lebanese civilians out of a total 1200 death toll in the country while Hezbollah killed 43 Israeli civilians plus about 80 IDF personnel. FAIR’s conclusion: The Times values Israeli lives far more than Lebanese ones. No surprise.

FAIR raised an additional point as well from its 12/6/06 Action Alert. It refuted a Times report as false that Israeli attacks on civilians were legitimate “since Hezbollah fired from civilian areas, itself a war crime, which made those areas legitimate targets.” Again, standard practice at The Times that values fake news above truth, accuracy, fairness and balance.

Weir hoped a public airing of her findings on The Times would lead to better reporting at the “paper of record.” It never did and just got worse following Hamas’ dramatic democratic January, 2006 electoral victory. Afterwards, all outside aid was cut off, Hamas was marginalized and politically isolated, and Israeli repression got stepped up in an effort to crush the fledging government by making the Territories “scream.”

It came to a head June 14 following weeks of US-Israeli orchestrated violence. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas declared a “state of emergency” and illegally dismissed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and his national unity government. He appointed his own US-Israeli vetted replacements days later with The New York Times in the lead supporting the new quisling coup d’etat government. Noted journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger explains the first casualty of war is good journalism. It’s as true for reporting on Israel, especially on the pages of “the newspaper of record” that sets the low standard others then follow.

That standard excludes discussion of the powerful Israeli lobby with AIPAC just one part of it. Noted figures like John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government are persona non grata for their heroic work documenting its powerful influence on US policy toward Israel and the Middle East. Noted scholar and activist James Petras makes the same compelling case in his revealing 2006 must-read book titled “The Power of Israel in the United States.” The record of “the newspaper of record” includes none of their findings and conclusions proving when it comes to truth in reporting, it’s absent from its pages. It’s especially pronounced in its coverage of Israel/Palestine.

More Evidence of Corporate Media Distortion on Israel-Palestine

When it comes to shoddy reporting, most notably on Israel/Palestine, there’s plenty of blame to go around. It’s found on major US broadcast and cable channels, most all corporate-owned publications here and abroad, the BBC, CBC, Deutche Welle, other European broadcasters, and what passes for so-called public radio and broadcasting in the US. An exception is Pacifica Radio, the original and only real public radio in the US. Its provides excellent coverage, especially on KPFA’s daily Flashpoints Radio with the best of it anywhere on-air from its co-hosts, contributors and top quality guests.

The opposite is true for so-called National Public Radio’s (NPR), but its public broadcast (PBS)counterpart shares equal guilt. Many people naively turn to NPR as an acceptable alternative to corporate media disinformation without realizing it’s as corrupted by capital interests and big government as all the others. Its president, Kevin Klose, is the former head of US propaganda that includes Voice of America (VOA), Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television and the anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti. He’s ideal for the same role at National Public Radio, and it’s why he got the job.

NPR never met a US war of aggression it didn’t love, and it’s especially attentive to the interests of its corporate paymasters like McDonald’s (with $225 million of it), Allstate, Merck, Archer Daniels Midland, and the worst of all worker rights’ abusers, Wal-Mart, that NPR welcomes anyway. In its space, there never is heard a discouraging word on any of these or most other major US corporate giants.

Then, there’s the issue of fair and balanced reporting on Israel/Palestine that’s absent from NPR programs all the time. The media watchdog group FAIR exposed it in its study of NPR’s coverage of Israeli/Palestinian violence in the first six months of 2001. Over virtually any period, Palestinian deaths way outnumber Israeli ones. Yet NPR in the period studied reported 62 Israeli deaths compared to 51 Palestinian ones at a time 77 Israelis and 148 Palestinians were killed. It meant “there was an 81% likelihood an Israeli death would be reported on NPR, but only a 34% likelihood” a Palestinian one would be.

The findings were similar each way FAIR examined the data. They showed one-sided pro-Israel reporting the way it is throughout the dominant media. The result (then and now) is NPR betrays the public trust. It suppresses real news in favor of the fake kind it prefers. It violates its claim to be “an internationally acclaimed producer of noncommercial news, talk and entertainment programming” and its mission statement pledge “to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciations of events, ideas and cultures (through) programming that meets the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression.” It’s pure nonsense. On all counts, NPR fails badly.

The Electronic Intifada web site showed how badly. It was in a February 19, 2002 article titled “Special Report: NPR’s Linda Gradstein (its Israel correspondent) Takes Cash Payments from Pro-Israel Groups.” Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry (its co-founders) discovered Gradstein violated professional journalistic and NPR ethics and policy by accepting cash honoraria from pro-Israeli organizations in the past and currently to the date of the article.

Gradstein is notorious for her pro-Israeli bias and being paid for it makes it worse. Hillel is one of her paymasters, and in one instance openly acknowledged it considered Gradstein an Israeli propagandist. Other Israeli groups apparently do as well as Gradstein openly violated NPR’s stated (but uninforced) policy not to accept these fees. Instead, she regularly takes them and likely still does.

The EI writers concluded “for some reason or other, Gradstein is effectively exempt from NPR’s own regulations. These revelations only broaden existing concerns about the integrity of NPR’s Middle East reporting and honesty of Linda Gradstein….the sad truth is that Linda Gradstein rarely meets (the minimum) standard(s)” of journalistic ethics and integrity. This is common practice at NPR and at the rest of the major media as well.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

The dominant US media have loads of firepower and freely unleash it supporting Israel. They need no backup help but get it anyway from CAMERA, a powerful Boston-based pro-Israeli media lobby group. The organization was founded by Charles Jacobs in 1982 and claims to be “non-partisan….regard(ing)….American or Israeli political issues (and takes no position) regard(ing)….ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.” It calls itself “a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.”

It claims “Inaccurate and distorted accounts of events in Israel and the Middle East are….found everywhere from college radio stations to network television, from community newspapers to national magazines (to the) Internet.” They’re also in “fashion magazines, architectural publications, encyclopedias….travel guides, and even dictionaries.” They’re “inaccurate (and) skewed (and) may fuel anti-Israel and anti-Jewish prejudice.”

CAMERA’s on guard to fight back with plenty of dues-paying members to do it – 55,000 well-heeled ones plus “thousands of active letter writers.” They monitor all media and its journalists everywhere for one purpose – to resolutely support Israel and combat all criticism it calls “anti-Israel bias.” CAMERA tolerates none, not even modest in tone on issues too minor to matter. They do to CAMERA that views everything in black and white terms with no gray allowed.

Muslims are bad because they’re Muslims and not Jews. Jews, on the other hand, are good because they’re Jewish. This for CAMERA is fair and balanced meaning support Israel, right or wrong, and you are. Dare criticize, you’re not, and be targeted full force with all CAMERA’s hard-hitting tools – mass letter-writing, articles, op-eds, monographs, special reports, full-page ads in major publications, the CAMERA Media Report critiquing “bias and error,” CAMERA on Campus doing the same thing, CAMERA Fellows training students in pro-Israeli thinking, and focused attacks on “media bias” and journalists anywhere even mildly critical of Israel.

CAMERA is effective because it’s unrelenting, focused and well-funded. It “systematically monitors, documents, reviews and archives (all) Middle East coverage.” Its staffers “contact reporters, editors, producers and publishers” demanding “distorted or inaccurate coverage” be retracted and replaced by “factual information to refute errors.” For CAMERA, it means support Israel without compromise or be hounded until you do.

Two Examples of Truth in Reporting Banned in the Dominant Media – First from Bethlehem

Pacifica’s KPFA Flashpoints Radio co-host Nora Barrows Friedman has become the electronic media’s most courageous voice on Israel/Palestine. An example was her disturbing story from Bethlehem August 21 for Inter Press Service that was unreported in the dominant media. It’s a dramatic example of sanitizing ugly parts of a story to prettify Israeli actions or simply ignoring it as in this case.

Friedman reported the Israeli military has been cutting and destroying apricot and walnut trees for months to make way for its scheme in the village of Artas, southeast of Bethlehem. It’s a concrete tunnel (along with the apartheid separation wall) for raw Israeli settlement sewage (excrement and waste). It’s to be dumped on Palestinian land even though its toxicity will endanger the health and welfare of its residents. It will destroy crops and poison the land rendering it useless for agriculture.

Artas villagers have been “active and defiant….over the last year after unofficial information” about the plan leaked out. It’s still ongoing, nonetheless, as Israeli bulldozers continue uprooting crops and orchards in preparation for construction to follow. Non-violent protesters (on their own land) “have been shot at, beaten” arrested and imprisoned for defying expropriation of their property. Israel frequently does this throughout the Occupied Territories for the parts it wants. In this case, it’s for land to dump raw untreated toxic sewage waste on from its settlements.

It’s part of an overall ethnic cleansing scheme to dispossess Palestinians from their lands, one parcel, one village at a time, every devious way Israelis can invent to do it. This time, villagers are fighting back in the Israeli Supreme Court. But based on its past rulings, they have little hope for justice and no hope the major media will help stop the abuse by exposing it in its coverage.

A Second Example: Hamas’ “Goals for All of Palestine”

Mousa Abu Marzook, Hamas political bureau deputy, prepared an eloquent op-ed piece July 10 titled “Hamas’ stand” that got rare space in the latimes.com but none in the New York Times, NPR or elsewhere in the dominant media. In it, he explained Hamas’ July rescue of BBC journalist Alan Johnson wasn’t done “as some obsequious boon to Western powers. It was….part of our effort to secure Gaza from (all) lawlessness…. and violence….where journalists, foreigners and guests of the Palestinian people will be treated with dignity.”

He stressed Hamas never supported attacks on Westerners. Instead, its struggle “always….focused on the occupier and our legal resistance to it….supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Despite that right of any occupied people, Israel and Washington falsely accuse its leaders of ideologies “they know full well we do not follow, such as the agenda of Al Queda and its adherents.”

Marzook “deplore(d) the current prognosticating over “Fatah-land (in the West Bank) versus “Hamastan (in Gaza). In the end, there can be only one Palestinian state,” and its people have every legal right to demand and expect one. He continued saying its “militant stance” is reasonable in “our fight against the occupation and the right of Palestinians to have dignity, justice and self-rule.” It’s guaranteed all peoples everywhere under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Marzook raised the litmus test issue of Palestinians having to concede Israel’s “putative right to exist as a necessary precondition to discussing grievances, and to renounce” its 1988 charter position “born of the intolerable conditions under occupation more than 20 years ago.” A state “may have a right to exist,” he stated, “but not….at the expense of other states (or more importantly) at the expense of millions of human individuals and their rights to justice.”

Marzook justifiably asked “Why should anyone concede Israel’s right to exist, when it….never….acknowledged (its) foundational crimes of murder, ethnic cleansing (and seizure of) our towns and villages, our farms and orchards, and made us a nation of refugees? Why should any Palestinian recognize (this) monstrous crime….?” How can Israel “declare itself explicitly to be a state for the Jews (alone)….in a land where millions of occupants are Arabs, Muslims and Christians.”

Marzook continued denouncing Israeli hypocrisy referring back to the writings of its Zionist founders. In them, they made “repeated calls for the destruction of Palestine’s non-Jewish inhabitants” saying: “We must expel the Arabs and take their places.” Israeli policy today “advocat(es) for the expulsion of Arab citizens from Israel and the rest of Palestine, envisioning a single Jewish state from the Jordan (River) to the sea.” The international community voices “no clamor….for Israel to repudiate these words as a necessary precondition for any discourse whatsoever. The double standard, as always, is” for Palestinians alone.

Marzook has no trouble “recognizing” Israel’s right to exist. “Israel does exist,” he says, “as any Rafah boy in a hospital bed, with IDF shrapnel in his torso, can tell you.” He referred to a distracting “dance of mutual rejection (while) many are dying (or live) as prisoners….in refugee camps” and Israeli prisons unjustly.

Marzook speaks for all Palestinians saying he “look(s) forward to the day when Israel can say to me, and millions of other Palestinians: ‘Here, here is your family’s house by the sea (we took from you in 1948), here are your lemon trees, the olive grove your father tended: Come home and be whole again.’ Then we can speak of a future together” and can have one in peace but never under occupation.

Try finding that commentary in the New York Times or on NPR. Somehow, it slipped into the latimes.com and maybe in error. Pilger is right. The first casualty of war is good journalism. It applies as well to reporting on Israel/Palestine and most other major world and national issues. Real news and information fall victim to the fake kind in the dominant media. Thankfully, people are catching on, viable alternatives abound in print and online, and web sites like this one provide it.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on TheMicroEffect.com Saturdays at noon US central time.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

9/11 Site Workers Hearing: Chairman Miller Opening Remarks + Rep. McKeon Opening Remarks (videos + links)

Dandelion Salad

CapNewsNet

On Wednesday, September 12, 2007, the…

On Wednesday, September 12, 2007, the House Committee on Education and Labor, led by Rep. George Miller, held a hearing on the protection given to workers at the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 attacks.

Witnesses included Freddy Cordero, a worker at the site of the World Trade Center; Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, Professor and Chairman, Department of Community & Preventive Medicine, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York; Patricia Clark, Regional Administrator, OSHA Region II, New York; Brian A. Jackson, Ph.D., Associate Director, Homeland Security Program, RAND Corporation; and Dr. James Melius, Director, NYS Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund.


Rep. Foxx Questioning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK2bEbCATkI

Rep. Woolsey Questioning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kktef-_SZ6E

Rep. McKeon Questioning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4crHM7q6N4

Chairman Miller Questioning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPMqBhlkvXU

James Melius Testimony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4qNxJd2Q8E

Brian Jackson Testimony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdlOBnUh6jY

Patricia Clark Testimony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpLiNEbiGK4

Philip Landrigan Testimony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzniOFuvtLw

Freddy Cordero Testimony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r48JHbg_WI

Current TV: Syria 101, Parts 1 & 2 (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Evmonk

An intro… http://www.current.tv/pods/internatio… http://www.current.tv/pods/…

An introduction to the “rouge state” that looks at not only the government, but also the people. In light of Dennis Kucinich’s recent visit to Syria (see my recent vids for an interview he did there), it’s helpful for the American people to have a look inside the country before they decide whether or not Syria is our enemy.

Kudos to the always excellent CurrentTV for the video. See more great videos at their site: http://www.current.tv/

see:

Dennis Kucinich Talks About His Visit to Syria on Syrian TV (video)

Dennis Kucinich Just Back From Syria (video)

Kucinich Goes To Syria To Meet With President Assad (video; article)

Dennidict Arnold: Kucinich Commits Treason During His Trip to Syria? by Manila Ryce

The Soviet Collapse, the Growth of Islamic Fundamentalism, and The Intensification of U.S. Hostility Toward Iran by Larry Everest

Dandelion Salad

by Larry Everest
Global Research, September 12, 2007
rwor.org

For over 100 years, the domination of Iran has been deeply woven into the fabric of global imperialism, enforced through covert intrigues, economic bullying, military assaults, and invasions. This history provides the backdrop for U.S. hostility toward Iran today—including the real threat of war. Part 1 of this series explored the rivalry between European imperialists up through World War 1 over which one would control Iran and its oil. Part 2 exposed the U.S.’s 1953 overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh’s secular, nationalist government in order to restore a tyrannical client, the Shah. Parts 3 and 4 examined the impact of 25 years of U.S. domination via the Shah, and how it paved the way for the 1979 revolution. Part 5 explored the 1979 revolution and the U.S. response, including how both fueled the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Part 6 exposed the imperialist logic—and necessities—behind Ronald Reagan’s 1985-86 “arms-for-hostages” gambit to Iran. Part 7, traces the escalation of U.S. hostility toward Iran—from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991until 2001, when George W. Bush took office.

The Soviet Collapse—A Geopolitical Earthquake

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a geopolitical earthquake—opening both new opportunities for and new threats to U.S. imperialism. In one swift stroke, the main rival to U.S. global power had (at least temporarily) been removed. America’s theoreticians of empire sensed a historic opportunity to forcefully extend U.S. global dominance and deal decisively with a raft of impediments—to create an unchallenged and unchallengeable empire.

This new mix of opportunity and necessity reshaped Washington’s approach to Iran. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the U.S. not only drove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait but destroyed much of Iraq’s military and industrial infrastructure—while Iran remained neutral. Afterward, the Islamic Republic’s leaders took some tentative steps to normalize relations with the U.S., which had been broken when the U.S. Embassy was seized in 1979. The Ayatollah Khomeini had died two years earlier and a new, more pragmatic leadership under President Rafsanjani had come to power. And Iran was eager to attract new foreign investment and trade to prop up its economy.

The U.S. wasn’t interested. The Islamic Republic was still an obstacle to U.S. aims on a number of fronts. The Soviet collapse hadn’t resolved the knot of problems the U.S. faced in the Middle East (in fact it exacerbated some) and it opened up a Pandora’s box in Central Asia,. The U.S. was increasingly bumping up against Iran in both regions. And now with the Soviet Union gone, U.S. strategists no longer felt the need to balance Iran and Iraq. Instead they could move more directly against both.

“Dual Containment”—Preserving the U.S.-Dominated Status Quo

The Clinton administration adopted a policy of “Dual Containment,” with punitive economic sanctions against Iran and Iraq, aimed at weakening and isolating both. Clinton and company feared that Iran’s regional needs and ambitions and the growth of Islamic fundamentalist movements could jeopardize the U.S.-dominated Middle East order.

Iran’s 1979 revolution and its anti-U.S., Islamist message still reverberated with people living under brittle pro-U.S. tyrannies in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Jordan, and Egypt. The Soviet Union’s demise had weakened (sometimes fatally) many pro-Soviet parties and movements. This further strengthened Islamic fundamentalist trends, which were becoming the main pole of opposition to the U.S. and its clients. The Iranian revolution and then the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan emboldened Islamists who could now argue that if they had helped bring down the Shah and then a superpower, why couldn’t they do the same to the United States?

As the region’s main Islamist state, Iran represented an ideological challenge to U.S.-led imperialist globalization and “modernization.” The Islamic Republic represented a pole of opposition to some of the U.S.’s political objectives in the region, as well as a source of inspiration (and sometimes direct support) for various Islamic trends.

The Clinton administration viewed the U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” which was aimed at ending the Palestinian struggle and strengthening Israel, as crucial to undercutting anti-U.S. sentiments and strengthening U.S. control of the region. But Iran was an obstacle here—both because of its political support for the Palestinians and its material support of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Islamic Palestinian forces.

The U.S. also worried about Iran’s potential to become a major force in the region due to its size, location, vast oil resources, and its efforts to reach out to global powers. The fact that the U.S. 1991 war on Iraq had weakened it as a regional bulwark against Iran added to these worries.

Iran, meanwhile, was eager to attract foreign investment precisely to expand oil production and build its industrial and military infrastructure. In the early 1990s, Iran offered the U.S. oil giant Conoco $1 billion to help develop its oil and gas industry. This sparked a furor in the U.S. and led to the imposition of sanctions in 1995, blocking any U.S. companies from investing in Iran’s oil and natural gas industries (later expanded to punish foreign firms who did so).

A New “Great Game” in Central Asia

The Soviet collapse also had enormous repercussions for the U.S.—and Iran—in Central Asia. Suddenly, states formerly part of the Soviet Union possessing vast energy resources—Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan (today the site of the world’s largest oil development project)—were independent and up for grabs. Fierce competition was quickly underway between the U.S., Russia, China, as well as European powers for access, influence and control. Former Carter official Zbigniew Brzezinski warned, “For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.”

Iran sought to expand its historic, geographic, cultural, and linguistic ties with these new republics. It also sought inclusion in the new energy arrangements centering on the construction of oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia to outlets for the global market. Iran lies between the energy-rich Caspian Sea to the north and the Persian Gulf to the south, and already had a network of pipelines. So why not transport oil and gas through Iran?

As Revolution noted, “If the pipes go south through Iran to its refineries and harbors, then the U.S. containment of Iran is broken…. The U.S. vetoed any Iranian route and insisted the pipes run over Afghanistan—to Pakistan.” (See “Afghanistan: The Oil Behind the War,” Revolutionary Worker (now Revolution ) November 4, 2001)

In the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. and its ally Saudi Arabia were also covertly organizing and bankrolling anti-Iranian Sunni fundamentalist groups (including the Taliban) in order to isolate Iran and counter Iranian-inspired Shia Islamists, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These covert intrigues further fueled reactionary religious fundamentalism and sectarianism across the region.

The Clash Over Grand Strategy in the 1990s

U.S. strategy toward Iran was shaped by sharp debate within the bourgeoisie that took place during the 1990s over post-Soviet global strategy. The neocon strategy was articulated in 1992 by top officials in the George H.W. Bush administration (who returned to power under Bush II). It called for wielding U.S. military power to preemptively knock down potential rivals and establish unilateral global hegemony.

During his eight years in office, Clinton championed Washington’s “right” to act unilaterally and shape the global environment by force if need be, while emphasizing acting in alliance with other imperialist powers, an overall posture the administration called “assertive multilateralism.”

Clinton was not hesitant to use military force, as in the NATO intervention in the former Yugoslavia, the military preservation of the no-fly zone over Iraq, and the taking out of targets in Sudan. And he pushed for NATO expansion into the former Soviet Bloc. But this was still in the context of a more traditional “multi-lateral approach” (in which the U.S. always had the final say and veto power). Further, there was a considerable focus by the Clinton administration on strengthening the U.S. economic hand globally, and aggressively pushing forward with imperialist globalization and things like “free trade agreements” in the interest of U.S. finance capital.

Clinton never adopted a strategy of regime change toward the Islamic Republic, but while emphasizing the stick, also dangled the carrot of better relations. U.S. bullying was, in the words of Clinton’s “Report to Congress on National Security Strategy” (January 11, 2000), “aimed at changing the practices of the Iranian government in several key areas,” while “signs of change in Iranian policies” were viewed “with interest…”

The neocons felt the Clinton administration was squandering the victory of the Cold War, allowing events to drift and threats to build. They considered Clinton’s approach too multilateral (vs. unilateral) and his efforts to forge a new wave of globalization (in the interest of U.S. imperialism) too economically focused. What these neocons saw was an opportunity to radically reshape global relations through a hard line, unilateral and vast step-up in the application of military force and an aggressive program of “regime change.”

Their view was that even though Saddam Hussein was not a major threat to the U.S., the Middle East needed to be radically reshaped or else it would keep generating anti-U.S. forces, particularly Islamic fundamentalist forces, which would get in the way of U.S. domination in the whole region—an objective shared by the whole ruling class, even while there were (and are) differences over how to go about achieving this.

This battle was intertwined with a sharp debate over the significance of resurgent Islamic fundamentalism, which had been sparked by serious Islamist challenges to the ruling regimes in Egypt, Algeria, and Afghanistan. According to author Robert Dreyfuss, there were basically two camps within the U.S. establishment: those who “argued that the United States had nothing to fear from the Islamic right” versus “the clash-of-civilizations school [championed by right-wing academics like Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis], which believed that the Muslim world was unalterably and fundamentally hostile to the West.”

George Bush’s capture of the presidency in 2000 followed by the attacks of September 11, 2001 led to the consolidation of the neocon grand strategy and the launching of the “war on terror” to carry it out. The U.S. war machine would be unleashed to defeat Islamic fundamentalism and take down states impeding U.S. objectives. Global relations were to be radically transformed, and America’s sole superpower status locked in for decades to come. Iran would quickly become a prime target in this war for greater empire, as we will explore in the next and final installment of this series.

References

Ali M. Ansari, Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Next Great Conflict in the Middle East, Chapter 4—The United States and the Islamic Republic, pp. 132-146

Bob Avakian, “The New Situation and the Great Challenges,” Revolution #36, February 26, 2006

Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, p. 30

Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, p. 316

Larry Everest, Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda, Chapter 8—A Growing Clamor for Regime Change

Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, Chapter 5: The Battle of Islamic Fundamentalisms, pp. 160-168

Global Research Articles by Larry Everest

 


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