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Biden: Impeachment if Bush bombs Iran

November 30th, 2007 - by admin

Adam Leech / Seacoast Online – 2007-11-30 23:55:43

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/29032

• Video.

PORTSMOUTH — Presidential hopeful Delaware Sen. Joe Biden stated unequivocally that he will move to impeach President Bush if he bombs Iran without Congressional approval.
Biden spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 100 at a Seacoast Media Group forum Thursday, which focused on the Iraq War and foreign policy.

When an audience member expressed fear of another war with Iran, he said he does not typically engage in threats, but had no qualms about issuing a direct warning to the oval office.

“The President has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran and if he does, as foreign relations committee chairman, I will move to impeach,” said Biden, which was followed by a raucous applause.

Biden said he is in the process of meeting with constitutional law experts to prepare a legal memorandum saying as much, and intends to send it to the President.

When resident Joel Carp asked Biden why not impeach now given what has already been done, Biden said it was a valid point but might not be constitutionally valid and potentially counterproductive. A case for impeachment must have clear evidence, he said, and blame should be directed at the right parties.

“If you’re going to impeach George Bush, you better impeach Cheney first,” said Biden, which also received applause.
Biden said the best deterrent to prevent preemptive military action in Iran is to make it clear, even if it is at the end of his final term, action will be taken against Bush to ensure “his legacy will be marred for all time.”

Biden took shots at the Bush administration’s idea to centralize government in Baghdad and called his decentralized plan the only way to political settlement. The recent decline in violence in Iraq, which some Republicans have credited to the surge, is the result of the military doing its job. President Bush, he said, has not done his job in using the relative peace to find a political compromise as he promised.

“There’s no evidence it has happened and no evidence it will happen,” he said.

Throughout the forum, Biden stressed the need to improve foreign relations throughout the world and pointed to his 29-year resume as proof that he can make that happen.
Biden joked about his low poll numbers, how the national media does not cover him and the lack of funding compared to the coffers of fellow hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

“This is why I’m in New Hampshire and Iowa,” he said. “It’s the last level playing field.”

Biden went to his next appearance knowing he had at least one more vote. As the forum was coming to an end, Byrl Short stood up and announced his support.

“I came here an undecided voter,” he said. “And you are the man.”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

US Military Kills Civilians in Iraq, Apologizes

November 30th, 2007 - by admin

Leila Fadel | McClatchy Newspapers – 2007-11-30 23:50:25

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/22207.html

BAGHDAD (November 27, 2007) — For the second day in a row, US soldiers on Tuesday killed Iraqi civilians when they fired on a vehicle that they thought was a threat, the US military said.

The US military also reported that two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Salah ad Din province. Two other soldiers were wounded. The military provided no further details on the incident and didn’t release the names of the dead.

The shooting deaths of the civilians took place in the al Shaab neighborhood of northern Baghdad. Two people died and four were injured when an American soldier fired at a minibus that was transporting workers to a bank operated by the Iraqi Finance Ministry, the military said in a statement. But Iraqi police and employees at al Rasheed Bank said that four people were killed, including three women, and that two were injured.

The minibus was driving near a US military outpost when it ended up on a road where only car traffic is permitted, the military said. American soldiers signaled the minibus to stop, and when it didn’t, one of them fired a warning shot.

A military official familiar with the incident said the warning shot struck the pavement in front of the vehicle and broke apart, spraying the minibus with pieces. The official asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak in detail about the incident.

A spokesman for US forces in Iraq acknowledged the deaths of the civilians. “We regret when civilians are killed, and we do feel terrible about it,” the spokesman, Maj. Brad Leighton, said. He said the incident was under investigation.
On Monday, a child and two men were killed when they rushed through a US military roadblock while the military was conducting an operation in Bayji, north of Baghdad. US soldiers opened fire on the vehicle; only when they searched the car did they discover the child inside.

The back-to-back incidents come as US and Iraqi officials prepare to negotiate a treaty that will set new rules to govern US military activities in Iraq. The announcement of the negotiations was part of a “declaration of principles” that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and President Bush signed on Monday.

Under the agreement, the U.N. authorization that permits US troops to operate in the country will be extended for one final year. After that extension expires in December 2008, a US-Iraq treaty will set the terms for continued US operations.
Those terms are to be negotiated by July 31 and are likely to be influenced by growing Iraqi impatience with the deaths of civilians during US military operations.

Maliki has long been a critic of civilian deaths and what he says are US troops’ breaches of Iraqi sovereignty. As recently as August, he criticized the US military for raids in two Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad that the US said killed “eight terrorists” but that residents said killed and wounded civilians.

“There were big mistakes committed in these operations,” Maliki said then. “The terrorist himself should be targeted, not his family.”

On Tuesday, Saad Abdul Wahid, a bank employee, said he called one of the women aboard the minibus after he’d heard of the shooting from a colleague.

Through tears, she told him that the bus was hurrying to pick up passengers when a shot rang out from a nearby Humvee, he said. The driver tried to reverse. He couldn’t, and before it was over four people were dead, she said.

“Nidhal, Ishraq, Um Tha’er and…” Wahid recalled her saying through tears, listing the names of the dead women. But before she could utter the last name, she broke into heavy sobs.

Wahid said that the woman told him that the minibus stopped because the driver was injured. An American soldier ran over and quickly realized what had happened.

“We are sorry; we are so sorry,” the soldier said.
“Is sorry enough to bring back our friends to life?” Wahid asked. “They keep making their mistakes day by day and we are paying too much.”

McClatchy special correspondent Hussein Kadhim contributed to this report.

McClatchy Newspapers 2007

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

The Bush Family Gets Away with Crimes That Would Land Anyone Else in Jail

November 29th, 2007 - by admin

Robert Parry / Consortium News – 2007-11-29 23:08:05

http://www.alternet.org/story/68843

(November 26, 2007) — In the history of the American Republic, perhaps no political family has been more protected from scandal than the Bushes.

When the Bushes are involved in dirty deals or even criminal activity, standards of evidence change. Instead of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” that would lock up an average citizen, the evidence must be perfect.

If there’s any doubt at all, the Bushes must be presumed innocent. Even when their guilt is obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense, it’s their accusers and those who dare investigate who get the worst of it. Their motives are challenged and their own shortcomings are cast in the harshest possible light.

For decades — arguably going back generations — the Bushes have been protected by their unique position straddling two centers of national power, the family’s blueblood Eastern Establishment ties and the Texas oil crowd with strong links to the Republican Right. [For details on this family phenomenon, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

This reality was underscored again by how major news outlets and the right-wing press reacted to a new piece of evidence implicating George W. Bush in a criminal cover-up in the “Plame-gate” scandal.

Though the evidence is now overwhelming that President Bush was part of a White House cabal that leaked Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity as a covert CIA officer and then covered up the facts, major newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, continue to pooh-pooh this extraordinary scandal.

The latest piece of evidence was the statement from former White House press secretary Scott McClellan that Bush was one of five senior officials who had him clear Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby in the leak when, in fact, they were two of the leakers.

“The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore the credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” McClellan said in a snippet released by the publisher of his upcoming memoir.

“So I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby,” McClellan said. “There was one problem. It was not true.”

After McClellan’s statement touched off a brief furor on the Internet and cable TV shows, his publisher Peter Osnos tried to soften the blow. Osnos told Bloomberg News that McClellan didn’t mean that Bush deliberately ordered his press secretary to lie.

“He told him something that wasn’t true, but the President didn’t know it wasn’t true,” Osnos said.

What Bush Knew
But neither McClennan nor Osnos knows what Bush really knew.

The revelatory point in McClellan’s statement was that Bush was a direct participant in the campaign to protect Rove and Libby as they lied about their roles in the leak. Previously that was an inference one could draw from the facts, but it had not been confirmed by a White House official.

Indeed, looking at the available evidence, it would defy credulity that Bush wasn’t implicated in the Plame-gate leak and the subsequent cover-up, which led to Libby’s conviction earlier this year on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.

For Bush not to have been involved would have required him to be oblivious to the inner workings of the White House and the actions of his closest advisers on an issue of great importance to him.

From the evidence at Libby’s trial, it was already clear that Bush had a direct hand in the effort to discredit Plame’s husband, former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, after he had gone public in July 2003 with his role in a CIA investigation of what turned out to be bogus claims that Iraq had sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.

Bush, who had cited those bogus claims in his 2003 State of the Union Address in making his case for invading Iraq, was worried about his credibility when US forces failed to find WMD evidence and when Wilson became the first Washington insider to start questioning Bush’s case for war.

So, Bush collaborated with Vice President Dick Cheney in mounting a counter-attack against Wilson. Bush decided to selectively declassify portions of a National Intelligence Estimate in order to undercut Wilson’s credibility and agreed to have that information leaked to friendly reporters.

It was in that context that Libby, Rove and other administration officials went forth to brief reporters, contacts that ended up disclosing that Wilson’s CIA wife, Plame, played a role in arranging his work on the CIA investigation. The suggestion was that Wilson’s unpaid fact-finding trip to Niger was a case of nepotism or a junket.

Following these press contacts, Plame’s identity surfaced in a July 14, 2003, article by right-wing columnist Robert Novak, who had gotten his information from two sources, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and his friend, the president’s chief political adviser Karl Rove.

But Rove’s work on the Plame leak didn’t stop with Novak’s article; he continued to peddle the information to other journalists, such as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who told Wilson a week after Novak’s column, “I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. He says and I quote, ‘Wilson’s wife is fair game.'”

Rove has since disputed the precise “fair game” quote, but he doesn’t deny talking to Matthews about Plame’s identity. So, we know that a week after the original leaks had blown Plame’s undercover status, Bush had not called off the dogs. His closest political adviser still was using the information to undermine Wilson.

Hardball Politics
This pattern of hardball politics, of course, fits with how George W. Bush and others in his family play the game.

His father, George H.W. Bush, would talk about how rough he could be when in “campaign mode.” The younger George Bush just extended that pugnacious approach to full-time, aided and abetted by a powerful right-wing media that has carried water for him consistently over the past eight years.

Even American citizens who get in Bush’s way feel the lash. Just ask the likes of former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who challenged Bush’s pre-Iraq War claims about WMD, or the Dixie Chicks, who dared to diss the Commander in Chief at one of their concerts.

So, the treatment of Wilson/Plame was part of the standard fare for what happened to Americans who dissented on Bush’s war policies. However, this one was a little different because the leak destroyed the career of a covert CIA officer and endangered her network of foreign agents who had been supplying information about WMD in the Middle East.

In September 2003, upset about this collateral damage, the CIA forwarded a criminal complaint to the Justice Department seeking an investigation into the outing of Plame. As far as the CIA was concerned, her classified identity was covered by a 1982 law barring willful exposure of CIA officers who had “served” abroad in the preceding five years.

But Bush and his inner circle could still breathe easily since the probe was under the control of Attorney General John Ashcroft, considered to be a right-wing Bush ally. The White House responded to press inquiries disingenuously, claiming Bush took the leak very seriously and would punish anyone involved.

“The President has set high standards, the highest of standards, for people in his administration,” McClellan said on Sept. 29, 2003. “If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.”

Bush personally announced his determination to get to the bottom of the matter.

“If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is,” Bush said on Sept. 30, 2003. “I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true.”

Yet, even as Bush was professing his curiosity and calling for anyone with information to step forward, he was withholding the fact that he had authorized the declassification of some secrets about the Niger uranium issue and had ordered Cheney to arrange for those secrets to be given to reporters.

In other words, though Bush knew a great deal about how the anti-Wilson scheme got started — since he was involved in starting it — he uttered misleading public statements to conceal the White House role.

Spreading Lies
Also, since the other conspirators knew that Bush already was in the know, they would have read his comments as a signal to lie, which is what they did. In early October, press secretary McClellan said he could report that political adviser Karl Rove and National Security Council aide Elliott Abrams were not involved in the Plame leak.

That comment riled Libby, who feared that he was being hung out to dry. Libby went to his boss, Dick Cheney, and complained that “they’re trying to set me up; they want me to be the sacrificial lamb,” Libby’s lawyer Theodore Wells later said.

Cheney scribbled down his feelings in a note to press secretary McClellan: “Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy the Pres that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others.”

Cheney initially ascribed Libby’s role in going after Wilson to Bush’s orders, but the Vice President apparently thought better of it, crossing out “the Pres” and putting the clause in a passive tense.

Cheney has never explained publicly the meaning of his note, but it suggests that it was Bush who sent Libby out on the get-Wilson mission to limit damage from Wilson’s criticism of Bush’s false Niger-yellowcake claim in the State of the Union Address.

Cheney’s reference to the “incompetence of others” may refer to those who cleared the false Niger claim in the first place.

Bush’s subsequent behavior in the latter half of 2003 adds to the evidence of his guilt.

Assuming Bush was sincere in his desire to get to the bottom of who leaked Plame’s identity — or just wanted to make sure there was no security risk in his inner circle — he presumably would have ordered an internal White House security probe. But he didn’t.

James Knodell, director of the White House security office, conceded before a congressional committee in March 2007 that no internal security investigation was performed; no security clearances were suspended or revoked; no punishment of any kind was meted out to White House political adviser Rove, even after his role in leaking Plame’s classified identity was determined.

Knodell, whose job included assessing Executive Branch security breaches, said that what he knew about the Plame case was “through the press.” A logical inference from Knodell’s inaction was that Bush already knew who had leaked Plame’s identity because he was involved in the leak.

In fall 2003, with no White House security review underway and the criminal probe presumably bottled up in the Justice Department, the cover-up broadened. On Oct. 4, 2003, McClellan added Libby to the list of officials who have “assured me that they were not involved in this.”

So, Libby had a motive to lie to the FBI when he was first interviewed about the case. He had gone to the mat with his boss to get his name cleared in the press, meaning it would make little sense to then admit involvement to FBI investigators, especially when it looked as if the cover-up would hold.

“The White House had staked its credibility on there being no White House involvement in the leaking of information about Ms. Wilson,” a federal court filing later noted. For his part, Libby began claiming that he had first learned about Plame’s CIA identity from NBC’s Washington bureau chief Tim Russert after Wilson had gone public.

Reversal of Fortune
This White House cover-up might have worked, except in late 2003, Ashcroft decided he wouldn’t be the loyal foot soldier and recused himself because of a conflict of interest. Deputy Attorney General James Comey then picked Patrick Fitzgerald — the US Attorney in Chicago — to serve as special prosecutor.

Fitzgerald pursued the investigation far more aggressively. Bush’s White House countered with a combination of public stonewalling and a continued PR campaign to further discredit Wilson.

Bush’s political and media allies dissected every nuance of the Wilson/Plame case to highlight supposed inconsistencies and contradictions.

The Republican National Committee put out nasty anti-Wilson talking points; senior Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee called Wilson a liar; the right-wing media — aided and abetted by the Washington Post’s neoconservative editorial page — amplified these ugly attacks to the public.

Right-wing lawyer Victoria Toensing received widespread media coverage when she claimed that Plame was not a “covert” officer under the definition of the 1982 law protecting the identities of intelligence agents because it only applied to CIA personnel who had “resided” or were “stationed” abroad in the previous five years.

Toensing argued that since Plame, the mother of young twins, was stationed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and resided in the Washington area, she wasn’t “covert” even if that was her official CIA status. But Toensing was misrepresenting the law that she said she had helped draft while a congressional staffer in the early 1980s.

The actual wording of the law as it pertained to CIA and other clandestine officers was “served” abroad, which is not synonymous with “stationed” or “resided,” the words that Toensing had substituted.

One can be stationed or reside inside the United States and still “serve” abroad by undertaking secret missions overseas, which Plame had done.

But many in the right-wing news media and even at prestige newspapers like the Washington Post adopted Toensing’s word games as reality. It became an article of faith in some political circles that Plame was not a “covert” officer and that therefore there was “no underlying crime” in the leaking of her identity.

Bush’s Guilt?
But what does this ongoing pattern of deception and character assassination against Wilson and Plame suggest about Bush’s innocence or guilt?

If Bush were the innocent party that we are supposed to believe, wouldn’t he have acted differently? Wouldn’t he have called for an end to these attacks on two American citizens who had served their country?

But Bush never tried to halt these cruel diversionary tactics. The White House goal, it appears, was to stir up enough confusion so that the public wouldn’t focus on the logical conclusion that Bush was responsible for damaging a CIA operation intended to protect national security.

In October 2005, Fitzgerald indicted Libby on five counts of lying to federal investigators and obstructing justice. Libby was convicted on four of five counts in March 2007 and sentenced to 30 months in jail.

But Bush’s role in the cover-up wasn’t finished. On July 2, 2007, Bush commuted Libby’s sentence to spare him any jail time. The President also left open the possibility that Libby might receive a full pardon before Bush left the White House.

The combination of taking away the stick of jail time and dangling the carrot of a full pardon eliminated any incentive for Libby to turn state’s evidence against Bush, Cheney and other senior officials.

In a different era, one might expect major newspapers, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, to erupt in fury over such an obvious case of presidential wrongdoing. One also might have anticipated serious hearings by a Democratic-controlled Congress to get to the bottom of this sorry affair.

But not in this era. Even when former press secretary McClellan became the first White House insider to acknowledge that senior officials, including Bush and Cheney, put him up to spreading lies about the Plame-gate scandal (whatever they knew at the time), there was almost no reaction, except on the Internet and some cable TV shows.

The Post and Times essentially ignored McClellan’s statement, apparently buying into the later spin that Bush might not have known then that Libby and Rove were lying. Bush’s right-wing apologists already are back on the attack, claiming that McClellan’s back-tracking supports Bush’s innocence.

The Democrats also don’t seem to have the stomach to hold Bush accountable. One presidential hopeful, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut, called for the Justice Department to investigate whether Bush had intentionally misled the public.

But the Democrats control both houses of Congress and presumably could compel testimony from many of the principals. They might even be able to force an explanation from special prosecutor Fitzgerald about why he didn’t pursue a broader case and what Bush and Cheney told him during their interviews about the Plame leak.

Instead the Democrats appear frightened of the counter-attack that the right-wing media could unleash, especially when major mainstream publications like the Times show little interest in the story and others like the Post actually are helping Bush in his cover-up.

But the broader picture appears to be that George W. Bush is just the latest member of the Bush family who can skate away from nearly any wrongdoing without paying a price.

Robert Parry’s new book is Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Are Assumptions about Iran Wrong?

November 29th, 2007 - by admin

Paul Jay Interviews Noam Chomsky – 2007-11-29 23:03:13

http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/3386

Video

Interview Transcript:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: ElBaradei, is the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, stated quite definitively there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. The recent resolution—the Kyle-Lieberman amendment—and the recent U.S. sanctions against Iran, which one of the charges is that Iran has been helping what they call insurgents in Iraq. There’s practically no evidence of that either. Based on what we know as evidence, there’s not a lot of reasons for U.S. policy to be as aggressive right now towards Iran as it is, certainly not for the stated reason. What really does motivate U.S. policy towards Iran?

NOAM CHOMSKY, PROFESSOR OF LINGUISTICS, MIT: Well, if I can make a comment about the stated reasons, the very fact that we’re discussing them tells us a lot about the sort of intellectual culture and moral culture in the United States. I mean, suppose it was true that Iran is helping insurgents in Iraq.

I mean, wasn’t the United States helping insurgents when the Russians invaded Afghanistan? Did we think there was anything wrong with that? I mean, Iraq’s a country that was invaded and is under military occupation. You can’t have a serious discussion about whether someone else is interfering in it.

The basic assumption underlying the discussion is that we own the world. So if we invade and occupy another country, then it’s a criminal act for anyone to interfere with it. What about the nuclear weapons? I mean, are there countries with nuclear weapons in the region? Israel has a couple of hundred nuclear weapons. The United States gives more support to it than any other country in the world.

The Bush administration is trying very hard to push through an agreement that not only authorizes India’s illegal acquisition of nuclear weapons but assists it. That’s what the U.S.-Indo Nuclear Pact is about. And, furthermore, there happens to be an obligation of the states in the Security Council and elsewhere to move towards establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region. Now that would include Iran and Israel and any U.S. forces deployed there. That’s part of Resolution 687.

Now to your question. The real reasons for the attack on Iran, the sanctions, and so on go back into history. I mean, we like to forget the history; Iranians don’t. In 1953, the United States and Britain overthrew the parliamentary government and installed a brutal dictator, the Shah, who ruled until 1979. And during his rule, incidentally, the United States was strongly supporting the same programs they’re objecting to today.

In 1979, the population overthrew the dictator, and since then the United States has been essentially torturing Iran. First it tried a military coup. Then it supported Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s invasion of Iran, which killed hundreds of thousands of people. Then, after that was over, the United States started imposing harsh sanctions on Iran. And now it’s escalating that. The point is: Iran is out of control. You know, it’s supposed to be a U.S.-client state, as it was under the Shah, and it’s refusing to play that role.

JAY: The sanctions that were just issued recently [are] the beginnings of a kind of act of war, this ratcheting up of the rhetoric right at a time when the IAEA is saying, in fact, Iran’s cooperating in the process. But it’s all coming down to this question of does Iran even have its right to enrich uranium for civilian nuclear, which in fact it has, under the non-proliferation treaty.

But Bush in his last press conference, where he had his famous World War III warning, has said even the knowledge of having nuclear weapons we won’t permit, never mind a civilian program. This puts U.S. policy on a collision course with the IAEA, with international law.

CHOMSKY: Just a couple of years ago, from 2004 through 2006, Iran did agree to suspend all uranium enrichment, halt even what everyone agrees they’re legally entitled to. That was an agreement with the European Union. They agreed to suspend all uranium enrichment. And in return, the European Union was to provide what were called full guarantees on security issues—that means getting the United States to call off its threats to attack and destroy Iran.

Well, the European Union didn’t live up to its obligation, [as] they couldn’t get the U.S. to stop it. So the Iranians then also pulled out and began to return to uranium enrichment. The way that’s described here is– the Iranians broke the agreement.

JAY: The experts are saying, including ElBaradei and others, that if you can enrich uranium to something just under 5%, which is apparently what’s needed for civilian purposes, you’re most of the way there towards the technology of having a bomb, that once you have that enrichment technology, you’re not that much further towards a bomb.

CHOMSKY: Yeah, but that’s true of every developed country in the world. Why pick out Iran? It’s true of Japan, it’s true of Brazil, it’s true of Egypt. And in fact, one could say—here I tend to agree with the Bush administration. In the non-proliferation treaty, there’s an article, Article 4, which says that countries signing the NPT are allowed to develop nuclear energy.

Well, okay, that made some sense in 1970, but by now technology has developed enough so that it has reached the point that you describe. When you’ve developed nuclear energy, you’re not that far from nuclear weapons. So, yeah, I think something should be done about that. But that has nothing special to do with Iran. In fact, it’s a much more serious problem for those nuclear weapons states who are obligated under that same treaty to make good faith efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether.

And, in fact, there are some solutions to that. ElBaradei had proposed a couple of years ago that no states should develop weapons-grade materials: all high enrichment should be done by an international agency, maybe the IAEA or something else, and then countries should apply to it. If they want enriched uranium for nuclear energy, the international agency should determine whether they’re doing it for peaceful means.

As far as I’m aware, there’s only one country that formally agreed to ElBaradei’s proposal. That was Iran. And there’s more. I mean, there’s an international treaty, called the Fissban, to ban production of fissile materials except under international control. The United States has been strongly opposed to that, to a verifiable treaty. Nevertheless, it did come to the General Assembly, the U.N. Disarmament Commission in the General Assembly, which overwhelmingly voted in favour of it.

The disarmament commission vote was, I think, 147 to 1, the United States being the 1. Unless a verifiable fissile materials treaty is passed and implemented , the world very well may move towards nuclear disaster.

JAY: Do you think we’re actually moving towards a military confrontation? Or are we seeing a game of brinksmanship?

CHOMSKY: Well, whether purposely or not, yes, we’re moving towards a military confrontation.

Do the Democrats Have a Different Answer on Iran?

Video

JAY: The vote over the Kyle-Lieberman amendment, the Senate resolution to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, essentially was followed up on by the administration when they did declare the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and issued sanctions against three major Iranian banks.

The reaction in the Democratic Party was interesting, Senator Clinton being the only presidential candidate in the Senate that voted for the resolution. All the other candidates both in and out of the Senate opposed it—quite a significant split, I would say, with Joe Biden and Senator Webb, who were very, very vocal, vocally against the resolution.

What do you make of what this next Democratic, well, I should say, between now and the election, the leadership of the Democratic Party? And if we are looking at Senator Clinton as the next president, which if all things remain the same we probably are, what do you make of the Democratic Party and Iran?

CHOMSKY,: The Democratic Party is somewhere in between the administration and overwhelming world opinion. I mean, the world is just appalled at the thought that the United States might invade Iran, attack Iran. Now, even in the region, you know, where the countries don’t like Iran at all—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan hostile to Iran in many ways—but, nevertheless, the population in the region, which has been polled, prefers Iran to have nuclear weapons than to having any war, even though they definitely don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons.

When you go beyond, opposition is simply overwhelming. In fact, you can’t find any corner of the world, I think, outside of Israel where there’s any support for the U.S. policies. In fact, the American population is overwhelmingly opposed.

About 75% of the population—at least a few months ago, before the huge propaganda offensive—75% of the population was against any threats against Iran. So the Democratic Party is sort of hovering in between almost universal world opposition to even the threats of war.

JAY: There seems to be a division amongst at least the leadership of the Democratic Party on this question. Webb, Biden on one side and some others, certainly, you know, Edwards, Obama, Kucinich, Gravel. But in terms of leadership there seems to be a serious split with Senator Clinton signing on to this resolution.

CHOMSKY: There’s a split between Gravel, Kucinich, and others like them and the rest of the Democratic Party, and then there’s a split between them and the extreme hawks like Lieberman. But the question is one of degree. I mean, every viable candidate—I’m not talking about Gravel and Kucinich or Ron Paul—every viable candidate has said we have to keep the options open, meaning they are continuing the threats of military action against Iran.

I don’t know if anybody cares, but there is something called the U.N. Charter, which is a valid treaty that we’re committed to which bars the threat or use of force. So they’re all in violation of the Charter and they don’t seem to care. The media don’t seem to care. I mean, the media and the political class are isolated from both world opinion and even domestic opinion.

And, yes, there are some variations within the Democratic Party over this as to how extreme they are. But its, all, almost all of it is just kind of like off the wall from an international point of view, except for people like Gravel and Kucinich.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Ten Reasons to Suspect “Save Darfur” is a PR Scam

November 29th, 2007 - by admin

Bruce Dixon / Black Agenda Report – 2007-11-29 22:59:30

http://www.alternet.org/story/69170/

(November 29, 2007) — The regular manufacture and the constant maintenance of false realities in the service of American empire is a core function of the public relations profession and the corporate news media.

Whether it’s fake news stories about wonder drugs and how toxic chemicals are good for you, bribed commentators and journalists discoursing on the benefits of No Child Left Behind, Hollywood stars advocating military intervention to save African orphans, or slick propaganda campaigns employing viral marketing techniques to reach out to college students, bloggers, churches and ordinary citizens, it pays to take a close look behind the facade.

Among the latest false realities being pushed upon the American people are the simplistic pictures of Black vs. Arab genocide in Darfur, and the proposed solution: a robust US-backed or US-led military intervention in Western Sudan.

Increasing scrutiny is being focused upon the “Save Darfur” lobby and the Save Darfur Coalition; upon its founders, its finances, its methods and motivations and its truthfulness. In the spirit of furthering that examination we here present ten reasons to suspect that the “Save Darfur” campaign is a PR scam to justify US intervention in Africa.

1. It wouldn’t be the first Big Lie our government and media elite told us to justify a war.
Elders among us can recall the Tonkin Gulf Incident, which the US government deliberately provoked to justify initiation of the war in Vietnam. This rationale was quickly succeeded by the need to help the struggling infant “democracy” in South Vietnam, and the still useful “fight ’em over there so we don’t have to fight ’em over here” nonsense.

More recently, the bombings, invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have been variously explained by people on the public payroll as necessary to “get Bin Laden” as revenge for 9/11, as measures to take “the world’s most dangerous weapons” from the hands of “the world’s most dangerous regimes”, as measures to enable the struggling Iraqi “democracy” stand on its own two feet, and necessary because it’s still better to “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here”.

2. It wouldn’t even be the first time the US government and media elite employed “genocide prevention” as a rationale for military intervention in an oil-rich region.

The 1995 US and NATO military intervention in Kosovo was supposedly a “peacekeeping” operation to stop a genocide. The lasting result of that campaign is Camp Bondsteel, one of the largest military bases on the planet. The US is practically the only country in the world that maintains military bases outside its own borders.

At just under a thousand acres, Camp Bondsteel offers the US military the ability to pre-position large quantities of equipment and supplies within striking distance of Caspian oil fields, pipeline routes and relevant sea lanes. It is also widely believed to be the site of one of the US’s secret prison and torture facilities.

3. If stopping genocide in Africa really was on the agenda, why the focus on Sudan with 200,000 to 400,000 dead rather than Congo with five million dead?
“The notion that a quarter million Darfuri dead are a genocide and five million dead Congolese are not is vicious and absurd,” according to Congolese activist Nita Evele. “What’s happened and what is still happening in Congo is not a tribal conflict and it’s not a civil war. It is an invasion. It is a genocide with a death toll of five million, twenty times that of Darfur, conducted for the purpose of plundering Congolese mineral and natural resources.”

More than anything else, the selective and cynical application of the term “genocide” to Sudan, rather than to the Congo where ten to twenty times as many Africans have been murdered reveals the depth of hypocrisy around the “Save Darfur” movement. In the Congo, where local gangsters, mercenaries and warlords along with invading armies from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola engage in slaughter, mass rape and regional depopulation on a scale that dwarfs anything happening in Sudan, all the players eagerly compete to guarantee that the extraction of vital coltan for Western computers and cell phones, the export of uranium for Western reactors and nukes, along with diamonds, gold, copper, timber and other Congolese resources continue undisturbed.

Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young and George H.W. Bush both serve on the board of Barrick Gold, one of the largest and most active mining concerns in war-torn Congo. Evidently, with profits from the brutal extraction of Congolese wealth flowing to the West, there can be no Congolese “genocide” worth noting, much less interfering with. For their purposes, US strategic planners may regard their Congolese model as the ideal means of capturing African wealth at minimal cost without the bother of official US boots on the ground.

4. It’s all about Sudanese oil.
Sudan, and the Darfur region in particular, sit atop a lake of oil. But Sudanese oil fields are not being developed and drilled by Exxon or Chevron or British Petroleum. Chinese banks, oil and construction firms are making the loans, drilling the wells, laying the pipelines to take Sudanese oil where they intend it to go, calling far too many shots for a twenty-first century in which the US aspires to control the planet’s energy supplies. A US and NATO military intervention will solve that problem for US planners.

5. It’s all about Sudanese uranium, gum arabic and other natural resources.
Uranium is vital to the nuclear weapons industry and an essential fuel for nuclear reactors. Sudan possesses high quality deposits of uranium. Gum arabic is an essential ingredient in pharmaceuticals, candies and beverages like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and Sudanese exports of this commodity are 80% of the world’s supply.

When comprehensive US sanctions against the Sudanese regime were being considered in 1997, industry lobbyists stepped up and secured an exemption in the sanctions bill to guarantee their supplies of this valuable Sudanese commodity. But an in-country US and NATO military presence is a more secure guarantee that the extraction of Sudanese resources, like those of the Congo, flow westward to the US and the European Union.

6. It’s all about Sudan’s strategic location
Sudan sits opposite Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, where a large fraction of the world’s easily extracted oil will be for a few more years. Darfur borders on Libya and Chad, with their own vast oil resources, is within striking distance of West and Central Africa, and is a likely pipeline route.

The Nile River flows through Sudan before reaching Egypt, and Southern Sudan water resources of regional significance too. With the creation of AFRICOM, the new Pentagon command for the African continent, the US has made open and explicit its intention to plant a strategic footprint on the African continent. From permanent Sudanese bases, the US military could influence the politics and ecocomies of Africa for a generation to come.

7. The backers and founders of the “Save Darfur” movement are the well-connected and well-funded US foreign policy elite.

According to a copyrighted Washington Post story this summer:

The “Save Darfur (Coalition) was created in 2005 by two groups concerned about genocide in the African country — the American Jewish World Service and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum …

The coalition has a staff of 30 with expertise in policy and public relations. Its budget was about $15 million in the most recent fiscal year …

Save Darfur will not say exactly how much it has spent on its ads, which this week have attempted to shame China, host of the 2008 Olympics, into easing its support for Sudan. But a coalition spokeswoman said the amount is in the millions of dollars.

Though the “Save Darfur” PR campaign employs viral marketing techniques, reaching out to college students, even to black bloggers, it is not a grassroots affair, as were the movement against apartheid and in support of African liberation movements in South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique a generation ago. Top heavy with evangelical Christians who preach the coming war for the end of the world, and with elements known for their uncritical support of Israeli rejectionism in the Middle East, the Save Darfur movement is clearly an establishment affair, a propaganda campaign that spends millions of dollars each month to manfacture consent for US military intervention in Africa under the cloak of stopping or preventing genocide.

8. None of the funds raised by the “Save Darfur Coalition”, the flagship of the “Save Darfur Movement” go to help needy Africans on the ground in Darfur, according to stories in both the Washington Post and the New York Times.

None of the money collected by Save Darfur goes to help the victims and their families. Instead, the coalition pours its proceeds into advocacy efforts that are primarily designed to persuade governments to act.

9. “Save Darfur” partisans in the US are not interested in political negotiations to end the conflict in Darfur

President Bush has openly and repeatedly attempted to throw monkey wrenches at peace negotiations to end the war in Darfur. Even pro-intervention scholars and humanitarian organizations active on the ground have criticized the US for endangering humanitarian relief workers, and for effectively urging rebel parties in Darfur to refuse peace talks and hold out for US and NATO intervention on their behalf.

The PR campaign which depicts the conflict as strictly a racial affair, in which Arabs, who are generally despised in the US media anyway, are exterminating the black population of Sudan, is slick, seamless and attractive, and seems to leave no room for negotiation. But in fact, many of Sudan’s “Arabs”, even the Janjiweed, are also black. In any case, they were armed and unleashed by a government which has the power to disarm them if it chooses, and refusing to talk to that government’s negotiators is a sure way to avoid any settlement.

10. Blackwater and other US mercenary contractors, the unofficial armed wings of the Republican party and the Pentagon are eagerly pitching their services as part of the solution to the Darfur crisis.

Chris Taylor, head of strategy for Blackwater, says his company has a database of thousands of former police and military officers for security assignments. He says Blackwater personnel could set up perimeters and guard Darfurian villages and refugee camp in support of the U.N. Blackwater officials say it would not take many men to fend off the Janjaweed, a militia that is supported by the Sudanese government and attacks villages on camelback.

Apparently Blackwater doesn’t need to come to the Congo, where hunger and malnutrition, depopulation, mass rape and the disappearance of schools, hospitals and civil society into vast law free zones ruled by an ever-changing cast of African proxies (like the son of the late and unlamented Idi Amin), all under a veil of complicit media silence already constitute the perfect business-friendly environment for siphoning off the vast wealth of that country at minimal cost.

Look for the adoption of the Congolese model across the wide areas of Africa that US strategic planners call “ungoverned spaces”. Just don’t look expect to see details on the evening news, or hear about them from Oprah, George Clooney or Angelina Jolie.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

The Bush-al-Maliki Agreement Paves the Way for Permanent US Bases in Iraq

November 29th, 2007 - by admin

Steve Benen / The Carpetbagger Report & The White House – 2007-11-29 22:55:57

http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com//68928/

Maliki Government Paves the Way for
Permanent US Bases in Iraq

Steve Benen / The Carpetbagger Report

(November 26, 2007) — Way back in February 2006, Tom Engelhardt noted that the “debate” over permanent US bases in Iraq was practically non-existent. After a search of the LexisNexis database, he explained, “American reporters adhere to a simple rule: The words ‘permanent,’ ‘bases,’ and ‘Iraq’ should never be placed in the same sentence, not even in the same paragraph; in fact, not even in the same news report.”

It wasn’t too big a mystery — talk of permanent bases was considered impolite for the political mainstream. It was a subject best relegated to blogs and talk radio. When congressional Dems started taking the matter seriously, congressional Republicans quickly shut down any policy proposals that might limit a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq.

With that in mind, today’s news is not at all encouraging.

Iraq’s government, seeking protection against foreign threats and internal coups, will offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq in return for U.S. security guarantees as part of a strategic partnership, two Iraqi officials said Monday.

The proposal, described to The Associated Press by two senior Iraqi officials familiar with the issue, is one of the first indications that the United States and Iraq are beginning to explore what their relationship might look like once the U.S. significantly draws down its troop presence.

As Spencer Ackerman explained, “Make no mistake: this is Nouri al-Maliki offering the U.S. a permanent presence in return for guaranteeing the security of his government…. In exchange for a platform for the indefinite projection of American power throughout the Middle East, the Bush Administration probably considers protection for Maliki and his coterie to be a small price to pay.”

In the AP report, Bush administration officials are downplaying the significance of these developments….

When asked about the plan, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo noted that Iraqi officials had expressed a desire for a strategic partnership with the U.S. in a political declaration in August and an end to the U.N.-mandated force.

“Thereafter then, the question becomes one of bilateral relationships between Iraq and the countries of the multinational forces,” she said. “At that point we need to be considering long-term bilateral relationships and we’re following the Iraqi thinking on this one and we agree with their thinking on this and we’ll be looking at setting up a long-term partnership with different aspects to it, political, economic, security and so forth.”

She said any detailed discussion of bases and investment preferences was “way, way, way ahead of where we are at the moment.”

…but Iraqi officials are moving forward apace.

The Iraqi officials said that under the proposed formula, Iraq would get full responsibility for internal security and U.S. troops would relocate to bases outside the cities. Iraqi officials foresee a long-term presence of about 50,000 U.S. troops, down from the current figure of more than 160,000.

Haidar al-Abadi, a senior Dawa member of al-Maliki’s Dawa party, told Alhurra television that the prime minister would write parliament in the next few days to tell lawmakers that his government would seek the renewal of the U.N. mandate for “one last time.”

What’s more, Ackerman also noted that the joint declaration of “principles” for “friendship and cooperation,” endorsed this morning by Bush and Maliki, includes this provision on the future U.S.-Iraq security ties:

“To support the Iraqi government in training, equipping, and arming the Iraqi Security Forces so they can provide security and stability to all Iraqis; support the Iraqi government in contributing to the international fight against terrorism by confronting terrorists such as Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, other terrorist groups, as well as all other outlaw groups, such as criminal remnants of the former regime; and to provide security assurances to the Iraqi Government to deter any external aggression and to ensure the integrity of Iraq’s territory.”

U.S. forces, in other words, are going to be expected to protect the Maliki government for the foreseeable future — a promise that comes at a time when a growing number of conservative war supporters are prepared to throw Maliki under the bus after a series of political setbacks.

Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of Salon.com’s Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.


Surely the Bush-al-Maliki Declaration (November 26, 2007) merits a place on the mantel alongside UN Security Council Resolution 1546 (June 8, 2004) as the most perfect examples that history can provide of a thief granting himself not only a pardon, but also the title to what he stole.
— David Peterson, Chicago, USA. davidepet@comcast.net

Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America
The White House

As Iraqi leaders confirmed in their Communiqué signed on August 26, 2007, and endorsed by President Bush, the Governments of Iraq and the United States are committed to developing a long-term relationship of cooperation and friendship as two fully sovereign and independent states with common interests. This relationship will serve the interest of coming generations based on the heroic sacrifices made by the Iraqi people and the American people for the sake of a free, democratic, pluralistic, federal, and unified Iraq.

The relationship of cooperation envisioned by the Republic of Iraq and the United States includes a range of issues, foremost of which is cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, and security fields, taking account of the following principles:

First: The Political, Diplomatic, and Cultural Spheres
1. Supporting the Republic of Iraq in defending its democratic system against internal and external threats.
2. Respecting and upholding the Constitution as the expression of the will of the Iraqi people and standing against any attempt to impede, suspend, or violate it.
3. Supporting the efforts of the Republic of Iraq to achieve national reconciliation including as envisioned in the Communiqué of August 26.
4. Supporting the Republic of Iraq’s efforts to enhance its position in regional and international organizations and institutions so that it may play a positive and constructive role in the region and the world.
5. Cooperating jointly with the states of the region on the basis of mutual respect, non-intervention in internal affairs, rejection of the use of violence in resolving disputes, and adoption of constructive dialogue in resolving outstanding problems among the various states of the region.
6. Promoting political efforts to establish positive relationships between the states of the region and the world, which serve the common goals of all relevant parties in a manner that enhances the security and stability of the region, and the prosperity of its peoples.
7. Encouraging cultural, educational, and scientific exchanges between the two countries.

Second: The Economic Sphere1. Supporting Iraq’s development in various economic fields, including its productive capabilities, and aiding its transition to a market economy.
2. Encouraging all parties to abide by their commitments as stipulated in the International Compact with Iraq.
3. Supporting the building of Iraq’s economic institutions and infrastructure with the provision of financial and technical assistance to train and develop competencies and capacities of vital Iraqi institutions.
4. Supporting Iraq’s further integration into regional and international financial and economic organizations.
5. Facilitating and encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments, to contribute to the reconstruction and rebuilding of Iraq.
6. Assisting Iraq in recovering illegally exported funds and properties, especially those smuggled by the family of Saddam Hussein and his regime’s associates, as well as antiquities and items of cultural heritage, smuggled before and after April 9, 2003.
7. Helping the Republic of Iraq to obtain forgiveness of its debts and compensation for the wars waged by the former regime.
8. Supporting the Republic of Iraq to obtain positive and preferential trading conditions for Iraq within the global marketplace including accession to the World Trade Organization and most favored nation status with the United States.

Third: The Security Sphere
Providing security assurances and commitments to the Republic of Iraq to deter foreign aggression against Iraq that violates its sovereignty and integrity of its territories, waters, or airspace.

Supporting the Republic of Iraq in its efforts to combat all terrorist groups, at the forefront of which is Al-Qaeda, Saddamists, and all other outlaw groups regardless of affiliation, and destroy their logistical networks and their sources of finance, and defeat and uproot them from Iraq. This support will be provided consistent with mechanisms and arrangements to be established in the bilateral cooperation agreements mentioned herein. 3. Supporting the Republic of Iraq in training, equipping, and arming the Iraqi Security Forces to enable them to protect Iraq and all its peoples, and completing the building of its administrative systems, in accordance with the request of the Iraqi government.

The Iraqi Government in confirmation of its resolute rights under existing Security Council resolutions will request to extend the mandate of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter for a final time. As a condition for this request, following the expiration of the above mentioned extension, Iraq’s status under Chapter VII and its designation as a threat to international peace and security will end, and Iraq will return to the legal and international standing it enjoyed prior to the issuance of U.N. Security Council Resolution No. 661 (August, 1990), thus enhancing the recognition and confirming the full sovereignty of Iraq over its territories, waters, and airspace, and its control over its forces and the administration of its affairs.

Taking into account the principles discussed above, bilateral negotiations between the Republic of Iraq and the United States shall begin as soon as possible, with the aim to achieve, before July 31, 2008, agreements between the two governments with respect to the political, cultural, economic, and security spheres.

Signed
• President of the United States of America
George W. Bush
• Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
Nouri Kamel Al-Maliki

Merry Christmas, Hawaii — and Bombs Away!

November 28th, 2007 - by admin

Cathy Garger / Axis of Logic.com – 2007-11-28 23:08:27

http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_25559.shtml

HAWA’AI (November 27, 2007) — It’s the end of the world as we know it. The US Military has officially run out of foreign lands to bomb. Apparently out of desperation to find a place to publicly ejaculate their huge, heavy loads, the US Air Force has chosen the Big Island of Hawaii as its bulls-eye target.

Unfortunately for Hawaiian paradise, however, this time it’s going to take far more than a super size box of Kleenex to tidy up this particular wad containing Uncle Sam’s latest hot, dirty, and unquestionably most slimy mess.

According to a recent Associated Press article, “B-2 Stealth Bombers Hit US Targets”, the United States government is using both Hawaii and Alaska to expand its war games and better train pilots to unload mega-size Uranium bombs on — shhhh — unsuspecting North Koreans. Meanwhile, Uncle Sam, convincingly playing the part of one mighty sick, twisted Santa, is apparently reneging on his promise to make nice and remove North Korea from his Naughty [State Sponsors of Terrorism] List.

How considerate of Uncle Sam to give such a generous warning, months in advance, of his impending blitzkrieg on one more unsuspecting Asian nation! But, for some strange reason, the citizens of Hawaii received no such courtesy prior to being “cursed” with monthly bloody bombings, not even the benefit of predictability enjoyed by women visited every month by their “Auntie Flo.”

What harm would it do, if you really think about it, for the US government to run a small ad in Hawaii’s federal mouthpiece, The Honolulu Advertiser, in which they could announce for Hawaiians the dates during which they should attempt to locate suitable bomb shelters on “that” day of the month? Well, at least it would be a mighty thoughtful touch!

One seriously wonders what horrible things Hawaiians have done to become such bad little boys and girls that their very own authoritarian Uncle Sammy — who they have, after all, permitted for over one hundred years to play soldier upon their land and in their sea — would sadistically “repay” them for their warm Aloha-spirit hospitality by dropping bombs from stealth Air Force B-2 bombers on them — ’round Christmastime, no less!

No matter what the offense, no matter how bad Hawaiians have been to merit domestic air raids by their own, one certainly suspects that dumping many thousands of pounds of coal atop the Hawaiian Isle would be a far more suitable punishment (not to mention an infinitely better eco-friendly gesture) than being forced into being sitting ducks for bombing practice from the heavens above!

But times they certainly are a ‘changing! Why, once upon a time in an era many US War Presidents ago, it used to be that attacks on Hawaii were staged by other nations — Japan, for example. Now, in this modern post-9/11 age, any nation is fair game for attack — even when the people on the island you’re bombing happen to wave the very same red, white, and blue flag as the other forty nine states!

No, this is no parody you’re reading. This news is so priceless I could not make this stuff up! The United States Air Force has actually started bombing its own country, in order to conduct what they claim is necessary bombing practice for North Korea — or whoever’s up for the next US “hit!”

Courtesy of the AP article, released as a gift to America on Thanksgiving Day (when we were too busy wolfing down turkey and stuffing to notice or even care), we now learn, quite after the fact, that US B-2 “Spirit” Stealth Bombers have started routinely bombing the US state of Hawaii.

According to the US Air Force website, the domestic bombing began this year on October 23. Reportedly, the first Bombs Away event, being called Hawaii’s “October Surprise,” was part of an exercise called “Koa Lightning,” in which B-2s flew from Guam to Hawaii, dropping the bombs on the Big Island’s Pohakuloa Training Area.

At least one dozen of these mega-bombs were dropped the first month, at $1.2 million US Dollars a pop. Called “inert” and “dummy” because they reportedly do not explode, the Air Force tells us, as if from an ad for homemade jam, bombings are conducted, “the old fashioned way too. No laser designating the target and no joint direct attack munitions with global positioning system guidance. It was just the aviators, their instruments, a deadly airframe and some Airmen on the mock battlefield calling in the coordinates.”

As these are not your Air Force standard, computer-guided, “built in, state of the art targeting system” drops, the aviators and their uh, instruments, work on a “deadly timeframe,” relying on nothing but gravity — and the capricious whim of Mother Nature’s tropical winds.

So don those hard hats and heads up, Hawaii, ’cause where those “old-fashioned ‘dumb bombs’ without precision guidance” land next is anybody’s guess! And a 2,000 lb. bomb — make that a 2,000 lb. Anything — released from a point higher than the mountaintops that goes even a wee bit off course is definitely going to cause some poor Hawaiian one mighty colossal headache!

According to the AP article, the Air Force has “only started dropping inert bombs on the Big Island’s Pohakuloa Training Area [PTA] last month.” One can not help wondering if this bombing that “only” started last month is not possibly payback for the work of outspoken activists who recently opposed the permanent stationing of the 2/25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team at PTA? Coincidentally [or maybe not?] Pohakuloa is the same live-fire test training area where mega-bombs are now getting dropped out of B-2 jets onto grounds where Depleted Uranium was discovered in August.

With regard to the “Koa Lightning” bombing of Hawaii exercises, one of the B-2 pilots, Major Tim Hale, stated, “This particular mission covers the full spectrum of what we can do.” With a nation so desperate to practice dropping bombs that it chooses as its Ground Zero the sacred, culturally rich, pristine paradise of Hawaii, there is no question that the full spectrum of what we can do has indeed been achieved — at the very lowest, bottom-of-the-barrel end of the spectrum, that is.

With the bombing of Hawaii a jolly old ho (ho, ho) hum affair, not just the United States but the international community, too, now gets to witness the utter depths of just how low the United States will go in order to wage its aggressive wars. For to depraved Uncle Sam in the role of Santa-Gone-Bad this holiday season, not even Hawaii — considered by many to be the world’s favorite tropical vacation spot — is sacred.

On its own website, the US Air Force reminds us that the capability of the B-2 bombers (apparently considered the pinnacle of Air Force prowess) must not be underestimated. “Strategic bombers in and of themselves are huge force multipliers,” according to Tech. Sgt. Richard Setlock, a JTAC from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron. Furthermore, according to Sgt. Setlock, “Fighter attack aircraft can stay on station for 45-minutes and provide six to eight bombs. We can have a bomber overhead for two to four hours and provide four times the firepower that a fighter attack aircraft could.”

The military’s orgiastic thrills and chills of “force multiplier” capabilities aside, one wonders how the local Hawaiian school children are coping? What must it be like for these precious young ones, learning their A, B, C’s, numbers, and colors, too, with not merely jets overhead, but stealth bombers that provide four times the firepower of fighter attack aircraft?

Distant memories of 1960s bomb drills hiding underneath kindergarten desks suddenly come to mind. One wonders how Hawaiian teachers go about explaining to tiny tots that the bombs, each weighing about as much as four classroom pianos… are being dropped by their own country, that is [gulp] by the “good guys”.

In correspondence with Bob Nichols, Project Censored Award winner and weapons expert of The San Francisco Bay View, Nichols wrote of the B-2 bombs,, “It is just a matter of time till the 376,000 lb heavy bombers hit a school playground or someone’s house with the equivalent of a small car at 160 mph and kill no telling how many people. Just chalk it up to the annual required human sacrifice to keep the big Military payroll in Hawaii. The city fathers made a bad deal with the devil for a few dollars more.”

The devil may have made them do it, but do the local officials even know? According to Mayor of the County of Hawaii, Harry Kim, this is apparently not the case. “I was not aware that they were dropping bombs up there.”

Mayor Kim also added that the public has a right to know about what’s going on — and when Hawaiians can expect the 2,000 pound drops gracing them from up above. “They really need to be proactive about informing us so we can inform the public,” he said. “The public needs to know when these types of exercises are going on, especially those who drive Saddle Road.”

Yes, there’s no doubt about it. These bombs are a threat to Hawaii, and when even the local government’s top official is not made aware of the mortal danger his citizens face on a regular basis, one suspects that Uncle Sam does a mighty lousy job as Federal Duck-and-Cover Communicator for the oblivious residing in Pacific paradise.

As explained by the Air Force on its website, “The global reach and long loiter time over a target is a unique capability of America’s bomber force. This makes the B-2 especially lethal to America’s enemies.”

Furthermore, as Col. Damian McCarthy, 36th Operations Group commander, elaborates, “Having the ability to stay over a target for extended periods, especially in a stealth airframe, gives the combatant commander the option to strike the bad guys at a time and place of their choosing.”

What none of these military load-dropping, macho-types explain, however, is just whose bright idea it was to use the Big Island of Hawaii for their bombing target practice fun. The island of Hawaii is, after all, a place where 160,000 citizens live and work, and 1.5 million tourists from around the globe come each year to sun, fun, and play.

Can someone please tell me exactly when did the gentle, peace-loving people from the Aloha state get placed on the list as America’s declared “enemies” and “bad guys” in order to merit humongous, lethal bomb drops by B2 stealth bombers?

One can understand why Hawaiians are a tad more than concerned about the very real possibility of stray, off-course bombs being dropped on their heads. What is even more disturbing, however, is the fact that these bombs — weighing roughly the same as a Honda CRX model car — are being dropped from altitudes 18,000 feet above the mountains — onto grounds contaminated with deadly toxic and radioactive Depleted Uranium from years of live-fire training.

Can you just imagine how 2,000 pounds of concentrated dead weight, dropped from the skies, will rustle up and render airborne the Depleted Uranium in the soils on the Pohakuloa Training Area? And just how safe can this be, in terms of air quality, with lethal Depleted Uranium being re-suspended in the air by these bomb drops — particularly for those living in nearby towns?

According to the Army’s 2000 health fact sheet on Depleted Uranium, “DU can also be inhaled when DU particles in the environment are resuspended into the atmosphere by wind or other disturbances.” Is there any question in anyone’s mind that such a heavy bomb, dropped from the heavens and landing in radioactive soils, creates one hell of a “disturbance?”

Jim Albertini, of the Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-Violent Education & Action says of the bombings, “This, along with other training at PTA, is an outrage given the presence of Depleted Uranium (DU) confirmed at PTA. The full extent of the contamination is not yet known but the military is taking action that risks spreading the stuff around. It shows the complete disregard for the health and safety of Hawaii residents and the military people who train on the ground there.”

Wouldn’t it make sense to remediate the contaminated soils at Pohakuloa, as is required by Army Regulation 700-48 before even thinking about dropping mega-bombs there? Is the Army in such a hurry to “practice” bombing the hell out of North Korea that it simply cannot wait another few months till it cleans up the mess it created in Hawaii by playing around there with its nuke weapons (and God-only-knows-what-other Uranium munitions)?

Has this grand US imperial Empire, in its zealous myopic dream of waging wars at any cost, decided to totally waste the once pristine, lush, exotic Hawaiian island — and its very own citizens to boot? Does anyone know precisely when our nation made the decision to condemn Hawaii for billions of years as a radioactive “national sacrifice zone,” the “payoff” being the ability to wage continuous wars against innocent civilians — in both Hawaii as well as in far-off lands?

Perhaps in lieu of being greeted in the future with flowered leis, future visitors to Hawaii’s airport should, by all rights, be appropriately welcomed with Army-issued gas masks and radioactive MOPP gear suits instead.

While the Hawaiian tourist industry admittedly may tank once photos get out depicting the rather, um, encumbered manner in which Hawaiian tourists will now be outfitted, on the plus side, US troops would then be able to invade, occupy, and take as their own private playground vacant Hawaiian hotels and resorts where tourists and vacationers, fearing radioactive contamination, will no longer venture.

So say goodbye, all ye citizens of the world, to the former tropical paradise of the Aloha state! Please know you have been forewarned and travel to Hawaii now at your own risk.

Vacation now on the Big Island and prepare to be greeted with the US military’s own uniquely gracious brand of hospitality — the invisible “gift” of inhaled Uranium aerosol blowing in the warm tropical winds, bestowed upon unsuspecting residents and tourists alike, for all eternity.

To learn more and find out what you can do to help keep Hawaii safe from domestic bombing and further radioactive contamination, visit the folks at Protect Hawaii and say Aloha to them for me.

Cathy Garger is a freelance writer, public speaker, activist, and a certified personal coach who specializes in Uranium weapons. Living in the shadow of the national District of Crime, Cathy is constantly nauseated by the stench emanating from the nation’s capital during the Washington, DC, federal work week. Cathy may be contacted at savorsuccesslady3@yahoo.com.

In accordance with Title U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Cancer-Causing Explosives Contaminate Wisconsin Water

November 28th, 2007 - by admin

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger – 2007-11-28 23:05:02

http://www.envirosagainstwar.org/know/read.php?&itemid=6243

Dept of Public Health Underestimates DNT Risks
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

MERRIMAC, WI (November 26, 2007) — A carcinogenic explosive which has been found in drinking water wells near the Badger Army Ammunition Plant should have lower standards than those proposed by the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH), a local environmental group says. According to Dr. Peter deFur, a technical scientific consultant hired by CSWAB, the health-based threshold for drinking water should be 10 times lower or 0.005 parts per billion.

The WDPH recently issued an Interim Health Advisory Level for dinitrotoluene (DNT), a common constituent of explosives. DNT exists in six (6) different forms, termed isomers. All 6 isomers have been detected in groundwater beyond the plant boundary and in private drinking water wells. The WDPH has recommended that the total concentration of all 6 isomers of DNT should not exceed 0.05 parts per billion in drinking water.

Wisconsin has standards for the more common isomers of DNT (2,4-DNT and 2,6-DNT) but the remaining 4 isomers do not have enforceable state drinking water or groundwater standards.

The Army does not support the establishment of any health-based thresholds and wants the remaining 4 isomers to stay unregulated. Lack of regulation releases the Army from cleanup of contaminated soils and groundwater. It also relieves the military of requirements to replace affected wells. In an August 14 memo submitted to the WDPH, Army toxicologists argued that available data is “not sufficient to support the development of a health advisory for these isomers.”

Dr. deFur maintains that the WDPH used the correct approach by combining all the isomers together in one limit. “If each isomer were evaluated separately, risks could be substantially underestimated by ignoring the cumulative risks to human health,” he said.

At the same time, deFur said that proposed Health Advisory Level does not account for the high concentrations of the more toxic isomers of DNT that are found in the environment, compared with mixtures used to determine toxicity in laboratory studies.

“DNT mixtures at contaminated sites like Badger are likely to be significantly more toxic than those evaluated by health officials,” deFur cautioned. “Some sensitive individuals may suffer health effects from long term exposure to DNT concentrations that are less than the proposed limit, evidence that the Advisory Level selected by WDPH needs to be lower.”

DNT is a powerful carcinogen, and can also cause dizziness, headache, muscle weakness, and a blood disorder known as methemoglobinemia. Infants are particularly susceptible to this anemic condition.

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) was first organized by neighbors of the Badger plant in 1990 and continues to work for the cleanup and sustainable reuse of the site. Dr. deFur’s report, together with the memorandums from the Wisconsin Division of Health and the U.S. Army, are available to the public through CSWAB’s website at www.cswab.org.

Statistics:
• Technical grade DNT is a mixture composed of approximately 76% 2,4-DNT, 19% 2,6-DNT, and 5% other DNT isomers (3,4-DNT, 2,3-DNT, 2,5-DNT, and 3,5 DNT). In groundwater and drinking water, however, these isomers can be found independently and in different ratios.

• At the Deterrent Burning Grounds, a hazardous waste site at Badger Army Ammunition Plant, the concentration of 3,4-DNT in groundwater was recently detected at 3.98 ppb and 2,3-DNT concentrations were detected at 1.16 ppb. The total concentrations of these less common isomers are more than 100 times the safe drinking water guidelines recommended by the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. In comparison, 2,4-DNT and 2,6-DNT concentrations in the same groundwater monitoring well were both found at less than 0.05 ppb.

• In Wisconsin, the 2,3-DNT isomer has been detected in 103 groundwater and private water wells at concentrations as high as 2,200 ppb. The 3,4-DNT isomer has been detected in 37 wells at levels as high as 419 ppb. The 3,5-DNT isomer has been detected in 20 wells at concentrations as high as 23.9 ppb and the 2,5-DNT isomer has been detected in wells at concentrations as high as 1.5 ppb.

• In northern Wisconsin, the E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. ran the DuPont Barksdale Explosives Plant from 1905 to 1971. The company produced TNT, dynamite and other explosives for the military during World Wars I and II, and for the mining industry. Starting in 1997, tests found residues of explosive chemicals in 17 drinking water wells located between the site and Lake Superior. Two forms of dinitrotoluene (DNT) found in private well water were above the State of Wisconsin groundwater standard.

• According to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, DNT has been detected in soils and groundwater at Fort McCoy, an active military installation near Sparta, Wisconsin.

• DNT is an environmental contaminant at dozens of military bases nationwide including Fort Wingate Army Depot in New Mexico, the Joliet Arsenal and Savanna Army Ammunition Plant in Illinois, Camp Edwards in Massachusetts, Weldon Springs Ordnance Works in Missouri, Umatilla Army Depot in Utah, the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, and Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia.

Examples of U.S. Sites where DNT has been identified as a Contaminant of Concern:

Region I: Camp Edwards Study Area (MA)

Region II: Vieques, Puerto Rico (DNTs are potential contaminants of concern; investigations are still pending)

Region III: Radford Army Ammunition Plant (VA), Fort Belvoir – Engineering Proving Ground site (VA)

Region IV: Alabama Army Ammunition Plant, Milan Army Ammunition Plant (TN), Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant (TN)

Region V: Badger Army Ammunition Plant (WI), Former DuPont Barksdale Works (WI), Savanna Army Ammunition Plant (IL), Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (IL), Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant (OH), Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (MN)

Region VI: Fort Wingate Army Depot (NM), Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant (LA), Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant (TX)

Region VII: Weldon Spring Ordnance Works (MO), Nebraska Ordnance Plant, Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant (KS), Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant (NE)

Region VIII: Pueblo Chemical Depot (formerly Pueblo Army Depot)

Region IX: Hawthorne Army Depot (NV)

Region X: Umatilla Army Depot (UT)

Resources:
· Fact Sheet: Department of Public Health Underestimates DNT Risks
· Fact Sheet: DNT – The Importance of Testing for All Six Isomers (Testing & Trends)
· CSWAB’s Formal Comments to the Wisconsin Division of Health on Interim Health Advisory Levels for DNTs
· Wisconsin Division of Public Health, DNT Interim Health Advisory documentation
· U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (CHPPM) DNT memo

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
E12629 Weigand’s Bay South
Merrimac, WI 53561
(608) 643-3124 – Fax (608) 643-0005
Email: info@cswab.org
Website: www.cswab.org
For more information contact:
Laura Olah, (608) 643-3124
Dr. Peter deFur, Environmental Stewardship Concepts (804) 741-2922

ACTION ALERT: Oil Money for Refugees

November 28th, 2007 - by admin

Iraqi International Initiative on Refugees – 2007-11-28 23:00:51

http://3iii.org/proposal

More than 4.5 million Iraqis — a fifth of the population — have been displaced inside and outside their country due to the sectarian policies of the occupation and the governments it has installed since the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003

The international community, the occupation powers, and the government in Iraq are legally required to support and protect Iraqi refugees

Iraqi refugees are Iraqi citizens who have a full right to live in dignity, a right to benefit equally from national resources, and a right to return to their homes

The UN Security Council, as the highest body of the UN, has the power and legal duty to ensure that the needs of Iraqi refugees are met by passing a resolution to require that the Iraqi state allocate proportionate revenue to responsible agencies and hosting countries

Call for Action
Displaced and refugee Iraqis cannot wait until they can return home for their essential needs to be met. The international community has the moral obligation to act now. UNSC Resolution 986 of 1995 established that Iraqi oil revenue is for all Iraqis. As Iraqi citizens, Iraqi refugees have equal rights to share in the wealth of Iraq.

We call upon all governments, UN agencies and organizations, law, human rights and humanitarian associations, and all people of conscience to work together towards ensuring that the UNSC adopt and implement this proposal of obliging the Iraqi state to allocate oil revenues for Iraqi refugees.

We demand that states — particularly those involved in the illegal invasion and destruction of Iraq — fulfill their obligations and responsibilities and provide necessary funding for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) mission of protecting displaced Iraqis.

We call upon all to raise funds and take all measures to provide direct aid to Iraqi refugees and the organizations helping them.

Humanity is in distress in Iraq. Our moral responsibility is to save it. Join us.

• To endorse, contact: hanaalbayaty@3iii.org
• To sign the petition: http://3iii.org/petition/iraqi-oil-revenues-for-iraqi-refugees-petition
• To stay informed on the campaign: www.3iii.org


BACKGROUND:
Iraqi International Initiative on Refugees

More than 4.5 million Iraqis — a fifth of the population — have been displaced inside and outside their country due to the sectarian policies of the occupation and the governments it has installed since the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003

The international community, the occupation powers, and the government in Iraq are legally required to support and protect Iraqi refugees

Iraqi refugees are Iraqi citizens who have a full right to live in dignity, a right to benefit equally from national resources, and a right to return to their homes

The UN Security Council, as the highest body of the UN, has the power and legal duty to ensure that the needs of Iraqi refugees are met by passing a resolution to require that the Iraqi state allocate proportionate revenue to responsible agencies and hosting countries

Following 13 years of UN imposed disastrous sanctions that qualified as genocide 1, with the complicity of the UN Security Council (UNSC) — its failure to act to protect the people and State of Iraq 2, or fulfill its own obligations 3 — the US illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq 4 has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe unequalled since World War II 5.

In addition to having caused the violent deaths of more than one million Iraqis 6, 2.3 million Iraqis have been displaced within their own country while over two million more are scattered mainly in neighboring states 7. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society reports that in October 2007 alone 368,479 Iraqis were uprooted from their homes inside Iraq 8, while an estimated 60,000 Iraqis flee the country to neighboring states on a monthly basis 9.

The modern Iraqi educated middle class, whose role is needed — now and in the future — to run the state, the economy, and build Iraqi culture, has been decimated. Following systematic assassinations 10, imprisonment 11, military raids and sieges 12, threats and discrimination 13, most of what remains of that class has left the country 14. The absence of this middle class has resulted in the breakdown of all public services for the entirety of Iraqi society.

All information coming from Iraq shows that fear for life imposed on Iraqis is the cause of the displacement of millions inside and outside their country. Displaced Iraqis are refugees by definition and according to international law 15.

The 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 additional protocol stipulate that a refugee is any person “who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country.” 16
Iraqi refugees have the right to life and dignity 17

The US-led occupation and the governments it has installed are legally duty-bound under international humanitarian law — by the Fourth Geneva Convention and its additional protocols — and by UNSC Resolutions 1265, 1296 and 1674 to protect civilian lives in Iraq and provide for basic needs 18. Instead, the occupation and the governments it instituted are imposing a state of terror by resorting to disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force 19 and by implementing such sectarian policies as sponsoring sectarian militias that perpetrate ethnic cleansing 20.

They remain unable or unwilling to provide even the most basic services, including adequate access to water and electricity 21. These policies are forcing millions to live in poverty and/or flee for their lives.

Neither the occupation and the governments it has installed, nor individual states and the international community 22 have met their legal and moral obligations towards displaced Iraqis or the countries hosting them 23. While the living conditions of Iraqis are deteriorating, they become a social, financial and economic burden on the host countries, several of which already have large refugee populations 24.

Iraqi refugees have a right to security, recognized passports and residence visas, food, shelter, health and education. Host countries cannot afford to place the large number of Iraqi refugee youth into schools and higher education. If no urgent measures are taken to find a solution for this problem, then a generation of Iraqis will lose their universal right of access to education 25.

This is not only harmful to Iraqi refugees, but also to the future of Iraq. It is urgent that pupils and students have access to schools. Aiding host countries to meet the needs of Iraqi refugees would also result in enhancing and mobilizing the rich potential the refugees have.

A solution is needed urgently. The real answer is the end of the causes of violence in Iraq, to allow Iraqi refugees to return safely to their homes. However, although protecting civilians from violence, according to international humanitarian law, is the responsibility of the occupation and the governments it has installed 26, there are no signs that they are fulfilling this duty.

Daily, violence on civilians spreads to new regions. The fact that an exodus is taking place is proof that the government in Iraq, supported by the occupation, does not protect the population.

The UNSC Should Pass a Resolution, Now
The UNSC has the legal and political power to pass a resolution demanding that the Iraqi state allocate part of the revenue from Iraqi oil — in proportion with the number of Iraqi citizens temporarily displaced — for Iraqi refugees in hosting countries 27. No legal objection can be raised against such an action. Iraqi refugees are Iraqi citizens 28. They have a right to benefit from national resources 29 and to claim the necessities of protection and support from the Iraqi state. Their right of return is guaranteed 30.

A precedent in jurisprudence for such an action exists concerning Iraq, with UNSC Resolution 986 of 1995 31. This resolution, too, was passed on humanitarian grounds. It required the Iraqi state to provide part of Iraqi revenues to the UN Inter-Agency Humanitarian Program in order “to ensure equitable distribution of humanitarian relief to all segments of Iraqi society”, including to Iraqi citizens who were residing in the three Northern governorates, which were not administratively supervised by the central government 32. Current Iraqi refugees are in the same situation of being outside the supervision of the central government governing Iraq.

The responsibility of states towards refugees is established in international law 33. Obliging the Iraqi state, by way of a UNSC resolution, to allocate proportionate revenue to displaced Iraqi citizens is the only efficient way for the country of origin and the international community to fulfill their obligations towards both Iraqi refugees and hosting countries while preserving the rights of refugees and their dignity as Iraqi citizens.

UN relief agencies, hosting country institutions, non-governmental organizations and Iraqi refugee representatives could monitor the distribution of the allocated revenue.

Call for Action
Displaced and refugee Iraqis cannot wait until they can return home for their essential needs to be met. The international community has the moral obligation to act now. UNSC Resolution 986 of 1995 established that Iraqi oil revenue is for all Iraqis. As Iraqi citizens, Iraqi refugees have equal rights to share in the wealth of Iraq.

We call upon all governments, UN agencies and organizations, law, human rights and humanitarian associations, and all people of conscience to work together towards ensuring that the UNSC adopt and implement this proposal of obliging the Iraqi state to allocate oil revenues for Iraqi refugees.

We demand that states — particularly those involved in the illegal invasion and destruction of Iraq — fulfill their obligations and responsibilities and provide necessary funding for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) mission of protecting displaced Iraqis 34.

We call upon all to raise funds and take all measures to provide direct aid to Iraqi refugees and the organizations helping them.

Humanity is in distress in Iraq. Our moral responsibility is to save it. Join us.

First Signatories:

• Hans von Sponeck, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1998-2000), Germany.

• Denis Halliday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1997-1998), Ireland.

• Ms. Niloufer Bhagwat, Advocate, Vice President of the Indian Association of Lawyers.

• Mathias Chang, 37 years in the antiwar movement, Malaysia.

• Sabah Al-Mukhtar, President Arab Lawyers Association, UK.

• Issam Al-Chalabi, Former Iraqi Oil Minister, Iraq-Jordan.

• Saeed .H. Hassan, Former Iraqi Permanent Representative to the UN, Iraq -Egypt.

• Dr Curtis F J Doebbler, Professor of law, at Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine.

• Dirk Adriaensens, Member Executive Committee BRussells Tribunal, Belgium.

• Dahr Jamail, Independent Journalist, Author of “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq”, USA.

• Paola Manduca, Geneticist and Antiwar Activist, New Weapons, Italy.

• Bert De Belder, M.D., Coordinator, Medical Aid for the Third World, Belgium.

• Mohammed Aref, Science Writer, Advisor for ‘Arab Science&Technology Foundation’, UAE.

• Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Writer, Iraqi Political Analyst, Iraq-France.

• Dr Ian Douglas, Writer, Egypt. Hana Al Bayaty, Iraqi International Initiative Coordinator, France- Iraq / Egypt.

• Gar Smith, co-founder, Environmentalists Against War, USA.

FOOTNOTES

1 See Indictment, Complaint and Petition on behalf of 4.5 million Iraqi Children , by Professor Francis Boyle, September 1991; World Heath Organization report on annual mortality rates and excess deaths of children under five in Iraq, 1991-98; and A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq, (Berghahn Books: New York, September 2006) by Hans C Von Sponeck, former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq who resigned in protest in February 2000. Sponeck’s predecessor, Denis Halliday, resigned in October 1998 after a 34-year UN career saying “I don’t want to administer a program that satisfies the definition of genocide.” See also US Genocide in Iraq by Dr Ian Douglas with Abdul Ilah Albayaty and Hana Al Bayaty, published by The BRussells Tribunal, June 2007.

2 The UNSC — in particular the veto-wielding permanent members — failed to prevent the US/UK illegal war of aggression on Iraq and to censure UN member states that participated in that war of aggression. In failing to prevent this violation of international law, or appeal against the war of aggression, the UNSC violated the UN Charter. On 8 June 2004, the UNSC compounded this abnegation of its responsibilities, further failing the people of Iraq, by adopting UNSC Resolution 1546 in which it appealed to member states to assist an illegal and sectarian US-imposed Iraqi government that daily violates human rights. Article 41(2) of the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on State Responsibility, representing customary international law and adopted in UN General Assembly Resolution 56/83 of 28 January 2002 (“Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts”), prevents states from benefiting from their own illegal acts: “No state shall recognize as lawful a situation created by a serious breach [of an obligation arising under a peremptory norm of general international law]” (emphasis added). See also Section III, UN General Assembly Resolution 36/103 of 14 December 1962, “Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States”. The UNSC also failed in its duty to protect by remaining silent as Order #1 of US civil administrator Paul Bremer, overseeing the “de-Baathification” of Iraqi society, flagrantly breached protected human rights; while the destruction of Fallujah by coalition forces in November 2004 constituted collective punishment, war crimes and crimes against humanity; and while the US-established Iraqi Special Tribunal flagrantly breached the laws of war and the 1949 Third Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War leading to summary executions after unfair trails.

3 The obligations of the UNSC are defined by chapters I and V of the UN Charter

4 The 1950 Nuremberg Principles list “crimes against peace” as first among crimes imputable under international law, defined as: “(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii) Participation of a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).” On 16 September 2004, then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told the BBC that the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN Charter. See also US illegality in Iraq: Where is the Limit?, The BRussells Tribunal, March 2006, and Only Resistance is Legal, published by The BRussells Tribunal, October 2006.

5 The UNHCR in an appeal of 8 January 2007 noted that the current Iraqi exodus is the largest long-term population movement in the region since the displacement of Palestinians following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

6 In addition to the cluster-sample estimate made by The Lancet medical journal, which put the number of Iraqis who died from violent deaths as of July 2006 at a minimum of 655,000, the data of a poll conducted in Iraq by Opinion Business Research released in September 2007 suggests a total of 1,220,580 deaths since the invasion in 2003.

7 UNHCR report Statistics on displaced Iraqis around the world, September 2007.

8 AFP release of 5 November 2007.

9 UNHCR report Statistics on displaced Iraqis around the world, September 2007. This report includes numbers of Iraqis displaced under the UN-administered sanctions regime, as well as internally displaced peoples and externally displaced peoples since the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq.

10 See List of assassinated Iraqi academics, compiled and published by The BRussells Tribunal; List of assassinated Iraqi media professionals, compiled and published by The BRussells Tribunal; Four years into the occupation: No health for Iraq, report by Dr Bert de Belder, published by The BRussells Tribunal, 21 March 2007; List of assassinated Imams and mosques workers, compiled and published by The BRussells Tribunal; and Iraqi killing fields, BRussells Tribunal. See also the UN IRIN News Agency report on threats against lawyers. In April 2006 IRIN News reported more than 300,000 widows in Baghdad alone, with 90 newly widowed daily countrywide. While addressing Rotarians in a speech broadcast by C-SPAN 5 September 2007, Samir Sumaidaie, Iraqi Ambassador to the US, stated that there were 500,000 new widows in Iraq.

11 See Global Policy’s Torture and Prison Abuse in Iraq and Amnesty International’s 2007 report on Iraq.

12 See Global Policy’s War and Occupation in Iraq report, chapter 6, Attacks on Cities, revised in June 2007. Most Iraqi cities are under siege, with Baghdad divided into walled-in communities. Among other “gated communities” are Tel Afar, Fallujah, Al Qaim, Samarra, Yathreb, Haditha, Hit and Khalidiyah. See Their Next Massacre and This Wall is their Grave, published by The BRussells Tribunal, respectively on 28 November 2006 and 25 April 2007.

13 See UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, Human Rights Report, 1 April – 30 June 2007.

14 The UNHCR in an appeal of 8 January 2007 noted that 40 per cent of the Iraqi middle class has fled the country.

15 See Resolution on the Humanitarian Situation of Iraqi Refugees of the European Parliament, 12 July 2007.

16 Article 1 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

17 See articles 1, 3, 22 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by UN General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III), 10 December 1948.

18 See article 111 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War on occupied territories.

19 See Global Policy’s October 2006 War and Occupation in Iraq report chapter 3, Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons chapter 6, Attacks on Cities chapter 7, Killing Civilians, Murder and Atrocities and; War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability, October 2006 .

20 All the sectarian groups participating in the US-supported Iraqi government have their own militias, many of which were integrated into the so-called Iraqi security forces. US security contractors, the Iraqi police, army, and ministry guards have participated with the US army in persecuting their opponents. Financing come directly or indirectly with the complicity of the government.

21 Oxfam and NCCI report, Rising to the Humanitarian Challenge in Iraq, July 2007. The report states that the number of Iraqis without adequate supplies of water has risen from 50 per cent to 70 per cent since 2003, and that most homes in Baghdad and other cities receive only two hours of electricity per day.

22 By “international community” we include governments, international organisations and associations, and civil society actors.

23 See the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. An overview of definition and obligations can be found here. See also General Assembly Resolutions relating to refugees and the UNHCR.

24 See UNHCR release Syria and Jordan still wait for help despite pledges made at Iraq meeting, UNHCR Briefing Notes, 6 July 2007, Iraq displacement: Generous host countries left in the lurch, and IRIN News, 6 July 2007, and Aid agencies struggle to support over two million displaced Iraqis, 11 November 2007.

25 See article 26 of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”:http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html.

26 See articles 54 and 64 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War.

27 See chapter 5, article 25, of the UN Charter.

28 See section Schedule, paragraph 15 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

29 See UN General Assembly Resolution 1803 (XVII), 14 December 1962, “Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources”.

30 See the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also reiterated by UN General Assembly Resolutions of 21 December 1995, 12 December 1996, 12 December 1997 and 18 December 2002. See Responsibility for Refugees (pdf).

31 See UNSC Resolution 986, 14 April 1995.

32 In 1991, Turkey shut its borders to the flow of refugees coming mainly from Northern Iraq, refusing to apply the jus cogens principle of “non-refoulement” (prohibition on the expulsion of refugees to an area where they may face persecution). As a consequence, the UNSC, realizing this principle wasn’t sufficient to protect the refugee population, passed resolution 688, adding political solutions into the equation of refugee protection. Resolution 688 required the State of Iraq to allow the UNHCR to work inside its territory and set up a “security zone” in Northern Iraq. This decision began a new practice in refugee law protection. In 1995, Resolution 986 allocated part of national Iraqi resources to the population not under the authority of the Iraqi government (3 northern governorates). Resolution 1314 and 1325 further emphasized the tendency in international jurisprudence on the protection of refugee populations to insist on the responsibility of states to assist civilians, including refugees and the displaced. These resolutions created a legal precedent that obliges and allows the UNSC to draft a resolution requiring the allocation of a proportionate part of Iraqi oil revenues to current Iraqi refugees, so as to protect their human rights and in the knowledge that Iraqi oil is the property of all Iraqis, inside or outside Iraq. This tendency is reflected by UNHCR appeals and the final declaration (pdf) of the World Summit in 2005.

33 See the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

34 The government of Iraq has allocated only $25 million for Iraqi refugees while its national revenues amount to billions of dollars.

B-2 Stealth Bombers Hit US Targets

November 28th, 2007 - by admin

Audrey McAvoy / Associated Press – 2007-11-28 22:49:21

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-7095987,00.html

HONOLULU (November 22, 2007) — More than 18,000 feet above the mountains on Hawaii’s biggest island, two B-2 stealth bombers drop six 2,000-pound inert bombs on a training range below.

It’s a scene being repeated monthly as the Air Force’s sleek, boomerang-shaped planes use Hawaii for target practice. The aim is to make sure pilots are trained and ready to act if needed. The bombers have been assigned to Guam to deter North Korea and to fill gaps in the regional U.S. military presence created by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There are very few potential adversaries in the world that don’t understand and respect what this bomber capability can bring,” said Col. Timothy Saffold, deputy commander of the 613th Air and Space Operations Center in Hawaii.

The B-2 bomber, which costs about $1.2 billion, is designed so that it doesn’t show up on radar, giving it a unique ability to penetrate an enemy’s defenses and go after heavily defended targets. It became available for military operations in 1997.

The planes have been flying test runs over Hawaii and Alaska since the Pentagon began rotating bombers through Guam in 2004. But they only started dropping inert bombs on the Big Island’s Pohakuloa Training Area last month.

In the past, pilots only simulated dropping weapons over the islands. Now, they can see whether the bombs they release land where they are supposed to.

The planes are equipped to drop “smart” bombs, or weapons guided to their targets by GPS technology. But they don’t use it in the Hawaii drills.

Instead, the airmen rely on gravity – and extensive data on wind speed and elevation – to deliver their unarmed bombs to the right spot.

Maj. Brian Bogue, deputy chief of strategy plans at the 613th Air and Space Operations Center, said such methods are extremely accurate and that there is little chance any bombs would stray off the Pohakuloa range.

Planners intentionally pick targets in the center of the range, Bogue said, adding that two miles is the closest any of the bombs has come to the range boundary.

Furthermore, because none of the bombs contains explosives, there’s no danger of one going off.

During a training mission to Hawaii this month, the bombers flew about 18 hours roundtrip. Ohio Air National Guard tankers refueled the planes in midair twice along the way.

During the last refueling session before the bombers headed back to Guam, a B-2 traveling about 400 mph gently eased up to a KC-135 tanker 26,500 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

When the bomber was just 20 feet away, the tanker attached its boom to the B-2 and sent 35,000 gallons of gas into the bomber’s tank.

On the way back from Pohakuloa, the bombers launched a simulated attack on Pearl Harbor to practice targeting naval assets. Part of their mission was to use their stealth capabilities to sneak past their make-believe adversary’s radar and take out its defenses.

“This particular mission covers the full spectrum of what we can do,” said Maj. Tim Hale, one of the pilots in the exercise.

The B-2 bombers assigned to Guam also fly to Alaska for similar training exercises at the Yukon range. Their permanent home is Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, where all 21 of the Air Force’s B-2 bombers are based.

The U.S. military started rotating bombers – including B-1 and B-52 planes as well as the stealth variety – to Guam in March 2004.

The move compensated for U.S. forces diverted to fight in the Middle East. And it came as North Korea increasingly upped the ante in the standoff over its development of nuclear weapons.

In April 2003, North Korea told the U.S. it had nuclear weapons and might test them, export them or use them. Several months later it declared it reprocessed 8,000 spent fuel rods from a nuclear reactor. Such a move, if true, would yield enough plutonium for at least one nuclear bomb, experts say.

Bruce Bechtol, a professor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, VA., said North Korea refers to the Guam bomber deployments in its propaganda, indicating it felt their presence.

Pyongyang realizes the U.S. would use the planes to respond if the North attacked South Korea, said Bechtol, an expert on air power on the Korean peninsula. It is also well aware of planes and forces the U.S. has amassed in Japan that could be used against it, he said.

“This all affects how North Korea looks at their foreign policy, how they look may engage in with their neighbor,” Bechtol said.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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