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Total number of comments: 34 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:22)

Chris

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  • NATO Strike on Command Center kills Qaddafi Son
    • Let's be sensible: all this talk of "command and control centres" is nonsense. This was clearly an attempt to kill Ghadaffi and terrorise his colleagues into deserting.
      And the results were quite predictable: when you bomb houses people get killed.
      In the meantime the rest of the world watches, cynically, to see, firstly what lies the NATO side will come up with and, secondly, how easily they are swallowed.
      NATO and the US are very rapidly throwing away the moral advantage that they have spent generations of skilful propaganda work and billions of dollars building. Remember Encounter?
      The Chinese and Russian governments cannot believe their luck: it took enormous hubris on the US side not to recognise the significance of the abstentions of not only the two permanent members but Brazil and India too. Add to that the fact that the US knew how meaningless South Africa's vote, extorted after a lengthy plea from Obama, was
      and it really shows diplomatic ineptitude of an unusual kind to be trapped into the corner in which the NATO powers now find themselves.
      They are in a no win position, employing their power without thinking through the cosequences. If Ghadaffi goes, what doth it profit them? He will be replaced by a regime of sleazy kleptocrats in debt to the Empire and the Wahabbis. If he doesn't go it will be because he has outlasted or defeated his enemies, the same empire and wahabbis.
      What Talleyrand said really does apply. In fact it has become the epitaph for US Foreign Policy, long criminal and now irrational too.

      Criminal I can understand Academic "patriots" going along with, but "irrational' is where, for their own country's sake, they should draw the line.

  • Russia & China Block Condemnation of Syria as 200 Baathists Resign
    • "...the use of weapons of war on citizens is outrageous. Perhaps this is a China and Russia thing to do but I sure hope it never becomes a tactic used in the West.."
      No Dale this is not a China Russia thing: the US and its allies have been using weapons against civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and, indeed, Libya all through the past week. We do not need to go further into history than that. Suffice it to say that few countries have been more prone to use weapons of war against civilians than the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Italy.

    • This isn't a system of world government. It is the UN. And the USA has consistently argued that the UN does not have the right to impose, for example anti-Jim Crow or fair labour laws, on member states. You might not have noticed but the US has been exempting Israel from anything smacking of international censure or comment for years.

      What justifies Security Council interference is a threat to international peace and security.

      The positions taken by China and Russia are entirely correct. If you want a world government, by which I suspect you mean a US government of the world, you will have to sign up nations to a new agreement.
      The truth is that what is happening in Syria is only international in impact in that the US government and its Saudi allies are knee deep in sponsoring just the sort of salafist opposition which is calculated to divide and disorient the protests of the democrats and socialists.
      This is what happened in Libya as well, where US interference and NATO aggression has given Gadaffi's regime a legitimacy that it had almost lost.

  • Thomas Jefferson in Arabic
    • I hope that Jefferson's 1801 State of the union message, which dealt, inter alia, with Libya, is translated. It will come as a revelation to the Arab world to learn that, in Jefferson's view, any military action by the United States, with the solitary exception of a ship returning fire in self defence, was a matter for Congress to decide.
      This is an excerpt from the Message:
      ”..... Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary states, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact; and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean,With assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. The measure was seasonable and salutary. The Bey had already declared war. His cruisers were out: two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded: and that of the Atlantic in peril, The arrival of our squadron dispelled the' danger: one of the Tripolitan cruisers having fallen in with and engaged the small schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieut. Sterrett, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single one on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element, will, I trust be a testimony to the world, that it is not the want of that virtue which makes us seek their peace; but a conscientious desire to direct the energies of our nation to the multiplication of the human race, and not to its destruction. Unauthorised by the constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defence, the vessel being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The legislature will doubtless consider, whether, by authorising measures of offence also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries. I communicate all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of the important function, confided by the constitution to the legislature exclusively, their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.
      I wish I could say that our situation with all the other Barbary States was entirely satisfactory. Discovering that some delays had taken place in the performance of certain articles stipulated by us, I thought it my duty by immediate measures for fulfilling them to vindicate to ourselves the right of considering the effect of departure from a stipulation on their side.
      From the papers which will be laid before you, you will be enabled to judge, whether our treaties are regarded by them as fixing at all the measures of their demands; or as guarding from the exercise of force our vessels within their power: and to consider how far it will be safe and expedient to leave our affairs with them in their present posture........

  • Crackdowns Against Arab Spring Continue
    • The Obama administration has not "chucked" any of its old friends overboard. It has stayed with them, and supported them to the hilt, to the very last moment.
      To argue otherwise is to re-write history and very recent history at that: Mubarak and Ben Ali were not only given every assistance to remain in power, since their passing the US has laboured mightily to install clones in their places.

      Obama is carrying out an imperial policy, devoid of any ethical principles and certainly of any preference for democracy. Tonight, for example, we learn of the triumph of his Haitian policy: the "election' of a Ton Ton Macoute entertainer, placed on the ballot, at US insistence, after losing in the first round. That is Imperialism (not democracy) in action.

      So is the current orgy of repression, accompanied by wild charges against Iran, in Bahrain.

    • "The Obama administration has finally decided that Saleh must go. Is that imperialism or supporting reform?"

      Even in the context within which you pose this question it is quite clear that Washington has realised that Salih is not going to be able to maintain himself in power much longer by employing the repressive methods whcich he has used for some years.

      And so, just as was the case in Egypt, the US is switching horses in midstream. If this is 'supporting reform' is is support given very late and amounting to much less than all the support that has been given to preventing reform.

      It is of course imperialism: a cold calculation of the best interests of the Empire's ruling class. Not a very clever or subtle calculation but one which, though months late and millions of dollars short, was inevitable.

      Why should the Empire suddenly prefer the interests of the Arab masses to its own?

  • Questions for Glenn Greenwald on Libya and the end of NATO
    • This article is remarkably disingenuous: NATO is dominated by the United States. The notion that the other members are, or ever have been, equal partners is simply unsustainable.
      The fact of NATO's involvement in Afghanistan, despite, as you note, public opinion throughout the alliance, is only a graphic illustration of the overwhelmning weight of the US in the organisation.

      As to:
      "So my question is whether, given that NATO allies such as Britain and France were so insistent on meeting their UN obligations with regard to Libya and on bringing NATO allies into the effort, would it have been worth breaking up NATO and destroying America’s longstanding alliances in order to stay completely out of Libya? Note that even Turkey, which initially opposed NATO involvement, in the end acquiesced in it and even offered to patrol Libyan ports as part of its obligations to the organization.

      Two points
      1/ Turkey refused to be elbowed aside and deprived of influence over these operations. It is notable that Sarkozy, (who vies with Rumsfeld and Bush for the title of most arrogant and obnoxious personage), did not invite the Turks to discuss the form that NATO's operations would take. Turkey will not stand for this. Nor will it stand by while islamophobic 'allies' massacre Libyans, as they pretend to save them, to win applause from domestic extremists.

      2/NATO has no obligations to intervene in Libya, Sarkozy and Cameron were pursuing agendas of their own (agendas which include ingratiating themselves with the Big Boss in Washington.)

      It is noteworthy that Bahrein opposition sources are reporting hundreds of disappearances and a full scale military occupation of the island, including
      house by house searches of dissidents. In point of fact the 'nightmares' predicted for Benghazi are taking place in Bahrein.
      With this difference: the Bahreini protestors, democratic and anti-sectarian, were unarmed. They made the fatal error of putting their trust in the integrity and decency of, largely western, public opinion. They will know better in future. In the meantime they can study the history of US relations with Latin American democrats.

  • Torpey: Support the Libyans but Don't Arm Them!
    • Of course for most involved this is not nationalism but subservience to US governmebnt policy. You may very well consider that 'nationalism' I suspect that you are wrong but such is the nature of US politics.
      For a Canadian, a Qatari, an Arab living under the rule of the Saud clan, or the Hashemite family, or for an Englishman, automatically falling in line behind the US on adventure, is the denial of nationalism. And very much like being conscripted into the Punjab Rifles to take part in the Somme.
      As to whether it is 'enlightened', again I would differ from you, it is a crime grounded in a trick, of the pettyfogging sort, carried out at the expense of the United Nations.

  • Qaddafi Forces Advance on All Fronts Despite Bombardment
    • What this intervention signifies is the rapid approach of the demise of the nation state. If this precedent holds, it means that the only bulwark left to individual states, to save them from the threat of an 'intervention' (following an uprising supported from abroad) is a nuclear arsenal. On the basis of this Libya intervention a couple of hundred thugs shooting up a town on the Colombian border, in Venezuela, would, if the government took action to restore order, justify a Security Council decision to intervene "to save civilian life.'
      The same, of course, is true of Iran.
      Those who argue that the principle- that of protecting civilians from oppressive governments- is worth sacrificing sovereign states for, conveniently forget that the current intervention, like those in Iraq and in Afghanistan, is concurrent with moassive human rights abuses, including the use of foreign mercenary forces carrying out massacres of peaceful civilians, under the aegis of precisely those powers attacking Libya.
      The fact of the matter is that this is not about principles- what principled action is to be expected from Saudi Arabia or Colombia?- but about hegemony. Libya is the target because it makes a grand example, necessary after the discomforting of the Clinton family friend Mubarak and the proximity of shia democrats close to the USN Base in Bahrain, to anyone else about to rebel against American puppets.
      Perhaps this is a good thing, and the era of sovereign states needs to be replaced by Orwellian blocs. This brings us closer to One World and one revolution, la lutte finale. It also brings us closer to a closed society subject to power, unqualified by law, which is re-written to order by the White House, exercised on behalf of haute finance.

  • Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone
    • I couldn't disagree more with these arguments in justification of an intervention which is not only ill intentioned and deceitful but a tremendous mistake, on a par with the sort of miscalculations and blindness which characterised the last President's foreign policy.
      No matter: we will see for ourselves.
      What concerns me is that, while this is going on, some very nasty things seem to be happening in Bahrain.

  • It's the Popular Sovereignty, Stupid
    • In case you missed it. Robert Cooper one of the senior members of the Ashton EU 'diplomatic' establishment, and an old Blairite, is defending the Bahrain government's crackdown and justifying the Crown Prince's actions.

  • UN Allies Bombard Libya to protect Protesters
    • "As for ‘crusades,’ it is not an accusation that can plausibly be launched against the Arab League, full of Muslim states, or, indeed, against Bosnia or the current Lebanese government or religiously plural Nigeria."

      Come now, Professor Cole.
      There aren't many accusations that cannot be launched, plausibly, against the Arab League. In this case the prime movers were all rulers who live in defiance of their people and will not countenance dissent or protest, not even in neighbouring states.

      Lebanon's case is quite unique in this matter. As to Bosnia-Hercegovina can anyone see them voting against NATO? That leaves Colombia, about which we are all aware, a country in which human rights abuse is endemic, and government organised.
      The only real surprise is South Africa, it will be interesting to learn what that was about. I doubt that it signified any change of heart.

      Let's face facts, this resolution was hustled through the Security Council, it is a fig leaf and a very small one at that.

      Since it is contemporaneous with Ms Clinton's justifications for the cold blooded murders in Bahrain and the administration's determination to be found on the wrong side of history in Yemen it amounts (as BRIC is very well aware) to a foreign policy disaster for the US, quite as egregious as the recent veto exercise.

  • Egypt's Google Gandhi Released, Interviewed
    • 300 dead? And, according to The Guardian newsblog 10,000 peole arrested and detained in the past two weeks.

  • Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
  • Mubarak's Response to Demand for end of Military Rule
    • "I hope some of the older people of Egypt remember when Communism fell in Hungary and Poland."

      This is not a useful analogy. In this case the US is determined not to allow a popular regime to arise. It will apologise for any amount of violence by the reactionaries.
      In eastern Europe the US had everything to gain, here it has everything to lose. Without Egypt it does not have a foreign policy.

      One more observation: this is a rising against neo-liberal policies. A more focused and angry version of what was seen in the streets of Athens. Mubarek, and his foreign sponsors, have imposed neo-liberal, trickle down economic policies and the result has been the impoverishment of a country already desperately poor. In many ways this is a revolution with clearly socialist objects: equality, control over the economy, full employment, welfare and healthcare provision, free education and more in the same line.

      I fear that there is about to be a terrible and bloody attack on the popular forces. It will be carried out by US trained officers, employing US supplied weapons furnished with ammunition being rushed in by the US.

      I hope that I am wrong.

  • Mubarak Turns to Military for Support
    • My guess is that the Police are re-grouping for a government counter-offensive on Sunday.
      Clearly Mubarak is offering Suleiman the succession if he can secure it. And Suleiman is not a very nice man. Though he is quite popular in Tel Aviv.

  • Anzalone: Hezbollah’s Double Standards: Tunisia and Iran
    • What is missing here is any attempt by the author to put these events into the context of imperialism.
      Hezbollah's position would seem to be that the underlying problem faced by its constituents is, to [paraphrase Marx on Tsarist Russia) 'that power whose head is in Washington and whose hand is in every Cabinet in the Middle East.'

      The truth is, however, that this almost invariably means that Hezbollah's interests are served by popular movements, since it rests upon the support of the poor and disenfranchised.

      As, happily, others have pointed out the evidence that Iran's elections were 'stolen' is not very compelling. And there is no doubt that the support for the government was strong. These matters are debatable but the situations in Tunisia and Egypt seem to be clear: neither government has any significant support beyond those on the payroll.

      It is not insignificant that, among the current revelations of the PA's secret dealings is that showing that Abu Mazen persuaded a Palestinian businessman to finance a radio station for the "green" opposition in Iran. There is little doubt that those governments currently trembling in fear of their own people poured noney and resources into the Iranian opposition campaign. They will have done so because they saw their interests as being linked to those of the imperial power. And vice versa.

  • Bradley Manning and Mohamed Bouazizi
    • "If Manning has broken the law, he will be tried and convicted and punished in accordance with the law."

      There is very little evidence that any such thing will happen.

      And by the time that a Kangaroo Court has been lined up there is a very good chance that Manning will have been reduced to the defenceless state that Jose Padilla was in when he went to court.

      The rule of law, even for real estate matters, appears to be long gone. The truth bis that while there are decent juries and honest judges around, at the very top of the pyramid there is a phalanx of cynical ideologists of the sort that gave Totalitarian States their flavour.

      Catch 22 is that the State can do no wrong and the State is the Presidency.

  • The First Middle Eastern Revolution since 1979
    • There is a wikileaks connection too: the Guardian story, in December, of the US Ambassador's assessment of the corruption of the regime evidently struck a nerve among the public, used to hearing gossip but impressed by these authentic confirmations.
      Who says the US does not assist in the spread of democracy?

  • Jahanpour: US following Israeli 5-Point Plan on Iran: Wikileaks
    • The fear is not of Iran's nuclear weapons programme- it is quite clear that it has none- but of its support for resistance to the zionist revisionists (fascists in european terminology). In order for the Israelis to succeed the Palestinian people must be totally isolated, friendless and unarmed: so long as Iran is ready to sustain the resistance Israel's ambition, to put an end to the question of sharing the land of Palestine, will be frustrated.

      Israel knows, and recent developments in Turkey have proved, that the current encirclement of the Palestinians cannot last: the "moderate" autocracies in the Arab world (some of the most corrupt and repellent regimes that exist anywhere) are fragile and unsustainable, particularly in a deepening economic depression. Nor, one suspects, can the current uncritical and cynical support Israel gets from "the west" continue: it is borne of the 9/11 crisis and islamophobia.
      And it too is being dissolved in the reality of a social and economic crisis.

      How much would extending Unemployment Benefits to millions of Americans cost? And how much is spent in gifts to Israel and bribes to its "moderate" friends?
      And when will two and two be put together?

  • Gaza as Israel's Gimp
    • "As you say, there is no strategic rationale to it, even by Israel’s standards."

      The strategic rationale includes the clear demonstration that the major powers have no objections to sadistic actions, by their friends.
      Gaza is a daily demonstration of the reality that the "west" uses human rights cynically as a stick with which to beat those resisting its power.

      Gaza is merely one current reminder that the moral high ground has been abandoned; Haiti's parody of an election is another, Egypt's a third.

      In essence Israel is telling the world that only power matters and that the USA, NATO and all but a handful of 'rogue states' (ironically the regular objects of western scolding for 'rights abuse') agree.

      This has been apparent for a very long time, but the abandonment of the policy of pretending otherwise is starkly new, not since Mussolini and Hitler sneered at morality have we seen this sort of modernity. Vice no longer troubles itself to pay virtue any tribute. No doubt it feels that, with the Soviet Union no longer there and Labour opposition no longer a political factor, it can take off that uncomfortable mask and reveal itself in all its natural ugliness.

  • Bush-Cheney Use of Torture Derails Ghailani Prosecution
    • You are part of the problem, yourself. The whole tone of this article suggests that the man was guilty and the testimony given under torture was reliable.

      The point is that there is no evidence that he was guilty.

      You seem to be suggesting that torture is not only morally reprehensible but, worse, liable to prevent convictions. And that the problem in this case is the lack of a conviction. Bush and Cheney would not disagree: to them, as to you, "facts" elucidated under torture are, nevertheless, facts and corroboration from a man tortured or threatened with torture is corroboration, yet.

      The one thing Bush/Cheney cannot be accused of in this case is 'ruining' a prosecution.

      The likelihood is that this torture victim played no part in the embassy bombings and that, whilst he was being tortured and a show trial prepared, the actual perpetrators carried on planning their next attack.

      The next logical step in law would be to prosecute those responsible for the torture. Instead the disease is spreading: the poison from Guatemala, Colombia and Vietnam is well established. Torture is as American as apple pie, as familiar in the "justice" system as Mom, herself. What price the Lubyanka now?

  • Saudi Arabia Saves Chicago Synagogue from al-Qaeda Bomb Plot
    • "Obama’s Jewish American advisers have been fighting for a Palestinian state and pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu."
      Surely not?

  • Anzalone: Hamas's Rhetoric as Spoiler
    • "...transnational jihadi-takfiri groups"
      Certainly not Iranian. Probably backed, as are most such groups, by Saudis and, as appears to have been the case in Lebanon, by US agents too.

  • 4th Attack on Trucks Near Quetta, Pakistan
    • Greenwald is being unusually obtuse: the US government is very well aware that its actions will lead to revenge attacks. In fact, I suspect that it is very disappointed that there have been so few "terrorist" attacks in the USA that it has had to hype every incident or rumour and to invest so much in provocateurs.
      The government knows that unless there are some real terrorist incidents soon the population is going to start insisting that social security, unemployment relief, healthcare and homes are more important than killing muslim kids in the hope of starting a real war.
      We will soon see: it is beginning to look as if Obama will need a big issue to rally voters for his re-election and the odds are that his advisors will tell him that more war is his best bet.

  • New Polls: Dems Very Likely to Keep Senate
    • "...there are only two parties in the US, and one has gone bonkers,"
      and the other is scared to death it.

  • Top Ways 9/11 Broke Islamic Law
    • "The US, and other countries that are Christian in their culture bases, may do horrible things outside their borders. But inside their borders, for citizens and visitors alike, cultural Christian nations provide vastly superior environments compared to their Moslem equivalents, or the other countries that have a different religion: China, Russia (the Orthodox churches are miles away from Western churches), Japan, Vietnam, India, etc"
      I guess history is not your main interest Warren. It is true that, on the whole the metropolitan centres of Empire are more prosperous than the peripheries, if only because the periphery is where the looting is currently taking place. As to the behaviour of 'Christian countries' within their own, expanding borders, consider the history of the United States, from the point of view of a Cherokee, or an African American, or a Chinese labourer, or a Mexican, or a Wobblie....

  • What would Martin Luther King Say? Mosques and the New Jim Crow in America
  • Meyer: NY Times: Saber-rattling Against Turkey
    • It would be much easier to demonstrate 'ties' between the New York Times and terrorists than it would be to show that IHH had any links to Hamas.
      This is not to suggest, for a moment, that the Times's support for terrorists, in Colombia for example, is anything more than an accidental result of its support of the US government's foreign policies or, in the case of Mexico, of the necessity of its major shareholders to protect their businesses.
      In the case of Turkey, the danger is that the sub-text of the Times's articles is urging military officers to stage a coup against a government which is "islamist' only in the sense that the British government is Christian.

  • Women of Afghanistan: Rethink Afghanistan, Part 5
    • "On Saturday it became clear that fighting on Friday between NATO and Taliban guerrillas left some 30 civilians dead, including women and children, when they were caught in the crossfire."
      They were bombed, from the air! What kind of 'crossfire' is that?
      It seems very likely, (a) that this is just one more massacre of innocent civilians, (b) that, once again, the 'Taliban' are a more reliable and honest source of information than NATO.

  • Was Amiri a Double Agent who Hyped Iran's Nukes?
    • Isn't the simple story the most credible? He is telling the truth. He was kidnapped in Saudi Arabia. And now he has returned home.

  • Lockerbie Bomber released for Sake of BP Libya Drilling Rights
    • BP is an amalgamation of Amoco and British Petroleum, is it not?
      The point, as many others have pointed out, is that the convict in this case was clearly framed and that the US, and British governments, as well as the media, were complicit in this cynical injustice and corruption of the law.

  • McChrystal Drama is Sideshow;
    Can Obama define a realistic Goal?
    • And then there is the growing crisis brewing in Pakistan. The situation there, an openly corrupt government following the arrogant dictates of a foreign power, cannot continue. And Pakistan is a very big and very important country, which the United States seems intent on prodding and baiting until it explodes.
      Both India and China are watching anxiously (some elements no doubt, and mistakenly, in both countries see the chance of exploiting the crisis). It is beginning to occur to them that the US does not have a plan: it is simply 'winging it.'
      Essentially the US has gone to war in Pakistan because the idea sounded good in the election campaign. All subsequent policyhas been ex post facto rationalisation.
      Empires, like fish, rot from the head.

  • Allawi's Secularists call for Caretaker Gov't, New Elections
    • What I find very peculiar about these results is that Allawi's party seems to have 'run the board' in Sunni areas. If this is the case it is extraordinary given his role in Fallujah, his record in office and his known links with western intelligence. It seems to me that the vote is very suspicious, certainly, for all those who scrutinised Iran's recent polls with such attention to minute detail, this calls for explanation.
      On the other hand I know very little about the detail of these results.

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