Israel’s deal with Hezbollah + Inside Story: Iran/Israel tensions

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish

The Israeli cabinet has agreed to release five Lebanese prisoners in return for the bodies of two Isreali soldiers captured in 2006.

Al Jazeera’s David Chater reports from Jerusalem on a deal that is highly symboloic for both sides.

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Vidal: Congress has never been more cowardly nor corrupt

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rattansifan

Afshin Rattansi and Gore Vidal on Iran & Power June 2008

Gore Vidal speaks to Afshin Rattansi about another of President Bush’s attorney-generals facing a subpoena, the White House becoming Persepolis and military action against Iran.

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The Toddler King’s Insufferable Reign is Doomed By Jason Miller

Dandelion Salad

By Jason Miller
http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE
6/30/08

Both George Bush and Dick Cheney have emphatically proclaimed the American Way of Life as “non-negotiable.” As hard as it may be for the feeble-minded, deluded, conscienceless, or hopelessly addicted to grasp, Mother Nature and billions of human beings are going to force us to the bargaining table. We can kick, scream, stomp our feet, and hold our breath all we want, but our abhorrent mode of existence is going down.

Aside from the fact that they are utterly unsustainable, why is it such a certainty that American Capitalism, consumerism, militarism, and the myriad associated ills that exist to maintain our obscene lifestyle are a house of cards on the verge of collapse?

Quite simple really. With our overwhelming wealth, power, and military firepower, the United States exercises virtual hegemony over the globe. Granted our influence is waning, but we still call most of the shots. As lord and master of the planet, we are doing a miserable job. Emotionally infantile, we have a sense of entitlement that dwarfs Mt. Everest, we are absolutely certain that we are center of the universe, and we throw incredibly destructive tantrums when we don’t get our way, the American Way that is. We are massive toddlers inflicting our version of the “terrible twos” on the world. Were we not wielding such a massive cudgel, our childishness would be laughable.

Under our “good stewardship,” as our current unitary executive loves to call it, the world is careening down the highway at break-neck speed with an infant at the wheel. And if he crashes before an adult can wrest control from him, we’re looking at a major accident with multiple fatalities. We’ve already pushed the world to the verge of economic collapse, the brink of starvation, the initiation of perpetual war, and impending environmental disaster.

Collectively, we act without conscience or concern for the consequences of our actions. The American Way of Life is “all about me and to hell with everyone else.” We revere narcissism, hyper-individualism, greed, wealth, and status as virtues. Becoming a rich, acquisitive careerist by clawing one’s way to the top of the hierarchy through deceit, betrayal, sycophancy, and whoring oneself out in any way imaginable is enshrined as the penultimate achievement in our sewer of a society.

Contrary to the common misconception, the psychological umbilical cord between our mothers and us is severed at a very young age. Nearly the instant we are able to intellectualize we drop mom like a hot potato and become psychically parasitic, our hosts being those ubiquitous devices known as televisions.

When we were in the womb, our mothers’ rich and nurturing blood flowed through our veins, quite literally providing the essence of our physical being. Fast forward a few years. Our psychic umbilical cord detaches from mom and is immediately seduced to fuse itself to that seemingly innocent yet deeply nefarious pusher of mind crack. In stark contrast to our mother’s wholesome blood that nourished us in a way that ensured healthy physical growth, the rancid filth we derive from television cripples and malforms our psyches in profound and perverse ways.

Planned or not, television has become the power elite’s primary weapon in the daily propaganda war they wage to maintain the American Way of Life, furiously beating down any and all challengers. Calling the content of television “programming” is quite fitting. Through our addiction to pixilated images, the lords and masters of American Capitalism manipulate us into participating in the banality of evil without giving it a first thought, let alone a second one.

Much like the Leatherman, TV is an incredibly multi-faceted tool that enables the ruling elites in the US to hone the masses into the infantilized little sociopaths they need to man the bulwarks of American Capitalism, spreading our “corporatocracy and freedom from the pangs of conscience and critical thought” the world over.

If you don’t know the stats, you’ve been somnambulating, but here are a few:

1. We are 5% of the population and siphon off 30% of the world’s goodies, while 35,000 people starve to death each day.

2. We, the land of the free, exercise a higher degree of social control than even those “tyrants” in China and Russia. We have the world’s largest prison population, many of whom are non-violent drug offenders. And then there’s our clever way of imposing our agenda in Latin America via the “War on Drugs…..”

3. We lost about 500,000 people in WWII while Russia lost over 20 million yet we arrogantly boast that WE “defeated fascism.” And that’s not to mention the fact that many of our beloved capitalists, including members of the Bush dynasty, supported Hitler until they faced potential criminal prosecution.

4. We have staged coups and incursions the world over (our interventions are far too numerous to document in this dispatch, but visit this site to familiarize yourself with the reach of our malevolent imperialist tentacles: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Foreign_Policy/US_ForeignPolicy.html)

5. Ironically, we justify our trillion dollar a year military budget by waging wars against nations with phantom weapons of mass destruction–while we are the only nation to have deployed such weapons. Ask Japan about the devastating impact.

6. We pour billions of dollars into the support of those miserable Zionist squatters in Palestine because a very small percentage of our population (which has very deep pockets, a strangle-hold on mass media, and a juggernaut lobbying organization) has many of us brain-washed into believing “poor little Israel” is fighting for its very existence—when the reality is that it has a more formidable military than all of its alleged threats combined and has ruthlessly brutalized the Palestinians like the terrorist state that it is.

7. We slaughtered over two million Vietnamese in an attempt to keep the world safe for capitalism and are poised to consider putting one of the perpetrators in the White House.

8. We have murdered untold millions of Iraqis since the Gulf War via invasion, brutal economic sanctions, fomenting civil war and chaos, illegal occupation, and destruction of infrastructure. And neither of the performers in the theater of the absurd we call a “presidential election” has promised to bring an immediate end to this moral and legal abomination. If we enforced the Nuremberg Laws that WE crafted, all responsible would be hanged, including whoever replaces Bush and perpetuates this genocide.

And that is just a brief and very incomplete summary of the evil that we openly or tacitly support simply by being Americans, even if our role is very banal or pedestrian. As cogs in a murderous machine built on stolen land and primarily with the blood, sweat and tears of slaves and poor immigrants, we all bear a degree of responsibility for the atrocities we commit. Even those who choose to remain and fight the system from within are still buttressing the American Way to some extent.

How do we sleep at night? Some of us don’t and some of us have pharmaceutical help. But by and large our television programming has given us the “gifts” of a pathologically muted conscience, heavy doses of blissful ignorance, and the attention span of anencephalic sheep.

Desensitized to violence, mentally malnourished by a steady diet of brain candy, conditioned to putting our brains in neutral and letting the “idiot box” do our thinking for us, psychologically beaten down by constant reminders that the subjects of our idolatry are “better than us,” and manipulated into believing that the spiritually vacuous American Dream is more than just a mirage that keeps the working class trudging through the desert of perpetual corporatism, many of us remain true believers, prefer wage slavery to sleeping under a bridge, or recognize that (despite the shop-worn and inane rhetoric about freedom and democracy) the system has harsh consequences for those who don’t at least ostensibly toe the line.

Regardless of our individual level of consciousness or level of participation in this criminal enterprise known in some circles as the American Empire, we Americans as a collective are an intriguingly repulsive synthesis of excessively spoiled brats and sociopaths. We want what we want when we want it, consequences be damned. We have the means to get what we desire, virtually no capacity to delay gratification, and the ability to punish those who stand in our way. To top it off, we don’t let trivialities like conscience restrain us. We are a nation of sociobrats.

Individually, we can change. Many have transformed and many more will. But there are some pretty long odds against enough of us shedding our grotesquely malformed psyches and evolving beyond our state of infantilization before the American Way of Life collapses under the weight of its own excrement or is eradicated by its hordes of victims.

Jason Miller is the associate editor of Cyrano’s Journal Online.

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

AT&T Whistleblower: Spy Bill Creates ‘Infrastructure for a Police State’

Dandelion Salad

By Ryan Singel
Wired
June 27, 2008

Mark Klein, the retired AT&T engineer who stepped forward with the technical documents at the heart of the anti-wiretapping case against AT&T, is furious at the Senate’s vote on Wednesday night to hold a vote on a bill intended to put an end to that lawsuit and more than 30 others.

…continued

see

Ralph Nader says no to wire tapping

Confronting Foreign Intelligence and Information Gaps + Feingold on the 4th Amendment

HR 6304 – A Bill to Abolish the 4th Amendment

The Hedonists of Power By Chris Hedges

Mark Klein

Is it Legal to Bury Someone Alive?

Dandelion Salad

by Linda Gustitus and Rev. Richard Killmer
www.crossleft.org/
www.nrcat.org/
06/28/2008

Dear Friends:

In testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee yesterday, John Yoo, a former top Justice Department official and author of key memos authorizing torture, refused to say that it would be illegal for the President to order a suspect buried alive. This view – of an unbounded executive branch that is allowed to do anything in the name of national security – is not simply a crackpot idea held by one former legal advisor, but is the basis for many of the abuses that have been perpetrated on detainees since 9/11.

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The End of the Anglo-American Empire? by Richard C. Cook

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by Richard C. Cook
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
richardccook.com
June 29, 2008

Much of the world’s history over the last century has been dominated by the  United States. But by the turn of the millennium in 2000-2001, the “American Century” had begun to descend into a chamber of horrors.

The years since then have been marked by the huge financial bubbles engineered by the U.S. Federal Reserve System and the virus of predatory global capitalism. We have the looming worldwide economic crisis with rising bankruptcies, credit disruptions, and soaring fuel and food prices. Alongside has been the thinly-disguised but continuing attempt by the U.S. to conquer the Middle East by force of arms under the heading of the “War on Terror.”

Some have argued that the U.S. at war is nothing new and that we have always been a nation of aggression and militarism. While this may be true, the expansion of the original thirteen states to cover much of the North American continent was done with far less violence than the constant fighting among the European nations over the centuries for domination.

The key event was President Thomas Jefferson’s choice to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, thus turning America’s energy to westward expansion rather than competition with the European powers for colonial empires. The long-term result has been a nation that has led the world in science, technology, social and political innovation, and individual prosperity and freedom.

Still, there seems to have been a critical change that took place in both America and the world in the early 1900s.

To many, the arrival of the 20th century seemed to be a time of great hope. There had not been a major international conflagration since the Napoleonic Wars which ended with the Treaty of Vienna in 1815. Despite inequities in income, the industrial age showed promise of raising the standard of living everywhere. Four large nations whose territory had been consolidated during the latter part of the 19th century—the U.S., Russia, Germany, and Italy—were flourishing.

But by 1914, the worst war in history—World War I—had begun. A century of conflict and chaos, which has not yet ended, was underway, with hundreds of millions of non-combatants eventually losing their lives through war, famine, epidemics, or genocide. The modern world has seen many holocausts in addition to the one befalling European Jewry during World War II.

Alongside miracles of medicine, agriculture, sanitation, engineering, transportation, communications, and information technology have come terrible weapons of mass destruction, the latest being depleted uranium. There have been appalling refinements in the diabolical arts of assassination, torture, propaganda, mind control, and political manipulation.

Economic crime has occurred on an epic scale, including currency manipulations, privatization of public resources, the aforesaid financial bubbles, involvement of governments in the illicit drug trade, attacks by financiers on national economies, the creation of offshore tax havens, money laundering, destruction of entire industries to benefit global capitalism, human trafficking, cornering of markets on food and other vital commodities, speculative hedge funds whose managers earn a billion dollars a year, and looting of private companies and pension funds by highly-paid CEOs and executives.

What then happened, especially during the latter part of the “American Century,” to turn so much promise into the continuing spectacle of prosperity for some side-by-side with recurrent catastrophes for others? Likely this question will be debated for centuries.

It would appear, however, that once it became apparent how much wealth the industrial revolution was capable of generating, the world’s economies began to develop so fast that the traditional means of resolving the distribution of power and wealth among and within nations and social classes fell apart. Because human beings were not capable of exercising the wisdom, generosity, fairness, and restraint to master the industrial genie that was now out of the bottle, the worst inclinations of individuals and society exerted themselves. The history of the 20th century and the battles among nations and blocs for supremacy resemble nothing so much as neighborhood gang wars among Mafia dons, the latest being the Bush-Cheney cabal that has controlled the U.S. government since 2001.

Another gang has been those among the world’s money-lenders who became experts at parasitic high finance and got rich through the explosive growth of fractional reserve banking. These people have dominated the economies of nations through such institutions as the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve System, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), and other central and commercial banks, currency and commodity exchanges, and stock and bond markets.

The bankers on the one hand and the political racketeers on the other merged over a century ago under the oversight of figures associated with the creation of the Anglo-American Empire, such as Cecil Rhodes, Lord Milner, Colonel House, Winston Churchill, the House of Windsor, and, as examples of families involved, the Rothschilds, Schiffs, Morgans, Harrimans, Rockefellers, Myers, and Bushes. Among the major projects of the empire in recent decades have been the creation and maintenance of both the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the state of Israel as Western bridgeheads of influence, power, and wealth in the Middle East.

This has led to the ongoing campaign by the U.S. to exercise complete military control of that region, with Israel the principal beneficiary. It is an astonishing spectacle to watch the “world’s greatest superpower” bankrupt itself financially and in its world reputation because its politicians are too corrupt and cowardly to take a stand against the domestic Jewish lobby.

This campaign of conquest seems to have had its roots in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who intended to bring a new era of peace through rapprochement with the Soviet Union, restraint of Israel’s nuclear ambitions, withdrawal of combat forces from Vietnam, and dismantlement of the CIA as an agency of covert warfare. Kennedy’s brief presidency coincided with an amazing period of social and spiritual renewal among America’s youth in the 1960s.

With the killing of Kennedy, the dogs of war were unleashed. After America’s disastrous war in Vietnam ended in 1975, President Jimmy Carter tried to introduce a policy of civility and restraint in domestic and world political affairs, but he was swept away in the election of 1980 by the “Reagan Revolution,” whose catastrophic legacy we see today.

President Ronald Reagan set in motion the current mudslide of worldwide cataclysms through his huge military build-up, the “Reagan doctrine” of proxy warfare in third-world countries, the pathologically paranoid Strategic Defense Initiative—“Star Wars”—program, and the deregulation of the financial industry. Since our economy is the largest in the world, such action was bound to affect every other nation in making them subservient to the U.S. bankers and financiers who organized themselves in such institutions as David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission.

Bill Clinton, elected in 1992, did little to stem the tide of barbarism. He completed the destruction of the U.S. as an industrial democracy by signing the legislation for NAFTA and opening the floodgates to foreign control of U.S. business. He also completed the deregulation of the financial industry by repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which had prohibited the merger of investment and deposit banks. But Clinton still was attacked by the right-wing who wanted him to unleash a new military assault against Iraq.

When George W. Bush became president in 2000, the grand strategy of Middle East occupation was facilitated by the skillful exploitation of the 9/11 attacks as the excuse for military mobilization to be financed by the housing bubble and the forced sale of U.S. Treasury debt to foreign investors. The historic jack-up of petroleum prices—including the most recent ones that have brought gas at-the-pump in the U.S. to $4 a gallon—are clearly a de facto tax on the American public to pay for these wars.

It has become obvious in recent months—even as Bush et. al. plot a possible attack on Iran before the end of his presidency—that the rest of the world is heartily sick of U.S. arrogance. Even our allies in NATO have refused to allow us to build a defensive missile shield virtually to the borders of Russia.

And there are indications that the European financial community—headed by the Bank of International Settlements—may force the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates again to stem inflation, even if this drives the U.S. domestic population into an economic depression. Recent signs from the Council on Foreign Relations are that the U.S. will accept that the dollar can no longer reign supreme as the world’s sole reserve currency and that it must give way to the Euro and the Chinese Yuan in sharing this role. Thus the U.S. political leadership seems to have begun to realize that we will no longer be allowed to posture as the unchallenged bully of the world.

What we may be seeing—even as the U.S. military has extended its reach to the insertion of uniformed personnel in 135 nations—is the end of the Anglo-American Empire and the birth of a multi-polar world. It appears that the more level-headed among the U.S. and worldwide elite are tilting toward Barack Obama as the best choice to manage America’s inevitable decline.

This decline is by no means a bad thing. Through graceful acceptance, America may even have a chance someday to regain its soul. A good place to start would be to establish a National Historical Truth Commission to investigate such historical puzzles as the real causes of U.S. entrance into the wars of the past century; assassinations—such as JFK, Senator Paul Wellstone, and JFK, Jr.; and 9/11. Another worthwhile proposal is for a tribunal on “International and Domestic Crimes Committed by High U.S. Government Officials,” which will be discussed at a national conference planned for Andover, Mass., in September.

Can anything else be done to ease the shocks to come? If people took the trouble to read the available literature, they would see that hundreds of potential economic and political reforms have been presented and discussed—at least in books and on the internet—that could make our society more just, functional, and humane and not just the ugly police state it is rapidly becoming.

In the mind of this writer, a viable economic solution would be policies based on government control of credit treated as a vital public utility, rebuilding of our public and private infrastructure, radical reduction of pollution and dependence on foreign oil through green energy R&D, enactment of a basic income guarantee, and implementation of a national dividend which would monetize productivity and savings.

The theory of a national dividend, not dependent on either taxation or government borrowing, is sound and was worked out decades ago by the British Social Credit movement. It can be seen on a small scale in the annual residents’ stipend provided by the Alaska Permanent Fund. Such a program would be more in accord with the largely successful social welfare policies of the Western European democracies and less with the leanings, for instance, of the American Libertarians. The manner in which they view with suspicion any action taken by representative government to benefit the general welfare—misleadingly labeling it “socialism”—is an ideological dead end.

Of course the mainstream media ignore any real reform proposals, because they are afraid to suggest that there are any alternative political structures to ones that are controlled by usurers and war-mongers.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for the current state of affairs, because we have profited from it in one way or another so must reap the consequences. There is no use worrying about how we might escape the wave of events while everyone else goes down with the ship. But those who at least recognize what is going on have an obvious advantage. From there the only conscionable approach is what it has always been—diligence, honesty, and prudence in all our affairs.

Ultimately, mankind must grow up and became more humane and compassionate. This includes the angry white male American conservatives who—under the tutelage of conniving European-born intellectuals like Kissinger and Brzezinski—have been the real global terrorists for the past generation.

Philosophically, we need to realize that we live in an infinite universe of abundance where all God’s children can be provided for, rather than one of scarcity where we can only survive by taking away what belongs to our neighbor.  We can all choose to begin seeing the world in this manner.

We need to understand that we are at an early point of a new age of humanity. If  enough people attain a sufficient degree of enlightenment—and it won’t take that many—real change in social, economic, and political relations will follow, just as the flowers bloom in the spring.

Copyright 2008 by Richard C. Cook

Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites and in Eurasia Critic magazine. His book on monetary reform, entitled We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform, will be published soon by Tendril Press. He is also the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at richardccook.com. Comments may be sent via email to EconomicSanity@gmail.com.

see

Engineered Collapse of the US Economy – Alex Jones interviews Richard C Cook

Extraordinary Times, Intentional Collapse, & Takedown of the U.S.A. by Richard C. Cook

Personal Reflections on the Crisis in America by Richard C. Cook

Will We See the End of Empire in Our Time? by Richard C. Cook

Has the Battle for America Begun? by Richard C. Cook

Cook-Richard C.

Iranians Float an Offer the West Should Not Refuse

Dandelion Salad

by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Global Research, June 29, 2008

Will Anti-War Forces Seize this Opportunity?

If there were any substance to Condi Rice’s repeated assertions, that the strife over Iran’s nuclear program could, and preferably should, be solved through diplomatic means, then one would expect the U.S. Secretary of State to seize on recent offers made by Iranian figures, designed to facilitate the start of talks. Although widely ignored in the international press, highly significant statements were made at an international conference in Berlin June 24-25, by two authoritative Iranian spokesmen, one an academic, the other a political leader and brother of the new Majlis (Parliament) speaker Ali Larijani. Both said explicitly that Tehran would be willing to freeze its uranium enrichment, and to provide for concrete mechanisms to guarantee that its enrichment program would not, and could not, be geared to weapons production.

Instead of acknowledging these ostentatious gestures of good will, the U.S. surged ahead with new legislation to introduce yet more sanctions against Iran, which are clearly designed to prepare a military aggression, and the European Union kicked in with its own new punitive sanctions.(1) At the same time, military consultations between Washington and Tel Aviv about Iran have gained in frequency and intensity, and the rhetoric from U.S. and Israeli leaders threatening war has reached such a fever pitch as to send oil prices into the stratosphere.(2)

Can war be averted, even at this late hour? Hopefully, it can. Clearly, if the Anglo-American war party in Washington and Tel Aviv has already decided to proceed with their “final solution” to the Iran problem, before the Cheney-Bush junta is forced to leave the White House, there is little hope that these new overtures made by Iran will have any effect. But at the same time, this gives all the more reason for those of us committed to prevent a new catastrophe in the Persian Gulf/Middle East to mobilize political forces to call the bluff on the war party, and demand that Tehran’s newly articulated ideas about how the conflict may be peacefully resolved, be taken up in political fora and in the international press. On that basis, serious, unprejudiced discussions must begin right away. Among the key political forces to be mobilized are Russia and China, veto-holding powers in the U.N. Security Council, who know that aggression against Iran is to be seen as merely the stepping-stone to future aggression against both sovereign nations. The issue should also be prominently thrust into the forefront of the ongoing election campaigns in the United States. Where do Barack Obama and John McCain stand on these new Iranian offers?

An Offer The West Should Not Refuse

Thus far, in the conflict ostensibly over Iran’s nuclear program, the sticking point has been that the West (be it the U.S. or the 5+1 Group — the U.N. Security Council five permanent members plus Germany) has demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program, as a pre-condition for talks about the future of the program. The Islamic Republic, citing the provisions of the Non Proliferation Treaty, which it has signed, has always responded that it has the right to enrichment, and will not relinquish it as a precondition for any talks. Not only: in the Berlin meeting, several authoritative figures, including former IAEA Director General Dr. Hans Blix, confirmed Iran’s right to this technology. One should in addition consider the following paradox: if Iran were to suspend enrichment as a condition to start talks on the future of its nuclear program, then there may be three possible outcomes: either the talks succeed, in which case Iran would retain the right to enrichment in some mutally acceptable form; or Iran agrees to suspend its program; or, the talks fail, in which case, Iran would continue its program anyway, perhaps leaving the NPT and renouncing IAEA inspections. In short: the demand for suspension as a precondition is not only politically unjust and contrary to law (the NPT), but it is also absurd by the standards of any logic. As a postscript, it should be added, that Iran did suspend its uranium enrichment program for the not inconsiderable period of two years, under the Presidency of Seyyed Mohammad Khatami. But what did that yield? Nothing.

Now, in what should be considered a sincere attempt to settle the nuclear dispute peacefully and amicably, the Iranians have gone the extra mile. In the course of the Third Transatlantic Conference organized by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), on the theme, “Missile Defense, Russia, and the Middle East: Coping with Transatlantic Divergence — Exploring Common Solutions,” two Iranian spokesmen addressed the issue: Dr. Mohammad Javad A. Larijani, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, and Director of the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, as well as brother of Dr. Ali Larijani, now speaker of the Parliament, and former head of the National Security Council and thus negotiator in the nuclear issue; and political scientist, Prof. Nasser Hadian-Jazy of the University of Tehran.

Prof. Hadian-Jazy presented himself from the outset as an interlocutor ready to engage with the other side. Regarding Iran’s missile program, for example, he cited testimony he had given to a U.S. Senate committee, in which he had presented proposals for limits on the range and production of Iranian missiles. The proposals were not taken seriously, he said, but he reiterated that, if there were a serious proposal from the U.S side, a deal would be possible.

Regarding the immediate issue of Iran’s nuclear program, he stressed, first, that Iran had no nuclear weapons program, that Iranians desired no such thing, but that they are committed to the civilian energy program, which enjoys unconditional public support. He said, Iran opposes the weaponization of its nuclear program, and that “a deal can be made.” This would involve a “robust verification system” which could “limit enrichment quantitatively and qualitatively.” When asked by this author to elaborate on this, (also in light of proposals floated in the U.S. by Thomas Pickering et al to overcome the enrichment dilemma), Prof. Hadian-Jazy said Iran should not be told it must suspend uranium enrichment, but that it would accept a freeze. “There is a difference between freeze and suspension,” he said. “If suspension were to be accepted, that would be as a {result} of negotiations, not as a {condition}. It would be folly,” he noted, “for Iran to give up its bargaining chip before starting talks.” He went on to specify: “We can limit enrichment to 6 cascades, quantitatively, and as for the qualitative side, we can use the ‘black box’ approach, which means not exceeding 4-5% enrichment.” This, he said, is something European and U.S. scientists understand. Furthermore, following enrichment, the fuel can be deposited elsewhere, and then returned to Iran for use. “There should be a will,” he stressed,” to resolve the issue peacefully, with a face-saving formula for both sides.”

Dr. Mohammad Javad A. Larijani, former Deputy Foreign Minister and Director of the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, struck a similar note. “We are open to a deal,” he said, but “not to an order.” Regarding enrichment, he explained why his country insisted on having this technology: “Since we do not have the security of access [to nuclear fuel], we need to have a backup.” A commitment to secure access, would build confidence. “They can measure the degree and weight of enrichment,” he pledged, “and could track it. If we succeed in this one step, then we can take two more. It cannot be solved overnight,” but it can be solved. Larijani mooted also the possibility of Iran’s implementing the Additional Protocol to the NPT, “and even an additional one beyond the Protocol.”

The only open discussion of a freeze option known to this author, includes a statement made by Sergei Lavrov following a meeting on Iran of the 5+1 group in London. Lavrov’s statement cited by AFP on May 3, was somewhat ambiguous: “Our first conditions are the freezing, suspension of uranium enrichment. The approach of the six (powers) is that Iran should suspend enrichment only for the period in which talks continue.” The other reference to a freeze came in an OpEd by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in The Daily Star

(www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=92572 )

Fischer referred to the latest 5+1 bargaining position, saying, “The decisive question … will be whether it will be possible to freeze the Iranian nuclear program for the duration of the negotiations to avoid a military confrontation before these negotiations are completed.” Seymour Hersh, in his most recent New Yorker piece, “Preparing the Battlefield,” to appear July 7, said he spoke with Fischer a week earlier, who told him: “The proposal says that the Iranians must stop manufacturing new centrifuges and the other side will stop all further sanctions activities in the U.N. Security Council.” Hersh added that Fischer said, Iran would have to freeze enrichment to begin negotiations, and that he thought Tehran could agree.

Whether or not the public statements by Prof. Hadian-Jazy and Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani in Berlin, came in response to these hints is an open question, but not unlikely.

Missile Defense Fraud Exposed

These very important specifications from the Iranian side, came in the context of a broader strategic discussion on the U.S. plans for deploying radar and missile defense systems in the Czech Republic and Poland, allegedly to defend Europe and the U.S. from a supposed Iranian nuclear missile attack. The panels devoted to this issue examined it from the technical and political point of view, and were not only useful, but, in part, also somewhat amusing.

What emerged from presentations by technical experts, like Dr. Juergen Altmann of Dortmund University, was that Iran does not possess missiles with the range required to reach the Czech Republic or Poland, 3300 km away, not to mention the U.S. at a distance of 10,000-13,000 km. Its Shahab-3 missiles have a range of 1,300 km. But, for the sake of argument, Altmann said, if Iran were to have missiles with such a range, then any missiles directed to the American midwest would have to travel over Belarus or Russia, with obvious implications. Furthermore, Iran does not at present possess nuclear weapons. This point was confirmed by a leftwing German member of Parliament, Paul Schaefer, who reported that “nothing presented to us” in the Parliament “by German intelligence or military shows that Iran is going for nuclear weapons, against the U.S. or Europe.”

Were Iran to have such capabilities and intentions, what kind of defense would be effective? This was the laughable part, as the fraud of missile defense was inadvertently exposed. Victoria Samson, of the Washington-based Center for Defense Information, noted that the MD program is hotly contested, because it is largely untested; one test conducted in September 2006 revealed serious problems, and the next scheduled test will not take place before December 2008. Adj. Prof. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig, of the PRIF, had recalled in his keynote, that the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency last year “candidly acknowledged that the Ground-based Missile Defense system has no demonstrated effectiveness to defend either American territory [or Europe, one could add].” Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp of the NATO Defense College in Rome offered the suggestion that it didn’t matter whether the things work or not; what matters is whether or not the enemy believes it works. The only rabid enthusiast for MD was Dr. Uzi Rubin, former Senior Director for Proliferation and Technology, at the Israeli National Security Council in Tel Aviv. Rubin, known as the “father” of Israel’s Arrow MD program, extolled its capabilities to defend Israel against anything and everything: from Iranian missiles, to Syrian Scuds, to Hezbollah’s Katushas, to anything that Hamas and Islamic Jihad could launch. His colleague, Dr. Reuven Pedatzur, from Tel Aviv University, argued on the contrary, that the Arrow program had a problem with leakage, and that therefore Israel’s known — though not official — (nuclear) deterrence were necessary. He went so far as to suggest that MD would have a negative effect, in that it would undermine the image of Israel’s deterrent in the eyes of the enemy. It is all a perception game, after all. Even speakers from the nations targeted for deployment, the Czech Republic and Poland, exhibited somewhat tempered enthusiasm for the program, and Jiri Schneider from the Prague Security Studies Institute had to admit that 55-65% of the population opposed the plan.

Now: if Iran does not have the nuclear weapons or the delivery systems needed to target the perceived enemy/enemies, and if the MD systems designed to intercept these non-existent missiles don’t work, then why is the Bush-Cheney regime so adamant about deploying them? Victoria Samson made the useful observation that MD had already been used in wartime, in 1991 and 2003 in the Iraq conflicts. Although their performance was somewhat doubtful, except in friendly fire, this deployment raised the question of whether such systems are really solely defensive, a point also raised by Prof. Kubbig. And, she recalled that the U.S. had shot down one of its own satellites in February, in a rather demonstrative act.

For Russia and China there is no mystery. The projected MD deployments in eastern Europe have nothing to do with Iran’s purported threat. The main point made by Dr. Timur Kadyshev, from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, was that the proposed interceptors could hit Russian ICBMs. This would severely undermine Russia’s second strike capability in the event of a nuclear attack against its territory. Dr. Alexander Pikayev, of the Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) in Moscow, echoed this, adding that Russia could not be sure whether or not the silos the U.S. was setting up would house surface-to-surface missiles or not. Both Russian spokesmen indicated that their country’s response to deployment, and a possible attack, would be massive. Kadyshev said the MD, if deployed, would be targeted by Russian ballistic missiles, and that short-range missiles would be deployed in Kaliningrad. Pikayev said that if MD were placed near Russia’s borders, then the country’s early warning systems would go into action, and Russian missiles would be on automatic launch. “If you build security at your neighbor’s expense,” he said, “then your neighbor will respond at your expense.” Both experts from Russia lamented the fact that the U.S.’s opting for MD meant Washington was in effect discounting any diplomatic solution, thus sending a very bad message to Tehran. If there were a threat from Iran, Kadyshev added, then a joint surveillance effort could be mounted at the Gabala radar facility in Azerbaijan, or elsewhere, for example, Turkey.

Although China is not so directly targeted by the proposed MD deployment, its leadership has read the political message quite correctly. Prof. Dr. Xia Liping, from the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, posited that the MD systems could be retooled to use nuclear weapons offensively. Stressing China’s need to protect its second strike capability in the event of a nuclear attack, he said that his country would have to increase the number of ICBMs at its disposal to counter the growing number of interceptors. As for the political consequences of the MD deployment, he said that China might have to review its policy on Iraq and Afghanistan, a policy which has been directed toward economic aid for stabilization. He concluded his remarks saying that “if they regard China as a potential enemy, then we may become the enemy.”

What About Peace As An Alternative?

A rational response to the alleged Iranian missile threat, would be to change the prevailing paradigm completely, and introduce a positive one. Instead of discussing the merits and demerits of MD and/or nuclear deterrents, why not explore the ways and means of establishing durable peace in the entire region? To do so would require solving the 60-year-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is the festering sore of the entire body. This was laid out in some detail by H.H. Prince Torki M. Saud Al-Kabeer, Deputy Minister for Multilateral Relations of the Saudi Kingdom. Declaring that the Arabs had chosen peace as a strategic option back in the 1991 Madrid conference, Prince Torki reviewed the Saudi initiative, endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, which calls for the establishment of normal diplomatic ties with Israel in exchange for a return to the 1967 borders. But Israel must cease activities which change the situation on the ground and impede talks, like erecting new settlements, building a wall, blockading Gaza and so forth. The same point was made quite forcefully by Prof. Dr. Judith Palmer-Harik, president of Matn Univeristy in Beirut. Her speech reviewed the reasons why Hezbollah and Hamas had taken up arms against Israel, and argued that the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands must be terminated in a negotiated peace. Such a comprehensive peace constitutes also the only reliable guarantee of security for Israel, although this thought seems to have escaped the notice of the Israeli speakers present. Dr. Pedatzur said that, since the conference title did not refer to peace, it was off the agenda.

A prerequisite for finally achieving a durable peace, bolstered by regional economic cooperation agreements to build basic infrastructure, is untying the knot of the so-called Iranian nuclear threat. The two Iranian representatives in Berlin spelled out how far their country is willing to go to make talks possible. What Dr. Larijani in particular emphasized was the need for a new paradigm in the attitudes of the interlocutors. His “first principle,” was that one must “abandon the hostile paranoid attitude towards Iran for a while, and replace it with a mindset that goes for realistic interaction.” This means speaking to one another as equals. “Let us acknowledge each other,” he said; “Europe and the U.S. are major players, but they are not omnipotent.” Iran, he added, is not omnipotent either, but must be recognized as a major player in the region. Dealing with the nuclear dispute per se, Larijani listed three catchwords, NPT, transparency and mutual commitment.

Dr. Hans Blix, former General Director of the IAEA, and former Swedish Foreign Minister, reflected similar thinking, when he urged that the Iran case be approached in a manner akin to that of the six-party talks on North Korea, i.e. that one should not demand suspension as a pre-condition, but rather offer security guarantees (no war and no regime change).

If such a new paradigm can be introduced, anything is possible. Larijani here repeated Iran’s offer in its recent letter to Russia, China, the EU, UN and others(3): that all crises in the region, from Afghanistan (which he characterized as a situation worse than Iraq), to Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, can be dealt with as “in a parcel,” with the constructive contribution of Tehran. “We have already had some indulgence,” he noted, “in the issue of Lebanon,” pointing to Iran’s role in breaking the deadlock around the presidential election. And, U.S.-Iranian talks have already taken place on Iraq.

At present, Iran is considering the proposal of the 5+1 group, delivered by EU Foreign Policy representative Javier Solana. Although the proposal speaks of suspension of uranium enrichment as a precondition for talks, Joschka Fischer’s remarks indicate they may be thinking in terms of a freeze. Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki stated that Tehran preferred to identify the common points between that proposal and the one Iran sent out, and to enter concrete talks on that basis. A vigorous and urgent diplomatic offensive must be launched now, taking advantage of the new specifications provided by Iran. If not, as IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei recently warned, a military attack against the Islamic Republic would turn the entire region into a “ball of fire.”

Notes

1. On H.CON. RES. 362, see “Is a new Congressional Resolution declaring War with Iran?” by Emily Blout, (www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/5418/print) and Rep. Ron Paul’s powerful denunciation of it (www.presstv.ir/pop/print.aspx?id=61795). For the EU sanctions, and Bank Melli’s response, see www.tehrantimes.com/NCmss//2007.asp?code=171689).

2. Several high-level U.S. military have been to the U.S. and Israelis to the U.S., discussing Iran. See “Security and Defense: Not leaving the nuclear threat up in the air,” by Yaakov Katz, in the June 26 Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1214492515999&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle)

3. See my analysis of the Iranian letter, Countdown to the end of Bush-Cheney regime: War with Iran: What Could Happen If … ?.

The author can be reached at mirak.weissbach@googlemail.com

© Copyright Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=MIR20080629&articleId=9467

see

Will the US Congress ratify the Bush Administration’s Decision to launch a War on Iran (H. CON. RES. 362)

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh

Countdown to the end of Bush-Cheney regime: War with Iran: What Could Happen If … ?

Ron Paul: Iran war will triple energy prices

Star Wars Or Social Progress – You Decide + Global Network Conf ’08

Things Heating Up In Europe Around U.S. Radar Base by Bruce Gagnon

Iran

Military official: Iran digging 320,000 graves for invaders

Dandelion Salad

http://www.chinaview.cn
2008-06-30 01:29:14

TEHRAN, June 29 (Xinhua) — A senior Iranian military official said on Sunday the Islamic republic is digging some 320,000 graves in its border provinces for future slain invaders, Iran’s English-language satellite channel Press TV reported.

Iran’s Armed Forces headquarters has approved the plan to dig graves for enemy forces in case of any attack on its territory, said Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense.

…continued

h/t: CLG

***

More headlines from
Citizens for a Legitimate Government

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Karl Rove to head Bob Jones University Polysci Dept

Satire

Robert

by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post
June 29, 2008

GREENVILLE, South Carolina – Steven Benjamin Jones the President of Bob Jones University announced today that their revamped political science department will have a new chairman, Karl Rove. “We knew we need to round out our programs here at the University to include more than just Creationism, anti-gay crusading and history of the Confederacy, “Jones said, “so who better to shape a bold new political science curriculum than the man who practically invented politics, the honorable Karl Rove.”

“After dodging all those subpoenas and vicious attacks from the vast left wing conspiracy,” Rove said, “this new position will be welcome. Kids these days are more interested in voting for their fave on American Idol than stealing votes in national elections. I hope to be able to bring the traditional values of the Republican party back to the classroom, you know, lying, cheating, character assassination, and my favorite, abuse of power.”

“It will be refreshing to teach these young minds,” said Dean Franklin Willhoffer, “that wanting change doesn’t mean going to Washington to change things for the better, but change means changing the vote totals so your side can be get a victorious mandate from the people.”

Guest lecturers of political stature will include Colin Powell teaching “Preparing For War is a Piece of Yellow Cake, Kenneth Lay,”How to Fake Your Death After You Get Caught,” Dick Cheney, “Why the Dark Side is for Pussies,” Larry Craig, “Public Bathrooms Where I Said I Was Not Gay,” and George W. Bush, “Learning to Read My Pet Goat Without Getting Interrupted.”

Will the US Congress ratify the Bush Administration’s Decision to launch a War on Iran

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, June 29, 2008
US Congress

Text of Congressional Resolution

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. CON. RES. 362

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 22, 2008

Mr. ACKERMAN (for himself and Mr. PENCE) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.

Whereas Iran is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), has foresworn the acquisition of nuclear weapons by ratification of the NPT, and is legally bound to declare and place all its nuclear activity under constant monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

Whereas for nearly 20 years, in clear contravention of its explicit obligations under the NPT, Iran operated a covert nuclear program until it was revealed by an Iranian opposition group in 2002;

Whereas the IAEA has confirmed such illicit covert nuclear activities as the importation of uranium hexafluoride, construction of a uranium enrichment facility, experimentation with plutonium, importation of centrifuge technology, construction of centrifuges, and importation of designs to convert highly enriched uranium gas into metal and shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon;

Whereas Iran continues to expand the number of centrifuges at its enrichment facility, as made evident by its announced intention to begin installation of 6,000 advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, in defiance of binding United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding Iran suspend enrichment activities;

Whereas the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran was secretly working on the design and manufacture of a nuclear warhead until at least 2003, but that Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon as soon as late 2009;

Whereas an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would pose a grave threat to international peace and security by fundamentally altering and destabilizing the strategic balance in the Middle East, and severely undermining the global nonproliferation regime;

Whereas Iran’s overt sponsorship of several terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, and its close ties to Syria raise the possibility that Iran would share its nuclear materials and technology with others;

Whereas Iran continues to develop ballistic missile technology and is pursuing the capability to field intercontinental ballistic missiles, a delivery system suited almost exclusively to nuclear weapons payloads;

Whereas Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and a member of the United Nations;

Whereas the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have offered, and continue to offer, to negotiate a significant package of economic, diplomatic, and security incentives if Iran complies with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment;

Whereas Iran has consistently refused such offers;

Whereas as a result of Iran’s failure to comply with the mandates of the United Nations Security Council, taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations’ Charter, the international community has imposed limited sanctions over the past 2 years that have begun to have an impact on the Iranian economy;

Whereas Iran’s rapid development of its nuclear capabilities is outpacing the slow ratcheting up of economic and diplomatic sanctions;

Whereas Iran has used its banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran, to support its proliferation efforts and its assistance to terrorist groups, leading the Department of Treasury to designate 4 large Iranian banks proliferators and supporters of terrorism;

Whereas Iran’s support for Hezbollah has enabled that group to wage war against the Government and people of Lebanon, leading to its political domination of that country;

Whereas Iran’s support for Hamas has enabled it to illegally seize control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, and to continuously bombard Israeli civilians with rockets and mortars;

Whereas Iran continues to provide training, weapons, and financial assistance to Shi’a militants inside of Iraq and antigovernment warlords in Afghanistan;

Whereas those Shi’a militant groups and Afghan warlords use Iranian training, weapons, and financing to attack American and allied forces trying to support the legitimate Governments of Iraq and Afghanistan;

Whereas Iran is further destabilizing the Middle East by underwriting a massive rearmament campaign by Syria;

Whereas through these efforts, Iran seeks to establish regional hegemony, threatens longstanding friends and allies of the United States in the Middle East, and endangers vital American national security interests; and

Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–

    • (1) declares that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means, is vital to the national security interests of the United States and must be dealt with urgently;

    • (2) urges the President, in the strongest of terms, to immediately use his existing authority to impose sanctions on–

      • (A) the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian bank engaged in proliferation activities or the support of terrorist groups;

      • (B) international banks which continue to conduct financial transactions with proscribed Iranian banks;

      • (C) energy companies that have invested $20,000,000 or more in the Iranian petroleum or natural gas sector in any given year since the enactment of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996; and

      • (D) all companies which continue to do business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps;

    • (3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program; and

    • (4) urges the President to lead a sustained, serious, and forceful effort at regional diplomacy to support the legitimate governments in the region against Iranian efforts to destabilize them, to reassure our friends and allies that the United States supports them in their resistance to Iranian efforts at hegemony, and to make clear to the Government of Iran that the United States will protect America’s vital national security interests in the Middle East.

© Copyright, US Congress, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20080629&articleId=9468

Annals of Homeland Security: Crony Capitalism, Nuclear Terror & the “Advanced Spectroscopic Portal”

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, June 29, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

When the Department of Homeland Security announced in 2006 that it awarded contracts totaling some $1.2 billion over five years to Raytheon, Thermo Electron and Canberra Industries for “Advanced Spectroscopic Portal” (ASP) radiation monitors, it should have been reality-check time.

But Congress being what it is, it wasn’t, and now massive cost overruns plague the project with little to show in way of “deterrence.” As Global Security Newswire reported last May,

Raytheon and Thermo Electron are both headquartered in Waltham, Mass., in the district represented by Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee. Canberra Industries is headquartered in Meriden, Conn., in Lieberman’s state. (Chris Strohm, “US Lawmakers Ask for Audit of Bush Administration Plans to Buy Radiation Detectors,” Global Security Newswire, May 16, 2007)

Can you say congressional grifters well-attuned to the “needs” of their “constituents”–multinational defense firms “keeping America safe”–for their bottom lines? Let’s take a peek at these DHS “winners.”

According to Washington Technology, Raytheon Co. “earned” $5,170,829,645 in outsourced government contracts and was No. 4 on their “Top 100” list. How did they do it? If we’re to believe Washington Technology, by “sticking close to their customers, developing contingency plans and looking for ways to make their customers’ lives easier.”

Raytheon provides a range of “services” including: “integrated defense systems, intelligence and information systems, missile systems, network centric systems, Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC and space and airborne systems” for the FBI, Navy, Air Force, Defense Department and the General Services Administration. Additionally, the company provides “enhanced information technology solutions and services through the GSA’s Alliant IDIQ contract. The company is specifically providing infrastructure, application services and IT management services to support federal agencies. The 10-year contract is worth $50 billion, but is on hold as it undergoes further reviews by GSA.”

GSA would be well-advised to take a very close look at Raytheon!

Thermo Electron, now Thermo Fisher Scientific, manufactures an array of analytical instruments ranging from biosafety cabinets to radiation measurement and protection systems. According to Thermo’s web site, their Security and Detection Systems division “offers a full range of security products and services for the detection of nuclear materials, explosives, chemical and biological agents, and radiological protection. Our instruments are a first line of defense for first responders and border control personnel. Also, used in laboratories, nuclear, waste treatment and environmental monitoring.”

Meanwhile, Canberra Industries’ Homeland Security division, is a subsidiary of French nuclear-manufacturing titan, the Areva Group. Canberra claims that its mission is the “Prevention of a terrorist act involving nuclear or radiological weapons… Commitment to maintain constant vigil against those who would conspire to bring such acts of terror to our cities, and the commitment to arm those who protect our borders and ensure our security with the best available technology.”

What has DHS gotten for our money as it maintains a “constant vigil” against terrorists threatening the heimat?

Sold as a high-tech “homeland security tool” that is able to provide increased capability to detect illicit nuclear or radiological material inside containers entering American ports “with low false alarm rates,” it turns out the newfangled ASPs are no better than what’s currently in place. Indeed, today’s monitors are ill-equipped to distinguish between say, the components for manufacturing a radiological dirty bomb from–wait!–natural radiation emitters such as kitty litter, ceramics and bananas!

As originally sold, and bought, by Congress, DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) said each ASP would cost some $500,000 each to buy and deploy. But according to The Washington Post,

Now the nuclear detection office estimates that the total cost for each machine will work out to at least $778,000. The office said it needs almost $68 million “for the procurement and deployment” of 87 machines for one portion of the project, according to budget documents. (Robert O’Harrow Jr., “Radiation Monitors to Cost More than DHS Estimated in ’06,” The Washington Post, Saturday, June 28, 2008; D01)

A DNDO spokesman told the Post,

“The cost per unit of the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal system has not increased in price. The cost was previously quoted to Congressional staff and the Government Accountability Office as approximately $377,000,” Knocke said in an e-mail. “Congressional officials were also advised that there was a deployment cost associated with each system that includes a one year maintenance contract. The cost of deployment is approximately $325,000 and $400,000 per unit for current generation Radiation Portal Monitors and Advanced Spectroscopic Portal systems, respectively.”

In other words, Congress was warned–and should have known–that massive cost overruns would be “factored in” to the original contract by these “enterprising” corporate malefactors. Indeed, the ubiquitous “some officials” dotting the Washington landscape like mushrooms after a warm rain, told the Post “the cost to buy and deploy the ASPs could climb even higher after the GAO completes an independent assessment this summer.”

How much higher? No one knows for sure.

The project has been repeatedly delayed by technological glitches, management incompetence, indeed, by questions whether or not the newfangled ASP critters even work, according to GAO auditors.

When the program was first touted by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff in 2006, GAO watchdogs questioned whether the expense was even worth it, since the “cost-benefit” report report submitted to Congress to win approval for deploying some 1,400 of the new devices were more expensive and that ASPs probably didn’t perform “significantly better” than what was already taking up space and gathering dust at American ports.

Additional questions were raised by the veracity of the manufacturer’s claims when the GAO discovered that ASP tests may have been rigged in order to “generate data for Chertoff’s certification decision,” as the Post delicately puts it.

The auditors found that the “tests were flawed because manufacturers of the monitors were allowed to conduct ‘dress rehearsals’ and calibrate their machines in anticipation of testing, which auditors said inappropriately enhanced the monitors’ performance.”

But since “failure is not an option” in the administration’s ceaseless drive to “keep America safe,” Chertoff has “delayed” certification since the machines “needed more work.” However, DNDO is “preparing new tests” and has a goal of “securing certification” from Chertoff “by the beginning of fiscal 2009.”

Congress responded “heroically.” Rather than killing the program outright for its failure to deliver on advertised claims, they “cut $22.7 million from the program’s requested budget.” Senate appropriators said, “The Committee notes that certification of the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal monitor systems by the Secretary will likely not occur expeditiously enough for quick obligation of the requested funds and has reduced this account accordingly.”

But as with all assertions of “major technological breakthroughs” by corporate con men out to make a buck (remember DARPA’s loony-quest for a “hafnium bomb“?) raising the specter of “nuclear terrorism,” is a sure bet in Washington especially during an election year. One thing is certain however, the fear factory’s well-heeled army of smooth-talking lobbyists will be ramping-up production lines for a “new and improved” ASP.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20080629&articleId=9472

House of Cards By Danny Schechter

Dandelion Salad

By Danny Schechter
ICH
28/06/08 “LA CityBeat

You thought the housing crisis was bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

The Mess

Nationwide, two million homes sit vacant. Home sales are at a nine-year low. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers says that housing finance has not been this bad since the Depression. We still don’t know the full extent of the colossal subprime rip-off, but a recent Bank of America study did some guesstimating on the scale of the consequences of the “credit crisis.” The meltdown in the U.S. subprime real estate market, the bank said, had led to a global loss of $7.7 trillion dollars in stock market value since October.

While many eyes are focusing on the housing meltdown and its hugely negative effect on an economy clearly moving into recession, few are paying attention to the next bubble expected to burst: credit cards. Combined with the subprime losses, such a credit card nightmare has the potential, experts say, of bringing down the entire financial system and global economy. You and your credit card have become key players in the highly unstable financial crunch. Mortgage lender cupidity and bank credit card greed wedded to financial institution deregulation supported by both political parties, have been made manifestly worse by Bush administration support-the-rich policies. It has brought us to a brink not seen since just before the Great Depression.

While campaigning in Edinburg, Texas, in February, Barack Obama met with students at the University of Texas-Pan American. “Just be careful about those credit cards, all right? Don’t eat out as much,” he said. After the foreclosure crisis, he warned, “the credit cards are next in line.”

…continued

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

America Is the Rogue Nation By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
06/29/08 “Antiwar

One gets the impression that there are some people in Washington who believe that Israel or the U.S. can bomb Iran’s nuclear reactors, fly home, and it will be mission complete.

It makes you wonder if perhaps there is a virus going around that is gradually making people stupid. If we or Israel attack Iran, we will have a new war on our hands. The Iranians are not going to shrug off an attack and say, “You naughty boys, you.”

Consider how much trouble Iraq has given us. Some 4,000 dead and 29,000 wounded, a half a trillion dollars in cost and still climbing, and five years later, we cannot say that the country is pacified.

Iraq is a small country compared with Iran. Iran has about 70 million people. Its western mountains border the Persian Gulf. In other words, its missiles and guns look down on the U.S. ships below it. And it has lots of missiles, from short-range to intermediate-range (around 2,200 kilometers).

…continued

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Executive Order: Continuing Certain Restrictions with Respect to North Korea & North Korean Nationals

Dandelion Salad

by George Bush
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 26, 2008

Executive Order: Continuing Certain Restrictions with Respect to North Korea and North Korean Nationals

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that the current existence and risk of the proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. I further find that, as we deal with that threat through multilateral diplomacy, it is necessary to continue certain restrictions with respect to North Korea that would otherwise be lifted pursuant to a forthcoming proclamation that will terminate the exercise of authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act (50 U.S.C. App. 1 et seq.) (TWEA) with respect to North Korea.

Accordingly, I hereby order:

Section 1. Except to the extent provided in statutes or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, the following are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:

all property and interests in property of North Korea or a North Korean national that, pursuant to the President’s authorities under the TWEA, the exercise of which has been continued in accordance with section 101(b) of Public Law 95-223 (91 Stat. 1625; 50 U.S.C. App. 5(b) note), were blocked as of June 16, 2000, and remained blocked immediately prior to the date of this order.

Sec. 2. Except to the extent provided in statutes or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, United States persons may not register a vessel in North Korea, obtain authorization for a vessel to fly the North Korean flag, or own, lease, operate, or insure any vessel flagged by North Korea.

Sec. 3. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 4. For the purposes of this order:

(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;

(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

Sec. 5. The Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

Sec. 6. The Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).

Sec. 7. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,

June 26, 2008.

h/t: Anthony “Abaddon” Radovcic & The WhiteRose Resistance

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see

Statement by the Press Secretary on North Korea