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Total number of comments: 64 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:59)

Richard Steven Hack

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  • Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There?
    • Drivel. While Russia is undoubtedly supporting the Ukraine militia under the table, so is the US and NATO supporting the Ukraine military under the table.

      So what? The bottom line is the US overthrew a democratically elected (if corrupt) government and replaced it with a bunch of neo-Nazis with the intent of putting NATO military bases on Russia's borders.

      Putin has been EXTREMELY FORBEARING by not immediately invading Ukraine and stomping the neo-Nazis flat. Supporting the pro-Russian rebels is the least he could do and he's done it in the least encroaching manner possible. He has no interest in "invading" or "annexing" a failed state like the Ukraine unless that's the only way to keep NATO out.

      It's Obama, irritated that Putin out-maneuvered him last year on Syria, the neocons in the State Department, and the poodles in the EU who are responsible for this mess. Not Putin. And not Russia.

  • A $9 Trillion War? Top 10 Reasons Americans will Regret it if GOP Derails Iran Negotiations
    • Richard Steven Hack 02/07/2014 at 4:08 pm

      That $9 trillion has to go to someone. Which is precisely why there WILL be a war. Most of the US will not profit - but someone will.

  • Gingrich Urges War with Iran and Skyrocketing Oil Prices
    • And I can guarantee you that which ever Repug gets in power next year, we'll be at war with Iran in his first year.

      And the oil companies will reap the profits, as will the military-industrial complex, the banks who finance them, and the rest of the scum running this country and the EU.

      While the rest of the non-military-industrial complex US economy evaporates, thousands of US troops die, and a million or more Middle East civilians die.

      By this time next year, the US and EU will be bombing Syria, Israel will be invading Lebanon, and the stage will be set for war with Iran some time thereafter.

      That's the game plan. And there's nothing anyone can do to stop it because the US population no longer controls its government.

  • Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We've Seen this Picture
    • /sb "which would have changed nothing in the strategic balance."

    • I'd like to emphasize that while Iran MAY have explored the possibility of having nuclear weapons sometime before 2003 as a reaction to the US accusations against Iraq for having one, there is ZERO evidence that Iran has even the desire for the "Japan option".

      No one in Iran, as far as I know, has ever said Iran has ANY desire for nuclear weapons.

      Ahmadinejad just said that Iran is wise enough not to build two bombs against the US' 20,000 bombs. This is precisely the point. Iran would have UTTERLY NO USE for ANY nuclear weapons short of parity with at least Israel - which still leaves it at a disadvantage against the US.

      The notion that Iraq could have prevented being invaded by exploding a test bomb is completely unfounded. The US could still have blown the hell out of Iraq and been able to successfully invade. You have to have DEPLOYABLE TACTICAL nuclear weapons to be a threat against an invading force.

      Who would Iraq have bombed if invaded? Israel? Perhaps. But they could have done nothing against an attacking US force with just one or two bombs which would have changed to strategic balance.

      The case of North Korea is often cited. It is not NK's possible two to six nuclear weapons (untested successfully at that) which are holding back the US and South Korea. It is the North's massive conventional (if aging) military which achieves that. Pentagon war games show the US suffering 50,000 casualties within ninety days of a full-scale war against North Korea. THAT is the deterrent, along with the ability even without nuclear weapons to destroy much of Seoul, South Korea, within 48 hours under a rain of missiles and artillery - estimated at some 500,000 PER HOUR.

      Do not repeat the notion that Iran "needs" nuclear weapons to forestall regime change. Iran has stated repeatedly that it does not - and they are correct. Nuclear weapons would only isolate the Iranian regime geopolitically and they know this. They also know that having one or a few nuclear weapons would be almost useless except for some pyrrhic possible attack on Israel if already under US attack - which would only result in Iran being nuked into the stone age.

      The Iranians aren't that stupid. But apparently many of the US analysts are.

  • Would Obama Greenlight an Israeli Attack on Iran?
    • "A budding Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut axis would be brought to fruition and strengthened, creating a problem for the US from the Gulf to the Eastern Mediterranean."

      This is precisely WHY the US and Israel will attack at some point, if not now.

      The US and Israel will attempt to convince NATO and the UN to attack Syria under the bogus "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine used to justify Libya.

      This in turn will occupy Syria while Israel uses the support of US/EU bombing of Libya to attack Hizballah in Lebanon (and perhaps the Palestinians in Gaza).

      The weakening of both Syria and Hizballah (if successful, which IS doubtful, but doesn't mean the US and Israel won't TRY) will set the stage for an attack on Iran.

      The notion that Obama is somehow not interested in destroying Iran is just bizarre. He's utterly controlled by the Israel Lobby (the Crown and Pritzker families in Chicago got him elected) and by the military-industrial complex.

      The only reason Israel has not attacked Iran yet is that they would prefer the US to get the blame for starting yet another Mid-East war. And the US would prefer Israel get the blame. This is why Dick Cheney bribed Israel with $30 billion in new arms sales. But Israel still balked.

      The situation may be different now. In any event, Israel cannot proceed with its plans to destabilize and control the Middle East without destroying Iran, Syria and all other opposition. Therefore it is INEVITABLE that a war with Iran must be started.

      And the US will not resist such a war because the military-industrial complex as well as the oil companies and the Israel Lobby all want such a war.

      And they run things, not Obama or any of his successors.

  • Syria Promises Response to Arab League Plan, Threatens 'Volcano' if Attacked
    • The entire point of this is to weaken Syria so Israel can safely attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley. Also to break up Syria, as Assad clearly understands, just as Iraq was broken up and weakened.

      The goal is to set the stage for war with Iran.

      Today we learn from the New York Times that the US is going to take the troops out of Iraq and build up its ground and naval and air presence in the Gulf, forming according to a Guardian article a "mini-NATO" around the Gulf states.

      All of this is a clear buildup to a war with Iran.

  • Why a No-Fly Zone won't Work in Syria
    • None of those considerations matter.

      The entire purpose of the Libyan intervention was oil,

      The entire purpose of a Syria intervention will be to enable Israel to attack Hizballah in Lebanon by entering Syrian territory and cutting into the Bekaa Valley to Hizballah's rear in an attempt to crush Hizballah in southern Lebanon.

      This would be very difficult for Israel if it had to contend with Syrian forces at its rear at the same time. But if the US/EU are attacking Syria at the same time, it will be easier for Israel to attempt its objective.

      And both the weakening of Syria and the weakening of Hizballah will set the groundwork for an attack on Iran.

      This is the entire purpose of a Syrian attack by the US/EU under the bogus "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine.

  • Ambassador Ford's Departure a Defeat for al-Assad
    • Richard Steven Hack 10/27/2011 at 1:48 am

      "Iran weirdly made a deal on sending low-enriched uranium out of the country to be turned into fuel for a medical reactor, then abruptly reneged on it."

      That is completely incorrect in every particular.

      Iran never accepted the phoney deal the US offered in fall of 2009 because it was concerned the LEU sent out would not be returned when and if the TRR fuel would never be delivered. It did, however, offer suggestions that would make the deal more palatable in Iran, specifically to have the fuel in escrow in Turkey under IAEA supervision until the TRR fuel was delivered. This was rejected by the US and its negotiating partners.

      Subsequently in 2010 Turkey and Brazil attempted to reach a deal consistent with Obama's specific conditions outlined in letters to those countries heads of state shortly before their negotiations were to begin. When the deal was reached, to the surprise of the White House which had claimed it was very unlikely to be accepted by Iran, Obama immediately rejected the deal as insufficient, thereby proving that the entire offer was phoney all along.

      If nothing else proves that Obama is first and foremost a liar, the events surrounding the Tehran Declaration prove it beyond all doubt.

  • Wagging the Dog with Iran's Maxwell Smart
    • Another point to keep in mind. The SOLE evidence of ANY connection to Iran is the transfer of $100K from an Iranian bank.

      I know something about computer security. ANY competent hacker can hack an organization and arrange a wire transfer from that organization's bank account. Happens every day in the US using standard hacking techniques. Companies, schools, and other organizations lose scores of thousands of dollars from this sort of thing all the time.

      So how hard would it be for Mossad, or the Saudis, or the CIA - even the incompetent FBI hackers - to hack a Tehran company - or even a bank - and execute a wire transfer to back up this ridiculous plot? Not hard at all, I can assure you.

      If you can get Stuxnet into a closed nuclear network, you can get a phoney bank wire transfer done.

      There is absolutely no doubt that this was either some sort of false flag operation by the Saudis, Mossad and/or the CIA, or some kind of con game being run by one of the parties involved. The Iranian government had absolutely nothing to do with this.

      The real question is: since this should be obvious to the US government, WHY is Obama pushing this? The answer should be obvious as well: he is under the control of the Israel Lobby and is pushing for war with Iran.

      And if it is alleged that Khamenei "had to know about this plot" (with zero supporting evidence), then we have to ask if this was a CIA/Mossad/Saudi plot, how high does it go and did Obama know and approve of it?

  • Dagan, Ofer and Israel's Growing Iran Credibility Gap
    • Here's a repost of a post I just made on http://www.raceforiran.com (the premiere site for following the threatened Iran war).

      I’m going to break my silence for a moment to comment on two points which Sy Hersh’s article raises which appear to have been ignored by the antiwar community.

      Point One: I have repeatedly said that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program because such a program would be useless to them. In Hersh’s piece, he mentions that the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) was responsible for holding up the NIE because it claimed that Iran’s only motivation for a nuclear weapons program was the result of the exposure of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program subsequent to the 1991 conflict. The DIA believes that Iran was never interested in a nuclear weapons program because of Israel or the United States arsenals, but solely as a deterrent to a potential Iraqi nuclear weapon program.

      This clearly supports my view that Iran KNOWS that a nuclear weapons program would be absolutely useless to them.

      Point Two: The DIA also suggested that Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” prior to 2003 never amounted to much more than “paper studies”. This is also precisely what I have argued for some time – that Iran has NEVER had a nuclear weapons DEVELOPMENT AND DEPLOYMENT program, but more likely a mere nuclear weapons “research database”, i.e., a study by the Iranian military (or IRGC) to determine HOW to build a nuclear weapon should the leadership ever decide to do so. This would be “due diligence” for any nation’s military threatened by a foreign nuclear power.

      Strangely, it never occurred to me that the motivation would be Iraq’s nuclear weapons program! And yet, clearly this would be the most logical motivation, because of my very argument that Iran could never compete with Israel, let alone the US, in a nuclear arms race.

      One last point about Obama can be made:

      1) If we know that 16 US intelligence agencies have agreed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, and at least ONE US intelligence agency argues that Iran has NEVER had a nuclear weapons program (in the sense of a deployment program);

      2) and if we can assume that Obama has been apprised of these conclusions,

      3) and if we can assume that any war with Iran would cause a major economic shock to the US economy based, if nothing else, on a spike in the oil price;

      4) and if we can assume Obama has been apprised of that possibility,

      5) and if we can assume that despite these facts, Obama continues to pursue a course of action which entails conflict with Iran via sanctions, threats, etc.;

      6) then we can come to two conclusions:

      a) Obama does not CARE that a current or future war with Iran will negatively impact the US economy;

      b) and therefore Obama is lying about ANY concerns he has for the US economy.

      If Obama is lying about Iran, and if a war with Iran will be a disaster for the US economy, then how we can believe Obama about ANYTHING AT ALL?

      Another side point Hersh makes about Obama: he says Obama is “isolated”, more so than most Presidents. Apparently no one with an opinion different than the Pentagon or his closest advisers (Biden, Clinton, other pro-Israel pro-war anti-Iran sorts) can get to him. I don’t know what to make of this claim. We KNOWN Obama is owned and operated by the Crown and Prizker families. We KNOW what Obama’s foreign policy intentions were prior to election based on his statements during the campaign. Are we now to believe that Obama is so stupid that he has prevented himself from hearing alternative opinions? He can’t Google? He doesn’t read the media?

      Or is this just another excuse to cover up the fact that Obama is doing EXACTLY what he intends to do and has always intended to do?

      How blatant does his lying have to be before people stop believing this guy is “change we can believe in?”

  • Top Ten Myths about Bin Laden's Death
    • Yes, I can, because I know what SEALS are capable of, I have some knowledge of CQB (close quarter combat), and by the simple fact that bin Laden's intelligence and PR value absolutely demanded that he be taken alive at whatever potential risk to the SEALS (short of mission failure to take him alive.)

      That and especially the quick and convenient disposal of the body CLEARLY proves the official story is bogus.

    • Irrelevant. The SEALS should have been ordered to take him alive regardless of risk to themselves or others. bin Laden's intelligence and PR value were far too high to kill him unnecessarily.

      The SEALS are trained marksmen with handguns and automatic weapons. They can enter a room full of terrorists and hostages and kill every terrorist without killing a single hostage. They shot a woman in the leg who was actually attacking them rather than kill her. What if SHE had a bomb vest on? If they ignored that possibility, they weren't concerned about it with bin Laden.

      If they could kill bin Laden, they could have incapacitated him without killing him. And they should have.

      Remember, the other critical point is the disposal of the body, for which there is ZERO rational arguments. Which makes the KILLING of bin Laden itself massively suspicious.

    • "His wife lunged at the SEALS and was shot in the leg. Then Bin Laden made threatening moves (looked as if he was going for a weapon?), and he was shot."

      So after NOT having shot a woman who was actually attacking them, an old man on dialysis who in his previous alleged videos was nearly incapable of movement "threatened" a team of heavily armed SEALS trained in martial arts and wearing body armor, and so they "had to shoot" an intelligence asset of incalculable value fatally instead of shooting him non-fatally.

      Really? Then they should be court martialed for incredible stupidity.

      Of course, you'll censor this post since intellectual honesty is not your bag.

  • Green Energy in 20-40 Years?
    • The best solution to the fact that the world will need double its current energy needs within 50 years is nanotech solar energy, proposed by the late Dr. Richard Smalley, a pioneer in nanotechnology, the technology of engineering things on a molecular scale.

      Nanotech Key To Future Energy Solutions, Nobelist Says
      :link to energybulletin.net

      Nanotechnology and Our Energy Challenge
      :link to informit.com

  • Amnesty Int'l: United Nations Must Reject Israeli Campaign to Avoid Accountability for Gaza War Crimes
    • Phud: "he now says that Israel did not target civilians as a matter of policy;"

      Which he cannot prove from his statements.

      "that investigations are being conducted (too slowly and not transparently enough but are being conducted) into whether field commanders targeted civilians on their own initiative;"

      And when said officers are never punished, even assuming they are ever found guilty? All of which is guaranteed.

      "that Israeli policies and doctrines (rules of engagement) have been and are being modified to make civilian casualties less likely in any future conflict;"

      After Israel has explicitly said the next Cast Lead (not to mention another war on Lebanon) will be even more brutal than the last.

      "that individual IDF members found to have committed crimes have been and are being prosecuted;"

      As usual, like the Abu Ghraib case, a few grunts are made the scapegoats.

      "and that Hamas has done and is doing none of these."

      Which is irrelevant to Israel's obligations.

  • Defections, US Withdrawal Point to Political Solution in Libya
    • Things may be looking up for the rebels - apparently the Libyan defectors are starting to take a hand in the fighting - if true, it's about time.

      Libya Opposition Shows Disciplined, Prepared Front
      :link to huffingtonpost.com

    • I agree one of the main problems is the lack of activity on the part of the defecting Libyan soldiers who "joined" the rebellion, but by most reports have sat out the actual fight in their bases in the east.

      There were reportedly thousands of defecting Libyan soldiers in the early days of the rebellion. Since then, not ONE single media report has indicated that ANY of them are actually in the fight. All we hear is that they're "organizing" - for weeks now. Some reports have explicitly said that they're hanging back because they fear what will happen if the rebels lose. Of course, the logic there is that they should JOIN the fight in that case and make sure the rebels don't lose.

      It's ridiculous.

    • And now we know, from Pepe Escobar at Asia Times:

      "You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya - the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973."

      And considering that it is the Saudis who really want Gaddafi gone, this means the US basically did their bidding. But of course the US and the EU intend to benefit from this as well.

      There's no doubt in my mind that the bulk of the reason for this intervention was to mess with Libyan oil, just as the primary reason to invade Iraq was to take Iraqi oil OFF the market, as Greg Palast proved when he uncovered State Department documents actually authored by Houston oil executives that recommended that course of action.

      Pepe also declares the following:

      "A curious development is already visible. NATO is deliberately allowing Gaddafi forces to advance along the Mediterranean coast and repel the "rebels". There have been no surgical air strikes for quite a while.

      The objective is possibly to extract political and economic concessions from the defector and Libyan exile-infested Interim National Council (INC) - a dodgy cast of characters including former Justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, US-educated former secretary of planning Mahmoud Jibril, and former Virginia resident, new "military commander" and CIA asset Khalifa Hifter. The laudable, indigenous February 17 Youth movement - which was in the forefront of the Benghazi uprising - has been completely sidelined."

      In short, what was an indigenous rebellion of at least a significant portion of Libya has now been co-opted by the US, the EU and the Saudis for their own agenda. Whether they can keep control if and when Gaddafi is overthrown is another matter and is as yet unknown.

  • Torpey: Support the Libyans but Don't Arm Them!
    • If you're not willing to give them guns, then why are you willing to 1) bomb their enemies for them - and please, this is no longer a "protect the civilians" mission, the US is bombing Gaddafi forces no where near the civilians; and 2) supply CIA assets on the ground to coordinate attacks with the rebels?

      This is without question a "regime change" operation intended to control the price of Libyan oil (for the EU, anyway), and possibly other reasons for the US. Contrary to popular belief, the US does not do "humanitarian" military missions - ever. There is ALWAYS an ulterior agenda.

      People discussing this issue are talking past each other. Juan is right about certain things he maintains are true which his critics ignore, while his critics are correct about certain things they maintain are true which he ignores. The same is true between the neocons and the anti-jihadist crowd.

      Yes, it's likely that most Libyans who aren't being directly benefited by Gassafi don't like Qaddafi and want him out. What percentage of the overall population this is and their geographic distribution in Libya (east vs west vs south) is unclear. This doesn't mean the entire rebellion is legitimate.

      Yes, it's likely that the rebels don't have the support of all Libyans. What percentage of the overall population this is and their geographic distribution in Libya (east vs west vs south) is unclear. This doesn't mean the rebellion is illegitimate.

      Yes, it's likely that there are various factions in the rebel movement, including Al Qaeda-related groups, if not Al Qaeda itself. This doesn't mean the entire rebellion is based on that. This doesn't mean the rebellion is illegitimate.

      Yes, it's likely that there are factions in the rebel movement that are being supported by British, French and US intelligence agencies. This doesn't mean the entire rebellion is based on that. This doesn't mean the rebellion is illegitimate.

      Yes, it's likely that the rebels are unable to crush Gaddafi's regime by themselves. This doesn't mean the US should be using air power to support them, using ground troops to support them, or even necessarily arming them directly. If Egypt or Saudi Arabia want them armed, they can easily afford to do so.

      Yes, it's likely that the US and the EU (who have more direct oil investments in Libya than the US) is not intervening for humanitarian reasons, but more likely to control the Libyan oil price as well as to assume control over Libya for other geostrategic reasons. That doesn't necessarily mean the rebels won't benefit from US/EU air power. It also doesn't necessarily mean that if the rebellion is successful that it will be under the thumb of the US/EU - OR Al Qaeda.

      This doesn't mean the results of a US/EU bombing campaign won't save some civilian lives in rebel held cities - nor that it won't cost civilian lives in some Gaddafi held cities. How many lives in either case is totally speculative.

      How many lives Gaddafi took in suppressing the initial protests and how this was done is apparently unclear and unconfirmed by unbiased sources. It is likely that the death toll and brutality used was greater than that in Bahrain. But no one knows for sure. But the fact remains that his response to the initial protests started the rebellion. Whether there was EU or US instigation of the initial protests is unknown. That doesn't prove the initial protests were without basis.

      We have some people going to the extreme of ignoring Gaddafi forty years of brutal suppression of opposition, not to mention forty years of supporting terrorism around the world, just to convince people that attacking Gaddafi is a Bad Thing. I've seen people actually citing some living condition improvements in Libya during his reign.

      Well, living conditions in Iraq were pretty good under Saddam Hussein. Anyone want to claim he wasn't a brutal dictator?

      It's ridiculous.

      Yes, it's likely that a successful rebellion that drives out Gaddafi will be a better outcome than Gaddafi crushing the rebellion - for the rebels anyway. But it's not certain either, nor is it certain that it will be better for 1) US interests, 2) EU interests, 3) Saudis interests, 4) Libyans in general, or 5) anyone else.

      There is no "either/or" here! Everyone has staked out some hardline position on this based on their biases and are ignoring any information that contradicts those biases. That includes Juan, his critics, and the neocons and the anti-jihadists.

      It's a farce more than anything else so far.

      My opinion:

      1) If the GCC or the Saudis want Gaddafi gone, let them arm and support the rebels. They have plenty of money to do so that doesn't come out of US taxpayers (except indirectly through the oil price). They can also supply mercenaries like Israel is doing. And if the UN doesn't like it, the UN should sanction Israel and Saudi Arabia for doing so!

      2) The US and the EU should stay out of it. The rebellion is the rebels problem. As the Arab saying goes, "Those who draw their sword against their prince should fling the scabbard as far away as possible." The rebels should get their heads out of their butts and learn to fight properly instead of this incompetent nonsense they're doing so far.

      3) The defecting Libyan soldiers who so far are doing NOTHING to support the rebels should get off their butts or the rebellion should fail. Fish or cut bait!

      4) If the rebellion fails, so be it. If this results in civilian massacres, then so be it. It's not like this will be the first time. If the rebellion succeeds, so be it. And whoever takes power, be it democrats or Al Qaeda, so be it.

  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • "A war on Libya to get more and better contracts so as to lower the world price of petroleum makes no sense in a world where the bids were already being freely let, and where high prices were producing record profits. I haven’t seen the war-for-oil argument made for Libya in a manner that makes any sense at all."

      Because the purpose of the war is to REDUCE the amount of oil and thus increase the price, and in any event to run up the price.

      Read up on Greg Palast and what he discovered about the reason for the Iraq oil war. The purpose was to get much of Iraq's oil off the market and prevent Saddam from messing with the oil price. This has been proven by official State Department documents actually authored by US oil company executives.

      Look it up.

      It's almost certainly the same rationale for the Libya case. There may be additional political and geopolitical reasons for the intervention, but this was undoubtedly the main one. And I'm not arguing that the intervention has not been beneficial to the rebels and that is a Good Thing to a limited degree, but the only reason the US and EU do such things is for their own interests. There was nothing "humanitarian" about this except in the side effects.

  • Alimagham: What Egypt & Tunisia Tell us About Iran
    • "the opposition’s strategy should not be limited to street activity, as it was in the past, but expanded into a more comprehensive approach including strikes, encampments in Iran’s own Liberation Square and, most importantly, garnering the support of Iran’s armed forces"

      Since the Iranian opposition is limited to somewhere around 8-13% of the population, large scale strikes, encampments, etc. which require hundreds of thousands of participants are not in the cards.

      As for "support of the armed forces", this reveals a fairly deep lack of knowledge of the relative factions in Iran. The armed forces - not to mention the IRGC - are very unlikely to support an opposition which is widely regarded as a seditious, foreign-backed minority.

      All of the recent talk about "hundreds of thousands" of recent protesters in Iran have as far as I can tell been utterly hyped way beyond the actual numbers. Based on videos viewed so far, the largest reasonable number might be 10,000. And in a city the size of Tehran, as someone noted, that kind of protest can just be ignored.

      The facts remain that the Green Movement has no traction in Iran. And given the fact that Iran is under actual covert attack by the US and Israel, Iran's government is well within reason to crack down on the movement.

      This has been under considerable discussion over at http://www.raceforiran.com, the Flynt/Hillary Leverett site. The consensus is that Iran's government is far from being in a position to be overthrown a la Egypt and Tunisia. Nor does it need to resort to the sort of oppression we're seeing in Libya to control its opposition.

  • Iran, Bahrain Crack down on Protesters, as Rallies Held in Yemen
    • I would also point out that the number of protesters in Iran has been massively exaggerated by the media. From what I can see of the videos posted around the Net, as well as from various posters at RaceforIran.com, the number of protesters probably numbered less than ten thousand in Tehran, and almost none everywhere else. There is zero evidence of the "hundreds of thousands" the main stream media are promoting everywhere.

      Contrast this to the February 11 celebration of the Iranian Revolution, videos of which show incredibly large masses of people in many of Iran's provinces.

      There is definitely an agenda to push the Green Movement, which has very little momentum in Iran. Virtually all the US media has been proclaiming that the Egyptian revolution promises to be exported to Iran, without any evidence whatsoever. Meanwhile, the media also ignores the protests and issues going on against the Palestinian government and against Israel.

  • Anzalone: Hezbollah’s Double Standards: Tunisia and Iran
    • By keeping Israel out of Lebanon and refusing to help start a war with Iran for the benefit of Israel like the puppet regimes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    • And we've seen just a few anti-Iranian activists come here - and none provide any evidence of a fraudulent election. And anyone who applauds a CIA-backed coup in 1953 is obviously clueless as to the nature of the Iranian Revolution.

    • There's just one problem with this scenario: Iran's elections were NOT, repeat NOT, fraudulent!

      If this individual needs education on that point, he should head over to http://www.raceforiran.com and follow some of the posts from Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett and especially the analysis of the elections done by Eric Brill.

      There is also no comparison between the autocratic states in Egypt and Tunisia and the generally democratic - in an Islamic manner - government in Iran.

      This is a hatchet-job on Hizballah and clearly has its own agenda.

      In reality, the current situation is that Nasrallah has out-maneuvered Obama and Netanyahu yet again over the STL tribunal by collapsing the corrupt Lebanese government, and the West doesn't like it.

  • Over 9,000 Murders by Gun in US; 39 in UK
    • Then you can expect to be considered less than credible on this topic. I respect your opinion on areas involving the Middle East, but you are absolutely incorrect on this issue. Merely repeating the stats is not even relevant to the discussion.

      I will repeat again: "Gun control" in the US is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. And if attempted, it will fail big time. Like most social issues, violence in America must be addressed on a higher level than "band-aid" prescriptions. Trying to control guns is a complete and total waste of time and money, just like the "War on Drugs" and the "War on Terror" are complete and total wastes of time and money.

    • This is ridiculous.

      You can't control a multi-billion dollar illegal drug industry, now you want to create ANOTHER huge black market in guns?

      Read my lips: "Gun control" in the US is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE! There are an estimated 70-170 MILLION firearms in the US - probably not counting law enforcement and the military. Even if you implemented Ross Perot's notion of sending the military door to door to confiscate weapons, you'd still miss probably half of them.

      In addition to which, studies have indicated that the presence of civilian handguns for self-defense deter crime nearly as much having a million law enforcement officers on the payroll.

      Go head - ban guns. Do it. That will guarantee that I can buy a cheap gun on the black market on any street corner in the US forever.

      Stick to foreign affairs, Juan.

  • Another US Quagmire? Lebanon Government Falls
    • "aside from his die-hard followers it is unlikely that very many people accepted his suggestion."

      Then I guess I'm a die-hard follower of Nasrallah, because I put great credence in his suggestion that Israel was behind it. False-flag operations are a trademark of Israel intelligence, and arranging to pin the blame on Hizballah is almost certainly their number one objective whether it is correct or not.

      There is plenty of evidence in the history of the tribunal that it is politically motivated and uses tainted evidence. Nasrallah has listed some, other observers have listed more.

  • Glaspie Memo Vindicates Her, Shows Saddam's Thinking
    • I agree with those who suggest that Glaspie's CYA cable is not to be taken seriously. If her vague comment about not being concerned about the dispute around the Iraq-Kuwait border is not sufficient, do remember that Saddam also complained about Kuwait's slant drilling into Iraqi oil fields and other issues. Glaspie quite definitely gave Saddam the specific idea that the US had no problem with however he wanted to do to address his complaints against Kuwait.

      People need to stop assuming that every word in a State Department cable released by Wikileaks is necessarily true. They're not - they're just as much lying and deluded as the statements issued by the US government to the population.

  • Israel Declares for Ethnic Nationalism
    • It's going to get worse.

      According to Gush Shalon, Israel is now planning detention camps and mass arrests in the event of Lieberman's plan to mass revoke Arab citizenship. That's right, folks, Arab "concentration camps."

      Israel: Liebermania in Action
      mrzine dot monthlyreview dot org/2010/gs111010.html

      Israeli academic: Loyalty oath resembles racist laws of 1935
      www dot haaretz dot com/news/national/israeli-academic-loyalty-oath-resembles-racist-laws-of-1935-1.318275

      MK Tibi: Israel is a democracy for Jews, but not for Arabs.
      www dot haaretz dot com/news/national/livni-loyalty-oath-amendment-is-politics-at-its-worst-1.318219

      It's only a matter of time before all Arabs in Israel are kicked out, to be followed by the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

  • Sanchez v. Stewart: El Error del Dia
    • This is the best write up I've seen on Sanchez and whether his remarks amounted to "anti-Semitism".

      The Rick Sanchez dust-up: it’s a mirror
      link to maxajl.com

      Quote:

      So am I concerned with Sanchez’s rhetorical stupidity? No. I am concerned with the racism of the culture that excoriates Sanchez’s verbal clumsiness while celebrating far worse racist stupidity when it’s against a more politically vulnerable target. A racist culture is a racist culture. Jews of all people should be aware, at the level of self-interest if not of morality, that a culture willing to incite pogroms against Arabs and Muslims is one that could turn on Jews when a fundamentalist group, furious at the occupation, cites it as the reason for setting off a thermonuclear detonation in an American city. In that respect, the Jewish cultural elite are not merely morally corrupt. They are fools.

      End Quote

  • Iran Wins Iraqi Elections 7 Months Later
    • This will also make it a lot harder to ramp up US troops in Iraq to attack Iran (assuming Obama doesn't decide to invade Pakistan first like the idiot considered during his campaign.) Not that it wouldn't have been hard in the first place.

  • 27 US Fuel Trucks Torched as Pakistan Blocks US Supplies at Khyber Pass for 2nd Day
    • Obama threatened to invade Pakistan "if necessary" during his campaign, and even McCain thought that was a bad idea.

      Now he's going to do it, like he does everything - slowly and lying about it all the way.

      Between trying to start a war with Iran and continually expanding the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, despite all the Woodward stuff about trying to get out, it's clear that Obama has a hidden agenda that people simply don't comprehend. He's owned and operated by the Chicago Crown family and General Dynamics and who knows who else in the military-industrial complex.

  • Obama dismisses Iran War Prospects, overrules Clinton
    • I have to say the notion that Obama has "dismissed" an Iran war is not only totally wrong, it is a complete and dangerous misrepresentation.

      Once again, people are allowing their cognitive dissonance over the consequences of an Iran war to blind themselves to the probability of its occurrence - if not under Obama, then under the next President.

      A ranking Republican, Lindsay Graham, has just EXPLICITLY called for the US to prepare for a military attack on Iran, not just to stop the non-existent nuclear weapons program, but for regime change.

      And Obama's mealy-mouthed "all options are on the table" is a completely meaningless statement. Why doesn't someone ask him explicitly what he is going to DO when it becomes CLEAR that sanctions are having NO effect on Iran's enrichment? What can his answer be THEN? "All options are on the table" is just a code for either "war" or "I'm not going to admit I'm talking about war."

      This post is very irritating to me. The headline is completely wrong.'

  • Last US Combat Units withdraw from Iraq
    • I disagree.

      Obama is by no means against "preventive war". His actions vis-a-vis Iran clearly show that he is willing to consider launching a military strike against Iran based on nothing more than lies that he KNOWS to be lies. Anyone who believes he is merely making empty threats to compel Iran to bow down to the US position on Iran's nuclear program is being completely naive.

      Also, despite the UN authorizing the attack on Afghanistan, that was an illegal decision, since the Taliban in Afghanistan had attacked NO ONE. Al Qaeda, functioning as an arm of the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, had also executed its own agenda in attacking the US. There was no justification for overthrowing the Taliban in order to get at Al Qaeda.

      Afghanistan was NOT a "just war". It was planned by Bush PRIOR TO 9/11 and was intended to secure the country in order to implement a pipeline for the benefit of the oil companies, and to re-assert control over heroin production for the benefit of the CIA.

      How you can defend this President is beyond me. He repeatedly violates the UN Charter by threatening war with Iran, prosecutes an illegal war in Iraq by allowing the State Department to double down on the number of mercenaries in Iraq, conducts illegal drone attacks within a sovereign state (Pakistan) in furtherance of what is in fact an illegal and unnecessary war in Afghanistan.

      I suggest you reconsider your position.

  • An Israeli Attack on Iran would reduce Barack Obama to a One-Term President
    • Juan: I'll add to the above.

      The problem for the Iran war deniers is simply one of cognitive dissonance. People who know the war will be a disaster for everyone (except the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, Israel and the neocons) simply refuse to believe it can happen.

      The problem is very simple: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

      You say Obama will not attack Iran. SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

      Basically there are only TWO possible outcomes:

      1) The US AND Israel blinks and accepts Iran's enrichment of uranium.

      2) War.

      Do you or anyone really expect after ten years of rhetoric, moving military assets around the world in preparation for the war, and the pressure of the above four forces that the US will simply say, "Oh, gee, guess we have to accept a nuclear Iran" and shift to a "containment" strategy?

      And do you think ISRAEL is going to accept that?

      People are really naive about the depth of corruption in the US government and economy.

      You WILL see a war with Iran. And when it starts, I will be here to say, "I told you so."

    • Juan: "Goldberg knows that Obama is not actually going to war against Iran. Despite what he says, Bibi Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is for all his bluster far too personally indecisive to take such a major step (and certainly not without an American green light..."

      I think you're entirely wrong about all that. I think Obama is as much under the control of the military-industrial complex (first) and the Israel Lobby (second) as Bush was. And I think Netanyahu knows it.

      Oh, sure, Dick Cheney wanted Israel to attack Iran to avoid Bush being blamed for launching yet another Mid-East war; so much so that the US offered Israel another $30 billion in arms sales. But Israel balked and wanted the US to start the war.

      And maybe Obama would like to kick the can down the road like Bush did and let someone else start the war.

      But that doesn't mean Obama can't be pushed into it, regardless of any worries he has about the domestic political consequences. When push comes to shove, every US President has voted for war. And they will continue to do so.

      And Netanyahu knows that even if Israel gets blamed for starting the next war, the US Congress and the US President has his back.

      Do you really think Obama is going to tell Netanyahu, "Hey, attack Iran without my say-so, and we'll cut off foreign aid to Israel, support UN resolutions against Israel, and not support Israel militarily in its war against Iran."?

      You really believe that? Trust me - never happen. If Israel attacks Iran, Obama will re-affirm US support of Israel, and will attack Iran if Iran retaliates against Israel.

  • Abedin: The Illusion of a ‘limited war’ against Iran
    • Those who dismiss Mullen's statement about having a plan to attack Iran are completely missing the point.

      EVERYBODY KNOWS the US has "contingency plans". There is a DIFFERENCE between a "contingency plan" and an "operational plan". What Mullen was saying is they have an OPERATIONAL PLAN - i.e., a specific plan to attack Iran which they are continually updating and from which they are moving assets around the world to places like Diego Garcia in preparation for initiating that plan as soon as the President gives the green light.

      People need to read this article:

      Focus U.S.A. / Will Israel really attack Iran within a year?
      link to haaretz.com

      Quote:

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told New York Times reporters this week: “Based on my conversations with allies, it’s not so much the timing of when or how the Iranians might pursue the nuclear weapons, it’s whether they do so. "

      End Quote

      In other words, the US doesn't care when or how Iranians might have a "breakout capability", it's about the US has already DECIDED that Iran DOES have a nuclear weapons program and therefore military action WILL be taken if Iran does not stop doing something IT IS NOT DOING!

      The article also states:

      Quote:

      Israel is trying to convey the message not only through the official channels – Israeli military intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin visited Chicago recently to meet with the billionaire Lester Crown, one of Obama’s supporters, and asked to him to convey Israel’s concerns to the American President, Goldberg reports.

      End Quote

      No where has the Israeli control over the US government been more blatantly presented than in this sentence! An Israeli intelligence officer goes DIRECTLY to one of the men who pulls Obama's strings!

      And then there's this:

      Quote:

      David Sanger, the New York Times reporter, heard from the White House sources that during his latest visit to Washington Netanyahu didn’t list Iran as one of his top agenda items “whereas at the previous meetings when he has come here, [Iran] was the number one, two, and three issue,” on the agenda, which might indicate that Netanyahu got some clear reassurances from the U.S. administration.

      End Quote

      Which means Obama told Netanyahu that, yes, the US WILL attack Iran, just be patient until Obama can finagle a way to start the war.

      People who don't understand that the entire Iran "crisis" is bogus from the get-go, just like Iraq's "WMDs", just don't get that the US has already decided to start a war with Iran, it's just a matter of ginning up the justification, then ramping up the sanctions, then declaring "gee, we don't have any choice".

      And with over fifty percent of the US electorate convinced Iran does have a nuclear weapons program, and believing that Israel would be justified in attacking Iran, it won't be hard to get one started., either by Israel or the US.

    • I agree with the above analysis.

      I'm not sure, however, that Iran will use a US attack as the justification for building nuclear weapons. The reason is the calculus that Iran is using now to NOT build nuclear weapons - that it will only hurt it regional influence and be unable to really deter either the US or Israel - will continue to hold true even if Iran develops one or a dozen nuclear weapons.

      The issue of nuclear weapons efficacy depends on either having the ability to deliver city busters to your primary enemies, or the ability to conduct a second-strike. The US has the former, and both Israel and the US have the latter. Iran is unlikely to have either for at least ten years, and even more so if it is under continual air bombardment for much of that time.

      So I believe Iran will continue to view Fourth Gen asymmetric warfare as its primary mode of retaliation rather than expend its limited resources on a complicated plan to develop nuclear weapons.

      However, there is one possibility that must be considered: if either the US or Israel USES nuclear weapons on Iran, whether tactical or strategic level weapons, Iran may indeed be forced to try to develop a covert nuclear weapon which could be delivered into Israel or the US by covert means. Iran will not deliver this weapon by missiles or aircraft, but by smuggling. So if Tehran is destroyed by a nuclear weapon, I think we can count on Iran somehow managing to produce a nuke and using it to destroy Tel Aviv or Washington.

      A nuclear weapons program is not in Iran's best interests whether or not it is attacked by the US. But if a country attacks Iran with nuclear weapons, nuclear TERRORISM would be an appropriate response.

      The easiest way to do that would be to procure a nuke from Russian stocks, or Pakistani stocks, or Chinese stocks - or even Israeli stocks. Military security is an oxymoron, and it would be quite possible to do this, by stealth or bribery.

  • Israeli and Lebanese Armies Trade Fire; at least 4 Dead
    • An important point is that Israel was today back in the SAME SPOT clearing trees again.

      If that isn't an attempt to be provocative, I don't know what is. Anyone with an interest in reducing tensions on the border would have stopped clearing trees for a while.

      I'm sorry, but between the initial reports that the Lebanese fired in the air, and Leila's excellent point above that Israel and UNFIL already supposedly KNEW the tree was in Israeli territory, and adding in Robert Fisk's point that the Blue Line was badly drawn after 2006 and has disputed points, I'd say there is no clear way to pin blame here on the Lebanese Army.

      Nonetheless the US Congress today suggested they would pull military aid to the Lebanese Army over the incident. This clearly indicates that Congress supports another Israeli attack on Lebanon, just as Bush supported the 2006 war.

      When we remember that Israel planned the 2006 Lebanese war for a year before Hizballah gave them an excuse to implement it, however feeble that excuse was, we cannot assume that Israeli is not deliberately being provocative here. The simulations they have been running - and today an Iranian official explicitly mentioned "Israeli military movements", on which Iran is presumably very well informed by Hizballah, I must conclude that Israel intends a third Lebanese war at some point, probably as a prelude to a military attack on Iran.

    • A Time Magazine article blames the whole thing on Hizballah "infiltrators" in the Lebanese Army, claiming that the initial attack involved snipers who deliberately shot two Israeli officers.

      It also claims that Hizballah started the 2006 war by "attacking" Israel soldiers on the border, an apparent reference to the capture of a couple Israeli soldiers as part of an effort to set up an exchange of them for hundreds of Lebanese prisoners languishing in Israel prisons, while ignoring Israel's kidnapping of Palestinian personnel a short while before. Since Hizballah and Israel are technically still at war, the Hizballah operation was no surprise, particularly as Israel had warned its troops earlier of the danger of capture on the border.

      The Time article also claims that Israel notified the Lebanese Army in advance of the tree clearing operation. There appears to be no independent verification of that claim, at least none are presented in Time.

      All of these claims frankly are suspicious to me. The Time article basically recites Israel's claims and nothing more. We KNOW from recent reports that Israel has been running simulations on the logistics of moving Israel troops into southern Lebanon. We KNOW Israel has been ratcheting up the rhetoric on Hizballah for months now. We also KNOW that Israel planned the 2006 attack on Lebanon months before the border incident initiated it.

      Therefore I think it is safe to say that the real deal behind this incident is not yet known. And whether it presages more incidents to come, with an eye to justifying a new Israeli on Hizballah, is as yet not certain, but highly possible.

  • Repubs Plot Israel-Iran Apocalypse and the Collapse of the US Economy
    • More Israeli Lebanon provocations:

      Israeli Fire Targets Lebanese Fishing Boat, UNIFIL Position
      link to naharnet.com

    • This is VERY interesting:

      Iran was prime target of SCADA worm
      link to businessweek.com

      I'd bet dollars to donuts that Israel - which has a huge IT/hacker culture - was behind this.

    • And as for Iran's naval strategy:

      Iran says it has 100 vessels for each US warship
      link to wire.antiwar.com

    • And here we go:

      Israeli Army to simulate invasion of south Lebanon
      link to dailystar.com.lb

    • I agree that Israel is likely to attack Hizballah in Lebanon before - or possibly in concert with - attacking Iran. This is a sort of "chicken and egg" issue. Israel has to assume, if not necessarily correctly, that Hizballah will retaliate for an Israeli attack on Iran - even if, as we know, Sheik Nasrallah is not a puppet of Iran. On Hizballah's side, they have to assume that Israel will also attack Hizballah in the course of an attack on Iran, for the same reasons.

      Logistically, it would be easier for Israel to attack Hizballah before attacking Iran. So I agree events between Lebanon and Israel may presage an Israeli attack on Iran.

      As for Iran not being able to attack the US directly, that is very wrong. The US is a country MADE for urban terrorism. Iran need only send a hundred reasonably well trained agents (or use Hizballah cells allegedly already existing in the US) equipped with suppressed pistols, AK-47's or other automatic weapons, and as much Semtex and grenades and 40mm grenade launchers as they can smuggle in, and they could bring major US cities to their knees within six months.

      Imagine car bombs - the US is MADE for car bombs! - going off at every major intersection in every major city on a daily basis, killing hundreds of Americans at once. Imagine your municipal rail tracks being blown up before your train hits it at a hundred miles an hour during rush hour. Imagine a car bomb on the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour.

      I suspect Iran will not engage in these tactics UNLESS it becomes clear to them that the US is willing to kill large numbers of Iranian civilians in the course of an all-out aerial and naval bombardment strategy. But it is very likely the US will resort to that strategy if Iran does not bow down to the US after an initial strike - which it probably won't. Since the US will want to avoid a ground-based strategy due to the size of Iran and the capability of Iran to wage a major insurgency, the US will likely try the (discredited but still "sexy") "shock and awe" campaign. And those campaigns kill a LOT of civilians.

      If Iran decides to take the fight to the US, you can expect National Guard checkpoints in every major city, and the further evaporation of what little civil rights you have left.

  • Was Amiri a Double Agent who Hyped Iran's Nukes?
    • I must respectfully take issue with one point in the above.

      North Korea is not attacked because it is known to have nuclear weapons. In fact, it is not known, merely suspected, and the weapons tests it has conducted have been considered "duds".

      North Korea is not attacked because it has a million man army with thousands of artillery pieces and missiles that can turn Seoul into a wasteland within hours or a couple days. Also, the Pentagon has war games showing a million dead and fifty thousand US military casualties within ninety days of a war with North Korea.

      That is a far more persuasive reason for the US not attacking North Korea than its nuclear arsenal which at this point probably cannot even be deployed.

      The situation in Iran is quite different. The Iranian retaliation will be one of mostly asymmetric nature, using guerilla war, terrorism, economic warfare with oil, and strikes at US and Israeli assets around the Middle East and perhaps elsewhere. While this will bleed the US economically, militarily, and geopolitically, it isn't anywhere near the sort of immediate disaster a war with North Korea would be.

      Mind you, a war with Iran will still be a disaster, and Iran will eventually win that war, as did Vietnam, against the US. But it will a long, slow, grinding war, like Afghanistan, not a hell like a war with North Korea.

      And this is something the politicians in Washington don't care about - as opposed to a major war with thousands of immediate US dead.

      Washington KNOWS that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and KNOWS that Iran is no where near acquiring them, even if Iran wanted them - which Washington also KNOWS Iran does not.

      Do not be fooled. The reasons for the upcoming Iran war will have nothing whatever to do with "nuclear weapons" just as we KNOW that the Iraq war had nothing to do with that. We also KNOW that the US had a plan to attack Afghanistan BEFORE 9/11 gave them the excuse. The US had applied sanctions against the Taliban before 9/11, just as it applied sanctions against Iraq before going to war. It is doing the exact same thing now to Iran.

      Make no mistake. The US will attack Iran, but it will not be because it fears a non-existent nuclear weapons program. It will attack Iran because a) the military-industrial complex wants more war to make profits from; and b) because Israel says so - and can hold the re-election probabilities of at least seventy Senators hostage to that order.

  • Germany Will Seek 100% of its Electricity from Renewables by 2050
    • The world will need double the amount of energy it consumes today by 2050. There is only one answer: The Nanotech Energy Initiative proposed by the late Professor Richard Smalley.

      Google it.

      He makes it clear in his talks that the only viable source of the energy we need is solar energy captured in space and downloaded, then distributed via nanotech-enabled cabling and nanotech-enabled efficient batteries. And this solution could be financed by merely enabling a ten cent tax per gallon of purchased gasoline.

  • Asadi on Iran: "Today's Internal Affairs, Tomorrow's Global Impact"
    • I disagree with this statement: "A victory by the Iranian “Taliban” will take Iran on a downward spiral and would place the country’s wealth and geopolitical powers entirely at the disposal of those who believe Islam’s global hegemony is possible through violent jihad, which is why they wish to secure nuclear capabilities. "

      While this statement might be technically correct for some future time, it assumes two things: a) that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and b) that a "Taliban" "victory" is feasible in Iran.

      First, he is presuming that Iran has a nuclear weapons development and deployment program. How, then, does he explain that the Supreme Leader has declared that nuclear weapons are "un-Islamic."? If the Supreme Leader is on the side of the faction who regards the West as "satanic" and therefore believes as the author suggests, why does he view nuclear weapons as being against Islam? Or is the author's depiction of Khamenei's beliefs too simplistic?

      I think it is clear that the Iranian military would like to know how to build nuclear weapons in advance of the national leadership declaring a deployment program. This is perfectly rational for any military threatened by other nuclear powers. This does NOT mean that the Iranian national leadership has some hair-brained notion that they can compete with even Israel, let alone the United States, in nuclear weapons. The author is suggesting here that they do.

      Given that the author does not mention Khamenei's view, it leads me to wonder whether his opinion of the overall thrust of Iranian theocracy is accurate as well. I have no doubt that there are some persons of authority in Iran who may well believe what the author claims and that this even may guide their actions in the international, as well as domestic, sphere.

      But this article is basically arguing that those who believe Iran is being led by "irrational actors" are correct. It is not a nuanced piece. My impression from many other writers who have been to Iran is that the situation is not so clear cut and that there are more nuances here than this article reflects.

  • US Ally Maliki & Octavia Nasr Both Praised Fadlallah
    • You do know the difference between a 140-character tweet and a PR release from a state official, right?

      How, exactly, was Nasr supposed to be "nuanced" in 140 characters?

      Which is one very excellent reason WHY she should not have been fired, even after she released a longer explanation which WAS nuanced.

      Whether she missed the point that Fadhlallah wasn't precisely the Hizballah "mentor" the neocons accused him of being is not relevant. Fahdlallah DID have SOME connections to Hizballah, and that was how she figured people would see him and perhaps how she thought of him.

    • Exactly who called who and when in this instance has been mentioned on several Web sites. It was quite clearly the Israeli Lobby, including Abe Foxman and AIPAC, that got Nasr fired.

      Google it.

      Nothing she said in her tweet or longer explanation was sufficient to justify firing her. The ONLY reason she was fired was because CNN can't afford to anger the Israeli Lobby.

  • Turkey Threatens Israel with cut-off of Diplomatic Relations
    • "Netanyahu will likely offer Obama more of these essentially phony peace moves in Washington."

      And Obama will accept them and issue a statement praising Netanyahu.

      Meanwhile, Turkey would be well advised to actually cut off relations with Israel. It would immediately gain even more stature in the Middle East and would be the first country to treat Israel as it should be treated. It might encourage others to follow suit.

  • Palestinians Need a State: Loosening Blockade is not Enough
    • There is one huge problem over making the West Bank and/or Gaza a "state".

      What happens next?

      I'll tell you: somebody in Gaza will launch a rocket. Israel will "declare war against the Palestinian state" under the usual spurious reasons - the same reasons Bush and Obama used to launch drone attacks in Pakistan - and will bomb the hell out of the so-called Palestinian "state", leaving it worse off than it is now.

      Until the bottom line issue of rabid Zionists running Israel (and to a similar degree, rabid Islamists running Gaza) is resolved by creating a single state under a new internationally designed Constitution protecting the civil and religious rights of both Jews and Palestinians which sidelines the hardliners on both sides, nothing is going to be solved by creating a "rump state" out of the West Bank and Gaza. It's just going to be a recipe for war and an excuse for Israel to make its ethnic cleansing more aggressive, because they need no longer be an "occupying power". Everything they do to the Palestinians then can be claimed, even as they do now, to be a "military necessity".

      A two state solution is a joke and a disaster waiting to happen. What needs to happen is that the UN revisits its 1947 decision to partition Palestine, recognizes that the decision was ILLEGAL (as its own commission set up to study that very point concluded), declare Israel an illegal state, return the entire area back under UN Mandate control, then redesign a bi-national state for Palestine which included Jews and Palestinians.

      Of course, this won't happen because nobody believes it can be done. We can rip entire countries apart like Iraq and Afghanistan, kill a million people and displace millions more, rebuild governments on the fly - but we can't resolve a lousy little situation involving a few million people in Palestine. What's wrong with this picture?

  • Rachel Corrie Intercepted;
    The 9 activists killed last Monday were shot 30 Times
    • IDF now says the Corrie permitted the IDF to board by sea, no helicopters. Corrie will be towed to Ashdod and goods allegedly distributed to Gaza by land crossings.

      This as of 2:42 AM Pacific time.

    • I don't know where they're getting their info, but now it's said the IDF has NOT boarded yet. Somebody is doing a hell of a lot of disinformation...This is about the third time we've had reports they've been boarded. Apparently nobody can READ or understand English.

      The IDf Spokesperson told me five seconds ago directly: The Corrie has NOT been boarded as of 2:19 PM Pacific Coast time!

    • Per the Malaysian Perdana Peace organization four minutes ago, 1:50 Pacific Coast time:

      The Rachel Corrie has been forcibly seized by the Israeli navy and is being towed to Ashdod. All on board are reported safe. From Perdana

    • If you're on Twitter, do a search for #Flotilla and/or #RachelCorrie and follow the situation as it unfolds. Right now, the only information getting out is from the IDF which issues fairly frequent updates. The ship is cut off from all communications - cell, satellite, everything - so the IDF is currently the only info source as to the situation.

      I find it remarkable that the IDF has not yet tried to board the ship.

    • Latest news as of 1:48 PM Pacific Coast time from @IDFSpokesperson on Twitter:

      Update the Rachel Corrie has now rejected 4th request by IDF Navy to dock @ Ashdod Port, transfer aid by land. Ship not boarded.

  • Rachel Corrie Steaming toward Gaza
    Likud Vows it will Not Arrive
    • The IDF Spokesperson on Twitter told me just now that Israel has repeatedly offered to transfer the aid overland after a security inspection. I then asked if that specifically included banned items, such as construction materials. We'll see.

    • The IDF has also repeated its request to bring ship to Ashdod, saying they will transfer the aid materials over land crossings. What they did NOT say is whether that included the construction materials or other items that they have banned from Gaza. Clearly, the Corrie passengers cannot trust the ambiguous IDF promises.

    • I'm following the events on Twitter as they happen tonight. Clearly the IDF is letting the Corrie get a lot closer to Gaza than they did the earlier ships. They want to avoid the charge of assaulting a boat in international waters.

  • Eyewitnesses Say Israelis came in with Guns Blazing
    • I'll amend my comment above based on the autopsies. Dogan WAS shot twice in the leg and once in the face - probably the first shots. THEN he was shot in the back AND the back of the head.

      That means he was shot, brought down, then executed as he lay there. That was way out of line of any reasonable rules of engagement under the circumstances.

    • Well, Cenk is certainly correct over all. However, in combat handgunning, yes, it is possible to shoot the guy five times, first in the chest (center of mass), then in the head - either because he didn't immediately collapse or because the shooter simply wasn't waiting for that to happen.

      Personnel trained in combat handgunning will almost always shoot at least two shots into an adversary (or perceived adversary - we have NO idea what the American or the shooter was doing or not doing at the time) and then follow up with two more depending on whether they need to deal with another adversary who is a more immediate threat.

      Based on the melee that the videos show, I'd say the Israeli troops were probably blasting away at everybody within range without much fire control. So this guy getting hit five times to me does not indicate that somebody just walked up to him standing there and then shot him five times. Nobody doing an execution would bother shooting him five times. They would have shot him once, maybe twice, in the head, with no body shot at all. OR he would have been put down with the body shot and then shot once or twice in the head. Only if someone was significantly PO'd would they bother shooting him two more times in the head. And it is quite possible the Israeli soldiers were either PO'd or simply told to be brutal about it in order to intimidate the other passengers.

      Of course, we don't WHO shot him, WHAT their motivation was, WHY he was shot, and HOW he was shot. All we know for sure is that he took five hits at close range. And the range doesn't matter either without knowledge of the circumstances.

      However, none of that matters one whit anyway, because the attack was illegal. And the attack was illegal because the blockade is illegal. And the blockade is illegal because the state of Israel itself is illegal, since the UN's own Commission set up to study the issue in 1947 as to whether the UNSC had the legal authority to partition Palestine concluded it did NOT have that authority.

      I'm just saying you can't necessarily take the number of hits this guy took or at what range as proof or even evidence that he was deliberately executed - although he may well have been. That may play well for people who don't know anything about tactical small arms combat, but it's not necessarily correct. Had he been shot twice in the BACK or side of the head at close range without a body shot, that would have been much better evidence of execution.

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