Archive for February, 2011

An 8-year war built on lies: But when did the lying begin?

February 28, 2011

by Kevin Ryan, Foreign Policy Journal, Feb 28, 2011

We will soon see the eighth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.  That anniversary should remind us that the Iraq war has claimed many lives and permanently damaged many more.   It is not clear when this war and occupation, or the war in Afghanistan, will ever end.  What is clear is that the Iraq War was built entirely on lies and that painful fact grows clearer with each passing year.  It is no longer possible for honest people to suggest that the false claims made to start this war were just a string of misunderstandings, which brings to mind an important question.

One of the two original justifications for invading Iraq was that Iraq was linked to al-Qaeda and the attacks of September 11.  Vice President Dick Cheney made such claims on several occasions.  But the truth was that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11 and he was distrustful of that elusive organization.  It was later reported by the US Senate Intelligence Committee that Hussein denied all requests to provide material or operational support to al-Qaeda, and that Cheney’s claims were all false.[1]

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LA rallies in solidarity with Wisconsin workers

February 27, 2011
By Carlos Montes, Fight Back! News,February 26, 2011
Los Angeles protest in solidarity with Wisconsin workers, 2/26/2011

Los Angeles protest in solidarity with Wisconsin workers, 2/26/2011 (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Los Angeles, CA – Thousands of workers rallied at Los Angeles City Hall, Feb. 26, to show solidarity with the struggle of workers in Wisconsin, who are fighting to keep their right to collective bargaining. The union members proudly wore their union shirts and carried signs reading “This is about freedom.” From AFSCME, SEIU, Teamsters, CWA, IBEW and ILWU, to name a few of the participating unions, workers expressed their anger at Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Walker’s attack on public workers.

A delegation of Los Angeles union workers had just arrived from Wisconsin and told about camping inside the Wisconsin State Capitol building. Mike Garcia, president of SEIU 1877 told the rally, “the bosses are our real enemy,” to loud cheers from the workers of all nationalities.

The militant rally was organized by MoveOn.org, along with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Jose Calderon, professor of Chicano Studies at Pitzer College, pointed out how Chicano, Latino and Black workers are paid less and how immigrants are exploited by the bosses.

A march of Women for Choice joined the rally to join to protest the attack on unions and workers in Wisconsin. The chants included “We are one! We will win!”

Britain should pull out of Afghanistan, says Gorbachev

February 27, 2011

The ex-Soviet leader argues the US must take some blame for fanning Islamic fundamentalism

By Matthew Bell, The Independent, Feb 27, 2011

Gorbachev to Cameron: 'Get out of Afghanistan'
VALERI NISTRATOV

Gorbachev to Cameron: ‘Get out of Afghanistan

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, has called for fundamental change to world politics against the background of uprisings across North Africa, saying that the will of the people can no longer be ignored.In a wide-ranging interview with The Independent on Sunday, marking his 80th birthday on Wednesday, Mr Gorbachev also calls on David Cameron to withdraw British troops from Afghanistan. And, in comments that risk provoking outrage in the US, he portrays the war against Islam as a conflict partly of the US’s own making. 

“It’s called the historical and political boomerang,” he says, referring to the US’s secret funding of Islamic extremists during the 1980s, when the Americans were fighting communism. “[The Americans] were working in secret with those forces with whom they are now fighting. They should accept their part of the blame. Let them say so. I think God has some mechanism that he uses to punish those that make mistakes.”

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Jocks 4 Justice: John Carlos, Billy Hunter and Keyon Dooling Stand with Wisconsin Workers

February 27, 2011

By Dave Zirin, ZNet, Feb 27, 2011

Source: The Nation

Unions across the country are standing with the workers of Wisconsin against the unprecedented attacks by Gov. Scott Walker. Count the National Basketball Association’s Player’s Association among their ranks. The NBAPA have been threatened with layoffs, contraction, and steep cuts in pay and benefits in their current collective bargaining negotiations with NBA commissioner David Stern and the assorted team owners. Considering that no one ever bought a ticket to look at Mark Cuban, a Maloof brother or (shudder) Donald Sterling, their’s is a struggle worthy of support. Well solidarity is a two way street and it is a very positive development to have NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter  and Milwaukee Buck Keyon Dooling – also an NBAPA VP speak out on behalf of Wisconsin’s workers. Thursday’s late night vote in the state assembly to strip the public sector employees of their very rights to collectively bargain was, for Hunter and Dooling, a bridge too far.

 

“Last night’s vote by the Wisconsin Assembly was an attempt to undermine organized labor and the men and women across the country who depend on their unions for a voice in the workplace,” said Hunter. “The NBPA proudly supports our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin and their stand for unequivocal collective bargaining rights.”

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Kashmiri leader stages hunger strike against arrests

February 27, 2011

Daily Times, Feb 27, 2011

SRINAGAR: A prominent Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) leader staged a day-long token hunger strike on Saturday against large-scale arrests in the aftermath of massive anti-India protests last year. Yasin Malik, head of the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, said more than 4,000 young people and separatists had been jailed by Indian police since 114 people were killed last year, mostly shot by police. “This is a peaceful protest against the unabated crackdown on our youth,” said Malik, flanked by over a dozen separatist leaders, as some 400 protesters shouted “We want freedom.” The demonstration took place in the centre of Srinagar, the summer capital of IHK, which has been wracked by a more than two-decade armed revolt against Indian rule. afp

‘62 Afghan civilians killed in Nato strike’

February 27, 2011

Pak Tribune, Feb 25, 2011

KUNAR: A recent Nato air strike in an eastern Afghanistan valley killed at least 62 civilians including women and children, an Afghan government investigation said on Thursday. On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused Nato of having killed more than 50 civilians in eastern Afghanistan’s troubled

Kunar province, and sent a team to inquire into the alleged civilian deaths. “After three days of investigation, we found out that 62 civilians, including women and children, were killed and 10 others injured in the Nato operation,” the head of the probe team, Shahzada Massoud, who is a Karzai adviser, told reporters in Kunar. He did not clarify whether any insurgents were killed in the operation, but a member of the probe team, Shahzada Shahid, separately told AFP that 14 Taliban militants had also been killed, on top of the 62.

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Working around America: a new strategy on Israel/Palestine

February 27, 2011

Jeff Halper, Information Clearing House, 25 Feb 2011

Last Friday’s vote in the UN in which the US refused to follow the other 14 members of the Security Council in condemning Israel’s ongoing settlement project – including, it should be noted, such traditionally pro-Israel stalwarts as Britain, France and even Germany and India (for whom Israel is the #2 supplier of arms, as it is with China) – revealed what international isolation into which the US has fallen. Without being pollyannish over the human rights records of the other members of the Security Council, human rights does, nevertheless, motivate the foreign policy of many countries of the world, if only because to be seen respecting human rights has become a standard of national legitimacy. Israel’s blatant violations of international law threaten the consensus upon which the international order rests, even if it is upheld in the breech.

The Security Council vote show that this is not true for the United States, whose perceived cultural and legal exceptionalism rests upon a rapidly eroding economic and military hegemony. The very message of the American vote – that we do not see ourselves subject to international law and human rights; we set the policies and rules, not the UN or international courts – sends a chill down the spine of people everywhere, especially those, such as the peoples uprising in the Middle East or those in Burma, the Congo, China and in American prisons, who cannot revolt yet hold out hope that struggles for human rights will eventually each them.

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Greek PM: Zionism and the IMF’s Last Best Friend

February 26, 2011

by James Petras, Dissident Voice,  February 26th, 2011

In the midst of the Arab uprisings throughout the Middle East, at a time when even the European Union  (EU) has publically condemned Israel’s blockade of Gaza and its illegal land seizures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou promised a visiting delegation of American Jewish leaders, that he would do everything possible to undermine EU opposition and promote Israeli economic, diplomatic and political interests in Europe. US Zionists, recently returned from a visit to Athens described Papandreou as by far the most amenable (‘servile’) European leader they have met in recent memory. Papandreou’s slavish submission to Israeli interests includes his promise, to a delegation of U.S. zionist notables, to use his influence to pressure the new Egyptian military junta to continue to uphold the Mubarak agreements with Israel.1 These include the continued blockade of Gaza and support of Israel’s military assaults on Lebanon, Syria and Palestinians. In other words Papandreou is openly supportive of Egypt’s past collaboration with Israeli clandestine assassinations and kidnapping of Arab militants.

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Professor Maguire Criticizes U.S. Veto in U.N.

February 26, 2011

By Daniel C. Maguire, Consortium News, February 26, 2011

Editor’s Note: On Friday, Daniel C. Maguire, professor of moral theology at Marquette University, wrote an open letter to Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, criticizing the veto she cast on behalf of the Obama administration to block a U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian lands:

Dear Dr. Rice, A criticism and a comment: “Settlement” is, as you know, a euphemism for expropriation of Palestinian property.

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Your casting that vote on February 18, to veto the Security Council Censure of these ongoing ethnic cleansings when all other members of the Council voted for it and when there were 100 co-sponsors among other nations is not a vote you will remember with pride.

It is also not a vote that serves American interests. Yours is the latest in a long line of American officials bowing to Israeli and AIPAC pressure and sacrificing the national interest of the United States.

The price we pay for that subservience is high. As the Congressional report on 9/11 said, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed cited our biased support of Israeli policies as a motive for the 9/11 attack. That is a high price to pay and Homeland Security experts say we will pay it again.

Even Dick Cheney has cited our kind of support of Israel policies as one of the “true sources of resentment” against us, a point also made by General [David] Petraeus. Your vote endangered us and our soldiers. Resignation before casting such a vote would be honorable.

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P.C. Roberts: War Über Alles

February 26, 2011

The United States government cannot get enough of war.  With Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime falling to a rebelling population, CNN reports that a Pentagon spokesman said that the U.S. is looking at all options from the military side.

Allegedly, the Pentagon, which is responsible for one million dead Iraqis and an unknown number of dead Afghans and Pakistanis, is concerned about the deaths of 1,000 Libyan protesters.

While the Pentagon tries to figure out how to get involved in the Libyan revolt, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific is developing new battle plans to take on China in her home territory. Four-star Admiral Robert Willard thinks the U.S. should be able to whip China in its own coastal waters.

The admiral thinks one way to do this is to add U.S. Marines to his force structure so that the U.S. can eject Chinese forces from disputed islands in the East and South China seas.

It is not the U.S. who is disputing the islands, but if there is a chance for war anywhere, the admiral wants to make sure we are not left out.

The admiral also hopes to develop military ties with India and add that country to his clout. India, the admiral says, “is a natural partner of the United States” and “is crucial to America’s 21st-century strategy of balancing China.”  The U.S. is going to seduce the Indians by selling them advanced aircraft.

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