South Korea vows caution over ship but North sees war

[No matter how unlikely it seems, someone besides N.Korea could have fired a stolen torpedo, to incriminate the North.  recently the press reported that S. Korea had captured a rogue torpedo running in circles after being fired by a Northern sub. Turkey, Greece and South Africa, Israel and South Korea use German submarines. Under the Diesel Electric Submarine Initiative, the US has been leasing German-built Type 209 submarines from Sweden and Peru for training purposes since 2005.]

South Korea vows caution over ship but North sees war

Jack Kim and Rhee So-eui
SEOUL

Main Image

(Reuters) – South Korea said after a rare emergency security meeting on Friday it would respond prudently to the sinking of one of its naval ships by the North, but Pyongyang warned the peninsula was being driven to war.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington strongly condemned North Korea’s action and called for an international response.

The South announced on Thursday that it had overwhelming evidence a North Korean submarine had entered its waters in March and attacked the Cheonan corvette, killing 46 sailors in what President Lee Myung-bak called a “military provocation”.

North Korea denied the accusation and said it was ready to tear up all agreements with the South, with whom it remains technically at war under a truce that ended fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War.

“It was a military provocation and violation of the U.N. Charter and the truce agreement,” Lee, whose 2-½ years in office have seen relations with the North turn increasingly frosty, said in a statement.

“Since this case is very serious and has a grave importance, we cannot afford to have a slightest mistake and will be very prudent in all response measures we take,” his office quoted him as telling a rare emergency National Security Council meeting.

Lee is expected to announce his response early next week.

CLEAR MESSAGE, INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE

Clinton, speaking in Tokyo after talks with Japan’s foreign minister, said there must be a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences.

“We cannot allow this attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community,” Clinton said after talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.

“So, we will determine our best options and send a clear, unmistakable message to North Korea regarding the international community’s and most particularly, its neighbors’ concerns about its behavior.”

Clinton did not specify what sort of international action she would like to see. Such steps could range from fresh U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea, although those might be opposed by China, to a simple statement of condemnation by the world body.

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Seoul would work with the international community to come up with non-military sanctions against the reclusive state.

In the past, both sides had put a limit on their hostility.

“North Korea has surpassed these limits. For those acts, the government will definitely make sure North Korea pays,” Kim said.

Yonhap news agency reported South Korea and the United States were considering raising the alert status on North Korea as tensions build.

“PHASE OF WAR”

North Korea was typically defiant.

“From this time on, we will regard the situation as a phase of war and will be responding resolutely to all problems in North-South relations,” the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a statement.

“If the South puppet group comes out with ‘response’ and ‘retaliation’, we will respond strongly with ruthless punishment including the total shutdown of North-South ties, abrogation of the North-South agreement on non-aggression and abolition of all North-South cooperation projects.”

Seoul has repeatedly said it would not strike back at the North, aware that would frighten away investors already jittery about the escalating tension on the divided peninsula.

Apart from international sanctions, there is little else it can do. Economic relations have come to a near standstill since Lee became president, apart from a joint factory park just inside impoverished North Korea which now has to rely almost entirely on China, its only major ally.

Yonhap News reported citing government sources Seoul may shut down sea routes that allow North Korean vessels sail through South Korean waters near its southern end and save costs.

North Korea has frequently threatened to attack Seoul but most analysts say that, in the face of a much better equipped South Korean army backed by some 28,000 U.S. troops on the peninsula, any major confrontation would be suicidal for the Pyongyang leadership.

Some analysts still warned the more the North’s now frail leader Kim Jong-il is pushed into a corner, the greater the risk of clashes. Kim is also trying to secure the succession for one of his sons.

China has so far maintained its support of the North and said it would make its own assessment of the investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan.

North Korea said it would send its own investigators to the South to look into the incident. But Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean defense ministry source as saying it had no intention of allowing such a delegation.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Thatcher in SEOUL; Arshad Mohammed and Isabel Reynolds in TOKYO; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Religion as a panacea for Baloch nationalism

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Striking Quetta’s Civil Hospital on April 16, 2010, a young Baloch suicide bomber, Haq Nawaz Baloch, killed at least eleven people, including two top police officials and a television journalist. This attack was dissimilar from ones previously carried out by Baloch nationalist guerrilla fighters against government installations and its security forces. Thus the largely secular Baloch society was introduced to an uncommonly new phenomenon of religious extremism and one for which it is almost totally unprepared to respond.

Unfortunately we cannot regard this suicide bombing as a unique occurrence. Just three days before two teenage sisters were acidified in the Dalbandin town of Chagai District in Balochistan by unidentified persons riding a motorbike. The girls were punished for the “crime” of not observing strict Islamic Hijab. Hailing from an extremely poor family, the girls were rushed to a Quetta hospital. Their faces are burnt but due to the lack of proper medical facilities their medical treatment is unsatisfactory.

An underground militant group calling itself as the Baloch Gharatmand (Honored) Group had, days before launching the first staggering attack, circulated a leaflet warning women in the area that they should leave their homes without being accompanied by a male family member. According to the interpretation of the shadowy group, being unaccompanied by a male family member is “un-Islamic” and should therefore be “punished” by those who ignored the warning.

Initially not many residents of Dalbandin took the threat very seriously as there had been no precedence of throwing acid on women. In Baloch society women usually work independently on their farms, fetch water and visit neighbors without being necessarily accompanied by male members of the family. But on April 29 in Kalat District three sisters, Sakina Bibi, 14, Saima Bibi, 16 and Fatima Bibi, 20, were attacked with acid by masked assailants.

For a province like Balochistan that has fought against Islamabad’s control on at least five occasions news about violence is not surprising. Nonetheless what is striking about these developments is the fact that they are marked by religious objectives and have been carried out by young Balochi males.

This wave of unprecedented attacks on girls indicates an abrupt fundamentalist religious radicalization in the Baloch society. Baloch nationalists, reacting vociferously to the latest shocking developments, know where such plans are masterminded and can pinpoint who is exploited to execute these suicide bombings.

There cannot be two views about who sponsors these radical elements. Baloch nationalists insistently argue that these developments are ultimately the culmination of covert state patronage extended to thousands of registered and unregistered religious seminaries set up to counter the progressive, liberal and secular nationalist forces in the province.

Over the years Islamabad has attempted to impose an unappealing Islamic identity on the Balochs. These religious seminaries propagate an Islamic-cum-Pakistani national identity and view Balochi nationalism as a shallow ideology imported by the “infidels”.

Around 95% of religious schools spread all over Balochistan are owned and administered by leaders of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). These religious schools gave birth to an alternative political force countering nationalistic politics. Soon the JUI emerged as a major power center in the province and today the JUI is an integral part of every coalition government. In the 2002 general elections the JUI took 16 seats in the Balochistan Assembly and currently the JUI has at least 11 seats in the provincial legislature. These representatives serve as a shield to conceal the suspicious activities of the religious schools operating across the province. The JUI platform also demands that the provincial government not take action against the Taliban; thus the province has become their sanctuary.

For example, when the Baloch and Pashtun nationalists in the province welcomed an expected expansion of U.S.-led drone strikes on the hideouts of Taliban in Quetta to hunt down their reclusive leader Mullah Omar and the members of the Quetta Shura, the JUI legislators worked to have the Balochistan Assembly approve an anti-drone resolution on October 13, 2009. As a result, the world was convinced that Balochistan supported the Quetta Shura.

Religious schools in Balochi-dominated areas, owned and administered by JUI leaders, have dramatically mushroomed in recent times. Foreign funding from various Arab sheikdoms has flooded the province. Seemingly unlimited funding has meant that both registered and unregistered religious schools promote Wahhabism. According to independent sources, they indoctrinate their students with hatred against Shias and non-Muslims. They also discourage visits by “outsiders.” They do not want anyone to observe the activities that take place on their campuses.

With the outpouring of foreign money, religious schools have expanded their constituency into the Balochistan’s interior. Charging low or nominal fees, they have also established English language centers and computer labs that attract students from local communities. Interestingly, the schools’ administrators motivate the introduction of computer and English language courses as necessary to promote Islam across the world and to convert non-Muslims. Thus all coursework is taught within the context of promoting Islam. They discourage nationalistic tendencies and emphasis the need for an Islamic identity.

Interestingly the religious schools and their mentors coordinate their work to a greater extent than do the relatively moderate governmental schools and colleges. For example, one would find hundreds of students from different districts of Balochistan or neighboring countries enrolled in a religious school based in a remote district of Balochistan. On the other hand, one would hardly find a single student from distant district in a similarly situated public college. Comfortable facilities, improved accommodations, free meals and a reasonable stipend greatly contribute to the coordination between different madrassas located across the province. This also assists them in building contacts with their counterparts in neighboring Iran and Afghanistan. According to some confirmed reports dozens of Balochi teenagers, if not hundreds, participated in the second Afghan war. Some lost their lives. Trips were facilitated by the frequent guests who came from other provinces to visit the schools under varying pretexts.

The wave of anti-Punjabi operations initiated by Balochi armed groups has claimed the lives of many Punjabi teachers and professionals in Balochistan. But this has not touched the religious schools. Teachers, preachers and students from all over Pakistan continue to flock to these madrassas, establishing a network of like-minded people throughout the country. Scores of inter- and intra-provincial exchange programs regularly take place between their students. While a host of non-local settler teachers have already left Balochistan in the wake of mounting nationalist attacks, this phenomenon has not affected the Tableegi Ijthemas (religious congregations) in Baloch areas.

Baloch towns have recently become major hubs of the Tableegi Jamaat’s gatherings in such districts as Panjgur, Gwadar, Khuzdar, Sibi, Turbat and Quetta. Mammoth congregations come together from time to time and are viewed with concern by Baloch nationalists. The Tableegi Jamaat’s harsh rejection of worldly life and non-violent approach has attracted many Baloch youth. In fact we now see many young men dedicate four months, or even a year, to being Islamic preachers and traveling to different cities throughout Pakistan.

On their return from a stint of preaching, many have reportedly turned hostile to photography, television and other forms of “worldly pleasures.” They consider them “un-Islamic” or elements of distraction. They also discourage women from being educated and seek to restrict their movement.

The April attacks on girls in Chagai and Kalat are concrete examples of this thinking. In the same way, an increase in the religious schools has given birth to more intolerance among youth who now refuse to coexist with the members of a rival religious sect. This religious militancy today overshadows a Balochi nationalistic movement of a secular hue. And now the media have turned their attention to reporting on both the acidification of girls and the increased killing of members of the minority Shia community.

Understandably, the Baloch society remains somewhat in a state of denial over its children’s’ involvement in growing religious violence. Yet the acceptance of different violent cases by organizations dominated by Baloch/Bravi-speaking outfits confirms the fact that militant religious groups are rapidly gaining a stronghold. In return, visibly disunited, fragmented and polarized Baloch nationalists do not seem to have an alternative vision to counter the expansion of militant Islam. For example, hardly any nationalist political party is even organizing study circles for its activists. Studying ideological literature and history has regrettably become anathema to many young Baloch activists. It is the targeted killing of Punjabi teachers, ironically by Baloch nationalists, that is likely to be a setback for a worldly and secular education in Balochistan.

The writer is the editor of the online newspaper The Baloch Hal. This article originally appeared in the first edition of View Point on its relaunch as an online magazine on May 21, 2010. You can read the View Point, a magazine dominated by leftist writers, on

Moscow and Beijing are trying to keep the Koreans from the war

Dangerous godsend. Moscow and Beijing are trying to keep the Koreans from the war

09:34 21.05.2010

A dangerous discovery
Moscow and Beijing are trying to keep the Koreans from the conflict

Moscow yesterday urged Pyongyang and Seoul for restraint in connection with the death of a South Korean investigation into the corvette “Cheonan. The two Koreas, according to Russian Foreign Ministry should exercise caution, “to strengthen the recent tensions on the Korean peninsula from becoming a conflict.” Corvette Cheonan “broke in half and sank March 26, 2010 near the border with North Korea in the Yellow Sea, which Pyongyang does not recognize. Killing 46 of the 104 crew members.

Vremya Novosti received from the Embassy of South Korea in Moscow conclusion of an international commission of inquiry into the incident: 74 experts from Korea, Australia, UK, USA and Sweden concluded that “Cheonan, died as a result explosion of a torpedo in the three meters from its turbine compartment. Fragments of a torpedo after a long search was found and raised to the surface. These torpedoes, carrying up to 300 kg of explosives, equipped with almost all the North Korean submarine, and the screw detected North Korean torpedo discernible markings. Win Pyongyang indirectly confirmed by the absence on March 26 in the tragedy of ships of third countries.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Seoul would take “severe retaliation” against Pyongyang than provoke the militant rhetoric of the North. He called the outcome of the investigation “trumped up” and threatened that if South Korea would insist on new sanctions against the DPRK, it is waiting for “full-scale war.”

But the threat should not be exaggerated, if we take into account the position of the key players in the region. In favor of a peaceful resolution to the conflict have already expressed China and Russia. Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said that the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula – a “common aspiration of the peoples of the region.” The head of Russia’s international affairs committee Mikhail Margelov described the Russian position as “restrained” and “accurate”: “We are opposed to increasing tension. The world does not need any new Korean war or a nuclear North Korea.”

Anton Ivanov
21.05.2010

Source – Time news

May 22, 2006–Iran, Cartoon Protests American Psyop?

[I must admit that I don't understand the cartoon, or the violent reactions to it, but tomorrow is the anniversary of the important event--part of Bush's "rape" policies for targeted pipeline countries.]

Iran: Cartoon Protests Signal Azeri Frustration

Jean-Christophe Peuch

Cartoon that started the controversy. The boy tries to address the cockroach using different forms of Soosk(Persian word for cockroach) and it answers Namana?(Azeri language, also Persian slang, for What?)
The cockroach also spoke in Persian
The past few days have seen a string of deadly protests in predominantly Azeri northwestern Iran. What officially triggered the turmoil was the publication in the 19 May weekly supplement to the Tehran-based ‘Iran’ newspaper of a controversial cartoon showing an Azeri-speaking cockroach.Although “Iran” is a government-owned periodical, authorities blame alleged ‘enemies of the country’ – a term generally used to describe the United States, Israel, and Britain – for the ethnic unrest. But regional observers believe the controversial cartoon served as a catalyst for Iran’s Azeris to press anew for social, economic, and political demands.
The publication of the controversial cartoon prompted a swift response from Iran’s central authorities. Cabinet ministers condemned the caricature, describing it as “an offense to the Iranian people as a whole”

A foreign plot?

On 23 May – the day after the first protests broke out in Tabriz – the country’s judiciary ordered the indefinite closure of “Iran” and the arrest of its editor in chief and its cartoonist.

But this did not help defuse tensions in the northwest.

As new protests were reported, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad alleged in a 25 May television address that the unrest was part of a foreign plot aimed at disrupting Tehran’s efforts to acquire “peaceful nuclear technology”.

On 28 May, it was the turn of the country’s supreme leader to enter the fray.

In an address to Iran’s parliament, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested a link between developments in the northwest and a recent announcement that US President George W. Bush’s administration is seeking a multimillion-dollar bill in Congress to promote democracy in Iran.
“This tumult – these ethnic and religious instigations – are the last arrow left in the quiver of the enemies of the People’s Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said. “They are wrong when they plan to spend money with a view to stirring ethnic groups, social classes, and the youth. As a rule their plans are based on a wrong assessment of the situation. And now they’ve decided to turn to Azerbaijan.”

Stirring up Arabs and Kurds, too

This is not the first time Iranian authorities have blamed domestic unrest on foreign countries.
Tehran accused Britain last year of instigating bomb attacks in the southwestern Khuzistan Province, a region with a large Arab population. It also blamed the United States for allegedly stoking unrest among ethnic Kurds.

Touraj Atabaki teaches at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. This expert on Iran’s Azeri minority says there might be some truth behind Iran’s claims of a foreign plot. Yet, he tells RFE/RL he believes responsibility for the unrest lies first and foremost with the central government.

“Of course one cannot confirm that foreign agencies or [individuals] from [neighboring] Azerbaijan or Turkey, or from the US, are involved,” he said. “This is very difficult to [make such accusations]. There might be some foreign involvement. But one can neither confirm nor deny this. Yet, the [approach] of the Iranian [authorities] toward social protests is very security-oriented and based on conspiracy theories. They immediately come to the conclusion that protests are instigated by foreign powers and they don’t want to see the social, local [reasons] of these protests.”

Ever since Tehran quelled the short-lived autonomous government of Tabriz in 1946, Azeris – who make up to one quarter of the country’s population – have been demanding more rights in line with Iran’s constitution.

In the late 1990s, President Mohammad Khatami introduced reforms aimed at giving ethnic minorities more control of their respective regions’ political life. But Atabaki says Ahmadinejad, who took office in August of last year, is in the process of reversing this policy.

Ahmadinejad reversing previous policy

“What Khatami did was to try to bring more local people into the political establishment. Governors, mayors, and local officers were elected or appointed from [amongst] various ethnic groups and that was a trend that started some eight years ago. But now, [under] the presidency of Ahmadinejad, we see that those officials who were appointed [over] the past eight years [are being] replaced with people coming from [other] geographic areas. Those are mostly people who have links with the Revolutionary Guard.”

Ali Hamed-Iman is the director of “Shams-e Tabrizi”, a reformist electronic newspaper that has its office in the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. He tells Radio Farda the controversial cartoon served as a catalyst for the country’s Azeris.

“This caricature became an excuse for Turkic-speaking students and people all across Iran,” Hamed-Iman said. “It was a spark that blew up the gunpowder of the Azerbaijani national movement. It was like a knife stuck in the back of the [Azeri] people, or to put it differently, in the back of the Azerbaijani national movement.”

That Azeri protests are going beyond the cartoon controversy is confirmed by reports from Tehran.

As Khamenei was preparing to address the legislature on 28 May, dozens of Azeris marched on the parliament before being dispersed by police. Iran’s student news agency (ISNA) said they were demanding that their language be taught in Iranian schools and that an Azeri-language television channel be established.

Difficult to determine

Meanwhile, what really happened in Iran’s northwest remains shrouded in secrecy.
Authorities initially said the protests were limited to Tabriz and that one person was wounded and another 54 people arrested during the unrest.

Subsequent reports, however, suggest the disturbances were on a much broader scale.
On 28 May, the top security officer of West Azerbaijan Province, General Hassan Karami, said four people were killed in the town of Naqadeh, some 150 kilometers southeast of Tabriz.
Various accounts offered

This official death toll pales in comparison to that given by the Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement (Guney Azerbaycan Milli Oyanis Harekati – or GAMOH).

The Baku-based GAMOH advocates unification of Azeris living on both sides of the Araxes River, which separates Iran from Azerbaijan.

The group says unrest spread across Iran’s north and that deadly clashes in Tabriz, Urumiyeh, Ardabil, Maragheh, Zanjan, Khvoy, Bukan, and other towns left at least 20 dead and scores of wounded. It also claims security forces made hundreds of arrests and sustained a few casualties at the hands of protesters.

The World Azeri Congress last week released a list of casualties that indicated that some of the deadliest clashes took place in Sulduz (Fesanduz, in Persian), a town GAMOH claims fell briefly into the hands of insurgents.

Given the political agenda of those two organizations, independent observers may find it hard to give credence to their claims.

Yet, Atabaki – who has just returned from Iran – says the protest movement “is spreading everywhere” and has reached Farsabad, near the border with Azerbaijan. He also says the government seems unable – or unwilling – to respond to the unrest other than through coercion.
“They have mobilized mobs against the crowds that took to the streets,” Atabaki said. “They also started mass repression, [with] arrests and imprisonments. They think this is the best way to tackle the crisis. The point is that the government did not expect such a [protest] movement, [that it would develop] on such a scale.”

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036. Funded by the US Congress.

Hizbullah Mobilizes ‘Thousands of Fighters’ Ahead of Israel Drill

Hizbullah Mobilizes ‘Thousands of Fighters’ Ahead of Israel Drill

Hizbullah mobilized thousands of fighters in southern Lebanon on Friday in response to week-long Israeli military exercises due to kick off on Sunday, an official from the Shiite group said.

“The Hizbullah fighters have (been instructed) to be completely ready to confront Israeli maneuvers on Sunday,” Nabil Qaouq told Agence France Presse.

“Thousands of our fighters will not go to the polls (for municipal elections on Sunday) and will be prepared from today” for any eventuality, he added.

“In the event of any new attack on Lebanon, the Israelis will not find anywhere in Palestine to hide,” he said.

Israel estimates that Hizbullah has since the 2006 war stockpiled more than 40,000 rockets, some of which could reach major Israeli population centers.

And last month, Israeli President Shimon Peres accused Syria of providing Scud missiles to Hizbullah, charges that Damascus has denied.

Dubbed “Turning Point 4,” the defense exercises are designed to prepare emergency responses to rocket strikes on Israel, with sirens due to ring out across the country on Wednesday and Israelis head for shelters.

Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai emphasized last week that the exercises had been planned long in advance, and had no bearing on the Jewish state’s present relations with its northern neighbors.(AFP-Naharnet)

PROJECTILE DYSFUNCTION – IRON DOME, ISRAEL, TRIDENT, AND THE MEDIA

PROJECTILE DYSFUNCTION – IRON DOME, ISRAEL, TRIDENT, AND THE MEDIA

MediaLens

May 20, 2010

Last week, the BBC reported Barack Obama’s request to Congress for $200 million in military aid to assist Israel’s construction of a short-range rocket defence system, Iron Dome. The funding will be in addition to the $3 billion in military aid the US annually sends to Israel. A BBC online article explained:

“The system is designed to shoot down mortars and rockets from Gaza or Southern Lebanon with guided missiles.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/ middle_east/8681919.stm)

Details were provided:

“Iron Dome was conceived and developed in Israel following the Lebanon war of 2006, during which Hezbollah launched about 4,000 rockets into northern Israel. Southern Israel has also come under fire, with thousands of rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian militants.”

The BBC failed to mention that during the 2006 war Lebanon was subjected to 12,000 Israeli bombing raids, 2,500 navy shells, 100,000 army shells and 4.6 million cluster bombs. (Jane’s Defence Weekly, ‘The war in numbers,’ August 23, 2006 and http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/02/17/ israel-s-use-cluster-bombs-shows-need-global-ban)

Even prior to the December 27, 2008 Operation Cast Lead offensive – when Israel attacked Gaza with hundreds of bombing raids and drone attacks, and thousands of artillery and tank shells – 14 Israelis had been killed by mostly home-made rockets fired from Gaza over the previous seven years as against 5,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Some 1,400 Palestinians were massacred in the Cast Lead assault.

The BBC reported the US administration’s “unshakeable commitment” to Israeli security, adding that Obama “recognised the threat posed by missiles and rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah”.

Obama did not recognise the threat to Palestinians posed by Israeli forces and expressed no “unshakeable commitment” to Palestinian security. This ought to be surprising, given that the mainstream media habitually present the United States as an “honest broker” in the conflict. In 2006, Channel 4’s Jonathan Rugman declared:

“If you think in the last week the US has given up its role as honest broker in the Middle East then now, it seems, they’ve taken it back.” (Channel 4 News, July 21, 2006)

In 2000, a BBC 1 lunchtime news report described then President Bill Clinton as “the man who has spent eight years trying to bring permanent peace to the Middle East”. (BBC1 Lunchtime News, October 16, 2000)

Edward Herman commented recently:

“U.S. officials repeat day-after-day that our ‘solidarity’ with Israel is an ‘unshakeable bond,’ that there is no ‘space’ between us and Israel on the issues, and that we have an ‘absolute commitment to Israel’s security’ (Hillary Clinton). A large fraction of congress and the Senate appear regularly at AIPAC [The American Israel Public Affairs Committee] annual meetings to virtually pledge allegiance to the State of Israel, and Vice President Joseph Biden has publicly declared himself ‘a Zionist,’ with Israel ‘the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as vice president of the United States…'”

“There is also no ‘honest broker’ in this fraudulent ‘peace process’ – honest brokering is inconsistent with complete ‘solidarity’ and a ‘central commitment’ to one side.” (Herman, ‘”Protecting Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing” – Deceptively Called “Protecting Israel’s Security”,’ Z Magazine, May 2010)

This is blindingly obvious, but is somehow not an issue, not a reality, for mainstream journalists. The powers that be pretend that honest brokering is consistent with massively funding and arming one side – the media generally go along with the deception. As with the above BBC report, the mainstream typically portrays Palestinian violence as dominant with Israel merely retaliating. This also, Herman explains, is a lie:

“In reality, the primary violence is Israeli dispossession, which has taken Palestinian land and water for decades, under U.S. and other enlightened states’ protection. Over the years the Palestinians have resisted, mainly peaceably, sometimes by violence, but with very much higher casualty rates suffered by the poorly armed Palestinians (over 20-1 prior to the second intifada, when the rate dropped to 3 or 4 to 1-rising to 100 to 1 in the Gaza war).”

No Logic Whatsoever

The BBC commented on the status of the Iron Dome technology:

“Israel completed tests on the system in January. Officials say the next phase in its development is its integration into the Israeli army.”

It seems there are no investigative journalists at the BBC willing to check the claim that tests on the system have been “completed” so that the system is ready for action. As for questioning who might stand to gain from hyping this expensive technology, that is also not within the remit of BBC journalism. By contrast, the Jerusalem Post quotes the view of Tel Aviv University professor and noted military analyst Reuven Pedatzur:

“The Iron Dome is all a scam. The flight-time of a Kassam rocket to Sderot is 14 seconds, while the time the Iron Dome needs to identify a target and fire is something like 15 seconds. This means it can’t defend against anything fired from fewer than five kilometers; but it probably couldn’t defend against anything fired from 15 km., either.” (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=175042)

Pedatzur adds: “Considering the fact that each Iron Dome missile costs about $100,000 and each Kassam $5, all the Palestinians would need to do is build and launch a ton of rockets and hit our pocketbook.”

A second rocket system, David’s Sling, is even less workable, according to Pedatzur:

“Each one of its missiles costs $1 million, and Hizbullah has well over 40,000 rockets. This issue has no logic to it whatsoever.”

Venturing even further beyond the BBC sphere of thinkable thought, we can note that the whole issue of missile defence – which has so far cost US taxpayers alone $100 billion – has long been awash with fraudulent claims. As Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association, has noted:

“Getting to ground truth on strategic missile defense is a bit like looking for a faithful reflection in the distorted mirrors of a carnival fun house – nothing is quite what it seems.

“Performance details are shrouded in secrecy on both strategic ballistic missile defenses and the countermeasures that would be used to defeat them. Neither strategic ballistic missile offenses nor defenses have been used in combat. Many experts to whom the public has access have a vested interest in spinning evaluations of their capabilities.” (Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association, ‘Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check';http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/ TAB_StrategicMissileDefense.pdf)

During the 1991 Gulf War, the mostly male armchair generals of the media swooned before the power and precision of the Patriot anti-missile interceptor. The Guardian gushed:

“The Patriot, a surface-to-air missile, is first among equals of the equipment demonstrated in the Gulf conflict. Although Raytheon and the Pentagon credited the Patriot with only a ‘secondary anti-missile capability,’ it has succeeded against Iraqi Scuds on each occasion it has been called on. Its performance belies concerns which led the Israelis to decide against buying it.” (Francis Tusa, ‘War in the Gulf: Patriot makers race to keep pace with booming demand,’ The Guardian, January 22, 1991)

Robert Fisk wrote in the Independent:

“We are all beginning to feel rather fond of the Patriot missile… The Patriots have performed almost as well as the maker’s advertisements would have you believe. In Saudi Arabia, the best estimate of its success is 12 out of 16 Scuds destroyed.” (Fisk, ‘Crumpled stovepipe that could still break up the coalition,’ The Independent, January 24, 1991)

Thanks to comments such as these appearing right across the media, the US defence industry was “on a high”, Larry Black noted in the Independent:

“Each time the trading-room television monitors replay those videos of cruise missiles attacking a Baghdad bunker, demand for General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas stock explodes. For every Scud knocked out of the sky by a Patriot missile, America’s defence-electronics contractors notch another dollar on their share prices.” (Black, ‘US defence industry on a high,’ The Independent, January 26, 1991)

Cynics might have put two and two – the claims of knocked out Scuds and the exploding stocks – together. The Patriot system was declared fully 98% successful in intercepting and destroying Scud missiles during the war. Professor Ted Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was subsequently asked by Congress to investigate the 98% claim. Postol commented:

“It became clear that it wasn’t even close to intercepting +any+ targets, let alone some targets.” (Postol, Great Military Blunders, Channel 4, March 2, 2000, original emphasis)

Last year, Obama similarly hailed a new generation of antimissile defenses, as “proven and effective.” These comments were based on a Pentagon assessment that the SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) had intercepted 84 per cent of incoming targets in tests. Alas, an examination of results from 10 of the allegedly successful tests – again by Postol working with George N. Lewis – found only one or two successful intercepts – a success rate of 10 to 20 per cent. Postol’s comments were again sobering:

“The system is highly fragile and brittle and will intercept warheads only by accident, if ever.”
(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/ world/18missile.html?th&emc=th)

In an article for the Arms Control Association, Lewis and Postol reviewed a key document published by the Obama administration in February: the Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report:

“… a review of the actual state of missile defense technologies reveals that this new vision put forth by the report is nothing more than a fiction and that the policy strategy that follows from these technical myths could well lead to a foreign policy disaster… the ground-based midcourse ballistic missile defense (GMD) system, which, according to the report, currently protects the continental United States from ICBM attack… has only been tested in carefully orchestrated scenarios that have been designed to hide fundamental flaws and produce appearances of success”.
(http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol)

The same ludicrous, but lucrative, deceptions surround much high-tech military spending. In Britain, the cost of replacing the Trident nuclear missile system and building and equipping two large aircraft carriers will be as much as £130bn. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/sep/18/trident-replacement-hidden-cost-revealed)

Just as it is clear that anti-missile shields are currently worthless, so it is clear that Trident is a Cold War folly. Last year, several retired military officers – Field Marshal Lord Bramall, the former head of the armed forces, and two senior generals – said that renewing Trident was a waste of money:

“Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently, or are likely to, face – particularly international terrorism; and the more you analyse them the more unusable they appear.” (Letter, ‘UK does not need a nuclear deterrent, The Times, January 16, 2009)

They added:

“Our independent deterrent has become virtually irrelevant except in the context of domestic politics. Rather than perpetuating Trident, the case is much stronger for funding our Armed Forces with what they need to meet the commitments actually laid upon them.”

Similarly, Lord Guthrie, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, has argued for the cheapest nuclear deterrent rather than a replacement for Trident. General Sir Richard Dannatt, who last year retired as head of the British army, agrees.

In reality, the logic of military spending has been reversed. It is not that awesome weapons are required to counter awesome threats – threats are needed to +justify+ high-tech weapons. There is no terrrifying Soviet, Muslim or Martian plan to conquer the West. There is despair and anger expressed using the poor person’s weapon of war – labelled “terrorism” by our own high-tech terrorists – that would vanish, instantly, if Western elites stopped inventing motives and machines for attacking innocent people. But as the leftist British musician Billy Bragg once sang:

“War, what is it good for? It’s good for business.”

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:: Article nr. 66179 sent on 21-may-2010 05:31 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=66179

Link: www.medialens.org/alerts/10/100520_projectile_dysfunction_iron.php

The Lion of Babylon and American Dogs

The Lion of Babylon & american dogs.

Layla Anwar

I received this just now. It was posted on Abutamam blog.

Watch the video well, and watch it several times…watch it several times as this video captures two things that are a truth, THE TRUTH :

- the coward rabid animals, dogs – believing they are human beings and who go by the name of americans

- and the true fearless and brave noble Iraqi spirit as embodied in this elderly unarmed man

more about “iraq“, posted with vodpod

This elderly man is in his own country – IRAQ – he is unarmed and he does not fear you…you the occupiers, who have crossed oceans to kill us and deprive us of our most basic rights and liberties ….he does not fear your guns, your weapons, your humvees, your tanks…he is fearless because he knows, just as I know, without the shadow of any doubt that Truth and Justice are on our side…

He does not fear you because he fears the One who is greater than all of you and that is Allah. You know what Allah means don’t you ? Allah is your obsession, whose faithful you want to obliterate…

Watch the video you motherfuckers, watch it….see how you dogs are scared, breathless and look at this unarmed elderly man full of Trust…

And look at your fucking dumbness because you are the most dumb shits that were ever created. At the end of the video, some filthy american son of a bitch shouts after the man has been killed by YOU — he shouts — “arrest him”…

Hahahaha, you want to arrest the dead Iraqis too ?! This is how scared, how petrified, you are…your lives are totally worthless just like you — totally worthless creatures, a waste of cells and oxygen — and this elderly man’s life was a life well lived…he resisted you and unarmed…like a lion, like the eternal Lion of Babylon.

:: Article nr. 66175 sent on 21-may-2010 01:34 ECT
www.uruknet.info?p=66175

Link: arabwomanblues.blogspot.com/2010/05/lion-of-babylon-and-american-dogs.html