Archive for January, 2012

Mikhail Gorbachev: Is the World Really Safer Without the Soviet Union?

January 30, 2012

A man waves a Russian flag during a rally November 21, 1988 (MF/AA/REUTERS Pictures)


Virtually all American commentary about the end of the Soviet Union extols what the West is believed to have gained from that historic event. On this twentieth anniversary of the breakup, The Nation presents three writers who focus instead on what may have been lost. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s last leader and first constitutional president, argues that a chance for a more secure and just world order was missed. Stephen F. Cohen, a historian and longtime Nation contributor, reminds readers of the political, economic and social costs to Russians themselves. And Vadim Nikitin, a US-educated Russian journalist, presents a new interpretation of pro-Soviet nostalgia.   —The Editors

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union twenty years ago, Western commentators have often celebrated it as though what disappeared from the world arena in December 1991 was the old Soviet Union, the USSR of Stalin and Brezhnev, rather than the reforming Soviet Union of perestroika. Moreover, discussion of its consequences has focused mostly on developments inside Russia. Equally important, however, have been the consequences for international relations, in particular lost alternatives for a truly new world order opened up by the end of the cold war.

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Pentagon Requests Mightier Bomb to Attack Iran

January 29, 2012

The 30,000-pound bunker-busters are designed to penetrate Iran’s underground nuclear facilities

by John Glaser,  Antiwar.com, January 28, 2012

The Pentagon has decided that its largest conventional bomb isn’t capable of destroying Iran’s underground nuclear enrichment facilities and has ordered efforts to make it more powerful.

The 30,000-pound “bunker-buster” bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was designed to penetrate deeply buried targets, like some of Iran’s nuclear facilities. But tests of the bomb led the Pentagon to believe it may not fully destroy the facilities, and so this month they secretly submitted a request to Congress additional for funding to build a bigger, more destructive bomb.

Already more than $330 million has been spent to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co. The Pentagon is now seeking about $82 million more to enhance it.

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Stephen Lendman: Profile of a Rogue State

January 28, 2012

by Stephen Lendman, opednews.com, Jan 27, 2012

America’s unmatched globally. However, pound for pound, based on size, its policies, and regional threat, Israel stands out.

Daily, its crimes against humanity continue. On January 23, Jerusalem police arrested two Palestinian officials, Khaled Abu Arafeh and Mohammed Totah.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said both men were wanted for unspecified “Hamas activities” with no further comment.

Hamas, of course, is Palestine’s legitimate government. Israel and America spuriously call it a terrorist organization. Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said arresting both men was a “Zionist crime.” Palestine’s parliament hasn’t functioned since Hamas and Fatah split in 2007.

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Barghouti sent to isolation after Israel comments

January 27, 2012

Ma’an News, Jan 26, 2012

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Marwan Barghouti pictured during an interview from his prison cell in
2006.(MaanImages/file)

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was sent to solitary confinement on Wednesday after making critical comments about Israel to journalists.

After testifying in a Jerusalem court on Wednesday the Fatah leader briefly spoke to reporters.

Upon returning to Hadarim prison in Israel, Barghouti was not allowed back into his regular cell and was instead put in isolation, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said Thursday.

Detainees in the prison protested the move and asked prison authorities to explain their decision.

Israeli authorities have not responded.

Barghouti, the former secretary-general of Fatah in the West Bank, told journalists that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would only be resolved when the occupation comes to an end and Israel withdraws to the pre-1967 borders.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society condemned the Israeli decision to isolate him and called on human rights organizations to stop violations against Palestinian leaders in jail.

The Fatah leader has been serving a life sentence since 2004 and has been widely viewed as a contender to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president.

Pups on Parade: EU Obediently Pushes Toward War with Iran

January 27, 2012

By Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque, Jan 23, 2012

This week, the warlords of the West took yet another step toward their long-desired war againt Iran. (Open war, that is; their covert war has been going on for decades — via subversion, terrorism, and proxies like Saddam Hussein.) On Monday, the European Union obediently followed the dictates of its Washington masters by agreeing to impose an embargo on Iranian oil.

The embargo bans all new oil contracts with Iran, and cuts off all existing deals after July. The embargo is accompanied by a freeze on all European assets of the Iranian central bank. In imposing these draconian measures on a country which is not at war with any nation, which has not invaded or attacked another nation in centuries, and which is developing a nuclear energy program that is not only entirely legal under international law but is also subject to the most stringent international inspection regime ever seen, the EU is “targeting the economic lifeline of the regime,” as one of its diplomats put it, with admirable candor.

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US Media Iraq Reporting: See No Evil

January 26, 2012
by Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening, Jan 23, 2012

The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.

On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.

Pictures and videos of Fallujah residents mocking the bodies, which, unlike the images of burned and mutilated Iraqi victims of American forces, were broadcast on American television and displayed on the front pages of American newspapers, created a wave of indignation and outrage in the U.S., and led the Bush/Cheney administration and the Pentagon to decide they needed to punish the city of over 300,000.

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New York Times Continues to Conceal U.S. Role in 1965 Indonesia Coup

January 24, 2012

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By Conn Hallinan, ZNet, Jan 24, 2012

Source: Foreign Policy in Focus,

Why is the New York Times concealing the key role that the United States played in the 1965 coup in Indonesia that ended up killing somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million people? In a story Jan. 19—“Indonesia Chips Away At the Enforced Silence Around a Dark History”—the Times writes that the coup was “one of the darkest periods in modern Indonesian history, and the least discussed, until now.”

Indeed it is, but the Times is not only continuing to ignore U.S. involvement in planning and carrying out the coup, but apparently doesn’t even bother to read its own clip files from that time that reported the Johnson administration’s “delight with the news from Indonesia.” The newspaper also reported a cable by Secretary of State Dean Rusk supporting the “campaign against the communists” and assuring the leader of the coup, General Suharto, that the “U.S. government [is] generally sympathetic with, and admiring of, what the army is doing.”

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Fidel Castro: World Peace Hanging by a Thread

January 22, 2012

By: Fidel Castro Ruz, Cuba Debate, Jan 14, 2012

Editor’s Note: In his usual all-comprehensive fashion, Comrade Fidel Castro warns of the dangers of nuclear war, which can obliterate the human civilisation. American aggressive foreign policy and its criminal wars of aggression in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan and its mobilising of propganda war against Iran with a view to prepare public opinion in favour of an attack on Iran show the real danger United States poses to the world. All peace-loving people and organisations should oppose the militaristic policies of the  American Empire.

                                                                    Nasir Khan, Editor

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Yesterday I had the satisfaction of having a pleasant conversation with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I had not seen him since 2006, more than five years ago, when he visited our country to participate in the 14th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement of Countries in Havana. During the summit, Cuba was elected for the second time as president of the organization for a three-year term.

I had become gravely ill on July 26, 2006, a month and a half prior to the summit, and could barely sit up in bed. Many of the most distinguished leaders who participated in the event were kind enough to visit me. Chavez and Evo visited me several times. One afternoon four visitors came by whom I will always remember: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; an old friend, Abdelaziz Buteflika, the president of Algeria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran; and the vice minister of Foreign Affairs and current Foreign Minister of China, Yang Jiechi, on behalf of the leader of the Communist Party and the president of China, Hu Jintao. It was really an important time for me; I was in the midst of intense physiotherapy on my right hand that I had seriously injured when I fell in Santa Clara.

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Richard Falk: Stop Warmongering in the Middle East

January 21, 2012

By Richard Falk, MWC News, Jan 20, 2012
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Iran’s nuclear program

The public discussion in the West addressing Iran’s nuclear program has mainly relied on threat diplomacy, articulated most clearly by Israeli officials, but enjoying the strong direct and indirect backing of Washington and leading Gulf states.  Israel has also engaged in covert warfare against Iran in recent years, somewhat supported by the United States, that has inflicted violent deaths on civilians in Iran. Many members of the UN Security Council support escalating sanctions against Iran, and have not blinked when Tel Aviv and Washington talk menacingly about leaving all options on the table, which is ‘diplospeak’ for their readiness to launch a military attack. At last, some signs of sanity are beginning to emerge to slow the march over the cliff.

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Korea Shows All That Is Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy

January 19, 2012

by Laurence M. Vance, fff.org, January 18, 2012

The tension on the Korean peninsula escalated late last year when South Korea began live-firing drills off its coastline. That was after North and South Korea shelled each other for the first time since the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. U.S. forces in the area went on high alert even as the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington joined South Korean naval forces in exercises in the Yellow Sea. That carrier had just concluded drills with Japan involving 400 aircraft, 60 warships, and more than 40,000 U.S. and Japanese troops. South Korea was an official observer during the drills.

Korea shows all that is wrong with U.S. foreign policy.

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