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Real Women Don’t Throw Bombs

April 30th, 2008 - by admin

Olga Bonfiglio / OpEd News.com – 2008-04-30 22:37:55

http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_olga_bon_080428_real_women_don_t_thr.htm

(April 28, 2008) — After four months of presidential primaries, what a refreshing contrast to see a woman speak forthrightly about justice and peace — especially at a time when the United States is indulged in saber-rattling with Iran.

Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer, writer, teacher and former judge recently stood up to an American audience, looked them in the eye and proclaimed: “Never have the problems of any country been solved through war.” (She came to my town recently to participate in PeaceJam, an international peacemaking education program for youth.)

Ebadi won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights, especially for women and children in Iran. She was the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to receive the award.

During the same week, Hillary Clinton, a lawyer, graduate of the elite institutions of Wellesley College and Yale Law School and former First Lady, said that the U.S. could hypothetically “obliterate Iran” if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. She is running for the presidency and if she wins, she would be the first woman president in U.S. history.

Ebadi’s memoir, Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, was banned in Iran because it criticizes the Islamic Republic government for its murder of Iranian intellectuals and dissidents, the imposition of theocratic controls over women and the restriction of human rights. Her book, published in the USA, has been interpreted in several languages and distributed all over the world.

Clinton, who has promoted women and children’s rights most of her professional life, wrote the book, It Takes a Village. Although it was mocked by her political opponents and right-wing info-tainment media hosts, the book made the New York Times Bestseller List in 1996 and received a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1997.

Ebadi believes that the strength of a chain lies in its smallest link, therefore, it is essential that the strong protect the weak and most marginal people of society. Because children are the most vulnerable, she established the Iranian Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child as well as the Center for the Defense of Human Rights. She also drafted the original text of a law against physical abuse of children that was passed in 2002.

Clinton served as chairperson for the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) from 1986 to 1992. However, she failed to influence her husband when he signed the August 1996 welfare reform bill a.k.a. “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act.” It was seen as a betrayal of poor women and children in order to ensure Bill Clinton’s re-election that fall. Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the CDF and close friend of Hillary, called the law an “abomination.”

Ebadi believes that the education of children should be a country’s greatest investment, not the military. She recognizes that armies drain resources from the populace in order to support military ventures. Iran, which is wealthy through its abundant natural resources, continues to devote much of its treasury to the military while children from poor families must help support them by leaving school to sell flowers or beg.

Ebadi calls on her government, and governments all over the world, to decrease their military budgets by 10 percent and to dedicate that money to education. She also advises a ban on toys and computer games that promote violence and insists that children learn how to work for peaceful coexistence.

Clinton voted for the October 2002 resolution authorizing President Bush to take pre-emptive military action in Iraq and doesn’t regret it. She has consistently voted for war funding, which now amounts to nearly $600 billion through FY 2008. So far, this military venture has resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 Americans and one million Iraqis and the displacement of 4.5 million Iraqis from their homes.

Ebadi believes that a military attack on Iran would worsen what’s left of its tattered democracy. The government would only respond by using national security as an excuse to suppress more of the people’s human rights. Furthermore, a U.S. attack would create further chaos in the region.

Clinton doesn’t offer any noticeable change from Bush’s foreign policy, which advocates U.S. domination in the Middle East. She has shied away from discussing the war in the presidential campaign as much as possible.

Ebadi knows the limitations of government. After serving as the first woman judge in Iran (1975-79) as head of the city court of Tehran, she lost her position because the Islamic Republic government deemed women “incompetent” to serve as judges.

Not willing to let a few mullahs to stop her, Ebadi continued to defend women and political dissidents. She also distributed evidence implicating government officials in the murders of students at the University of Tehran in 1999, which resulted in her imprisonment in 2000 and eventual disbarment. Through all of this she still teaches law at the University of Tehran and remains a wife and mother of two grown daughters.

Since she won the Peace Prize, Iranian authorities have tried three times to build a case against her. Currently, Ebadi is accused of having taken money from the U.S. to give to Akbar Ganji, an international award-winning journalist who calls for a replacement of Iran’s theocratic system with “a secular democracy.” She regularly receives death threats for working against Islam and Iran.

As a young lawyer Clinton worked with the House Judiciary Committee’s Watergate investigation. When her husband was governor of Arkansas, she promoted education reform. When her husband was president, she tried to advance universal health care. She ran for senator of New York and won twice.

Clinton has endured marital infidelity, public embarrassment, right-wing assaults on her character, and some losses in the presidential primaries. She is constantly asked the first question in the presidential debates. However, no matter what is dished out to her, she always gets up, brushes herself off, re-makes her image and presses onward. Through all of this, she remains a good mother and a faithful wife.

So how does each woman continue in the maelstrom of political and ideological crossfire?

Ebadi describes herself as stubborn. Others perceive her as courageous, tough, and possessing a sense of humor. However, there is no mistaking her seriousness of purpose or her willingness to put herself on the line to fight for those unjustly persecuted by the powerful.

Clinton survives the hits by hitting back, maintaining her position, and resolving to win. Principle sometimes fails her in the process perhaps because she believes she has something to offer the world, so the ends justify the means. Consequently, she uses race baiting, social class slurs and her love of guns and God to defeat her opponents. Party unity apparently means nothing to her and she would rather bludgeon her primary opponents and risk losing the general election than give up the possibility of the presidency, an office she deems is entitled to her.

While I would like to see a woman president in my lifetime, I want a woman whose leadership offers just and peaceful solutions for resolving conflict rather than one who would imitate the aggressive and violent tactics of men.

Maybe Americans could swap Clinton for Ebadi.

Olga Bonfiglio is a professor at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and author of Heroes of a Different Stripe: How One Town Responded to the War in Iraq. She has written for several national magazines on the subjects of social justice and religion.

In accordance with Title 17 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.

ACTION ALERT: MAY DAY: A Call To Action

April 30th, 2008 - by admin

After Downing Street.org – 2008-04-30 22:32:53

http://afterdowningstreet.org/mayday

May 1st is shaping up to be quite a day of resistance, with strikes by the ILWU and other unions, plus immigrant rights rallies, and peace and impeachment activities. It’s Mission Accomplished Day (5 Years!) It’s Downing Street Minutes Day (3 Years!) It’s Impeachment Off the Table Day (2 Years!) It’s May Day, the original Labor Day (122 Years!)

If you care about the future of our republic, we encourage you to visit your congress member’s nearest office at high noon, local time, on May 1st, and ask for impeachment hearings for the Vice President for Torture, Dick Cheney. Let us know you plan to do it, and find others to do it with you at http://democrats.com/mayday

Watch this video: Clarence Thomas, National Co-Chair of the Million Worker March Movement and Executive Board member of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, spoke on April 24th, 2008, at the Iraq Town Hall meeting, in the Grand Lake Theater, Oakland, CA. The ILWU has committed to blocking ports on May 1st in opposition to the occupation of Iraq.

• VIDEO:http://afterdowningstreet.org/mayday

May Day, the First of May, 2008, is a Thursday.
According to the Bush Administration it is LOYALTY DAY.
Are you feeling loyal?
In case you aren’t, FEMA has planned terrorism scare “exercises” on May 1st.

May Day is the real labor day, the commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre and the fight for an 8-hour day in Chicago – an American holiday celebrated everywhere except in America.

May Day had a long history in Europe as a seasonal celebration of rebirth and hope. It was also the first of a month, an ideal time for strikes in industrialized nineteenth-century America where workers tended to be paid at the end of the month. At its 1884 convention the American Federation of Labor adopted a resolution that all labor would strike on May 1, 1886, to demand an eight-hour day. The media, which in this country has always been completely fair and balanced, predicted a violent Communist insurrection. The Chicago Tribune reported responsibly: “Every lamp-post in Chicago will be decorated with a communistic carcass if necessary to prevent wholesale incendiarism or prevent any attempt at it.”

As documented in Labor’s Untold Story by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, 62,000 workers in Chicago committed to strike on May 1, another 25,000 demanded an eight-hour day without threatening to strike, and 20,000 were given the eight-hour day before May 1. Meanwhile, the Armours, Swifts, Medills, Fields, and McCormicks (Chicago’s royalty, people who would have adored Loyalty Day) mobilized the National Guard, the Pinkertons, and specially deputized police.

Workers marched down Michigan Avenue in Chicago instead of working on May 1, 1886, and 340,000 did the same nationwide. Albert Parsons and August Spies spoke at the rally in Chicago, which ended peacefully.

The Communist insurrection proved as real as Saddam Hussein’s long-range missiles. But two days later, Chicago police shot striking workers outside McCormick Harvester Works, and labor leaders organized a protest in Haymarket Square for the next day. In the meantime, thousands of workers all over the country were winning the eight-hour day and returning to work.

As the relatively small and peaceful meeting at Haymarket Square was wrapping up, 180 policemen marched on the crowd, and a bomb went off — which many believe was thrown by an agent provocateur. The Chicago Tribune demanded that Parsons, Spies, Michael Schwab, and Samuel Fielden be hanged for murder. The police began smashing up labor offices and beating up innocent people. “Make the raids first and look up the law afterwards,” said John Ashcroft – oops, I mean Julius Grinnell, Chicago’s State’s Attorney.

The four men named above were indicted for murder, along with George Engel, Adolph Fisher, and Louis Lingg. Parsons, who had escaped, became a modern Socrates and turned himself in to face certain death.

Testimony from “witnesses” who had been threatened with torture and others who had been paid turned out so contradictory that the prosecution shifted to a focus on the defendants’ thoughts and politics. Fielden and Schwab ended up with life sentences; Lingg died in his cell; the others were hung. Parsons left behind a note to his children that included this:

“We show our love by living for our loved ones. We also prove our love by dying, when necessary, for them.”

In the tradition of those who have gone before us and sacrificed so much for so many benefits that we take for granted, we are proposing a day of action on May 1, 2008, to include a general strike for peace, impeachment, and human rights. Here are proposals that have already been made from a variety of quarters:

I. Longshore Caucus Calls for Iraq War Protest at Ports on May 1
Nearly one hundred Longshore Caucus delegates voted on February 8 to support a resolution calling for an eight-hour “stop-work” meeting during the day-shift on Thursday, May 1 at ports in CA, OR and WA to protest the war by calling for the immediate, safe return of U.S. troops from Iraq.

“The Caucus has spoken on this important issue and I’ve notified the employers about our plans for ‘stop work’ meetings on May 1,” said ILWU International President Bob McEllrath.

Caucus delegates, including several military veterans, spoke passionately about the importance of supporting the troops by bringing them home safely and ending the War in Iraq. Concerns were also raised about the growing cost of the war that has threatened funding for domestic needs, including education and healthcare. Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard economist Linda J. Bilmes recently estimated that the true cost of the War in Iraq to American taxpayers will exceed 3 trillion dollars–a figure they describe as “conservative.”

The union’s International Executive Board recently endorsed Barack Obama, citing his opposition to the War in Iraq as one of the key factors in the union’s decision-making process.

Caucus delegates are democratically elected representatives from every longshore local who set policy for the Longshore Division.

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath has written letters to President John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO and President Andy Stern of the Change-to-Win Coalition, and to the presidents of the International Transport Workers Federation and the International Dockworkers Council to inform them of the ILWU’s plans for May 1.

Other unions and labor groups are joining in, including:
• Vermont AFL-CIO,
• New York City Labor Against the War,
• Unite the Union (Europe),
• San Francisco Labor Council,
• American Postal Workers Union – New York Metro,

II. Call to Immigrant Rights Actions 2008!
May Day 2008 National Mobilization of Immigrant Rights!
• Join the e-mail list: https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/mayday2008
or send e-mail: mayday2008-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

A Day of Action for Immigrant Rights,
Thursday, May 1st
Pickets at the RNC and DNC offices on Capitol Hill:
Gather at the Capitol South Metro at 12:30 pm
Mass Rally in Malcolm X Park: 4PM
March through the Community: 6PM
16th and Euclid Sts. NW Washington D.C.
Metro: Columbia Heights

With national elections underway, this is a critical time for advocates of justice for immigrant communities to raise our voices in solidarity. Raids and deportations continue to tear families apart, both across the country and within the Washington metropolitan region. We aim to challenge the climate of fear that these raids have produced and to show that the immigrant community will not be silenced. We invite all organizations committed to the struggle for social justice to join us in making this mobilization a success.

Our demands include:
* Immigration Reform with Justice and Dignity for All
* Stop the Raids, Deportations, and Use of No-Match Letters
* Rescind the Anti-Immigrant Resolution in Prince William County
* Declare the District of Columbia a Sanctuary City for Immigrants
* Establish Workers Centers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
* Support the Right of Return for Mount Pleasant Tenants Displaced by the Recent Fire
Sponsored by: The May 1st 2008 Coalition
Including Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, the Metro D.C. Interfaith Sanctuary Network, D.C. Jobs with Justice, the D.C. Alliance for Immigrant Justice, Tenants & Workers Support Committee, Virginia Justice Center, Casa de Maryland, The Virginia Immigrant Peoples Coalition and many others.
To Endorse or Receive More Information, email may1dc2008@gmail.com or call 202-640-5315

• LINK: Rally planned in NYC for immigrants rights and Sean Bell.

III. “IMPEACH OR WE GO ON STRIKE!”
Join PTI in building solidarity for the ILWU May 1 Strike. Carry the sign that helps organize an effective, legal, non-violent “work stoppage” in defense of our Constitution, our heritage, and our freedom.
• LINK: North Carolina Impeachment Groups Plan Action.

IMPEACHMENT GROUPS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY PLAN TO VISIT CONGRESSIONAL OFFICES:
http://democrats.com/mayday

IV. DC STATEHOOD
• LINK: DC Demands Statehood on May 1.

V. THE MOVEMENT GROWS
• LINK: Rome, Italy, Joins In.
• LINK: Diesel truck shutdown PDF.


West Coast May Day Events

This May 1st, 2008, there will be several marches and speaking eventswhich we recommend you attend. Importantly, the West CoastLongshore Workers have voted to stop work to protest the ongoing warand occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and immigrants rights marchesand demonstrations will be happening in Oakland and San Francisco °Vthese events need our support.

The Port Workers May Day Organizing Committee has also announced thatCynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman from Georgia; Danny Glover,renowned actor and political activist; and Cindy Sheehan, Gold Starmother whose son Casey was killed in Iraq four years ago, will be amongthe featured speakers at their “No Peace, No Work” Holiday mobilizationin San Francisco on May 1st.

Here are the three marches and demonstrations happening on May Day:

Oakland May Day 2008! Oakland Sin Fronteras
Oakland Immigrant Rights May Day Demo

Meet at 3:00 pm Fruitvale Plaza (35th & International Blvd.)
March at 4:00 pm
Rally at 6:00 pm at Oakland City Hall Plaza
Will feature cultural performances and Cynthia McKinney, among other speakers.
http://maydayilwu.googlepages.com/oaklandmayday2008%21

ILWU-called May Day Labor Antiwar Demo
Meet at 10:30 a.m. at Mason & Beach (Fisherman’s Wharf)
March at 11:00 a.m.
Rally at Noon at Justin Herman Plaza
http://maydayilwu.googlepages.com/home

Please also see the announcements and information at these sites:

• May Day Actions with Direct Action to Stop the War
http://bapd.org/n9761.html

• ILWU To Shut Down All West Coast Ports To Protest War
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/26/18495140.php

Tehran Calls Clinton’s “Obliteration” Threat a Violation of UN Charter

April 30th, 2008 - by admin

BBC World News – 2008-04-30 22:26:35

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7376741.stm

‘Provocative’ Clinton Angers Iran
BBC News

(May 1, 2008) — Tehran has complained to the UN about remarks made last week by Hillary Clinton on the circumstances under which the US might attack Iran. The Democratic presidential hopeful said last week the US could “totally obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel.

Tehran, which insists its nuclear programme is solely for power generation, denounced her words as “provocative and irresponsible.” It said the remarks were “a flagrant violation” of the UN Charter.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi, Iran’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said Mrs Clinton had “unwarrantedly and under erroneous and false pretexts threatened to use force against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

‘Obliterate Them’
The New York senator had made the remarks in a televised interview last week.

Asked how she would respond if Iran launched a nuclear attack on Israel, she replied with a stark warning. “If I’m the president, we will attack Iran… we would be able to totally obliterate them,” she told TV network ABC.

“That’s a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.”

Tehran is facing tougher UN sanctions for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. The US fears Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and could use them against Israel. Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely for power generation.

© BBC MMVIII


UN Approves New Sanctions on Iran
BBC News

The UN Security Council has voted in favour of new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. Fourteen of the council’s 15 members voted in favour of measures including asset freezes and travel bans for Iranian officials. Indonesia abstained.

Western powers suspect Iran may be developing nuclear weapons, but Iran says its nuclear programme is for energy generation only.

Tehran has refused to comply with demands that it stop enriching uranium. This can be undertaken for power generation, but may also be a precursor to building an atomic bomb.

RESOLUTION 1803
• Imposes travel bans on five Iranian officials
• Freezes foreign assets of 13 Iranian companies and 13 officials
• Bans sale of dual-use items to Iran
• Urges governments to withdraw financial backing from firms trading with Iran, inspect cargo going into and out of the country, and monitor the activities of two Iranian banks
• Requests IAEA to report on whether Iran has complied with demand to suspend uranium enrichment
If not, threatens further sanctions

This third sanctions resolution — formally submitted by France and Britain — adds to resolutions adopted in 2006 and 2007.

It calls for the foreign assets of 13 Iranian companies to be frozen, and imposes travel bans on five Iranian officials. It bans the sale to Iran of so-called dual-use items – which can have either a military or civilian purpose.

The BBC’s Laura Trevelyan at the UN says the measures are lowest-common-denominator sanctions that even China and Russia — who maintain closer links with Iran than the Western powers — would support. Both China and Russia are permanent, veto-wielding members of the Security Council.

Iranian Anger
December’s national intelligence estimate by the US, which concluded Iran probably shelved its nuclear weapons programme in 2003, undermined efforts to make these sanctions tougher, says our correspondent.

The resolution received the backing of all five permanent members — which include France, Britain, and the US. The non-permanent members all backed it, except Indonesia, which said it remained to be convinced of the need for sanctions.

In a statement before the vote, Iran’s envoy to the UN, Mohammad Khazee, described the resolution as politically motivated, illegal, and illegitimate. He insisted Iran’s nuclear programme “has been, is, and will remain, absolutely peaceful” – and said Iran would ignore the sanctions.

Mr Khazee said the council’s action was not supported by most of the UN’s 192 member states, nor most people, who viewed “the actions of the council as the result of the political pressure exerted by a few powers to advance their own agendas”.

But the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, said it was “just too dangerous for the world to accept this government having access to production of fissile material and getting close or acquiring a nuclear weapons capability”.

Offer Renewed
In remarks to reporters, the British ambassador to the UN, John Sawers, said the permanent council members would ask EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator to try to resolve the impasse.

He restated an offer made in 2006 to assist Tehran with its civilian nuclear programme, in exchange for the suspension of uranium enrichment.

Israel’s foreign ministry said the resolution was “an unequivocal message that the international community cannot accept Iran’s defiant nuclear programme”.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported in February that Iran had cleared up most of the outstanding questions regarding its past nuclear activities. But the IAEA has criticised Iran for refusing to clarify remaining questions about intelligence suggesting Tehran may have been exploring ways to “weaponise” nuclear materials.

Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, has dismissed the intelligence as “forged and fabricated”. He said in Vienna after a meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation board that “all the outstanding issues have been concluded”.

© BBC MMVIII
Khamenei Hails Iran ‘Nuclear Win’
BBC News

(February 26, 2008) — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has hailed Iran’s “great victory” over its nuclear programme. Mr Khamenei praised President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s handling of the issue.

Last week, the UN nuclear watchdog said Iran was being more transparent, but had not given “credible assurances” that it was not building a bomb.

On Monday, the agency heard that Iran may have continued secret work on nuclear weapons after 2003, the date US intelligence suggested the work ceased. Tehran has dismissed the allegations as “forgeries”.

The permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, UK, China, France and Russia – are meeting in Washington to discuss the possibility of imposing further sanctions on Iran over its disputed atomic programme.

Western countries suspect Iran aims to produce a nuclear bomb. Tehran insists its programme is aimed purely at generating electricity.

Praise/
“One example of an advance by the Islamic system has been the nuclear issue, in which the Iranian nation has honestly and seriously achieved a great victory,” Mr Khamenei said on Tuesday.

“Those people who used to say Iran’s nuclear activity must be dismantled are now saying we are ready to accept your advances, on condition that it will not continue indefinitely. This is a great advance that would not have been realised except with perseverance,” he said. He went on to praise President Ahmadinejad’s “outstanding” handling of the stand-off with the West.

Under Iran’s system of government, the supreme leader had the final say in major policy matters. In a rare public gesture last month, Mr Khamenei overruled the president over the implementation of a gas sector bill.

The fact that he decided to go public on the issue was interpreted as a signal that he wanted to convey he was not happy with the president.

Mr Ahmadinejad has said no amount of UN sanctions will deter Tehran from its nuclear path. “If they want to continue with that path of sanctions, we will not be harmed. They can issue resolutions for 100 years,” he said in a televised interview on Saturday.

A US National Intelligence Estimate released last December said Tehran had frozen its atomic programme in 2003. But documents presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suggest the work continued. The material was presented to the agency’s 35-nation board by the IAEA’s head of safeguards, Olli Heinonen, in a closed-door meeting on Monday.

Simon Smith, Britain’s ambassador to the IAEA, said material presented to the IAEA in Vienna came from multiple sources and included designs for a nuclear warhead, plus information on how it would perform and how it would fit onto a missile.

“Certainly some of the dates that we were talking about … went beyond 2003,” he said.

© BBC MMVIII


Russia Ignores West’s Iran FearsPaul Reynolds / BBC World Affairs Correspondent

(December 17, 2007) — The delivery by Russia of nuclear fuel to Iran probably says more about Russia’s attitude towards Iran and the West than it does about Iran’s nuclear intentions.

It appears that Russia is unconcerned about Western fears over Iran. The implication is that it will not easily agree to an increase in UN sanctions on Iran.

The fuel, enriched uranium, is to be used in the nuclear plant near Bushehr in southern Iran. This plant is quite separate from Iran’s own uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. The Bushehr power station has been under construction for a long time and is under international inspection.

Russia itself has enriched the uranium for Bushehr. The argument about Iran is that Iran should not do the enrichment, in case it one day uses the technology to make a nuclear bomb.

Nevertheless, Western governments had hoped that Russia would delay delivery, in order to increase the pressure on Iran over its enrichment policy.

“It appears that Russia has decided that there is no longer a political reason to hold up the provision of fuel,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, nuclear expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

“An important factor was probably the continuation of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s work with Iran on questions about its past activities. The recent report from US intelligence in the National Intelligence Estimate [that Iran was not actively seeking a nuclear weapon] probably confirmed the Russian view. It asked the IAEA to inspect the sealing of the fuel containers at about the same time.

“Russia has probably concluded that Iran is not going to be dissuaded and that enrichment is a fait accompli. Others still believe Iran can be persuaded.”

History of Bushehr
The Bushehr nuclear plant was started back in 1974 under the Shah of Iran, who proposed an extensive nuclear power programme. A German company was contracted to build two reactors. However the work stopped after the Shah was overthrown and it was not until the 1990s that Russia stepped in and agreed to complete the project.

Russia has from time to time announced delays, said to be connected to late payments by Iran (denied by Iran), but thought to be connected to the pressure on Iran to comply with the IAEA and Security Council demand for it to stop its own enrichment programme.

Bushehr is on the verge of completion as a nuclear power plant. Russia has agreed to supply it with the enriched uranium needed as fuel.

Western countries and Russia have offered Iran a similar arrangement for any other nuclear power stations it might build, as long as Iran agrees to stop enriching uranium itself.

Russia might feel that, since Iran is being offered such a deal, its own delivery of fuel is consistent with that policy.

Paul.Reynolds-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk
© BBC MMVIII

Posted in accordance with Title 176, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

National Level Exercise 2-08: US to Stage Week-long “Terror Exercise”

April 30th, 2008 - by admin

Department of Homeland Security & FEMA & NORAD – 2008-04-30 22:03:15

http://www.fema.gov/about/training/exercises.shtm#0

National Level Exercise 2-08 (NLE 2-08)
FEMA.gov

The Department of Homeland Security’s National Exercise Program (NEP), the nation’s overarching homeland security exercise program, will conduct a combined exercise in May 2008 that will test hurricane preparedness planning, assess federal interagency Continuity of Operations (COOP) procedures, exercise a response to terrorist attacks in Washington State and test Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA). These linked exercises are referred to as National Level Exercise 2-08 (NLE 2-08).

The exercise takes place May 1-8 with a wide range of participants from federal and state departments and agencies.

NLE 2-08 will consolidate into a single exercise the following:

* Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Continuity Programs’ (NCP) Eagle Horizon 2008;
* US Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) Ardent Sentry 08 exercise;
* FEMA’s Disaster Operation’s Hurricane Preparedness Exercise (HPE);
* The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program and Army Service Response Force tests for emergency plans, procedures, skills and equipment in response to an accidental chemical agent release.

The overall exercise scenario unfolds as a Category 4 hurricane threatens the National Capitol Region (NCR) while events in the Pacific Northwest include terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the state of Washington and an accidental release of a chemical agent at chemical stockpile facility in Umatilla, Oregon. The scenario culminates with the hurricane’s imminent landfall combined with a credible terror threat to the NCR which causes the federal government to invoke continuity plans and capabilities.

Planning for NLE 2-08 began in late spring 2007 and is designed to achieve the following objectives:

* Exercise and evaluate federal government continuity capabilities and management of emergencies from dispersed locations.
* Exercise our response to terrorist WMDs threat and attack capabilities with integration of Defense Support of Civil Authorities; and
* Exercise hurricane preparedness and response capabilities.

For more information on NLE 2-08 please contact FEMA Office of Public Affairs at 202-646-4600 or USNORTHCOM Public Affairs at 719-554-6889.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-Apr-2008 15:38:28 EDT


National Level Exercise Begins In May
FEMA.gov
Release Date: April 24, 2008
Release Number: HQ-08-063

WASHINGTON, DC — The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Exercise Program (NEP) will conduct National Level Exercise 2-08 (NLE 2-08) a combined functional and full scale exercise from May 1 through May 8. NLE 2-08 will merge the objectives of US Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) Ardent Sentry 2008 exercise, FEMA National Continuity Program’s (NCP) Eagle Horizon 2008 exercise (formerly known as Forward Challenge), and FEMA Disaster Operation’s Hurricane Preparedness Exercise (HPE).

The purpose of NLE 2-08 is to exercise national capabilities to prepare and respond to multiple incidents including both natural disasters and terrorist incidents. The exercise was designed to include scenario elements addressing hurricane preparedness and response, national continuity capabilities, and Defense Support to Civil Authorities coordination in response to weapons of mass destruction terrorist attacks. The exercise venues involve a Category 4 hurricane impacting the Mid Atlantic Coast and the National Capitol Region and multiple terrorist attacks in Washington State.

Also during NLE 2-08, the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) will test it’s response to an accidental chemical agent release at the Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon. Canada will also participate through their Staunch Maple Exercise.

The exercise allows Federal officials to implement continuity plans, test communications connectivity, operations and procedures for performing essential government functions from alternate locations, and interagency coordination. Additionally, it serves to demonstrate that essential functions can be effectively conducted during threats and emergencies.

NLE 2-08 is a NEP exercise conducted within the five year exercise schedule. The NEP is the nation’s overarching homeland security exercise program, provides the federal government with a national, interagency wide program and a multi-year planning system to focus, coordinate, plan, conduct, execute, evaluate and prioritize national security and homeland security preparedness-related exercise activities.

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

This release has been modified from its original version.


US National Level Exercise 2-08
Continuity Central.com

The FEMA National Exercise Program (NEP) will conduct National Level Exercise 2-08 (NLE 2-08), a combined functional and full scale exercise from May 1 through May 8. NLE 2-08 will merge the objectives of US Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) Ardent Sentry 2008 exercise, FEMA National Continuity Program’s (NCP) Eagle Horizon 2008 exercise (formerly known as Forward Challenge), and FEMA Disaster Operation’s Hurricane Preparedness Exercise (HPE).

The purpose of NLE 2-08 is to exercise national capabilities to prepare and respond to multiple incidents including both natural disasters and terrorist incidents. The exercise was designed to include scenario elements addressing hurricane preparedness and response, national continuity capabilities, and Defense Support to Civil Authorities coordination in response to weapons of mass destruction terrorist attacks. The exercise venues involve a Category 4 hurricane impacting the Mid Atlantic Coast and the National Capitol Region and multiple terrorist attacks in Washington State.

Also during NLE 2-08, the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) will test its response to an accidental chemical agent release at the Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon. Canada will also participate through its Staunch Maple Exercise.

The exercise allows Federal officials to implement continuity plans, test communications connectivity, operations and procedures for performing essential government functions from alternate locations, and interagency coordination. Additionally, it serves to demonstrate that essential functions can be effectively conducted during threats and emergencies.

NLE 2-08 is a NEP exercise conducted within the five-year exercise schedule.


NORAD/ USNORTHCOM/ FEMA,
National Level Exercise Begins In May:
NORAD, USNORTHCOM To Train in
National Exercise

NORAD.mil

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command will exercise their response abilities to a variety of events during an intensive eight-day national level exercise in May.

National Level Exercise 2-08 will run May 1-8 and will exercise national capabilities to prepare and respond to multiple incidents including both natural disasters and terrorist incidents. The exercise will include hurricane preparedness and response and Defense Support to Civil Authorities coordination in response to a weapon of mass destruction terrorist attack.

USNORTHCOM’s primary exercise venues for NLE 2-08 include locations in Washington and Oregon. Exercise scenarios include multiple terrorist attacks in the state of Washington, an accidental chemical agent release in Oregon, a Category 4 hurricane impacting the mid-Atlantic Coast and the National Capitol Region region and aerospace events throughout North America.

NLE 2-08 will also involve agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, US Transportation Command and the National Guard. Canada Command will participate through its Staunch Maple exercise.

“Exercises like NLE 2 – 08 give us the opportunity to work with other federal agencies, state and local officials, as well as Canada, in the response to multiple events,” said Gene Pino, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Joint Training and Exercise director. “This allows us to look at processes and procedures to identify strengths and weaknesses by stressing the system so that we can be better prepared in the future.”

NORAD, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in May, is the bi-national Canadian and American command responsible for the air defense of North America and maritime warning for Canada and the United States.

US Northern Command was established on Oct. 1, 2002, to anticipate and conduct homeland defense and civil support operations within the assigned area of responsibility to defend, protect, and secure the United States and its interests.

• NOTE FOR MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS: For more information on the exercise or for potential media coverage during the exercise, please contact Lt. Cmdr. Gary Ross at the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs Office, 719-554-6889 or gary.ross@northcom.mil

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

US Kills 800 in Sadr City, Leaves 500 Children Disabled in Fallujah

April 30th, 2008 - by admin

Laith Jawad, Haqi Ismael, Omer al-Mansouri & Fatih Abdulsalam / Azzaman – 2008-04-30 21:49:39

http://www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news2008-04-24kurd.htm

US Kills 800 in 3 Weeks in Sadr City
Laith Jawad / Azzaman.com

(April 28, 2008) — US occupation forces have killed more than 800 people, most of them innocent civilians, in their three-week long military campaign to subdue the Mahdi Army in Sadr City, the leader of Sadr movement in Baghdad said. Sheikh Salaman al-fariji said the troops have also injured more than 1,800 people and caused large-scale destruction of private property and the city’s rickety infrastructure.

Fariji made the remarks as he accompanied a delegation of 20 members of parliament on a tour of the impoverished city home to more than 2 million people.

US troops have imposed a tight embargo on the city and bombing by war planes and helicopter gun ships in the densely populated Baghdad neighborhood continued even during the MPs’ tour.

Falah Shanshal, an MP, said the group would write to the parliament to lift the siege of Sadr City and reach a peaceful solution to the standoff with Mahdi Army.

Mahdi Army is the military wing of Sadr movement which has 30 deputies in parliament. “The MPs were shocked by the scale of damage,” said Fariji.

Shanshal said: “The people of Sadr City undergo horrific humanitarian conditions as a result of US military operations and embargo.”


US Offensives on Falluja Have Disabled 500 Children
Omer al-Mansouri / Azzaman

(April 12, 2008) — The number of children who have been handicapped or disabled due to massive US offensives to subdue the restive city of Falluja has reached 500, according to a private aid group.

Alaa Hamed of the Society for the Welfare of Children said the US-led military operations in the city have left behind “massive destruction and at least 500 mentally or physically handicapped children.”

Falluja was once the main stronghold of groups opposing US occupation among them al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

The city of nearly 200,000 people exchanged hands several times with the US forces deploying disproportionate fire power from warplanes, heavy artillery and helicopter gun ships.

Hamed said all the 500 children were between one to five years of age. He said neither the US nor the Iraqi government was paying any attention to their plight. Hamed said his society was working with international aid organizations to transfer some of the most acute cases to hospitals in Jordan for treatment.


Iraqis Want to Revise Constitution as US Warplanes Bomb Baghdad
Fatih Abdulsalam / Azzaman

(April 28. 2008) — Bombing by warplanes, helicopter gun ships and rockets is going on unabated in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq while our politicians mull revising the ‘constitution’.

Ferocious fighting from street to street currently takes place in several parts of the country which makes ludicrous any talk about the constitution and its revision.

Iraqis now sarcastically remember the referendum on a constitution whose creators and sponsors themselves have not taken with a grain of salt.

That constitution, of which US and British occupiers bragged about, is the product of a dirty and vicious sectarian war that is being fed from several quarters whether domestic or foreign.

Our constitution has turned into a bargaining chip and there are so many of them in circulation in Iraq. This constitution has failed to preserve Iraq’s unity and halt its bloodshed.

Since the US invasion and the acrobatic move to write a democratic institution, Iraqis’ blood has been flowing like the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. This is not an exaggeration given the mass killing that has taken place since then.

We now read of at least one million Iraqis killed in the years since the US invasion.

The constitution should be the umbrella that brings the nation together. And where is the Iraqi nation? The factions battling each other in Iraq get refuge in the shade of their sectarian umbrellas and do not give a damn to a national reconciliation program to put the country back on the right path.

The Americans are now so insecure and unstable to the extent they are being used as proxies to wage battles at the behest of certain groups against others. In other words they have become partners in the civil war.

The country’s best minds – the cream of its academia and professionals – have fled abroad. It is estimated that there are four million of them now in foreign countries.

Under these circumstances the government has the stamina to call for a revision of the constitution. These revisions, even if they take place, will do no good because the constitution itself will remain in a valley and the actors with power in Iraq in another valley.

Whatever constitution we have, there will forces beyond its legislations among them the militias, the Americans, the foreigners and the so-called security guards or mercenaries.


Iraq Mulls Reintroducing the Draft
Haqi Ismael / Azzaman.com

(April 28, 2008) — Iraq is determined to reintroduce the draft which the US had it scrapped shortly after its 2003 invasion, a senior member of parliament said.

Hadi al-Ameri, chairman of parliament’s defense and security committee, said reinstating the draft was necessary given the country’s current conditions. The former Iraqi army, which the US disbanded, relied mainly on conscripts.

Draft dodgers were harshly punished and in the years before the fall of former leader Saddam Hussein many had part of their ears chopped off or their foreheads branded. Conscription is illegal under the new constitution which calls for the formation of a fully volunteer army.

Ameri declined comment on constitutional hurdles but made it clear that the former draft will be reintroduced “with minor modifications”. He said all males reaching the age of 18 will have to join the new army. Ameri also promised ‘decent wages’ to make military service tempting for young Iraqis.

Analysts say the fact that the government’s determination to reinstate the draft is an indication that the army is not finding enough volunteers.

As US troops are trying to reduce combat operations to lower casualties amid looming US presidential elections, the Iraqi army finds it almost impossible to work in a professional and independent manner, they said.

In recent battles in Basra a few hundred militiamen dealt a heavy blow to the ‘elite’ Iraqi military units sent there to contain violence.

The government cannot find enough troops to embark on new military operations to bring major cities under a semblance of control such us the northern city of Mosul which is now completely in rebel hands.


Whose Mass Graves Are These?
Laith Jawad / Azzaman

(April 14, 2008) — The phrase “mass graves” in Iraq has long been associated with former leader Saddam Hussein. But not anymore. In US-administered and occupied Iraq people now talk of ‘Bush’s mass graves.’

More and more mass graves are being unearthed with hundreds of bodies, most of them unidentified, but all of them dug in the post-Saddam era which Iraqis associate with President Bush and his occupation troops.

One such mass grave is the one discovered recently in Mahmodiya which, according to Hareth al-Ubaidi, a human rights activist and Member of Parliament holds “hundreds of bodies and bears all the marks of Saddam Hussein but does not belong to him.”

It is a characteristic of the ‘new and democratic Iraq’ the US and its Iraqi allies are keen to build.

“The current mass graves we are talking about are not those of Saddam Hussein,” said Ubaidi. They are, he added, a feature of the US-dominated, post-Saddam era.

No one says the US itself dug mass graves in Iraq. US occupation troops are notorious for their being trigger-happy bands and the worst jailors the world has ever known. There is enough evidence of this in Iraq.

But many Iraqis today have none to blame for the atrocities unfolding in their country but the United States and specifically its current President.

At least 80 bodies of men, women, children and elderly have been recovered from the mass grave in Mahmodiya, among them a girl still in her wedding gown, said Ubaidi.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of bodies in this mass grave,” Ubaidi, who is also a member of Human Rights Commission at the Iraqi Parliament, said. He said the commission has a list of 500 people who have been reported missing from Mahmodiya itself.

Mahmodiya, part of Baghdad’s southern suburbs, is a very small town of several thousand people. “On our lists there are 4,000 people who have gone missing. And these people, according to their relatives, were taken away by armed groups wearing Iraqi military or police uniform,” he said.

Azzaman is an independent Arabic daily newspaper published in London.

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

US Supplies Weapons to Terrorists in Mideast Civil War

April 29th, 2008 - by admin

Ezra HaLevi & Hana Levi Julian / IsraelNN.com & Khaled Abu Toameh / The Jerusalem Post & Christopher Brauchli / CounterPunch.org – 2008-04-29 21:10:10

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/113473

US Supplies Fatah With Arms
Ezra HaLevi & Hana Levi Julian / IsraelNN.com

TEL AVIV (25 Nissan 5768, April 30, 2008) — Thousands of M-16 assault rifles, made in the US, were delivered to Fatah forces in Judea and Samaria as part of the effort to strengthen Abbas in his opposition to Hamas leader and Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Fatah is the political party headed by the late terrorist chieftain Yasser Arafat. The Al-Aksa Brigades terror group operates under its authority.

According to PA security sources quoted by the Middle East Newsline (MENL), “The weapons are meant for PA forces but they end up with Fatah in the war against Hamas.” The deal, meant to increase Abu Mazen’s power in the struggle for control of the PA government, was approved by Israel.

The two factions have been fighting bitter clashes in Gaza, leading to speculation that a civil war may ultimately hit the streets. The Hamas terror organization is currently the majority faction in the PA after winning January 2006 elections in a landslide victory against Fatah.

The victory at the polls, however, led to a loss at the bank; international funding dried up as a result of the new regime. Hamas has continued to resist international pressure to force the terror organization to officially acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and uphold peace agreements signed by the previous Fatah-led PA government.

The latest efforts by Qatari officials to build a unity government of Hamas and Fatah failed after Hamas once again insisted on maintaining its refusal to officially recognize the Jewish State. In the wake of that failure, Abbas again threatened to disband the current PA government and call for early elections.

© A7 Syndications
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.


‘Hamas Using US Weapons against IDF’
Khaled Abu Toameh / The Jerusalem Post

JERUSALEM (March 3, 2008) — According to Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip, most of the gunmen who have been fighting the IDF over the past few days are members of Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin Kassam. “At least 2,000 Hamas gunmen have been deployed in the northern Gaza Strip to take part in the fighting,” the sources told The Jerusalem Post.

The sources estimated that Izaddin Kassam has at least 15,000 members divided into four brigades in the Gaza Strip. They added that the Hamas gunmen were using many American-made arms seized from the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority security forces in June.

Hamas says it captured thousands of M-16 and Kalashnikov rifles, and large supplies of ammunition during its weeklong conquest of Gaza. Hamas is also believed to have acquired weapons capable of penetrating armor and stockpiles of rocket-propelled grenades.

A senior Hamas official said Sunday that his movement had smuggled hundreds of rockets and mortars and tons of explosives into the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the past few months. The Hamas-dominated police force in the Gaza Strip, which has around 15,000 members, has not been involved in the fighting, although the IDF has targeted some of its bases.

Hamas has been careful not to send the police force to the battlefield so as to avoid a total breakdown of its official institutions. The policemen are needed by Hamas to maintain law and order and to thwart any attempt by rival groups such as Fatah from taking advantage of the security deterioration to topple the Hamas government.

Other groups that are involved in the fighting include Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and some splinter factions belonging to Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

These three groups, which according to Palestinian sources are operating in coordination with Hamas, have also been behind many of the rocket attacks on Israel in the past few days. Altogether, the three groups have fewer than 1,500 gunmen in Gaza. But Hamas has sought to play down the role of the other armed groups in the fighting in the hope that it will score points on the “Palestinian street” as the major force that fought “courageously” against Israel. Hamas is hoping that once the fighting is over, it will be able to declare “victory, as Hizbullah did after the war in 2006.”

Copyright 1995- 2008 The Jerusalem Post
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.


When In Doubt, Start Another Civil War
Why Bush is Selling Arms to Fatah

Christopher Brauchli / CounterPunch.org

(January 25, 2007) — There’s one thing George Bush knows. You don’t get to be the biggest arms merchant in the world by only selling arms to friends. If that were the case the only countries to which we’d sell arms would be countries like Great Britain and Canada and they’re not going to buy enough to keep us in first place. And it’s not Mr. Bush’s fault that he doesn’t know that there is a history in the United States of selling arms to people who have ended up using the arms against the United States. After all, it’s hard enough for him to keep up with what’s going on right now.

If he knew history, he’d know that in the 1980s the United States sold Iran 12,000 anti-tank missiles, 235 Hawk missiles and 200 Phoenix air-to-air missiles costing more than $1 million each. He’d recall that when we thought Mr. bin Laden was our friend for trying to kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan (a country to which we are now bringing law and order in order to show the Russians how good old American know-how can get the job done) we provided him with stinger missiles. The ones bin Laden couldn’t use he sold to Iran and got cash that has helped in his ongoing battle with his former arms supplier). Now Mr. Bush is arming the Palestinian organization known as Fatah.

President Mahmoud Abbas is a member of the Fatah party and the president of the Palestinian Authority. He was elected in 2005 and until 2006 Fatah controlled the Palestinian Authority. Some parts of Fatah get along with Israel-sort of. In 2006 legislative elections were held. Hamas won and took control of parliament. Fatah cabinet members resigned and were replaced by Hamas members. Hamas does not get along with Israel. It wants it removed from the face of the earth. Since the elections, relations between Fatah and Hamas have been tense and often violent. The two groups have tried unsuccessfully to form a unity government and since that failed have resorted to shooting at one another in the streets.

Mr. Bush is very concerned about the destabilizing effect a full-scale conflict between the two groups could have on the region. He fears it could turn into another Iraq. One way of dealing with the concern would be for him to initiate talks with the two groups and see if there is a way forward that would protect Israel’s right to exist while at the same time eliminating the risk of civil war between Hamas and Fatah. That is impossible because the United States (and Israel for that matter) do not talk to groups that are dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Mr. Bush also doesn’t talk to countries he doesn’t like but that’s another story. Ever creative, Mr. Bush has another plan. Sell arms.

Mr. Bush is going to pour $86 million into the coffers of Fatah. That is more than the total of all the monies the United States has given the PLO since it was formed in 1994. None of this aid would be necessary if Fatah had not lost the 2006 election. The money will help it regain what it lost at the ballot box. Mr. Bush understands that kind of thinking since he had to go the Supreme Court to become president after losing at the ballot box.

According to media reports in late December, with Israel’s and the United States’s approval, 2,000 AK-47s and two million bullets were transferred to Mr. Abbas’s security forces, many of whom are loyal to Mr. Abbas and to Fatah. (Fatah’s armed wing known as Al-Aqsa fighters are hostile to Israel and some Fatah folk have launched terrorist attacks against both the U.S and Israel but Mr. Bush hopes those people won’t be given those weapons.) With $86 million it’s a sure bet there will be lots more weapons heading Fatah’s way. More arms is a sure fire way to bring peace to that region.

There is, of course, always the chance that the arms being sold will eventually be used against the merchant (us) or even Israel. That is because there are people loyal to Fatah who dislike Israel. Bassam Eid, head of the Palestinian Rights Monitoring Group in East Jerusalem says the Fatah faction is not a moderate movement and that the infusion of cash will “double the number of thugs” in Fatah. Dennis Roth, a Middle East advisor to two administrations said: “The $86 million reflects the basic sense in the administration that the only way to change things is through confrontation.”

That is not surprising. Bullies are usually inarticulate and prefer a show of force to a show of brains, especially when not possessed of the latter. Mr. Bush is their poster child.

Christopher Brauchli is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. Visit his website: http://hraos.com/

“Hostile” Iran Sparks US Attack Plan

April 29th, 2008 - by admin

David Martin / CBS Evening News – 2008-04-29 21:00:42

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/29/eveningnews/main4056941.shtml

WASHINGTON (April 29, 2008) — A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the “increasingly hostile role” Iran is playing in Iraq — smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops.

“What the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and — women inside Iraq,” said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

US officials are also concerned by Iranian harassment of US ships in the Persian Gulf as well as Iran’s still growing nuclear program. New pictures of Iran’s uranium enrichment plant show the country’s defense minister in the background, as if deliberately mocking a recent finding by US intelligence that Iran had ceased work on a nuclear weapon.

No attacks are imminent and the last thing the Pentagon wants is another war, but Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has warned Iran not to assume the US military can’t strike.

“I have reserve capability, in particular our Navy and our Air Force so it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability,” Mullen said.

Targets would include everything from the plants where weapons are made to the headquarters of the organization known as the Quds Force which directs operations in Iraq. Later this week Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to confront the Iranians with evidence of their meddling and demand a halt.

If that doesn’t produce results, the State Department has begun drafting an ultimatum that would tell the Iranians to knock it off — or else.

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc.


US: Iran Increasing Aid To Iraq Militias
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (April 25, 2008) — Iran is ratcheting up its support for militias in Iraq, providing them with newly manufactured weapons and bringing them across the border to receive training from members of Tehran’s elite Republican Guard, US military officials said Friday.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military is preparing to roll out evidence — such as date stamps on newly found weapons caches — that shows that recently made Iranian weapons are flowing into Iraq at a steadily increasing rate.

Mullen would not detail the evidence — which is expected to be unveiled by military leaders in Iraq as early as next week. But another senior military official said it will include mortars, rockets, small arms, roadside bombs and armor-piercing explosives — known as explosively formed penetrators or EFPs — that troops have discovered in caches in recent months.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the evidence has not yet been made public, said that dates on some of the weapons were well after Tehran signaled late last year that it was scaling back aid to insurgents.

In addition, the evidence will include information gleaned from detainees who were reportedly trained by members of Iran’s elite Quds Force, as well as insurgents who received instruction on how to do the actual training.

Part of the firepower the military will unveil was used to support insurgents during the recent fighting in Basra in southern Iraq, officials said.

Mullen said he has seen evidence “that some of the weapons are recently not just found, but recently manufactured.”

He also warned that the US has the combat power to strike Tehran if needed.

Both Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have made clear that while all military options are on the table, they prefer at this point to use other pressures on Iran.

In laying out details of Iran’s continued efforts to fuel terror in Iraq, US military leaders are sending signals both to Tehran and Baghdad.

For Iran, the message is: the US knows what Tehran is doing and will take action if necessary. For Baghdad, the hope is that Iraqi leaders will resist the negative influence from their Shiite brethren, and continue efforts to take control of their own country and crack down on Shiite extremists.

“The solution right now still lies in using other levers of national power, including diplomatic, financial and international pressure (against Iran),” Mullen said.

Still, while Mullen acknowledged that launching a third conflict in that region would be extremely stressful for US forces, he said he has reserve capabilities in the Navy and the Air Force for any needed military action.

“It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability,” he said.

The latest findings, said Mullen, still do not prove that the highest leadership in the Iranian government has approved the stepped-up aid to insurgents who are killing US and Iraqi forces.

But he said it appears that the leaders of the Quds Force are aware of the activity. And with their strong ties to Tehran’s leaders, Mullen said, it’s difficult to believe that “there isn’t knowledge there as well.”

Still, Mullen added: “I have no smoking gun that could prove the highest (Iranian) leadership is involved in this.”

Mullen’s comments came as military officials confirmed Friday that a ship under contract with the US Navy fired flares and warning shots at small boats — believed to be Iranian — that approached a cargo ship in the Persian Gulf.

The Navy said that on Thursday two high-speed boats approached the ship, which is contracted by the US to carry military cargo, but the boats turned away after the shots were fired. No injuries were reported.

US military leaders have escalated their rhetoric against Iran of late, noting that suggestions last year that Tehran may have been backing off its support for militants have turned out not to be valid. Instead, Mullen said there also is recent evidence that Iran is continuing to train insurgents for the fight in Iraq.

“I just don’t see any evidence of them backing off. And Basra highlighted a lot of that,” Mullen said of Iran.

He would not detail any potential US military options, and he played down any impending action.

“We have to continue to increase pressure, and I have no expectations that we’re going to get into a conflict with Iran in the immediate future,” said Mullen. “But I am concerned over time, just in these last couple years, that tensions continue to rise. Iran does not respond and, in fact they seem to be ratcheting it up in terms of their support for terrorism.”

He said Iran has made it clear it wants to be a regional power, and he believes Tehran would prefer to see a weak Iraq, so it could significantly influence what happens there.

The Persian Gulf encounter involving the Navy is one of several similar episodes in recent months. Earlier this month, the USS Typhoon fired a flare at a small Iranian boat in the Gulf after it came within about 200 yards of the boat.

In January, several Iranian boats made what the Navy called provocative moves near a US ship in the Strait of Hormuz. And in December the USS Whidbey Island fired warning shots at a small Iranian boat that officials said was rapidly approaching the ship.

Iranian officials have acknowledged several of the incidents, describing them as normal encounters and saying the boats did not threaten the US vessels.

© MMVIII The Associated Press.

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

MAYDAY ALERT! Military Experts Warn US Terror Drills Could ‘Go Live!’

April 29th, 2008 - by admin

Dr. James H. Fetzer, Major William B. Fox, Captain Eric H. May & SFC Donald Buswell / IndyMedia – 2008-04-29 20:55:28

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/375010.shtml

Strategic Signals
Yesterday an American-flagged ship fired on the Iranian Navy, and now Pentagon sources say that they have been ordered to prepare attack plans.

Admiral “Fox” Fallon, the Centcom commander who opposed war with Iran, has been ousted in favor of Bush loyalist General David Petraeus, who has spent the last month accusing Iran for our increasing problems with the Iraqi resistance.

Saudi Arabia has been preparing for nuclear fallout from an attack on Iran since last month, when Dick Cheney paid a visit. Israel has just finished its largest-ever domestic war drills.

Israel and the Bush administration are insisting that Syria and North Korea are nuclear collaborators. Syria is preparing for the contingency of an Israeli attack. Iran is preparing for the contingency of a US attack. US government insiders speculate that Bush has promised Israel an expanded Middle East war before he leaves office.

The Neo-Cons are pounding their war drums again, according to Dr. James H. Fetzer, the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, and he believes that nothing would help them spread their imperial war in the Middle East as much as another 9/11.

He has just published “9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda.” (Link to www.amfirstbooks.com) The article is a must-read introduction for anyone wanting to understand the origins and aims of the ” global war on terror.”

Domestic Discord
Inside the US, Bush approval ratings are well below 30%, and approval ratings for the US Congress and mainstream media are even lower. Over three quarters of the American people believe that the country is on the wrong track, and just as many want to end the quicksand war in the Middle East.

The economy is crashing as fuel prices are skyrocketing. The Establishment is losing its grip on power. It would take another 9/11 to make the nation forget its domestic woes and resume its lost zeal for the Neo-Con “new American century” of foreign wars and a domestic police state.

In his much-discussed February article, “False Flag Prospects, 2008,” Captain Eric H. May documented the disturbing fact that military and police exercises were occurring at the same time as the 9/11 US attacks in 2001 and the 7/7 UK bombings in 2005. In that prescient article, he designated the Pacific Northwest as one of the top three target zones for the next US false flag attack, and the Pacific Northwest will be the target of terror drills May 1-8.

Should a major event occur during the drills, the Bush administration is prepared to implement National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 51, which establishes dictatorship “in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe.”

It is an extraordinary measure, and the White House has stonewalled Homeland Security Committee members from the House of Representatives who wanted to read it. One of those members, Oregon’s Peter DeFazio summed up the feeling of many Americans about NSPD 51 when he said “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right.”

Fears that a false flag attack might result in martial law are nourished by last week’s militaristic Operation Sudden Impact, reported by Infowars.net writer Steve Watson: “Three States Subjected to Martial Law Sweeps.”

National Level Exercise 8-02
NLE 2-08 will involve the very highest levels of Homeland Security and the US Northern Command. Both “Homesec” and “Northcom” were established by the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11 to take control of the nation in the event of another terrorist attack. They will be joined by FEMA in the May 1-8 exercise, which is one of the two largest terror drills scheduled this year.

On Thursday, May 1, the exercise begins in Washington, when an explosion collapses the Alaska Way viaduct in downtown Seattle and damages surrounding buildings. Twenty minutes later, terrorists explode a highjacked tanker ship filled with highly toxic chemicals at the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Deadly gas soon permeates downtown Seattle.

Emergency responders come in waves. Police and firemen, first to arrive, are quickly overwhelmed. The state deploys its 22-member Civil Support Team, a National Guard unit, to assess the damage and coordinate support. Later, 100 soldiers from a chemical battalion based in Yakima arrive to rescue, decontaminate and treat survivors. Finally, 5,000 troops arrived to handle logistics and security.

On Monday, May 5, the scenario shifts to Oregon where VX, the most toxic nerve agent ever synthesized, erupts from the Umatilla Army Depot.

The next day, terrorists blow up a chemical tanker in Ferndale, Washington. The county sheriff requests national support, and a Marine Corps chemical warfare detachment from Ft. Lewis, Washington responds.

According to sources at Northcom, NLE 2-08 will involve “robust play,” with “surprise injects” of unanticipated events in which participants are “stretched to the limit” and have “everything thrown at them except the kitchen sink.” All of this makes it easier for the exercise to “go live” by having a real catastrophe occur.

As the Pacific Northwest scenario is playing out, Washington, DC will be simulating a catastrophic hurricane as part of the same exercise. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to suggest that this puts Dick Cheney back in the bunker he occupied during 9/11.

Citizens interested in understanding how local, state and national levels of the military can be manipulated into working against us should read “The Real Drill” by Major William B. Fox, about Portland area terror drills last year.

Mission of Conscience
Many American citizens are deeply concerned about police militarization, and about government and media preconditioning of our nation for future terror attacks and martial law. We recommend that they monitor NLE 2-08 closely. Armed with cell phones, cameras and the Internet, they are the single greatest deterrent against false flag terror.

If we, the co-authors of this alert, are in error about anything, then we invite reasonable officials to investigate us and our assertions at the very highest levels. In the past we have too often met with hostility, evasion or deception by officials involved in terror drills. We have been stonewalled when we have requested access to an extended schedule of unclassified military and police terror drills.

We believe that there is a pattern of official retaliation against patriotic service members who ask questions about 9/11 and false flags.

In 2006, Sergeant First Class Donald Buswell, an Army military intelligence NCO, suggested that 9/11 might have been a false flag operation. Within a month the decorated 40-year-old Iraq war veteran suffered a freak pulmonary embolism, which nearly killed him. After he was released from the hospital, his command accused him of disloyalty for his remarks, and subjected him to an extensive military investigation. Ultimately, he was fully exonerated, and the now-retired Buswell has become widely known on the Internet as the “9/11 NCO.”

Stephen Webster, writing for The Lone Star Iconoclast, gained national attention with his story about Buswell, “Under Fire! US Army Intelligence Analyst Targeted for Suggesting New Independent 9/11 Investigation.”

The duty to keep the government honest isn’t optional for those of us who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It has always been difficult, and even dangerous, to serve the American people. We call on all active-duty soldiers, police and first responders to obey their oaths by asking questions that need to be asked, and by thinking twice before blindly carrying out orders that may result in an a false flag attack against their country.

We urge leaders of those soldiers, police and first responders to explain that diligence is not disloyalty, and that no one ceases to be a free American citizen by putting on a uniform.

Issuing an alert — as we are doing now — is not an instance of “crying wolf,” as Bush administration apologists often assert. As military-trained experts, we are convinced that the US 9/11 and UK 7/7 attacks were set up under the camouflage of terror drills. The existence of a wolf is not in question. The wolf of false flag terror has killed our fellow citizens and frightened our country into needless wars. It’s our mission of conscience to keep it from striking again.

Dr. James H. Fetzer and Major William B. Fox are former Marine Corps officers. Captain Eric H. May and Sergeant First Class Donald Buswell are former members of Army intelligence.


COMMENT

May Day Marches in Seattle
(April 28, 2008) — Of note: A very large Mayday march is scheduled directly in the area of this exercise. The first scripted attack is set for about 1600 [4PM] about when the marchers should be in the area, followed by the ferry chemical bomb and a backpack bomb on the Sounder at King Street.

Coincidence? Or just poor scheduling deconfliction.

15 Reasons Why an Attack on Iran May Be Imminent

April 29th, 2008 - by admin

Dan Hamburg / Mirror Contributing Writer – 2008-04-29 20:50:08

http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=123184

(April 25, 2008) — George W. Bush is poised to order a massive aerial bombardment — possibly including tactical nuclear weapons — of up to 10,000 targets in Iran. The attack would be justified on grounds that Iran is interfering with US efforts in Iraq and that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, a charge that was debunked last fall in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE).

According to international experts, the US declared economic war against Iran on March 20. On that day, the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) called on the world’s financial institutions to stop doing business with Iran, making it much more difficult for Iran to engage in global commerce.

Now the Bush administration is preparing to drop the other shoe. Below are some of the indications that a US military attack on Iran is imminent:

1. The March 11 resignation of CENTCOM Commander Admiral William Fallon who, according to a well-publicized Esquire magazine article, “openly opposed Bush’s Iran policy and was a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.”

2. The recent removal of Vice Admiral John Stufflebeem, Commander of the 6th Fleet (Mediterranean Sea), also known to be a critic of the administration’s war plans.

3. Two US warships took up positions off Lebanon last month. According to US News & World Report, “The United States would want its warships in the eastern Mediterranean in the event of a military action against Iran.”

4. The United States has two aircraft carrier strike groups (the USS John C. Stennis and the USS Eisenhower) stationed in the Persian Gulf with at least one additional group reportedly on the way.

5. The Israeli air strike against Syria last September was advertised as an attack on a nuclear facility. Current speculation is that the real purpose of the raid was to “force Syria to switch on the targeting electronics for newly received Russian anti-aircraft defenses.” Knowing the electronic signatures of these systems would reduce the risks for US and Israeli warplanes heading to Iranian targets.

6. Israel conducted its largest military exercises ever beginning the week of April 6. This exercise simulated missile strikes from Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. (Note: Both 9/11 and the London subway bombing of 7/7/07 occurred simultaneous by with military and/or civil defense exercises.)

7. One day after a March visit from Vice President Cheney, the Saudi government announced “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom.” This announcement came following warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s nearby Bushehr nuclear reactors.

8. According to former UN chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the Pentagon has contracted for additional bunker-buster bombs and planes that carry them. Delivery is due this month.

9. The oncoming monsoon season, which would carry radioactive fallout by wind and rain to countries east of Iran (including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India), narrows the window for the optimal launch of an air attack.

10. Over the past six months, two major incidents have demonstrated the inadequate security of the US nuclear arsenal. On August 30, 2007, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber carrying 6 AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles, each armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead, flew an unauthorized mission from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. (Barksdale is the major disembarkation point for personnel and materiel going to the Middle East.) This “Bent Spear” incident marked the first time in more than 40 years that nuclear weapons had been flown across the continental United States. A spate of up to eight accidental deaths and suicides of personnel from these two bases adds an ominous twist to this story.

11. Recently, it was revealed that intercontinental ballistic missile fuses had been sent to Taiwan instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered. Sharp protests from China forced President Bush to acknowledge the error personally to Chinese Premier Hu Jintao. As a result of these incidents, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a series of investigations, including a recent order for a complete physical inventory of the entire US nuclear arsenal.

12. The Bush administration is hypocritical in its claims that Iran cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Given the Minot/Barksdale incident and the mix-up between ballistic missile fuses and helicopter batteries, the question that should to be asked is: “Can the US be trusted with nuclear weapons?”

13. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a “limited” nuclear attack on the main Iranian underground site in Esfahan would result in three million people killed by radiation within two weeks and 35 million people exposed to dangerous levels of radiation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

14. Yet another preemptive attack and the devastation of another civilian population would be grossly immoral and in violation of all international codes of conduct. No one can predict how such an attack would end, especially in the tinderbox that is the Middle East.

Every patriotic American, and especially every member of Congress, should do whatever is in their power to stop the Bush-Cheney cabal before they drag us into World War III.

Dan Hamburg is a former member of the US Congress from northern California.

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


15 REASONS WHY AN ATTACK ON IRAN MAY BE IMMINENT
Allen L Roland
As Pandora’s box begins to open revealing the full extent of war crimes and abuse of power by the Cheney/Bush administration, the danger increases that they will launch a preemptive strike on Iran to falsely justify their failed neocon global agenda:

As the economy collapses into a deep recession — which George W Bush has yet to acknowledge — the Cheney/Bush administration desperately needs another distraction to divert the American public from its economic woes.

And what better distraction than another military action — under the patriotic banner of the War on Terror — with the very real possibility of martial law if the people take to the streets or shut down our country’s ports.

Dan Hamburg ends his article with this plea — “Every patriotic American, and especially every member of Congress, should do whatever is in their power to stop the Bush-Cheney cabal before they drag us into World War III. ”

Now add to those 14 this latest bulletin — The nation’s top military officer said yesterday that the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action” against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government’s “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq.

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

Former Prime Minister Wants Bush Tried for War Crimes

April 28th, 2008 - by admin

Agence France-Presse – 2008-04-28 22:25:03

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j3TJ_LsBMrvXU2HxiZssd4cBl-4g

Malaysia’s ex-PM Mahathir Wants Iraq War Leaders on War Crimes Charges

LONDON (April 25, 2008) — Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has called for an international tribunal to try Western leaders with war crimes over the war in Iraq, a spokesman for the organisers said.

In a speech at Imperial College, London, Mahathir called for a tribunal to try US President George W. Bush plus former prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and John Howard of Australia for their part in the conflict, said a spokesman for the Muslim group the Ramadhan Foundation, which set up the event.

Spokesman Mohammed Shafiq told AFP that Mahathir, who was in office from 1981 to 2003, wants to see the trio tried “in absence for war crimes committed in Iraq.

“It was a opportunity for students to put a range of questions about war crimes and the international situation.

“He said that people have to stop killing each other and use arbitration, negotiation and discussion as an alternative to violence, war and killing.”

On the war in Iraq, Mahathir spoke about “the thousands dying, the economic war, the power of oil and how we could utilise some of these tools to have a leverage against the people who commit countries to war,” Shafiq said.

He purposely did not speak about or answer questions from students on the political situation in Malaysia, said Shafiq.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is facing growing demands to quit, following an unprecedented electoral setback in March. More than 450 people attended the speech and about 200 more had to be turned away.

Mahathir was in Cuba earlier this week to take part in the first International Conference of the Cuban Centre for Studies on Defence Information.

The Ramadhan Foundation is a leading British Muslim youth organisation working for peaceful co-existence and dialogue between communities.

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

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