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Total number of comments: 1850 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • Gaza Truce Declared (Jamiol Cartoon)
    • According to one source, the cease-fire agreement declared will restrict assassinations and allow greater freedom of movement for Gazans.

      A key goal of Hamas at the truce negotiations was to lift the blockade by Israel.

      The final tally of casualties on both sides in this conflict are far less than those sustained in Operation Cast Lead.

      There were celebrations across Gaza over the truce.

  • Morsi Emerges as Key Power Broker in Gaza Conflict
    • This is one of the reasons I have predicted Dr. Morsi would be the best candidate as Egypt's president when he announced that candidacy.

      His history of education and professional employment in a sensitive position with NASA coupled with his links with the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas, have given him a balance of perspective that would lead to a greater stabilization within the Middle East, particularly with respect to Israel and Palestinian interests.

      He has indicated Egypt will continue to honor the Camp David Accords. Obama has consulted with him on the current Gaza crisis and he showed leadership in dispatching Egypt's prime minister to Gaza during the conflict.

      Anwar Sadat was a virtual unknown when he assumed power in Egypt following the death of the revered President Nasser, but in the end became an internationally respected statesman. President Morsi can do the same.

  • Cole on Gaza Crisis (Granholm, Current TV Interview)
    • "The ugly face of war has just escalated further with a bus bombing in Tel Aviv.........."

      According to Israeli spokesmen a suspect is being held and it was the work of an "independent operator" not affiliated to any major groups. 27 have been wounded and the explosion was near the IDF military HQ.

      Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attack, however observers have felt it could dash hopes of a imminent cease-fire agreement.

      Hilary Clinton and PM Abbas were photographed together as a cease-fire agreement was announced to take effect at 9:00 p.m. tonight.

  • Gaza's Health Crisis and Israel's Crimes Against Humanity
    • The 462-page Goldstone Commission Report amply documented credible proof of both war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009; that report was balanced as it faulted Hamas with war crimes for targeting Israeli civilian population centers with missile attacks.

      Amnesty International and other respected human rights organizations also investigated and documented evidence of war crimes perpetrated upon civilians in Gaza.

      Despite this, due to legal loopholes and gaps in jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, the persons allegedly responsible for these acts were allowed to evade justice. This lack of accountability has given rise to brazen arrogance by the IDF that virtually nothing it does in derogation of international law will have any significant consequences.

      One has to believe that the health crisis, food crisis, and blockade are simply extensions of a continuous covert policy of Israel to make Gaza uninhabitable and force Gazans to leave.

      Regarding the allegation of "disproportionate force". PM Ehud Olmert actually conceded in a "victory speech" broadcast in Israel following the conclusion of Cast Lead that from then on the Gazans could expect disproportionate force in response to missile attacks by Gazan militants. So Olmert freely conceded the IDF was implementing a policy of the Prime Minister that violated international law.

  • Could a Gaza Land War lose the Middle East for America?
    • Good history of the founding of Israel.

      It should also be stated that Plan Dalet was formulated by David Ben-Gurion and other Jewish notables that created Israel. It was a grandiose scheme to ethnically cleanse Arabs from key areas of Palestine.

      Very, very few native-born Jews were leaders of this movement. Most came from Eastern Europe as refugees following WWII.

    • Also, Turkey's prime minister justdeclared Israel a "terrorist state".

      This is a nation that had earlier considered Israel an ally.

      Qatar had even given several million dollars foreign aid to Israel as a reward following its disengagement from Gaza in 2005 to construct a soccer stadium for Jews and Arabs to use.

      Operation Cast Lead and the current military operation have made Ariel Sharon appear to be a liberal. His diplomatic gains have evaporated under the Olmert and Netanyahu governments.

  • Palestinians say Israel trying to Silence Media, by Attacking Journalists
    • President Truman was facing a tough re-election bid in 1948 and the number of Jewish-American voters in swing states such as Illinois likely was a factor in supporting David Ben_Gurion's call for recognition. Jewish members in the U.S. Congress pushed for recognition of a Zionist state.

      The Israel Communist Party has been a bastion for Jewish-Arab solidarity in Israel since 1948. The last surviving member of the First Knesset was Toufik Toubi, a Christian Arab from Haifa who was a Communist. Meir Vilner, also a Marxist, was the last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence of Israel.

      Today the Israel Communist Party is known under the name Hadash and Arab Israelis in such areas as Nazareth vote heavily Marxist in the Knesset elections.

    • Israel has admitted they were trying to attack the "antenna" on that building.

  • Top Ten Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza
    • Israeli casualties are 3 killed in Kiryat Malachi, over 50 injured and there have been a sharp number of El Al and hotel cancellations on tourist bookings to the Holy Land;the city of Jerusalem is now within Hamas rocket range Explosions were heard in the tourist resort of Eilat recently.

      The "kitchen-made rockets" are not being fired at Tel Aviv, these are Iranian-manufactured Fajr missiles with 200-lb warheads. Military-grade Russian Grad rockets are also being employed by Gazan militants.

      I will agree that many children in Gaza have been killed in the airstrikes.

    • Exactly, just like how African-Americans were treated during the Jim Crow era culminating in the civil rights movement. It spawned blank militancy and rioting in U.S. cities.

      Same with the treatment of Irish in Ulster. It gave rise to the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Decades of deadly violence followed.

      The Israeli PM's continual threats of "crushing responses" and extrajudicial assasinations amount to what Israel's leaders term "deterrence". Operation Cast Lead, for example, led to a significant decrease in the level of rockets fired from Gaza. The Gazan public witnessed $2.6 billion in property damage and the approval rating of Hamas by the Gazan people according to one poll conducted just after that IDF military operation concluded, plummeted to 28%. The approval by the Israeli public of that IDF operation was 94%. In 2006, however, the reverse occurred for the IDF against Hezbollah.

      After the South Lebanon War, Ehud Barak indicated there was no longer any deterrent effect upon Hezbollah by the IDF.

    • The BDS movement against Israel has taken root in the State of Washington and is receiving plenty of public support, especially in the capital of Olympia - which is the hometown of Rachel Corrie.

    • The most disturbing point here is the suffering of Gazan children.

      During WWII, the Quakers organized relief efforts to help feed the German people, irrespective of their government's actios.

      Following the Berlin Airlift, its commander, General Clay received a ticker-tape parade in New York for supplying foodstuffs and other necessities in response to a Soviet blockade.

      Israel's ongoing conduct in stifling relief efforts toward Gazans in utterly inhumane.

    • To the extent that civilian population centers are targeted by Gazan rockets, they are war crimes - this was correctly concluded by the Goldstone Commission Report.

      However, the major effect upon Israel is psychological and economic - all Israeli communities in the range of the missiles must shut down and take cover. The past reserve call-ups have depleted the Israeli treasury and the Operation Cast Lead offensive cost $1 billion to prosecute which resulted in social programs in Israel being scavenged.

      The thousands of rockets fired by Hezbollah in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War caused 2 million Israelis to seek cover in shelters. There was a citizen backlash that hurt Israel's leaders politically.

  • Palestinian Civilians imperiled as 500 Israeli Strikes hit Gaza (Democracy Now!)
    • The major issue being discussed now is the potential political fallout that PM Netanyahu may sustain over the rocket attacks on Tel Aviv. As of yet no rocket has landed in Tel Aviv proper however its residents have heard the nearby explosions and were forced to take cover after sirens were activated. Several missiles went into the Mediteranean Sea ad one landed in a field in a nearby community. Bibi himself was in a Defense Ministry building in Tel Aviv when sirens sounded.

      The missile attacks in Northern Israel that caused 2 million Israelis to hide in bomb shelters in the 2006 Second Lebanon War were a major embarrassment to the Ehud Olmert government and were a factor that hastended the resignation of IDF and Defense Ministry officials.

      The IDF offensive could backfire on the current Israeli government if Hamas missiles cause major disruption and damage to Tel Aviv during an extended conflict.

  • Wagging the Dog in Gaza: Netanyahu's Skirmish of Fear (Sternfeld)
    • The 11/15 edition of the Jerusalem Post quotes Samir Abu Zuhri, a Hamas diplomatic spokesman, that an informal truce had been violated in the killing of Jabari.

      The story is that Israel's government tried to lull Jabari into the open during a round of peace negotiations for the purpose of exposing him for targeted assassination.

    • The killing of Ahmed Jabari has been incorrectly identified as the "military chief" of Hamas and the "mastermind" of the Gilad Shalit abduction.

      The military chief of Hamas is Muhammed Deif and has been since 2002. The IDF has failed to assassinate him successfully despite numerous attempts; he reportedly operates in underground bunkers in Gaza and travels freely to Iran. Also, this is about the fifth mastermind Israel claims to be responsible for the abduction of Shalit that it has killed.

      It is election time in Israel!

      The parallells between Gaza and Vietnam are striking. Both have a government that is telling its public how well the war is going using body counts and press releases to deceive the electorate. President Shimon Peres has correctly gone on record as saying that if Hamas could be destroyed it would have occurred long ago.

      Both the military and intelligence chiefs in Israel recommended a prisoner exchange to Olmert in 2006 rather than initiating a military offensive in Gaza that year; he refused it.

      Operation Cast Lead was a strategic failure in that all five military objectives were not met - including the destruction of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza to defeat the blockade. The IDF never controlled all of Gaza and the only positive aspects they could point to were $2.6 billion in property destruction to civilian infrastructure in Gaza and the fact only 13 Israelis died during the action. The war cost the IDF $1 billion to prosecute and Southern Israeli communities sustained significant property damage and injuries to residents from Gazan rockets.

      Gazan leaders have awaited receipt of a "Tel Aviv rocket" capable of hitting Israel's capital as a deterrent against IDF actions. Iran has reportedly supplied military grade Grad rockets that have struck southern Israel in recent years and the closest any rocket has come to Tel Aviv has reportedly been about 27 kilometers.

  • Noam Chomsky on Gaza (Democracy Now!)
    • Noam Chomsky is perhaps the most world-renowned psycholinguist.

      He has also been termed the most-quoted authoritative figure in America.

      He has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli government.

      He is only one of a handful of Jewish civilians who have gone into Gaza after the IDF pullout in 2005 - one of the other individuals being journalist Amira Hass.

  • The Arab Reading of the Petraeus/Allen Affair: Jill Kelley is Gilberte Khawam, a Lebanese
  • The Tesla S and World Peace: Can American Green Energy End the Gulf Oil Wars?
    • Israel has bandied about publically the prospect of an imminent attack of Iran for years.

      Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, of Iranian descent himself, actually had a call-in radio program where Iranians could contact him and ask him questions about the issue. In spite of all this, there has been no air assault on Iran like happened to Iraq in the summer of 1981.

      My guess is that the "war" on Iran will be a low-grade intelligence game where cyberattacks from Israeli agents and pro-Israel elements within Iran will try to destabilize their nuclear program and the country in general. Iran will continue to try to arm and train Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives in return.

  • Bradley Manning would Cop to Wikileaks if Spying, Aiding Enemy charges are Dropped (DemocracyNow!)
    • It will be interesting to see what type of punishment would be imposed by the judge at sentencing.

      Lately these whistleblowers are getting easy sentences.

  • Real Petraeus Issue was Evaluation of Afghanistan
    • In an interview with Chris Wallace, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today stated that protocols required the FBI to immediately disclose information of the affair to both her and the vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and this was not done for several weeks after the FBI had notice of a possible affair.

      She indicated that the FBI's inaction in notifying her would be a subject of committee investigation. She agreed with the CIA director's decision to resign.

    • An interesting point here is how the affair became known in the first place.

      I doubt that the general just simply volunteered this information to the authorities.

      Did the U.S. intelligence community have an informant or electronic surveillance that provided proof of the affair?

      I seem to recall that professional career officers of the CIA have an aversion to having military or other non-intelligence personnel holding the directorship.

      Admiral William Raborn was appointed as CIA director in 1965 to replace John McCone and resigned after about a year of friction with subordinates. Richard Helms became the first career CIA officer to lead the CIA and was fired by Richard Nixon in 1973; he was considered a favorite of career CIA officers. When James Schlesinger, an outsider who was close to Nixon was appointed to replace him, Schlesinger's portrait was hung in the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley but placed under camera surveillance to prevent CIA employees from vandalizing it.

      My hunch is that Petraeus angered someone who got wind of the affair and used it to cause his resignation. Who is responsible is anyone's guess.

  • America's Coming Space Wars (McCoy)
    • The book "Legacy of Secrecy" documents that General Alexander Haig had suspected President Nixon of ties to organized crime and ordered Army Intelligence to investigate him on this issue while he sat as president.

      During the Monica Lewinsky scandal it came out that Israel admitted to having potentially highly damaging wiretaps of Bill Clinton discussing intimate matters with Lewinsky. Israel claimed their non-use of these taped phone calls were proof of Israel's allegiance to America.

  • How US Drone Assassinations all Began (Woods)
    • This is a good article in that it contains links to government documents showing that it is a very complex legal issue that has been analyzed at various levels of government as to what constitutes an "assassination" and how it is treated legally.

      The concept of CIA assassination was initially made public chiefly by the Church Committee and resulted in an executive order by President Ford that barred such killings by the U.S. intelligence community. Presidents Carter and Reagan issued further presidential directives that also placed restrictions on this activity.

      The Church Committee's findings gave rise to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) which, in its January 2, 1979 Final Report, found a "probable conspiracy" in the deaths of JFK and MLK. Significantly, while exonerating the U.S. intelligence community in the JFK assassination - two groups that had confirmed relationships with the CIA - organized crime and anti-Castro exiles - the HSCA found it had credible proof linking them to such a probable conspiracy. The HSCA findings and the assassination of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his aide by CIA-affiliated individuals underscore the domestic dangers of a U.S. intelligence-sponsored assassination program.

      It appears that the George W. Bush administration was the key initiator in reviving the concept of U.S.-sponsored political assassination.

      Additionally, what about the "collateral damage" aspect of a targeted killing? How many children have been confirmed dead as the result of drone strikes. Israel met international condemnation when it had an F-16 drop a half-ton bomb on an apartment complex in Gaza to kill Hamas miltary chief Salah Shihadeh and also killed 14 "bystanders". This led to a U.S. District Court lawsuit by the families of the dead Gazans and injured survivors against Israel. It also led to a retaliatory bombing at Hebrew University by Hamas that left several Israelis dead. America loses moral standing by killing bystanders.

      America should not be engaged in the business of extrajudicial killing.

  • NYC Hospitals Lose Power Once; in Gaza, it is a Constant Crisis
    • The discontinuation of electricity was a weapon used by the Nazi SS against the occupants of the Warsaw Ghetto. It constitutes mass punishment that is prohibited under the rules of the Geneva Convention.

      In response to Operation Cast Lead, the world community raised 4.4 billion dollars to rebuild Gaza despite the fact Prime Minister Abbas only claimed that 2.6 billion dollars was necessary. One billion was donated by the Saudi government and the U.S. contributed $900 million. The Israelis have tried to confound this generosity by denying the Gazans access to needed materials via its naval blockade.

      After Operation Cast Lead, an IDF soldier was interviewed and told a radio host that he was well aware that the destruction wreaked on Gaza would be met by massive international aid.

      The blockade is to ensure the Gazans feel the continued "punishment" of Operation Cast Lead. The Israeli expense was not insubstantial in that the military operation cost billion dollars not including damages inflicted by missiles fired into Israel from Gaza.

  • Romney's Major Flip-Flops in the Third Debate
    • My opinion is that neither Obama nor Romney are sufficiently scholarly to articulately discuss Middle Eastern issues but are merely playing lip service to the pro-Israel lobby.

      Jimmy Carter's books he has published on the Middle East and Israel have been erudite and insightful about issues central to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

      Until we have an administration that will speak as candidly and authoritatively as Jimmy Carter has, we will continue to have stalemate and the cycle of violence and human suffering in that region.

  • Gaza Aid Ship Estelle Commandeered by Israeli Navy; Israel kidnaps European Members of Parliament
    • The 462-page Goldstone Commission Report authorized by the U.N. found credible evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Operation Cast Lead.

      One of the many instances cited included the bulldozing of a chicken farm that supplied 10% of the eggs in Gaza; it resulted in the killing of 31,000 hens. This seems like a clear attempt to starve Gazans.

      The naval blockade of Gaza was also condemned in the Goldstone Commission Report.

      A full reading of that report describes incidents committed by the IDF that are comparable to the atrocities committed by Nazi forces in occupied areas of Europe during WWII.

    • They have also in recent years largely lost the support of the Bedouin community in Israel. The Bedouin, who had a reputation as expert pathfinders, had served in the Israel Defense Forces and incurred a substantial percentage of the casualties in the armed conflict in Gaza between the IDF and Palestinian resistance groups.

      During the Second Intifada, Hamas published an open letter to the Bedouin community citing their honorable cultural legacy, encouraging them to refrain from serving in the IDF and establishing scholarship opportunities for their youth.

      The Druze within Israel are the only major Arab group that have remained loyal to the Israeli government and its IDF.

  • A Letter from Benghazi on Crappy Republican Talking Points
    • ".........[t]he video cameras at the consulate did not record ant protest activity at the consulate site itself."

      This is contradictory to what the initial media reports were when the "Innocence of Muslims "film was being widely blamed for the death of the American ambassador, with a few expressing a healthy dose of skepticism.

      "........[t]he US can't step in and just "take out" the perpetrators, because no one's really sure who actually did it."

      That fact has not seemed to deter the US before in its drone killings. After all why does due process matter when there is no accountability demanded of the CIA with respect to these targeted killings.

  • Creepy Israeli Planning for Palestinian Food Insecurity in Gaza Revealed
    • Can a "Berlin Airlift" be possible to feed Gazans?

    • The 462-page Goldstone Commission Report found credible evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel during the Operation Cast Lead incursion and what was done as a result of the findings and conclusions of this commission?

      Very little.

    • The theory of rationing calories was used at Auschwitz by the Nazi SS administration. The Nazis allowed 1300 calories per day for those inmates assigned to manual labor.

      This is not the first time food deprivation was used as a weapon. during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces, per credible evidence cited by the 462-page Goldstone Commission Report, had bulldozed a chicken farm that produced 10% of the eggs to feed Gazans. This caused the deaths of 31,000 hens.

      After the withdrawal from Gaza, there was much publicity that greenhouses left behind in Jewish settlements were being purchased for the benefit of Gazans to grow crops therein. Turns out that products of Gazan-grown produce from these greenhouses were denied entry into Israel as an export, thus denying these Gazans engaged in operating the greenhouses needed income from distribution of the produce inside Israel.

      In another assault on animals and children the IDF, in a separate incident preceding Operation Cast Lead, had massacred animals in the Rafah Zoo, which had been one of the few diversions in that area for children to enjoy. An ostrich was decapitated and the only animals left alive were a pony and a few parrots.

      The U.S. government has been willingly complicit via its inaction despite actual notice of these atrocities.

  • Malala Yousufzai taken to UK for Treatment; and Pakistan's Education Shame
    • The public may never know who is CIA-financed and who is not.

      The Church Committee and House Select Committee on Assassinations received testimony tending to show that the CIA creates degrees of separation via "cut-outs" so that even the people being financed do not know where the true source is.

      The CIA used retired FBI agent Robert Maheu, a contract agent on a monthly CIA stipend in Las Vegas, to enlist the mob to kill Fidel Castro; the mob was told that multinational corporations were financing it, although it was the CIA in reality. Former CIA director Richard Helms confirmed this in Congressional testimony.

      Many of the anti-Castro exile fighters admit they never actually knew if their work was CIA-funded or not.

      Same with Contra resupply operations - the funding was secret until investigations shed light on where the money was coming from.

      In reality, it is unlikely Bin Laden himself knew - or cared to know - if U.S. intelligence agencies may have indirectly funded his activities in Afghanistan.

    • While its generally known the Taliban was a creature of Pakistani intelligence (ISI). It should also be stated indirect support had came from the U.S. In fact, from the 1994-96 period the U.S. made no adverse criticism of misconduct carried out by the Taliban since the Taliban were deemed to be an enemy of Iranian interests. The U.S. was hoping that a Unocal pipeline could be completed with the acquiescence of the Taliban.

      Afghanistan had been a Cold War victory in the 1990s, however, the failure of the CIA and the State Department to install a democratic form of government and a civilian infrastructure created the conditions for warlord rule and eventually the burgeoning power of the Taliban and the rise of Al-Qaeda.

      The events of 9/11 can be traced to the State Department's support of anyone that was anti-Iranian during the 1990s. It should be noted that Bin Laden's group was one of the CIA-backed groups fighting the Communists during the 1980's and the CIA's funding to the Afghan resistance totalled hundreds of miilions of dollars in military aid per annum, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank guns that were crucial in winning the war against the Soviet and Afghan armies. Bin Laden eventually won an audience with Saudi Arabia' King Fahd after the Soviet-backed Marxist regime's collapse in Kabul and Bin Laden emerged a national hero.

      Ramzy Yousef was a CIA-supplied guerilla leader in Afghanistan and his group had been later implicated in the 1993 WTC bombing.

      The collapse of the Taliban as a governing power in Kabul following 9/11 resulted in their heroin eradication programs ending and resulted in Afghan farmers cultivating opium poppies anew; Afghanistan now contributes 87% of the world's production of opium. The lack of an effective central government has facilitated the increase in opium cultivation.

      The fact of Malala's shooting is just another sad product of a failed U.S. foreign policy that had backed anyone that is anti-Iranian or anti-communist.

  • A Post-Mortem on Muslim Rage: What did the reaction to the Islamophobic Trailer Really Tell Us? (Abootalebi)
    • "...........a plot by the Zionists and the religious right in the West..........to foment conflict between the religious right and the Islamic world.

      "Plot" is too strong of a word to descibe a relationship between Zionists and the religious right in America to promote Israeli interests that include the eventual construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem and the necesssary demolition of the Dome of the Rock to effectuate this.

      Pastor John Hagee of Texas wrote a book about the realization of such a Third Temple is a prophetic certainty and will require the use of the land upon which the Dome of the Rock now sits. Hagee wrote that the construction of this Temple will likely cause a major war between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East.

      The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, headed by Rabbi Chaim Richman is working to make the Third Temple a reality and has a funding arm - the Temple Foundation. Many Christian fundamentalists have corresponded with Rabbi Richman and have seen him as a force to making this edifice a reality.

      Pastor Hagee has attended fund raisers with prominent Jewish leaders that have included then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

      Palestinian Muslims have been well aware of these events and see Pastor Hagee and this movement as a potential threat to peace in the region - as do many Jews as well. It should be noted that the vast majority of Israeli and American Jews - particularly secular non-observant Jews do not adhere to the necessity of the imminent construction of a Third Temple.

      It must be remembered that a key event that triggered the Second Intifada was excavation activities conducted by Jews near the Dome of the Rock that spurred protests by Palestinians.

      The religious right sees an ally in Israel in a religious sense and has no reason to promote Muslim interests. The Israelis on the second hand, welcome the political support, but do not have any affinity to the Christian right in a religious sense, nor do they, for the most part, understand that the root cause of the Christian right support stems from religious, rather then political motives. Thomas Friedman, in his book, "From Beirut to Jerusalem" addresses this relationship. The cozy relationship between the Christian right and the Zionist adherents in the U.S. and Israel is in stark contrast to the way Israel is generally perceived throughout the world as an unaccepatable apartheid state.

  • The Shameful Politicization of the Benghazi Consulate Attack
    • American Embassy facilities throughout the Middle East have historically been targets for terrorist attacks.

      The bombing of the U.S. Embassy in April of 1983 in Beitut via suicide bombing, the abduction and killing of U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan Cleo Noel in 1974 and the more recent Al-Qaeda attack on the American Embassy in Pakistan are examples of political violence directed at State Department reprsentatives.

      The United States Foreign Service employees deserve the highest level of security during their respective missions.

  • Romney and the Syrian Dilemma
    • It may be a time for a "carrot and stick " approach to UNSC members China and Russia, as it was when they dropped their opposition to intervention in Iraq.

      Give them some trade benefits and they will be happy to vote an abstention so the Security Council can authorize intervention.

      The "attack against one is an attack against all" credo of NATO could provide a basis for NATO forces to intervene.

      Remember it was the downfall of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin when a neigboring country invaded and ended the reign of human rights abuses by his regime.

  • The Pentagon's Imperial Overstretch and Victory Culture (Engelhardt)
    • Why hasn't the U.S. targeted other "terrorist"
      groups like Hezbollah, the IRA, the P.L.O. or the Sendero Illuminoso with drone assassinations?

      Who drew up the extrajudicial assassination approval system?

      How was the system approved?

      What legal grounds is it based on?

      What burden of proof is required before one is deemed worthy of the "hit list"?

    • Don't just mention the Pentagon and the CIA.

      Look at the entire U.S.intelligence community, which includes the National Security Agency(who is almost never discussed - even though its budget and personnel dwarfs that of the CIA),the Defense Intelligence Agency, DEA Intelligence, Marshals Service Intelligence, Army Intelligence, FBI Counterintelligence, Office of Naval Intelligence(the oldest federal intelligence group in America - founded in 1882), IRS Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence, and the police intelligence divisions attached to state and local police departments who have relationships to the above-listed federal agencies and you have a massive covert network of operatives with billions of dollars of annual funding that exerts significant influence over domestic and international affairs.

      A good reference source for this history is the 1973 book by L.Fletcher Prouty, "The Secret Team". The same year, the groundbreaking book "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" was published and was the impetus of the impanelling of the Church Committee, which revealed abuses of U.S. intelligence and resulted in a contempt of Congress conviction for former CIA Director Richard Helms.

      The entirety of America's intelligence presence before the beginning of WWII were a small room of file cabinets in the State Department. The U.S. following WWII took the lesson of the USSR and Nazi Germany and passed the National Security Act of 1947 which established the basic framework of the U.S. civilian intelligence community.

  • Romney's Five Wars
    • Mitt Romney's background is in business, not foreign policy or the military.

      Don't expect a lot of him in these complex areas of government. Just lip service to his audience.

      Presidents like Eisenhower, Kennnedy, Carter, and George H.W. Bush all had military and/or foreign policy experience and could articulate coherent and intelligent analyses in those areas - they were respected and knowledgeable chief executives. Our last two presidents and Mr. Romney leave much to be desired in these extremely important areas of governance.

      Let us hope Romney, if elected, can give us a competent secretary of state who can persuade him in the right direction.

  • Acting Like a Democracy, Libyan National Congress dismisses Prime Minister
    • The National Forces Alliance represents a moderate, common sense voice of the Libyan people.

      U.S. intelligence previously was shown to have tried to curry favor with the Qaddafi regime and its intelligence leadership (e.g. Edwin Wilson in the 1970s and the more recent collusion resulting in the abduction and rendition of overseas Libyan dissidents near the end of Qaddafi's reign).

      America has done much better when populist elements have overthrown totalitarian regimes(e.g. fall of the Soviet bloc in the 1989-1991 period and the Arab Spring movements)rather than the U.S. government's sole reliance on its covert operations apparatus colluding with foreign military leaders of the host countries to install governments of its liking (e.g. Iran in 1953 and Pinochet in Chile in 1973).

  • Israel Lobbyist suggests False Flag attack to start war with Iran
    • The concept of a "false flag" operation to delude the U.S. into rash military action is nothing new.

      Lyman Lemnitzer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once approved "Operation Northwoods", later rejected by Prseident John F. Kennedy.

      Operation Northwoods proposed false flag plans to spur the U.S. government into invading Cuba. One plan was to have an unmanned American boat in international waters near the Cuban coast equipped with remote-control explosive devices that would be detonated and cause Cuban patrol vessels to come near to investigate. American sailors would then embark on the disabled vessel under the guise of attempting to rescue survivors (which would be mannequins). The responding Cuban patrol craft would then be accused of causing the prior detonation via hostile fire causing "casualties" to the "crew".

      Operation Northwoods has been suggested as evidencing the willingness of the American military to create international incidents to advance their own political agenda and relied upon by conspiracy theorists to suggest that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government to spur U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • Top Seven Errors President Obama has made on the Middle East
    • "And the decimation of al Qaeda thorough the drone program is perhaps the greatest success in American foreign policy in decades."

      Members of the U.S. military leadership have not utilized drones and have been critical of the program of firing missiles into a building where civilian deaths may occur as "collateral damage".

      There was factory production of war materiel at Hiroshima and Nagasaki that supported those cities being aerial bombardment targets, however there was no legal way to incinerate thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians without running afoul of established conventions of warfare. Admiral Nimitz and Gen. MacArthur - two men who argued over straategy incesssantly - had grave concerns over the propriety of the use of the A-bomb over Japan as employed given civilian casualties.

      Same situation here. Indisputably, a lot of collateral damage to civilians and the targets themselves are decided with little or no credible confirmation.

    • As to drone deployment set forth at Section 7 above:

      Agreed. Legally and politically drone strikes are improper and counter-productive.

      Israel's occupation of Gaza and targeted killings by helicopter attacks were fueled by the fact many Israeli soldiers were being shot after trying to arrest suspected militants in apartment complexes. Legal processes were too dangerous and helicopter-based missiles were used based upon guidelines by the Israeli Attorney General. These missile strikes saved the lives of IDF soldiers - at the cost of the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians and adherence to the principles of international law.

      Drone strikes save American lives, as well. That same logic - cutting legal corners to save American servicemen's lives was employed most forcefully to justify the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombs despite the deaths of thousands of innocent men, womwn and children are acceptable.

      War crimes and crimes against humanity are irrelevant if there is no international body to prosecute. Why should U.S. intelligence or the IDF care if their operatives will never be held legally accountable?

      The price America and Israel politically pay for their conduct is scorn and contempt from the international community and the inhabitants of areas victimized by this dubious process of targeted killings and an increase in the overall cycle of violence.

  • Settler Violence and Ethnic Cleansing: Mahmoud Abbas at the UN on What Israel is doing to the Palestinians
    • The key aspect of the Abbas speech is that the settler's actions have the general support of the Netanyahu government.

      Without this approval these settlers could be evicted and prevented from returning.

      We saw how expensive and painful it was for Israel to uproot Jewish settlers once they constructed habitations in the Gaza Strip.

  • Obama set precedent with Drone Killings for Romney to become Terminator-in-Chief (Ross)
    • The notion that the U.S. president has the power to order the extrajudicial killing of civilians through an internal process in the Executive Branch is somewhat disturbing and certainly legally questionable.

      Remember when Israeli P.M. Ariel Sharon took credit for ordering an F-16 IAF jet to drop a half-ton bomb on an apartment complex in Gaza where Hamas military commander Salah Shihadeh was and killed and injured many innocent civilians? It led to a lawsuit in United States District Court and worldwide condemnation.

      Remember the millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts when Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode had a bomb dropped on row houses containing MOVE activists killing innocent children?

      Remember the strong condemnation of the Church Committee when it was learned that the CIA had a role in assassinating world leaders? Also remember that the Church Committee led to the impanelling of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which made specific findings in its 1979 report of a "probable conspiracy" in the deaths of JFK and MLK.

      The is no constitutional or statutory power that gives the Chief Executive the right to kill persons without judicial or legislative authorization. The "authorization for use of military force" cannot legally be interpreted to include targeted assassination of individuals that are not clearly military or who could reasonably be misidentified. That is what is happening.

      The most serious danger of this assassination program is that the operators could target virtually any person as an enemy of the United States and fire a missile at him without any credible shred of proof of terrorist involvement. It was the Israeli program of targeted assassinations against Palestinian militant leaders that led to the retaliatory wave of suicide bombings that victimized Israel in the early to mid-part of the last decade; perceptions of the U.S. overeseas is damaged by these extrajudicial assasinations and gives the U.S. less moral standing to object to Americans being targeted by terrorist attacks.

      Obama has entered a very grey legal and diplomatic area by authorizing these assassinations.

  • Alice Walker: Palestinians face Oppression Much worse than Jim Crow of Old South
    • Jim Crow seemed to be another comparable system of discrimination, as does former South African apartheid, to the situation of Palestinians being administered by Israel.

      It should be noted that even within Israel's own Jewish community, there exists stratas of society in which one may encounter a "glass ceiling" based upon his/her ethnic origin. Askenazi Jews are typically those who reach the highest levels of the Israeli business, military, and civilian government positions, whereas Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews encounter historical discrimination and conflict at the hands of the Israeli elite.

      It was said by some that the sexual assault conviction and harsh sentence of former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was due to his heritage as Mizrahi.

      There are only four American-born Jews that have ever been elected to the Israeli Knesset - one being the late and notorious Rabbi Meir Kahane.

  • Netanyahu 2002: Iraq has Centrifuges 'the size of Washing Machines' to Produce A-Bomb
    • The New York Times #1 bestseller "By Way of Deception", which the State of Israel attempted to block by federal court action illustrated that Israeli intelligence routinely passes on false information to "allies" so that Israel's enemies will be incorrectly blamed for acts rightfully attributable to other third parties.

      "By way of deception thou shalt do war" is attributed as the motto of the Mossad, according to Victor Ostrowsky, the book's author. That book covers the targeting of Arab nuclear physicists for assassination with special emphasis on the tactics that led to the 1981 air strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor facility and that resulted a 44-7 condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly.

      The book by Livia Rokach "Israel's Sacred Terrorism" was based largely on the diaries of longtime Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharret (he served briefly as prime minister in the 1950s). That book chronicles Israeli government practices of deception in implementation of its foreign policy.

      In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon based upon the pretext that its ambassador to Britain, Shlomo Argov, was targeted for assassination and woundedby the P.L.O., when the actual culprits taking credit were members of the rival Abu Nidal organization. Argov personally opposed the invasion.

      Netanyahu's dubious assertions are nothing at all new; rather it is a continuation of accepted policy method by the Israeli goverment.

  • It's Psychological Warfare, Stupid: Why Netanyahu Really wants to Destroy Iran
    • What is apparent is that Israel utilized chemical weapons illegally in Operation Cast Lead invasion.

      White phosphorus was dropped on civilians causing serious injuries that were well documented by Amnesty International and other international observers.

      The 462-page Goldstone Commission Report found credible proof of various multiple acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Israel on conduct that included the white phosphrus incident. For those who have not read the report, the lurid findings read like something coming out of Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII.

      In Iraq, the Halabja chemical attack was eventually prosecuted as a war crime and the infamous "Chemical Ali" executed.

      Israel's use of white phosphorus and other war crimes and other infractions in Gaza has never been punished and the primary victims were helpless civilians while Hamas operatives generally avoided the fighting with most militia casualties being non-Hamas extremist groups. Israel hit "soft targets" in Gaza.

      Check out how legal loopholes and American diplomats at the U.N. obviated any accountability against Israel arising out of these incidents.

    • The Second Intifada ended after Ariel Sharon had given the West Bank Palestinians a release of several hundered prisoners and withdrew the IDF from Gaza. These were important steps toward peace. He was an originator a political party that professed a goal of progress towrard peace in the region.

      The increasing of West Bank Jewish settlements reverses the conciliation process and helps make a future peace settlement with Palestinian negotiators next to impossible. This is the goal of the Likud Party and its allies in Homeland Party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

      Ehud Olmert and Mr. Netanyahu have been consecutive disasters to the goal of negotiating a lasting peace agreement in the region.

  • The Annals of Settler Colonialism: German Namibia (1) #savagesunite
    • Ilan Pappe, cited in the Wikipedia link above, is a former history professor from Israel who ran on the left-wing Meretz Party list for the Israeli Knesset. He has extensively written about Plan Dalet as a blueprint to ethnically cleanse Palestine concomtant with the 1948 Declaration of Independence. He now teaches in Great Britain.

      While Professor Pappe is considered one of the foremost Isareli scholars on Plan Dalet, his findings have been disputed by other historical scholars on the subject.

      And in actuality, many of Israel's leaders were in fact criminally charged for Nakba activity. Up until the 1970s a criminal arrest warrant was pending in the United Kingdom for Menachem Begin arising out of his leadership of the Irgun gang. Recently deceased Yitzhak Shamir served time in a British prison in Sudan for his activities. There is a British Mandate wanted poster with Shamir's picture dating back to 1943 alongside Avraham Stern's photo - both holding leadership positions in the notorious Stern Gang. Stern was eventually shot and killed by British colonial police.

      When the Israel Defense Forces was created, the Palmach and Haganah militias were absorbed into that force, whereas Irgun and Stern gang members were excluded as undesirable.

    • What is unique about the legal status of West Bank Palestinians is that all major governmental functions are administered via the "Civil Administration" an Israeli governmental body.

      The true ruling power in the West Bank are IDF military district commanders and Arabs are criminally tried in IDF military tribunals without juries whereas Jewish settlers have their legal cases heard in Israeli courts; the IDF has humiliating checkpoints and Jewish settlers are separated from the Arabs by the IDF. The IDF restricts ordinary travel with onerous paperwork requirements. Mundane legal matters such as realty deed recordation and marriages were administered by the churches after 1967.

      West Bank Palestinians had no voting rights or representative form of government outside local mayors and other municipal officials until the creation of the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s.

  • Surprise: US Drones Kill Civilians, Provoke Hatred (Woods)
    • Study the Phoenix Program tactics in Vietnam and what the CIA is doing now in Pakistan and Afghanistan and it is almost a carbon-copy blueprint.

      America took the "black ops" guys in the CIA and Special Forces who ran Operation Mongoose in Miami and failed to overthrow Castro and sent them to Vietnam - guys like Ted Shackley, who was chief of station in Saigon. They lost in Vietnam and they got sent to Latin America to set up the Operation Condor intelligence network in the South American panhandle in the 1970s that used systematic torture and killing against political opponents.

      Ted Shackley eventually became the CIA's deputy director for operations during the Carter administration - despite commanding some of the biggest disasters in the history of U.S. intelligence.

      The tactics being employed are the same - just a different locale.

    • There have been a number of studies conducted by psychologists or psychiatric researchers with respect to the adverse impact upon residents of Gaza area, including Jewish cities and towns such as Sderot where there was a history of rocket attacks.

      Of 229 adolescents surveyed in Gaza, almost 95% suffered from severe anxiety; high levels of depression and other mental or emotional disorders were also measured as being present.

      In the Jewish town of Sderot, which is the target of Qassam missile strikes by Hamas, it was reported that 87% of youths ages 12-14 have post-traumatic stress disorder. Other areas of Israeli towns near Gaza had lesser but still very significant levels of psychological dysfunction, especialy among the youthful segment of their respective populations.

      Attacks on rescuers were also very common in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Hamas would often have a secondary explosive device detonate five minutes after a suicide bomber attack at the scene of the initial blast. The Israel Defense Forces was often accused at firing on ambulance workers. One remembers the Muhammad Al-Dura case where many Israelis disputed whether the shooting of the youth and his father were genuine or staged; there was never any dispute that an ambulance driver trying to rescue the pair was killed by the IDF. Reports of rescue workers being shot at by the IDF were made during their Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

      There is no doubt these military actions are wreaking havoc on the mental and emotional health of children who are forced to inhabit these areas of strife. I fear that the long-term effects upon these young persons may never be measurable and the societal impact will likely be enormous.

  • Muslims are no Different, or why Bill Maher's blood libel is Bigotry
    • The Zion Square attempted lynchings referenced above were far more heavily covered in Israeli than the American news media.

      The Jewish crowd of hundreds watched Jamal Julani beaten after he was already unconscious and some even attacked Magen David ambulance workers trying to rescue the Arab youths.

      Attacks by settlers against Arabs in the West Bank are commonplace however an attempted lynching of Arab youths in downtown Jerusalem while hundreds of Jewish Israelis insouciantly witness the violence is shocking. It is a wake-up call to decent Israelis of all faiths to stand up and denounce such hate crimes.

  • Are Judges finally Standing up to Secretive Drone Assassinations? (Searle)
    • This is welcome judicial review of a CIA program that openly engages in extrajudicial killings admittedly causing "collateral damage" i.e. accidental deaths of innocent civilians.

      The New York Times #1 bestseller "By Way of Deception" written by a former Israeli intelligence officer confirmed that there was a secret panel that existed in the Mossad that ruled on requests to kill subitted by agents; the existence of the panel was unknown to the Israeli Supreme Court and the panel was not known to have turned down a request for permission to kill a prospective target. It seems that the U.S. has a similar system with Obama as the fellow that signs off on the requisite permission.

      I have trouble visualizing Obama, as a former constitutional law professor, approving this assassination program. The Church Committee in 1975 exposed CIA assassnation plots and the American public was horrified. The impetus of the impanelling of the Church Committee was the Victor Marchetti book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence; and the lurid testimony before the Church Committee led to an executive order from President Ford barring intentional killing of foreign leaders.

      The scary part of this Obama-led program is its scope. We know that U.S. citizens are not immune from being targeted, nor is the CIA shy about "accidentally" killing innocent bystanders - even children.

      In what countries have targeted killings occurred? What are the standards for being placed on a list? What organizations have been targeted for these killings?

      When the U.S. intelligence community engages in morally questionable behavior such as this it damages American credibility overseas.

  • Tunisian Muslim Leader Warns of Dangers of Violent Fundamentalism
    • The entire concept of Islamic extremism flourishing in Tunisia is antithetical to historical precedent in that nation since Habib Bourguiba ruled there as head of state.

      Tunisia under Bourguiba was noted international for its Western-style reforms, including emanipation of women, education for youth and a democratic form of government.

      It was Bourguiba's successor who was the first Arab leader who was a casualty of the Arab Spring movement.

  • Why they Hate us: Romney Secretly Plots to Screw Palestinians over Again
    • "...the Israeli colonization of the West Bank is now so extensive that there is no place to put a Palestinian state any longer."

      I attended a presentation by a panel of political cience and international law professors at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the Univesity of Michigan almost one year ago and it was opined that the West Bank, in a purely legal sense, is a no-man's land. Jordan had no legally cognizable claim to the region even though it had occupied it for a period, Israel did not want to annex it and only Jewish settlers, who had no legal standing, wanted Israel to seek annexation. The residents of the West Bank could not force Israel to initiate annnexation of the area. The anel discused legal impediments to a Palestinian Authority declaration of statehood would be they would have to control areas they wanted independence for and the Hamas control of Gaza prevented this. Further Israeli military occupation of the West Bank also obviated Palestinian Authority control over the West Bank.

      Thomas Friedman, in his book "From Beirut to Jerusalem", published in the 1980s, indicated that Israel's post-1967 occupation of the West Bank and the amintebnace of that status quo has been the unstated goal of the Israeli right-wing since it denied citizenship and, hence, voting rights to Palestinians in that region, while still allowing Israel extensive police and military control over vital areas it deems advance their national security interests.

      Extensive colonization of the West Bank by Jewish settlers inhibits the creation of a viable Palestinian independent state. This is a reason this colonization, which failed in Gaza, is crucial for the Israeli right-wing to effectively confound the ability of the Palestinian leadership to declare an independent state.

    • Trinidad and Tobago is not contiguous and neither are the Bahamas in North America.

      The Philippines are not contiguous either.

    • Wikileaks has published cables between U.S. and Israeli diplomats that concede a distinct plan by Israel to economically choke Gaza to a point just short of humanitarian crisis.

      Israel has implemented a policy of econimic coercion via such measures as uprooting trees in orchards of Palestinians on the pretext that they could be used to shelter Qassam rocket crews, demolishing homes of Palestinian families suspected of collusion with militants, forbidding import of Gazan-grown crops into Israel, preventing shipments of cement, glass, and other construction materials into Gaza for reconstruction following Operation Cast Lead on the pretext that these could be used as weaponry, despite the fact the world community raised 4.4 billion dollars to rebuild Gaza in resopnse to an appeal by Palestinian officials that it would cost $2.8 billion to restore Gaza after the Israeli invasion of 2006.

      One study found that only the Republic of Zambia had a lower economic prosperity level than Gaza.

      Israel's naval blockade and other repressive economic measures have hurt the Palestinian people and created enmity between the Arab world and Israel.

  • Netanyahu in 1992: Iran close to having nuclear bomb
    • Iran and inflation were the hallmarks of the Carter administration.

      In the end, Jimmy Carter did get the hostages released after 444 days when the American and British hostages in Lebanon took far longer for the Reagan administration to secure their freedom.

      While there was rampant inflation under Carter, much of this was due to the monetary policies of Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve Board, which was "remedied" by a tightening of the money supply under Reagan, acusing heavy unemployment.

      Funny, Reagan is regarded as a hero today by conservatives and Carter as a failure by many others, yet Carter's foreign policy achievements cannot be understated.

    • This is classic disinformation that U.S. and Israeli political leaders have used to promote their foreign policy agendas.

      Not unlike the infamous Iraqi "Curveball" informant.

      Not unlike the dubious Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 that fooled the U.S. Senate into authorizing military force against North Vietnam.

      Not unlike the phony uranium purchases purportedly made by Iraq from the Republic of Niger.

      And so on, and so on......................

  • Romney Poses, as Militants Burn Benghazi Consulate, killing Ambassador, 3 staffers, & Demonstrate in Cairo, over Islamophobic Film
    • npr.org just issued an update a few hours ago that a production manager in the film whose middle name is "Basseley" is an Egyptian Copt (Orthodox) who was recently released from 21-months in prison following a fedral bank fraud conviction. There are suggestions that this may be the real "Sam Bacile".

      The name "Basile" (or Bacile) is a common Eastern Orthodox name.

    • Some news outlets are reporting that this U.S. Consulate incident was a well-coordinated and planned attack to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary and has no link to the "Sam Bacile" film.

      There are also some conflicting stories who "Sam Bacile" actually is. Some reports describe him as an American-Israeli Jew and others an Egyptian Copt.

      One actress in the film expressed horror in an interview over the Libya deaths of U.S. diplomatic personnel due to purported links to the movie.

      The Israeli government has made an official statement via a spokesman.

      It shall be interesting to see who actually financed and directed this film. One picture that sems to be emerging is that the true movers and shakers behind its release are neither Arab nor Jewish but third-party individuals trying to promote conflict between those camps.

    • The first thing that should have been stated immmediately by both presidential candidates are condolences to the families of these victims from the U.S. Foreign Service.

      I hope both Obama and Romney get around to doing this.

  • CIA Drone Strikes on Pakistan: Infographic (Leo)
    • Agreed, but until Waziristanis hire lobbyists in Washington and have their relatives residing in America donate to the campaign committees of national political candidates, there is little practical pressing need for the U.S. government to fret over such mundane and trivial matters as "human rights".

      No accountability means no reason for the U.S. intelligence community to cease its extrajudicial killings.

    • One question that begs to be asked is what level of proof is needed before one gets put on the "hit list"?

      Remember the FBI's sedition case in the federal court in Detroit recently against the Hutaree, a Michigan militia group that Attorney General Eric Holder had announced was dangerous? The conspiracy indictment led to numerous members being detained in federal prison awaiting trial for many months without bail.

      When the case finally went to jury trial, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, upon the U.S. Attorney resting her case, ordered acquittals on the conspiracy counts. All defendants were released.

      How many drone victims that were appproved for killing were put on a hit list based on faulty intelligence? With the history of CIA reliance on the infamous "Curveball" Iraq informant and other dubious characters it is conceivable that innocent persons could be targeted and killed extrajudicially based upon non-existent facts.

      That scenario is legally and morally unacceptable.

    • What if drone strikes were launched against the Irish Republican Army, Basque separatists, or American-based militia groups?

      Would the "right of self-defense" apply? Or would there be anticipated political outrage that would prevent the Obama administration from even considering such nonsense?

      What if the Cuban government conducted drone strikes against the Miami-area headquarters of the various anti-Castro militant exile groups that have been involved in raids and other provocative actions against the Castro regime for the last approximately 50 years? What if innocent American citizen bystanders were killed or maimed by those missile attacks? Would the U.S. accept the argument of Cuba that they were engaging in a "right of self-defense"? Of course not. Such an argument would be ludicrous. What if the Cubans labeled the deaths of innocents as "unfortunate"? What if the Cuban national assembly had passed an "AUMF" (authorization of use of military force) as the United States Congress has done previously to authorize drone attacks against Al-Qaeda? Would those acts satisfy Americans that drone attacks against U.S. targets were appropriate? Again, of course not on both counts.

      There is no legal basis in international law for drone strikes as described above. Amnesty International has condemned the practice. It is a form of extrajudicial killing. It is, in short, murder carried out by the Executive Branch of the U.S. government akin to the "Executive Action" covert program carried out by the CIA in the 1950s through 1970s that resulted in President Ford issuing an executive order forbidding the intentional killing of foreign leaders.

  • A Tale of Two Insurrections: Syria, Iraq, and American Security
    • It is exactly what occurred in Afghanistan.

      There was nothing more decisive in turning the tide against the Soviet Union and its Kabul puppet regime's army than the Central Intelligence Agency funneling Stinger missiles and bazookas to the Afghan freedom fighters and their allies. This racheted up Soviet casualty counts and made true military victories against the Soviets and the Afghan armed forces.

    • He was eventually named as the Commissar of National Minoroities following the Bolshevik Revolution.

    • This article underscores a key theme that has been underlying the internal conflicts in Iraq for the last 9 years - the fact that Sunnis have been systematically excluded from fair representation in the government of Iraq. Until the U.S. and U.N. can provide some guidance on this issue, political turmoil will prevail.

      No different than the Shiite plurality largely excluded fron the Lebanese government. The combination of Shiite exclusion and Israeli military adventurism fueled the rise of Hezbollah.

      Syria is different in that no democracy exists at all; it is a dictatorship whose suport is generally those citizens who benefit from the Assad regime. The authoritarian government must be dismantled before a successor ruling body can be organized and installed. This successor body must give equal representation to the component parts of the Syrian citizenry to avoid the ongoing tumult that has engulfed Iraq and that has torn apart Lebanon in the past.

  • US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia (Woods & Serle)
    • Trouble is that drone strikes are only authorized against people the U.S. does not like.

      The United Kingdom has said they could never get away with the type of tactics Israel uses against the Palestinians if Britain has impleemnted the same tactiocs against the IRA.

      Drone strikes never seem to be implemented against European nationals who could conceivably be engaging in terrorist activity. Would any NATO menmber dare suggest a drone strike against anyone in Europe suspected of being a national security thereat?

  • Was the Rachel Corrie Verdict the end of Israel's Judicial Credibility? (Marlowe)
    • I do not believe Israel is a signatory to the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court.

    • Ask Caterpillar Tractor Company; they manufactured them.

      They stopped exporting bulldozers to Israel pending the verdict, but now we may have to wait and see if that trade freeze will still be in effect.

    • I have spent over 20 years in the United States federal and state court systems practicing law.

      There is a common perception by American attorneys that the judge assigned to your case will determine whether you will win or lose.

      Look at our U.S. Supreme Court. There have been liberal and conservative appointees. Thurgood Marshall and William Rehnquist could impose a political tint to their interpretation of the law and facts that often placed them at the opposite end of court rulings.

      Israel is no different. I have read the Corries spent $200,000.00 in legal costs to arrive at this ruling by Judge Gershon. The entire tone of the opinion appears to blame Rachel Corrie and ignore numerous witnesses that clearly placed blame on the bulldozer operator.

      My personal belief is that the Corries never had a chance in this trial court. They may appeal and if there were errors of law by the trial judge, maybe a reversal will occur. The trial court phase of John Demjanjuk's Israeli war crimes case was largely a show trial in which he had little chance at acquittal but the Israeli Supreme Court eventually stepped in on appeal and cleared him.

      My best wishes to the Corries.

    • Several points:

      (1)Tom Hurndall, another ISM activist from Britain, is referenced in the article. His family received a large settlement from the Israeli government after an IDF sergeant, a Bedouin, shot Hurndall dead with his rifle in Gaza; aclasic sniping incident. The sergeant was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison.

      Why the difference?

      (2)The Corries' U.S. Congresssman attempted to introduce a bill to push for an investigation into Rachel Corrie's death - it received zero support in the United States House.

      Why no outrage by other legislators?

      (3)The Israeli Supreme Court has been generally fair. They exonerated alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk after the trial court found him guilty beyond any shadow of doubt. They also overturned a few years ago an Israeli election commission decision to remove numerous Arab candidates from the Knesset ballot. They have "reined in" the IDF on several occaisions in their attempts to impose heavy-handed tactics against Palestinians; some of these ruling have been unpopular among Israeli Jews.

      It has been true however that Israeli judges at the trial court level have generally bent over bacwards to protect Jewish settlers who have assaulted over even killed Arabs; I can recall one case where an settler over his car getting pelted by stones, drove into a Palestinian town and shot a barber to death - he received a six-month sentence and a hero's welcome outside the courthouse.

      (4) The Rachel Corrie incident has been a public relations nightmare for Israel. The failure of the Israeli government to conduct a fair and thorough investigation has harmed Isarel's image in America.

      Rachel's death largely spearheaded a boycott movement in her hometown of Olympia, Washington. The Olympia Food Co-op had a board of directors resolution to remove all Israeli products - except Palestinian olive oil - off its shelves.
      A lawsuit against that co-op to void the boycott was publically lauded by Israel Foreign Ministry official Danny Ayalon. The court dismissed the siut and awarded the sixteen defendants - including the board members - $10,000.00 apiece and is considering a request to make the anti-boycott plaintiffs reimburse $280,000.00 in costs and attorney fees in the co-op and its directors' defense of the case. Several news reporters linked the lawsuit to the pro-Israel group Stand With Us and the Israeli Consul in the region -though this was disputed.

      (5) No one has spoken about the background of Judge Oded Gershon. Was he politically linked to conservative causesin Israel ? Did he serve previously as an IDF officer?

      (6)The trial was non-jury and lacked many procedural safeguards found in the American court systeem. The bulldozer driver was allowed to testify anonymously behind a curtain - such things would never be allowed in an American courtroom.

      (7)Numerous other Western nationals have been killed or seriously wounded by the IDF in similar circumstances. A British producer was killed by Israeli military forces while filming a documentary about the IDF occcupation in Gaza. His work was finalized essentially as an unfinished work in process largely through the efforts of his widow.

      (8) A play was performed in England - "My Name is Rachel Corrie" - but Jewish groups protested and a theatre in New York dropped plans to perform the play in the U.S.

  • What Cable News didn't Tell You: The Non-Aligned Movement Meeting Strengthened Iran's Hand vs. US, Israel (Azad)
    • Morsi's criticism of the Syrian regime does indeed align him with American interests in that regard as the CIA is now reportedly arming the Free Syrian Army, but do not forget that his view is consonant with that of most members of the Arab League.

      Morsi was educated in the United States and served as a NASA engineer, so he has some degree on connectedness to the U.S. and its culture. I do not view him as some type of Islamic extremist but rather one who be indepedent on foreign policy issues, which may be a good thing.

    • President Morsi's visit carries with it a powerful symbolic break with a pro-West forign policy.

      Egypt had been a traditional anchor in promoting U.S. interests in the region. This development has had to cause great concern in not only American, but also Israeli diplomatic circles.

  • Top Green Energy Advances Mitt Romney doesn't Want to Hear About
    • The future lies in solar and wind power.

      Right now the association of coal producers are having representatives appearing at regional GOP executive comittee meetings to promote coal products.

  • Mitt Romney's coming War on Iran: A Tale of Two Conventions
    • Ban Ki-Moon was in Gaza immediately after the Operation Cast Lead military incursion that devastated that region. He was outraged at seeing a damaged U.N. facility that had been clearly marked but had drawn fire from the Isareli Defense Forces for disputed reasons.

      Some Palestinians called him a "face" as opposed to a "voice" for Palestinians in the conflict with Israel.

      Sadly, there is no real indication that he will vigorously promote peace in that region.

  • White Terrorist Plot to Assassinate the 'Commander in Chief'
    • There have been white supremacist cells in all four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces for years. This has been well known to the Department of Defense.

      What is disppointing is that Army Intelligence or other internal investigative agencies within the military was not tracking this group before they were involved in a murder plot.

  • Top Ten Pieces of Bad News for Romney on Eve of Convention
    • The lack of firm support from Ron Paul bodes poorly for Mitt Romney.

      Clearly the most enthuiastic wing of the GOP is the Ron Paul bloc. The pick of Congressman Ryan was injudicious at best. If a young libertarian-oriented candidate was chosen as a running mate - such as Sen. Rand Paul - this would have united the Republicans and also drawn anti-war youth votes.

  • South Africa: Label West Bank Squatter Products; Israel: You Apartheid State!
    • Israel was close to South Africa's apartheid era leadership.
      There is a famous photo of South African head of state John Vorster with Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin. Both countries collaborated on atomic bomb research and it is unlikely Israel would have ever gotten their nuclear arsenal back in the 1970s absent the joint effort with South African nuclear scientists.

      On the flip-side, the African National Congress and Palestine Liberation Organization were close allies as well. Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has been a frequent critic of Israel's treatment of Palestinians and equated Israel's political-societal structure with the former South African system of apartheid.

  • Syrian Official: Resignation of al-Assad on the Table
    • I have felt that Russian pressure on the current regime would be a key to ending this disorder. The Russians have a key strategic military and naval presence in Syria and would like to retain it. A peaceful resolution helps ensure maintaining their defense interests in the region.

  • Israeli President Peres Smacks down PM Netanyahu on Iran Attack, Supports Obama
    • Good question.

      There were vehement disputes when the State of Israel was founded as to whether it should be a theocracy based on religious law, much as Saudi Arabia is today, or secular in nature.

      There is no single codified constitutional document that is Israel's constitution, but a body of constitutional law does exist as a hodgepodge of legal precedent and what is known as the "Basic Law."

    • Shimon Peres, as a Nobel laureate and former prime minister in Israel, has tremendous respect among the Israeli moderate and left-wing electorate, however it should be noted that the office of president in Israel is largely ceremonial and his little real power other than to sign pardons for convicts.

      Jewish-Americans have been heavily Democratic in presidential elections historically, but in certain years have given significant support at the polls to GOP nominees.

      I believe that Romney's catering to far-right elements in Israel to gain support from Jewish-Americans will not go very far. He will likely get less than one-third of the total Jewish-American vote; the flip side of the equation is that elements of the Arab-American community that have been traditionally GOP in orientation, such as Palestinian-Americans, have been alienated by Romney's statements and conduct. In states such as Michigan, a number of GOP leaders have been Palestinian-Americans, including University of Michigan Law School graduate Justin Amash, who was elected to U.S. Congress from western Michigan. Former Michigan Republican Party chairman Spencer Abraham, who served a term in the U.S. Senate, is a Lebanese-American Christian who has been an advocate of U.N. Resolution 242.

      I cannot say with any degree of certainty that Mitt Romney's gambit in bending over backwards to appear an ardent supporter of Israeli hawkish elements is going to be a sound way to net an increase in votes on Election Day.

      Remember how V.P. Gore's presidential ambitions were dashed after the Elian Gonzales raid by the I.N.S. in Miami galvanized the Cuban exile community in Florida to augment get-out-the-vote efforts to support G. W. Bush at the polls in 2000. Romney's efforts may likewise backfire on him.

  • Conservative 'Dark Money' Outspending even Superpacs on Attack Ads (Barker)
    • The Citizens United decision will certainly help the GOP as corporate donations will assist pro-business and anti-labor candidates.

      As to foreign interests, who knows how much cash is laundered from overseas donors through political action conmmittees, corporate and trust fronts and other devices and schemes to hide the source of the funding.

      Remember the Nixon campaigns in 1960 and 1972 getting all kinds of illicit donations from corporate interests and labor racketeers.

  • Cruel and Unusual Punishment (Torture) is the New Normal in America (McCoy)
    • The U.S. CIA director had become close to his Libyan counterpart in the Qaddafi regime and sent him Christmas cards, according to materials seized by rebels from Libyan government files. The U.S. cooperated with Libya in the rendition of Libyan dissidents around the world.

      It was also the CIA that trained SAVAK, the Shah's 3,000-member secret police, in torture and repression techniques as well as providing the logistic and technical support for Operation Condor, the intelligence network among the countries of the South American panhandle that utilized torture and murder of the nation's government's opponents - mainly left-wing labor leaders, human rights activists, academics etc.

      The U.S. has been in the torture business for decades.

  • Your Election is being Bought by 47 Billionaires (and they are Buying War, Climate Change)
    • A miilionaire who regulary donated once told me that for every dollar he contributed to political campaigns he saw a tenfold return on his money.

      Enron once did an internal study that calculated the return on investment on their political contributions; they attempted to quantify the positve effects of their corporate funding of political action committees.

  • Arabs and the Olympics (Majid)
    • Arab nations do not emphasize nor to any great degree finance sports involvement.

      Further it would be kind of difficult to focus as an athlete in areas such as Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, or the West Bank when there is near constant civil disorder.

      America, Russia, China, Cuba, and Germany all have had sports extensively supported by their respective governments and citizenry as well as heavy private corporate sponsorship in Western countries and ,also see medal performances as a matter of national pride. The rest of the world, including Middle Eastern states, do not.

  • Dear Mr. Romney: Palestinians are Poor Because You Stole from them and Kept them Stateless
    • Palestinian-American and Jewish-American cultures have many common values.

      Both place a heavy premium on education of their youth, with a high percentage of each earning professional degrees. Both have a strong identification to their heritage and tend to retain their cultural and religious identity, including respective fluency in Hebrew and Arabic languages, despite their presence in America.

      The emphasis on education also exist in Israeli Jewish and Palestinian natives in the Middle East. This is in stark contrast to some other Middle Eastern cultures where a large percentage of the population may be illiterate due to lack of educatonal opportunities.

  • Can You Pass the Hezbollah Quiz? (Rudolph)
    • Shlomo Argov, Israeli ambassador to Britain was sought to be assassinated not by the P.L.O. but by the Abu Nidal organization. Argov, a career Israeli diplomat with a dovish reputation, suffered brain damage but was personally opposed to the invasion. Abu Nidal was under a sentence of death from Yasser Arafat at this time and Abu Nidal's next scheduled target was the P.L.O representative to London. This proved the actions of the Israeli government were pretextual in invading Lebanon. Argov died a few years ago, having been disabled in the 1982 attack.

      Ehud Barak spoke of flowers but does not not mention that the very first suicide bombing in Lebanon occurred in Novemeber of 1982 in Tyre at the former P.L.O. HQ in that city that had been seized and used as a command center for the IDF. 75 Israeli soldiers and 17 Arab prisoners died in that operation. Although largely forgotten today and overshadowed by the April 1983 American Embassy suicide bombing in Beirut, this was a major moarale booster to those in lebanon opposing the Israeli invasion.

      The September 14th, 1982 assassination of Bashir Gemayel, Lebanon's president-elect, also created another pretext for Sharon to have Sabra and Shatila refugee camps invaded, even though the killing of Gemayel had nothing to do with the P.L.O. but was carried out by a Lebanese Christian with ties to a Syrian intelligence service.

      A subsequent peace treaty between the Lebanese government and Israel was never ratified by the Lebanese parliament. The invasion - known as Operation Galilee - never brought peace but only greater conflict in the region.

  • Romney on Jerusalem: A World of Hurt for America
    • Congressman Ros-Lehtininen is noteworthy for the fact that she obtained a pardon from President Bush for Cuban exile leader Orlando Bosch who had ties to the CIA's Operation Mongoose program of the 1960s and who was detained in federal prison on parole violation charges stemming from a prior conviction of firing a bazooka at a Polish freighter passing near the Florida coast in the 1960s. Bosch had also been detained in Venezuela on suspicion of complicity of an Cuban airliner bombing that killed dozens of Cuban athletes in 1976.

      Ros-Lehtinen later objected to the flying of the Palestinian flag over its Washington D.C. mission as chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee and denounced a Palestinian aid convoy attacked by the Israelis as supporting terrorism.

      Double standard at work. Cuban exile terrorism is apparently OK under her analysis.

    • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has close ties to the CIA-backed Cuban exile community in Florida.

      I have a hard time believing she has been espousing this prpaganda on her own withot someone influencing her. Is she geting PAC monies from some special interest alied with Israel? Is there someone else that has placed her focus on this issue?

  • Top Ten Most Distasteful things about Romney Trip to Israel
    • "He is holding a fundraiser at the King David Hotel......"

      What is next for Romney - a photo op with surviving Irgun gang veterans at Deir Yassin?

      All kidding aside, the failure of Mitt Romney to make public appearances with moderate and liberal elements in Israeli politics promoting serious direct peace talks with Palestinians is both disturbing and injudicious.

      I support Mitt Romney and hope that he will reconsider his plans to lend an ear to those earnestly supporting peaceful solutions in that region.

    • Shelly Yacimovich is an MK that leads the Labor Party in Israel. The Labor Party has been trying to spearhead direct peace talks with Hamas.

  • Diary from Damascus (John Wreford)
  • Defections mount as Syrian Regime invests Aleppo
    • The defections in Libya against Qaddafi seemed to be the turning point in resolving the stalemate that had been created by the NATO support of the Libyan rebels.

      The importance of a series of high-ranking Syrian military and diplomatic leaders cannot be understated. It is the most salient indicatication of the Assad regime crumbling from within.

  • The World's Super-Rich have Stashed $21 Trillion in Offshore Accounts (Mathiason)
    • The world's dictators like Ferdinand Marcos, Saddam Hussein, and Muammmar Khadafy each had billions in foreign banks. Most of it was, of course, improperly diverted.

      It ssems to me that the issue could be dealt with by the U.N. or another international authoritative body that would require disclosure requirements of member banks and forbidding transactions with non-member banks to encourage membership of all financial institutions and force full disclosure.

  • Syrian Baath Escalates, Uses Jets to Bomb Aleppo
    • The Tet Offensive also largely included the heavily-armed and well-trained North Vietnamese Army, who effectively pummeled American forces with artillery barrages in the border areas with Laos and Cambodia.

      The Tet Offensve resulted in 40,000 dead and wounded for the NVA/VC forces and was considered a tactical victory for the U.S. and ARVN but a decisive psychological defeat for the Americans as well. It made the American people agonizingly aware of the intensity of the enemy and turned the attention of the U.S. public during a presidential election year to the fatc that massive amounts of war materiel, troops, and foreign aid were failing to eradicate the VC as a viable force nor effectively rein in the NVA as a threat to the South Vietnamese government.

      There is no "North Vietnamese Army" in the current Syria equation. Nor is there any significant support by the U.S. to the Free Syrian Army.

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