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Neo Liberals 1 March 2011

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, AFRICOM, DC Politics, Egypt, Israel/AIPAC, Pan Arab Revolt - 2011, Turkey.
81 comments

I snitched the photo from this post of Angry Arab, couple of snips below:

[R]ead the sign above from Binghanzi: (AP). I assume that you can read English and they wrote it in English for you to see and understand. Zionists are about to hijack and adopt the Libyan uprising but that won’t be easy. The society will prove to be very anti-Israeli, like other societies in the region. Obama who never once uttered the words that Mubarak should step down–even after he stepped down–suddenly decided to call on Qadhdhafi to step down, after resisting for weeks that demands (those who defended Obama said that he was worried about the use of US embassy staff as hostages, so he is no more worried about them?). Libya, unlike Egypt and Tunisia, has oil and that is significant for the US. The US is desperate to take advantage of the situation and steer it in the direction of Tel Aviv. I was a critic of the “Zionist Lobby” thesis of Mershheimer and Walt until the Egyptian uprising when I saw the extent to which Netanyahu was directing Obama (I still caution against the exaggeration of the role of the Zionist lobby because the US lobby has imperial interests of its own) …..

Think we will sell it as Berlin Airlift Deux? Chocolates for the kiddies and ”wow we even fed the animali in the Berlin Zoo” (and I am glad both got food).

Yeah probably. I notice too that Voice of America has a headline that calls for “restraint” in Oman, from the US State Dept voicebox (PJ Crowley) and refers to their protests as “rare”.

And we are all mad mad mad at Tayyip Erdogan for daring to tell us to butt the hell out.

The New York Times had this editorial today:

“We were disappointed to hear Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey — the Muslim world’s leading democracy — denounce “any sanctions or interference that would mean the punishment of the Libyan people.””

So they were disappointed that Erdogan (and I am no fan of his) merely called against interference in Libyan affairs? They were offended that he called for the Libyan people to chart their own destiny? As for your lovely humanitarian sanctions, we saw your sanctions “work” in Iraq (and saw even your “smart sanctions” version under Bush and Rice) and we did not enjoy that show one but, as those more than 500,000 children who died from your sanctions. The policies, actions, and rhetoric of the US is getting uglier and more offensive, and the liberals in the West as usual play the most sinister role (as they did back in 2003 in support of the war on Iraq). Western liberals have always played that role and we in Syria/Lebanon lived under French colonial rule and French socialists were no less colonial when they were in power during that era. I know, that Israel/US want to take advantage of a rapidly changing situation and they want to establish footholds in the region. We know how they think when you read that Obama administration is inviting one Zionist writer after another into the White House (including Bush’s era Zionists, like Elliot Abrams and Fouad Ajami) for potato’s sake.

But they don’t realize one important element of change in the region. Those countries will never be as closed as they were: and so many arms depots and police stations have been raided by protesters. Secret cells will now form freely in all armed forces of overthrown regime. Potential for sabotage and subversion is now huge. In many cases, the peaceful part of the uprisings is now over in Tunisia and Egypt. The violent phase is about to begin. Stay tuned. Those Zionists who play with fire will get their hands burnt, badly.

There you go. Simply put.

Moving right along… 13 June 2010

Posted by marisacat in Afghanistan War, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Pakistan, Riyadh, Turkey, WAR!.
55 comments

A diver feeds a turtle at an aquarium in Hefei, Anhui province, China

A diver feeds a turtle at an aquarium in Hefei, Anhui province, China [REUTERS]

An Iranian relief convoy is getting closer to leaving for Gaza:

Iran aid ships for Gaza awaiting ministry nod
(AFP) – 3 hours ago

 TEHRAN — An Iranian Red Crescent official said in a report on Sunday that two aid ships organised by the humanitarian group were ready and awaiting foreign ministry approval to leave for Gaza.

 “We are ready but are awaiting permission from the foreign ministry given the political, military and security conditions in the region,” Mojtaba Majd, a senior Red Crescent official, was quoted as telling Mehr news agency.

 Separately the Red Crescent said that of the two ships, the one carrying foodstuffs and medicines was expected to leave this week.

Majd said more than 100,000 Iranians have registered to go to Gaza as volunteers on the second ship, but added only those “who have some expertise” would be sent to the Palestinian territory.  snip

And the CSM helpfully tells us why

[A]nalysts say that Iran’s reaction – including Ahmadinejad’s repeated reminders that the Islamic Republic has championed the Palestinian cause since the 1979 Islamic revolution – is designed to recapture from Turkey part of its self-declared role as the regional bastion of militant resistance that fights for the oppressed.

“The Iranians are trying to say, ‘We can still talk the talk,’ ” says Meir Javedanfar, an Iran specialist in Israel. “This is Iran trying to say that it’s still in charge of the Palestinian issue, to milk the international backlash against Israel after the flotilla incident.”
snip

And, so the article says, too many children in Gaza being named for Tayyip Erdogan… too few for Mahmoud A.

This from the previous thead…

TimesOnline

Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.

To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”

Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,” said one. ….

I guess we will know when the sabre rattling ends and the shooting war begins…

Tiny bit… 2 June 2010

Posted by marisacat in Culture of Death, DC Politics, Israel/AIPAC, Turkey, WAR!.
85 comments

Stop the Violence - art made of human bones by Francois Robert


Stop the Violence: art made of human bones by Francois Robert -


He spends hours painstakingly arranging the bones into striking shapes each five or six feet wide and photographs them. “I spend a lot of time on my knees,” he says. “You can imagine how my knees hurt when I decided to create a complete alphabet in order to make words along with the symbols/images”

[FRANCOIS ROBERT / CATERS]

****

Telegraph

In an interview with Fox News, he [Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the UN] described the operation, in which nine people died, as “perfectly legal, perfectly humane – and very responsible”.

Is that anything like Rumsfeld describing the the invasion, bombing of Baghdad as “Oh the humanity!”

He defending the attack in open waters, saying: “Israel acted in accord with international law. Any state has the right to protect itself, certainly from a terrorist threat such as Hamas, including on the open seas.

“The US acted under similar international law when it fought the Germans and the Japanese in World War Two.”  snip

All things considered (remember Leon Uris and Exodus) it’s a bit of a stretch.  Just a bit.  Bitty bit.  Wittle bit.

***************

America contra mundi 1 June 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, Turkey.
63 comments

Large demonstrations took place around the world, including here at Taksim Square in Istanbul (BBC)

But!  we’ll always have Israel…. right?

I know, I know!   Not quite the ring of “we’ll always have Paris”.

Can I get a script re-write?  Send in the re-write men!!

Tapper v Gibbs (full text)

TAPPER:  Does President Obama believe the Israelis’ version of events?
  
GIBBS:  I’m sorry?
  
TAPPER:  Does President Obama believe — does he believe the Israeli government’s version of events?
  
GIBBS:  Well, again Jake, I’d refer you to the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an investigation so that everybody knows exactly what happened.
  
TAPPER:  Let’s talk about that investigation.  Is it important that it be run by the Israelis?  Does the president want the international community to be involved in the investigation?
  
GIBBS:  Right.  Well, I would say that obviously what I said earlier, the resolution calls for a prompt and transparent investigation.  Obviously, we are open to ways to assure a credible investigation, including international participation.
  
TAPPER:  And there were Americans on the flotilla.  Has there been any — do you have any information about whether any of them were hurt?  There was an unconfirmed report that an American student lost an eye in the incident.  Do you know anything?
  
GIBBS:  I — I think we’re in contact with the Israelis in order to get an accounting as to whether any Americans citizens — well obviously American citizens were — acting as private citizens — were — were on some of these ships. We’re working with the Israelis to determine if any of those individuals were injured, and, as the resolution says, would call on the Israelis to release both the ships and any of those people.

TAPPER:  Is the president concerned at all that after all his work to repair relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world that a situation like this destroys overnight?
  
GIBBS:  The U.S. relationship with the Muslim…
  
TAPPER:  U.S. Relationship with the Muslim world, by standing so steadfastly with Israel?
  
GIBBS:  No.  Again, I — again, I would point you to I think it was a pretty clear statement by the international community that the United States…
  
TAPPER:  I wouldn’t call it that.  I mean, it condemns acts that were taken that led to the loss of life, but it doesn’t say whose acts.  It could have been the flotilla’s acts or it could have been the IDF’s acts.  It’s not clear from that statement.
  
GIBBS:  Well, I think our opinion is this is a pretty clear statement and obviously…
  
(CROSSTALK)
  
TAPPER:  … whose acts are you talking about in that statement?  Is it the IDF or is it…
  
GIBBS:  Again, we’re talking about a series of facts that will be determined by an appropriate investigation, as I just said.
  
TAPPER:  OK.  So there’s no specificity as to whose acts it’s condemning?
  
GIBBS:  Well, it may be of information as to exactly how this went down that the rest of the international community may not be completely clear on, Jake.  But, again, I’m saying — and let me…
  
(CROSSTALK)
  
TAPPER:  … you don’t even know what it (inaudible) if you don’t know what happened.
  
GIBBS:  We can play circular ball all day long, Jake.  Obviously we condemn the loss of life and we regret it deeply.  I think that is knowable, correct?
 
TAPPER:  OK.
  
GIBBS:  OK, good.  So I would simply say — reiterate what is in the statement. In terms of our relationship with the Muslim world, I think the president has obviously spent a lot of time on improving our relationship with countries throughout the world, and special time and care on our relationship with the Muslim world.  I do not think that this will have a great impact on that.

Poor Obby, just flotsam in the big oily sea.  Somehow they will tell it as the story of Moses.

We are so fucking screwed.

********************

War Forever 19 July 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Pakistan, Turkey, WAR!.
63 comments

Farmers along the Euphrates say that they may have to abandon Anbar rice, a higher value grain that commands patriotic pride in the area, for cheaper varieties. [Photo: Moises Saman for The New York Times]

NYT has an article up on the shrinking of the Euphrates…

The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, has left fishermen impoverished and has depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the cities looking for work.

“Next winter will be the final chance,” said Hashem Hilead Shehi, a 73-year-old farmer who lives in a bone-dry village west of the marshes. “If we are not able to plant, then all of the families will leave.”

***

Elsewhere, exhibiting drought of a different sort, Peter Bergen says we (and who is that?) can win in Afghanistan. His writings on this are loaded from top to bottom with propaganda…

Washington Monthly:

[N]or has the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan been anywhere near as expensive as Vietnam was—in fact, that’s in part why American efforts have not met with as much success as they could have. During the Vietnam War, the United States spent almost 10 percent of its GDP on military spending. Today’s military expenditures are somewhere between 4 and 5 percent of GDP, and of that, Afghanistan last year consumed only 6 percent of the total expenditure, while Iraq sucked up some five times that amount. And unlike the Vietnamese and Iraqis, Afghans have generally embraced international forces. In 2005, four years after the fall of the Taliban, eight out of ten Afghans expressed in a BBC/ABC poll a favorable opinion of the United States, and the same number supported foreign soldiers in their country. Contrast that with Iraq, where a BBC/ABC poll in 2005 found that only one in three Iraqis supported international forces in their country. While the same poll taken in Afghanistan this year reported, for the first time, that just under half of Afghans have a favorable view of the United States, that’s still a higher approval rating than the U.S. gets in any other Muslim-majority country save Lebanon. And a solid majority of Afghans continue to approve of the international forces in their country. What Afghans want is not for American and other foreign soldiers to leave, but for them to deliver on their promises of helping to midwife a more secure and prosperous country.  …snip...

And for maximum insanity, he slobbers out the propaganda on McChrystal, that he is mindful of “collateral damage” civilian casualties.. and well, he’ll be “mindful”.

This evening I also landed on a strangely straight forward and direct article in the Telegraph on Afghanistan, saying quite directly that Obama plans to build up the Afghani security forces and quite showily ”depart”, in the months prior to the re election, November 2012.  Really?  I doubt it.  Another fake withdrawal, like Iraq.  And fake food for Africa, with guns.  And a lecturing US President with a smiling black face.  Advancement?  I don’t think so.

[G]host soldiers and an enemy that never seems to be beaten despite big losses is reminiscent of another war that went awry. Journalists who have been here since before the Helmand operation of 2006 have a sense of foreboding that was present during the latter stages of the Vietnam war. There was a substantial surge in troops before the Americans withdrew from South Vietnam, leaving behind a corrupt government and army that collapsed at their first test.

The Kabul hacks struggle to be persuaded by commanding officers who fly in for six-month tours talking about a “winnable war” and keeping the terrorists off the streets of Britain. There is also growing cynicism over the politicians – Gordon Brown included – trotting out the line that we are there to prevent another September 11 or July 7. Even some officers are beginning to ask if “we are creating more terrorists than we are killing”.

The Americans have showed that numbers work. In the first six hours of Panther’s Claw, 4,000 men backed by Sea Stallion helicopters secured an area of southern Helmand that had been held by the Taliban for three years. Contrast this with the couple of hundred British soldiers clinging on to the same area since 2006 supported by the handful of Chinook helicopters serving an entire province.

There are now 10,000 US Marines arriving in Helmand, and the numbers and equipment could mark the “tipping point” that British commanders have been hoping for. Things could also improve once the Kabul government starts talks with members of the Taliban not wholly committed to its nihilistic ideology. That could happen soon after the elections next month.

To leave the country secure, an Afghan force of 250,000 trained men is needed. This is expected to be in place before the next US presidential election in 2012. A swift departure before American voters go to the polls is what the Obama administration wants. The current American review of Afghanistan is probably going to set low, achievable targets so it can reduce its forces. …snip…

I don’t even know what to say anymore…

***

On the flip side, Cockburn has a post up with several of the recent comments from Obama and Hillary.  Geesh.  It only matters if Bush (or Cheney, satan incarnate) says it.  Very clearly.

Against the backdrop of their co-mingled gurglings is this:

Meanwhile the troops and weapons flow towards Afghanistan, with vast, Vietnam-style “sweep” operations under way.

And how is the antiwar movement here dealing with that? Answer, what antiwar movement? We certainly can’t watch what it’s doing, because the answer is nothing. And we can’t hear what it’s saying, because there too the answer is nothing.

Where are the mobilizations, actions, civil disobedience? Antiwar coalitions like United for Peace and Justice and Win Without War (with MoveOn also belatedly adopting this craven posture) don’t say clearly “US troops out now!” They whine about the “absence of a clear mission” (Win Without War), plead futilely for “an exit strategy” (UFPJ). One letter from the UFPJ coalition (which includes Code Pink) to the Congressional Progressive Caucus in May laconically began a sentence with the astounding words, “To defeat the Taliban and stabilize the country, the U.S. must enable the Afghan people…” These pathetic attempts not to lose “credibility” and thus attain political purchase have met with utter failure, as the recent vote on a supplemental appropriation proved.

A realistic estimate is that among the Democrats in Congress there are fewer than forty solid antiwar votes.

Sweet dreams of democracy… 16 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in Culture of Death, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Turkey, WAR!.
95 comments

Hor al-Hammar, Iraq: Men fish in a partially dried marsh. A severe drought is threatening Iraq’s southern marshes, the traditional site of the biblical Garden of Eden [Hadi Mizban/AP]

Mentioning water… A couple of weeks ago I had read of a dam planned in Turkey that will greatly affect the water inside Iraq… googling and trying to find that article.. was frustrating.  I did however find this report at C-Punch from a woman who attended and made a presentation at a UNESCO sponsored Water Forum in Istanbul.  I think she refers to the same dam project, tho there is no mention beyond its affect on Kurds, I assume Turkish Kurds.

The report reeks of the political oppression inside Turkey, as tho the air is suppressed from the days.  The water suppressed from the rivers…

Talking with a couple of activists from Italy on my way back to my hotel, I shared my plans to speak at the World Water Forum later in the week, and the regret that I cannot attend the alternative forum events. I briefly outlined my talk — a presentation on the legacy of fifty years of large dams and water diversions with global data demonstrating how large infrastructure water development has led to the displacement and widespread impoverishment of the world’s most vulnerable people, especially indigenous groups and ethnic minorities. Drawing upon findings from my research on dam-displaced communities I illustrate how water development has caused ecocide, ethnocide, incidents of ethnic cleansing and, in a few instances, genocide.

I was told to take care. The police were everywhere, with undercover and uniformed security in every corridor and at every session. Using water, dams, and genocide in the same sentence, in public, was not tolerated here in Turkey, where dam development on the Euphrates and Tigris river basin will drown ancient cities, flood the biblical Garden of Eden, and forcibly displace tens of thousands of Kurds without compensation from the heart of a contested Kurdistan. I appreciated the caution, and noted that, truth be told, such intolerance was not unique to Turkey.

I had some sense of the heightened political tensions here in the weeks and months before coming to Turkey. The press regularly reported increased geopolitical tension over water and energy development in the region, including the loss of European Union support for Turkish Ilisu Dam, part of a broader development effort that critics say constitute state-sponsored violence against a cilvian Kurdish population. In the volatile politics of war, water, energy and economic stability, the background currents influencing political tension included an off and on-again bilateral deal to build a water pipeline between Turkey and Israel, and a recently confirmed bilateral energy cooperation deal between Turkey and Russia.

The article reminded me of a couple of instances of disdainful or frantic denial of the idea of “conspiracy” that I happened upon over the past days.  One was Simon Johnson on Fresh Air… even tentatively put forward by Terri Gross that there may be a conspiracy of Goldman Sachs people, inside and outside of government.. Gosh Simon was having none of it.  He did admit to a culture of “shared belief system”.

OK Simon if that makes you feel better… :lol:

NO conspiracies in government and none, none, none on Wall St.  Right!

The other was a frantic denial of conspiracies, any, from an authoritarian type on some political show.

OK! NO conspiracies in politics.  NONE.  Right!!

Of course there are conspiracies.  All the time.  This sort of thing always reminds me of a simple line I read in the wake of Watergate.  That “they did not think they conspired.  They thought they just agreed”.

”Shared belief system”, anyone?

I’d laugh but it’s not funny…  We are so awash in misinformation, disinformation, planned diversionary egg rolls and dog shows for the child-electorate… maybe the real conspiracies are not the ones on view.

But they sure as fucking hell exist.  And a big factor in that conspiracy act is the notion of the conspiracy being “against” rights and freedoms. Ones that belong to someone else.

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