The new agoras: ‘Wikis’ as a form of collective intelligence

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Kingsley Dennis
Global Research, July 15, 2008

Successful Wikis, such as Wikipedia make ’smart’ decision, argues Kingsley Dennis. They embody forms of an emerging hybridised collective intelligence, where the weaknesses of the individual are compensated by the contributions of the many.

The Internet has shifted through various phases since the early appearances of web browsers in the 1990s and has fundamentally altered the way people can, and do, interrelate, communicate, think, link, and act. As the Internet increasingly becomes a space where people are becoming the creators, co-designers, and feedback mechanisms of many-to-many software applications, a new form of complex interconnectivity is forming. This was initially termed the Web 2.0 , with Tim O’Reilly describing one of the key lessons of the Web 2.0 era as being ‘Users add value’. Emerging scapes of mobility and social connectivity largely driven by user-created applications are fostering what can be called ‘amplified shared knowledge’ through shifting patterns in technological applications and user participation.

Content-led development of the Internet, involving knowledge webs and knowledge sharing through digital social networks and collaborative tools such as Wikipedia, and Cellphedia, lead the way towards ‘mass amateurisation’. This can be further seen in such practices as folksonomy/tagging, blogging, podcasting, and now vlogging (video blogging). These new online collaborative tools facilitate a collective way of organising massive amounts of information. In effect they are collaborative tools designed to augment human collective intelligence by allowing, and making visible, storage of data designated to be meaningful, i.e. transparent to other users in order to share links and information. And they are being referred to as forms of an emerging hybridised collective intelligence. Yet the term ‘collective intelligence’ can mean many things.


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Israel’s War with Iran and The Zionist Power Configuration in America

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. James Petras
Global Research
July 15, 2008

“My strong preference here is to handle all this (US conflict with Iran) diplomatically with the other powers of government, ours and many others as opposed to any kind of strike occurring…From the US perspective, from the United States military perspective in particular, opening up a third front (Israeli and/or US act of war against Iran) would be extremely stressful to us” testimony of Admiral Michael Mulligan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. July 2, 2008.

“If Iran continues its nuclear arms program – we will attack it. The sanctions aren’t effective. There will be no choice but to attack Iran to halt the Iranian nuclear program.” Shaul Mofaz, Israeli Minister of Transportation in Yediot Ahronot , June 6, 2008.

“The present economic sanctions on Iran have exhausted themselves. Iranian businesspeople who would not be able to land anywhere in the world would pressure the regime.” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking to US House Speaker, Senator Nancy Pelosi in favor of a unilateral, pre-emptive US naval blockade of Iran. (Haaretz May 21, 2008.)

“It was a triumphalist conference. Even this powerful organization (AIPAC), the most powerful group in the US Israel lobby, had never seen anything like. Seven thousand Jewish functionaries from all over the United States came together to accept the obeisance of the entire Washington elite. The three presidential hopefuls (Hillary went too) made speeches, trying to outdo each other in flattery. Three hundred senators and members of Congress crowded the hallways. Everybody who wanted to be elected or re-elected to any office came to see and be seen.” Uri Avnery, London Review of Books, July 3, 2008. page 18

House Resolution 362 received unanimous support from all the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations including the 7,000 delegation attending the AIPAC Conference in Washington DC on June 2-4, 2008.

“Resolution 362 became our chief legislative priority”, according to AIPAC’s website, June 4, 2008.

“The President should prohibit the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products imposing stringent inspection requirements in all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo ships enters and departing Iran .” US House Resolution 362 introduced May 22, 2008.

Resolution 362 gained 170 co-sponsors or nearly 40% of the House and 19 co-sponsors in the Senate in less than a month.


Zionists and their allies in Congress authored, implemented and enforced sanctions against Iran , which hinder the ambitions of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies. Israeli war exercises and public declarations threatening a massive air assault on Iran has pushed petroleum prices to world records. This spring 2008, the most powerful pro-Israel Jewish Lobby in the US , AIPAC held their annual conference and secured the support and commitment of both major US Presidential candidates and the majority of US members of Congress for an Israeli initiative to impose extreme economic sanctions on Iran with threats of a US/Israeli military attack. In early summer 2008, the AIPAC operatives, who wrote this US Congressional resolution, successfully rounded up Congressional leaders’ support of an air and naval blockade of all critical imports into Iran – a blatant act of war.

Israel adopts a ‘peace policy’ designed to isolate Iran in preparation for an attack – and then immediately violates its terms. The entire spectrum of major Jewish organizations unquestioningly and unconditionally give their active support, as they have in the past, to AIPAC’s domination of the US Presidential candidates as well as to the twists and turns in Israel’s war preparations via military exercises and phony peace gestures.

In the entire history of US relations with oil and gas-producing countries, there is not a single previous case in which it sacrificed profitable investments by its major oil companies at the behest of a foreign power ( Israel ) and its “lobby” – the Zionist Power Configuration.

Israel ’s Two Track Policy Toward Iran Israel ’s policy to obliterate Iran , in much the same war that the US has devastated Iraq , has followed a carefully planned multi-prong strategy. Israel has relied on direct military attacks, all out wars, economic blockades and the use of overseas Zionist front organizations to destroy Iran ’s allies and strangle its economy.

The Israeli strategy is directed at undermining, weakening and enticing Iranian allies to politically and militarily isolate Tehran , in order to facilitate a full-scale massive air assault without having to deal with military fallout from Iranian allies on its borders.

In pursuit of this ‘isolate and destroy’ strategy, Israel launched a full-scale invasion and massive air and missile bombing of Lebanon knocking out critical civilian infrastructure in the hopes of obliterating Hezbollah, a staunch Iranian ally. Israeli preparation for its Lebanese war began a full year before its sneak attack, using a common minor border incident to invade Hezbollah strongholds in Southern Lebanon . Israel ’s offensive against Hezbollah made no sense from the point of view of its border security. No Israeli military official ever envisioned Hezbollah being any kind of military threat to its national security. At most Israel saw Hezbollah as a serious counterweight to its anemic puppet allies in Beirut .

From the perspective of Israel ’s regional hegemonic perspective, an attack and destruction of Hezbollah would isolate Iran and allow Israel to develop a strategic Middle East client in Beirut , facilitating an air attack.

Hezbollah’s defeat of the Israeli invasion seriously weakened Tel Aviv’s military based strategy to ‘isolate Iran ’ and strengthened Hezbollah’s power in Lebanon , raising its prestige immensely among the Arab and Muslim populations.

The second prong in Israel ’s strategy was to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine by financing and arming a coup attempt by its Arab clients in the Palestinian Authority,Abbas and Dahlens. Hamas successfully routed the putschists and proceeded to consolidate its rule in Gaza . Israel turned toward a destructive blockade to starve the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza into revolt against Hamas. Israel ’s allies in the US and EU poured hundreds of millions of dollars and euros to prop up the corrupt Israeli client regime in the West Bank . Once again Israel failed to militarily or economically destroy Hamas, but that didn’t prevent the Jewish state from turning to its third target – Syria .

In 2007 Israel launched an air invasion of Syria , bombing what it described as a ‘military target’, a low-grade non-military nuclear facility in order to intimidate Syria and weaken the Assad regime’s ties to Iran . While Israel demonstrated its military capacity to violate Syrian sovereignty with impunity, its action did not have any major impact on Iran-Syrian ties.

In response to the repeated failures of the Israeli military strategy of undermining Iran ’s allies, Tel Aviv turned toward a different ‘divide and conquer’ approach. Israel , through its Turkish ally, began ‘peace negotiations’ with Syria , offering to discuss the return of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights . The trade off for Israel takes the form of peace talks over the Golan in exchange for lessening Damascus ’ military dependence on Iran . Since the Israeli public and most of the Knesset are overwhelmingly opposed to returning the Golan, the peace talks are not intended to end Israeli occupation, but to give the Assad regime a certain credibility among the Western imperial powers and lessen its isolation. The Israeli regime had no trouble selling its new line on Syria to its highly subservient and disciplined supporters among the Presidents of the fifty-two leading American-Jewish organizations. They are well practiced in following the zig-zag of Israeli policy, switching policy of demonizing Syria one day and acknowledging its pragmatism the next. French President Sarkozy followed up the Israeli initiative by inviting Syrian President Assad to Paris with all the pomp and honors of a chief of state.

Two years after its failed military invasion of Lebanon , Tel Aviv sought and pursued negotiations with Hezbollah to exchange prisoners (and/or their remains) as part of a tactical mini-‘détente’. Once again, the US Zionist Power Configuration, after years of denouncing Hezbollah as a mere tool of Iran , accommodated the new Israeli line of recognizing Hezbollah as an independent political interlocutor.

At about the same time (June 2, 2008), Israel finally and perhaps temporarily recognized it could not militarily or economically destroy Hamas, or prevent its military retaliation against Israeli attacks or undermine its mass base of support and signed a military truce to end armed incursions and open entry points in exchange for the end of retaliatory rocket attacks on Israeli towns.

While the new Israeli turn toward peace negotiations, cease fire agreements and prisoner negotiations seems to augur a less belligerent and more realistic assessment of the Middle East balance of power, in fact the new policy is linked with a more extremist, aggressive and war-threatening military policy toward Iran. In late May and early June 2008, while Israel was proposing a more conciliatory approach toward Iran ’s allies, it engaged in a massive military exercise, involving over a hundred warplanes and thousands of commandos in an unmistaken dress rehearsal for an offensive war against Iran . Top officials from the Israeli military command, cabinet and Knesset publicly pronounced their intention to bomb Iran if it proceeded in its entirely legal and non-military uranium enrichment program. Israeli officials secured the tacit and overt approval of US and European Union for its military posture. More important Israel practically dictated the terms of debate in the United Nations Security Council by insisting that it would launch a war unless the harshest economic sanctions (and even a military-economic blockade) were not implemented and enforced by the United Nations.

Israeli policy was operating on several parallel and reinforcing tracks: The ‘peace track’ to engage and neutralize Iran’s Middle East allies, to isolate Iran and polish up its image in the Western mass media; the ‘military track’ to prepare for war, which remains its defining strategy in order to destroy an isolated (from its allies) and economically weakened (by US/EU/UN sanctions) Iran. In pursuit of its relentless drive for Middle East supremacy and the implementation of its two-track strategy, the Israeli state depends on the power of the major American Jewish organizations to promote the policies of the Jewish state in the US .

The Centrality of the ZPC in Israel ’s Pursuit of the Destruction of Iran The Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC), through its dominant role in making US-Middle East policy, plays a central part in the implementation of all aspects of Israeli foreign policy goals in the region. Israel ’s principle goal over the past five years is the destruction of Iran , to end its opposition to Israel ’s domination of the region. In pursuit of the Israeli agenda, the ZPC led by AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has exploited its control and influence over the US Congress and Executive branches. AIPAC has leveraged the presence of highly placed Israel-Firsters in key positions in Treasury, the Pentagon, Commerce, the National Security Council, the Justice Department and Homeland Security to design and pursue economic and military policies in line with Israel’s war policies toward Iran. AIPAC, through its media and economic leverage undermined domestic opposition. Israel’s power over US bellicose policy toward Iran is so complete that even critics of Washington’s military posture toward Iran refrain from mentioning the powerful role of the ZPC in designing and implementing that policy.

Zionist power was on open display at its annual conference in Washington . At the 2008 AIPAC Conference, over 7,000 delegates representing 100,000 members, met to discuss how to force Washington to implement Israel ’s Middle East priorities, overwhelmingly focused on the Jewish State’s stated objective of militarily destroying Iran . Over 300 US Congress members attended (over 60% of all members of both houses) along with the three major presidential candidates, major cabinet members, including the Secretary of State, Vice President Cheney from the White House and a host of Hollywood celebrities, media moguls and prominent financial and real estate billionaires from Wall Street and its environs.

Presidential candidates competed with each other in swearing their total and unconditional servility to Israel , swearing their utmost to back any and all past, present and future Israeli military attacks. Hillary Clinton promised to implement the equivalent of twelve holocausts against Iran ’s 70 million citizens in her rant to ‘obliterate Iran ’ if it endangered Israel . Obama backed the ultra-orthodox Jewish demand to give Israel sole control over Jerusalem , and joined John McCain and Clinton in promising to bomb Iran if it continued its uranium enrichment program (which they equated with a nuclear weapon – despite the objections of the IAEA and the US intelligence community). All endorsed Israel ’s starvation of Gaza ’s 1.5 million inhabitants and rejected any concessions or negotiations with Hamas , Syria and Hezbollah – even as Israel was already engaged in negotiations for tactical reasons. AIPAC’s entire agenda has been endorsed by the US Congress, the Executive and both parties, including a military blockade of Iran, harsher world sanctions against all global oil and gas corporations, banks and industries dealing with Iran, the immediate transfer of the most advanced missile and attack technology to Israel to facilitate an attack on Iran, and a substantial increase in yearly US military grants to Israel totaling an additional $30 billion dollars over the next decade. The top Israeli officials present, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Olmert took the opportunity to reiterate and re-affirm their will to use military power to force Iran to submit or face destruction, to standing ovations and wild cheering from the ecstatic AIPAC delegates, deriving delirious pleasure from these blood thirsty calls for US military and economic sacrifice!

Nary a single word of dissent was heard from the entire Congressional entourage in attendance; the Presidential candidates assured the zealous Israel-firsters that for the next 4 years Israeli interests would be the centerpiece of US Middle East policies.

The AIPAC conference was no simple ‘show of force’ nor an exercise in ‘group think’ meant to keep the faith of the zealots. It was the kick-off to a full-scale ZPC campaign to implement a series of measures designed to accelerate a US and Israeli military assault against Iran .

The Congressmen and women in attendance at the AIPAC were there for a purpose: to be instructed on what Middle East policies Israel and the ZPC would demand of them. Their presence at the AIPAC conference was not just a courtesy call intended to ‘network’ with wealthy Jewish campaign fund contributors. They were there because of long-standing and intense relations with the ZPC, which made it obligatory to show up and pay obeisance to demanding paymasters who shortly thereafter visited their offices and presented them with proposals and resolutions for immediate action.

The Aftermath of the AIPAC Conference Under AIPAC tutelage, if not actual authorship, a Congressional resolution was introduced, which called for a naval blockade of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a deliberate act of war. H. Con. Res. 362 calls on the President of the United States to stop all incoming international shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran by any means. By the middle of June 2008, three weeks after it was introduced, the resolution had attracted 146 co-sponsors. In the Senate in two weeks time a similar measure secured 19 co-sponsors. The Congressional resolutions use almost the exact wording of an AIPAC memo issued just prior to the Congressional action. AIPAC got its cue from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who, in early May 2008, told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sanctions were not enough and called a US naval blockade ‘a good possibility’ (Global Research June 18, 2008). The loyal AIPAC servants made their Israeli masters’ wish a reality – in a matter of days. (Who says critical issues get ‘bogged down’ in Washington ?)

In late June 2008, under AIPAC leadership and direction, the US Congress added $170,000,000 dollar increase in military assistance to Israel as part of a 10 year, $30 billion dollar war commitment to the Jewish state. AIPAC was instrumental in drawing up the bill and openly declared that the addition was designed to maintain Israel ’s military dominance and superiority in the Middle East but specifically designed for its war preparation against Iran and the Palestinians. AIPAC pointedly emphasized that, “The US commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge is the cornerstone of American (sic-ZPC) policy in the region…This year’s package holds heightened significance…as the US and Israel face new challenged from Iran’s drive to acquire (sic) nuclear weapons…” (AFP June 27, 2008).

At a time when the US government faces a major financial crisis and refuses to refinance millions of Americans facing loss of their homes through foreclosures, AIPAC secured a 25% increase in military handouts to Israel . Olmert praised his US Zionist agents for improving Israel ’s take. The 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations and their million members and affiliates successfully pursued AIPAC’s proposal to increase economic sanctions on Iran via its captive US Congressional bloc, its appointed agents in the Treasury Department and in the UN Security Council via its influence in the White House. Each and every sanction introduced by the US representative in the United Nations is a thinly veiled copy of memos and resolutions written and powerfully pushed in the Executive branch by AIPAC. They are backed by several hundred professional lobbyists and scores of pro-Israel PACs (political action committees) and ten propaganda mills (the so-called ‘think tanks’) with tight links to AIPAC. Through their influence in the US , the ZPC has successfully secured the acquiescence of other members of the UN Security Council.

Throughout 2008, a presidential election year, the ZPC has successfully engaged in sustained interrogation and pressure on the major candidates, securing pledges of unconditional support for every aspect of Israel ’s murderous policies in Gaza and the West Bank , including its policies of starvation and assault. All major candidates have echoed the ZPC-Israeli line of labeling the elected Hamas movement, Hezbollah , Iran and Syria as ‘terrorist’ organizations and states and pledged to attack or back an Israeli offensive war against Iran .

In so far as the Middle East is the center of US foreign policy, the ZPC has ensured that the next President of the United States will continue the bellicose pro-Israel policies pursued by George W. Bush. The ZPC’s influence over the next US President guarantees that the issues of war and peace will be dictated by a minority of a minority ethno-religious group, comprising less than 3% of the population and loyal to a foreign state. Whichever party wins the Presidential election or controls Congress, the ZPC will set the Middle East agenda, the head of which is the destruction of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

During the entire run-op to the November 2008 elections, not a single political leader has raised the issue of the catastrophic consequences of a war with Iran for the world economy, the astronomical rise in oil prices, which will result in the conversion of the US recession into a depression, the killing of hundreds (if not millions) of Iranian citizens and the loss of American lives. In other words, the greatest of all ZPC successes is their ability to focus the entire political elite and mass media on the advantages of launching a preemptive war for Israel and to distract public and political attention away from any reports relating the world-shattering destructive consequences.

Zionist Power: Big Oil and Liberal Obfuscation One of the most salient issues in the run-up of oil and gas prices has been the power and policies of the ZPC. Iran possesses some of the most potentially productive and rich oil and gas fields, which are not yet exploited. Iran possesses 15-17% of the world’s supply of gas. It is number two in the world. Israel , and therefore the ZPC, has been the leading voice in blocking all investment and financing in Iran by the world’s leading public and private gas and oil multinationals. Thanks to AIPAC authored Congressional legislation, any and all oil and gas companies investing more than $20 million dollars in Iran are barred from the US market and subject to criminal investigation and fines (if not imprisonment of executives). AIPAC authored Congressional legislation, which labeled the Iranian National Guard, the so-called ‘Revolutionary Guard’, as an international ‘terrorist organization’, subject to military attack by thePentagon.

By extension, any multinational corporation, which signs economic agreements over Iranian oil assets, is considered to be financing terrorism. Huge quantities of Iranian gas and oil are not coming onto the world market and lowering the price of gasoline, solely due to US Congressional policies authored and enforced by the ZPC. According to the Financial Times (June 25, 2008) every major US , European and Asian oil company is eager to invest in Iran but are blocked by Zionist authored legislation: “American companies are prohibited from any involvement in Iran ’s energy sector. Those non-US international groups that have invested in Iran are for now going slow. They are trying to avoid pressing ahead with investments that would anger Washington , while also trying to avoid pulling out; which could annoy Tehran .” (FT July 25, 2008. p.9).

The US Treasury Department houses the most influential enforcement agency for policing the behavior of Big Oil, Big Banking and Big Construction companies, which would normally invest in Iran , given the world historic prices. According to investigator Grant Smith (Classified Deceptions: 2007): “In 2004, AIPAC and its affiliated think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), lobbied for a new separate US Treasury unit to be created – the ‘Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence’ (OTFI). It is headed by AIPAC vetted leadership and many OTFI briefings are delivered directly to WINEP. OFTI’s secretive financial operations that target Iran and its trading partners are tightly coordinated with Israel ’s leadership.” (Smith. page 59). Stuart Levey, sub-secretary of the Treasury and a zealous Zionist, who runs OTFI, and his staff have successfully pressured many of the biggest multi-billion dollar public pension funds in states like New York, Florida, Texas and California to disinvest in any company investing, trading or engaged in any economic activity with any Iranian public or private enterprise. Secondly, it has arbitrarily labeled any humanitarian organization dealing with Iran as a possible ‘terrorist conduit’. Levey has made frequent visits to Europe and Asia, threatening US reprisals to any country or corporation trading or investing in Iran . Levey and the OTFI have formulated Treasury policy memos which have decisively shaped US sanctions policy and proposals to the United Nations. It is clear that Cheney, Bush and the Democratic Congress make decisions largely drawn up, promoted and enforced by AIPAC and its key operative in Treasury, who in turn openly coordinate policy with their mentors in the Israeli foreign and financial ministries and the office of the Israeli Prime Minister.

Clearly the power of the ZPC is as much from its capacity to leverage malleable non-Zionist Congress people, public agencies, private financial institutions as it is to apply direct control over public policy. In other words for every dues paying member or leader of AIPAC, and of the 52 leading Jewish organizations in America, there are a multiplicity of state and civil society leaders and organizations who are influenced to initiate and implement pro-Israeli policies. The surprise expressed by some critical overseas Israeli observers, like Uri Avnery, over how a tiny minority of American Jews can dominate US Middle East policy, overlooks their leverage, access, and power to shape the agenda of vast sectors of US public and civil society policy makers.

While the oversight of foreign observers is understandable, what is absolutely inexcusable is the behavior of liberal critics of US war policy toward Iran . Bill Moyers, ignoring the abundant evidence published in all the major financial media on the economic sanctions against the oil companies spearheaded by the ZPC, argues that the Middle East wars are “about oil”. (Moyers and Winship June 28/29, 2008 Counterpunch). Citing as evidence for Big Oil’s role in Middle East wars, they quoted a number of former top Zionist officials in the US government (Greenspan, Wolfowitz and others). They argued that the signing of oil contracts in Iraq eight years after the start of the war is evidence that US policy was a product of Big Oil. Instead of examining Wolfowitz and over three dozen pro-Israel top policymakers in the Bush Administration who designed and executed the policy to invade Iraq – and the current all out push by the ZPC toward war with Iran – Moyers and Winship cite obscure meetings between Cheney and the oil companies. Instead of discussing the public overt campaigning for war with Iraq and Iran by the 52 leading Jewish organizations in the United States and the public policies of leading policymakers in the government, Moyers resorts to individual conspiracies between Cheney and the ‘oil industry’. Moyers admits he knows nothing about the content of the meetings and why the secret meeting did not lead to any direct lobbying for war by Big Oil (in contrast to AIPAC and its affiliates). Moyers article in Counterpunch totally avoids making a single reference to the massive, sustained and successful Zionist war campaign in the Executive and Legislative offices as well as in the Op-Ed pages of all the major daily and weekly newspapers and magazines.

A similar kind of liberal cover-,up is found in the July 17, 2008 issue of the New York Review of Books, entitled “Iran: The Threat” by Thomas Powers who puts the entire burden for war policy toward Iran solely on Bush and Cheney, overlooking the intense and successful economic sanctions and war resolutions authored by AIPAC and implemented by the Democratic Congress. Powers omits the entire war propaganda campaign which appears in the mass media written by academics from Zionist ‘think tanks’, the entire groveling for Israel exercises by the US presidential candidates and three-quarters of the US Congress and Senate at the AIPAC conference, (which took place just prior to the Powers article). Powers says nothing about the entire political class’ blind support for Israel ’s promise to go to war with Iran . Powers, a supporter of killer sanctions as an alternative to an air and missile attack, doesn’t even mention the fact that the ZPC is the leading advocate of sanctions. His research didn’t include the crucial fact that the implementation and enforcement of sanctions are in the Treasury Department (OTFI), which coordinates with Israeli agencies and is run by Stuart Levey, an Israel-Firster.

Noam Chomsky has long been one of the great obfuscators of AIPAC and the existence of Zionist power over US Middle East policy. One of his most blatant examples of cover-up occurred during the AIPAC conference in early June 2008. In answer to a question on what it would take to change US unconditional support for Israel, Chomsky ignored the servility of US Presidential candidates to Israel and the AIPAC at the AIPAC conference; Congressional approval of AIPAC authored sanctions resolutions and their implementation by Treasury Department Under-Secretary Levey; the role of the ZPC in shaping media demonizing of Iran, Palestine, Hezbollah and Syria. Instead Chomsky engages in vacuous circumlocution. With reference to US support for Israel , he claims, “We have to consider the sources of support. The corporate sector in the US , which dominates policy formation, appears to be quite satisfied with the current situation. One indication is the increasing flow of investment to Israel by Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and other leading elements of the high tech economy. Military and intelligence relations remain very strong. Since 1967, US intellectuals have had a virtual love affair with Israel , for reasons that relate more to the US than to Israel , in my opinion. That strongly affects portrayal of events and history in media and journals.”

Chomsky deliberately omits the elementary step of actually looking at the process of ‘policy formation’ and noting the role of the AIPAC lobby in shaping US Middle Eastern policy, a point noted by every major expert, Congressional staffer and observer on and off the scene. He mentions ‘the corporate sector’, a vague entity without mentioning how the Zionist lobby has successfully blocked the major oil companies from investing billions in Iran and who undermined US investment agreements with pre-war Iraq. None of the high tech investors he cites has ever lobbied to shape US policy in the Middle East, least of all pressured the US to support Israeli occupation and eviction of Palestinians, the invasion of Lebanon, its military attack of Syria. To suggest that Micro-Soft’s Bill Gates has been lobbying for Israel , as Chomsky does, is the height of silliness. But the Presidents of the 52 Major Jewish Organizations in America have. No conference organized by high-tech companies have ever drawn 65% of the members of Congress and the Senate and all major Presidential candidates to pledge their allegiance to their corporate interests in Israel. But the AIPAC conference in June drew a huge majority of Congress members and McCain, Obama and Clinton who pledged their unconditional support for Israel ’s policies and interests.

Chomsky’s claim that the US has a love affair with Israel omits the systematic repression by pro-Israel and mostly Jewish professors of any critics of Israel , including the firing, smearing and censorship of critical fellow academics. What makes Chomsky’s simple-minded and blatant cover up of Zion-power in shaping US policy so grotesque is that it occurs at a time when it is at its highest point of power – when AIPAC has presidential candidates publicly swearing unconditional support to Israel at its major conference in Washington even as two top officials of AIPAC have been indicted for espionage for Israel.

Chomsky, Moyers and Powers (and a host of liberal critics of US threats to bomb Iran ) ignore the power of US Zionists backing of Israel ’s overt war exercises and naked threats to bomb Iran . By covering up the role of the ZPC, who are the principle Congressional and Presidential backers of sanctions, embargo and war, the liberal critics undermine our efforts to prevent a catastrophic war.

Intellectuals silently complicit with the main purveyors of war for Israel are abdicating their responsibility to speak truth to power – in this case Zionist power. At some point intellectual abdication becomes co-responsibility for a Middle East catastrophe. In the face of the complicity of our political leaders and their Zionist mentors in pursuit of Israel ’s apocalyptic war strategy toward Iran , the American public becomes of utmost relevance (contrary to Chomsky). To argue otherwise is to become complicit with the great crimes committed in our names, by leaders and ideologues with foreign allegiances.

To continue to masquerade as ‘war critics’ while ignoring the central role of the Zionist Power Configuration makes pundits like Chomsky, Moyers and Powers and their acolytes irrelevant to the anti-war struggle. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

James Petras’ latest book is Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power (August 2008) (Clarity Press, Ste 469 , 3277 Rosewell Road, NE , Atlanta , Georgia. 30305).

© Copyright James Petras, Global Research, 2008

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Kucinich Decries Iran Saber Rattling in House Legislation

Israel threatens to wage illegal, pre-emptive military attack on Iran

Will Israel And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery

Iran: Battlefront In The New World War?

Amber Alert! Get ready for war by Justin Raimondo

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

Iran Shows Its Cards By Scott Ritter

President Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh


Russia begins large-scale military exercises

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, July 15, 2008
RIA Novosti

Russia begins active stage of Caucasus 2008 military exercise

15/07/2008 18:01 MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia began the active stage of large-scale military exercises in several regions of the Southern Federal District, which includes the highly volatile North Caucasus republics, a senior military official said.

The exercise, dubbed Caucasus Frontier 2008, involves units of the North Caucasus Military District, mainly the 58th Army, the 4th Air Force Army, Interior Ministry troops, and border guards.

Lt. Col. Andrei Bobrun, an aide to the commander of the North Caucasus military district, said the exercise involves some 8,000 military personnel, about 700 combat vehicles and over 30 aircraft.

The main goal of the exercise, he said, is to practice interoperability between federal troops, interior ministry’s troops, border guards, and the Air Force in special operations against militants and the defense of Russia’s state borders.

The exercise will mostly take place on the territory of Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachayevo-Circassia.

According to statistics, 80% of terrorism-related crimes in Russia occur in the Southern Federal District, which includes the North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Daghestan and Ingushetia.

Meanwhile, another large-scale military exercise began in the region on Tuesday as Georgia and the United States started Immediate Response 2008 near Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.

A total of 1,650 personnel, including troops from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, are taking part in the $8-million drills, planned by the U.S. Armed Forces European Command and financed by the U.S. Defense Department.

Relations between Russia and Georgia plunged to a new low recently against the backdrop of outbreaks of violence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with the two countries trading accusations of provoking violence.

© Copyright, RIA Novosti, 2008

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Kucinich Decries Iran Saber Rattling in House Legislation

Dandelion Salad

July 15, 2008
4:00 PM

CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Joe Benny (216) 228-8850

WASHINGTON – July 15 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) submitted the following statement regarding H. Con. Res. 385 to the Congressional Record today:

Madam Speaker, I join my colleagues in condemning the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina in July of 1994. Those responsible for the destruction and loss of human life that resulted from this attack must be held accountable. I believe that anyone who acts to destroy innocent life, regardless of their position in society or the country they are from should be subject to international scrutiny for their actions, and that includes our own officials.

In the past I have voted in favor of similar resolutions that condemned the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center and sought to hold accountable those responsible for this deplorable and heinous act. Accordingly, today I once again support all aspects of this resolution that call for justice on behalf of the 85 people murdered and 300 wounded.

However, H. Con. Res. 385 is not without problems in its current form. First, the final “Whereas” clause of the resolution contains information that is speculative rather than factual. The resolution appears to draw this clause from an ABC News report from June 19, 2008 which provides no hard evidence to support the stated claims. Second, the resolution claims in the penultimate “Whereas” clause that Iran “in recent years” has opened “nearly a dozen embassies in Latin America.” In recent years, Iran has opened two embassies in Latin America, one in Colombia in 2007 and one in Nicaragua in 2007. These events brought the total of Iranian embassies in Latin America to eight. According to experts at the Congressional Research Service (CRS) the other five Iranian Embassies in Latin America have been around for a long time and include Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela.

As such, I do not agree with the decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to treat this resolution as non-controversial. The bill could unwittingly place this congress in the position of promoting an attack on the country of Iran through its attempt to draw parallels between Iran and those responsible for the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center. Instead of using speculative and factually inaccurate information which is clearly included in this bill, the resolution should be redrafted and kept to readily ascertainable facts about the unconscionable attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in 1994.

This body must not allow an attack on innocent people be used as a pretext for an attack on more innocent people. Indeed, we have done this once with disastrous results. I believe this House is better served by demanding sensible and responsible diplomatic foreign policy initiatives. This body should demand that the Administration engage Iran immediately in high-level diplomatic negotiations without preconditions. By neglecting this duty and employing tactics that maintain an ongoing condemnation of Iran, without opening diplomatic channels, this body is systematically destroying every available route to restoring peace and security in the Middle East which could have devastating consequences for Israel, as well as our troops in Iraq.


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.


Israel threatens to wage illegal, pre-emptive military attack on Iran

Will Israel And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery

Iran: Battlefront In The New World War?

Amber Alert! Get ready for war by Justin Raimondo

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

Iran Shows Its Cards By Scott Ritter

President Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh


Kucinich May Get Hearing On Impeachment Resolution

Dandelion Salad

By Molly K. Hooper, CQ
After Downing Street

The House Judiciary Committee may let anti-war Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich present his case for impeaching President Bush before the August recess, the panel’s chairman said Monday.

Chairman John Conyers Jr. , D-Mich., said Judiciary will take a broad look at the behavior of the Bush administration, and Kucinich can lay out his arguments as part of that as-yet unscheduled hearing.



Kucinich wins hearings but not on impeaching Bush

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.



Too Old and Brain-dead by Joel S. Hirschhorn

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
July 15, 2008

In the over half a century that I have been politically engaged I have never seen such an unqualified presidential candidate as John McCain.  There are tens of millions of Americans in their seventies and beyond that have been smart enough to become technology literate, but not McCain, who is unable to even use the Internet.  The man has a medical history that makes Dick Cheney look like the picture of great health.

How anyone can still see McCain as a legitimate maverick is insane.  The man has switched positions on so many key issues as to make him unbelievable on anything.  He routinely says things in public that are totally false.  McCain has sold his soul to get the Republican nomination and while Republicans deserve no better, Americans would be beyond stupid to vote for McCain.  Yet if polls are to be believed history could repeat itself and nearly half of voters could vote for him.  For me this is entirely understandable, because I find Barack Obama a clever charlatan and nothing more than another conventional, dishonest politician with exceptional eloquence and a winning smile.  Is he the lesser evil compared to McCain?  Sure.  But that just depresses me, not motivate me to vote for him.

The contrast between the youthful Obama and the elderly McCain simply on the basis of visible physical and mental sharpness and vigor is remarkable.

Every time I see McCain he looks and sounds pathetic.  Anyone who keeps repeating an insipid phrase demonstrates a complete lack of mental competence.  With McCain it is constant reference to “my friends” along with his cartoon grin.

It is time to stop thanking McCain for his military service and honoring his stint as a war prisoner by giving him credit for being qualified physically and mentally to be president.  We have all seen how being president ages all the men in that office.  The before and after photographs of presidents convince you that the office inflicts incredible stress, even on someone as brain-dead as George W. Bush.  But Bush was a relatively young man in good health.  He may have escaped the price of impeachment that he richly deserves, but he has not escaped the physical deterioration produced by the presidency.

Now imagine McCain aging as all other presidents have in office.  It is a frightening prospect.  Something akin to some horror movie that shows a transformation from a normal human being to some frightening alien life form.

There must be some way out of this.

There is.

It is time for more Americans to face the truth about the two-party plutocracy that has robbed our political system and weakened our democracy.  The one important thing that McCain and Obama have in common is that they are both products of and servants to the corrupt, dysfunctional two-party system.

Clearly, the corrupt political system has accommodated itself to only about half of eligible voters actually voting, a disgrace that hardly anyone even bothers to talk about anymore, as if a first class democracy has such a disgusted population.  But this is consistent with the fact that some 84 percent of Americans see the country on the wrong track.

Obama is no political messiah.  And to simplistically see him mainly as so much more preferable than the decrepit McCain misses the core problem.  Obama will do nothing to change the corrupt, unworthy political system.  He is a talker, not an agent of change, certainly not systemic political change that requires bucking the elite status quo political powers that pull the strings of the two-party plutocracy.

Make your vote count.  Make it a vote against all Democratic and Republican candidates and against the two-party plutocracy that makes a mockery of our democracy, which is as fake and delusional as any in the world.  The time is right for Americans to vote for third party or independent presidential and congressional candidates, not because any of them can be elected, but as an action to demonstrate through voting that they reject the two-party duopoly.  Nonvoters are ignored, but we need to get on the electoral scoreboard with votes against the two-party status quo.

[Joel S. Hirschhorn can be contacted through]


Nader for President 2008

The Termi-Nader

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

Jim Rogers: Let the Fannie and Freddie go bancrupt

Dandelion Salad

Here is Part 2: Jim Rogers on Bloomberg 2008.07.14 (part 2)

Updated: July 16, 2008 Added another video


Jim Rogers in interview with Bloomberg said that government has no authority to buy Fannie and Freddie stocks and should have allowed them to go under. He said also that Paulson and Bernanke hear only Wall Street but don’t care about inflation and the rest of Americans.

full interview:…


Jim Rogers: Bailing out Fannie makes situation worse

Bailing out Fannie and Freddie makes situation worse, says Jim Rogers on CNBC on tuesday, 2008.07.15
full interview:


Fannie and Freddie symptoms of larger problem

American Economy: “The Veil of Money” by Josh Sidman

The Central Asia Islamization Cocktail: Mosques, Madrassas, Heroin & Terrorism

by Luke Ryland
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Luke’s blog post
Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
July 15, 2008

In my article last week, Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas, we saw how the CIA, along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been financing the promotion of radical Islam in Central Asia in a decade-long illegal covert operation.

The operation includes propaganda and indoctrination in the form of financing, building and operating madrassas, control of media outlets and publishing houses, financing of terrorist groups, and heroin trafficking, as well as facilitating the requisite money-laundering apparatus. It is this operation that is at the heart of the gagging of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, and many of the names on Sibel’s State Secrets Privilege Gallery are associated with this operation.

This modus operandi is not new, of course. A recent New York Times article noted that “Saudi and American money” financed schools in Pakistan which “spread Islamic radicalism” dating back to the 1980s. Students from these schools went on to fight the Russians in Afghanistan alongside other CIA creations such as Osama Bin Laden.

The US government has also previously used Islamic fighters, including Al-Qaeda, in the Chechen and Balkan wars. In these cases, and with the Central Asian operation, we see the same elements – Islamic terrorist groups, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering – converging with the ‘foreign policy’ objectives of a small group of US officials, and US energy companies. In each case, the activities of the Islamic groups have been facilitated by puppet states of the US; Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Turkey. (IS ALL THIS TRUE?)

Kosovo and Albania
In 1999, Washington Times reported that:

“Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden…

The KLA members, embraced by the Clinton administration in NATO’s 41-day bombing campaign… were trained in secret camps in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere, according to newly obtained intelligence reports.

The reports also show that the KLA has enlisted Islamic terrorists — members of the Mujahideen –as soldiers in its ongoing conflict against Serbia…
The reports said bin Laden’s organization, known as al-Qaeda, has both trained and financially supported the KLA.
The KLA’s involvement in drug smuggling as a means of raising funds for weapons is long-standing. Intelligence documents show it has aligned itself with an extensive organized crime network in Albania that smuggles heroin to buyers throughout Western Europe and the United States.

Drug agents in five countries believe the cartel is one of the most powerful heroin smuggling organizations in the world.”

Similarly, the Wall Street Journal, Europe reported in 2001:

“For the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of al Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself on three occasions between 1994 and 1996. The Egyptian surgeon turned terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has operated terrorist training camps, weapons of mass destruction factories and money-laundering and drug-trading networks throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. This has gone on for a decade. Many recruits to the Balkan wars came originally from Chechnya, a jihad in which Al Qaeda has also played a part.”

Ayman Al-Zawahiri, of course, is reported to have been the brains behind the September Eleven terrorist attack in the United States. His brother, Muhammad al-Zawahiri, is the head of the Albanian network, according to Yossef Bodansky, director of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.

In short, at a minimum, the United States, with NATO, were supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army alongside Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

In Chechnya we see the same pattern of certain US policy elites and al-Qaeda working on the same team.

According to a front page article in the Washington Post in 2003:

“Russian intelligence officials assert that Osama bin Laden donated at least $25 million and dispatched numerous fighters to Chechnya, including Ibn Khattab, a Saudi who led one of the best-trained contingents. The United States now agrees that Khattab had al Qaeda ties, and cited those links when it added three Chechen rebel units to its list of terrorist organizations earlier this year.

American officials said that several hundred Chechen fighters were trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and that bin Laden sent “substantial amounts of money” to equip Chechen rebels in 1999.”

In fact, a 1998 DIA report (pdf), exposed by the conservative group Judicial Watch in 2004 via a FOIA request in 2000, noted that Khattab was a “personal friend” of bin Laden, and that bin Laden sent Khattab to Chechnya in 1995 to “organize training camps for international terrorists.” Three camps were established, and graduations were held every two months.

US support for the Chechens has been well documented. In a September 2004 article in the Guardian, subtitled “The Washington neocons’ commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own,” a group called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC) is put under the spotlight. It’s members include Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, James Woolsey, Stephen Solarz and Morton Abramowitz.

The Guardian notes:

“The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin’s Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable “Muslim” causes, Bosnia and Kosovo – implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there. In August, the ACPC welcomed the award of political asylum in the US, and a US-government funded grant, to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition Chechen government, and a man Moscow describes as a terrorist. Coming from both political parties, the ACPC members represent the backbone of the US foreign policy establishment, and their views are indeed those of the US administration.
Allegations are even being made in Russia that the west itself is somehow behind the Chechen rebellion, and that the purpose of such support is to weaken Russia, and to drive her out of the Caucasus. “

The aforementioned Judicial Watch account of the DIA report notes that:

“A good deal of information concerning OBL’s and al Qaeda’s efforts in Chechnya, the Caucuses, Crimea, and the Central Asian Republics is covered in the (report). The confirmed existence of a [secure, reliable, terrorist-sponsored] “direct route to Chechnya from Pakistan and Afghanistan through Turkey and Azerbaijan” is a stunning “information point” within this (report) – especially in light of the date of the information, 1998.”

A 2008 article in the UK Times, “Al-Qaeda kingpin: I trained 9/11 hijackers,” about Louai al-Sakka confirms the existence of the terrorist pipeline through Turkey to Chechnya.

(Sakka’s) story is also one of a globetrotting terrorist in an organisation that is truly multinational.
The Chechens needed trained fighters. Sakka was telephoned by Ibn al-Khattab, the late militia leader controlling the foreign fighters against the Russians. Khattab requested that Sakka’s trainees should be sent on to Afghanistan for military training because “conditions are tough”.
One of Sakka’s chief roles was to organise passports and visas for the volunteers to make their way to Afghanistan through Pakistan. His ability to keep providing high-quality forged papers made Turkey a main hub for Al-Qaeda movements, his lawyer says. The young men came to Turkey pretending to be on holiday and Sakka’s false papers allowed them to “disappear” overseas.

Turkish intelligence were aware of unusual militant Islamic activity in the Yalova mountains, where Sakka had set up his camps.
Some of Sakka’s account is corroborated by the US government’s 9/11 Commission. It found evidence that four of the hijackers – whom Sakka says he trained – had initially intended to go to Chechnya from Turkey but the border into Georgia was closed.
Sakka’s lawyer said: “Just like there is money laundering, there is also terrorist laundering and Turkey was the centre of this.”

In fact, apprehended terrorists often hold Turkish passports – reportedly both fake and real. A quick google search, for example, demonstrates Turkish passports on terrorists captured in New York, Chechnya, Chechnya again and again, Pakistan training camps, and Georgia, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. Many of the ‘detainees’ at Guantanamo also hold Turkish passports.

Central Asia
Now we come full circle to the current operations in Central Asia which are at the core of the gagging of Sibel Edmonds. As outlined in my recent article, “Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas,” the CIA has been funding an illegal covert operation to ‘Islamicize’ the Central Asian region in order to wrest control away from Russia and secure the vast energy resources of the region. The US has been using Turkey as a proxy to carry out this operation, for reasons that Sibel explained:

Given the history, and the distrust of the West, the US realized that it couldn’t get direct control, and therefore would need to use a proxy to gain control quickly and effectively. Turkey was the perfect proxy; a NATO ally and a puppet regime. Turkey shares the same heritage/race as the entire population of Central Asia, the same language (Turkic), the same religion (Sunni Islam), and of course, the strategic location and proximity.

This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.

This is why I have been saying repeatedly that these illegal covert operations by the Turks and certain US persons dates back to 1996, and involves terrorist activities, narcotics, weapons smuggling and money laundering, converging around the same operations and involving the same actors.

And I want to emphasize that this is “illegal” because most, if not all, of the funding for these operations is not congressionally approved funding, but it comes from illegal activities.

And one last thing, take a look at the people in the State Secrets Privilege Gallery on my website and you will see how these individuals can be traced to the following; Turkey, Central Asia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – and the activities involving these countries.

As part of this operation, Turkish organizations such as the Gulen ‘movement,’ a $25 billion economic powerhouse, reportedly financed by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has been establishing madrassas and mosques across Central Asia – including Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – for the past decade.

The construction and operation of these madrassas and mosques appear to serve a number of purposes:
1. Indoctrination and radicalization of students
2. Providing a front for CIA and State Department-sanctioned ‘teachers’ to operate with the protection of Diplomatic passports.
3. Laundering money for a variety of purposes.

In Azerbaijan, for example, there were only 20 mosques in the late 1980s. By 2002, there were 150 foreign built mosques in the country. In 2002, 80% of “religious structures” in Azerbaijan were unregistered, resulting in an effort by the Azeri government “to bring all religious organizations in the country under its control.” In an interview, Rafiq Aliyev, head of the Azerbaijani State Committee for Work with Religious Structures said:

“You know, we are trying to ensure their transparency. People who avoid this probably have to conceal something, so they do not want to be transparent. They are reluctant to register their religious structures – medreses or religious communities.
We will find out what religious organizations really serve religion and what religious
organizations use religion as a cover. So, their activities will be seriously reconsidered.”

Later in the interview, Aliyev noted that much of the money reported to be for mosque building was apparently used for other, undetermined, purposes:

“We are worried about the difference between the money brought into the country and the cost of building those mosques. I mean, a big sum is brought into the country, but only a part of it, is spent on building mosques. We have not succeeded yet in finding where the rest of the money goes.

I will give you one example, I think it will suffice. A total of 385,000 dollars were spent on the Qaracuxur mosque in the Razin settlement [in Baku]. So, the Turkish religious committee sent to Azerbaijan 385,000 dollars. But if we calculate the cost of the Qaracuxur mosque, it does not exceed 50,000 dollars.

In fact, up to 150 mosques have been built in Azerbaijan by foreign countries. As I have said, between 200,000 and 600,000 dollars were spent on building each of them. But our reports show that the majority of those mosques do not have technical documents, they have not carried out any stocktaking. What company or who built them, what was paid to the state or was anything paid at all – we are now collecting this information, we already have enough information. In time, and we will make it public.”

If each of the 150 mosques is ‘over-budgeted’ by $300,000, then there is $45 Million of unaccounted foreign funds sloshing around Azerbaijan. To what end?

The Gulen movement itself has “has a university, eleven high schools, one primary school and nine education facilities training university applicants” in Azerbaijan, while the Turkish government itself is “sponsoring Islamic educational projects” featuring “a specifically Turkish form of Islam in this Shi‘a majority country.”

We see the same pattern of mosque building in Kazakhstan. Wikipedia states that:

“Construction of mosques and religious schools accelerated in the 1990s, with financial help from Turkey, Egypt, and, primarily, Saudi Arabia.”

And we see more of the same in Turkmenistan:

“Since 1990… More religious institutions, including religious schools and mosques, have appeared, many with the support of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey.”

Shady Dealings
The same people who were involved in supporting and facilitating the use of Islamic forces in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Chechnya are also involved in the Central Asian operation, including giving support, public and otherwise, to the Gulen movement. Many of them appear in Sibel Edmonds State Secrets Privilege gallery. Sibel has said repeatedly that one of Gulen’s main companies, media conglomerate Ihlas Holdings is ‘semi-legitimate‘ and ‘alleged shady.’

This whole affair was recently exposed as a result of Gulen applying for a Green Card in the US courts. In a recent hearing, the prosecutors cited documents which argued that Gulen’s operation was a CIA front, however earlier hearings also provide some very interesting information. A May 2007 filing by Gulen, published yesterday by Rasti, indicates that the FBI to date has not produced the results of a requisite criminal background check on Gulen. The document states:

44. Upon information and belief, the FBI has failed to issue to USCIS the results of criminal background checks and/or name checks relating to the Plaintiffs in connection with the Plaintiff’s Applications and Petition.

Given the latest revelations about CIA involvement in Gulen’s affairs, it is readily apparent why the FBI wants to keep the details of its “Gulen file” secret. The details of Gulen’s finances have not been made public, the details of his activities working for the US and the puppet states have not been made public, and the activities of the other companies who are financing Gulen are also wrapped in mystery.

Meanwhile, the State Secrets Privilege is still in place in the Sibel Edmonds affair, the Islamization of Central Asia, following the same model as the mujahideen in Afghanistan and the use of Islamist militants in Kosovo/Albania, using madrassas and mosques, along with narcotics and associated criminal activities continues to this day despite the big lesson of 911.

And yet the US corporate media continues its long-term blackout on the entire region – enabling the continuance of the illegal operations of our covert foreign policy and pipeline politics.

Wet Dream
Here is what Colin Powell told the House International Relations Committee in 2002 about the neocons wet-dream in Central Asia:

“America will have a continuing interest and presence in Central Asia of a kind that we could not have dreamed of before.”


Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas


Fannie and Freddie symptoms of larger problem

Dandelion Salad


More at…
AFL-CIO economist says this system amounts to “Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor”…

Latest Running Of The Bull In Washington Injures Scores, Wounds Constitution



by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post

July 15, 2008

WASHINGTON – In the Annual Running of the Bull, many people were injured as they tried to flee from the bull emanating from the Nation’s Capital. “This is the most bull I’ve ever witnessed,” said Tony Clarendon of Teaneck, New Jersey who was on vacation, “I was admiring the Lincoln Memorial when some bull about the reason we invaded Iraq was to bring them democracy just about knocked me off my feet.”

Clarendon’s tale is not a singular one. “The bull that the surge is working pined me up against a wall,” said Brian Dorsey, a DC resident who was treated for cuts and bruises.

“When all that bull about there being no global warming bore down on me, I thought I was a goner,” said Ralph Diamond of Grayson, New Mexico.

“This bull denying climate change has badly gored the planet,” said former Vice President Al Gore.

While there were hundreds of injuries, the most seriously hurt was the Constitution. “Freedom of the Press took it in the shorts,” said Henry Betancourt, Professor of Media at Columbia University. Also taking direct hits were the Fourth Amendment when the bull from the Bush White House said, “we don’t need no stinkin’ warrants,” and the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of right to a fair trial, knowing what you are accused of, and right to an attorney got trampled by the massive bull from Guantanimo.

The Running of the Bull dates back to the founding of the District of Columbia but came to prominence in 1973 when Richard Nixon said, “I am not a crook.” The last fatality in the Running of the Bull was The Truth, which died on September 11, 2001.

U.S. terrorism watch list tops 1 million

Dandelion Salad

By Randall Mikkelsen
Jul 14, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. watch list of terrorism suspects has passed 1 million records, corresponding to about 400,000 people, and a leading civil rights group said on Monday the number was far too high to be effective.

The Bush administration disagreed and called the list one of the most effective tools implemented after the September 11 hijacked plane attacks — when a federal “no-fly” list contained just 16 people considered threats to aviation.


h/t: CLG

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.

Israel threatens to wage illegal, pre-emptive military attack on Iran

Dandelion Salad

(source: CASMII)
CASMII Press Release
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Monday July 14th Israel’s senior defence official, General Amos Gilad during an interview with BBC Radio four’s Today programme said that Israel is preparing itself to take military action against Iran and that it would do so if diplomacy fails. The statement came only a day after the Sunday Times revealed that “President George W Bush backs Israeli plan for strike on Iran”.

These threats are being made following reports of Israeli aerial military exercise in the first week of June which involved over 100 F-15 and F-16 fighters and was described by a senior Pentagon official as a dress rehearsal for a military strike on Iranian nuclear plants. In the same week, Shaol Mofaz, Israel’s deputy prime minister publicly stated that if Iran continues with its nuclear programme, Israel “will attack it”.

All of Iran’s nuclear plants are under Safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which after over five years of intrusive inspections has found no evidence of any diversion into a weaponisation programme. In mid June, Dr ElBaradei, the Agency’s Director General threatened to resign if there is any attack on Iran.

Israel’s threats against Iran are in gross violation of the UN Charter which clearly states in Article 2 that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

The Nuremberg Tribunal, which brought Nazi leaders to justice for their wars of aggression, confirmed that “War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

In relation to the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials who worked on the U.S. legal team and successfully convicted 22 Nazis, stated that “The United Nations charter has a provision which was formulated by and agreed to by the United States after World War II. It says that from now on, no nation can use armed force without the permission of the U.N. Security Council. They can use force in connection with self-defence, but a country can’t use force in anticipation of self-defence.” Israel is neither under attack nor threat of immediate attack by Iran.

CASMII calls on all the international community, the UN, the US Congress, the EU, in particular the UK, France and Germany as well as Russia and China to condemn Israel’s threats of military action against Iran. We call on the US to enter into immediate, direct, unconditional and comprehensive negotiations with Iran on all points of dispute so that a catastrophic war and a major conflagration in the Middle East and beyond can be averted and the present stand-off can be resolved in a peaceful manner.

For more information or to contact CASMII visit


Will Israel And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery

Iran: Battlefront In The New World War?

Amber Alert! Get ready for war by Justin Raimondo

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

Iran Shows Its Cards By Scott Ritter

President Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh


Riz Khan: Torture training in Mexico

Dandelion Salad

Will post Part 2 when it becomes available.



This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


Following the emergence of videos showing Mexican police being taught torture methods by a US security firm, Riz Khan speaks to Laura Carlsen of the Center for International Policy and Tamara Taraciuk, a lawyer for Human Rights Watch.

Melting Point- spies, lies and arrests

Dandelion Salad

10:09 – Jul 15, 2008

An Eco-Storm production-Exposing government tactics in reaction to environmental protests. Tactics shown in the film include arresting journalists and environmental protesters, Espionage, news manipulation and legal threats.

Melting Point looks at the escalating battle between direct action protest groups and those they accuse of failing to act on climate change.

Continue reading

Talk to Jazeera: Ingrid Betancourt

Dandelion Salad


Al Jazeera talks to former hostage Ingrid Betancourt.


Betancourt Update – Is This the Beginning of Colombia’s Leftward Shift?

Response to James Petras’ Critique: “Fidel Castro and the FARC. Eight Mistaken Theses of Fidel Castro”

A Few Words from the FARC By Mike Whitney

Fidel Castro and the FARC – Eight Mistaken Thesis of Fidel Castro

Lies, kidnapping and a mysterious laptop