AUSTRALIANS AT WAR

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR
Now available. $20-00 including postage in Australia. Click on image above for details..... TELLING THE HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AS IT REALLY WAS.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

BRITAIN JOINS U.S. AND ISREALI HYPE OVER IRAN

In a speech to the UK parliament yesterday British Foreign Secretary William Hague joined the US and Israel in rhetoric designed specifically to induce fear over Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’.

Hague told parliament that the Iranians had tested missiles during their recent military exercises that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He also told parliament that Iran was enriching uranium beyond that which was required electricity generation. Hague reportedly told parliament that Iran "has announced that it intends to triple its capacity to produce 20% enriched uranium. And that "these are enrichment levels far greater than is needed for peaceful nuclear energy”.

William Hague is deliberately practicing deceit with these statements. He has ignored telling the parliament that having a medium range missiles does not mean that nuclear warheads are available for them. All medium range missiles are capable of being adapted to carrying a nuclear warhead. Modern nuclear weapons are now so small that they can be fitted to most missiles. The US has even tested nuclear weapons in artillery shells.

Hague also attempts to deceive with his statement about Iran’s desire to enrich uranium to 20%. The fact is, Iran has been quite open about its enrichment of uranium to 20%; they’re not doing it covertly as Hague has tried to infer. Uranium enriched to 20% is required in order to manufacture medical isotopes for the treatment of cancer. Iran announced their intention to do this a long time ago yet Hague tells the British people about as though it has just been announced. Iran announced ages ago that it had an urgent need for isotopes and that it would be expediting enrichment to 20%.

Hague has joined with the US and Israel in their fearmongering just as both are upping the propaganda and rhetoric over Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’.

Why?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ARE THE TALIBAN REALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THE LATEST ROUND OF ATROCITIES IN AFGHANISTAN?

Two recent atrocities in Afghanistan have been blamed on the Taliban. On Saturday last at least 25 people were killed when a suicide bomber drove an explosive filled vehicle into a rural clinic. The next day an eight year old girl died after she was duped into carrying a bomb which was remotely detonated close to a parked police vehicle. However, on both accounts, the Taliban have denied responsibility.

Of course, in the West, the Taliban’s denials are ignored except inasmuch that the media will mention that the Taliban has denied responsibility. This, though, does not stop the Western mainstream media, especially the conservative, and particularly the neoconservative media, from continuing to blame the Taliban anyway.

During the same period, other suicide attacks have been made against the puppet Afghan police, the army, government offices and, as in the most recent attacks against foreigners, the Taliban have had no compunctions at all about putting their hands up claiming responsibility for such attacks.

The Taliban has nothing at all to gain from suicide bombing attacks on Afghan civilians or using children for bombing attacks.

So, when the Taliban deny responsibility for an attack or bombing, who else would have a vested interest in carrying out such attacks?

Last Wednesday on 22 June 2011, President Obama announced a drawdown of some 33,000 troops from Afghanistan. A number of senior US military officers have said that this is far in excess of the numbers the US military top brass had recommended with at least one having said so to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Clearly, there are some senior elements in America’s armed forces that are unhappy at the prospect of a drawdown. Certainly, the right-wing, particularly neoconservative commentators, is extremely vocal about what they consider to be an inappropriate withdrawal of troops. One might wonder, then; since the right-wing and the senior military are so anti-Obama and against drawdown plans, could it be conceivable, given the marked increase in atrocities that the Taliban have denied responsibility for, that rogue forces are at work here being paid for by irregular US back channels? Afghan warlords are notorious for switching sides and operating covertly for the highest bidder.

It just seems that this sudden upsurge in atrocities that have been denied by the Taliban should take place so soon after the announcement of the troop drawdown is just too much of a coincidence especially when there seems to be certain senior US military brass so against it. How hard would it be for those involved in the complex covert world of Afghan double-dealing to arrange for these kinds of false flag operations to take place with a view of trying to get Obama to change his mind at least about the second two-thirds of the drawdown due next year?

And, of course, talk of a negotiated settlement with the Taliban hasn’t helped the situation as far as the neoconservatives are concerned who want nothing less than the complete destruction of the Taliban and their associate groups.

All things considered, you have to wonder what’s really going on as far as these denied atrocities are concerned.

Monday, June 27, 2011

NEOCONS, ZIONISTS AND THE ‘FREEDOM FLOTILLA’

The Zionists of Israel and their neocon supporters just don’t get it. They think that the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ is only about bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that it’s called the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ for a reason.

Neocon pundit Alana Goodman writing in Commentary, says that, because the Gaza Strip now has a lot of stuff coming and going, especially since Egypt opened up the border between the Sinai and the Gaza, that the flotilla to Gaza “is completely unnecessary”.

On 10 May 2011 the Israeli ambassador to the European Union, Ran Curiel, told a news conference in Strasbourg that the flotilla is a “clear political provocation” adding that “there's no need for a flotilla to aid Gaza. You can pass whatever you want to Gaza through normal channels.” The glaringly obvious is missed entirely by the ambassador; if whatever the Gazans want can pass through normal channels then why the naval blockade?

What both the neocons and the Israelis fail to see is the desire for the Palestinians to be free of being dictated to by the Israelis. It is up to the Palestinian people of the Gaza to decide how stuff can come and go to and from the Gaza Strip, not the Israelis or anyone else. The waters off Gaza are not Israeli waters. The Israelis have no more right to dictate who or what may come and go via Gazan ports than the Palestinians have over deciding who or what can come and go via Israeli ports.

The Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are indeed slowly being relieved of the suffering the blockade brought to them but it is no thanks to the Israelis that that relief is happening. The tunnels have had an enormously positive effect on Gazan life despite Israel’s efforts to close them down, often killing tunnel workers in the process, and the recent opening of the Gazan-Egyptian border has helped even further but, like any other nation that has a sea as part of its border, the Gazan people demand access to it in order to fully realise their trading potential. They want the freedom to be able to use what is rightfully theirs.

The political provocation comes not from the Palestinians and their supporters; rather, it comes from the Israelis themselves together with their neocon supporters who arrogantly and immorally want to deny the Palestinians in the Gaza the right to use what is theirs. The Palestinians in the Gaza want to be the judge of whether it’s ‘completely unnecessary’ or not, not the Israelis.

And that’s what the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ is really all about. It’s about freedom.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

THE WEST AND HOW IT PERPETUATES ITS OWN ENEMIES

In an article for National Review Online today, neocon writer Clifford May imagines that he can read the mind of Osama bin Laden’s so-called ‘successor’, Ayman Zawahiri. As if he is Zawahiri, May writes:

Now the duty is entrusted to me. Now I am the amir of al-Qaeda’t al-Jihad, better known — indeed, known everywhere on earth — as al-Qaeda.

‘Known everywhere on earth’?! Al Qaeda is, indeed, known everywhere on earth – and, to be sure, the Western media, led by neocon writers just like Clifford May, have made a huge effort to ensure that al Qaeda has become a household name throughout the entire planet.

Osama bin Laden became the quintessential anti-hero figure – the Emmanuel Goldstein in George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984 – for the West to hate. Al Qaeda became the enemy he led. Both gave the West, the US and Israel in particular, the justification needed to pursue their respective interests in the world.

For Israel, al Qaeda represented the Islamic forces that surround them in the Middle East, and Israel has worked hard, but with little success, to associate al Qaeda with Palestinian fighters in the Gaza and the West Bank, and Arab fighters in Lebanon. And for the US, bin Laden and al Qaeda were the ideal scapegoats to blame for 9/11, the Pearl Harbor needed for America and its allies to attack those nations that stood in the way of US hegemony in the resource-rich Central Asian and Middle East region, Afghanistan and Iraq. In doing so, the US and the West have killed several birds with one stone. In Iraq, not only have they got the Saddam Hussein monkey of the backs of the Israelis but they also now control one of the regions most resource-rich nations, one which also happens to be right next to another of Israel’s arch enemies, Iran. The US and their allies by blaming bin Laden and his al Qaeda group for 9/11, were also provided with a casus belli for attacking Afghanistan which, while having few resources of its own, is geographically located at the heart of a resource-rich region which also happens to be not only strategically placed close to Russia and China but also is a neighbour of Iran. Iran is now effectively surrounded by US-led Western dominated countries.

The problem for the neocon-dominated warhawks of the West was basically that their plans went awry from the very start.

9/11, of course, was the trigger that was to set everything in motion. By blaming bin Laden and al Qaeda, the US had an excuse to invade Afghanistan. They quickly overwhelmed the Taliban government and installed a puppet government in its place. The plan then was to completely destroy the Taliban and then build a pipeline across Afghanistan from the Caspian Basin to Karachi in Pakistan to pump gas to a global market controlled by the West. However, the US and their allies didn’t reckon on the tenacious spirit of the Taliban fighters and their resistance allies including those in Pakistan. Militarily overwhelmed, there was no way they could militarily defeat the US and their allies, but they could, using their intimate knowledge of the land and with just a few weapons, resist the US and their allies and wear them into the ground, a feat that is now, almost ten years after the invasion, almost accomplished.

But Afghanistan was not the only country that the neocons had in their sights. As soon as 9/11 happened, they began their propaganda war against Iraq accusing Saddam Hussein of being somehow complicit. Being told that bin Laden and his al Qaeda group who were responsible for 9/11 and were holed up in Afghanistan ensured that there would be no public opinion backlash against invading and occupying Afghanistan especially if it was done quickly while feelings were running hot. However, Iraq was a lot different. While the people of the West were aware of Saddam Hussein’s support of the Palestinians and their Intifada against the Israelis, and were aware that he was a particularly brutal dictator, there was absolutely no evidence at all that he actually had any part to play in the events of 9/11 or was in any way a threat to the US. And so began the propaganda campaign to gain public support for an all-out invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The George W. Bush administration led by the neocons found it difficult to convince the people in the West that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11 – though it wasn’t for the lack of trying; they did try hard and, indeed, persist to this day in trying to tell the world that Saddam was complicit – they pushed, instead, the notion that Saddam was building weapons of mass destruction and suggested that they were an “immediate threat” to the US and the world.

The neocons spent the nineteen months between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 trying to convince the West that Iraq was a threat to world while at the same time convincing themselves that an invasion, occupation and the establishment of a stable Israel-friendly puppet government could be achieved in just a few months and that the American forces and their allies would be welcomed by the Iraqi people as great liberators. Eight years and three months later, bombs were still killing civilians and police in Iraqi streets.

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the ‘war on terror’ still rages. ‘Al Qaeda’ has become a brand name that has been foisted on all those – regardless of their cause or allegiances – that have had the temerity to take up arms against the West and their allies. The ‘al Qaeda’ brand name has become well known ‘everywhere on earth’, not because of the efforts of Osama bin Laden or Ayman Zawahiri, but by the deeds and actions of the US, Israel and their supporters throughout the West.

Your average 20 to 25 year-old Muslim fighter doing battle against the US and their allies in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere today were only ten or fifteen when 9/11 happened. They are now fighting an army that invaded their respective nations. It’s not about ‘Osama bin Laden’ or ‘al Qaeda’; it never has been. For the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and anywhere else that the US, Israel and the West threaten, it’s about resisting invasion, occupation, persecution, tyranny, brutality and torture. It’s about freedom and the desire to determine their own destiny.

The US, Israel and their allies have created enemies as a result of their own actions. By creating the myth of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and ascribing to them a status that the West are supposed to see as enemies succeeds only in giving the West’s enemies a cause to fight for. Taliban fighters today are not the die-hard al Qaeda-like Islamic fundamentalists the propagandists told us were responsible for 9/11. Most fighters today merely want rid their country of the invader and those that support the invaders. Many have been driven to their cause as result of the invaders actions. Many innocent civilians, including women and children, have been killed at the hands of the West over the years and in doing so the West have assured themselves of an enemy to always be at war with while they occupy any country they have invaded.

In short, the West perpetuate its own enemies.

Friday, June 24, 2011

ANDREW BOLT: THE ‘JULIUS STREICHER’ OF THE AUSTRALIAN EXTREME RIGHT

Andrew Bolt, Australia’s most notorious racist and Islamophobe, like the Nazi Jew-baiter Julius Streicher before him, continues to relentlessly pursue his program of hate against Islamic and non-European immigrants to Australia.

His almost daily attacks (here’s yesterday’s) against Islam at his on-line column at Rupert Murdoch’s Herald-Sun newspaper are designed to demonise the entire Islamic community. Bolt does this by cherry-picking the misdeeds of a very few and inferring that whatever offence has been committed by an Islamic person was done because they are Muslims and that they are representative of what the whole Islamic community are like. In other words, Bolt misrepresents the values of the Islamic community claiming that Western values are different and, therefore, are better than those of Muslims. It is exactly the same propaganda technique that Julius Streicher used in his Der Stürmer newspaper in Germany during the Nazi era to demonise the Jews of Germany and later throughout Europe.

Like Streicher, Bolt hopes that his relentless propaganda demonising Muslims and Islam will influence public opinion to the extent that the Australian people will eventually hate Islam and Muslims as much as he does and that the government will then deport those that are here or, at least, not allow any further Muslim immigration to Australia.

The problem is; it never just ends there. Streicher started his hate campaign against Jews in much the same way. At first he demanded that Jews should be expelled from Germany. Over time, as the Nazis and other extreme right-wing groups coalesced and became increasingly more influential politically, so the persecution against Jews went beyond mere words. Eventually, as the Nazis moved into power, so the persecution of Jews increased. They were shunned by their fellow Germans and then excluded from certain professions. As Hitler’s expansionist dreams became reality so the persecution of Jews was taken a step further and they were put in camps and then later deported, mostly to Poland. As Hitler marched further east into Russia so the final plans that became the ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’ were put into effect. The rest of the story is all too well known.

Yet there are some among us that never learn and others that seem to have forgotten about the horrors of the last century. In more recent history, as we have seen in Bosnia-Herzegovina where over 7000 Muslims were murdered simply because they were Muslims, history does repeat.

The Jews of Germany and Europe, whilst aware of the anti-Semitism that was pervasive, not just in Germany, but throughout Europe and the US during that period, never in their worst nightmares as the war approached imagined that Germany would actually attempt the wholesale slaughter of every one of Europe’s Jews. But in just a very short time it went from abusive harassment in Streicher’s Der Stürmer newspaper to what ended up being the deaths of millions. And one of the reasons so many did die was because they simply did not believe that such hatreds could lead to slaughter on such a massive scale.

We should not allow the abusive harassment against Muslims that we see in Bolt’s column of hate to continue. While Bolt continues to claim his rights to ‘freedom of speech’, his abuse of those rights to harass and demonise Muslims should be stopped in its tracks. His column of hate should be shut down. This meme about ‘freedom of speech being a cornerstone of democracy’ is simply being used by people like Bolt as an excuse to pedal their hatreds.

Freedom of speech is one thing; the abuse of it in order to pedal hatred is something else.


This article is cross-posted at:
http://bolttheracist.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 23, 2011

TITLE AND SOVEREIGNTY: A SUBTLE DIFFERENCE THAT ZIONISTS WHO BUY LAND IN THE WEST BANK DON’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND

If an immigrant community of, say, Papua New Guineans settled in Australia buying up large tracts of land, would they then be able to demand that the land they have bought title to be turned over to Papua New Guinean sovereignty subject to PNG laws, government and judiciary?

If the Papua New Guineans (or whoever) were to follow neocon Zionist Daniel Pipes’ logic then the answer is ‘yes’ they would be able to – not, of course, that the Australian government would accede to such demands.

In a recent article in National Review Online titled Not stealing Palestine, But Purchasing Israel, Pipes argues that Israel has been created as much as a result of Zionists purchasing land before the UN partitioned Palestine to create Israel in 1948, as was by occupation after a period of war.

Pipes argues that during the war of 1948/49 most Arabs fled their lands” and that “exceedingly few were forced off”. This is typical Pipes chutzpah. Why did they flee their lands? They fled because they feared being killed as the Israelis moved in, which in many places, as historians like Illan Pappe documents, is exactly what happened to many Palestinians. Fleeing before an advancing enemy with no right of return is the same as being ‘forced out’.

Pipes confines his argument to the purchase of lands prior to the creation of Israel when those lands did indeed revert to Israeli sovereignty. But he frames his argument in a somewhat deceitful way. He infers that Zionists bought all of the lands that became Israel in 1948 “acquiring property dunam by dunam, farm by farm, house by house”. This is complete nonsense. In reality only a small proportion of the land was purchased by Zionists. The rest was acquired by intimidation and force of arms. In short, it was the Arab states that attempted to put a hold on Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people rather than the Israelis being attacked by them. Right-wing Zionists have been pushing the lie that Israel was ‘attacked’ by the Arab states around them for years but, as Pappe shows, history and the facts tell an entirely different story.

During the period since the 1967 war, the Israeli government, through the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Israeli Lands Administration, purchased land in the Occupied Territories. At first, private purchasers were not allowed to purchase land in the Territories in order to avoid speculation but by 1979 these rules were relaxed and Israeli and Jewish developers were allowed to purchase land in the Occupied Territories. Many cases of trickery and outright intimidation as a means of purchasing land have been reported since. However, by far the greatest amount of land ceded to Israeli hands is that which Israel has acquired by simple expropriation and by military requisition.

The question now is: Does Israel intend at some stage in the future, possibly just prior to the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to get Palestine unilaterally recognised as a sovereign state at the UN, to annex all of the West Bank settlements to Israeli sovereignty based on title ownership or will the Israelis invade and fully occupy the West Bank under Israeli military governance, or will they do both.

The point here is; regardless of how much land people from one nation own elsewhere in other nations, title to that land does not, as Pipes and other Zionists suggest, confer sovereignty to the nation that the owners of that title are nationalities of.

Many Paua New Guineans live in communities in Australia but they live here either as permanent residents retaining their own nationality or as Australian citizens; either way they are subject to Australian sovereignty and Papua New Guinean.

One wonders what makes Zionists think that they are exempt from these norms?



Note

Folks interested in reading further on this subject should read George E. Bisharat’s in-depth scholarly article: Land, Law and Legitimacy in Israel and the Occupied Territories linked to above and here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THE ARAB SPRING: ISRAELI AND WESTERN HYPOCRISY

In Israeli online newspaper Ha’aretz today is a report that a senior Israeli official says that “Iran is involved in the suppressing of the anti-regime demonstrations in Syria. Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the Al-Quds force, commanded by Gen. Qassem Suleimani”, and that they “are operating throughout the country”. The Israeli official goes on to say:

…there is clear information on Iran's involvement in the crushing of the protests, as well as the participation of Hezbollah. Their role is not limited to shootings; Iran has also supplied equipment to the Syrian army, including sniper rifles…

Similarly, the US is complaining of the same thing and, even more hypocritically, so is the UK.

If true, then such activity of course cannot be condoned. However, statements like this coming from Israel, the US and the UK demonstrate only gross hypocrisy.

Where were Israel, the US and the UK when the world learnt that Saudi Arabia sent tanks and troops to Bahrain to suppress the democracy movement there? Israel and the US talk about Iran sending sniper rifles to Syria and it’s headline news in Israel and the US yet when it is learnt that the UK are training snipers in Saudi Arabia who are then deployed to Bahrain to shoot at demonstrators, no one says anything.

Monday, June 20, 2011

TALKS WITH THE TALIBAN? NOW THERE’S A NOVEL IDEA!

Over the last few days there has been unconfirmed reports that the US have initiated talks with the Taliban with a view to ending the war that’s been going on in Afghanistan for the last ten years. Yesterday, Defence Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that, indeed, such talks have been taking place.

Was it not inevitable that this was the only way it was ever going to end anyway? Various professionals had said all along that the allies could never win their war against the Taliban. In October of last year, Australian ex-Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, an extreme right-wing conservative, said that a military victory would be “impossible”. In July 2009, British soldier, diplomat, academic and Afghanistan scholar, Rory Stewart, writing in the UKs Daily Telegraph told his readers that essentially the war is unwinable and negotiating is the only way to resolve the crisis. Back in October 2008 senior British commander, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith who had served in Afghanistan with the British 16th Air Assault Brigade had said quite emphatically that “we are not going to win this war”.

The allies have known the war was unwinable since at least 2008 yet did nothing. Since then more than 1600 allied soldiers have been killed, while it is conservatively estimated that some 7307 civilians have been killed, and untold numbers of Taliban and insurgent fighters, certainly numbering in their thousands and possibly tens of thousands, have also been killed.

Experts have been urging that the parties negotiate an end to the war for years but the warmongering neocons influenced allied governments never listened. How many more have to die before these loonies learn that they can’t win?

There’s nothing new about the idea of having talks with the Taliban; it’s just that the longer they are held off, then the more people from all sides will continue dying.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NEOCON WARMONGERS RATCHET UP THE PROPAGANDA ON IRAN’S ‘NUCLEAR WEAPONS’

Early last month the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) published on their gerdab.ir website a satirical puff-piece that imagined the reaction of the world-wide and domestic press after the Iranians had actually achieved what the West are accusing them of doing; building a nuclear bomb and testing it. The article is designed specifically to both satirise and taunt the West over their propaganda about Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’.

The neocons, of course, have fallen for it hook line and sinker and are proclaiming the article to be proof positive of Iran’s intention to build a bomb.

As I reported earlier this week, the neocons are also falling over themselves about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) latest report on Iran’s nuclear program which the neocons are proclaiming is ‘overwhelming evidence’ that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. As I have shown, it actually does nothing of the sort, but the neocons are hoping that you don’t actually read the report to find that out for yourselves.

The neocons aren’t thick; they’re actually a very bright bunch of people. The problem, however, is that, not only are they bright, but that they are also extremely arrogant to the point where they think that the public are thick enough to believe everything that the neocons tell them. While one does have to wonder about the gullibility of some people, generally the neocons deceitful ways are transparent enough for most people to see through them. Then, of course, there are those who, despite knowing what’s really going on, just simply want to believe everything that the neocons and Zionists tell them because it fits in with their own world view.

But when one steps back and takes a look at the bigger picture and then takes the time to think about things, it becomes clear that there is a lot more going on in the neocons heads than a mere paranoid fear of an Iranian existential threat to Israel. Why, when you think about it, would Iran, for example, after having gone to all the effort of building a bomb, then go and destroy it in their own desert when they could let it go off in Israel’s desert if they are so desperate to destroy Israel as the neocons and Zionists would have us believe? The reason they wouldn’t, of course, is because they know that within half an hour of such an event, several of Iran’s cities would likely be turned into sheets of glass in retaliation. One wonders what makes the neocons and Zionists so arrogant that they think the Iranians are willing to sacrifice themselves and many of their fellow Middle Easterners just to get at the Israelis. As I’ve said before, there’s the rhetoric and the propaganda and then there’s the geo-political realities. The more rabid the neocons and Zionists become then the easier it is to distinguish between the two.

As I and many others have said before, there is not a skerrick of any hard evidence whatsoever to even suggest that Iran is building a nuclear weapon or has a nuclear weapons program.

The whole issue of Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’ is simply a propaganda ploy by the neocons and Zionists to get world public opinion to support an attack against Iran in order to allow Israel to confront and then destroy Iran’s allies, Hamas and Hezbollah, who stand in the way of the Zionist dream of creating a Greater Israel.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NEOCONS STILL PUSHING THE ‘IRAN HAS A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM’ NONSENSE DESPITE TOTAL LACK OF ANY EVIDENCE

Paragraph 35 on page 7 of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 2011 report on Iran’s nuclear program, released on 9 June 2011, states:

Based on the Agency’s continued study of information which the Agency has acquired from many Member States and through its own efforts, the Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. Since the last report of the Director General on 25 February 2011, the Agency has received further information related to such possible undisclosed nuclear related activities, which is currently being assessed by the Agency. As previously reported by the Director General, there are indications that certain of these activities may have continued beyond 2004. The following points refer to examples of activities for which clarifications remain necessary in seven particular areas of concern:
• Neutron generator and associated diagnostics: experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons.
• Uranium conversion and metallurgy: producing uranium metal from fluoride compounds and its manufacture into components relevant to a nuclear device.
• High explosives manufacture and testing: developing, manufacturing and testing of explosive components suitable for the initiation of high explosives in a converging spherical geometry.
• Exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonator studies, particularly involving applications necessitating high simultaneity: possible nuclear significance of the use of EBW detonators.
• Multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies involving highly instrumented experiments: integrating EBW detonators in the development of a system to initiate hemispherical high explosive charges and conducting full scale experiments, work which may have benefited from the assistance of foreign expertise.
• High voltage firing equipment and instrumentation for explosives testing over long distances and possibly underground: conducting tests to confirm that high voltage firing equipment is suitable for the reliable firing of EBW detonators over long distances.
• Missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature: conducting design work and modelling studies involving the removal of the conventional high explosive payload from the warhead of the Shahab-3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload.

(The bold emphasis is mine.)

For Jonathan S. Tobin, neocon writer for Commentary magazine, this somehow constitutes ‘overwhelming evidence that Iran is working on building a nuclear bomb’. However, a closer analysis of what the IAEA has actually written reveals quite clearly that not only is the ‘evidence’ not ‘overwhelming’, it does not even exist.

Let’s start with the opening sentence of the paragraph. It talks of basing its conclusions on the study of ‘information it has acquired’ from ‘many member states and through its own efforts’. That’s fine, but ‘information’ is hardly verifiable evidence let alone ‘overwhelming’. And one has to ask; what ‘Member states’ were the source of this ‘information’? The US? Israel? Both of these nations have a proven propensity to manipulate information and a track record of outright lying about other nations so-called ‘weapons of mass destruction’. The information they pass on to the IAEA cannot in any way be credible.

And what exactly was this ‘information’ anyway? Do they relate to the list of ‘seven particular concerns’?

The ‘seven particular areas of concern’ that the IAEA list are actually just a list of stuff that Iran (or anyone else) would need to do if, indeed, they were building a nuclear bomb. The only item in the list that is Iran-specific is the reference to the Shahab-3 missile; otherwise the list could equally apply to anyone or any nation seeking to build a nuclear weapon. In fact, it is a list of things both the US and Israel, and all of the other nations that have nuclear weapons, would have done as their nuclear weapon programs evolved so there is nothing at all original about the list that can be called ‘evidence’ as it is supposed to apply to Iran.

Finally, the use of words in the report like ‘possible’ and ‘may’ and ‘indications’ and ‘clarifications’ as they are used in the context of the report testify to the non-existence of any actual evidence.

Like most documents that Tobin and his fellow neocons refer to as they pedal their warmongering garbage, they hope that their audience don’t actually read them.

Monday, June 13, 2011

HAVE THE NEOCONS READ THE ‘DAMASCUS DECLARATION’ WHICH THEY ARE TOUTING AS A BLUEPRINT FOR ‘DEMOCRACY’ IN SYRIA?

Two of neoconservatism’s leading ideological lights, John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine, and Elliot Abrams of the Council for Foreign Relations, are pushing the so-called ‘Damascus Declaration’ as a blueprint for the transition of Syrian governance from the totalitarian rule of the Assad’s to ‘democracy’ after the imminent fall of the Syrian leader.

Podhoretz writes:

Elliott Abrams, longtime COMMENTARY contributor (and my brother-in-law), has an important post on his blog at the Council on Foreign Relations that ought to offer surprising grounds for hope about the future of Syria following the eventual collapse of the Assad regime—there is a working document that offers a map to a democratic future called the “Damascus Declaration.”

On checking out what Abrams has written one finds:

The bloody war that the Assad regime is waging against the people of Syria will end in the downfall of the regime. Whether that will take months or years is impossible to say; how many peaceful demonstrators and unarmed Syrians the regime will kill is equally uncertain.
But in the end the regime will fall. Then what? Those who think the Muslim Brotherhood will take over and impose a Saudi-style Islamic regime are forgetting the ‘Damascus Declaration’…

One wonders, however, if either of these neocons has actually read the ‘Damascus Declaration’ or is aware of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is actually a party to the Declaration.

Furthermore, if I were a neocon, I’d be worried about some of the aims of the ‘Declaration’ – particularly the bit where it says it is committed to:

the liberation of the occupied territories and regaining the Golan Heights for the homeland, and enabling Syria to carry out an effective and positive Arab and regional role.

I doubt very much if the neocons support the idea of ‘liberating the occupied territories or the Golan Heights’ so you have to wonder what the neocons are thinking by supporting the ‘Damascus Declaration’. Or maybe they know something that the rest of us don’t. What other event in the Middle East could be such a game-changer as to render the ‘Damascus Declaration’ completely academic?

Perhaps the neocons hope that nobody actually reads the ‘Damascus Declaration’ - least of all the Syrian people.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

DESMOND TUTU SUPPORTS AUSTRALIAN’S B.D.S. ACTIONS AGAINST APARTHEID ISRAEL

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Despite the Australian major political parties condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli apartheid, and even Bob Brown of the Australian Greens party who, as Antony Loewenstein suggests, has spoken against the BDS campaign for purely political reasons, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has endorsed the campaign by penning a letter of support to the Mayor and Councillors of Marrickville in Australia for their BDS actions. One can only hope that those Greens that have chosen to condemn the BDS movement in order to pander to current political public opinion in Australia – and that includes Bob Brown – will now reconsider their position and support the BDS campaign.

Bob Brown is out of step with the grass roots of the Green movement on this issue. He must get back into step because he will not be gaining any votes by maintaining his current position; indeed, he’ll be losing them!



Thanks to Sonja Karkar of Australian Friends of Palestine for bringing this to our attention.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

THE NEOCONS ARE GETTING DESPERATE: NOW THEY’RE TRYING TO BRIBE THE U.N. INTO NOT RECOGNISING PALESTINE.

And that’s effectively what the neocons are advocating as they support Republican Steve Chabot in his efforts to push a bill in Congress that calls on America to stop giving money to the United Nations “if the General Assembly adopts a resolution in favour of recognizing a state of Palestine outside of or prior to a final status agreement negotiated between, and acceptable to, the State of Israel and the Palestinians”.

Apart from the obvious issue of morality here, there’s also the not insignificant fact that the US is already in debt to the UN to the tune of around $1 billion and has been for years. The neoconservatives are really scraping the bottom of the barrel if they feel the need to have to resort to these sorts of tactics in order to try and get what they want.

But it’s hardly likely to work.

I doubt if there is any nation on the planet that would be tempted to make their decision about which way they intend to vote when it comes to an issue like Palestinian statehood based on whether the US decides to pay its debt or not.

America’s right-wing and the neoconservatives demonstrate once again exactly what values it is that ‘they’ hate about ‘us’; arrogance, self-righteousness and the belief that money – money, incidentally, they haven’t actually got – can influence the morality of nations. No wonder the US is in such a mess.

Friday, June 03, 2011

IRAN: A SQUEEZE HERE, A SQUEEZE THERE…

When Ian Tomlinson, an innocent newsvendor, died on 1 April 2009 after a scuffle with security forces near the Bank of England in London during an anti-G20 protest, did the Iranian government demand that Britain launch an immediate investigation into his death? One might imagine that the British would be more than a bit upset that another nation was poking its nose into its affairs in this way.

When Marine veteran Jose Guerena died in a hail of gunfire in his own home in Tucson, Arizona, when a SWAT team invaded his house on 5 May 2011, did the Iranian government demand that the US launch an immediate investigation into his death? Again, one might imagine that the US would be more than just a little annoyed that Iran was poking its nose into US affairs.

So is there any reason why the British and the US would be demanding that Iran launch an immediate investigation into the death of Haleh Sahabi who recently died of a heart attack in Iran after a scuffle with security forces as she attended her father’s funeral? Is there any reason why Iran should not tell the British and the US where to stick their demands?

As tragic and as pitiful and as unwarranted as all of these deaths are, none of these nations has the right to interfere with the other in this way. It’s tantamount to infringing on the others’ sovereignty. It’s the sort of thing that can actually start wars.

Ah… now I see.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

TURNING THE HEAT UP ON IRAN – AGAIN

Last week I wrote how Iran has been put back on the front burner after having been left to simmer on the back of the stove while the Western right-wing mainstream media dealt with all the other distractions in the Middle East like revolution in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, etc., and, of course, the crisis over Palestinian statehood and Fatah’s reconciliation with Hamas.

At the end of that post I wrote how we should expect the heat on Iran to be turned up even higher over Iran’s nuclear program as the threat of a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence creeps closer and the Palestinian leaders, both Fatah and Hamas, head to the UN (Fatah literally, Hamas spiritually. I doubt the US will allow any Hamas representative into the country). It seems, however, that I’m not alone in the view that Iran’s undenied pursuit of nuclear energy has been abused by Israel, the US and their allies for political purposes to both demonise Iran in the eyes of Western public opinion and also to alienate Iran from its regional neighbours; Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker (subscription only at this time) also questions the veracity of the claims made about Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program. Hersh claims simply, as I have for years, that, despite all of the claims the Israelis, the West and their allies make about Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program, there is not one single piece of hard evidence whatsoever that is able to support any of these claims.

Now, I don’t have anywhere near the kind of following on my humble blog that Seymour Hersh has at The New Yorker so I don’t expect a massive reaction to my words from the right-wing Zionists and their supporters in the West. But because Seymour Hersh wields a lot more influence that I’m ever likely to, reaction to his words from the Zionists and their neoconservative supporters particularly, is assured. And, sure enough, they couldn’t help themselves. Hersh’s article is barely hot of the press and already there are a couple of articles in the right-wing press screaming desperately that Hersh is wrong and that there is ‘considerable evidence’ of Iran seeking ‘nukes’ though neither article actually points the reader to where that considerable body of evidence is to be seen.

Jonathan Tobin, writing in the neocon comic Commentary says that Iran’s leader “Sayyed Ali Khamenei has claimed no interest in nuclear weapons”, but “the Iranians have made their pursuit of nukes a major source of national pride”. But what Tobin deceitfully neglects to mention is that the ‘major source of national pride’ is not the pursuit of nuclear weapons, as Tobin disingenuously attempts to imply, but rather the pursuit of nuclear energy for the purposes of generating electrical power; a pursuit the Iranians are proud of and have never denied undertaking.

Tobin also arrogantly suggests that Hersh should be presenting “real evidence of Iranian innocence”; but why should he? Is not the US a nation that purports to hold values based on a system of justice where the onus is upon the accuser to provide evidence of guilt rather than the accused needing to provide evidence of their innocence?

There’s also a fearmongering editorial in The Washington Times today. It runs on basically the same lines as Tobin’s piece in Commentary but adds that Iran is not just an existential threat to Israel but also “an existential threat to countries in the Middle East”. Clearly, the editors of The Washington Times is relying on the naivety and ignorance of their audience who, perhaps, are unaware of the fact that Iran has not invaded any nation nor declared war on any other nation and has absolutely no reason to go to war with any nation unless, of course, it is in self defence. The fact is; it is not that Iran is an ‘existential threat’ to Israel or, indeed, anyone else in the region, but that Israel and their Western allies are an existential threat to Iran as Israel seeks to confront Iran in order to then eliminate their other enemies closer to home, Hamas and Hezbollah who Israel and the US regard as Iran’s ‘proxies’, who stand in the way of Israeli territorial ambitions of creating a Greater Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people and the people of south Lebanon.

Despite Israel, the US and their allies continual bleating about Iran’s ‘nuclear weapons program’, there is still not one skerrick of hard evidence that Iran has any such program.

Israel on the other hand…