Posts Tagged ‘US President Barack Obama’

Warmonger Obama picks up ‘peace’ prize

December 11, 2009
Morning Star Online, Thursday 10 December 2009
by Tom Mellen
Obama collects the Nobel "peace" prize after sending even more troops to Afghanistan

Obama collects the Nobel “peace” prize after sending even more troops to Afghanistan

US President Barack Obama has accepted his Nobel Peace Prize, just nine days after sending 33,500 more US troops to prosecute his bloody counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan.

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Nasrallah slams Obama Israel ‘bias’

November 12, 2009
Al Jazeera, Nov. 12, 2009
Nasrallah accused Obama of disregarding the feelings and dignity of Arabs and Muslims [AFP]

The leader of the Lebanese group Hezbollah has accused Barack Obama, the US president, of “absolute bias” in favour of  Israel and of disregard for the dignity of Arabs and Muslims.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Obama has gone further than his predecessor, George Bush, in supporting the Jewish state adding that the high expectations that followed Obama’s election had been “shattered”.

He said Obama’s initial statements calling on Israel to freeze settlement building and then backtracking was a “tactic” agreed on by both Israel and the US, and that the initial settlement demand had been exposed as “an American ploy to pass the time and gain Arab sympathy”.

Wednesday’s remarks are the Hezbollah leader’s strongest criticism yet of Obama since he took office almost a year ago.

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No peace progress as Obama, Netanyahu meet

November 10, 2009

Middle East Online, November 10, 2009



‘Shame on you’, the hardline premier was told


Hardline Netanyahu leaves White House without Obama appearance amid Israeli defiance.

WASHINGTON – Hardline Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left the White House Monday after spending an hour and forty minutes inside, emerging without US President Barack Obama.

It is not immediately clear whether Netanyahu spent the entire time in closed-door talks with Obama.

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Amnesty says end ‘immoral’ blockade of Cuba

September 2, 2009
Morning Star Online/UK, September 1,  2009
by Tom Mellen
Sanctions have forced Cubans to improvise, including bringing back oxen due to petrol shortages

Sanctions have forced Cubans to improvise, including bringing back oxen due to petrol shortages

Amnesty has challenged US President Barack Obama to deliver on his change agenda by taking the first step towards dismantling the “immoral” US blockade of socialist Cuba.

The human rights group has urged Mr Obama not to renew Trading with the Enemy Act sanctions against the island as it published its new report looking at the impact of the US economic embargo.

The deadline for the renewal of sanctions under the Act is September 14.

The report concluded that the sanctions, imposed by the US since 1962, are particularly affecting Cubans’ access to medicines and medical technologies and endangering the health of millions.

On the campaign trail last year Mr Obama told US citizens that, when “we win this election together, we’re going to change the country and change the world.”

Amnesty secretary general Irene Khan said: “This is the perfect opportunity for President Obama to distance himself from the failed policies of the past and to send a strong message to the US Congress on the need to end the embargo.

“The US embargo against Cuba is immoral and should be lifted – it’s preventing millions of Cubans from benefiting from vital medicines and medical equipment essential for their health.”

Under the blockade, Cuba faces severe restrictions on importing medicines, medical equipment or technologies from the US or from any US company abroad.

The sanctions also limit other imports to the island and restrict travel and the transfer of money.

Products patented in the US or containing more than 20 per cent US-manufactured parts or components cannot be exported to Cuba, even if they are produced in third countries.

Cuba’s inability to import nutritional products for consumption at schools, hospitals and daycare centres is contributing to a high prevalence of iron-deficiency anaemia.

Some 37.5 per cent of Cuba’s children under three years old are affected, according to UNICEF.

Children’s health was also put at risk by a decision from US syringe suppliers to cancel an order for three million disposable syringes made in 2007 by the UNICEF Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, when it became known that the units were destined for Cuba.

Similar situations have affected the implementation of UN programmes to prevent and fight HIV/AIDS on the island, according to Amnesty.

Ms Khan said that, while responsibility for providing adequate healthcare lies “primarily with the Cuban authorities, governments imposing sanctions such as embargoes need to pay special attention to the impact they can have on the targeted country’s population.”

CIA hired Blackwater for assassin program

August 20, 2009
Middle East Online, First Published 2009-08-20


Blackwater changes its name to Xe after Iraq murders

Republicans ‘deeply concerned’ as US Attorney General poised to look into abuses by CIA interrogators.

WASHINGTON – The CIA hired the security firm Blackwater in 2004 as part of its secret program to find and kill suspected terrorists, US media said Thursday, citing current and former intelligence officials.

The program, on which the Central Intelligence Agency spent several million dollars, was cut before launching any missions and the hiring of an outside company was a major reason that CIA director Leon Panetta moved to cancel it, the New York Times said.

Shortly after learning about the effort in June, Panetta pulled the plug and briefed lawmakers on details of the program, of which they had not been informed since 2001.

Citing government officials, the Times said the CIA had separate agreements with top Blackwater executives for the outsourcing, as opposed to a formal contract with the whole firm.

The State Department cut ties with Blackwater following ongoing allegations of abuse in Iraq. The North Carolina-based company renamed itself Xe after the Iraq government banned it in January over killing civilians in Baghdad’s Nisur Square on September 16, 2007.

It had been given “operational responsibility” for the targeting program, according to the Washington Post, which noted the covert effort was canceled before any missions were conducted.

Before the program was cut, however, the private security firm had already been awarded “millions of dollars for training and weaponry,” according to the Post.

“Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong,” said an unnamed intelligence official close to program, quoted by daily.

Republicans denounce possible CIA interrogator probe

A group of Republican US senators sharply warned Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday against launching a formal probe into alleged abuses by CIA interrogators of suspected terrorists.

“Such an investigation could have a number of serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Holder.

Republican Senators Jon Kyl, the party’s number two in the Senate; Kit Bond, co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee; and Jeff Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee were among the nine signers.

The lawmakers said they were “deeply concerned” by media reports that Holder was poised to name a special prosecutor to look into alleged abuses by CIA interrogators of suspected terrorists.

“There is little doubt that further investigations and potential prosecutions of CIA officials would chill future intelligence activities,” the senators warned.

“The intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift,” the senators said.

Holder may be close to announcing a probe focused on whether interrogators went beyond torture – authorized by former president George W. Bush’s administration, according to news accounts.

Bush’s Republican allies and some Democrats have argued that rank-and-file interrogators acted in good faith and followed directives from higher ups in using techniques, like “waterboarding” suspects, and obtained valuable information.

Some former intelligence officials have challenged that claim, saying that harsh tactics elicited no better information than traditional approaches.

And human rights groups have called for formal investigations into charges of torture, which violates US law.

So far, US President Barack Obama has resisted calls from some congressional Democrats to establish a “truth and reconciliation” panel to look into alleged abuses.

Obama in Cairo: a new face for American imperialism

June 7, 2009

Patrick Martin | wsws.com, 5 June 2009

The speech delivered by US President Barack Obama in Cairo yesterday was riddled with contradictions. He declared his opposition to the “killing of innocent men, women, and children,” but defended the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the US proxy war in Pakistan, while remaining silent on the most recent Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. These wars have killed at least one million Iraqis and tens of thousands in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories.

Obama declared his support for democracy, human rights and women’s rights, after two days of meetings with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, two of the most notorious tyrants in the Middle East. He said nothing in his speech about the complete absence of democratic rights in Saudi Arabia, or about the ongoing repression under Mubarak’s military dictatorship. In the days before the US president’s arrival at Al-Azhar University, the campus was raided by Egyptian secret police who detained more than 200 foreign students. Before leaving on his Mideast trip, Obama praised Mubarak as a “steadfast ally.”

While posturing as the advocate of universal peace and understanding, Obama diplomatically omitted any reference to his order to escalate the war in Afghanistan with the dispatch of an additional 17,000 US troops. And he tacitly embraced the policy of his predecessor in Iraq, declaring, “I believe the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.” He even seemed to hedge on the withdrawal deadline of December 2011 negotiated by the Bush administration, which he described as a pledge “to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012.”

Obama rejected the charge that America is “a self-interested empire”—a perfectly apt characterization—and denied that the United States was seeking bases, territory or access to natural resources in the Muslim world. He claimed that the war in Afghanistan was a “war of necessity” provoked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This is the same argument made by the Bush-Cheney administration at the time, which deliberately conceals the real material interests at stake. The war in Afghanistan is part of the drive by US imperialism to dominate the world’s two most important sources of oil and gas, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Basin.

There was of course a distinct shift in the rhetorical tone from the bullying “you’re either with or against us” of George W. Bush to the reassuring “we’re all in this together” of Obama. But as several commentators noted (the New Republic compared the speech line-for-line to that given by Bush to the United Nations on September 16, 2006), if you turned off the picture and the sound and simply read the prepared text, the words are very similar to speeches delivered by Bush, Condoleezza Rice and other officials of the previous administration.

The vague and flowery rhetoric, the verbal tributes to Islamic culture and the equal rights of nations, constitute an adjustment of the language being used to cloak the policy of US imperialism, not a change in substance. Obama made not a single concrete proposal to redress the grievances of the oppressed peoples of the Middle East. That is because the fundamental source of this oppression is the profit system and the domination of the world by imperialism, of which American imperialism is the most ruthless.

Obama made one passing reference to colonialism, and to the US role in the overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953. But in his litany of “sources of tension” in the region, he offered the same checklist as his predecessor, with the first place given to “violent extremism”, Obama’s rhetorical substitute for Bush’s “terrorism.”

The reaction to the Obama speech in the American media was across-the-board enthusiasm. Liberal David Corn of Mother Jones magazine said Obama’s great advantages were “his personal history, his non-Bushness, his recognition of US errors, his willingness to at least talk as if he wants to be an honest broker in the Mideast.”

Michael Crowley wrote in the pro-war liberal magazine New Republic, “to see him unfold his biography, to cut such an unfamiliar profile to the world, is to appreciate how much America will benefit from presenting this new face to the world.”

Perhaps most revealing was the comment by Max Boot, a neoconservative arch-defender of the war in Iraq, who wrote: “I thought he did a more effective job of making America’s case to the Muslim world. No question: He is a more effective salesman than his predecessor was.”

In his speech in Cairo, Obama was playing the role for which he was drafted and promoted by a decisive section of the US financial elite and the military and foreign policy apparatus. This role is to provide a new face for US imperialism as part of a shift in the tactics, but not the strategy, of Washington’s drive for world domination.

Nearly two years ago, former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski gave his public backing to the presidential candidacy of a still-obscure senator from Illinois, holding out the prospect that as an African-American with family ties to the Muslim world, Obama would improve the worldwide image of the United States.

Brzezinski was the leading hawk in the administration of Democrat Jimmy Carter and helped instigate the political upheavals in Afghanistan in the hopes of inciting a Soviet invasion that would trap the Moscow bureaucracy in a Vietnam-style quagmire. He has remained steadily focused on what he calls the “great chessboard” of Eurasia, and particularly on oil-rich Central Asia, where a struggle for influence now rages between the United States, Russia, China and Iran.

According to Brzezinski in August 2007, Obama “recognizes that the challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new definition of America’s role in the world… Obama is clearly more effective and has the upper hand. He has a sense of what is historically relevant and what is needed from the United States in relationship to the world.”

Brzezinski, a ruthless defender of the interests of US imperialism, has repeatedly issued warnings to the American ruling elite of the danger of what he calls the “global political awakening.”

In one particularly pointed comment, he told the German magazine Der Spiegel, only months before he endorsed Obama, that the vast majority of humanity “will no longer tolerate the enormous disparities in the human condition. That could well be the collective danger we will have to face in the next decades.”

To call it by its right name, what the more perceptive elements in the US ruling class fear is world revolution. The effort to prevent such a social upheaval is what impelled them to install Obama in the White House and what set him on his pilgrimage to Cairo.

Israeli commander confirms Netanyahu war plans

March 24, 2009

Press TV, March 23, 2009

The last Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip claimed the lives of at least 1,350 Palestinians.

Israel is preparing for all-out war on multiple fronts that include Iran, Syria and Lebanon, a senior military commander claims.

Israeli army Home Front Command Major General Yair Golan said Sunday that Tel Aviv is preparing for “all possible scenarios”, indicating that one such scenario would be to fight a simultaneous war against Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

The confirmation comes as US President Barack Obama seeks “new beginnings” with its arch-rival Iran. The US offer has been met with world praise but with fury in Tel Aviv.

Israeli media outlets late on Sunday began propagating wild scenarios that Iran is using the Lebanese Hezbollah to recruit Palestinian fighters to carry out terror attacks on Israel.

Citing anonymous sources, the reports began to surface after Tel Aviv countered an alleged bombing attempt outside a shopping mall in the northern city of Haifa.

“We are treating the attempted attack in Haifa with great gravity. A huge disaster was prevented by a miracle,” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a weekly cabinet meeting after the bomb was defused on Sunday.

Israel has long accused Iran of arming Hezbollah and Palestinian groups via Syria, in an attempt to demonize the two Muslim countries.

Tel Aviv also accuses Tehran of developing nuclear weaponry — a charge denied by the UN nuclear watchdog.

At a conference held in Tel Aviv, Golan also confirmed the likeliness of Israel staging another military confrontation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Although Israel does not consider rocket attacks from Gaza as a serious threat, there is the possibility of “dangerous” missile attacks by other countries, he said.

He failed to elaborate how such missile attacks would relate to Gaza.

His remarks came as reports claim that the soon-to-be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has plans for “a major military conflict in the coming months.”

The commander also revealed that Tel Aviv will install new warning systems across Israel in preparation for its war plans.

The last Israeli-waged war on the Gaza Strip, which began on December 27, killed at least 1,350 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,450 others in the densely-populated sliver.

The aggression was the last in a series of operations carried out by the Israeli forces against the natives of the land since occupying Palestine in 1948.


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