Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tel Aviv is the biggest threat to the US' ' as 7,500 US officials serve Israeli interests

Source: Press TV

An international lawyer says while the US Intelligence Community (IC) considers Israel the greatest threat to America’s national interests, there are about 7,500 US officials “who do Israel’s bidding,” serving Tel Aviv’s interests with no reservation.

In an article published on Press TV website, Franklin Lamb noted that a study commissioned by the US Intelligence Community earlier this year, has reached the conclusion that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel.

“It’s … an 82-page analysis [entitled: Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East] that concludes that … Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community,” Lamb added.

The IC-commissioned study clearly stated that Israel is grossly interfering in the internal affairs of the United States through spying and illegal US arms transfers.

“This includes supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and approximately 7,500 US officials who do Israel’s bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate the media and agencies of the US government which should no longer be condoned.”

According to the report, the analyst added, IC believes that Israel leadership, with its increasing support of the 700,000 illegal settlers on the occupied West Bank “is increasing out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the Middle East.”

The IC report also argued that as a result of Tel Aviv’s current brutal occupationist and belligerent policy, it “cannot be salvaged any more than apartheid South Africa could be.”

“…as American power and influence recedes, the US commitment to belligerent oppressive Israel is becoming impossible to defend or execute given paramount US national interests which include normalizing relations with the 57 Islamic countries.”

Advising the US government to avoid “entangling alliances that alienate much of the world,” the IC noted that instead of getting militarily involved in the Middle East on behalf of Israel, the US should undertake “the repairing relations with Arab and Muslim countries including the drastically curtained use of drone aircraft.”

“US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing widely perceived illegal US wars on Israel’s behalf. This view is increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public.”


What is behind the global stock market rally?

By: Andre Damon

Source: Global Research

Despite a string of disastrous economic figures, stock markets throughout the world are surging.

In the past year, the US Dow Jones Industrial Average and the British FTSE 250 have each risen by 20 percent, while the German DAX has shot up by 39 percent. The NASDAQ, consisting mainly of US-based technology companies, has already eclipsed its previous record, set in November 2007, while the Dow is within 600 points of its previous high.

The continued rise on stock exchanges comes as manufacturing activity in Europe, China and the United States slumps to its lowest level in three years. The European economy as a whole is contracting. In the latest raft of dire economic data, released Thursday, US durable goods orders recorded their sharpest fall since 2009. US economic growth for the second quarter was revised downward from an already anemic 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent.

How is one to explain the meteoric rise in stock values even as the global economy is sliding into a deeper slump?

The boom in stock prices is an expression of a global redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top. The social conditions of the working class have been driven relentlessly downwards, while trillions of dollars have been turned over to the banks, mainly for the purpose of financial speculation.

This process is particularly evident in the United States, the center of world capitalism and the center of the global economic crisis.

The three major stock indexes have nearly doubled in value since 2009, and the fortunes of the super-rich have risen accordingly. The richest 400 billionaires in the US had a net worth of $1.27 trillion in 2009. This already obscene figure shot up to $1.7 trillion in this year’s list, an increase of 33 percent in just three years.

CEO pay has followed a similar course. The average CEO of one of the 350 largest US companies took home $12.14 million in 2011, up from $12.04 million in 2010 and $10.36 million in 2009, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

But for the working population, the situation is exactly the opposite. Between 2009 and 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, the number of people in poverty in the United States grew by 2.6 million, to 49 million. Mass unemployment has been utilized as a lever to impose wage cuts in every sector of the economy.

Since the official end of the recession, in June of 2009, the average duration of unemployment has nearly doubled from 23 weeks to 38 weeks. The percentage of the working-age population that is employed has fallen, as anemic job growth barely keeps pace with the increase in the population and hundreds of thousands of laid-off people give up looking for work.

For those workers who still have a job, real hourly wages have fallen by about 1.0 percent. The earnings of a typical household fell by 1.7 percent in 2010 alone.

The increase in the rate of exploitation of workers has translated into huge cost savings for corporations and record profits in every year since 2009, further swelling the incomes of the super-rich.

In addition to the direct impoverishment of the work force, stock markets have been buoyed by the influx of cash from the world’s central banks.

Within the last month, the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have all taken new measures to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the financial markets. The US Fed took the most dramatic step of the three, initiating an open-ended program to buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities every month, taking these toxic assets off of the banks’ balance sheets.

The ostensible purpose of these moves is to lower interest rates, revive the housing market, and increase the amount of money available for corporations to expand and hire new workers. But instead of productively investing the money, the corporations and banks are either hoarding it or pouring it into the stock market and other forms of speculation.

The total amount of cash held by major US corporations stood at $1.7 trillion in the second quarter of this year. Apple, the technology giant, is a case in point. It held $98 billion in the first quarter of this year, $110 billion in the second, and $117 billion in the third. Meanwhile, its market valuation keeps expanding and there is already talk that the company, which is currently valued at over $600 billion, will become the world’s first $1 trillion corporation.

The enormous sums of money being pumped into the financial system are inflating asset values and bankrolling record payouts for executives, whose compensation is often tied to share prices.

The inflation of asset values cannot continue indefinitely amid the deepening economic slump. The growth of share values and other financial assets, based mainly on a near-zero interest-rate policy and virtually free money from the central banks, is inflating a new and even more gigantic speculative bubble than the one that burst in September of 2008.

The upsurge in stock values does not reflect a healthy economy, but one that is deeply diseased, in which the intractable contradictions of the capitalist system are exacerbated by a ruthless and avaricious financial aristocracy that dictates policy in the United States and internationally.

The US ruling class, first under Bush and then under Obama, responded to the crash of 2008, which was the inevitable outcome of the financialization of American capitalism, by handing over trillions of dollars in public funds to the banks. The aim was to reflate the values of financial assets in order to maintain and increase the wealth of the financial aristocracy.

World governments have followed suit, with each bailout of the banks accompanied by an ever more ferocious attack on workers. Everything must be cut: wages, pensions, health care, education—everything, that is, but the wealth of those responsible for the crisis.

The financial vultures who control the main investment houses send stock markets soaring with each new assault on jobs and social programs—as they did Friday after the Spanish government, presiding over a country in deep recession, unveiled a draft budget that slashes spending by $51 billion next year.

The key to the “success” of finance capital to this point has been its ability to isolate and quash outbreaks of working class resistance, relying on the services of the trade union apparatuses and their allies among the various pseudo-left organizations (the New Anti-capitalist Party in France, the Socialist Workers Party in the UK, the Left Party in Germany, SYRIZA in Greece, the International Socialist Organization in the US).

However, the actions of the central banks and governments have resolved nothing. The euphoria on the stock exchanges rests on rotten foundations. The rising markets are one expression of an unprecedented intensification of social tensions that are already beginning to erupt in the form of explosive class struggles on a world scale. A new, revolutionary leadership must be built in every country to unite these struggles and arm them with a socialist and internationalist program.


As Popular Opposition Grows Austerity Budgets imposed across Europe

By: Alex Lantier

Source: Global Research

The French, Spanish and Greek governments all announced multibillion-euro austerity plans yesterday in the face of massive popular opposition.

The French budget presented by the Socialist Party (PS) government of President François Hollande is the harshest since the austerity budgets of the early 1980s under PS President François Mitterrand. It calls for €30 billion (US$38.6 billion) in deficit cuts, including €20 billion in tax increases and €10 billion in spending cuts.

The Spanish budget calls for €13.4 billion in spending cuts in the fourth major package of austerity measures passed this year following the election of the conservative Popular Party (PP) last November. The ministries whose budgets will be most severely cut include Agriculture, Industry and Education.

Greece’s coalition government—which includes the right-wing New Democracy (ND), the social democratic PASOK, and the Democratic Left (DIMAR)—announced that it will unveil a plan Monday for €11.5 billion in spending cuts. Plans for these cuts were first announced in July, but the government initially failed to reach an agreement on how to distribute them.

In each country, the new austerity measures are being pushed through in defiance of public opinion. On Wednesday, millions of workers throughout Greece walked off the job and hundreds of thousands protested in a one-day national strike. On Tuesday, tens of thousands of protesters opposed to the cuts marched to the parliament in Madrid and were brutally attacked by riot police.

In France, Hollande’s popularity ratings have fallen to 43 percent as job losses and austerity measures antagonize voters who elected him in May.

These events demonstrate the impossibility of fighting social austerity in Europe by supporting the bourgeois “left” parties, the European Union (EU), or European capitalism. In a matter of months, the promises made by the official parties have proven worthless.

Hollande cynically promised that “austerity is not an unavoidable destiny.” The Greek coalition government received the tacit support of the bourgeois “left” SYRIZA party, which ran against it ostensibly on an anti-austerity platform, but then pledged to be a “responsible” opposition that would not call strikes and would continue to support the European Union.

As for the PP—elected on the basis of mass hostility to the austerity policies of the previous social democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government—its pretense that it would not pursue Greek-style austerity in exchange for an EU bailout of its banks is fast evaporating.

The PP’s cuts to pensions and social spending and its attacks on labor rights are the most severe since the collapse of the fascist Franco dictatorship. Reductions in national state spending of €16.5 billion, €27 billion and €65 billion passed in January, April and July—combined with deep cuts in regional government spending—are sinking Spain’s economy.

One quarter of Spanish workers and 52.9 percent of Spanish youth are unemployed, and despite pledges for bank bailouts the economy is contracting. The International Monetary Fund anticipates a 1.2 percent contraction of Spain’s economy, though the government’s cuts are based on apparently overoptimistic projections of a 0.5 percent contraction.

Spain now pays more to service its debt than it spends on unemployment benefits or the budgets of its national ministries. Since the global economic crisis began in 2008, its public debt has more than doubled, jumping from 35.5 percent to 75.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and the interest rate it pays on its debt has surged as a result of speculation against Spanish bonds by the banks and finance houses.

Spain’s banks are poised to request another €60 billion bailout as the Spanish real estate collapse continues to undermine their balance sheets.

The effect of such policies is most clearly seen in Greece, whose economy is now projected to plunge by 7 percent this year, instead of the previously projected 4.7 percent. Since the Greek debt crisis began in 2009, its economy has contracted by roughly one quarter.

Der Spiegel reported that, due to this continuing collapse, EU authorities expect Greece’s budget shortfall to reach €20 billion. They will then demand more cuts in Greece beyond the €11.5 billion Athens is currently proposing. As laid out in July, these include €5 billion in cuts to the Labor Ministry budget (mainly to pensions) and attacks on Greece’s devastated public hospitals.

These massive cuts—the corresponding amounts would be $802 billion in the United States, £82 billion in Britain and €136 billion in Germany—will ravage a society in which those workers who have managed to keep their jobs have already seen wage cuts of 30-50 percent.

The negotiation of the cuts will place take amid deepening conflict within Greece’s political elite. There is speculation that DIMAR might collapse, as at least three of its 17 parliamentarians have declared they plan to vote against the cuts.

Greece’s Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) recently released a list of thirty politicians, including former ministers and top parliamentarians of ND, PASOK and SYRIZA, who are suspected of tax evasion or other forms of fraud.

France’s austerity package cuts €10 billion from the national budget of €376 billion by imposing a wage and hiring freeze on public sector workers, imposing a 5 percent across-the-board cut in the ministries’ projected budgets, and cutting €2.7 billion in health care spending. The Defense, Finance and Ecology ministries are reportedly particularly hard hit, with losses respectively of 7,234, 2,353 and 1,276 jobs.

As for the €20 billion in tax increases, half are to be achieved by closing certain corporate loopholes, and half by increasing taxes on individual households.

The PS government and the media have trumpeted the fact that roughly half of the individual tax increases will be borne by “affluent” households. This is an attempt to obscure the anti-working class character of the Socialist Party’s policies. The tax rate for the top income tax bracket is to be raised to 45 percent, and yearly wage income over €1 million is to be taxed at 75 percent.

To seriously examine these measures, one must briefly enter the realm of French tax policy—which means confronting what Karl Marx, in The Class Struggle in France, called the “sheer swindling” that characterizes France’s financial affairs.

In 2010, the top 1 and 10 percent of the French population took in €181 billion and €515 billion, respectively. Nonetheless, the increase in the top tax bracket and the tax on wage income over €1 million combined will raise only €530 million nationwide. The total of €6 billion raised by increasing taxes on the affluent, including by closing some corporate loopholes, does not amount to a substantial portion of their income.

In part, this is because of a complex system of tax exemptions that Hollande’s measures do not seriously touch. These exemptions allowed billionaire Liliane Bettencourt to pay a 9 percent effective tax rate in 2010 on the hundreds of millions of euros she earned on her $24 billion fortune.

In part, also, it is because most income in the ruling class is interest income on capital holdings, not wages—which means that Hollande’s “75 percent tax” does not seriously impact most members of the financial aristocracy.

Nonetheless, the austerity budget was denounced by sections of the press, with Figaro Magazine titling its lead article “Enough is Enough.”

Sections of the bourgeoisie supporting the PS are arguing that the current austerity budget is only a down payment on deeper attacks on the working class being prepared by the PS government. These include proposals for labor market “reforms” to facilitate hiring, firing and forcing workers into short-time work, as well as for €30-50 billion in cuts to corporate funding of social security.

An editorial in Le Monde stressed the need for a “true ‘competitiveness shock’ in our country.” It stated: “The 2013 budget does not really contribute to it. Promised cuts in the labor market and the financing of social spending will be decisive in this regard. Today’s budget shock will only be meaningful if it is rapidly complemented by a powerful competitiveness shock to give France the electroshock therapy it needs.”


Tens of thousands hit Tbilisi streets in 'largest-ever' rally on eve of election (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Source: Russia Today

Around 200,000 people have reportedly come out in support of opposition party Georgian Dream in what may become the biggest ever rally to hit Tbilisi. Georgia is set to cast votes in a parliamentary poll Monday.

­The Georgian capital was strewn with blue colors Saturday as the South Caucasian country's parliamentary campaign comes to a climax.

One of my promises has already come true: all of Georgia is standing united today,” opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili told tens of thousands people gathered at central Freedom Square to show their support for him. “All Georgia tells the authorities…

…leave!” responded the crowd

The authorities cannot pretend they did not know what happens in our prisons,” continued the billionaire tycoon, referring to a recent torture scandal that led to the resignations of several top officials and left President Mikhail Saakashvili playing spin-doctor for himself at the UN General Assembly.

Reports on the rally's turnout vary, with Russia's RIA Novosti agency estimating the demo to be 200,000 strong, while the multinational channel MTRK MIR says 300,000 people were in attendance. MIR remarks that Tbilisi's last most massive rally was held in 2010, and gathered around 100,000 people

Tycoon-turned-politician Ivanishvili founded his public movement, Georgian Dream, in December 2011. In April 2012, it transformed into an opposition coalition, called Georgian Dream–Democratic Georgia. The current election is generally viewed as a struggle between billionaire Ivanishvili, whose wealth at $6.4 billion equals nearly half of Georgia's economic output, and President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Saakashvili’s role in Georgian history remains highly controversial. In its "Doing Business 2012" report, the World Bank named Georgia a "top reformer." According to that assessment, the South Caucasus country, which serves as an important transit route for oil and gas to the West, showed an astounding improvement since 2005 in terms of the ease of doing business, climbing from 112th to 16th place.

But the opposition has little praise to spare for the leader. Nino Burdzhanadze, the ex-chairperson of the Georgian Parliament and Saakashvili’s former ally, claims that "we have less democracy today than before the revolution", as Spiegel quotes her. Like many others, Burdzhanadze accuses the president of authoritarian dictatorship that has suppressed the opposition, while engaging the country in all-around corruption and money laundering.

Saakashvili, in his turn, says the Georgian opposition are simply Kremlin agents.

Ivanishvili has taken great pains to deny the claim. During the rally, he said he did not go to politics after some foreign powers told him so, but because he could not come to terms with the escalating poverty and injustice that are choking the country.

"Saakashvili's system must be destroyed. The fate of the country is being decided at these elections," Ivanishvili told the rally, promising to create “a truly democratic country free of violence or fear.

Georgia's opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili and the leader of the Georgian Dream political party gestures during a rally in central Tbilisi, on September 29, 2012. (AFP Photo / Vano Shlamov)

A parallel opposition demonstration was held in Georgia’s second largest city, Kutaisi. Rally organizers say tens of thousands people are there.

Ivanishvili’s party, whose platform seems to be centered on displacing the incumbent president, is expected to come out as the main rival to Saakashvili’s United National Movement.

UNM’s convention Friday gathered around 70 thousand people at a central stadium in Tbilisi. On Saturday, Saakashvili also addressed voters in the port city of Poti, stressing the upcoming election may be a turning point for the country. “A force which wants to destroy everything we have created in the last nine years is keen to grab power,” he told supporters, hinting at the coalition headed by Ivanishvili.

Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili enters the podium to address a showpiece rally of his party three days before elections in central Tbilisi, on September 28, 2012. (AFP Photo / Vano Shlamov

‘Wake up, Poland!’: Thousands take to streets in Warsaw for antigovernment protest

People demonstrate on September 29, 2012 in Warsaw against Poland's centrist government in a rally called by unions, an ultra-Catholic movement and politicians (AFP Photo / Janek Skarzynski)

Source: Russia Today

Tens of thousands of people marched through the capital of Poland on Saturday in protest over government reforms and a new law that raises the retirement age, and in solidarity with the Catholic Church, which was recently stripped of its TV station.

­Dubbed 'Wake Up, Poland,' the rally was organized by the country's conservative Law and Justice opposition party, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the trade union Solidarity and other groups. The event was Poland's biggest demonstration in several months.

Thousands of participants gather at mass before a march against government policies organized by main right-wing opposition party Law and Justice (PiS) and Solidarnosc trade union at Three Crosses Square in Warsaw September 29, 2012 (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

­Addressing protesters gathered in Warsaw's Castle Square, Kaczynski said that, “These huge crowds mean strength. They mean that Poland has awakened. More and more Poles will be awakening. The cup of evil has overflowed. We Poles, we Polish patriots say ‘no,’” Reuters reported.

A key issue for the protesters is a new retirement law enacted by the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk that will gradually raise the country's retirement age to 67, from 60 for women and 65 for men. The change will be phased in for men by 2020 and for women by 2040. Starting in 2013, the retirement age will be increased by three months every year. The law is the subject of furious public debate throughout the country.

A participant is seen with a taped mouth as a sign of a silent protest during a march against government policies organized by main right-wing opposition party Law and Justice (PiS) and Solidarnosc trade union in Warsaw September 29, 2012 (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

­Participants also expressed anger at a decision by the Polish National Broadcasting Council to strip a Catholic TV station, TV Trwam, of its right to broadcast digitally for free. Protesters claimed the move was a blow to freedom of expression and an attempt to silence their conservative Catholic worldview.

According to an AP report, the broadcasting council claimed the station lost its transmission rights because of a lack of transparency in its funding.

"Our presence here is a sign of opposition to the discrimination against Catholic media and TV Trwam," leading conservative politician Zbigniew Ziobro told protesters, the AP reported.

The rally was nonviolent, with many protesters singing patriotic and religious songs and holding up rosaries and portraits of the Virgin Mary. Before the protest march, a Catholic Mass was held at Three Crosses Square in downtown Warsaw.

Demonstrators hold Polish national flags during an opposition rally in Warsaw on September 29, 2012 (AFP Photo / Janek Skarzynski)

A boy holds a Polish national flag as thousands of participants gather at mass before a march against government policies organized by main right-wing opposition party Law and Justice (PiS) and Solidarnosc trade union at Three Crosses Square in Warsaw September 29, 2012 (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

American Special Forces deployed to Iraq: US general

US re-deploy's its military forces in Iraq.

Source: Press TV

The American military has recently deployed a unit of US Army Special Operations soldiers to Iraq in what the US claims is an effort to offer advice on counter terrorism and intelligence.

The United States is again pushing for an agreement with the Iraqi government to redeploy small units of American soldiers to Iraq on military training missions and also to accelerate weapon sales to the country in a move to secure the oil-rich Persian Gulf nation as an ally, said the American commander in charge of the effort, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the New York Times reported this week.

According to Caslen, the United States is encountering difficulties in the delivery of weapons desired by Iraq, particularly anti-aircraft systems, so that it can prevent Baghdad from seeking required arms from other countries, including Russia.

Iraq, according to the report, is negotiating with Russia to purchase air defense systems that could be delivered much faster than those acquired from the United States.

Meanwhile, Washington is reportedly providing Baghdad with refurbished anti-aircraft guns, which would not be delivered until June.

The US military pulled out of Iraq at the end of 2011 after intense talks to maintain American troop presence in the country collapsed since the Iraqis refused to agree to provide legal immunities for the occupying forces.

Lobbying campaign takes Iranian dissident group off US terror list

A supporter of the Iranian opposition group based abroad, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (Mujahedeen-e-Khalq) shouts slogans as celebrate the removal of the group from the US black list of designated terror groups in Washington, DC on September 28, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mark Garten)

Source: Russia Today

A group with a history of bombings and murders, including the killing of US citizens, which also happens to oppose the current Iranian government, has paid its way off of a US blacklist, Lajos Szasdi, an international affairs analyst told RT.

­The US Secretary of State announced the removal of the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MKO) from its list of terrorist organizations on Friday. Originally one of the main participants of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, it is now in opposition to the government in Tehran, and with the help of Israeli special forces carries out “assassinations of nuclear scientists in Iran and obtains information on the Iranian nuclear program,” Szasdi says.

RT: Why has Washington chosen now to remove Mujahadeen-e-Khalq from its list of terrorist organizations?

Lajos Szasdi: This group, the MKO, has been apparently very successful in gaining the support of both the Republican and Democratic parties, civilians, as well as retired members of the military, senior officers included. So apparently, there has been a very successful lobbying campaign before the government to overturn the government’s decision, made in 1997, to place the MKO on the terrorist list of the Treasury Department.

There is also another issue. Washington might find this group highly useful. It seems that they have made use of it since 2007, in trying to destabilize the internal situation in Iran, and apparently with the cooperation of the Israeli secret service, the Mossad. They have used this group to conduct, it is said by some authors, assassinations of nuclear scientists in Iran and obtain information on the Iranian nuclear program. And they've carried out some acts of sabotage – they caused the explosion of a missile factory as well. There is some strategic interest in terms of current and ongoing, bad relationships, to say the least, to put it mildly, between the United States on one side and Iran on the other.

And this group has also been carrying out a highly successful lobbying campaign, which is very interesting because according to some sectors in the press, if you spoke for ten minutes in favor of the group in a speech, you could have gotten twenty thousand dollars. And they have been paying for speeches defending their cause, so they would be removed from the list of being terrorists, between ten and fifty thousand dollars. So, it is quite interesting.

RT: Do you think this will influence the upcoming Iranian elections, is that the intention?

LS: The Iranian candidates will try to portray this event, the fact that the US government removed this group from the list of terrorists … it would be a further justification of any hardening of the position that the United States has no interest in finding a negotiated solution, but on the contrary – they are supporting its enemies.

It is going to, in any case, work to the detriment of the relationship between the West and Iran, and in particular the United States and Iran. It is going to favor taking hardening positions towards the West and the United States. I think it is quite inevitable in light of the rhetoric coming from Washington, alongside that coming from Tel Aviv regarding Iran and the Iranian nuclear program. It might not make much difference, but it certainly is going to be ammunition for those that would try to suppress the idea of any dialogue with Washington, because after all, Washington is not offering any olive branch for such a kind of dialogue.

Rebel support pushes Syria deeper into the abyss of bloody sectarianism – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (AFP Photo / Timothy A. Clary)

Source: Russia Today

Those who insist on a ceasefire only by the Syrian government encourage the opposition to intensify its hostilities, and “take upon themselves an enormous responsibility,” Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

­The shortest way to stop the loss of life in Syria, Lavrov said, is to adhere to the commitments in the Geneva communique, which were agreed upon by the Action Group as follow-up of the Kofi Annan Plan.

“We proposed to adopt a resolution in the UN Security Council that would endorse the Geneva communique as the basis for negotiations at the beginning of the transitional period, but this proposal had been blocked,” Lavrov noted.

“Those who oppose the implementation of the Geneva communique,” he explained, “in fact push Syria even deeper into the abyss of bloody sectarian strife.”

Lavrov noted that the deepening of internal conflict in Syria is of particular concern because the militarization of the conflict is combined with open calls for foreign intervention.

“We have consistently called for the consolidated efforts of the international community to compel the government and its opponents to immediately cease the violence and come to the negotiating table,” Lavrov said, adding that so far, there has been no progress in reaching unanimity on how to create conditions towards achieving that goal.

The foreign minister also expressed concern about the growing number of war crimes on both sides of the conflict, as recorded in a recent report by the UN Human Rights Council.

“Extremist organizations including al-Qaeda have become more active in Syria – they perpetrate terrorist attacks against innocent civilians and civil infrastructure,” Lavrov said.

The situation in the region requires the international community to use a comprehensive approach, and to reject “simplified and ideology-driven patterns and double standards,” the FM asserted.

He also condemned any unilateral sanctions “imposed by a state or a group of states sidestepping the United Nations to advance their political goals.”

“We have no doubt that such sanctions, especially when they are applied extra-territorially, weaken the unity of the international community and undermine the effectiveness of its efforts,” Lavrov said, adding that the events of recent years have clearly shown that “unilateral actions that violate international law and go beyond the decisions of the UN Security Council or distort the substance of these decisions do not do any good.”

He urged the UN to discuss the consequences of such actions and to resume discussions on the humanitarian limits of sanctions, a topic that, he said, somehow “faded away” in the UN.

Meanwhile on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would contribute an additional $15 million in “non-lethal gear” to the “civilian opposition” trying to oust Assad. Another $30 million will be sent in humanitarian assistance to help people affected by the continuing conflict, Clinton said at a Friends of Syria meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA.

"It is no secret that our attempts to move forward at the UN Security Council have been blocked repeatedly, but the United States is not waiting," Clinton said.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Will Israel Launch a False Flag Against Iran to Start War?


Source: Global Research

Will Israel Blow Up Something and Falsely Blame It On Iran?

According to U.S. officials, Israel is training and supporting Iranian terrorists who are trying to topple the Iranian government. Those Israeli-funded terrorists have faked documents to falsely indicate that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. 1

Israel has admitted to previous use of false flag attacks to justify war against Middle Eastern nations.

For example, Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this).

Numerous high-level government officials have warned that a false flag may be launched against Iran to start a war: 2

Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski (who helped to create Al Qaeda to fight the soviets in Afghanistan) told the Senate that a terrorist act might be carried out in the U.S. and falsely blamed on Iran to justify war against that nation.

Daniel Ellsberg – the famous Pentagon Papers whistleblower – said “if there is another terror attack, “I believe the president will get what he wants”, which includes war with Iran

Robert David Steele – a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer – says that elements within the U.S. government are trying to carry out a false flag operation and blame it on Iran

Former high-level CIA officer Michael Scheuer – who was the head of the CIA unit tasked with capturing Bin Laden – says that Israel or Saudi Arabia could be setting up Iran as a way to foment war 3

Ron Paul has warned of a “Gulf of Tonkin type incident” in Iran

Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says many ideas have been proposed for provoking a war, including building boats that look like Iranian boats, and then putting Navy Seals on them to “start a shoot-up”

The highly influential Brookings Institution wrote a report in 2009 called “Which Path to Persia?” which states (pages 84-85):

It would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be.Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

A former member of the British Parliament stated that “there is a very real danger” that the American government will stage a false flag terror attack in order to justify war against Iran

A number of very high-level former intelligence officers – including several that personally briefed presidents every day on matters of national security – stated that better communications between the U.S. and Iran were needed to “reduce the danger of … covert, false-flag attack”

One of America’s top constitutional and military law experts – Jonathan Turley – writes today:

Many critics have argued that there is a concerted effort to push the United States into a war with Iran by supporters of Israel. Patrick Clawson, director of research for the highly influential pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) think tank, seemed intent to prove those rumors true this week in comments as a luncheon on “How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout.” Clawson casually discusses how to create a false flag operation to push the U.S. into war to overcome any reluctance by the public. We have been discussing how many leaders like Senator Joe Lieberman had begun to use the same rhetoric that led to the last two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the suggest timing of an attack has been tied to the presidential election.

In his remarks, Clawson helpfully lists a series of historical events used to push the country into war like the Gulf of Tonkin incident that gave us the Vietnam War. Clawson expressed his frustration in acknowledging that it is “[v]ery hard for me to see how the United States President can get us to war with Iran.” However, there is hope. Clawson explains that the “traditional way” to get the country into a war is through false flags or manufactured incidents where Americans are killed. Thus, he observes, “we are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians, we could get nastier about it. So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war.”

The fact that one of the leading analysis for the WINEP would feel comfortable in making such comments is itself quite chilling. It indicates that such discussions have become sufficiently regular that it has creeped into public discussion. It is a measure of the secret pressure building to push this country into a third major war despite our crippling economic conditions and losses in military personnel. The assumption in Washington is that neither Romney nor Obama could oppose such a war. Even if Obama does not publicly support Israel, the assumption is that political allies of Israel in Washington can guarantee that we would offer extensive military loans and intelligence. Even if there is a delay in such military loans and support, the assumption is that Israel can go to war with the understanding that the United States will cover a significant portion of the costs. Moreover, in his remarkably candid remarks, Clawson shows how the U.S. can easily be forced into direct combat by pushing Iran to simply kill some Americans or sink a few of our ships. Then members would be clamoring for revenge. Notably, the Israelis have been ratcheting up the war rhetoric in pushing Iran, which predictably has now reserved the right to engage in a preemptive strike not just against Israeli but U.S. interests. We would then, again, find ourselves in a war without any public debate or collective decision.

While Clawson adds a passing caveat that he is not advocating such an approach, his remarks are clearly designed to show how the group can get the United States into a war for Israel if only we can get Iran to kill some of our citizens or soldiers. Those people are of course expendable props in Clawson’s realpolitik.

By the way, Clawson has been enlisted to give his insightful analysis at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He is also a member of the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. The World Bank connection is particularly interesting given the history with Paul Wolfowitz who pushed the U.S. into two disastrous wars in the Bush Administration and was rewarded with being made the head of the World Bank.

It is the callous disconnect that is most chilling in these remarks. Thousands of U.S. soldiers have died or have been crippled for life in these wars that have left the country near bankruptcy (and increasingly hostile “allies” in Afghanistan and Iraq). Those casualties and costs, however, appear immaterial in the discussion of supporting Israel in a war against Iran.

1. Top American and Israeli military and intelligence officials actually say that: Iran has not decided to build a nuclear bomb

Even if Iran did build a nuclear bomb – it would not be that dangerous, because Israel and America have so many more nukes. And see this

Attacking Iran would only speed up its development of nuclear weapons, empower its hardliners, and undermine the chance for democratic reform.

2. False flag attacks have been carried out against Iran in the past. For example, the CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister

3. Saudi Arabia has also been supporting terrorists.

SBrennan - "This is how WWIII could start...Will it be an Israeli Nuclear Sub given to them by Germany that fires first?..."

Netanyahu plays cartoonist, goes apocalyptic over ‘Iranian bomb’ at UN

Source: Russia Today

Unable to win US support for a figurative ‘red line’ on Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu drew a literal one during a speech to the UN General Assembly, and offered an apocalyptic vision of a nuclear bombing of Israel.

­Netanyahu used a large diagram of a cartoonish bomb to represent Tehran’s alleged ambition to create a nuclear weapon. The drawing was divided into three sections, with marks indicating 70 percent and 90 percent of the uranium enrichment required to build an atomic bomb.

“Iran is 70 percent of the way there, and are well into the second stage. By next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there it is only a few more weeks before they have enriched enough for a bomb,” he said.

The Israeli leader used a red marker to show the line at which he believes the world should intervene to halt the enrichment, claiming that this was the only way to peacefully resolve the issue.

“I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down – and it will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy,” he said, adding that the deadline may come as soon as next Spring.

The alternative, Netanyahu said, is a nuclear-armed Iran, which he likened to a nuclear-armed Al Qaeda. He called the Iranian leadership “apocalyptic,” and argued that they would use a nuclear weapon against Israel even if it meant the destruction of their own country.

The diagram implied that Iran is amassing enriched uranium with the intention of creating a nuclear device, and that at the 90 percent mark it would be very close to completion. Netanyahu did not offer any new evidence that Iran had overcome the numerous other scientific and technological hurdles necessary to create a nuclear weapon.

Tehran dismissed Netanyahu’s charges as “baseless and absurd.” Israel, “on a daily basis, threatens countries in the region, particularly my country with military attack,” Iran’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Asman al-Habib Es'haq Al-e-Habib said. He warned that Iran would retaliate if Israel attempted to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

Netanyahu is not the first politician to use props at the United Nations to call for international action against a sovereign country. In February 2003, then-US Secretary of State Collin Powell spoke before the UN Security Council holding a vial that he said could contain anthrax produced by Saddam Hussein. No anthrax or other alleged weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq after it was invaded and occupied by a US-led coalition

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, pauses after drawing a red line on a graphic of a bomb while discussing Iran during an address to the United Nations General Assembly.(AFP Photo / Mario Tama)

­Netanyahu has been campaigning for a “clear red line” to curb Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions since the beginning of September. The hard pressure apparently cost him a meeting with US President Barack Obama. The American leader refused to sit down to talks with Netanyahu on the outlines of the 67th UN General Assembly after the Israeli PM lashed out at Washington’s unwillingness “to set deadlines” for Iran.

The address to global leaders may well be a final warning before Israel takes matters into its own hands. The country's leadership has been relentlessly issuing warnings that it may soon stage a unilateral attack on Iran, flouting even American wishes.

Israel considers Iran an "existential" peril, given the rhetoric coming from the Islamic Republic's leaders that Israel will be eliminited.

Nevertheless, Iran insists that its nuclear program seeks to meet energy supplies and medical needs.

The US, while trying to keep Israel away from attacking Iran, believes that Tehran is yet to make a final decision on whether to use its uranium stocks to build weapons. So far, in Washington's opinion, the Islamic Republic does not appear to possess the necessary infrascture to do so.

‘Nothing will happen until November’

Netanyahu does not need to convince the entire world of his fears, as one actor is sufficient, Shikha Dalmia, senior policy analyst at the think tank Reason Foundation told RT.

“He is trying to raise the alarm level in the world over the possibility of a nuclear Iran,” she said. “But the fact of the matter is that he does not have to convince the whole world of his case. He just has to convince one country and essentially one person, and that is President Obama. Without US support for some kind of military intervention, he can draw whatever maps and charts and other graphs that he wants. It’s not going to mean a lot.”

And no matter what the US administration opts to do, it will have to wait until November, says Dalmia.

“One can argue that Iran would not be a full-fledged war, it would be a surgical strike, but it is till quite a lot,” she said. “So whether Obama is going to be able to undertake an action like that is completely up in the air, but one thing is clear: he will not want it before November, before the elections.”

Turkish premier lashes out at Russia China over Syria stance

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

News Source: Press TV

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has taken a harsh swipe at Russia and China over the great powers’ position regarding the unrest in Syria.

"The main source of disappointment is Russia. Let alone raising its voice against Syria, it stands by the massacre," Erdogan said in an interview broadcast live on Turkish television station NTV on Thursday.

The Turkish premier also lashed out at China, saying Beijing had let Ankara down by obstructing a Turkish proposal for a buffer zone on the border with Syria at the UN Security Council.

"China stands by Russia, and although (Chinese President) Hu Jintao had told me they wouldn't veto the plan (for a safe zone) for a third time, they did at the UN vote," Erdogan said.

The two veto-wielding powers of the 15-member UN council insist that the 18-month crisis in the Arab country must be resolved politically with Syrians as the sole decision-makers of their country’s destiny.

The duo have so far vetoed a UN draft resolution in July that called for tough sanctions against the Syrian government under the seventh chapter of the UN Charter and would have thus paved the way for foreign military intervention.

On February 4, Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed draft resolution on Syria at the UN Security Council. The two countries rejected the draft as “unbalanced.” They also blocked a European-drafted UN Security Council resolution against Syria on October 5, 2011.

This is while Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has spearheaded Western efforts to bring down the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by equipping the insurgents in the Middle Eastern country with financial and military resources, a bid that has only worsened the situation and dashed hopes of getting a diplomatic solution to the gridlock.

Erdogan’s bellicosity towards Turkey’s southern neighbor has, meanwhile, failed to garner domestic support. A recent poll conducted in Turkey shows only 18 percent of the population back the premier’s “flawed” policy regarding Syria.

Canadian Premier Harper skips UN General Assembly to get Jewish award

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives a speech after receiving an award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation in New York City, September 27, 2012
Photo Description: Pissed Off Canadian!
News Source: Press TV

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come under fire for skipping the 67th session of the UN General Assembly to attend a private ceremony where he received an award from a Jewish-sponsored organization.

Passing up the opportunity to address the General Assembly, Harper chose to receive the New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF) award from former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Thursday.

The Canadian official seized the opportunity to level criticism at the UN and accused its members of using the world body as a “forum to single out Israel for criticism.”

Harper further added that the policies of the Israeli regime are not to blame for “the pathologies present in that part of the world,” while reaffirming Canada’s support for Tel Aviv.

However, the Canadian prime minister’s decision not to speak at the opening of the General Assembly drew harsh criticism in Canada from opposition leaders, who called the move “absolutely ridiculous.”

“I think the message is that Canada, that the Harper government doesn’t care about the United Nations,” said Bob Rae, the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

This is the second consecutive year that Harper has shunned the UN event, preferring to send Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird in his place.

Many in Canada are concerned about Harper’s conservative policies as he is also accused of locking his government behind a wall of secrecy, defunding democratic institutions and giving away Canada’s sovereignty to the UK and the Israeli regime.

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