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Western Asia ("Middle East")
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The Obama administration has yet to explain, apart from vague humanitarian concerns, whether a direct U.S. national security interest is at stake in Libya's internal strife. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton is waffling her way toward war. What this could ultimately entail remains unknown but given yesterday's affirmative vote in the UN Security Council some sort of intervention is bound to materialize. To talk about a no fly zone and related issues I turned to Lt. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom (USAF, Ret.), a veteran combat pilot and prominent national security expert. Before our conversation I had no advance knowledge whatsoever of the General's views — I was pleased, then, to find we see things very much in the same way. Total runtime forty four minutes. War is not for amateurs.
The problem with bombing Libya is not hypocrisy. Better a good thing once than consistent bad performance, after all. The problem is that war is uncontrollable, usually spreads, always kills, rarely achieves its objective, creates blowback (al Qaeda wants the US in Libya for its recruitment purposes), costs a fortune, and maintains imperial interests.
While the US props up all the nearby dictators and arms them, including in Bahrain, and was doing the same for Gadaffi until about 5 mins ago, it's switched sides in Libya. This doesn't just look bad. It is bad: the US wants to control someone else's country.
When the Iraqi govt murders and tortures after years of US involvement, who cries out for the solution of US involvement? When the Afghan govt or Bahraini govt does so, what then? No fly zones were themselves genocidal in Iraq and Yugoslavia.
Saudi Arabia is helping out Bahrain, by the way. Nations joining in each other's violence or spreading around the weapons we've provided them is not good news.
There is not a well-intentioned world police force at work here, and the bad intentions will lead to very bad places and are not the only option. Other options include humanitarian aid, nonviolence training, and communicating to Libya the seriousness of US support for local rule and democracy by cutting off the dictators we're backing all over the region.
"In a war that's being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi (read Libyan) people, you can't afford to kill any of them. But you can't drop bombs and not kill people. There's a real dichotomy in all of this."
- Rob Hewson, Editor of Jane's Air Launched Weapons, April 1st 2003.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Larry Korb told the BBC today that Libya has about 50 air defense sites and that most of them are located in populated areas. If U.S. planes dropped only two "precision-guided" bombs on each of them, the chances are that at least 20 of those bombs would miss their targets and hit something or somebody else.
By Ali Lari
March 16, Bahrain -- In a serious escalation of matters in Bahrain, the government sends tanks into the streets, clears Martyrs Roundabout (formerly Pearl Roundabout), kills 5 more (according to AP) and injures hundreds. It has announced curfew on the area surrounding Martrys Roundabout and has barred people from accessing certain areas. Not only so, but people from many areas around Bahrain, especially Sitra, Ma'ameer and villages in the Northern Governorate could hear live rounds being used outside of their houses and people running with handguns or bean bag guns.
by Debra Sweet, National Director of World Can't Wait
I find a number of perplexing contrasts between the US war from 1961 to 1975 (to the Vietnamese people it was the “American” war, and to us the “Vietnam war”) and the wars the U.S. is fighting now in the Middle East.
One is the quality of news coverage. Starting in the mid 1960s, though there was much less news coverage, you could reliably get some coverage of the war. Even though L.B.J. saw “light at the end of the tunnel” and Nixon could lie well too, reporters on U.S. networks often said enough that you could learn to read between the lines. The images of Vietnamese civilians’ suffering and of American casualties were seared into our consciousness. 45 years later, with constant “news” generated, you can find hardly any mention of the most extensive occupation carried out since 1945 – the American war against Iraq.
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Stand With Brad, We Are All Bradley Manning
WikiLeaks threatens corporate media control over information, the government’s need to mislead to the public
The article below is from a speech given by Kevin Zeese in support of Bradley Manning at Bus Boys and Poets in Washington, DC on March 13, 2011.
His cell is six feet wide and twelve feet in length.
It has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.
At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up. He will not be allowed to sleep again until 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep at any time from 5 AM to 8 PM he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.
He will not be allowed to exercise in his cell, not even pushups – for his own protection, too dangerous, say his jailers. If he tries guards stop him.
He’s Accused of Telling the Truth in a Time of Lies
By Kevin Zeese
Reports that Bradley Manning is being held nude every night at the Quantico Brig, then forced to stand naked in the hallway while he waits for his clothes, shows the inconsistency of the treatment of Manning with basic American values of due process, fair trial and human dignity.
Here is how his lawyer David Coombs describes his treatment:
America's War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Since WW II alone, America waged direct and proxy wars against Korea, Southeast Asia, Central and South American countries, African ones, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and now Egypt and Libya. One down, one to go, besides dozens of attempted and successful coups, as well as numerous other interventions to control world markets, resources and people. Imperial America doesn't sleep. It plots, deciding where next to strike.
Despite popular passion for democratic change, uprisings in Egypt and Libya were externally orchestrated, funded and armed by Washington to replace one despot with another. Democracy won't be tolerated. It's never been at home.
America's media go along, especially when Washington goes to war or plans one. In the lead: The New York Times, the nation's equivalent of an official information and propaganda ministry, posing as independent journalism.
(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia warned potential protesters on Saturday that a ban on marches would be enforced, signaling the small protests by the Shi'ite minority in the oil-producing east would no longer be tolerated.
"The kingdom's regulations totally ban all sorts of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins," the interior ministry said in a statement, adding security forces would stop all attempts to disrupt public order.
Inspired by protests in other Arab countries there have been Shi'ite marches in the past few days in the east and unconfirmed activist reports of a small protest at a mosque in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Friday.
The U.S. ally has not faced protests of the scale that hit Egypt and Tunisia that toppled veteran leaders, but dissent has built up as unrest has spread in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya and Oman.
by Missy Comley Beattie
My hands are curved, poised above the keyboard. I’m staring at a document, blank except for the cursor that’s blinking to the rhythm of an Annie Lennox song, “Love is a Stranger.” My eyes are focused on this small vertical mark that, at other times, could be a soporific. Just not now. Because the Lennox lyrics are bitter.
It’s savage and it’s cruel
It shines like destruction
Comes in like a flood
And it seems like religion
It’s noble and it’s brutal
It distorts and deranges
And it wrenches you up
And you’re left like a zombie
This describes love but it could be the tune of our times, as harsh as the world in which we live.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) made an embarrassing error just two days before the start of the Libyan people's revolution on February 17. This quote from an IMF country study appeared in a previous article: "The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable." IMF Feb 15 This advice was 180 degrees off target. The Libyan economy has ceased functioning as protests and popular demands imploded the Gaddafi regime. (Image)
Major Media Promote War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
When imperial America wants war, peace advocates are shut out by official rhetoric and hawkish media reports supporting militarism, not diplomatic efforts to achieve peace. Those for it aren't heard. Hugo Chavez's government is one. On February 28, Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, warned against belligerence saying:
"We would be against any military intervention against the Arabic people of Libya, and I'm sure that all peoples of the world would support a struggle against any interventionism that some powerful countries would commit against it....Arabic people who are in a process of rebellion, seeking a better destiny, (can) find their way to peace. (Venezuelans understand) very difficult times, (but have) gone about finding our ways to independence, democracy, and freedom, which in our case" is Bolarivarianism.
By Dave Lindorff
The ongoing case of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor facing murder charges in Lahore for the execution-style slaying of two apparent agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, is apparently leading to a roll-back of America’s espionage and Special Operations activities in Pakistan.
A few days ago, Pakistan’s Interior Department, which is reportedly conducting a careful review of the hundreds of private contractors who flooded into Pakistan over the last two years, many with “diplomatic passports,” and many others, like Davis, linked to shady “security” firms, arrested an American security contractor named Aaron DeHaven, a Virginia native who claims to work for a company called Catalyst Services LLC.
Unverified Misreporting on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
America's media, Britain's state-controlled BBC, other Western sources, and Al Jazeera are spreading unverified or false reports on Libya's uprising.
On February 25, writer Madhi Darius Nazemroaya, a Middle East/Central Asian specialist, based on reliable in-country contacts, headlined an important article, "Libya: Is Washington Pushing for Civil War to Justify a US-NATO Military Intervention?"
Access it through the following link:
For greater readership, this article covers key information in it. Its entirety explains much about what's ongoing - what major media accounts misreport or suppress, especially television reaching large audiences, presenting distorted managed news. It shouldn't surprise. Representing powerful interests, carefully filtered sanitized reporting substitutes for the real kind.
Years ago, I was on my gynecologist’s examining table, feet in stirrups, in need of the morning-after pill. He handed me a brochure—info about the med—and said, “Read this, if you can think in this position.”
“If I could think in this position, I wouldn’t be in this position now,” I told him.
The above was to get your attention. The following is the main work:
I do my best and worst thinking when I exercise. Usually, I stay focused, repeating, “focus, focus,” but occasionally this becomes, “we’re eff’d.” Then, I’m not just detouring down side roads; I’m off-road with thoughts that require serious mind tread.
Of course, I’ve been consciousness streaming about revolution, protests, brutal dictators, and Wisconsin, lately. And while I applaud the occupation of the Madison statehouse, I wonder if people have to be PERSONALLY wallet affected to have their asses blown out of their recliners. What is it about the occupation of countries that is acceptable?
Julian Assange: At the Forefront of 21st Century Journalism
How WikiLeaks is democratizing journalism, redistributing power and increasing transparency
By Kevin Zeese
If there were ever a doubt about whether the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is a journalist, recent events erase all those doubts and put him at the forefront of a movement to democratize journalism and empower people.
The U.S. Department of Justice is still trying to find a way to prosecute Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks. A key to their prosecution is claiming he is not a journalist, but that weak premise has been made laughable by recent events.
By John Grant
It’s considered unsportsmanlike to say, “We told you so.” But since all’s fair in love and war and we’re definitely at war, it’s fair to say the peace movement has been right about the whole sordid reality of US war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That may sound audacious or ridiculous to some, especially to those knee-jerks who love to ridicule the antiwar movement while knowing nothing about what it really stands for.
It’s important to note, here, that the peace/antiwar movement doesn’t have quite as extensive a public relations and propaganda program as that employed by the military and its supporters in the federal government and the mainstream media.
For instance, the peace movement doesn’t have well-funded, highly-trained Psy-Ops Teams such asRolling Stone has shown the military has. So no one is able to brainwash US congress members intocutting the military budget and de-funding the wars.
Middle East Protests Continue for Unmet Demands - by Stephen Lendman
So far, weeks of regional protests achieved nothing. Despite ousting Egypt's Mubarak and Tunisia's Ben Ali, their regimes remain in place, offering nothing but unfulfilled promises.
On February 26, Egyptians again protested in Tahrir Square. This time, however, military forces confronted them, Reuters headlining, "Egypt military angers protesters with show of force," saying:
"Soldiers used force on Saturday to break up a protest demanding more political reform in Egypt, demonstrators said, in the toughest move yet against opposition activists who accused the country's military rulers of 'betraying the people.' "
New York Times writer Liam Stack headlined, "Egyptian Military Forces End to New Protest," saying:
"Tens of thousands of protesters returned Friday to Tahrir Square....to keep up the pressure on Egypt's military-led transitional government."
By John Grant
From the WTF Department, here's something from Fox TV's Don Imus Show last December.
Hayes Carll is a young country singer from Texas with a fantastic surreal song about an 18-year-old soldier in Afghanistan that is up there with the best of Dylan, with elliptical lyrics like Desolation Row you never get tired of reaching for to figure out.
It's called KMAG YOYO, which in military argot means "Kiss My Ass Guys. You're On Your Own." (This version is the one broadcast on Sirius Radio, because the lyrics are easier to hear. If you want a performance with more of a live feel, check out the Fox Imus performance.)
Is it Antiwar? No question. But better than that, it's pro living, breathing life and it really jumps. Check it out!...
For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online alternative newspaper, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!
By Dave Lindorff
Pakistani and Indian newspapers are reporting that Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor in jail in Lahore facing murder charges for the execution-slayings of two young men believed to by Pakistani intelligence operatives, was actually involved in organizing terrorist activities in Pakistan.
As the Express Tribune, an English-language daily that is linked to the International Herald Tribune,reported on Feb. 22:
“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab Police claimed.
22 February 2011 - Her family is part of the Egyptian elite, but 24-year-old Gigi Ibrahim says she's fighting for her country's future. With thousands following her Twitter feed, Gigi has become something of a celebrity in Cairo's Tahrir Square. In this video, we see her attempts to convince her family of the righteousness of her cause. But will they come around?
Continued Middle East Uprisings and Violence - by Stephen Lendman
What began in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Bahrain, and now Libya, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The entire region is erupting in protests, mischaracterized as revolutions. They're not, falling far short convulsive, violent, unstoppable tsunamis for change, removing old orders for new ones. So far, they're absent in the region, not even close despite popular passion for change. More on that below.
Islamabad--By now journalists everywhere (except in the US) have come to the conclusion that there is far, far more to Raymond Davis than is being revealed by the US or by Pakistani officials. That he was engaged in anti-state activities in Pakistan and that the two young men he killed were intelligence agents tailing him is virtually an accepted fact.
The US, never famous for its diplomacy (The Ugly American, which made that point more than half a century ago, became a best seller and a very successful movie, starring Marlon Brando), seems to have discovered fresh depths to its strong-arm, coercive diplomacy. The mere fact that no less a personage than the US President has asked that this low-ranked person be granted absolute immunity, is indicative of the US desperation to get him him out of Pakistan and its court system.
Call on Kingdom to stop brutal repression of peaceful protests
WHERE : EMBASSY OF BAHRAIN
3502 International Dr. NW, 20008
(Metro Station- Van Ness, UDC Campus)
WHEN : FRIDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2011, 12:00 pm
WHY: On Thursday February 17, the King of Bahrain unleashed his police forces upon sleeping protesters, including women and children sleeping in their tents, in Pearl Square in the middle of the capital. The King had not long ago apologized for his government’s recent murder of two peaceful protesters.
Under fire from rubber-coated bullets, concussion grenades, and birdshot, protesters and their children fled down streets, ruthlessly pursued. The next day, the King asserted that the armed forces had not attacked anyone. But he made no denial concerning his police.
Middle East Protests, Violence and Strikes Continue - by Stephen Lendman
Whatever set them off, the genie is out of the bottle and spreading from Tunisia to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and perhaps America, in Wisconsin over proposed wage, benefits, and union bargaining rights cuts. A forthcoming article covers outrage in the US heartland, inspiring others Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and perhaps wherever aggrieved workers reside, awaken, and react against intolerable outrageous policies.
On February 17, New York Times writers Michael Slackman and Nadim Audi headlined, "Bahrain's Military Takes Control of Key Areas in Capital," saying:
By Larry Everest
Today, millions of Egyptians are rising with rage and courage against the hated rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981.
As Egyptians protesting in the streets were being killed, beaten, or rounded up in the streets of Cairo and other cities before the eyes of the whole world, Vice President Joe Biden defended Mubarak, saying, "Look, Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel. I would not refer to him as a dictator." (PBS Newshour, Newsmaker Interview, January 27, 2011)
Diplomatic and Consular Immunity: One Rule for Foreign Consulates in US, Another for US Consulates Abroad
By Dave Lindorff
President Obama, before he was a President or a Senator, was a constitutional law professor. He should know the law.
And yet in the increasingly dangerous show-down over Pakistan’s arrest and detention of Lahore consular contract “security official” Raymond Davis, who is charged with two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of two young Pakistanis on January 27, the president has grossly misstated what international law is with respect to the immunity from prosecution of diplomatic and consular officials.