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Criminalize political lies to save planet Earth

Enough Death and Destruction

by CARMEN YARRUSSO, source

If we lie to our government it’s a serious crime. Why isn’t it an even more serious crime when our government lies to us? If crime is willful action that harms others, and we punish crime based on the extent of its harm, why aren’t we criminalizing and severely punishing political lies, which often result in great harm including massive death and suffering throughout the world?

Planet earth and all but a tiny fraction of her inhabitants are being systematically raped and plundered by a corporate power structure that virtually owns the U.S. government. If there’s an activity that can make money by destroying our planet or killing millions of our fellow human beings, you can bet the U.S. government is actively promoting that activity. This immense, continuing crime against humanity (and nature) is being justified and sustained with big, fat political lies. If we don’t start criminalizing political lies and severely punishing our lying politicians, we’ll get more inequality, we’ll get more destruction of our natural resources, we’ll get more wars, we’ll get even more extreme human suffering that will progress until the downtrodden of the world finally revolt in desperation.

The Extreme Depravity of Political Lies

This isn’t about benign lies or compassionate lies aimed at easing suffering. This is about egregious deception unambiguously intended to further political ends with blatant disregard for the lie’s harmful consequences and with little or no accounting by our lying politicians. Unfortunately this class of lies is the lifeblood of the U.S. political system, a system that is inexorably destroying life on earth.

Without lies, the U.S. political system would disintegrate. A system claiming to work for the people, but obviously working for special interests, must necessarily be based on lies. Corporations and lobbyists pay politicians big money to pass legislation that benefits them, not the American people. But since our politicians obviously can’t admit they frequently support special-interest legislation, they must lie. Our political system proudly rewards lying, with the best liars reaping the biggest rewards.

A lie is a betrayal of trust. Our personal lies might betray a spouse or a few friends, but the ramifications are usually quite limited. But when government representatives lie, for example to justify war, the betrayal could easily extend to all of humanity and even to the earth itself with severe, possibly irreversible, negative ramifications. Political lies kill big time (consider Afghanistan and Iraq). Political lies plunder. Political lies cause countless forms of extreme human suffering. Political lies are used to excuse the most heinous behavior. This class of lying, the very lifeblood of the U.S. political system, is clearly criminal by any just definition of the term. Yet this moral abomination continues, not only unpunished, but handsomely rewarded.

Imagine if political lies were criminalized prior to the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq

The invasion probably couldn’t have happened. Without the lies, there was no moral justification for war. Had members of the Bush administration been facing serious jail time if caught promoting political lies, those flimsy, deceptive arguments for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) wouldn’t have surfaced. If political lies were criminalized they wouldn’t have dared to try to pass off a sleazy character called Curveball as a reliable source, they wouldn’t have tried to pass off crude rocket bodies as aluminum tubes for centrifuges, they wouldn’t have tried to pass off a flatbed truck for inflating target balloons as a mobile weapons lab, they wouldn’t have tried to pass off obviously forged documents on Niger uranium as real, and Colin Powell wouldn’t have spouted out all those dramatic lies at the UN.

If he knew he faced certain jail time for lying, President Bush wouldn’t have said, ” The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” while conveniently ignoring the CIA and State Department reports questioning its veracity.

But with no consequences for lying to the American people, our politicians were able to cavalierly inflict vast death and destruction on millions of innocent Iraquis while billing U.S. taxpayers trillions. Billions in war profits poured into politically connected corporations. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. All the result of a pack of big, fat, legal political lies. Now Obama threatens to launch a sequel in Syria based (of course) on more political lies.

The Nature of Political Lies

Political lies aren’t limited to making false statements. There are political lies by omission when politicians fail to mention known facts and evidence that undermine their positions (as Bush did about African uranium). Perhaps the most harmful and ubiquitous political lie is evasion. Our politicians are almost never required to clearly explain and justify their positions. They’re free to spout out deceptive (often emotional) nonsense that many gullible Americans readily believe while they staunchly evade giving a clear explanation and justification for their positions. They staunchly evade answering cogent counterarguments. With the stakes as high as they are, this common, willful, and blatant form of intellectual dishonesty by politicians should be a very serious crime.

For example, our lying politicians are threatening war with Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but they staunchly evade explaining why they believe Iranian leaders would even think about using a nuclear weapon knowing full well their country would be utterly destroyed if they did. Our lying politicians staunchly evade discussing a much more likely reason for their dire concerns – Iran would have an effective deterrent should U.S. politicians contemplate stealing its oil using massive military might as they tried in Iraq.

Enough Death and Destruction – Actions We Must Take to Effectively Criminalize Political Lies

The people of the world must unite to criminalize the ruthless plague that’s devouring our precious planet earth. We can’t expect our lying politicians to voluntarily stop lying to us when they profit so much from their lies. We the people must unite and emphatically demand strict intellectual honesty from our politicians by making political lies a very serious crime with very serious penalties.

But criminalizing political lies won’t be effective if our politicians can simply avoid getting caught lying. If we are to effectively prosecute our lying politicians, we need a reliable way to not only quickly detect political lies, but also an efficient way to collect incriminating evidence of deceit. Thanks to the amazing power of the Internet, we already have a way (using the exact infrastructure used by Wikipedia) that would instantly detect political lies, including evasion, and document evidence of deceit for prosecuting lying politicians. […]

Conclusion

The U.S political system is a deeply corrupt, criminal enterprise largely sustained by ruthless political lies. Our political system handsomely rewards liars while severely punishing truth tellers (see Drake, Manning, Snowden). In the service of political lies, the U.S. government has flipped morality on its head.

We the people have every right to demand strict intellectual honesty from our politicians. Stop the lies, save planet earth.

Shout it from the streets, shout it from the rooftops, “Criminalize political lies, criminalize political lies, criminalize political lies…”

John Kerry and the Orwellian language of war

Rampant Dishonesty

by NATHAN GOODMAN, source

When is a war not a war? According to John Kerry, launching cruise missiles at Syria is not a war. Testifying before the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said, “President Obama is not asking America to go to war.”
Kerry’s argument seems to hinge on the idea that no American ground troops will likely be deployed. Of the proposed strikes, Kerry said, “I just don’t consider that going to war in the classic sense of coming to Congress and asking for a declaration of war and training troops and sending people abroad and putting young Americans in harm’s way.”

Perhaps no Americans will be put in harm’s way, although claims of possible Iranian plans for retaliation cast doubt on that hope. But regardless, innocent Syrians will still be killed by American missiles. People’s homes and possessions will still be destroyed. Mass aggressive violence will still be waged by the US government in a foreign land. That’s a war.

And while Kerry is not currently proposing sending ground troops to Syria, he acknowledges that it’s a possibility. Kerry also told the Senate: “But in the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra or someone else and it was clearly in the interest of our allies and all of us, the British, the French and others, to prevent those weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of the worst elements, I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country.”

But to be clear, Secretary Kerry and President Obama are not proposing a war. Yes, they will use cruise missiles to slaughter Syrians, and if they don’t like the Syrian government’s response they may even send ground troops. War profiteers like Raytheon will certainly profit. But the Secretary of State will insist it’s not a war.

So, why the Orwellian “War is Peace” attitude here? Partially because Kerry recognizes this war is not popular with the American public. Polls show substantial public opposition. When explaining that he would not consider American attacks on Syria a war, Kerry went a step further and said “when people are asked, do you want to go to war with Syria, of course not! Everybody, a hundred percent of Americans will say no.” When most Americans oppose war, the best solution apparently is to change the name to something else.

But this attitude makes sense for another reason: The state wants to conceal the truth about its wars. This is why it employs so many Newspeak terms when discussing war. Murdering civilians becomes “collateral damage.” Any military age male killed by an American drone strike is automatically labeled a “militant.” And a war against Syria becomes not war but “an action that can degrade the capacity of a man who’s been willing to kill his own people by breaking a nearly hundred-year- old prohibition.”

The U.S. government doesn’t want you to know the truth about their wars. This is why Chelsea Manning is in prison for blowing the whistle on war crimes, including an attack in which “U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence.” It’s why the military denied for years that they used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, in Fallujah.

This rampant dishonesty is precisely why we should never trust them when they want to go to war. Especially when they refuse to call war by its name.

Obama’s case for Syria didn’t reflect intel consensus

by Gareth Porter, source

IPS – Contrary to the general impression in Congress and the news media, the Syria chemical warfare intelligence summary released by the Barack Obama administration August 30 did not represent an intelligence community assessment, an IPS analysis and interviews with former intelligence officials reveals.

The evidence indicates that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper culled intelligence analyses from various agencies and by the White House itself, but that the White House itself had the final say in the contents of the document.

Leading members of Congress to believe that the document was an intelligence community assessment and thus represents a credible picture of the intelligence on the alleged chemical attack of August 21 has been a central element in the Obama administration’s case for war in Syria.

That part of the strategy, at least, has been successful. Despite strong opposition in Congress to the proposed military strike in Syria, no one in either chamber has yet challenged the administration’s characterisation of the intelligence. But the administration is vulnerable to the charge that it has put out an intelligence document that does not fully and accurately reflect the views of intelligence analysts.

Former intelligence officials told IPS that that the paper does not represent a genuine intelligence community assessment but rather one reflecting a predominantly Obama administration influence.

In essence, the White House selected those elements of the intelligence community assessments that supported the administration’s policy of planning a strike against the Syrian government force and omitted those that didn’t.

In a radical departure from normal practice involving summaries or excerpts of intelligence documents that are made public, the Syria chemical weapons intelligence summary document was not released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence but by the White House Office of the Press Secretary.

It was titled “Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013.” The first sentence begins, “The United States government assesses,” and the second sentence begins, “We assess”.

The introductory paragraph refers to the main body of the text as a summary of “the intelligence community’s analysis” of the issue, rather than as an “intelligence community assessment”, which would have been used had the entire intelligence community endorsed the document.

A former senior intelligence official who asked not to be identified told IPS in an e-mail Friday that the language used by the White House “means that this is not an intelligence community document”.

The former senior official, who held dozens of security classifications over a decades-long intelligence career, said he had “never seen a document about an international crisis at any classification described/slugged as a U.S. government assessment.”

The document further indicates that the administration “decided on a position and cherry-picked the intelligence to fit it,” he said. “The result is not a balanced assessment of the intelligence.”

Greg Thielmann, whose last position before retiring from the State Department was director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, told IPS he has never seen a government document labeled “Government Assessment” either.

“If it’s an intelligence assessment,” Thielmann said, “why didn’t they label it as such?”

Former National Intelligence Officer Paul Pillar, who has participated in drafting national intelligence estimates, said the intelligence assessment summary released by the White House “is evidently an administration document, and the working master copy may have been in someone’s computer at the White House or National Security Council.”

Pillar suggested that senior intelligence officials might have signed off on the administration paper, but that the White House may have drafted its own paper to “avoid attention to analytic differences within the intelligence community.”

Comparable intelligence community assessments in the past, he observed – including the 2002 Iraq WMD estimate – include indications of differences in assessment among elements of the community.

An unnamed “senior administration official” briefing the news media on the intelligence paper on August 30 said that the paper was “fully vetted within the intelligence community,” and that, ”All members of the intelligence community participated in its development.”

But that statement fell far short of asserting that all the elements of the intelligence community had approved the paper in question, or even that it had gone through anything resembling consultations between the primary drafters and other analysts, and opportunities for agencies to register dissent that typically accompany intelligence community assessments.

The same “senior administration official” indicated that DNI Clapper had “approved” submissions from various agencies for what the official called “the process”. The anonymous speaker did not explain further to journalists what that process preceding the issuance of the White House paper had involved.

However, an Associated Press story on August 29 referred to “a report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence outlining the evidence against Syria”, citing two intelligence officials and two other administration officials as sources.

That article suggests that the administration had originally planned for the report on intelligence to be issued by Clapper rather than the White House, apparently after reaching agreement with the White House on the contents of the paper.

But Clapper’s name was not on the final document issued by the White House, and the document is nowhere to be found on the ODNI website. All previous intelligence community assessments were posted on that site.

The issuance of the document by the White House rather than by Clapper, as had been apparently planned, points to a refusal by Clapper to put his name on the document as revised by the White House.

Clapper’s refusal to endorse it – presumably because it was too obviously an exercise in “cherry picking” intelligence to support a decision for war – would explain why the document had to be issued by the White House.

Efforts by IPS to get a comment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence suggest strongly that Clapper is embarrassed by the way the Obama White House misrepresented the August 30 document.

An e-mail query by IPS to the media relations staff of ODNI requesting clarification of the status of the August 30 document in relation to the intelligence community was never answered.

In follow-up phone calls, ODNI personnel said someone would respond to the query. After failing to respond for two days, despite promising that someone would call back, however, ODNI’s media relations office apparently decided to refuse any further contact with IPS on the subject.

A clear indication that the White House, rather than Clapper, had the final say on the content of the document is that it includes a statement that a “preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children.”

That figure, for which no source was indicated, was several times larger than the estimates given by British and French intelligence.

The document issued by the White House cites intelligence that is either obviously ambiguous at best or is of doubtful authenticity, or both, as firm evidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack.

It claims that Syrian chemical weapons specialists were preparing for such an attack merely on the basis of signals intelligence indicating the presence of one or more individuals in a particular location. The same intelligence had been regarded prior to August 21 as indicating nothing out of the ordinary, as was reported by CBS news August 23.

The paper also cites a purported intercept by U.S intelligence of conversations between Syrian officials in which a “senior official” supposedly “confirmed” that the government had carried out the chemical weapons attack.

But the evidence appears to indicate that the alleged intercept was actually passed on to the United States by Israeli intelligence. U.S. intelligence officials have long been doubtful about intelligence from Israeli sources that is clearly in line with Israeli interests.

Opponents of the proposed U.S. strike against Syria could argue that the Obama administration’s presentation of the intelligence supporting war is far more politicised than the flawed 2002 Iraq WMD estimate that the George W. Bush administration cited as part of the justification for the invasion of Iraq.

Putin warned west over Syria: Did we forget about Iraq?

Putin Warned West over Syria: Did We Forget about Iraq?

Al Ahed news

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West against taking one-sided action in Syria.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press and Russia’s state Channel 1 television, Putin said Moscow has provided some components of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria but has frozen further shipments. He suggested that Russia may sell the potent missile systems elsewhere if Western nations attack Syria without UN Security Council backing.

The interview Tuesday night at Putin’s country residence outside the Russian capital was the only one he granted prior to the summit of G-20 nations in St. Petersburg, which opens Thursday. The summit was supposed to concentrate on the global economy but now looks likely to be dominated by the international crisis over Syria.

Putin said he felt sorry that President Barack Obama canceled a one-on-one meeting in Moscow that was supposed to have happened before the summit. But he expressed hope the two would have serious discussions about Syria and other issues in St. Petersburg.

“President Obama hasn’t been elected by the American people in order to be pleasant to Russia. And your humble servant hasn’t been elected by the people of Russia to be pleasant to someone either,” he said of their relationship.

In parallel, Putin said: “We work, we argue about some issues. We are human. Sometimes one of us gets vexed. But I would like to repeat once again that global mutual interests form a good basis for finding a joint solution to our problems.”

Putin said it was “ludicrous” that the Syrian regime would use chemical weapons at a time when it was holding sway against the rebels.

“From our viewpoint, it seems absolutely absurd that the armed forces, the regular armed forces, which are on the offensive today and in some areas have encircled the so-called rebels and are finishing them off, that in these conditions they would start using forbidden chemical weapons while realizing quite well that it could serve as a pretext for applying sanctions against them, including the use of force,” he said.

“If there are data that the chemical weapons have been used, and used specifically by the regular army, this evidence should be submitted to the UN Security Council,” added Putin, and conditioned : “It ought to be convincing. It shouldn’t be based on some rumors and information obtained by special services through some kind of eavesdropping, some conversations and things like that.”

He noted that even in the US, “there are experts who believe that the evidence presented by the administration doesn’t look convincing, and they don’t exclude the possibility that the opposition conducted a premeditated provocative action trying to give their sponsors a pretext for military intervention.”

He compared the evidence presented by Washington to false data used by the Bush administration about weapons of mass destruction to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“All these arguments turned out to be untenable, but they were used to launch a military action, which many in the US called a mistake. Did we forget about that?” Putin said.

He said he “doesn’t exclude” backing the use of force against Syria at the United Nations if there is objective evidence proving that regime used chemical weapons against its people. But he strongly warned Washington against launching military action without UN approval, saying it would represent an aggression.

Putin reinforced his demand that before taking action, Obama needed approval from the UN Security Council. Russia can veto resolutions in the council and has protected Syria from punitive actions there before.

Asked what kind of evidence on chemical weapons use would convince Russia, Putin said “it should be a deep and specific probe containing evidence that would be obvious and prove beyond doubt who did it and what means were used.”
Putin said it was “too early” to talk about what Russia would do if the US attacked Syria.

“We have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise,” he said. “We have our plans.”

Putin called the S-300 air defense missile system “a very efficient weapon” and said that Russia had a contract for its delivery of the S-300s to Syria. “We have supplied some of the components, but the delivery hasn’t been completed. We have suspended it for now,” he said.

“But if we see that steps are taken that violate the existing international norms, we shall think how we should act in the future, in particular regarding supplies of such sensitive weapons to certain regions of the world,” he said.

On another level, Putin also accused US intelligence agencies of bungling efforts to apprehend Snowden, the National Security Agency leader, who is wanted in the US on espionage charges. He said the United States could have allowed Snowden to go to a country where his security would not be guaranteed or intercepted him along the way, but instead pressured other countries not to accept him or even to allow a plane carrying him to cross their airspace. Russia has granted him temporary asylum.

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Syria Says Will Not Give in ’Even If There Is WWIII’

Al Manar

Syria’s deputy foreign minister said Wednesday the state would miqdadnot give in to threats of a US-led military strike against the country, even if a third world war erupts.

Faisal Muqdad said the government had taken “every measure” to counter a potential intervention aimed at punishing Syria over a suspected deadly poison gas strike and was mobilizing its allies.

“The Syrian government will not change position even if there is World War III. No Syrian can sacrifice the independence of his country,” he said.

“Syria has taken every measure to retaliate against… an aggression,” he added, refusing to provide any clue as to what that might mean.

Muqdad said Syria was mobilizing its allies ahead of a possible strike, as US President Barack Obama lobbies Congress to back intervention and the French parliament debates the issue.

The Syrian official added two of America’s top allies in the region, Jordan and Turkey, should think twice before participating.

“Once the attack against Syria starts from Jordan and Turkey then they will both suffer,” said Mr. Mekdad.

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Russia sends missile cruiser to Eastern Mediterranean

Press TV

Russian military officials say Moscow is sending three more naval ships, including a missile cruiser, to the Eastern Mediterranean, as the United States is preparing for a possible strike on Syria.

The missile cruiser, Moskva, will take over the navy’s operations in the region, a move which Russia says is needed to protect its national interests, state agency Interfax quoted a military source as saying on Wednesday.

“The Cruiser Moskva is heading to the Strait of Gibraltar. In approximately 10 days it will enter the East Mediterranean, where it will take over as the flagship of the naval task force,” said the unnamed military source.

The missile cruiser is to be joined by two other vessels, a destroyer from Russia’s Baltic Fleet and a frigate from the Black Sea Fleet, which are to arrive in the region until Friday.

Russia has recently deployed other warships to the Eastern Mediterranean. On September 1, Moscow sent its Priazovye reconnaissance ship to the region tasked with collecting information in the tense region, which will be operating separately from the naval unit.

Last week, Russian Defense Ministry reported that additional warships, including the Moskva, were being sent to the Mediterranean on routine mission…

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US Polls: Public Opposes Syria Strike

Al Ahed news

Two new polls out Tuesday have found strong opposition to US military intervention in Syria among a war-weary American public.

A survey carried out by the Pew Research Center over the weekend found that 48 percent of Americans oppose “conducting military airstrikes” against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons compared to 29 percent who support such action.

A Washington Post-ABC news poll found a similar margin, with nearly six in 10 Americans opposed to missile strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The polls found opposition across the political spectrum.

The Pew poll found that just 29 percent of Democrats support US airstrikes compared to 48 percent who are opposed.

Republicans are slightly more supportive of military action, with 35 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed, the Pew poll said.

The Post-ABC poll, however, found a nearly identical level of opposition among Democrats and Republicans, and Independents even more opposed to military action, with just 30 percent in favor and 66 percent opposed.

The Pew poll found that 74 percent of Americans believe a US strike would likely spark a backlash against Washington and its allies in the region, and 61 percent think it would lead to a long-term US military commitment there.
The low levels of support for military action could complicate US President Barack Obama’s efforts to rally congressional support for punitive strikes against Syria.

Obama won support Tuesday from key Republican leaders in the House, but faces an uphill battle convincing critics on the left and right to endorse another military campaign in the Middle East after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Pew poll was conducted August 29-September 1 among 1,000 respondents. The Post-ABC poll was carried out August 28-September 1 among 1,012 respondents and had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Debunking Obama’s chemical weapons case against the Syrian government

Fact and Fiction

by ERIC DRAITSER, source

The document entitled “U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013”, released in tandem with public statements made by Secretary of State John Kerry, is merely a summary of a manufactured narrative designed to lead the US into yet another criminal and disastrous war in the Middle East. Having been released prior to even preliminary reports from UN chemical weapons investigators on the ground in Syria, the document is as much a work of fiction as it is fact.

It begins with the conclusion that “The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013.” Naturally, one would immediately wonder how such a conclusion was reached when even the expert investigators on the ground have yet to conclude their own study. If these experts with years of training in the field of chemical weapons, toxicology, and other related disciplines, have yet to make such a determination, it would seem more than convenient that the US has already reached their own assessment.

Moreover, based on its own admissions as to the sources of this so-called “intelligence”, very serious doubt should be cast on such a dubious government report. The document explains that:

These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open-source reporting…In addition to US intelligence information, there are accounts from international and Syrian medical personnel; videos; witness accounts; thousands of social media reports from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area; journalist accounts; and reports from highly credible non-governmental organizations.

First and foremost, any critical reading of this document must begin with the notions of “human intelligence” and “witness accounts”. Such terminology indicates that the US is simply basing pre-conceived conclusions on rebel sources and the much touted “activists” who seem to always be the sources quoted in Western media reports. Secondly, it is obvious that US officials have cherry-picked their eyewitness accounts as there are many, from both sides of the conflict, which directly contradict this so-called high-confidence assessment.

As reported in the Mint Press News by Associated Press reporter Dale Gavlak, Syrians from the town of Ghouta – the site of the chemical attack – tell a very different story from the one being told by the US government. Residents provide very credible testimony that “certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.” What makes such testimony even more compelling is that it comes from anti-Assad Syrians, many of whom have seen their children die fighting Assad’s forces. One of the Ghouta residents described his conversations with his son, a fighter tasked with carrying the chemical weapons for the Nusra Front jihadi group, who spoke of Saudi-supplied weapons being unloaded and transported. His son later was killed, along with 12 other rebels, inside a tunnel used to store weapons.

It is essential to also dispute the very notion that “social media reports” constitute credible evidence to be used in making a case for war. It is a long-established fact that US and other intelligence agencies are able to manipulate twitter, Facebook and other social media in whatever way they see fit. As the Guardian reported back in 2011:

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda…each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history, and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations ‘without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries.’

It seems as if the United States is now using social media, a system over which they have control, to justify their pre-fabricated war narrative. Additionally, the idea that videos constitute a shred of evidence is laughable. As any investigator can tell you, videos are easily manipulated and, even if they are untouched, they cannot be used to assess the culprit of a crime. Videos merely show what is visible, not the underlying motives, means, and opportunity – all part of genuine investigation.

Finally, one must feel serious apprehension at the idea of journalist reports as being part of this pastiche called a “high confidence assessment,” for the simple reason that Western coverage of the conflict in Syria is mostly coming from journalists outside the country or those already sympathetic to the rebel cause. Whether they are paid propagandists or simply convenient tools used as mouthpieces of the corporate media, their reports are highly suspect, and certainly should have no role in shaping war-making policy.

It is critical to examine the “intelligence information” referred to in the assessment. It would seem that, according to the document itself, much of the case for war is based on human intelligence. Many news outlets have reported that the entire case against Assad is being based on an intercepted phone call provided to US intelligence by none other than the Israelis. Israel, with its long track record of fabricating intelligence for the purposes of war-making, is not exactly a neutral observer. As one of the principal actors in the region calling for the overthrow of the Assad government, Tel Aviv has a vested interest in ensuring a US intervention in Syria.

The ardently pro-Israel FOX News reported that:

The initial confirmation that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack Aug. 21 came from a tip from the Israeli intelligence service…a special unit of the Israeli Defense Force – an intelligence unit that goes by the number 8200…helped provide the intelligence intercepts that allowed the White House to conclude that the Assad regime was behind the attack.

It would seem rather convenient that one of the primary beneficiaries of a war to topple Assad would be the primary source of the sole piece of evidence purportedly linking Assad to the attack. If this strikes you as at best a flimsy pretext for war, you would be correct.

The report also outlines the way in which Washington arrived at its conclusion that Assad carried out the attacks. The document states:

We assess with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely. The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition.

In analyzing the above excerpt, it should be immediately clear to anyone who has been following events in Syria closely, that this conclusion is based on faulty premises and outright lies. First, the idea that it is “highly unlikely” that the chemical attack was carried out by the opposition is an impossible assertion to make given that there is abundant evidence that the “rebels” carried out chemical attacks previously. As the widely circulated video showing rebels mounting chemical weapons onto artillery shells demonstrates, not only do they have the capability and delivery system, they have a significant supply of chemicals, certainly enough to have carried out the attack. Moreover, the multiple massacres carried out by Nusra Front and other extremist rebel factions demonstrates that such groups have no compunction whatsoever about killing innocent civilians en masse.

As for the claim that the US has based their conclusions at least in part on “the regime’s preparations for this attack”, this too is a dubious assertion simply because there has been no evidence provided whatsoever to support it. Ostensibly, the United States would like international observers to “take their word for it” that they have such evidence, but the fragile public simply cannot be allowed to see it. More echoes of Bush’s lies before the Iraq War.

And the so-called “post-attack observations” are again suspect because, as I have previously noted, the US has not bothered to wait for the results of the UN chemical weapons investigation. Therefore, these observations could only come from anti-Assad sources on the ground or international observers not present at the site who merely repeat the same information fed to them from those same anti-regime sources.

As if intended as a cruel joke to the reader, the document points out that, despite the claim that this is an irrefutable, evidence-based conclusion, it is in fact based on nothing but hearsay and rumor. Buried at the end of the first page is the most important quote of all:

Our high confidence assessment is the strongest position that the U.S. Intelligence Community can take short of confirmation[emphasis added].

So, the US is supposed to wage war on a country that has not attacked it or any of its allies based on admittedly unconfirmed evidence? This would be laughable if it weren’t so utterly outrageous and criminal.

The “U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013” is a poorly constructed attempt to justify the politically, militarily, and morally unjustifiable war against Syria. It relies on lies, distortions, and obvious propaganda to create the myth that Assad is the devil incarnate and that the US, with its clear moral high-ground, must take it upon itself to once again wage war for the sake of peace. Nothing could be more dishonest. Nothing could be more disgusting. Nothing could be more American. Let’s hope Congress shuts it down.

Fake WMD “intelligence” and Orwellian double-speak

Washington Is Insane

by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, source

In the 21st century the two hundred year-old propaganda that the American people control their government has been completely shattered. Both the Bush and Obama regimes have made it unmistakenly clear that the American people don’t even influence, much less control, the government. As far as Washington is concerned, the people are nothing but chaff in the wind.

Polls demonstrate that 65% of the US population opposes US intervention in Syria. Despite this clear indication of the people’s will, the Obama regime is ramping up a propaganda case for more arming of Washington’s mercenaries sent to overthrow the secular Syrian government and for a “no-fly zone” over Syria, which, if Libya is the example, means US or NATO aircraft attacking the Syrian army on the ground, thus serving as the air force of Washington’s imported mercenaries, euphemistically called “the Syrian rebels.”

Washington declared some time ago that the “red line” that would bring Syria under Washington’s military attack was the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons of mass destruction against Washington’s mercenaries. Once this announcement was made, everyone with a brain immediately knew that Washington would fabricate false intelligence that Assad had used chemical weapons, just as Washington presented to the United Nations the intentional lie via Secretary of State Colin Powell that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had dangerous weapons of mass destruction.

Remember National Security Advisor Condi Rice’s image of a “mushroom cloud over American cities?” Propagandistic lies were Washington’s orders of the day.

And they still are. Now Washington has fabricated the false intelligence, and president obama has announced it with a straight face, that Syria’s Assad has used sarin gas on several occasions and that between 100 and 150 “of his own people,” a euphemism for the US supplied foreign mercenaries, have been killed by the weapon of mass destruction.

Think about that for a minute. As unfortunate as is any death from war, is 100-150 deaths “mass destruction?” According to low-ball estimates, the US-sponsored foreign mercenary invasion of Syria has cost 93,000 lives, of which 150 deaths amounts to0.0016%. If we round up, Washington’s 150 deaths comes to two-thousands of one percent.

In other words, 99.998% of the deaths did not cross the “red line.” But the 0.002 (rounded up) percent did.

Yes, I know. Washington’s position makes no sense. But when has it ever made any sense?

Let’s stretch our minds just a tiny bit farther. Assad knows about Washington’s “red line.” It has been repeated over and over in order to create in the minds of the distracted American public that there is a real, valid reason for attacking Syria. Why would Assad use the proscribed weapons of mass destruction in order to kill a measly 100-150 mercenaries when his army is mopping up the US mercenaries without the use of gas and when Assad knows that the use of gas brings in the US military against him?

As the Russian government made clear, Washington’s accusation is not believable. No informed person could possibly believe it. No doubt, many Americans wearing patriotism on their sleeves will fall for Washington’s latest lie, but no one else in the world will. Even Washington’s NATO puppets calling for attacking Syria know that the justification for the attack is a lie. For the NATO puppets, Washington’s money overwhelms integrity, for which the rewards are low.

The Russians certainly know that Washington is lying. The Russian Foreign Minister Larov said:

“The [Assad] government, as the opposition is saying openly, is enjoying military success on the ground. The [Assad] regime isn’t driven to the wall. What sense is there for the regime to use chemical arms–especially in such small amounts.”

Larov is a relatively civilized person in the role of Russia’s main diplomat. However, other Russian officials can be more pointed in their dismissal of Washington’s latest blatant lies. Yury Ushakov, an aide to Russian President Putin said: “The Americans tried to present us with information on the use of chemical weapons by the [Assad] regime, but frankly we thought that it was not convincing. We wouldn’t like to invoke references to [the infamous lies o] Secretary of State Powell [at the UN alleging Iraqi WMD], but the facts don’t look convincing in our eyes.” Aleksey Pushkov, the chairman of the Russian Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, cut to the chase.

“The data about Assad’s use of chemical weapons is fabricated by the same facility that made up the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Obama is walking George W. Bush’s path.”

Here in America no one will ever hear straight talk like this from the US presstitutes.

Orwellian double-speak is now the language of the United States government. Secretary of State john kerry condemned Assad for harming “peace talks” while the US arms its Syrian mercenaries.

Washington’s double-speak is now obvious to the world. Not only Assad, but also the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and every US puppet state which includes all of NATO and Japan, are fully aware that Washington is again lying through its teeth. The Russians, Chinese, and Iranians are trying to avoid confrontation with Washington, as war with the modern nuclear weapons would destroy all life on planet earth. What is striking is that despite 24/7 brainwashing by the presstitutes, a large majority of the American population opposes obama’s war on Syria.

This is good news. It means more Americans are developing the ability to think independently of the lies Washington feeds to them.

What the neocon[s], the bush/obama regime, and the presstitute media have made clear is that Washington is going to push its agenda of world hegemony to the point of starting World War III, which, of course, means the end of life on earth.

Russia and China, either one of which can destroy the United States, have learned that the US government is a liar and cannot be trusted. The Libyan “no-fly” policy to which Russia and China agreed turned out to be a NATO air attack on the Libyan army so that the CIA-sponsored mercenaries could prevail.

Russia and China, having learned their lesson, are protesting Washington’s assault on Syria that Washington pretends is a “civil war.” If Syria falls, Russia and China know that Iran is next.

Iran is Russia’s underbelly, and for China Iran is 20% of its energy imports. Both Russian and Chinese governments know that after Iran falls, they are next. There is no other explanation for Washington surrounding Russia with missile bases and surrounding China with naval and air bases.

Both Russia and China are now preparing for the war that they see as inevitable. Washington’s crazed, demented drive for world hegemony is bringing unsuspecting Americans up against two countries with hydrogen bombs whose combined population is five times the US population. In such a conflict everyone dies.

Considering the utterly insane government ruling in Washington, if human life exists in 2020, it will be a miracle. All the worry about future Medicare and Social Security deficits is meaningless. There will be no one here to collect the benefits.

After the journey — a UN man’s open letter to Tony Blair

by Hans von Sponeck, source

Hans von Sponeck, UN humanitarian co-ordinator from 1998-2000, demands answers from the former prime minister to a simple question: Why is Iraq in such a mess?

Dear Mr Blair,

You do not know me. Why should you? Or maybe you should have known me and the many other UN officials who struggled in Iraq when you prepared your Iraq policy. Reading the Iraq details of your “journey”, as told in your memoir, has confirmed my fears. You tell a story of a leader, but not of a statesman. You could have, at least belatedly, set the record straight. Instead you repeat all the arguments we have heard before, such as why sanctions had to be the way they were; why the fear of Saddam Hussein outweighed the fear of crossing the line between concern for people and power politics; why Iraq ended up as a human garbage can. You preferred to latch on to Bill Clinton’s 1998 Iraq Liberation Act and George W Bush’s determination to implement it.

You present yourself as the man who tried to use the UN road. I am not sure. Is it really wrong to say that, if you had this intention, it was for purely tactical reasons and not because you wanted to protect the role of the UN to decide when military action was justified? The list of those who disagreed with you and your government’s handling of 13 years of sanctions and the invasion and occupation of Iraq is long, very long. It includes Unicef and other UN agencies, Care, Caritas, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the then UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, and Nelson Mandela. Do not forget, either, the hundreds of thousands of people who marched in protest in Britain and across the world, among them Cambridge Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) and the UK Stop the War Coalition.

You suggest that you and your supporters – the “people of good will”, as you call them – are the owners of the facts. Your disparaging observations about Clare Short, a woman with courage who resigned as international development secretary in 2003, make it clear you have her on a different list. You appeal to those who do not agree to pause and reflect. I ask you to do the same. Those of us who lived in Iraq experienced the grief and misery that your policies caused. UN officials on the ground were not “taken in” by a dictator’s regime. We were “taken in” by the challenge to tackle human suffering created by the gravely faulty policies of two governments – yours and that of the United States – and by the gutlessness of those in the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere who could have made a difference but chose otherwise. The facts are on our side, not on yours.

Here are some of those facts. Had Hans Blix, the then UN chief weapons inspector, been given the additional three months he requested, your plans could have been thwarted. You and George W Bush feared this. If you had respected international law, you would not, following Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, have allowed your forces to launch attacks from two no-fly zones. Allegedly carried out to protect Iraqi Kurds in the north and Iraqi Shias in the south, these air strikes killed civilians and destroyed non-military installations.

I know that the reports we prepared in Baghdad to show the damage wreaked by these air strikes caused much anger in Whitehall. A conversation I had on the sidelines of the Labour party conference in 2004 with your former foreign secretary Robin Cook confirmed that, even in your cabinet, there had been grave doubts about your approach. UN Resolution 688 was passed in 1991 to authorise the UN secretary general – no one else – to safeguard the rights of people and to help in meeting their humanitarian needs. It did not authorise the no-fly zones. In fact, the British government, in voting for Resolution 688, accepted the obligation to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

I was a daily witness to what you and two US administrations had concocted for Iraq: a harsh and uncompromising sanctions regime punishing the wrong people. Your officials must have told you that your policies translated into a meagre 51 US cents to finance a person’s daily existence in Iraq. You acknowledge that 60 per cent of Iraqis were totally dependent on the goods that were allowed into their country under sanctions, but you make no reference in your book to how the UK and US governments blocked and delayed huge amounts of supplies that were needed for survival. In mid-2002, more than $5bn worth of supplies was blocked from entering the country. No other country on the Iraq sanctions committee of the UN Security Council supported you in this. The UN files are full of such evidence. I saw the education system, once a pride of Iraq, totally collapse. And conditions in the health sector were equally desperate. In 1999, the entire country had only one fully functioning X-ray machine. Diseases that had been all but forgotten in the country re-emerged.

You refuse to acknowledge that you and your policies had anything to do with this humanitarian crisis. You even argue that the death rate of children under five in Iraq, then among the highest in the world, was entirely due to the Iraqi government. I beg you to read Unicef’s reports on this subject and what Carol Bellamy, Unicef’s American executive director at the time, had to say to the Security Council. None of the UN officials involved in dealing with the crisis will subscribe to your view that Iraq “was free to buy as much food and medicines” as the government would allow. I wish that had been the case. During the Chilcot inquiry in July this year, a respected diplomat who represented the UK on the Security Council sanctions com­mittee while I was in Baghdad observed: “UK officials and ministers were well aware of the negative effects of sanctions, but preferred to blame them on the Saddam regime’s failure to implement the oil-for-food programme.”

No one in his right mind would defend the human rights record of Saddam Hussein. Your critical words in this respect are justified. But you offer only that part of this gruesome story. You quote damning statements about Saddam Hussein made by Max van der Stoel, the former Dutch foreign minister who was UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iraq during the time I served in Baghdad. You conveniently omitted three pertinent facts: van der Stoel had not been in Iraq since 1991 and had to rely on second-hand information; his UN mandate was limited to assessing the human rights record of the Iraqi government and therefore excluded violations due to other reasons such as economic sanctions; and his successor, Andreas Mavrommatis, formerly foreign secretary in Cyprus, quickly recognised the biased UN mandate and broadened the scope of his review to include sanctions as a major human rights issue. This was a very important correction.

Brazil’s foreign minister, Celso Amorim, who in the years of sanctions on Iraq was his country’s permanent representative to the UN, is not mentioned in your book. Is that because he was one of the diplomats who climbed over the wall of disinformation and sought the truth about the deplorable human conditions in Iraq in the late 1990s? Amorim used the opportunity of his presidency of the UN Security Council to call for a review of the humanitarian situation. His conclusion was unambiguous. “Even if not all the suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war.”

Malaysia’s ambassador to the UN, Hasmy Agam, starkly remarked: “How ironic it is that the same policy that is supposed to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction has itself become a weapon of mass destruction.” The secretary general, too, made very critical observations on the humanitarian situation in Iraq. When I raised my own concerns in a newspaper article, your minister Peter Hain repeated what the world had become accustomed to hearing from London and Washington: it is all of Saddam’s making. Hain was a loyal ally of yours. He and others in your administration wrote me off as subjective, straying off my mandate, not up to the task, or, in the words of the US state department’s spokesman at the time, James Rubin: “This man in Baghdad is paid to work, not to speak!”

My predecessor in Baghdad, Denis Halliday, and I were repeatedly barred from testifying to the Security Council. On one occasion, the US and UK governments, in a joint letter to the secretary general, insisted that we did not have enough experience with sanctions and therefore could not contribute much to the debate. You were scared of the facts.

We live in serious times, which you helped bring about. The international security architecture is severely weakened, the UN Security Council fails to solve crises peacefully, and there are immense double standards in the debate on the direction our world is travelling in. A former British prime minister – “a big player, a world leader and not just a national leader”, as you describe yourself in your book – should find little time to promote his “journey” on a US talk show. You decided differently. I watched this show, and a show it was. You clearly felt uncomfortable. Everything you and your brother-in-arms, Bush, had planned for Iraq has fallen apart, the sole exception being the removal of Saddam Hussein. You chose to point to Iran as the new danger.

Whether you like it or not, the legacy of your Iraq journey, made with your self-made GPS, includes your sacrifice of the UN and negotiations on the altar of a self-serving alliance with the Bush administration. You admit in your book that “a few mistakes were made here and there”. One line reads: “The intelligence was wrong and we should have, and I have, apologised for it.” A major pillar of your case for invading Iraq is treated almost like a footnote. Your refusal to face the facts fully is the reason why “people of good will” remain so distressed and continue to demand accountability.

Hans von Sponeck is a former UN assistant secretary general and was UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq from 1998 until he resigned in protest in March 2000.

Stirrings of a New Push for Military Option on Iran

by Toles

Analysis by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON, 9 Jul (IPS) – “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August,” explained then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card back in September 2002, in answer to queries about why the administration of George W. Bush had not launched its campaign to rally public opinion behind invading Iraq earlier in the summer.

And while it’s only July – and less than a month after the U.N., the European Union (EU) and the U.S. Congress approved new economic sanctions against Iran – a familiar clutch of Iraq war hawks appear to be preparing the ground for a major new campaign to rally public opinion behind military action against the Islamic Republic.

Barring an unexpected breakthrough on the diplomatic front, that campaign, like the one eight years ago, is likely to move into high gear this autumn, beginning shortly after the Labour Day holiday, Sep. 6, that marks the end of summer vacation.

By the following week, the November mid-term election campaign will be in full swing, and Republican candidates are expected to make the charge that Democrats and President Barack Obama are “soft on Iran” their top foreign policy issue.

In any event, veterans of the Bush administration’s pre-Iraq invasion propaganda offensive are clearly mobilising their arguments for a similar effort on Iran, even suggesting that the timetable between campaign launch and possible military action – a mere six months in Iraq’s case – could be appropriate.

“By the first quarter of 2011, we will know whether sanctions are proving effective,” wrote Bush’s former national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, and Israeli Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog in a paper published last week by the Washington Institute for Near Policy (WINEP), a think tank closely tied to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

“(T)he administration should begin to plan now for a course of action should sanctions be deemed ineffective by the first or second quarter of next year. The military option must be kept on the table both as a means of strengthening diplomacy and as a worst-case scenario,” they asserted.

While Hadley and Herzog argued that the administration should begin planning military options now – presumably to be ready for possible action as early as next spring – others are calling for more urgent and demonstrative preparations.

”We cannot afford to wait indefinitely to determine the effectiveness of diplomacy and sanctions,” wrote former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb and Air Force Gen. Charles Wald (ret.) in a column published in Friday’s Washington Post in which they warned that Tehran “could achieve nuclear weapons capability before the end of this year, posing a strategically untenable threat to the United States”.

“If diplomatic and economic pressures do not compel Iran to terminate its nuclear program, the U.S. military has the capability and is prepared to launch an effective, targeted strike on Tehran’s nuclear and military facilities,” they wrote.

Their column was based on the latest of three reports promoting the use of military pressure on Iran released by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) since 2008 and overseen by BPC’s neo-conservative foreign policy director, Michael Makovsky.

Makovsky, whose brother is a senior official at WINEP, served as a consultant to the controversial Pentagon office set up in the run-up to the Iraq War to find evidence of operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein as a justification for the invasion.

The BPC report, “Meeting the Challenge: When Time Runs Out”, urged the Obama administration, among other immediate steps, to “augment the Fifth Fleet presence in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, including the deployment of an additional (aircraft) carrier battle group and minesweepers to the waters off Iran; conduct broad exercises with its allies in the Persian Gulf; …initiate a ‘strategic partnership’ with Azerbaijan to enhance regional access…” as a way of demonstrating Washington’s readiness to go to war.

“If such pressure fails to persuade Iran’s leadership, the United States and its allies would have no choice but to consider blockading refined petroleum imports into Iran,” it went on, noting that such a step would “effectively be an act of war and the U.S. and its allies would have to prepare for its consequences”.

Of course, some Iraq hawks, most aggressively Bush’s former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, have insisted that neither diplomacy nor sanctions, no matter how tough, would be sufficient to dissuade Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapons and that military action – preferably by the U.S., but, if not, by Israel – would be necessary, and sooner rather than later.

Since the Jun. 12, 2009 disputed elections and the emergence of the opposition Green Movement in Iran, a few neo- conservatives, notably Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Michael Ledeen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), have argued that a military attack could prove counter-productive by rallying an otherwise discontented – and possibly rebellious – population behind the regime.

But with the Green Movement seemingly unable to challenge the government in the streets that argument has been losing ground among the hawks who, in any event, blame the opposition’s alleged weakness on Obama’s failure to provide it with more support.

“Unfortunately, President Obama waffled while innocent Iranians were killed by their own government,” wrote William Kristol and Jamie Fly, in Kristol’s Weekly Standard last month.

“It’s now increasingly clear that the credible threat of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program is the only action that could convince the regime to curtail its ambition,” wrote the two men, who direct the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor organisation of the neo- conservative-led Project for the New American Century (PNAC) that played a key role in preparing the ground for the Iraq invasion.

Neo-conservative and other hawks have also pounced on reported remarks by United Arab Emirates (UAE) Amb. Yousef al-Otaiba, at a retreat sponsored by The Atlantic magazine in Colorado this week to nullify another obstacle to military action – the widespread belief that Washington’s Arab allies oppose a military attack on Iran by the U.S. or Israel as too risky for their own security and regional stability.

“We cannot live with a nuclear Iran,” Otaiba was quoted as saying in a Washington Times article by Eli Lake, a prominent neo-conservative journalist.

“Mr. Otaiba’s …comments leave no doubt what he and most Arab officials think about the prospect of a nuclear revolutionary Shiite state,” the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, a major media champion of the Iraq War, opined. “They desperately want someone, and that means the U.S. or Israel, to stop it, using force if need be.”

Otaiba was interviewed at the conference by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, an influential U.S.-Israeli writer who in a widely noted essay published by The New Yorker magazine in 2002 claimed that Hussein was supporting an al Qaeda group in Kurdistan and that the Iraqi leader would soon possess nuclear weapons.

Goldberg, who asserted in his blog this week that “the idea of a group of Persian Shi’ites having possession of a nuclear bomb …certainly scares [Arab leaders] more than the reality of the Jewish bomb,” is reportedly working on an essay on the necessity of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities for publication by The Atlantic in September.

US spies: “Israel” or UK forged nukes report on Iran

Tue, 29 Dec 2009, Press TV

US intelligence sources have confirmed Iran’s assertions that a document published by a British daily about Tehran’s nuclear program is a fabrication.

According to a former CIA official, US intelligence agents have found that the document, which was published by the Times of London on December 14, was fabricated by Israel or Britain, the Inter Press Service (IPS) reported on Monday.

The IPS report was penned by renowned investigative journalist Gareth Porter.

Philip Giraldi, who was a CIA counterterrorism official from 1976 to 1992, told IPS that intelligence sources say the US had nothing to do with forging the document.

He added, however, that US intelligence sources mainly suspect Israel of carrying out the forgery, although, they do not rule out the possibility of the British having played a part in it.

The Times article said that Iran had been secretly experimenting on a key component of a nuclear bomb called the “neutron initiator.”

Right after the article was published, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast dismissed the report as completely “baseless.”

The Times article did not identify the source of the document, but rather quoted comments by “an Asian intelligence source,” who claimed that his government believes that Tehran has been working on a neutron initiator since 2007.

“An Asian intelligence source” is a term some news media use to refer to Israeli intelligence officials.

The Times story came just before US politicians and their European allies launched a new round of verbal attacks against Iran, threatening it with tougher sanctions and the possibility of an Israeli military attack.

Porter wrote US media reports have left the impression that US intelligence analysts are confident about the document’s authenticity. This is while it has been widely reported that they have now had a year to assess the issue.

Although Giraldi’s intelligence sources did not reveal all the reasons that led analysts to conclude that the document had been fabricated, they did note that the source of the story itself was suspicious.

“The Rupert Murdoch chain has been used extensively to publish false intelligence from the Israelis and occasionally from the British government,” Giraldi said.

Other than The Times, Murdoch’s press empire includes the Sunday Times, Fox News and the New York Post, all of which are known for the strongly pro-Israeli tone they take in their reports.

Porter added that other than its source, the two-page document itself included a number of giveaways that also indicated fraud.

For example, the image of the Farsi-language original of the document, which was also published by the Times lacked any confidentiality marking, although the subject of the document logically put it into the highly classified category.

Furthermore, the document did not include information about the issuing office or the intended recipients. It vaguely referred to “the Centre,” “the Institute,” “the Committee,” and the “neutron group.”

The ambiguity was in stark contrast with the concreteness of the plans, which included detailed instructions about recruiting eight individuals for different tasks for very specific numbers of hours and for a four-year time frame.

The vagueness can be explained by reasoning that security markings and identifying information in a forged document would increase the likelihood of potential errors that could expose the fraud.

The absence of any date on the document also conflicted with the rest of the information, which came in detail. The 2007 timeline was only introduced by the Times’ unnamed foreign sources.

A clear motive for suggesting the early 2007 date would be to appease the Israeli government by discrediting the US intelligence community’s November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb.

The biggest reason for discarding the document as fraudulent is its attempt to suggest past Iranian experiments on Polonium-210 for use in a neutron initiator, a claim which was ruled out by the UN nuclear watchdog in a February 2008 report.

This is not the first time that Giraldi has been tipped off by his intelligence sources on forged documents. He was the individual who identified those responsible for the two most notorious forged documents in recent US history.

In 2005, Giraldi identified Michael Ledeen, the extreme right-wing former consultant to the Pentagon, as an author of the fabricated letter, which introduced the allegation that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger.

That letter gave the administration of former US President George W. Bush the opportunity to claim that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons program, an allegation that was proven completely false following the invasion of Iraq.

Giraldi also identified officials in the “Office of Special Plans” who worked under Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith as those who forged a letter, allegedly written by a Saddam intelligence aide, about an operation to arrange for an unidentified shipment from Niger.

Blair Will Give Iraq War Evidence in Public: Inquiry

by Steve Bell

Al Manar

13/12/2009 Britain’s Iraq war inquiry said Sunday that former prime minister Tony Blair would be questioned “very much in public” amid fears that crucial evidence would only be heard in private.

Blair, who is to appear before the a long-awaited official inquiry early next year, said in a BBC television interview to be screened Sunday that he would have backed the invasion of Iraq even if he had known that president Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

He said London would have used other ways to justify its support for the March 2003 US-led invasion to oust Saddam.

The interview triggered concerns that when he testifies it would be heard behind closed doors.

Most evidence to the inquiry will be given in public, although closed hearings can take place for issues concerning national security or secret intelligence. Mindful of the risk, proceedings are broadcast with a one-minute delay.

The Independent on Sunday newspaper suggested that Blair’s meetings with US president George W. Bush and details of the decision-making process that led to war would be dealt with in secret on grounds of national security and the need to protect London’s relations with Washington.

However, a spokesman for the inquiry said: “Mr. Blair will be appearing very much in public and will be questioned in detail on a wide range of issues surrounding Britain’s involvement in Iraq.

“We have said right from the start that he will be a key figure in the inquiry. Mr. Blair has said that he is ready and willing to give evidence in public.”

The inquiry opened last month, after Britain’s mission in Iraq ended earlier this year.

Nick Clegg, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, said following Blair’s BBC interview that it is essential that as much of his evidence as possible is heard in public.

“It would be wholly unacceptable for any of Blair’s testimony to be held in private, except that which could directly compromise national security,” he said.

“Tony Blair’s breathtaking cynicism in stating that he would have found any old excuse to go to war simply underlines how vital it is that we hear his testimony in public.”

In his BBC interview, Blair said of Saddam and the lack of WMDs found: “I would still have thought it right to remove him. Obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments, about the nature of the threat.

“I can’t really think we’d be better with him and his two sons still in charge, but it’s incredibly difficult.

“It was the notion of him as a threat to the region, of which the development of WMD was obviously one, and because you’d had 12 years of United Nations to and fro on this subject, he used chemical weapons on his own people — so this was obviously the thing that was uppermost in my mind.”

Hans Blix, the former United Nations chief weapons inspector in Iraq, said Blair’s comments suggested a “lack of sincerity” over his stated reasons for going to war.

“The war was sold on the WMD, and now you feel, or hear that it was only a question of deployment of arguments, as he said, it sounds a bit like a fig leaf that was held up, and if the fig leaf had not been there, then they would have tried to put another fig leaf there,” he told the BBC.

“What could they have argued? Tony Blair talks about the threat to the region. I don’t think that any country in the region, with the possible exception of Kuwait, really saw Iraq, which was prostrate at the time, as a threat.”

Blix says Iraqi blood on Bush, Blair hands

Sat, 05 Dec 2009, Press TV

Former IAEA chief Hans Blix condemns former US president George W. Bush and former British Premier Tony Blair for waging war in Iraq.

In an interview with the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, Blix censured former US and UK governments for having misled their nations by magnifying former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s alleged accumulation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

The alleged existence of such weapons was then used by the UK and the US governments as a pretext to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Blix, who directed the then UN weapons inspection team, told the paper that Bush and Blair’s obsession with Saddam’s planned ouster led them to embark on a ‘witch hunt’ to bring down the former Iraqi leader.

“They were convinced they had their witch in front of them, and they searched for the evidence and believed it without critical examination,” said Blix on Saturday.

“When you start a war which cost(s) thousands of lives you should be more certain than they were,” added the former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He also said that his counsel on the absence of WMDs in Iraq fell on deaf ears in the presence of Tony Blair.

“It would prove paradoxical and absurd if 250,000 troops were to invade Iraq and find very little,” Blix had cautioned Blair ahead of the Iraq invasion.

“If the UK had really insisted then on the UN path being exhausted, they could have slowed the military build-up … but that wasn’t the case. They eventually had so much military in the [Persian] Gulf that they felt they had to invade,” The 81-year-old former UN official went on to say.

Blix called the war “illegal” but expressed doubt that the retired leaders would be held accountable in a court of law.

Another War in the Works

by Carlos Latuff

by Carlos Latuff

by Paul Craig Roberts, September 29, 2009, source

Does anyone remember all the lies that they were told by then-president Bush and the “mainstream media” about the grave threat to America from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? These lies were repeated endlessly in the print and TV media despite the reports from the weapons inspectors, who had been sent to Iraq, that no such weapons existed.

The weapons inspectors did an honest job in Iraq and told the truth, but the mainstream media did not emphasize their findings. Instead, the media served as a Ministry of Propaganda, beating the war drums for the U.S. government.

Now the whole process is repeating itself. This time the target is Iran.

As there is no real case against Iran, Obama took a script from Bush’s playbook and fabricated one.

First the facts: As a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran’s nuclear facilities are open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which carefully monitors Iran’s nuclear energy program to make certain that no material is diverted to nuclear weapons.

The IAEA has monitored Iran’s nuclear energy program and has announced repeatedly that it has found no diversion of nuclear material to a weapons program. All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have affirmed and reaffirmed that Iran abandoned interest in nuclear weapons years ago.

In keeping with the safeguards agreement that the IAEA be informed before an enrichment facility comes online, Iran informed the IAEA on Sept. 21 that it had a new nuclear facility under construction. By informing the IAEA, Iran fulfilled its obligations under the safeguards agreement. The IAEA will inspect the facility and monitor the nuclear material produced to make sure it is not diverted to a weapons program.

Despite these unequivocal facts, Obama announced on Sept. 25 that Iran has been caught with a “secret nuclear facility” with which to produce a bomb that would threaten the world.

The Obama regime’s claim that Iran is not in compliance with the safeguards agreement is disinformation. Between the end of 2004 and early 2007, Iran voluntarily complied with an additional protocol (Code 3.1) that was never ratified and never became a legal part of the safeguards agreement. The additional protocol would have required Iran to notify the IAEA prior to beginning construction of a new facility, whereas the safeguards agreement in force requires notification prior to completion of a new facility. Iran ceased its voluntary compliance with the unratified additional protocol in March 2007, most likely because of the American and Israeli misrepresentations of Iran’s existing facilities and military threats against them.

By accusing Iran of having a secret “nuclear weapons program” and demanding that Iran “come clean” about the nonexistent program, adding that he does not rule out a military attack on Iran, Obama mimics the discredited Bush regime’s use of nonexistent Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” to set up Iraq for invasion.

The U.S. media, even the “liberal” National Public Radio, quickly fell in with the Obama lie machine. Steven Thomma of the McClatchy Newspapers declared the non-operational facility under construction, which Iran reported to the IAEA, to be “a secret nuclear facility.”

Thomma, reported incorrectly that the world didn’t learn of Iran’s “secret” facility, the one that Iran reported to the IAEA the previous Monday, until Obama announced it in a joint appearance in Pittsburgh the following Friday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Obviously, Thomma has no command over the facts, a routine inadequacy of “mainstream media” reporters. The new facility was revealed when Iran voluntarily reported the facility to the IAEA on Sept. 21.

Ali Akbar Dareini, an Associated Press writer, reported, incorrectly, over AP: “The presence of a second uranium-enrichment site that could potentially produce material for a nuclear weapon has provided one of the strongest indications yet that Iran has something to hide.”

Dareini went on to write that “the existence of the secret site was first revealed by Western intelligence officials and diplomats on Friday.” Dareini is mistaken. We learned of the facility when the IAEA announced that Iran had reported the facility the previous Monday in keeping with the safeguards agreement.

Dareini’s untruthful report of “a secret underground uranium enrichment facility whose existence has been hidden from international inspectors for years” helped to heighten the orchestrated alarm.

There you have it. The president of the United States and his European puppets are doing what they do best – lying through their teeth. The U.S. “mainstream media” repeats the lies as if they were facts. The U.S. “media” is again making itself an accomplice to wars based on fabrications. Apparently, the media’s main interest is to please the U.S. government and hopefully obtain a taxpayer bailout of its failing print operations.

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a rare man of principle who has not sold his integrity to the U.S. and Israeli governments, refuted in his report (Sept. 7, 2009) the baseless “accusations that information has been withheld from the Board of Governors about Iran’s nuclear program. I am dismayed by the allegations of some Member states, which have been fed to the media, that information has been withheld from the Board. These allegations are politically motivated and totally baseless. Such attempts to influence the work of the Secretariat and undermine its independence and objectivity are in violation of Article VII.F. of the IAEA Statute and should cease forthwith.”

As there is no legal basis for action against Iran, the Obama regime is creating another hoax, like the nonexistent “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.” The hoax is that a facility, reported to the IAEA by Iran, is a secret facility for making nuclear weapons.

Just as the factual reports from the weapons inspectors in Iraq were ignored by the Bush regime, the factual reports from the IAEA are ignored by the Obama regime. Like the Bush regime, the Middle East policy of the Obama regime is based in lies and deception.

Who is the worse enemy of the American people, Iran or the government in Washington and the media whores who serve it?

Facts vs. Beliefs – Today’s Ancient Warfare

{Democracy} by Khaldun Gharayebeh-Al Rai newspaper-Jordan

{Democracy} by Khaldun Gharayebeh-Al Ra'i newspaper-Jordan

By Jeff Gates, source

In unconventional warfare, beliefs are deployed as weapons by those waging war by way of deception. Does anyone recall Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda? Iraq’s biological weapons laboratories? The Iraqi meetings in Prague with Al Qaeda? Iraq’s purchases of yellowcake uranium from Niger?

All were alleged true but later proven false or, worse, fabricated. Yet all were widely believed. In combination, those beliefs induced a consensus to wage war in Iraq in response to a mass murder on U.S. soil.

The battlefield has shifted. Ground warfare is secondary. Likewise for airstrikes, naval support and covert operations. Physical operations are all downstream of information operations. False beliefs come first. Psyops precede missiles, and bombs. Hardware ranks a distant third. Foremost are the consensus shapers who manipulate perceptions until a critical mass of phony intelligence is reached. Then comes war.

People are preeminent. Wars are won by those skilled at creating consensus opinions. Where is modern-day warfare waged? Not on the ground; nor in the air or on the seas. The shared mindset is this combatant’s theater of operations. Their battlefield is the shared field of consciousness. Deceit is not new to warfare. What’s new is the technology that enables psyops on a global scale.

The military remains subordinate to politics. But politics are subordinate to those skilled at manipulating consensus beliefs. Decision-making is no better than the information on which decisions depend. Likewise for decision-makers. That’s why U.S. lawmakers have long been targeted by the Israel lobby.

With law-making dependent on information, these mindset manipulators can operate atop the chain of command. In a system of law reliant on informed choice, self-governance can readily be replaced in plain sight by manipulated beliefs and consensus opinions. Thus the motivation for media dominance by Zionists in the U.S., Canada, Germany and elsewhere.

When waged across four key areas, such “Information Operations” can displace democratic lawmaking with a predetermined agenda. Here’s a quick look at each area: geopolitical, strategic, operational and tactical..

Duplicity in Plain Sight

The geopolitical realm is where the “framing” of future conflicts first emerges. The Clash of Civilizations first appeared in 1993 as an article in Foreign Affairs. Three years later, when this thematic framing emerged as a book, more than 100 NGOs were prepared to promote its conflict-of-opposites theme as a sequel to the Cold War—and a prequel to a “global war on terrorism.” That consensus belief emerged just as A Clean Break appeared with its proposal to “secure the realm” (Israel) by removing Saddam Hussein.

Strategically, to evoke a war requires a plausible Evil Doer and a credible provocation. The global branding of the Taliban emerged in the “field” in March 2001 with destruction of the ancient Buddhas at Bamiyan. Widely portrayed as a “cultural Holocaust,” that high-profile act put Afghanistan’s previously obscure Taliban on everyone’s list as certifiably evil. The missing piece: the mass murder of September 11, 2001.

Strongly provoked emotions facilitate the displacement of facts with what “the mark” can be induced to believe—particularly in the presence of Evil Doer pre-staging. The combination of (a) evocation (religious extremism), (b) provocation (911) and (c) association (the Axis of Evil) enhanced the capacity to deceive—fueled by false reports of Iraqi WMD and even ties between the secular Saddam and the fundamentalists of Al Qaeda (they detested each other).

When waging war on the public’s shared mindset, the power of association is one of the most effective weapons. Thus the potent imagery of the peaceful Buddhas at Bamiyan destroyed by violent extremists. Thus too the associative impact of Colin Powell’s appearance at the U.N. Security Council when his credibility was deployed—like a weapon—to spread lies about Iraq’s biological weapons. Not only was Powell “the mark” – so were the U.N. and the U.S.

Operationally, by the time the U.S. was induced to invade Iraq, 100-plus Israeli Mossad agents had been operating in Mosul for more than a decade. Soon after the invasion, several moderate clerics were murdered, enhancing the capacity to provoke a conflict-of-opposites between extremist Shias and more moderate Sunnis, a key to evoking the destabilizing insurgency.

As Information Operations proceed at the geopolitical, strategic and operational level, tactical deceit and misdirection provide key support. A recent provocation—the invasion of Gaza—was scheduled by Tel Aviv between Christmas and the inauguration of a U.S. President who promised change. That timing ensured minimal capacity to criticize.

As critics of Israeli policy emerged in universities, the Anti-Defamation League and its international network mounted an intimidation campaign on a high-profile campus that silenced academics worldwide.

To succeed, Information Operations require both deceit and denial of access to the facts required for informed consent. How else can anyone explain the perception that the Zionist state is a democracy—and even an ally?

Democracy assumes that all of us collectively are smarter than any of us individually. Thus the need for an unbiased media to provide the facts with which we can reason together. Thus, in turn, the need for pro-Israeli dominance of mainstream media by those skilled at waging war by way of deception. Thus what we now see portrayed in that domain: a world turned inside out where the aggressor is portrayed as victim and the predator as prey.

With consensus beliefs the upstream target, democracy becomes the downstream casualty. To protect the informed consent essential to liberty requires that those waging war on our shared mindset be made transparent. This method of warfare is ancient; only the means are modern.

The common source of this duplicity remains unknown to the public. There lies the strategic role for online media unadorned by conspiracy theories that obscure the clarity required to wage this battle with confidence.

– An attorney, educator and former counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Jeff Gates has advised governments of 35 nations. He is author of Guilt By Association, Democracy at Risk and The Ownership Solution.

The Reality of “Israel’s” “Open Jerusalem”: Ghettoes, demolitions and housing shortages

by Jonathan Cook, source

Jerusalem. No one would have been more surprised than Fawziya Khurd by the recent pronouncement of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, that Israel operates an “open city” policy in Jerusalem.

Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem following the 1967 war — what he called the city’s “unification” — meant that all residents, Jews and Palestinians alike, could buy property wherever they chose.

“Our policy is that Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city,” he said. “There is no ban on Arabs buying apartments in the west of the city, and there is no ban on Jews building or buying in the city’s east.”

Mr Netanyahu was trying to justify recent construction in East Jerusalem by settler organisations in defiance of demands from the US that Israel halt all such work. In particular, US officials are objecting to the recent takeover of property by settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where Mrs Khurd used to live, as well as the Old City, Silwan and Ras al-Amud.

According to experts, however, the reality is that in both a practical and legal sense Mr Netanyahu’s “open city” is a fiction, extended only to the settlers and not to Mrs Khurd or to the 250,000 other Palestinians of East Jerusalem.

Mrs Khurd, for example, has been forced to live in a tent after settlers ousted her from her East Jerusalem home of five decades in November. She also has no hope of moving back to the house taken from her family in Talbiyeh, now in West Jerusalem, during the 1948 war that established Israel.

In addition, movement restrictions mean that almost all of the nearly four million Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are banned from entering the city or visiting its holy sites.

Inside Jerusalem, as in the West Bank, Israel enforces a strict programme of segregation to disadvantage the Palestinians, said Jeff Halper, of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Israeli Jews have the freedom to live in both parts of the city, with 270,000 in West Jerusalem and a further 200,000 living in East Jerusalem in rapidly expanding settlements heavily subsidised by the state.

Palestinians, meanwhile, are denied the right to live both in West Jerusalem and in many residential areas of East Jerusalem. Even in their tightly controlled neighbourhoods in the city’s east, at least 20,000 of their homes are subject to demolition orders, said Mr Halper.

Daniel Seidemann, a Jerualem lawyer, said that in his 20 years of handling residency rights cases for Palestinians he had never heard of a Palestinian with a Jerusalem ID living in West Jerusalem.

The reason, he pointed out, was that almost all land inside Israel’s 1948 borders, including West Jerusalem, has been registered as “state land” managed by a body known as the Israel Lands Authority.

The authority allows neither Palestinians nor Israelis to buy property on state land. Instead long-term renewable leases are available to Israeli citizens and anyone eligible to immigrate to Israel under the country’s Law of Return — meaning Jews.

The settlements in East Jerusalem — now covering 35 per cent of the eastern city, according to Mr Seidemann — are also built on land declared as “state land”, in violation of international law. Again this means that only Israelis and Jewish foreign nationals are entitled to lease land there.

Because they do not hold Israeli citizenship, the Palestinians of East Jerusalem are disqualified from acquiring property either in West Jerusalem or in the settlements of East Jerusalem.

“The extraordinary situation is that a Palestinian who had his land expropriated to build the settlement of Har Homa [on the outskirts of East Jerusalem] cannot lease land there, whereas a Jew from Paris or London who is not even an Israeli citizen can.”

Mr Seidemann also pointed out that the country’s Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that a Palestinian family forced out of what became the Jewish quarter of the Old City in 1967 had no right to return to their property.

The court justified its decision on the grounds that each religious community should have its own quarter. “However, that ruling has not stopped the Israeli government from helping Jewish settlers to encroach on the Muslim and Christian quarters.”

This week, the Israeli media reported, several families from a settler organisation, Ateret Cohanim, had moved into a building in the heart of the Muslim quarter. The property was bought by Ariel Sharon in the 1980s to assert Jewish sovereignty over all of the Old City, although he never moved in.

Mr Halper said that, in addition, Jerusalem’s Palestinians, unlike its Jews, faced municipal policies designed to make life as unbearable as possible. Demolitions of Palestinian property are widespread. Police, for example, have torn down Mrs Khurd’s tent on six occasions since November and she faces a series of fines.

“Even according to Israeli figures, East Jerusalem lacks 25,000 housing units to cope with the Palestinians’ minimal needs,” said Mr Halper. “The land is available, it’s just that Israel wants to induce a severe housing shortage for Palestinians.”

The hope is that they would move to the West Bank, he said.

Mr Seidemann said a handful of Palestinian families — faced with this housing shortage — had managed to rent homes short term from Israeli owners in East Jerusalem’s larger settlements, such as French Hill and Pisgat Zeev. This marginal phenomenon, he said, had been misleadingly trumpeted as proof of the “egalitarian nature” of Israel’s property laws.

According to the Israeli media, Mr Netanyahu’s remark may have been intended to throw mud in the eyes of the US Administration as it steps up pressure on Israel to halt settlement building in East Jerusalem.

Mr Seidemann said: “The [US] State Department understands these issues better than Mr Netanyahu. There is zero possibility that his comments will be treated as credible by any of their negotiators.”

The policy of victimhood

Ever watched the movie mean machine (this is the English version there are other American versions)? If you watch it you’ll find yourself identifying with the prisoners and wanting them to win instead of the guards. I find it interesting that people will like the criminals who are imprisoned for very ugly crimes istead of  the guards of the prison. I think the reason for that is that the prisoners in this case are seen as victims because of the off handed ways of the warden and the guards whose actions are criminal also but they are in a position of authority. Most people stand with justice and abhor the abuse of the law or violation of it so anyone in a state of victimhood or even seen in that position is empathized with even if he/she is a criminal.

The idea of victimhood from this movie lends itself to the world’s political scene. How do you explain then that with all the horrid actions of the Israelis ranging from genocide and ethnic cleansing to petty harassment of Palestinians are defended by many people other than Israelis because they view them as victims? For example, people excuse many things done in Gaza because it is Hamas’s fault for launching rockets or the people who voted for them. Another example is the large murder of Pakistani and Afghanis is justified because according to the coalition they are harboring Taliban and their soldiers are under attack.

Another form of exploitation of victimhood is when you apply it to someone else to justify a military or political action. We recently saw the sympathizers with the protests in Iran because the protesters were seen as victims and even all of the Iranian people. Though no one can justify the generalization and I find it funny when the Iranians protests and hold “down with America” signs for example they are terrorists yet political interests call for putting a victim label on them now. This label is used to further political policies and is accompanied with the demonization of the ones against those supposed victims. The same issue happened in Iraq, Saddam was used as a pretext for the invasion by victimizing the world first fearing the WMDs then the Iraqis themselves.

The policy of victimhood is best utilized by the Israelis and I don’t think anyone surpasses them in that department and they justify anything in that light. This policy is not only horrid because of the actions that stem from it but rather it erases the real victims around the world from the sick and hungry who are now a billion to the victims of war who don’t have anything to do with it and are in the millions.

When you form an opinion about any world event know the far reaches of the issue for there are so many lies running around it is easy to be deceived by them.