Archive for September, 2007

The Iran War is on the Front Burner

September 30, 2007
By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

 

Global Research, September 28, 2007

Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article with a view to spreading the word and warning people of the dangers of a broader Middle East war. Please indicate the source and copyright note.

The war that Dick Cheney has been planning against Iran, has moved from the back burner to the front, and those who do not see this are either blind or complicit.

Military deployments are in place, as laid out in detail in a Sept. 16 feature by Michel Chossudovsky in Global Research, while the statements of intent to wage war, issued by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, have been hyped in British and American news outlets.

The fact that war is high on the agenda, was denounced by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohammad ElBaradei, who made a dramatic exit from an ongoing meeting of the IAEA board of governors on Sept. 11, in protest against the manifest intent of the U.S. and U.K. delegations, as well as the rotating EU presidency representative, to proceed with military aggression.

ElBaradei, who was so furious that he initially refused to talk to the press, clearly stated, in his Sept. 10 report to the UN body, that the course chosen by the IAEA, to proceed with diplomacy and inspections, was succeeding in providing the necessary clarifications of outstanding questions about Iran’s nuclear energy program.

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Why Israel attacked Syria

September 30, 2007

Jonathan Cook, Electronic Lebanon, Sep 28, 2007

Just months after Israel’s war on Lebanon came to an end, Israeli peace-activists protest in Tel Aviv with stickers reading, “Talk with Syria,” November 2006. (Moti Milrod/MaanImages)

Israel’s air strike on northern Syria earlier this month should be understood in the context of events unfolding since its assault last summer on neighboring Lebanon. Although little more than rumors have been offered about what took place, one strategic forecasting group, Stratfor, still concluded: “Something important happened.”

From the leaks so far, it seems that more than half a dozen Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace to drop munitions on a site close to the border with Turkey. We also know from the US media that the “something” occurred in close coordination with the White House. But what was the purpose and significance of the attack?

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Congress Quietly Approves Billions More for Iraq War

September 30, 2007

CommonDreams.org, September 28, 2007

By John Nichols

The Senate agreed on Thursday to increase the federal debt limit by $850 billion — from $8.965 trillion to $9.815 trillion — and then proceeded to approve a stop-gap spending bill that gives the Bush White House at least $9 billion in new funding for its war in Iraq.

Additionally, the administration has been given emergency authority to tap further into a $70 billion “bridge fund” to provide new infusions of money for the occupation while the Congress works on appropriations bills for the Department of Defense and other agencies.

Translation: Under the guise of a stop-gap spending bill that is simply supposed to keep the government running until a long-delayed appropriations process is completed — probably in November — the Congress has just approved a massive increase in war funding.

The move was backed by every senator who cast a vote, save one.

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U.S.-IRAQ: Pentagon Gives Blackwater New Contract

September 29, 2007

Source: IPS

WASHINGTON, Sep. 28 (IPS) – A U.S.-based private security firm received a contract worth up to 92 million dollars from the Department of Defence amid hard questions about its involvement in two separate violent incidents in Iraq.

“Blackwater has been a contractor in the past with the department and could certainly be in the future,” said the U.S.’s top-ranking military officer, General Peter Pace, at an afternoon press conference here.

The future arrived just two hours later when the Pentagon released a new list of contracts — Presidential Airways, the aviation unit of parent company Blackwater, was awarded the contract to fly Department of Defence passengers and cargo between locations around central Asia.

The announcement comes as a cloud of suspicion is gathering around the “professional military” firm for its actions as a State Department security contractor in Iraq in which at least eight Iraqis and possibly as many as 28 were killed, including a woman and child.

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Guest Columnists: Lives wasted in an impossible war

September 29, 2007

The Seattle Post Intelligence, September 27, 2007

JIM SINCLAIR AND RICK BENDER
GUEST COLUMNISTS

Working people from both sides of the border will gather Saturday at the Peace Arch border crossing to send a strong message to both our governments — it’s time to bring our troops home.

It should come as no surprise that organizations representing more than 800,000 workers have come to the same conclusion. It is not because we are afraid to fight that we are opposed. Working people are fighters. Our movement and our countries have been built by the struggle and sacrifices of ordinary citizens acting with extraordinary courage.

As trade union leaders, we are challenged to speak out because it is the young daughters and sons of working people whose lives are being wasted in an impossible war that will have no end.

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“The Revolt of the Generals”: Generals opposing Iraq war break with military tradition

September 28, 2007

Global Research, September 28, 2007

Union Tribune – 2007-09-27

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The generals acted independently, coming in their own ways to the agonizing decision to defy military tradition and publicly criticize the Bush administration over its conduct of the war in Iraq.

What might be called The Revolt of the Generals has rarely happened in the nation’s history.

In op-ed pieces, interviews and TV ads, more than 20 retired U.S. generals have broken ranks with the culture of salute and keep it in the family. Instead, they are criticizing the commander in chief and other top civilian leaders who led the nation into what the generals believe is a misbegotten and tragic war.

The active-duty generals followed procedure, sending reports up the chain of command. The retired generals beseeched old friends in powerful positions to use their influence to bring about a change.

When their warnings were ignored, some came to believe it was their patriotic duty to speak out, even if it meant terminating their careers.

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US Senate calls for Iraq’s partition

September 28, 2007

EUX.TV, September 26, 2007

Washington (dpa) – US lawmakers voted Wednesday to split Iraq into a loose federation of sectarian-based regions and urged President George W Bush to press Iraqi leaders to agree.

More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats to pass the non-binding measure in the Senate, 75-23, showing frustration in both parties about Bush’s war policy and lagging national reconciliation in Iraq.

Supporters of Iraqi partition believe it would let Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions settle their differences and make it easier for US troops eventually to return home.

But the measure, attached to the 2008 defence budget, runs against US administration policy to keep Iraq united and would likely face a veto if it reached Bush’s desk.

The proposal to breaking up Iraq into decentralized regions came from Senator Joseph Biden, who heads the chamber’s foreign relations committee and is running for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Biden has long championed the federal plan, saying it would give Iraq’s main groups “breathing room in their own regions” and speed up a US troop withdrawal.

But partition would raise concern in neighbouring Turkey, which is fighting a Kurdish separatist movement and would be wary of broader autonomy for Iraqi Kurds across the border.

Sunni-led Saudi Arabia would likely fear a further rise in Iranian influence over Iraq if Iraqi Shiites controlled their own mini-state.

A key Republican supporter and presidential candidate, Senator Sam Brownback, has urged Bush to send a high-level envoy to Iraq “to get these people in a room to cut the deal to get different states, where you have the power mostly residing in the states.”

Biden’s amendment calls for the US government to work for a “political settlement based on the creation of federal regions within a united Iraq.”

The Dark Side of Rev. Billy Graham

September 28, 2007

Counterpunch, September 27, 2007

A Prince of War Exposed

By WILLIAM HUGHES

“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.”

– Stendhal

The propaganda machine of the Evangelical Christian Right will soon be in counter attack mode. One of its darling preachers is about to take it on the proverbial chin. The Rev. Billy Graham, who has created a multimillion dollar media empire, that a Rupert Murdock would envy, is the subject of a shocking expose’ due out on Nov. 15, 2007. It’s entitled, “The Prince of War: Billy Graham’s Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire.” The author is Cecil Bothwell. He hails from Asheville, North Carolina and is an award winning investigative reporter. Bothwell’s unflattering portrait of Rev. Graham shows him as a wily warmonger and a lackey for the Establishment. He describes Rev. Graham as a public figure who: “Undermined the Founders’ skeptical Deism and sought to rebrand the U.S. as a Christian nation, [and] its armies [as] the rightful instruments of [a] Christian crusade and empire.”

Bothwell documents that there wasn’t a war the U.S. was involved in that Rev. Graham couldn’t bless. In fact, he reveals that during the horrific Vietnam conflict, (1959-75), he had urged the then-President, Richard M. Nixon, to bomb North Vietnam! In a 13-page letter, that Rev. Graham had forwarded to the White House in April, 1969, it was stated: “There are tens of thousands of North Vietnamese defectors to bomb and invade the North. Why should all the fighting be in the South?…Especially let them bomb the dikes which could over night destroy the economy of North Vietnam.” Mr. Bothwell underscored that such a military action against the dikes, a huge complex of earthworks, would probably “kill a million people and wipe out an already poor nation’s agricultural system” He added that the advice in Graham’s transmittal “fell on receptive ears. Not longer after, Nixon moved the air war north and west.”

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President Bush Threatened Nations That Did Not Back Iraq War

September 28, 2007

APF, September 26, 2007

US President George W. Bush threatened nations with retaliation if they did not vote for a UN resolution backing the Iraq war, according to a transcript published Wednesday of a conversation he had with former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar. 0926 08

In the transcript of a meeting on February 22, 2003 — a month before the US-led invasion of Iraq — published in the El Pais daily, Bush tells Aznar that nations like Mexico, Angola, Chile and Cameroon must know that the security of the United States is at stake.

He says during the meeting on his ranch in Texas that Angola stood to lose financial aid while Chile could see a free trade agreement held up in the US Senate if they did not back the resolution, the left-wing paper said.

The confidential transcript was prepared by Spain’s ambassador to the United States at the time, Javier Ruperez, the paper said.

Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, Washington unsuccessfully lobbied the 15 members of the UN Security Council for a second resolution paving the way for military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein failed to comply with demands to disarm.

But during the meeting with Aznar, Bush made it clear the US would invade Iraq by the end of March 2003 whether or not there was a UN resolution to authorize it, El Pais reported.

“We have to get rid of Saddam. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be ready militarily. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March,” Bush said in the transcript which was translated into Spanish by the newspaper.

Victory would come “without destruction”, he added.

The meeting between Aznar and Bush came just days after a massive protest in Madrid by more than a million people against the invasion which Aznar’s conservative government backed.

Aznar tells Bush in the transcript that he needed Washington’s help to get Spanish public opinion behind the invasion. He adds that he is worried by Bush’s optimism.

“I am optimistic because I believe I am right. I am at peace with myself,” Bush responded.

Greenspan: the Iraq war was largely about oil

September 19, 2007

Global Research, September 17, 2007

Observer

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Greenspan admits Iraq was about oil, as deaths put at 1.2m in New York.

The man once regarded as the world’s most powerful banker has bluntly declared that the Iraq war was ‘largely’ about oil.

Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1987 and retired last year after serving four presidents, Alan Greenspan has been the leading Republican economist for a generation and his utterings instantly moved world markets.

In his long-awaited memoir – out tomorrow in the US – Greenspan, 81, who served as chairman of the US Federal Reserve for almost two decades, writes: ‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’

In The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, he is also crystal clear on his opinion of his last two bosses, harshly criticising George W Bush for ‘abandoning fiscal constraint’ and praising Bill Clinton’s anti-deficit policies during the Nineties as ‘an act of political courage’. He also speaks of Clinton’s sharp and ‘curious’ mind, and ‘old-fashioned’ caution about the dangers of debt.

Greenspan’s damning comments about the war come as a survey of Iraqis, which was released last week, claims that up to 1.2 million people may have died because of the conflict in Iraq – lending weight to a 2006 survey in the Lancet that reported similarly high levels.

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