Archive for October 28th, 2007

by Felicity Arbuthnot

 

Global Research, October 27, 2007

Global Research and the UN Observer

 

Reminder to the crusading Armageddonists …..  “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20: 13

They are at it again. Remember when Milosovic was labelled “the butcher of Belgrade”, the new Hitler?

Then Saddam Hussein was “the butcher of Bagdad” and, of course the most dangerous man since Hitler – with weapons of mass destruction which could be unleashed on the world “in forty five minutes”.

Colin Powell lied to the U.N., about the danger Iraq posed to the planet; George Bush lied to anyone who would listen; Tony Blair lied to Parliament and aides concocted dossiers so dodgy they were laughable, yet in spite of the millions who marched, protested and knew the lies for what they were, there were millions who bought fiction as fact.

And here we go again. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (wait for “the tyrant of Tehran”) threatens the planet, is supplying weapons to Iraq’s resistance, is destabilising the region and the paradise that is occupied Iraq.

Whilst there are indeed plenty of Iranians or Iranian sympathisers in Iraq, they came in with the occupiers. Many in high places in Iraq’s corrupt, militia driven, American puppet government, speak Farsi, not Arabic.

The increasingly hysterical claims regarding Iran, the latest threat to life as we know it, is being brought to you by the very same warmongers who wrought the duplicity that resulted in Iraq’s murderous decimation, the hawks’ nest which is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and their friends.

A glance at the AEI website lists those including:

Paul Wolfowitz (“entrepreneurship and development”),
Michael Rubin (“Arab democracy”),
Richard Perle (“defence …intelligence”),
Joshua Muravchik (“global democracy”),
John Bolton (“foreign policy”),
Lynne Cheney, whose husband, as ever, is believed a driving force behind the attack plan (“culture and education”),
Michael Ledeen (latest book: “The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots Quest for Destruction”),
Daniell Pletka (“Vice President for foreign and defence policy studies”) who, writing in the “Wall Street Journal” (28th September 2007) referred to Iran’s “illegal nuclear weapons … Washington’s impotence” and “clear information of a link to a weapons of mass destruction programme”. This in spite of the International Atomic Energy Authority finding no indication of such programmes.

It all sounds chillingly familiar.

Interestingly, an item on the Institute’s list of “Research Projects” is “Global Investment in Iran”. Surely a matter for Iran – or does the AEI already regard Iran’s oil fields and assets as their fiscal frolic zone?

Orchestration is continuing apace:

“Even as we are succeeding in Iraq” (really?) “Iran is working against us … we will not achieve peace in the region if we ignore this threat”, writes Ledeen. Further, there are clear plans to liberate Iran’s women, Afghan style: “Since 1979, Iran has changed from a society where women could attend university and have careers, to one where they are second class citizens … sold as slaves …”. writes Diana Furchgott-Roth in the New York Sun (14th September 2007.)

There must be two Irans: “Literacy is well over ninety percent, even in the rural areas and in 2005, more than sixty five percent of students entering university were women. The voices that come through most strongly on the Iranian blogosphere are those of this educated, young generation.” Over sixty five percent of this country of seventy million are under thirty years old.

“I feel cold when I think about a possible war against my homeland”, wrote one blogger: “My picture of war hasn’t come from Hollywood movies, I have seen the pain, the kids tears, bloody streets …”  In a picture showing a meeting of the Tehran Photographers Association, the venue is packed with vibrantly dressed women – and one man. (See : Inside Iran, New Internationalist, March 2007: www.newint.org )

Iran is not perfect, but where is? Britain’s Prime Minister Brown “refuses to rule out” joining the US military intervention – to decimate for “democracy” and plunder resources. According to the Sunday Telegraph (1st October 2007), a dossier is being drawn up on Iran’s violations of International Law, as with Iraq. “Violations of International Law”? Two countries, Britain and America  have not alone violated, but torn up International Law. Yet again, who guards the guards?

Can a nation, which even invaded Grenada (which has no armed forces, main exports: bananas, nutmeg, mace; a war for nutmegs?) in 1983, totalling a psychiatric hospital (24th anniversary, 25th October) population 94.103 (1994) v. United States, population 260.713.000 (1994) because it was a “threat”, be trusted?

But the war drums are beating: “WE MUST bomb Iran”, is the header for Josua Muravchik’s Los Angeles Times article (19th June 2007.)

He begins with quotes straight from the Pentagon’s Iraq propaganda handbook: “…since the country’s secret nuclear programme was brought to light … the path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere.” Tehran has “spurned” a “string of concessions”; the UN Security Council was derelict in its duty toward the Iranian threat.

The completion of Iran’s nuclear arsenal grows closer daily, this “premier state sponsor of terrorism” could “slip nuclear material to terrorists”. The bomb Iran doesn’t have, would, of course “constitute a dire threat to Israel’s six million population”. No mention of Israel being the fifth largest nuclear power on earth, without a blink towards the non-proliferation treaty, or indeed even an admission of having such weapons.

However Iran’s non-weapons: “would spend finis to the entire non-proliferation system”. The “…global struggle” with Iran is “akin” to the forty year one with the Soviet Union and – wait for it – “a clash of civlisations”.

“The only way to forestall these frightening developments is by the use of force … by an air campaign against Tehran’s nuclear facilities. We have considerable information about these facilities; by some estimates they comprise about 1,500 targets…. What should be the timing of such an attack? If we did it next year, that would give time for U.N. diplomacy to further reveal its bankruptcy …’” is Murachik’s conclusion. “Deja vu, all over again.”

Not mentioned, anywhere, in the demented rhetoric regarding an attack on Iran, is the “A” word: Armageddon. “Likely targets for saturation bombing” (that look likely to involve tactical nuclear weapons) “are the Bushehr nuclear power plant” (where Russian and other foreign national technicians are present) “a uranium mining site at Saghand” (near a major city, Yazd) “the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, a heavy water plant and radioisotope facility at Arak, the Arkedan Nuclear Fuel Unit, the Uranium Enrichment Facility and Nuclear Technology Centre in Isfahan, the Tehran Nuclear Research Cnetree, the Tehran Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility …. a reportedly dismantled uranium enrichment plant at Lashkar Abad and the Radioactive Waste Storage Units in Karaj and Anarak”.(Wayne Madsen: http://www.entimesreport.com/Attack_on_Iran.html )

These were facilities, many begun after the US/UK overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected, democratic Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, after he had nationalised the country’s oil. The coup was engineered by the CIA’s Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore. General Norman Schwartzkopf’s father then travelled to Iran, to help train Savak, the murderous, ruthless, secret police of America’s friend, the Shah.

However, modern history aside, forget global warming.

Consider the enormity of the seemingly proposed attack, apart from the unimaginable horror of those fried and irradiated in the immediate vicinity and surrounding countries (including “allied”, troops throughout the region.).

This is a succinct description of what the explosion of just one nuclear power plant generated, Chernobyl, in 1986:  “Irradiated human cells splinter into fragments called micronuclei … a definitive pre-cursor of cancer. During the nuclear reactor disaster at Chernobyl, the …radiation released was the equivalent of four hundred atomic bombs … Exposed Russians quickly developed blood cell micronuclei …” (The Radiation Poisoning of America, Amy Worthington, 9th October 2007: http://www.globalresearch.ca )

The plight of the children and the Chernobyl region’s cancers twenty one years on, have become an ongoing, tragic, global health study, as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the residents of the Pacific islands, after the British and French nuclear tests. Chernobyl’s radiation traversed the globe within days. In the highlands of the U.K., Wales and Cumbria, livestock straying in affected areas are still inedible and unsaleable. Chernobyl was doused from the air with fire retardant, by crews, which, in spite of protection by heavily leaded cockpit floors, reportedly, not one has survived the ravaging resultant cancers. If Chernobyl was four hundred atomic bombs, see the above list and do the maths. Don’t forget to add the “coalition’s” democratic nuclear weapons dropped on them.

Norman Podhoretz, one of the founding fathers of neo-conservatism in the United States, is gung-ho, another one reportedly urging Bush to bomb Iran. He told Bush: “You have the awesome responsibility to prevent another holocaust. You are the only one with the guts to do it.”(Sunday Times, 1st October 2007.) A holocaust by any other name …

Mohammad Mossadegh and Saddam Hussein made fatal mistakes. They nationalised their countries’ oil. Saddam Hussein finally tied the noose around his neck, when he switched Iraq’s oil revenues out of US Dollars and into Euros in 2000.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also vowed to switch from US Dollars and move to a currency “further east”.

As Iraq, is this really about a nuclear threat?

Will the millions who believed the last great lie, be fooled again? If they are not, will it make any difference, in the illegal space the US and UK Administrations inhabit?

On the ground in the Middle East (or in this case on the water) it seems not. Here is a communication from a Landing Signals Officer* (an LSO directs carrier aircraft whilst landing) on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most strategically vital oil routes, which is controlled by Iran.

The LSO is convinced Iran will be attacked, commenting that “… all Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished (meaning) all targets have been chosen, prioritized and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers …” Further, the LSO comments, there is deep disquiet amongst senior officers about “staging a massive attack on Iran”. However, “I have seen more than one senior Commander disappear …”; it’s weird, because everyone who has “disappeared” has questioned this mission.

How limited would the attack be?

“I don’t think it’s limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every Tomahawk, we have an inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden (with) thousands of targets. I believe no American will know when it happens, until after it happens.”The LSO ponders that discussing a secret attack is “treason” but is so concerned “something tells me to tell it anyway.”

“Yes, we are going to hit Iran big time. Whatever political discussion that is going on is window dressing … a red herring. I see what’s going on here below deck, in the hangers and weapons bay – and I have a sick feeling about how it is going to turn out.’”

Would the US Administration really endanger the entire planet?

Here is a story told to me by Bernard Lown, one of co-founders of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) during the Reagan era. http://www.ippnw.org Lown worked closely with another eminent fellow cardiac surgeon, the (then) USSR’s Yevgeny Chazov. Since physicians know no borders, they had formed a friendship, then a movement, which bridged the cold war, the Reagan “Evil Empire” (re. the Soviet Union) nonsense and within two years, had doctors and surgeons from eighty two countries spreading the word, that even cardiac arrest paled against nuclear war.

In 1995, IPPNW collectively won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since Lown travelled, lecturing, to the USSR frequently and had built trust over many years at all levels, the US State Department asked if he would engage in some unofficial diplomacy. Relations between the two countries were far worse than most realised. After one such visit to Moscow, I met Lown in Paris. We sat in dappled Spring sun, at a pavement breakfast café – fresh squeezed orange, coffee, croissants.

“I came back two days ago and went to talk (at the State Department) of the concerns in Moscow. Afterwards, a senior official – a household name (he declined to divulge) walked me to the exit. As we neared the exit, he put his arm round my shoulders:

‘Don’t worry, Professor Lown, if there is a nuclear war, we will be the first ones to rise up and meet Jesus in the sky.’” Lown, used to the vagaries of the unwell, responded: “Tell me, does anyone else in this building feel as you do?”

“Oh yes, many of us do.”

The swathe of “household names”, from the Reagan era, are now in the Bush Administration and the American Enterprise Institute.

The Armageddonists are back.

The world should be very afraid – or should the physicians in white coats move in?

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also senior researcher for John Pilger’s award-winning documentary,

“Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq”. http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partID=4

and author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of “Baghdad” in the “Great Cities” series, for World Almanac Books (2006.)

 

    By Bill Quigley
t r u t h o u t | Report

    Wednesday 24 October 2007

    Louis Vitale, 75, a Franciscan priest, and Steve Kelly, 58, a Jesuit priest, were sentenced to five months each in federal prison for attempting to deliver a letter opposing the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Both priests were taken directly into jail from the courtroom after sentencing.

    Fort Huachuca is the headquarters of military intelligence in the US and the place where military and civilian interrogators are taught how to extract information from prisoners. The priests attempted to deliver their letter to Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, commander of Fort Huachuca. Fast was previously the head of all military intelligence in Iraq during the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.

    The priests were arrested while kneeling in prayer halfway up the driveway to Fort Huachuca in November 2006. Both priests were charged with trespassing on a military base and resisting orders of an officer to stop.

    In a pre-trial hearing, the priests attempted to introduce evidence of torture, murder and gross violations of human rights in Afghanistan, at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and at Guantanamo. The priests offered investigative reports from the FBI, the US Army, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Social Responsibility documenting hundreds of incidents of human rights violations. Despite increasing evidence of the use of torture by US forces sanctioned by President Bush and others, the federal court in Tucson refused to allow any evidence of torture, the legality of the invasion of Iraq, or international law to be a part of the trial.

    Outside the courthouse, before the judge ordered them to prison, the priests explained their actions: “The real crime here has always been the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca and the practice of torture around the world. We tried to deliver a letter asking that the teaching of torture be stopped and were arrested. We tried to put the evidence of torture on full and honest display in the courthouse and were denied. We were prepared to put on evidence about the widespread use of torture and human rights abuses committed during interrogations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo in Iraq and Afghanistan. This evidence was gathered by the military itself and by governmental and human rights investigations.”

    Fr. Vitale, a longtime justice and peace activist in San Francisco and Nevada, said, “Because the court will not allow the truth of torture to be a part of our trial, we plead no contest. We are uninterested in a court hearing limited to who was walking where and how many steps it was to the gate. History will judge whether silencing the facts of torture is just or not. Far too many people have died because of our national silence about torture. Far too many of our young people in the military have been permanently damaged after following orders to torture and violate the human rights of other humans.”

    Fr. Kelly, who walked to the gates of Guantanamo with the Catholic Worker group in December of 2005, concluded, “We will keep trying to stop the teaching and practice of torture whether we are sent to jail or out. We have done our part for now. Now it is up to every woman and man of conscience to do their part to stop the injustice of torture.”

    The priests were prompted to protest by continuing revelations about the practice of torture by US military and intelligence officers. The priests were also deeply concerned after learning of the suicide in Iraq of a young, devout, female military interrogator, Alyssa Peterson of Arizona, shortly after arriving in Iraq. Peterson was reported to be horrified by the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.

    Investigation also revealed Fort Huachuca was the source of infamous “torture manuals” distributed to hundreds of Latin American graduates of the US Army School of Americas at Fort Benning, GA. Demonstrations against the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca have been occurring for the past several years each November and are scheduled again for November 16 and 17 this year.

    ———-

    Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He served as counsel for Frs. Vitale and Kelly. You can reach Bill at Quigley@loyno.edu. For more about their trial, see http://tortureontrial.org.

  ——-

 

Please take a few minutes out of your busy day to read the latest anti-terrorism bill – presented by a Democrat. It has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. The link to the bill is here.

As a wise observer just said, “Coming soon…political prisoners just like in China.”

If you need a movie to watch tonight, try “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise.

From USAToday:

Original posting at 11:56 a.m. ET: Those weren’t reporters questioning the deputy chief of FEMA earlier this week, they were federal employees playing the role of journalists during a televised briefing on the wildfires in southern California.

An agency spokesman tells The Washington Post that they didn’t have time to wait for real reporters to come to their office near the U.S. Capitol. “We had been getting mobbed with phone calls from reporters, and this was thrown together at the last minute,”  Mike Widomski, FEMA’s deputy director of public affairs, tells the paper.

So, instead of waiting for outsiders to come to their offices, the P.R. people just turned on the cameras and tossed softballs to their boss. That may be why Vice Adm. Harvey Johnson found it so easy to answer the questions, according to the Post. (A philosophical question: If the press doesn’t come to your press conference did you really hold a press conference?)

Here’s a sampling of the questions:

QUESTION: Sir, there are a number of reports that people weren’t heeding evacuation orders and that was hindering emergency responders. Can you speak a little to that, please?

QUESTION: Can you address a little bit what it means to have the president issue an emergency declaration, as opposed to a major disaster declaration? What does that (inaudible) for FEMA?

QUESTION: Sir, we understand the secretary and the administrator of FEMA are on their way out there. What is their objective? And is there anyone else traveling with them?

STAFF: Last question.

QUESTION: What lessons learned from Katrina have been applied?

Update at 3:01 p.m. ET: FEMA just issued an apology. “FEMA’s goal is to get information out as soon as possible, and in trying to do so we made an error in judgment,” the agency says in a statement attributed to Johnson. “Our intent was to provide useful information and be responsive to the many questions we have received. We are reviewing our press procedures and will make the changes necessary to ensure that all of our communications are straight forward and transparent.”

USA TODAY’s Mimi Hall reports that officials at the Homeland Security Department aren’t happy about FEMA’s follies. “This is inexcusable to the secretary,” spokeswoman Laura Keehner says.

She describes the incident as a lapse in judgment, but says “stunts such as this will not be tolerated” and notes that “the senior leadership of the department is taking this very seriously.”

“This is offensive, inexcusable,” she says.