Archive for September, 2007

Pentagon has plans to bomb 2,000 targets in Iran

September 19, 2007


By Philip  Sherwell in New York and Tim Shipman in Washington

By Philip  Sherwell in New York and Tim Shipman in WashingtonSenior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

  Dick Cheney ('The Man') with George W Bush
Dick Cheney (’The Man’) with George W Bush

Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq – arming and training militants – would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories.

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Conservatism isn’t what it used to be

September 18, 2007

By Paul Craig Roberts

09/17/07 “ICH” — — When I was in the Reagan administration, America had a lively press that never hesitated to take us to task. Even the “Teflon President” received more brickbats than Bush and Cheney.

The lively press disappeared along with its independence in the media concentration engineered during the Clinton administration. Shortly thereafter all the liberal news anchors disappeared as well. Today the US media serves as propaganda ministry for the government’s wars and police state. Yet, some conservatives continue to rant on about “the liberal media.”

That other conservative bugaboo, liberal academia, has also been crushed. Universities once controlled their appointments, but no more. Recently, the political science faculty at DePaul, a Catholic university, voted to give tenure to the courageous scholar and teacher Norman Finkelstein. The department was unable to make its tenure decision stick over the objections of the Israel Lobby and their conservative allies, who were able to reach in over the heads of the political science department and the College Personnel Committee and force DePaul’s president to block Finkelstein’s tenure. Finkelstein, a Jew, had angered the Israel Lobby with his criticisms of Israel’s misuse of the holocaust sufferings of Jews to oppress the Palestinians and to silence critics.

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Drift into war with Iran out of control, says UN

September 18, 2007

The Guardian
Julian Borger, diplomatic editor and Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
Tuesday September 18, 2007

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei
Mohamed ElBaradei: ‘I would not talk about any use of force.’ Photograph: Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images

The UN’s chief nuclear weapons inspector yesterday warned against the use of force against Iran, in what UN officials said was an attempt to halt an “out of control” drift to war.

His outspoken remarks, which drew a parallel between Iran and Iraq, appeared to take aim at the US and Britain. They followed comments on Sunday night by the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who said: “We have to prepare for the worst,” adding “the worst is war”.

Continued . . .

The waiting game in Iraq

September 17, 2007

Gen. Petraeus might have taken pressure off Bush and assured a large U.S. military presence in Iraq until 2009, but to what end?



Sr. editorial writer
The Orange County Register

So far as I know, only Yale Law School professor Bruce Ackerman and a few bloggers have taken note of one of the more disturbing aspects of the administration’s decision to put our Iraq commander, Gen. David Petraeus, front-and-center in the policy debate over the next steps in Iraq.

One can understand the dynamics behind the elevation of this general. President Bush’s administration’s credibility is in tatters – remember how the toppling of Saddam’s statue, the killing of Saddam’s sons, the capture and execution of Saddam, the several elections, the handover to an Iraqi government all presaged ultimate victory and a democratic Iraqi ally? He needed an ostensibly independent figure to restore some confidence.

Over the longer haul, however, this apparent deference to a military figure on strategic objectives could be seen as an episode in the erosion of civilian control over the military. To be sure, while saying he relied on the judgment of military commanders, President Bush has made his own decisions about Iraq and has not hesitated to shuffle generals around to put those in line with his current thinking into positions of command. But this time he needed the general more than the general needed him.

Continued . . .

Ahmadinejad wants to debate Bush

September 17, 2007

Swissinfo, September 17, 2007

September 16, 2007 – 9:40 PM


File photo shows Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking during the opening ceremony for the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity in Tehran

By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad challenged U.S. President George W. Bush to a debate on global issues at a U.N. summit in New York, state TV reported on Sunday, repeating a call rejected by Washington last year.

“I had suggested holding a debate. I am saying again that let us discuss global concerns at the (U.N.) General Assembly in front of representatives of other nations,” Ahmadinejad told state television.

The White House rejected Ahmadinejad’s last year call for a presidential debate, calling it a “diversion”.

Ahmadinejad is due to visit New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in September. It will be his third visit since he took office in August 2005.

During his interview with the state television, Ahmadinejad also condemned U.S. policies in the Middle East, including Iraq.

“I am ready to hold talks with Bush on important global issues at the assembly,” he said. “Let us hold talks about Iraq and other issues. Then public opinion will judge … We will offer our global solutions.”

The United States severed relations after Tehran’s 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.

Washington accuses Shi’ite Muslim Iran of providing funds, arms and training to Iraqi Shi’ite militants and of supporting terrorism across the Middle East. Iran denies the charge and blames the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 for the bloodshed between Iraq’s majority Shi’ite and minority Sunni Arabs.

Tehran and Washington have held talks in Baghdad to find ways to restore security there but ties are still very strained.

They are also at odds over Tehran’s disputed nuclear work. The United States accuses Iran of covertly trying to build nuclear arms under cover of a civilian programme. Iran denies this, saying it needs the technology to generate electricity.

Iran has so far refused to halt sensitive nuclear work, despite U.S. threats to ratchet up pressure with new U.N. sanctions. Two rounds of sanctions have already been imposed.

“Of course we will not abandon our right to nuclear technology,” Ahmadinejad said. “We have obtained the technology to enrich uranium. We are at industrial level. Why should we abandon our activities?”

Washington is leading a drive for a third sanctions resolution. World powers are set to meet in Washington on September 21 to discuss a new resolution.

Reuters (IDS)

160 arrested as thousands march against Iraq war in Washington

September 16, 2007 , September 15, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several thousand protesters marched Saturday from the White House to the Capitol to demand an end to the Iraq war, and at least 160 people were arrested when they jumped a barricade at the foot of the Capitol steps.




Thousands of demonstrators protest the Iraq war in the streets of Washington on Saturday.


Many of the protesters were arrested without a struggle after they jumped over the waist-high barricade. But some grew angry as police attempted to push them back using large shields. At least two people were showered with chemical spray. Protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting: “Shame on you.”The arrests came after protesters initially decided to lie down on the Capitol lawn with signs on top of their bodies to represent soldiers killed in Iraq. When police took no action, some of the protesters climbed the barricade.

Before arriving at the Capitol lawn, the demonstrators marched on Pennsylvania Avenue holding banners and signs and saying, “What do we want? Troops out. When do we want it? Now.”

Continued . . .

British academics warn US is preparing “shock and awe” attack on Iran

September 16, 2007

Global Research, September 15, 2007

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An 80-page study written by two British security analysts and released on August 28 makes a chilling estimation of the overwhelming force that the US would use in the event of any attack on Iran. “The US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days, if not hours, of President George W. Bush giving the order,” the paper declared.

The authors, Dr Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher, concluded on the basis of publicly available sources that “US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets within Iran in a few hours. US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.”

Both Plesch and Butcher have written extensively on security and international relations. Plesch is director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies. The study, entitled “Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East” made no estimate of Iran’s nuclear programs—the nominal pretext for a US war—and reached no definitive conclusion as to the likelihood of an attack. But it did outline the Pentagon’s extensive preparations and examined probable US military strategies.

Plesch and Butcher assessed that any US military attack would not be limited to Iran’s nuclear facilities, but would aim to eliminate its ability to strike back by destroying its military capacities and economic infrastructure. “Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focussed on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact,” they stated.

Continued . . .

Were War Critic Soldiers Killed To Send Message?

September 15, 2007

Two soldiers who wrote op-ed that contradicted Patraeus report die in strange accident, while another is shot in the head in case that bears chilling resemblance to Pat Tillman story

By Paul Joseph Watson

Prison Planet, September 14, 2007

The mother of a soldier who died in an apparent vehicle accident shortly after writing a New York Times op-ed critical of the war in Iraq is demanding to know the truth about what happened to her son, while another author of the piece was also shot in the head in a case that bears a sinister resemblance to the murder of Pat Tillman.

Like Tillman, 28-year-old Sergeant Omar Mora enlisted shortly after 9/11 in the belief that he was fighting to protect his country from terrorists.

However, after the invasion of Iraq Mora became increasingly skeptical of the true agenda behind the war and in August he, along with six other active duty soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division, wrote a stinging New York Times op-ed that slammed the occupation as “flawed,” “absurd,” and concluded that the sentiment of the Iraqi people renders the ultimate withdrawal of American troops inevitable.

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Is the U.S. Responsible for a Million Iraqi Deaths?

September 15, 2007


by Patrick McElwee
and Robert Naiman
September 11, 2007

Just Foreign Policy

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In October 2006 researchers from Johns Hopkins University published a peer-reviewed article in The Lancet, one of Europe’s most important and respected medical journals, estimating that 650,000 Iraqis had been killed due to the U.S.-led invasion of their country, 601,000 violently. [1] The report was quickly marginalized in public debate in the United States.

The researchers’ methods were not to blame. They used the method accepted around the world to measure demographics such as birth and death rates in the wake of natural and man-made disasters: a cluster survey. No one found substantive flaws in the way they conducted their research. Instead, their findings were dismissed because they asked the politically charged question of how many Iraqis have died, and the answer they found was unacceptably high.

Since the Lancet estimate was based on a survey completed in July 2006 and no new demographic studies have been conducted since, Just Foreign Policy has created an update of the Lancet estimate to account for the violent deaths that have occurred since, in an effort to put the question of the overall death toll back on the table. We did this by extrapolating from the Lancet estimate using a trend line derived from a database of deaths reported in the Western media, maintained by Iraq Body Count. [2] Our best estimate, which we update regularly, is that over a million Iraqis have been killed violently as a result of the invasion and occupation. [3]

Continued . . .

9/11 Explains the Impotence of the Anti-war Movement

September 15, 2007

Information Clearing House

By Paul Craig Roberts

09/14/07 “ICH” — – -The anti-war movement has proven impotent to stop the war in Iraq despite the fact that the war was initiated on the basis of lies and deception. The anti-war movement stands helpless to prevent President Bush from attacking Iran or any other country that he might demonize for harboring a future 9/11 threat.

September 11 enabled Bush to take America to war and to keep America at war even though the government’s explanation of the events of September 11 is mired in controversy and disbelieved by a large percentage of the population.

Although the news media’s investigative arm has withered, other entities and individuals continue to struggle with unanswered questions. In the six years since 9/11, numerous distinguished scientists, engineers, architects, intelligence officers, pilots, military officers, air traffic controllers, and foreign dignitaries have raised serious and unanswered questions about the official story line.

Continue reading . . .

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