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 Monday, February 26, 2007

Nuclear Watchdog Says: Most of US Intelligence on Iran is Inaccurate

  Read here for full article

Most US intelligence on Iran shared with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside the country, diplomats at the IAEA have said.

The CIA and other western spy services have provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency since 2002, but none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic Republic is developing illicit weapons.

"Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat working at the IAEA was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times.

Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now (because) so little panned out."

The reliability of US information and assessments on Iran is increasingly at issue as the Bush administration confronts the emerging regional power on multiple fronts: its expanding nuclear effort, its alleged support for insurgents inside Iraq and its backing of Middle East militant groups.

The CIA faced harsh criticism for its pre-war intelligence errors on Iraq. IAEA officials, who openly challenged US assessments that Saddam Hussein was developing a nuclear bomb, say the Americans are much more cautious in assessing Iran.

American officials privately acknowledge that much of their evidence on Iran's nuclear plans and programs remains ambiguous, fragmented and difficult to prove, the report said.

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First, the US deluded itself about the war, then about the source of the weapons

  by

Patrick Cockburn

Read here full article

There is something ludicrous about the attempt by the US military in Iraq to persuade the world that the simple but devastating roadside bomb or IED (improvised explosive device) is a highly developed weapon requiring Iranian expertise.

Here is the official police report of one IED attack. It reads:

"At about 8.25am, 100 men of the X Regt with their colonel in charge, marched with their band from the military barracks at Y to their rifle range via fixed route.

When they got to place Z a land mine exploded, killing three outright and wounding 22 others, three of these died shortly afterwards.

The mine was connected to an electric battery by about 150 yards of cable. It is believed that there were only two men involved in carrying out this outrage."

This is fairly typical of a roadside bomb.

It might have happened in Iraq yesterday - except it didn't. The IED in question exploded in the town of Youghal in County Cork on 21 June 1921.

I happen to have read the Royal Irish Constabulary report on the incident, because I was born 29 years later about two miles away from the site.

IEDs have NOT changed much in the decades that followed.

They have been used everywhere from Cyprus to Vietnam.

They are cheap and easy to make, and can be detonated by a single person. They came as a nasty shock to the incoming US soldiers who invaded Iraq in 2003 because they were so well equipped to fight the Soviet army - American military procurement long ago detached itself from real conditions on the battlefield.

In early 2004 I met some US combat engineers, or sappers, charged with the lethal job of finding these bombs, which were nicknamed "convoy killers". Because the Pentagon was in a state of denial about their very existence, the sappers had received no training in locating them.

A sergeant told me that he had obtained with great difficulty an old but still valid US army handbook, printed during the Vietnam War, about IEDs.

The book had not been reissued because to do so might appear to contradict the Pentagon's line that Iraq was not like Vietnam.

The US Army is pretending that "explosively formed penetrators" are a new form of weapon which could only have been obtained in Iran. It claimed last week that the so-called EFPs had been supplied to the Shia militias and had killed 170 US troops.

But the US has been primarily fighting a Sunni insurgency, and has had only intermittent clashes with Shia militiamen.

Sophisticated weapons may be obtained in Iraq, if the money is there to pay for them. Until recently smugglers were moving weapons out of Iraq into Saudi Arabia - prices were higher there.

A favourite method of moving them was to tie the guns under sheep, so they were concealed by the wool, and to pay the shepherds to drive them across the frontier.

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 Thursday, February 22, 2007

Comparing East Asian Tigers and the Sub-Saharan African Couuntries

  by

Michael Nyamute

Read here full article in allAfrica.com Published in East African Standard

Divergent development paths charted by the so-called Tiger economies of South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa over the past 50 years have been a subject of much analysis.

The two regions were more or less at the same level of development in the early 1960s. During decolonisation in the 1950s and 1960s, many nations in Asia (particularly South East Asia) and Sub-Saharan Africa were based on subsistence and underdeveloped agrarian economies.

Today, however, many South-East Asian countries have export-oriented manufacturing industries and commercialised agriculture, while -Saharan Africa countries are still steeped in subsistence agriculture, with tiny non-competitive industrial sectors. The reasons for this are many and varied.

The Netherlands government is funding a five-year research project to examine the divergence and hopes to come up with recommendations that can inform development cooperation policies.

Even as the project gets underway, it would be good to examine some of the reasons for the divergence in economic development between the two regions.

In comparing the experience of South-East Asian economies (Tiger Economies) and Sub-Saharan Africa over the past 40 to 50 years, one needs to ask the salient question: What did the Tiger economies do differently?

It was certainly not better political systems!

Some countries were more autocratic and dictatorial than many in Sub-Saharan Africa! And it was not resource endowments.

Clear vision

So what was different?

Five issues may explain.

First, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines surged ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa countries because of clarity of purpose and direction.

The leaders clearly defined the mission and vision around which they rallied the people. Lee Kwan Yew did it in Singapore and Mahathir Mohamed in Malaysia.

In addition, the leaders did not stop at articulating a clear mission and vision.

They walked the talk.

Implementing plans has always been the undoing of most African governments, Kenya included. A government has to make a case with a clear direction and then rally people around it.

Changed status quo

Further, the leaders and the people made it clear that they were fed up with being labelled Third World. Getting dissatisfied with the status quo plays a major role in firing up a people to improve their lot.

Second, the Asian Tiger economies realised that to make headway, they had to fix the basics, including infrastructure.

No economy can go far without the necessary physical infrastructure (transport and communication) and institutional infrastructure (policy frameworks, legal and judicial systems, law and order). Good policies and rules are necessary, but not enough: They must also be enforced efficiently and honestly.

Education

Third, availability of manpower and labour production is crucial. A country cannot develop without adequate and relevant human skills. And education is key to developing necessary manpower.

However, education must not only be accessible to a wide population, but also be relevant to the needs of the economy. They singled out education as a means of improving productivity.

But emphasis was placed on universal elementary and compulsory high school education. Money was also spent on improving college and university system. Korea is a case in point.

Rapid expansion of basic education and decline of inequality contributed to its ability to achieve sustained and broad-based growth with income distribution maintained at an acceptable level.

The challenge for Sub-Saharan Africa is to switch from low wages to rising labour productivity as a source of comparative advantage. This means developing an educated workforce, quality technical skills and efficient infrastructure to lower transaction costs.

Work ethic

Fourth, is the question of discipline and work ethics. A disciplined and hard-working population translates into higher productivity.

Discipline translates into respect for law and order and respect for public and private property. A rowdy culture cannot take a country far. A first class road network will still grind to a halt due to bad driving habits.

There is a lot to learn from Singapore where even chewing and throwing gum on the street is an offence.

Finally, agriculture has a crucial role in economic development.

The Asian tigers modernised and mechanised agriculture and hunger and food shortages ceased being problems.

The governments then devoted their energies to industrial and service sectors.

What challenges do the two regions face in this new millennium?

  1. low wages will cease to be a significant source of comparative advantage and countries must focus on improving labour productivity.

  2. good governance and strong institutions will become crucial.

  3. the world economy is shifting from manufacturing to services. Countries must seize the new opportunities.

  4. a free Press must be nurtured.


To fulfill the role, it should be free from covert and overt censorship and fear.

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 Monday, February 19, 2007

The United States Congress: A Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG)

  Read full article in Xymphora, HERE "The hate that (used to) dare not speak its name"

In the last six months, we’ve made enormous advances in understanding the unwholesome hold that Zionists have over the American Government.

I am optimistic that the truth will continue to come out (six months from now, people behind the curve are going to look quite silly).

Just recently, those who were brave enough to point out the massive influence of the Lobby weren’t just considered to be mistaken, or even crazy.

The issue was literally unspeakable (at least in polite society). Zionism was the hate that dare not speak its name. The Zionists don’t yet realize that they lost the battle and the war once these issues became debatable.

The United States is currently under a Zionist Occupation Government. (ZOG)

Still don’t believe me?

This past week the Democrats started to exercise their newly acquired power with a hearing of the Middle East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the ‘next steps in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process.’

Do you think they invited:

  • Jimmy Carter?

  • Bishop Tutu?

  • Nelson Mandela?

  • An neutral expert on the Middle East?

  • A Palestinian?
  • Nope.

    The three invitees – the only three invitees , all Jewish– were (drum roll, please):

    1. Daniel Pipes (who, it is claimed, was forced on the committee as a witness by the Republicans);

    2. Martin Indyk; and

    3. David Makovsky.
    Makovsky works for the ultra-Zionists at WINEP (the Lobby’s think tank).

    Indyk, the original founder of WINEP and a former research director at AIPAC, is the Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution (Saban is the Israeli who is biggest donor to the Democrats and thus the leading member of the Jewish Billionaires Club).

    I really don’t need to describe Daniel brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene” Pipes.

    Indyk comes across as moderate but non-committal.

    Makovsky as a complete hard-ass, and Pipes as absolutely, over-the-top, insane.

    I imagine the three of them arriving at the hearing arm-in-arm, deftly performing Jewish folk dances, singing Hava Nagila, waving the Israeli flag, and sporting their medals from Israeli for service to Zionist colonialism.

    For guys like these, a ‘debateabout the Palestinians consists of a discussion of the appropriate caliber of ammunition to use to shoot Palestinian children in the face.

    It is not unreasonable to wonder why all the witnesses are on one side of the issue (and for similar shenanigans – more of the ‘diet plan’ – from the same bunch of politicians, see here).

    Is Congress just the New
    Knesset?

    From the comments to the excellent note by Daniel Levy linked to above (and see also here), I select that of madison1776 :

    “So the Jewish Committee chair Tom Lantos (Likud-CA) and the Subcommittee chair Gary Ackerman (Likud-NY) will hold a hearing on the I-P conflict with:
  • David Makovsky (a former US citizen now an Israeli who works for the AIPAC cutout, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy),
  • Martin Indyk (an Australian brought to the US by indicted AIPAC spy, Steve Rosen, to work as his assistant at AIPAC and somehow became a US citizen and our ambassador to (not from) Israel) and

  • Daniel Pipes (National Socialist-Philadelphia).
  • That's it! NO Arab-Americans. NO Palestinians. NOT even one goddam Gentile.

    Is this a joke?

    AND by the way, the staff director of the committee is David Makovsky's brother, Alan Makovsky.

    I am not making this up.”
    and from Mark Weinberg:

    “This is nuts.

    As a Jew and a Zionist, I believe that this type of arrogance – using the US congress as a venue to promote right-wing zionist propaganda – is going to blow up in all our faces someday. How dare they?

    Does it ever occur to Lantos or Ackerman that they are Americans (sort of, in Lantos's case) and should act like it.

    This is truly disgusting.

    Read ‘The Truth About Camp David’ by Clanton Swisher (or HERE) to find out who these characters are.

    As a Jew, this is just embarrassing.

    It's like a bunch of Catholics holding hearings on birth control with the witnesses being Father Mulcahy, Msgr. Herlihy, and Cardinal O'Connor.

    Madison 1776 is mad. The real Madison would puke.”

    I really have to wonder what evidence would be required to prove the existence of the ZOG to those hold-outs who still refuse to believe it.

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     Sunday, February 18, 2007

    The US Has Been Antagonizing Russia: Putin is Fed Up and Fires Back

     

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, in one of his harshest attacks on the United States in seven years in power, accused Washington on Saturday of attempting to force its will on the world.

    In a speech in Germany, Putin accused the United States of making the world a more dangerous place by pursuing policies aimed at making it "one single master".

    Attacking the concept of a "unipolar" world in which the United States was the sole superpower, Putin told a gathering of top security and defense officials:

    "What is a unipolar world?

    No matter how we beautify this term it means one single center of power, one single center of force and one single master.

    It has nothing in common with democracy because that is the opinion of the majority taking into account the minority opinion.

    People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves."
    -Read here for more


    "Does Putin Not Have a Point?" Read here for more

    by Pat Buchanan
    (Patrick J. Buchanan was twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the Reform Party’s candidate in 2000. He is also a founder and editor of the new magazine, The American Conservative. Now a commentator and columnist, he served three presidents in the White House, was a founding panelist of three national television shows, and is the author of seven books. )

    What did we do to antagonize Russia?

    When the Cold War ended, we seized upon our "unipolar moment" as the lone superpower to seek geopolitical advantage at Russia's expense.

    1. Though the Red Army had picked up and gone home from Eastern Europe voluntarily, and Moscow felt it had an understanding we would not move NATO eastward, we exploited our moment. Not only did we bring Poland into NATO, we brought in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and virtually the whole Warsaw Pact, planting NATO right on Mother Russia's front porch. Now, there is a scheme afoot to bring in Ukraine and Georgia in the Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin.

    2. America backed a pipeline to deliver Caspian Sea oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey, to bypass Russia.

    3. Though Putin gave us a green light to use bases in the old Soviet republics for the liberation of Afghanistan, we now seem hell-bent on making those bases in Central Asia permanent.

    4. Though Bush sold missile defense as directed at rogue states like North Korea, we now learn we are going to put anti-missile systems into Eastern Europe. And against whom are they directed?

    5. Through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations, and "human rights" institutes such as Freedom House, headed by ex-CIA director James Woolsey, we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and Russia herself. U.S.-backed revolutions have succeeded in Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia, but failed in Belarus. Moscow has now legislated restrictions on the foreign agencies that it sees as subversive of pro-Moscow regimes.

    6. America conducted 78 days of bombing of Serbia for the crime of fighting to hold on to her rebellious province, Kosovo, and for refusing to grant NATO marching rights through her territory to take over that province. Mother Russia has always had a maternal interest in the Orthodox states of the Balkans.
    These are Putin's grievances.

    Joe Lieberman denounced Putin's "Cold War rhetoric." But have we not been taking what cannot unfairly be labeled Cold War actions?

    How would we react if China today brought Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela into a military alliance, convinced Mexico to sell oil to Beijing and bypass the United States, and began meddling in the affairs of Central America and Caribbean countries to effect the electoral defeat of regimes friendly to the United States?
    How would we react to a Russian move to put anti-missile missiles on Greenland?

    Gates says we have been through one Cold War and do not want another.
    But it is NOT Moscow moving a military alliance right up to our borders or building bases and planting anti-missile systems in our front and back yards.

    Why are we doing this?

    This country (US) is not going to go to war with Russia over Estonia. With our Army "breaking" from two insurgencies, how would we fight? By bombing Moscow and St. Petersburg?

    Just as we deluded ourselves into believing this war would be a "cakewalk," that democracy would break out across the Middle East, that we would be beloved in Baghdad, so America today has undertaken commitments, dating to the Cold War and since, we do not remotely have the resources or will to fulfill.

    We are living in a world of self-delusion. Somewhere in this presidential campaign, someone has to bring us back to earth.
    The halcyon days of American Empire are over.

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    Obama Also Kissing Up the Israeli and US Jewish Lobby: He is No Different from Hillary Clinton

      Quote:

    "Sen. Barack Obama.... another pig in the trough.

    It appears that the primary, critical component for political success in the US is not who will be the best candidate for the US , but who will be the best candidate for Israel.

    America needs leaders who place America first, second, and third.

    Obama has proven himself just another whore from that bordello on the Potomac." Read here for more


    Read Here full article

    United States Senator Barack Obama, a Democrat from Illinois who is competing for his party's presidential nomination, told Haaretz on Thursday that the United States should help protect Israel from its "dangerous" enemies.

    "My view is that the United States' special relationship with Israel obligates us to be helpful to them in the search for credible partners with whom they can make peace, while also supporting Israel in defending itself against enemies sworn to its destruction," he said.

    "Israelis want more than anything to live in peace with their neighbors, but Israel also has real - and very dangerous - enemies," Obama said.

    Obama, the first black candidate with a real chance at the Democratic nomination, intends to present his policy regarding Israel soon, and his staff has been drafting a speech on the subject.

    In his speech, Obama intends to remove any doubts that the Democratic Party's donors and constituents, many of whom are Jewish, may have about his support for Israel.

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     Saturday, February 17, 2007

    AUSTRALIA: Visiting Jewish Professor, Raphael Israeli, Calls for Limit to Islamic Migration Because Muslims are Violent

      Read here full article and HERE and HERE

    A Jewish academic from Hebrew University, Raphael Israeli, has called for a limit on Islamic migration to Australia, because Muslims were violent.

    Raphael Israeli's extreme view was quoted in Australian Jewish news, where he said Australia should cap Muslim migration or risk being "swamped by Indonesians."

    Ironically, the majority of Australia's Islamic migration is from the Middle East.

    He said that Muslims had a reputation of "manipulating western values" and that Muslims are violent, "Greeks or Italians or Jews don't use violence."

    He also said that Muslims wanted to create Islamic law in their adopted countries.

    The Jewish professor was visiting Australia from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was brought here by Shalom Institute of the University of NSW. The Australia-Israel affairs Council helping sponsor his activities.

    Keysar Trad of the Islamic friendship association said Professor Israeli should have been "screened before entering Australia."

    He condemned the remarks and said "this type of academic does nothing but create hatred, suspicion and division."

    There were also calls now from Keysar Trad to screen The Australia-Israel Affairs Council to make sure they don't endorse the comments made by the Professor.

    The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council yesterday announced it had cancelled plans to co-host public appearances by Professor Raphael Israeli, including events in Melbourne next month.

    "AIJAC is very concerned by Professor Israeli's implication that the Muslim community as a whole is a threat or a danger," the council's executive director, Colin Rubenstein, said. "His comments are both unacceptable and unhelpful and AIJAC cannot be associated with them."

    The Jewish community immediately distanced themselves and condemned it, reminiscent of Jewish hardship in Europe in the early 1900s.

    CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of deputies, Vic Alhadeff, condemned the remarks as "bigotry." He said in a statement yesterday, "The Jewish community dissociates itself from the comments by Israeli academic Raphael Israeli that Australia should limit the number of Muslim immigrants."

    He said that the Jewish board and community does NOT believe in "racial or ethnic quotas or stereotyping."

    In addition to the statement, he said "These comments do not reflect the position of the Jewish community and are unhelpful in the extreme. The Jewish community has a strong and proud record in fighting racism, and condemns all expressions of bigotry."

    Opinion in Australia has been against the Professor, especially by the Jewish community, who say they are "appalled by the ignorant and racist Professor."

    Jews in Australia tend to be more liberal than Jews in America.

    One New York Jewish man said to Australia's Fairfax agency "has this professor been to NY or heard of the Russian Jewish Mafia?"

    Immigration expert Dr James Jupp from the Australian National University said talk of limiting immigration for Muslims was the kind of idea "put forward by crackpots" — even though there is no legal barrier to doing so.

    He said banning immigrants on religious grounds is possible as all migrant applications are done in other countries which are not subject to our racial vilification laws.

    Proving religious discrimination “would be extremely difficult” as immigrants cannot access our legal system before they arrive in Australia. ”I don’t think you’d have a leg to stand on, you couldn’t prove it,” Dr Jupp said.

    He added that officials could easily hide religious discrimination behind the various other requirements immigrants must meet to enter this country.

    The Muslim population in Australia is approximately 2% and more than half of all these Muslims live in Sydney. Muslims in Sydney account for approximately 5% of Sydney's total population. Australia's largest and most high profile Muslim group is the Lebanese. More than three quarters of Lebanese Australians live in Sydney.

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    More Proof: ISRAELIS Were Shadowing the 9/11-WTC Hijackers in 2001

      by

    Justin Raimondo

    Read here full article

    It was the tail-end of a bleak November, 2001: a pall of shocked numbness hung over the country, and a rising war hysteria had nearly everyone cowed. Americans were just beginning to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and focus on what had happened, and how to react.

    It was very early on the morning of the 23rd when, scanning the headlines, I came across a Washington Post story by John Mintz: "60 Israelis Detained on Tourist Visas Since Sept. 11."

    Odd, I thought, why go after the Israelis, probably the least likely suspects?

    The subhead was even more intriguing: "Government Calls Several Cases 'of Special Interest,’ Meaning Related to Post-Attacks Investigation."

    Apparently organized groups of Israelis had been arrested, and "dozens" held without bond. Inquiries to the Justice Department had yielded this response:

    "In several cases, such as those in Cleveland and St. Louis, INS officials testified in court hearings that they were 'of special interest to the government,’ a term that federal agents have used in many of the hundreds of cases involving mostly Muslim Arab men who have been detained around the country since the terrorist attacks.

    "An INS official who requested anonymity said the agency will not comment on the Israelis. But he said the use of the term 'special interest’ means the case in question is 'related to the investigation of September 11th.’"
    It wasn’t some anti-Semitic conspiracy crank sitting in his parents’ basement, or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who first linked Israeli nationals to the events of 9/11: it was the U.S. government, specifically its law enforcement arm.

    This I found utterly astonishing, because it was clear to me, at that point, that there was a link, albeit one largely unknown in its specifics.

    Why else were the feds casting their nets around for Israelis rather than Arabs, Persians, and, yes, Muslims?

    There was more.

    The original Post piece was updated: the number of detained Israelis had risen to 120. I had been following the story in this space, and noting its significance, in the weeks before Carl Cameron broadcast his famous four-part report on Fox News, which exposed the extensive Israeli spy network in this country and opened with this electric charge:

    "There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it.

    A highly placed investigator said there are – quote – 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, – quote 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'"

    The story, as it developed in the months – and years – to come, sent me down an investigative path that has yet to reach its endpoint. What we know is this: in the months prior to 9/11, bands of Israelis posing as "art students" [.pdf] had carried out what seemed like a coordinated probing of U.S. government facilities, including locations not known to the public.

    A secret government report detailing the activities of the "art students" – and their background as highly trained in explosives and the art of telecommunications interception – was leaked to the media, and the story was again in the headlines. But not for long.

    This is potentially one of the most important 9/11-related stories ever reported, and yet the number of serious investigative pieces done on it can hardly be counted on the fingers of one hand.

    Antiwar.com has been following this from the outset, and you can go here for a complete archive of my columns on the subject, plus mainstream media pieces.

    Of particular interest is the coverage by The Forward, the oldest newspaper of the Jewish community in North America. They reported on one key aspect of the Israeli-9/11 connection:

    The story of the five employees of a moving van company apprehended hours after the twin towers were struck.

    They had been observed in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, overlooking the Hudson, with a clear view of the burning towers.

    A woman had seen them from the window of her apartment building overlooking the parking lot: they came out of a white van, and they were jumping up and down, high-fiving each other with obvious glee.

    Their mood, it could be said, was celebratory. They were also filming the towers as they burned, and taking still photos.

    The woman called the cops, who put out a "be on the lookout" alert.

    I’ll let Christopher Ketcham, author of a blockbuster new report appearing in Counterpunch, tell the rest of the story:

    "At 3:56 p.m., twenty-five minutes after the issuance of the FBI BOLO, officers with the East Rutherford Police Department stopped the commercial moving van through a trace on the plates.

    According to the police report, Officer Scott DeCarlo and Sgt. Dennis Rivelli approached the stopped van, demanding that the driver exit the vehicle.

    The driver, 23-year-old Sivan Kurzberg, refused and 'was asked several more times [but] appeared to be fumbling with a black leather fanny pouch type of bag’.

    With guns drawn, the police then 'physically removed’ Kurzberg, while four other men – two more men had apparently joined the group since the morning – were also removed from the van, handcuffed, placed on the grass median and read their Miranda rights.

    They had not been told the reasons for their arrest.

    Yet, according to DeCarlo’s report, 'this officer was told without question by the driver [Sivan Kurzberg], 'We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.’ Another of the five Israelis, again without prompting, told Officer DeCarlo – falsely – that 'we were on the West Side Highway in New York City during the incident.'"

    This is, I believe, the most detailed account yet published of what actually happened that fateful day, and Ketcham clearly shows that the Israelis were certainly aware of why they had been stopped.

    They practically had to drag them out of the van at gunpoint, and it is surely suspicious that they immediately starting denying any role in "the incident."

    How did they know they weren’t being stopped for a traffic violation?

    No wonder they were held for 71 days, mostly in solitary confinement, and interrogated. Some repeatedly failed polygraph tests when questioned about possible surveillance activities. The FBI agents who interrogated them reportedly called them "the high-fivers," because of their odd behavior at Liberty State Park.

    The Forward confirmed that the company they ostensibly worked for, Urban Moving Systems, of Weehawken, New Jersey, was in all likelihood a Mossad front.

    Dominik Suter, the owner, fled to Israel the day after a police raid on his office. The five detained Israelis were sent back to Israel, where they claimed to be innocent victims of harassment.

    Here they are on an Israeli talk show. Of course they don’t mention any of the above, or that they were found to have multiple passports in their possession, along with $4,700 stuffed in a sock and maps of New York City highlighted in certain spots.

    Ketcham quotes one local law enforcement official as saying:
    "It looked like they’re hooked in with this, it looked like they knew what was going to happen when they were at Liberty State Park."
    Ketcham, utilizing the public record, news reports, and his own sources, has painted the clearest portrait yet of the "urban mover" Mossad cell, and how they shadowed the five hijackers who took over American Airlines flight 77, which struck the Pentagon to such devastating effect.

    Living, working, and socializing within a six-mile radius of Bergen County, these two groups circled each other until, on 9/11, as a dark pall fell over Manhattan and much of the rest of the world, one applauded the others’ handiwork.

    Ketcham’s story of how the FBI investigation was scotched by high-ups ought to outrage every patriotic American citizen. He cites a source at ABC News – which covered this story on 20/20 in a treatment I consider a whitewash – as saying "They feel the higher echelons torpedoed the investigation into the Israeli New Jersey cell. Leads were not fully investigated."

    The same source agrees with the general assessment of CIA officers, and intelligence experts such as James Bamford and Vincent Cannistraro, that Urban Moving Systems was a covert Israeli intelligence-gathering operation, most likely engaged in electronic interception and other means of spying on radical elements within Northern New Jersey’s Muslim milieu.

    In the course of this, and given their geographical proximity, it is not beyond reason to posit that the Urban Movers were watching the future hijackers, listening to their phone conversations, reading their emails, and otherwise keeping fully apprised of their activities.

    What made the Israelis jump for joy, as one counterintelligence officer is said to have put it, is that "The Israelis felt that in some way their intelligence had worked out – i.e., they were celebrating their own acumen and ability as intelligence agents."

    The story of how this line of investigation was suppressed, both in the law enforcement community and in the media, is a saga in itself.

    I know that Ketcham worked on this story long and hard, and had supposedly firm commitments from both Salon.com and The Nation to publish his work. Both projects were killed at the last minute, in one case an hour before it was scheduled to run.

    What’s particularly stupid, in the case of Salon, is that they ran his previous piece, on the "Israeli Art Student Mystery," years ago – and now refuse to follow up their own story.

    As for why the government investigation into the Israeli connection was scotched, Ketcham cites a former CIA counter-terrorism officer: "There was no question but that [the order to close down the investigation] came from the White House."

    I have to tell you that it hasn’t been easy following this story over the years.

    I was told in the beginning, and in no uncertain terms, that this line of investigation is forbidden, that it’s "too hot to handle," and, implicitly, that the truth and the facts have to take second place to political correctness.

    To even mention this story, in certain quarters, is considered prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism. Case closed.

    In spite of a determined effort on the part of some to redefine anti-Semitism to constrain critics of Israeli government actions, there is an equally determined pushback – a real movement to treat Israel as a nation like any other.

    That is, as a nation with its own interests, which, if truth be told, it pursues aggressively, and not only in the occupied territories and Lebanon, but also right here in the U.S.

    The story of Israel’s underground army in America – and its foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks – is based on facts, not fantasies, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with anti-Semitism – and everything to do with establishing the full context of the worst terrorist attack in our history.

    9/11 was the opening shot of a battle we are still fighting to this day, as our soldiers fall in Iraq, and the hints of a new front in our endless "war on terrorism" – Iran – are hardly subtle.

    That signal event launched the war hysteria that has only lately begun to peter out.

    One of the major reasons why the public has turned against the Iraq war has been the revelation that the "intelligence" we acquired about Iraq’s alleged "weapons of mass destruction" was manipulated, cherry-picked, and outright falsified in order to make the case for the invasion.

    If it turns out that the Israelis really did knowthat they picked up "chatter" from the groups they were watching, and gained fairly detailed knowledge of the hijackers’ plans – it will alter how we think about 9/11, and change our perception of the perpetual war that ensued.

    Go here to order the Ketcham piece, which is not yet online. You can only get it on dead-tree, but, believe me, it’s worth it.

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     Friday, February 16, 2007

    Instigating War with Iran: Should We Trust CNN's News Stories ?

      Read Here full article "CNN's Nuke Plant Photos Identical for Both Iran and N. Korea!" on Brad's Blog and HERE

    CNN reported on its website on:

    1) Nukes in Iran, on Wednesday (9th Feb 2007)

    2) Nukes in North Korea, on Saturday (12th Feb 2007
    BOTH stories use the same aerial photograph of the same purported nuclear power plant!

    One is supposed to be in Iran and the other is supposed to be in North Korea!

    For the North Korea story, it had a satellite photo described in the caption as "An aerial photo of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear plant outside of Pyongyang". (see below)


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    Last Wednesday the CNN website ran a story on nuclear weapons in Iran with an image captioned "Satellite image of a suspected Iranian nuclear-related facility". Read here. with the following photo:

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    All of which begs at least these questions:

    1. Who is the source for these photos?

    2. Was it the same person in both instances?

    3. Were they supplied by someone who may have an interest in ginning-up fears over the two so-far unconquered players in Bush's "Axis of Evil"?

    4. Or will it be another CNN staffer who steps forward again to take the fall for this one?

    5. And finally, a question that has been asked all too frequently here over the past year: What the hell has happened to the media in this country?
    6. Are there simply no national media organizations left who know how to do the job of reporting accurately, responsibly and in such a way that doesn't send us to war again due to their utter failure to do their jobs correctly?!

      (Yes, Judith Miller of The New York Times, we're talking to you...but you're not the only one).
    In March 2004

    Same Photo used by another "News " outlet called Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ( RFE/RL). RFE/RL is a U.S. Government funded "news" organization broadcasting over Europe!

    The RFE/RL story (March 2004) which shows the SAME nuclear facility as seen in the photos used with both of the CNN stories:



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     Monday, February 12, 2007

    George W. Bush's Aussie Lap Dog Barking at Barack Obama, the US Presidential Candidate

      Read here full article

    Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard has been criticised for suggesting that Barack Obama, the US presidential candidate, would be popular among terrorist leaders because of his promise to recall troops from Iraq if he wins.


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    John Howard, an ally of US President George Bush in the war on Iraq, denied that his remarks were diplomatically inappropriate.

    But critics in Australia and from both major parties in the US rejected Howard’s comments as interference in another country’s affairs.

    Obama himself responded to Howard's comments by challenging him to send another 20,000 Australian troops "if he is ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq". "Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric," he said in Iowa.

    On Saturday Obama, a Democratic senator, formally threw his hat into the ring as a contender for the 2008 US presidential vote.

    The US has close to 140,000 troops in Iraq while Australia has 1,400.

    Speaking to reporters on Monday Howard rejected criticism of his comments saying that Australia was making "a very significant and appropriate contribution" to the Iraq war.

    But Howard’s Australian critics warned the 'undiplomatic' remarks could harm ties with the US, accusing the prime minister of putting his personal relationship with Bush before Australia's interests.

    Opposition leader Kevin Rudd said the prime minister's comments could damage the Australia's relations with a future US administration which could be run by a Democrat.

    Meanwhile politicians from both the Republican and Democratic parties in the US have condemned Howard’s comments on Obama as interference in domestic politics.

    Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator from Oregon, described Howard's comments as "bizarre". "We'll make out own judgments in this country with respect to elections," he said.

    Elsewhere Jon Cornyn, a Republican senator from Texas, said that while Howard may have had a point, it was NOT his position as the leader of a foreign country to comment.

    Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Convention, criticised Mr Howard's strong links to US President George W Bush.

    "The prime minister has been a great friend of George Bush's, he has been with him lock-step from day one on this war in Iraq," Mr McAuliffe said.

    "He and George Bush, they can go off and talk to each other, we don't care what he says."

    Democrat senator Ron Wyden said it was hard to be polite about Mr Howard.

    Australian Politics

    The row over Howard's comments comes as a new poll released on Monday showed his support among Australian voters waning ahead of elections expected later this year.

    About 65 per cent of more than 1,400 voters in a telephone survey by ACNielsen supported Rudd, the highest popularity rating for an opposition leader in the poll's 35-year history.

    Rudd was also the preferred choice for prime minister by 48 per cent of those polled, compared to 43 per cent for Howard.


    UPDATE: READ here and here

    Prime Minister John Howard is refusing to back away from his attack on US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, whose Iraq policy he says will create chaos in the Middle East and be a victory for terrorists. "I do not retract the statements that I made yesterday," he told parliament.

    Australian OPPOSITION Leader Kevin Rudd today went on the offensive against Prime Minister John Howard over his verbal attack on US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, warning it might damage the Australia-US alliance.

    Mr Rudd said Mr Howard should be censured over his comment yesterday that terrorist network al-Qaeda would be hoping for a Democratic candidate to win next year's US presidential election.

    Labor's censure motion refers to Mr Howard's “false statement” that his comments were directed only at Senator Obama and criticises Mr Howard for damaging the Australia-US alliance.

    It also accuses Mr Howard of “gross insensitivity” for lecturing the United States on Iraq when the war has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 US servicemen and women.

    Senator Obama shot back, demanding Mr Howard send 20,000 extra Australian troops to Iraq if the battle in Iraq mattered so much to him.



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    Pentagon Inspector-General Confirmed: Link Between Al-Qaida and Iraq was COOKED by Douglas Feith to Start Iraq War

      Read here full article in International Herald Tribune

    Read HERE related article: "The Power of Israel in United States" - New Book by Prof. James Petras

    The Pentagon inspector general has finally confirmed that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's do-it-yourself intelligence office cooked up a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to help justify an unjustifiable war.


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    Douglas Feith

    (Rumsfeld's) team headed by Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, developed "alternative" assessments of intelligence on Iraq that contradicted the intelligence community and drew conclusions "that were NOT supported by the available intelligence."

    Feith hid his findings from the CIA. Then Vice President Dick Cheney used them as proof of :
  • cloak-and-dagger meetings that NEVER happened,

  • long-term conspiracies between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden that didn't exist, and

  • — most unforgivable — "possible Iraqi coordination" on the 9/11 attacks, which NO serious intelligence analyst believed.
  • The inspector general did NOT recommend criminal charges against Feith .

    The reason ? Because Rumsfeld or his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, approved their subordinate's "inappropriate" operations.

    But there is no comfort in knowing that his dirty work was approved by his bosses.

    The renegade intelligence buff said he was relieved. We're sure he was.

    All that does is add to evidence that the Bush administration knowingly and repeatedly misled Americans about the intelligence on Iraq.

    It is important to recall how Feith got into the creative writing business.

    1. Top administration officials, especially Vice President Cheney, had long been furious at the CIA for refusing to confirm the delusion about a grand Iraqi terrorist conspiracy, something the Republican right had nursed for years.

    2. Their frustration only grew after 9/11 and the CIA still refused to buy these theories.

    3. Paul Wolfowitz (currently the President of World Bank) would feverishly sketch out charts showing how this Iraqi knew that Iraqi, who was connected through six more degrees of separation to terrorist attacks, all the way back to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

    4. But the CIA kept saying there was NO reliable intelligence about an Iraq-Qaeda link.

    5. So Douglas Feith was sent to review the reports and come back with the answers Cheney wanted.
    Feith's team gave a September 2002 briefing at the White House on the alleged Iraq-Qaeda connection. The briefing had NOT been vetted by the intelligence community (the director of central intelligence was pointedly not told it was happening) and "was NOT fully supported by the available intelligence."

    The false information included a meeting in Prague in April 2001 between an Iraqi official and Mohamed Atta, one of the 9/11 pilots.

    It NEVER happened.

    But Feith's report said IT DID.

    Cheney will still NOT admit that the story is false.

    Senator Carl Levin, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee noted that the cooked-up Feith briefing had been leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard magazine so Cheney could quote it as the "best source" of information about the supposed Iraq-Qaeda link.

    The Pentagon report is one step in a long-delayed effort to figure out how the intelligence on Iraq was so badly twisted — and by whom.

    It is now up to Levin and Senator Jay Rockefeller, the current head of the intelligence panel, to give Americans the answers.

    Senator Jay Rockefeller will have to finally determine :

  • how old, inconclusive, unsubstantiated and false intelligence was transformed into fresh, reliable and definitive reports . and then

  • used by Bush and other top officials to drag the country into a disastrous war.


  • *****

    Who is Douglas Feith ?
    Profile

    Douglas Feith was born on July 16, 1953, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Jewish parents, Rose and Dalck Feith; he is one of three siblings.

    Feith's father Dalck was a member of the Betar a Revisionist Zionist youth organization, in Poland, and a Holocaust survivor who lost his parents and seven siblings during the Holocaust. He came to the United States during World War II, and became a generous donor to the Republican party.

    Douglas Feith first entered government as a Middle East specialist on the National Security Council (NSC) under Ronald Reagan in 1981.

    He transferred from the NSC Staff to Pentagon in 1982 to work as Special Counsel for Richard Perle, (another Jewish NeoCon) who was then serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security.

    Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger promoted Feith in 1984 to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy.

    When Feith left the Pentagon in 1986, Weinberger gave him the highest Defense Department civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service medal.

    Feith also served on the board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a think tank that promotes a military and strategic alliance between the United States and Israel.

    Feith favors US support for Israel and has promoted US-Israeli cooperation.

    Both Feith and his father have been honored by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a conservative organization that often makes common cause on foreign policy issues with conservative Christian organizations.

    Feith also cofounded the organization One Jerusalem to oppose the Oslo peace agreement. Its purpose is "saving a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel."

    He is also Director of Foundation for Jewish Studies, which "offers in-depth study programs for the adult Washington Jewish community that cross denominational lines."

    Feith was a member of the study group which authored a controversial report entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, a set of policy recommendations for the newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The report was published by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies without an individual author being named.

    According to the report, Feith was one of the people who participated in roundtable discussions that produced ideas that the report reflects. Feith pointed out in a Sept 16, 2004 letter to the editor of the Washington Post that he was not the co-author and did not clear the report's final text. He wrote, "There is no warrant for attributing any particular idea [in the report], let alone all of them, to any one participant."

    Feith criticized the Oslo Accords and the Camp David peace agreement mediated by former President Jimmy Carter between Egypt and Israel.

    In 1997, he published a lengthy article in Commentary, titled "A Strategy for Israel". In it, Feith argued that the Oslo Accords were being undermined by Yasser Arafat's failure to fulfill peace pledges and Israel's failure to uphold the integrity of the accords it had concluded with Arafat.

    Two years later, Feith and other former U.S. officials signed an open letter to President Bill Clinton calling for the United States to oust Saddam Hussein.

    Feith was part of a group of former national security officials in the 1990s who supported Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress and encouraged the U.S. Congress to pass the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. That act was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton.

    Upon leaving the Pentagon, Feith established the Washington, DC law firm of Feith & Zell. His law firm colleague, Marc Zell, was resident in Israel.

    Feith is now on the faculty of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he teaches a course on the Bush administration's antiterrorism policy.

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     Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Barack Obama for President

      Barack Obama announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, challenging Sen. Hillary Clinton

    Read here full article by NEDRA PICKLER

    Barack Obama says it is time for a new generation to occupy the White House. He declared himself on Saturday as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    He is considered the biggest threat to front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., despite his relative lack of experience as an elected official.

    "I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington," Obama told more than 10,000 people who braved the cold to see the kickoff of a campaign to put the first black in the Oval Office. "But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change."

    Obama embraced the idea Saturday.

    "Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done," he said. "Today we are called once more - and it is time for our generation to answer that call."

    Obama did not mention his roots as the son of a man from Kenya and a woman from Kansas, his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia or that the history he would make if elected.

    Instead, he focused on his life in Illinois over the past two decades, beginning with a job as a community organizer with a $13,000-a-year salary that strengthened his Christian faith.

    He tied his announcement to the legacy of Lincoln, announcing from the building where the future 16th president served in the Illinois Legislature.

    "We can build a more hopeful America. And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America," Obama said. His voice rose to a shout as he spoke over the cheers from thousands who braved temperatures in the teens.

    "I know it's a little chilly, but I'm fired up," Obama said as he took the podium with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia, 8, and Sasha, 5, with U2's "City of Blinding Lights" blaring on the speakers.

    Local authorities estimated the crowd at 15,000 to 17,000.

    Brenda and Michael Talkington, who live near Muncie, Ind., said they have never been involved in a political campaign, but both were laid off from jobs with a lighting company and plan to volunteer for Obama.

    "He makes you feel like it is possible to change things," Brenda Talkington said.

    She seemed to be reading from Obama's songbook.

    He said the first priority must be to end the war in Iraq.

    "It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war," he said. He noted that he was against the invasion from the start.

    He repeatedly referred to Lincoln and his success in moving a nation. The Old State Capitol was where Lincoln launched his unsuccessful 1858 U.S. Senate campaign against Stephen Douglas with his famous "House Divided" speech. During his presidential campaign in 1860, Lincoln used rooms in the second floor as his political headquarters, and his body lay in state there in 1865.

    Obama said it is because of Lincoln that Americans of every race face the challenges of the 21st century together.

    "The life of a tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible," Obama said. "He tells us that there is power in words. He tells us that there is power in conviction. That beneath all the differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people. He tells us that there is power in hope."

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     Saturday, February 10, 2007

    PART I: The Power of Israel in the United States - by Prof. Emeritus James Petras

      Read here article by Stephen Lendman on James Petras' book: The Power of Israel in the United States

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    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog site is at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.

    James Petras

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

    He's a noted academic figure on the US Left and a well-respected Latin American expert and longtime chronicler of the region's popular struggles. He has written frequently about - the Middle East and specifically the state of Israel and its relations with its neighbors, the Palestinians and, most importantly and the subject of this book, the US.

    Petras' powerful new book is titled The Power of Israel in the United States.




    The Power of Israel in the United States


    It's a work of epic writing and essential reading documenting the enormous influence of the pro-Israeli Lobby on US policy in the Middle East.

    It focuses like a laser to assure that policy conforms with Israel's long-term goal for regional hegemony. The Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media.

    Petras shows how together they're able to assure the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel's agenda going back decades even when that agenda harms our interests such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if it's undertaken, and the appalling and brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people that serves no US interest whatever.

    In spite of it, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to it tolerated.

    The book is divided into FOUR parts.

    This review will cover each one in detail, and what's discussed will likely surprise any reader unfamiliar with the thoroughly documented account presented in it so compellingly.

    Petras sets the table in his introduction for what's to come in the later chapters.

    He notes what author JJ Goldberg reported in his book Jewish Power: Inside the Jewish Establishment.

    Goldberg wrote in the early 1990s that 45% of the Democrat Party's fundraising and 25% of that for the Republicans came from Jewish-funded Political Action Committees (PACS).

    Petras then updates the numbers using the ones Richard Cohen published in the Washington Post showing them now at 60% and 35% respectively, and that this funding relates to a single core issue - unconditional US support for Israel's agenda including those parts of it human rights activists and observers of conscience judge most egregious and illegal.

    Petras stresses that no other single US lobby including Big Pharma, Big Oil, agribusiness, or any other one has this kind of dominant influence over the political process here.

    He refers to "Zioncon" ideologues and policymakers whose main goal is to make the Middle East into a "US-Israeli Co-Prosperity Sphere" under the fraudulent cover of promoting democracy in the region - but doing it through the barrel of a gun.

    Petras explains the root of the Lobby's power lies in the high proportion of Jewish families who are among the wealthiest and most influential ones in the country. He cites Forbes magazine that reported 25 - 30% of the wealthiest families here are Jewish despite the small percentage of Jews in the population overall.

    They include billionaires with enormous influence, and along with all others comprising the pro-Israeli Lobby, have created a "tyranny of Israel over the US" with consequences grave enough to threaten world peace and stability, the global economy, and the very future of democracy in this country.

    That democracy and our constitutionally protected rights now hang by a thread after the recent passage of the Military Commissions Act (aka the "torture authorization act" or more accurately the "US Constitutional annulment act") that makes everyone everywhere an "enemy combatant" subject to arrest and detention out of sight anywhere in the world without regard for our (no longer) constitutionally guaranteed rights. The new law also applies to US citizens as the Jose Padilla case showed. We've effectively lost our habeas and due process rights even though technically we still have them.

    Because of the Lobby's power, Petras reports, the US has unconditionally supported Israel's wars of aggression since 1967. It's influence also led to the US Gulf war in 1991 and the second Iraq war begun in 2003, now raging out of control and seen by some noted analysts as unwinnable and causing potential irreparable economic and political harm to the nation. Nonetheless, it persists with no plan agreed on to end it.

    The Lobby also guaranteed this country's unconditional support for Israel's illegal wars of aggression against Lebanon and Palestine with all the devastation they caused and the horrendous consequences from them unresolved.

    The Palestinian conflict still rages under the radar, and the status in Lebanon hangs by a hair trigger ready to erupt again any time Israel decides to resume hostilities.

    But inflaming the Middle East powder keg to a near boiling point is the strong possibility the US and/or Israel will attack Iran because Israel wants it and the Jewish Lobby put its powerful support behind it. More on this, Palestine and Lebanon below.

    Today the situation in the Middle East is so dire, Petras reports
    a large majority of Europeans and a growing number of Americans believe Israel is the greatest of all threats to world peace and stability.

    Nonetheless, the Bush administration, in acquiescence to the Lobby, has "bludgeoned" its European partners to go along with its uncompromising support for the Jewish state despite all the obvious perils from it.

    In this country (US), open debate is stifled, public figures and academics daring to air one truthfully are pilloried, ridiculed, called anti-semitic and even threatened, and no serious dissent is ever tolerated in the corporate-run media or their funded and controlled so-called public radio or PBS parts of it.

    No publication is more servile to, supportive of, or more influential than the nation's so-called "paper of record" publishing "All the News That's Fit to Print" - the New York Times. It's important because the stories it features prominently resonate around the country and the world. This dominant newspaper pledges unconditional support and fealty to the state of Israel whatever it does.

    The rest of the major media go along unquestioningly putting out regular one-sided pro-Israel uber alles propaganda with no opposition voices allowed to represent other points of view. We call that a free press - but only for those who own one. The state of the corporate-controlled media in this country is now so pathetic that Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders - for press freedom) just ranked the US 53rd in the world in press freedom behind countries like Benin, Namibia, Jamaica, France and Bolivia.

    James Petras is a courageous independent voice who bucks this disturbing trend and refuses to go along. He proves it in his powerful and carefully documented new book that gives no quarter countering the mendacity, deceit and danger of the Lobby, its acolytes and hangers-on, and the corrupted major media.

    In his introduction, he calls for a "counter-hegemonic movement" to free us from our destructive "Israeli entanglements." It's needed to begin rebuilding our democracy and freedoms that are somewhere between life support and the crematorium.

    This book, he says, is his modest effort toward that goal. Because of the important information in it, it's considerably more than that. It needs widespread exposure so people will know about it.

    Hopefully this review will help arouse some of them to want to find out in more detail.


    Part I - Zionist Power in America

    Petras begins with a discussion of who fabricated the lies about Iraq's threat to our security and why. He mentions two competing channels of policy makers and advisors - the long-in-place formal structure of career military and civilian professionals in the Pentagon and State Department and a parallel one Bush administration neocons set up for this one purpose in the Pentagon, staffed by political appointees, and called the Office of Special Plans (OSP).

    It was the OSP's job to cook the books, come up with the idea of weapons of mass destruction while ignoring the clear evidence to the contrary and contrive a fraudulent case for war against Iraq. The people in it were those in Donald Rumsfeld's and Paul Wolfowitz's chain of command and were closely connected to a number of influential neoconservative and pro-Israel organizations.

    They planned a war agenda based on lies because Israel wanted it for its security and hegemony in the region - beginning with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein followed by regime change in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and even Saudi Arabia.

    Petras points out, contrary to popular belief, this war happened largely due to the efforts of the Jewish Lobby representing the interests of Israel.

    Big Oil OPPOSED the idea because it feared attacking Iraq would jeopardize its business prospects with other oil-producing states in the region.

    Still, Israel and the Jewish Lobby got their war, and aside from the gain from high oil prices, Big Oil may end up a longer-term loser from it. US oil interests always prefer stability and normal relationships with countries where they operate or wish to and were quite comfortable dealing with Saddam Hussein without wanting to risk a war that might upset an otherwise profitable arrangement.

    Their fears proved justified as the war they feared created such unresolved turbulence in Iraq, it's become too dangerous and unprofitable to undertake new ventures there except perhaps in parts of the Kurdish-controlled north.

    Big Oil also chafes at not being allowed to deal with the Iranians for contracts now let to its European and other competitors because US sanctions prevent them from doing business there. It's hard to imagine those interests would ever go along with US - Israeli belligerence in the Middle East, but they dare not oppose it publicly.

    Petras observes there's NEVER a public discussion allowed about that relationship in the mainstream nor will there ever be any, especially any hint the US attacked Iraq in service to Israel.

    There should be plenty of it though because the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have enraged hundreds of millions of Muslims and all people of conscience worldwide.

    They've caused the US to be seen as a pariah state and George Bush as a dangerous and morally depraved president of a failed administration.

    He and those closest to him like Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are reviled around the world and increasingly here at home as witnessed by the many thousands who took to the streets on October 5 in over 200 US cities on The World Can't Wait Day - Drive Out the Bush Regime.

    The cost of Bush's wars far exceed any possible future benefits from them, our security has been jeopardized, the nation's status has been compromised, and some analysts believe the total dollar cost of the Iraq adventure may eventually top $2 trillion - an amount extremely harmful to the nation's economy that's now worrying key business leaders and responsible people in government.

    The only clear beneficiary of the Bush war agenda is Israel. It removed its main adversary in the region and cut off the political and economic support it gave the Palestinians.

    Petras points out that Iraq along with Iran and Syria comprised the core resistance to Israel's expansionist plans to crush the Palestinians (one down, two to go), ethnically cleanse them from their homeland and seize their land as one part of a long-term goal for a greater Israel and unchallengeable dominance in the region.

    Israel is the only country in the world with undeclared borders.

    It's kept that status to give itself maximum latitude to annex all the territory it can toward the goal of a greater "Eretz Israel" Zionists want that includes the ancient lands of "Judea" and "Summaria," the West Bank biblical parts of Israel Palestinians claim as their homeland.

    With US help, Israel removed one threat to its plan for regional supremacy, but it still faces determined resistance from the Palestinians in spite of having crushed its democratically elected Hamas government.

    It also faces a resilient Hezbollah in Lebanon that humiliated the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the summer war there as well as opposition from Iran and Syria.

    In addition, there's internal opposition within Israel over its war and colonization agenda because of its enormous cost plus the added insecurity it causes. It's resulted in a level of out-migration now exceeding new arrivals as well as an erosion of the nation's social programs because the state needs the resources for its aggression and annexation agenda. It's much like what's happening under the Bush administration where the people pay the price for imperial wars abroad and the moral decay and authoritarianism at home.

    Obstacles and setbacks aside, Israel has pursued its goal to "democratize" the region through a belligerent policy of neutralizing its enemies in it by force. The plan they crafted is for a series of wars with its US ally taking the lead and the eventual goal of joint US - Israeli control over the entire region.

    Making it work depends on getting US administrations to go along, which so far hasn't been a problem and has never been easier with the Bush administration in power and the high-level pro-Zionist officials in it with long-standing ties to Israel.

    They have the most important policy-making positions in government or are closely associated with the ones who do.

    These officials have a history of dedication to Israel's interests even when they conflict with those here at home.

    They're in:

  • the administration,

  • the Congress as well as

  • in the most influential Jewish organizations and lobbying groups like the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and what some observers believe is the single most powerful lobby in Washington - AIPAC.


  • Committed support for Israel also comes from :

  • the "Jewish Diaspora" that comprises thousands of dedicated activists here - doctors, dentists, philanthropists, key individuals on Wall Street,

  • the major banks and the Federal Reserve and other key segments of business,

  • the major media,

  • the clergy and academics and journalists given special prominence because of their willingness to corrupt their integrity in return for the handsome benefits they get for their unconditional public support and contrived rationalizations for the US -Israeli agenda.

    This kind of influence and support has made Israel by far the largest recipient in the world of US financial aid that amounts upfront to about $3 billion a year with more forthcoming any time as needed in added funding, weapons transfers and large low or no-interest loans that may never have to be repaid.

    Israel also gets the unheard of advantage of receiving the latest and most advanced US arms and technology, unrestricted US market access for its products and services, free entry of its immigrants, unconditional support for its aggressive wars and colonization of the Palestinians and South Lebanese, and guaranteed US vetoes in the Security Council against all UN resolutions unfavorable to its interests.

    It's also able to get prominent Washington officials and the dominant corporate-run and funded media to label all criticism of Israel anti-semitic and freely uses this ruse whenever it serves its purpose.

  • Israel is allowed to get away with its intelligence operations here as well including its covert penetration of military bases, the FBI, IRS, INS, EPA and many other government agencies. In addition, it's believed its agents knew in advance about the 9/11 attack but withheld the information knowing it would serve its interests to let it happen.

    There's also considerable evidence high US officials either knew about it themselves or were complicit in carrying it out because they also knew it would allow them the kind of reckless free reign at home and abroad they never could have gotten any other way. This is a story that won't go away nor should it, and one day we may finally learn all the parts of it we can only speculate about now.

    Because of Israel's unparalleled ties to the centers of power and dominant media, Petras notes it's able get back $50 in return for every dollar it spends.

    That's how it's able to finance its military and colonial settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) on annexed land. The Jewish networks here support these practices as justifiable compensation allowed victims of the "Holocaust" (the ones noted author John Pilger calls "worthy victims") and circulate that ideology in the corporate media.

    They also reinforce anti-Muslim hysteria labelling all Arabs untrustworthy, radical Islamic fundamentalists or Islamo-fascists ("unworthy" victims for John Pilger), claiming the right to arrest, torture and mete out summary justice to them in military tribunals or just attack and kill them in imperial wars of "liberation."

    The result for Israel and its people has been disastrous because the Palestinians have refused for almost six decades to accede to this abuse and have waged two Intifadas to end it. With little more than a fierce determination, their bodies and crude weapons, they've fought back with suicide bombings and attacks on public facilities in Israel knowing what harsh retaliation they'll face afterward. People in the US have also paid a heavy price in the erosion of democracy and freedom.

    It's evidenced by the Bush administration's harsh legislation beginning with the infamous USA Patriot Act passed in short order right after the 9/11 attack, followed by other repressive laws and practices allowed like illegal surveillance and secret renditions of anyone targeted to torture-prisons with court acquiescence or silence about most of them.

    Petras points out that none of this deters powerful supporters of Israel who raise billions of dollars to support the country's war machine and finance its colonization of annexed Palestinian land plus the Golan Heights (with its invaluable water resources) seized and never returned to Syria after the 1967 war.

    Israel's economy is not self-sufficient, and without this aid, it would have to make unacceptable cuts in social services, reduce its military budget and curtail its expansionary plans.

    With it, plus the $3 billion a year direct US contribution and lots more help, US taxpayers (like it or not) have the burden of funding Israel's belligerence and colonization agenda.

    Petras itemizes what it all costs:

    -- $3 billion annually in direct aid.

    - Billions more in loans as needed.

    -- Millions annually for resettlement help for Soviet (now Russian) and Ethiopian immigrants.

    -- a $10 billion loan guarantee in 1990 and a further $9 billion one in 2004 plus billions more for the asking and to be forthcoming to pay the costs of the 2006 Lebanon and Palestine wars.

    -- Since 1981, economic aid made in cash transfers, and since 1985 military aid done the same way.

    -- $45 billion in repayment waved loans since 1974 and billions more for the asking - free money at US taxpayer expense.

    -- Since 1982, ESF cash transfers in one early in the fiscal year lump sum with no strings attached while other countries receiving them are paid quarterly with their use monitored. Israel invests the money in US treasuries costing US taxpayers millions more annually and also gets special FMS funding arrangements costing US taxpayers well over $1 billion since 1991.

    -- Other privileged benefits include financial aid to develop Israel's defense industry, transfer of state-of-the-art technology and the latest US weapons, US guarantee for Israel's access to oil, and the likely massive aid still to come to defray the country's "special costs" for its Gaza "disengagement plan" morphing into the colonization of whatever parts of the OPT Israel wishes to annex for new settlements US taxpayers pay for.

    -- Add to this some $22 billion Israel got over the past 50 years through the sale of its below-market interest paying bonds that have financed half of its development - meaning the colonization of annexed Palestinian lands and military funding for its predatory imperial wars.

    Petras explains the Zionist power structure in the US makes it all possible, but its reach extends well beyond the so-called "Jewish Lobby."

    He identifies a "Zionist power configuration (ZPC) that includes AIPAC as one part of a "complex network of interrelated formal and informal groupings, operating at the international, national, regional, and local levels" unconditionally supporting the state of Israel and all its policies including its wars, colonization and oppression.

    It's POWER is like a CANCER infecting the highest levels of government and all the other centers of power and influence as already explained.

    It controls the selection of political candidates and can defeat incumbents or aspirants daring to criticize Israel.

    It also shapes the reporting on Israel in the mass media suppressing any of it that's unsupportive or critical. And it's powerful enough to get "uncooperative" journalists, and even some academics, fired and banished from the mainstream for daring to step out of line.

    Petras reports the power of the ZPC was evident in the run-up to the Iraq war and the Gulf war before it in 1991. Going back to the GHW Bush administration, the US wanted regime change in Iraq, but that decision was heavily influenced by the ZPC that considered Saddam a mortal enemy of Israel who had to be removed. He managed to survive through the 1990s despite our efforts to destabilize the country and bring it to its knees.

    But once the GW Bush administration neocons took over in 2001, the ugly business of war planning and occupation took hold to complete what the Gulf war left unfinished, and powerful Zionists (like Paul Wolfowitz and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman - the senator from AIPAC) in key policy-making positions invented the threat to bring it about in March, 2003 - all based on lies, deceit and subservience to Israel's imperial agenda.

    The US military finally removed Saddam and conducted a scorched-earth campaign to destroy Iraqi society, its infrastructure and historical treasures to "dismantle the secular state (and) turn the country in a desert kingdom - a loose collection of at least three 'tribal' client mini-states based on ethnicities, religious-tribal loyalties (and no viable threat against) Israeli expansionism, particularly in Northern Iraq."

    The effort to do this is now underway after the Iraq puppet parliament's passage of its federalism bill to take effect in 18 months that will effectively divide the country into the three US-ordered, designed and supposedly more easily governed parts it wants.

    It's unlikely this can work, but it's clearer than ever now what the human cost of the war has been for Iraqis.

    It caused the violent deaths of about 655,000 of them attributable to the war according to a shocking new study published by the noted Lancet British medical journal which updated their two earlier ones done after March, 2003. The study used the statistically reliable technique known as random households "cluster sampling" with personal interviews conducted across the country that used death certificate verification in the great majority of cases to come up with the total.

    It's likely the true number of deaths is even much higher than this appalling number as the interviewers were unable to include in their count the most dangerous and violent parts of the country like Fallujah, Ramadi and other areas of al Anbar province where mass killing still goes on daily as well as families (likely in the thousands) in which all the members were killed.

    This new information, just out and covering a period since March, 2003, compares to Human Rights Watch's estimate of 250,000 - 290,000 people killed by Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime over its 20 year existence.

    It amplifies the outrageous crime of this barbarous adventure to achieve a "Greater Middle East US-Israel Co-Prosperity Sphere" and to give Israel access to the extra water, oil, capital and markets it lacks. It was also part of Israel's greater agenda under the Sharon Likud, and now Olmert Kadima, governments to have free reign to pursue their stated policy of "annexation and separation" in the OPT.

    The Zionist influence in the Bush administration is so entrenched, it assured there'd be no opposition to it then or now.

    It's all gone on in spite of mass anti-imperial resistance to what's seen as an arrogant disregard for the standards and norms of international behavior and laws in the pursuit of an expansionist agenda.

    Israel and the US today willfully violate the UN Charter, the Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions relative to the conduct of war and when it may be legally waged, the treatment of prisoners, the use of torture, destruction of infrastructure and historical sites, and plunder of natural resources to establish client puppet-run regimes exploiting their people in service to the dominant capital and political interests of their imperial conquerors.

    Then to quell resistance and tighten security, the US and Israel resort to the most extreme methods including mass arrests and detentions and the free use of torture and targeted assassinations as state policy. Amnesty International reports since the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the US and Israel are the only two countries in the world to have legalized the use of torture.

    Petras and others report the top leaders in the Pentagon up to Donald Rumsfeld specifically ordered its use "while the Justice and Defense Departments insisted that the President could override any laws - international or national as well as the US Constitution - in defending the empire." These top officials in key areas of government have audaciously given the President "de facto and de jure dictatorial powers" to do whatever he chooses to establish "Imperial Security."

    It makes our citizens at home no safer than the victims of US and Israeli imperial aggression in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine or anywhere else in the world.

    But Petras reports it's even worse than that as the expose of torture in Iraq revealed a highly organized network of US and Israeli assassins worldwide. They operate as international death squads engaged in "killing, kidnapping and torturing 'suspects' and sympathizers of resistance movements."

    Petras calls this a US-sponsored "Murder Incorporated" that's composed of Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and a DELTA force operating in a Special Agency Program (SAP). It follows the same practices long engaged in by Israel's Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations known as the Mossad, and its aim is to remove all opposition by whatever extralegal methods it chooses while ignoring international law.

    It then justifies this activity at the highest levels of government as a matter of policy.

    Petras further points to the UN's International Leadership report on the destruction of civilian and military infrastructure in Iraq (much like what Israel did in the OPT discussed below). It showed "84% of Iraq's higher learning institutions have been burnt, looted or destroyed." Archeological museums and historic sites, libraries and archives have also been plundered, and targeted assassinations have been carried out against academics, other teachers, senior military personnel, journalists and other professionals including doctors.

    In addition, there are random or targeted daily terror killings by US-directed "Salvador option" death squads as well as thousands of kidnappings and other systematic horrors making life intolerable for most everyone in the country outside the four square kilometer fortress-like Green Zone HQ in central Baghdad for "coalition" officials and the puppet "Iraq interim government."

    It's all part of Washington's design to destroy the country's cultural identity as an Arab state, separate its oil resources from any large population base, and divide the nation into more easily governed parts just the way it was done in the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

    It's now been reported that longtime Bush family consigliere James Baker, co-chairing an Iraq Study Group, will formerly propose the kind of plan the Iraq puppet government just passed putting a quasi-official US imprimatur on it as part of a US - Israeli divide and conquer strategy that may not be as easy to pull off as as the one in the former Yugoslavia or in the simple north - south divisions of Korea and Vietnam after WW II.

    What's happening today in Iraq and Palestine is so outrageous and chaotic, Petras refers to a "House of Horrors" in both countries with the Zionist militarists at the Pentagon and their Israeli counterparts in charge of their respective "Horror Shows....under the big tent of a 'Mid-East Democratic Reform Initiative.' "

    This is the modus operandi of empire building and colonization - blast and tear a nation to shreds so it can never again exist as it once did. Then terrorize the people into submission and kill off all the ones who resist. It's a barbaric thumb in the eye to humanity, but this is the way rogue empires do things, especially when they're too powerful to challenge.

    The US-led killing machine is in full operation in Iraq, and so is the Israeli one in the OPT. Petras calls the one there "Israel's Final Solution" or the "Palestinian Holocaust," and it's focal point is in Gaza which even unoccupied is the world's largest open-air prison for its 1.45 million people in the most densely populated space of its size in the world.

    Today the Strip and the West Bank are Israeli-directed killing fields targeting Palestinian civilians helpless to stop it beyond their courageous acts of desperation with crude weapons and their bodies against tanks, F-16s, helicopter gunships, and illegal and immoral terror weapons like white phosphorus bombs and shells, cluster bombs that never stop killing and maiming, and experimental new weapons that don't have publicly-known names yet.

    Israel's war on Palestine has gone on for nearly six decades, and September 28 marked the sixth anniversary of the al-Aqsa Mosque Intifada resistance against it that began with Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the holy site in 2000.

    Israel dramatically escalated the conflict after the minor June 25, 2006 incident at an Israeli military post near Kerem Shalom crossing killing two IDF soldiers, injuring several others and capturing a third still held whose name the corporate media made sure everyone knows but won't ever reveal any of over-10,000 names of Palestinian prisoners held (the fate of "unworthy victims").

    The June clash followed a series of bloody earlier in the month Israeli attacks on Gaza including the widely reported beach shelling that killed eight Palestinians and injured 32 others including 13 children. Much as it did in Lebanon (discussed below), Israel's response was swift, deadly, disproportionate to what happened and planned months in advance as revealed by General Yoav Galant, in charge of Gaza, in a candid interview he gave in Israel's Maariv daily.

    The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented it all including the devastation of the past six years. Overall it created a state of mass-immiseration for the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank:


    -- essential infrastructure affecting power, clean water and sanitation destroyed

    -- mobility restricted or denied

    -- imposition of an embargo threatening the collapse of an already weak economy creating unemployment up to 80% of the population

    -- hostile incursions into the OPT, daily killings, and frequent extra-judicial assassinations

    -- home and property demolitions

    -- mass arbitrary arrests, administrative detentions of thousands of Palestinians without charge, and the systematic use of torture on those held including against women and children

    -- the destruction of a viable Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) through imprisonments of its democratically elected members held without charge or on contrived ones against them as well as the destruction of its civil and security facilities

    All this and much more has been done (as in Iraq) to destroy the cultural identity and very existence of the Palestinian people to prevent them from ever having a viable independent state of their own as well as force a mass-Palestinian exodus to other Arab states willing to help them escape their intolerable situation in the OPT.

    The plan to crush these defenseless people now includes credible evidence that the Bush and Olmert administrations have been arming, training and plotting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah followers to lead a civil uprising against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) and destroy it by force.

    It follows the Palestinians failed efforts to form a national unity government because Hamas refused Fatah's demand to govern as Israel's enforcer and abandon its own pledge to serve the welfare of its people. Now in an interview on October 8 in the London Sunday Times, Fatah militia leader Tawfig Tirawi, inflamed matters by accusing Hamas of "accumulating weapons" and that "a full-scale civil war can break out at any moment." He earlier said "civil war is inevitable."

    The paper also reported President Abbas "notified the US, Jordan and Egypt that he is preparing to take action against Hamas." These statements defy Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh who firmly said he'll never allow a civil war to happen, and it's unimaginable the Palestinian people want one.

    But Haniyeh and his people may have no choice as this seems to be the current joint US-Israeli strategy to destroy Palestinian resistance and do it with help from Fatah President Abbas. This is the same man who pledged his fealty to Israel as a participant in crafting the Oslo Accords sellout of his people and being a principle in the Arafat-led corrupted and mismanaged Palestinian Authority until Hamas won a majority of the seats in the January, 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections.

    The Bush and Olmert governments wouldn't tolerate that outcome, and the New York Times reported right after the election US and Israeli officials met at the "highest level" to plan the destruction of Hamas by "starving" the PA and making the people in the OPT pay the greatest price.

    For Israel, this is part of its state policy of ethnic cleansing by slow-motion genocide and out-migration all leading to the destruction of the Palestinian identity. It wants to co-opt a corrupted PA leadership of its choice to act as Israel's enforcer and partner in the destruction of its own people.

    It's to fulfill the intent of what former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier meant by her racist comment that "There are no Palestinians" and what Prime Minister David Ben Gurion earlier said after Israel brutally expelled the Palestinians from their homes and land in the 1948 war establishing the state of Israel: "We have come and we have stolen their country....We must do everything to insure they (the Palestinians) never do return....(and 10 years earlier had written his son) We will expel the Arabs and take their places....with the force at our disposal."

    He and his successors planned to include all the land of biblical Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) within the final fixed borders of a greater Israeli state whenever they're finally declared.

    The US unconditionally supports Israel's plan to do this as well as its policies of plunder and exploitation, but as Petras explains: "No one in their right mind can claim that the Israeli assault on Gaza advances US policies, interests or US imperial power."

    It doesn't matter because the power of the Jewish Lobby got the full support of the Bush administration for it anyway as well as the near unanimity for it in the Congress.

    The Rape of Lebanon

    What Israel did to the Palestinians in the OPT over decades, it did to Lebanon in 1978, 1982 and in about a five week blitzkrieg beginning July 12, ending formally but fragilely with a UN-brokered ceasefire on August 14.

    Petras compares the assault to the Nazi's November 9 and 10, 1938 infamous Kristallnacht pogrom in the German Reich against the Jews calling that event a "garden party" compared to the rape of Lebanon and vast devastation from it. It began with Hezbollah's cross-border incursion on July 12, killing eight IDF soldiers in the exchange that followed and capturing two others.

    There's still a dispute over which side of the Lebanese border the incident took place as for years Israel routinely makes hostile incursions into Lebanon by land and air, and still illegally occupies the 25 square kilometer Shebaa Farms area of South Lebanon it never relinquished after seizing it in the 1967 war.

    As against Gaza, Israel again responded swiftly and disproportionately in a reign of terror against the Lebanese people by land, air and sea. It killed and wounded thousands and displaced a million or more Lebanese civilians. It also systematically destroyed the country's essential to life and other vital infrastructure and created an amount of physical devastation that could take a generation to recover from if Israel even allows it to happen.

    It was done in part to destroy Hezbollah as a political entity and as an effective resistance force against Israel's imperial designs on the country. But Israel's plans are much more far-reaching than that as explained below.

    Petras reported Middle East expert Juan Cole claims Israel wanted the war and planned it at least a year in advance.

    Matthew Kallman of the San Francisco Chronicle Foreign Service also found and reported evidence that preparations for it began in May, 2000, immediately after Israel ended its occupation of the country that began with its invasion and brutal assault in 1982 that killed about 18,000 Lebanese.

    Kallman also reported that over a year before the conflict began a senior IDF official gave "PowerPoint presentations" off the record to US and other officials and unnamed journalists and think tanks explaining how the attack would unfold "in revealing detail."

    Again, Israel got the full backing, funding and arming as needed from the Bush administration to carry it out, effectively making this gruesome adventure a joint US-Israeli operation. Besides wanting to neutralize Hezbollah's resistance, the goal was to destroy Lebanon as a functioning country and ethnically cleanse the southern part of it up to the Litani River Israel wants to control and eventually annex and keep as it did the Golan after the 1967 war.

    Israel claims this area (like the Golan) is important for security reasons, but its greatest value (again like the Golan) is as a source of fresh water from the Litani and from the Wazzani springs that feed into the Hasbani River that's a tributary of the Jordan River. The Hisbani flows into Israel two miles downstream from the Wazzani and runs into the Sea of Galilee that's Israel's largest source of fresh water.

    Israel has had designs on Lebanon for 40 years or more and has kept the country in a state of instability, partial occupation and conflict over most of that time. Now the state of the country is a devastated near-wasteland monitored by so-called (Israel-approved and friendly) UN Blue Helmets and Lebanese Armed Forces replacing the IDF on the ground under a fragile UN brokered ceasefire arrangement that could end any time Israel wishes again to unleash its war machine and on any pretext.

    There's nothing to deter Israel from doing it as it has the unconditional support of the Jewish Lobby and whatever US administration is in power. Unless this changes, the people of Lebanon, like those in Iraq and Palestine, can only look ahead to more conflict and the pain and suffering from it.

    That's because there's still unfinished business for both empires, and it's not likely either one will soon give up on what they're determined to achieve. So even though Iraq is a hopeless quagmire, the Bush administration says it will "stay the course."

    And as long as Israel has full US backing, it will continue pursuing its imperial agenda even though Hezbollah humiliated the IDF in Lebanon and the Palestinians show no signs of ending their determined resistance short of mass-annihilation or forced expulsion. But it's not all smooth sailing as the unholy US-Israeli alliance faces a threat it can't ignore that could derail it.

    It's a growing broad-based worldwide anti-imperialist movement against these two partnered pariah states. It remains to be seen how far it will go, whether it can achieve critical mass in the US and in Israel, and if it can succeed in changing the direction of these two belligerents so far unstoppable and determined to go on unchecked by what passes for the civilized western world.

    TO BE CONTINUED NEXT... PART II : Israel and Middle East Warfare


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