Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dual Loyalty on the Upper West Side + Justin Raimondo on Obama on bended knee to the Lobby

NYC Upper West Side Jews having trouble with Obama?
Anecdotally from my Upper West Side health club. One Jewish supporter of Obama told me that several of his acquaintances were having trouble with Obama. He guessed it was racism. I suggested it might be Israel.

Another -- this one I guessed was a Zionist -- told me about an upcoming forum about Obama at a local synagogue next week. He said there was concern that an Obama presidency might be hurting them in their pocketbooks. When I challenged him, he allowed how there might be other issues of concern.

Here's Justin Raimondo on Obama's response to a Zionist interrogation. What pleasantly surprised me was how much freedom of action he managed to cut out for himself. But it's because of his intelligence and independence that they'll vote against their pocketbooks and for McCain.

It's called dual loyalty, and yes, Bill, it's alive and well on the Upper West Side, not to mention other parts of the city.


Justin Raimondo:
Obama vs. The Lobby
No matter how much he grovels, it's never enough

Washington Post: Quel Surprise: Bush is also bad for Israel

Laura Rozen's useful blog found this WP article pointing to the obvious: that George W. Bush's policies after all aren't very good for Israel either. The article was written with the common misconception in mind that Bush's policies were intended to be good for Israel. The underlying idea is that his bad policies were mistakes, somehow, miscalculations.
It's interesting how reality has to be twisted like a pretzel, especially when reality is staring us in the face --well ok, my face.
His policies were intended to be as bad for Israel as they are for everywhere else, especially the US, and especially the Middle East (isn't that where Israel is situated?). Bush and Cheney are diehard (pun intended) proponents of Year Zero --destroy everything and then (theoretically) start over. Only they believe in crushing everything and everybody to the point where it's impossible to survive, much less start over.
Interesting that it's taken two terms of Bush for some of these smart guys quoted in the article to wake up to the effects at least of what Bush is doing.

May 13, 2008
Appearing at an Israeli Embassy reception last Thursday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state, Vice President Cheney voiced a sentiment that is common among many American Jews, evangelicals and others. "Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than the 43rd president of the United States," he said.

Yet as President Bush prepares to return to Jerusalem this week to celebrate the milestone, that assessment is the subject of fierce debate both here and Israel. Few doubt the sincerity of Bush's passion, which has translated into unprecedented backing for Israeli self-defense and the most clearly stated presidential commitment to protect Israel if it is attacked.

But from left to right, Bush also faces criticism for pursuing Middle East policies that, many diplomats and analysts believe, have left Israel more threatened than when he assumed office in January 2001.

"The sum total is that if you measure Israeli security at the beginning of this administration and at the end of the administration, based on things the president either could have done, should have done or failed to do, the report card is pretty negative," said Daniel C. Kurtzer, who served as Bush's first-term ambassador to Israel.

As one former US government officer commented on news that Lebanese Druze leader Jumblatt had basically surrendered to Hizbollah, "Same guys that gave you Gaza gave you this. Do you think any of them are smart enough to see what they've done?" Adds another former US official who served in Lebanon: "This administration is bankrupt in every way -- absolutely hopeless."
Posted by Laura at 11:03 AM

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Democracy Now: AS’AD ABUKHALIL: US instigates civil war in Lebanon as elsewhere

Amy Goodman's Democracy Now is the only place I've so far found which indicates that the civil war in Lebanon is spurred by the US (although Prof Abukhalil references a good article in the Los Angeles Times.) The US is funding the right wing in Lebanon to prevent stability and democracy there. It's for the purpose of creating a civil war. To the extent that it's happening, the US is succeeding. Which is why those Lebanese players who were for a peaceful resolution have been rubbed out, no doubt with Israeli intelligence help if not direct assistance.

Khalil says it clearly: Something similar is taking place right now in Lebanon, and this is very much similar to what’s happening in Sudan, in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and Somalia. The United States is basically instigating, funding and arming civil wars in all those places.

Once again, why would the US be instigating civil war in all these places? One advantage of understanding the criminal sociopathic US leadership for what it is (besides that it explains the data), is that one can predict their actions: do the maximum harm everywhere.

May 12, 2008

81 Dead in Lebanon as Hezbollah Clashes with US-Backed Pro-Government Forces

AMY GOODMAN: In Lebanon, armed clashes since last Wednesday between Hezbollah-led opposition groups and US-backed pro-government forces have left at least eighty-one people dead, many more wounded. Opposition forces overpowered pro-government militias and took over large parts of the capital city of Beirut late last week before handing over control to the Lebanese army.
The fighting shifted to the north and east of the country over the weekend, and fresh clashes were reported in Beirut this morning. Meanwhile, the Arab League has agreed to send a high-level political delegation to Lebanon to dialogue with leaders from all sides.
The violence, which has been described as the worst since the civil war, erupted last week during a general strike called by the General Federation of Labor Unions to protest the high cost of living.
On Thursday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah held a news conference in Beirut to mark what he called the beginning of a “new era” in Lebanese politics. He condemned a decision by the Lebanese cabinet to outlaw Hezbollah’s telecommunications network and dismiss the head of airport security for his alleged ties to the party. Nasrallah said their private communication network was a vital tool in combat and critical to their success during the July 2006 war with Israel. He described the government crackdown as “tantamount to a declaration of war.”
HASSAN NASRALLAH: [translated] If we want to get off of this crisis, to get out of this standoff, of this confrontation, they need to revoke the decisions of the illegitimate government, and they need to go to the dialogue. That’s all. If they want to be stubborn, they will go elsewhere. The game is very dangerous. If they are truly keen about preserving the country, they have only these two solutions.

AMY GOODMAN: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized Hezbollah and declared US support for the Lebanese government led by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. But after four days of fighting, Siniora capitulated and announced Saturday the decision regarding Hezbollah’s demands now lay in the hands of the Lebanese army. The army commander, General Michel Suleiman, is slated to be the new president of the country.
For analysis of the situation in Lebanon, I’m now joined on the phone from California by As’ad AbuKhalil, professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus, and the creator of the Angry Arab News Service blog at We welcome you to Democracy Now!
AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Thank you very much, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain what’s happening in Lebanon right now?
AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Well, yes. I think that people may remember, back in the 1980s, the United States government, for two years in the administration of Ronald Reagan, deployed troops from ’82 to ’84. And there was a civil war, and the United States was supporting the rightwing militias of Israel in Lebanon, and they used the discourse of supporting the central government of Lebanon.
Something similar is taking place right now in Lebanon, and this is very much similar to what’s happening in Sudan, in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and Somalia. The United States is basically instigating, funding and arming civil wars in all those places. We hear a lot about this inability of the international community to tolerate armed militias. Of course, Hezbollah is an armed militia, but so are the pro-militias of the government. There’s a Los Angeles Times article today detailing the efforts by the United States and allies to create militias throughout the country. And the Washington Post indicated that this government of the United States spent $1.4 billion to prop up the administration of Siniora in Lebanon.
And basically, what happened in Lebanon in the last few days is a partial coup d’etat that was in response to a full coup d’etat that was engineered by the United States and Saudi Arabia and Israel from behind the scene back in 2005, capitalizing on the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
And things have gotten to this point because America basically is responsible, more than their clients in Lebanon. I mean, there were ideas of dialogue in Lebanon, and things were moving in that direction, and then, suddenly, lo and behold, the Assistant Secretary of State of the United States for the Near East, David Welch, shows up in Lebanon, and he basically wanted to stiffen the resolve of the clients and to basically prevent the possibility of dialogue. And then, Walid Jumblatt, one of the clients of the United States and Saudi Arabia and Lebanon today, escalated by deciding on taking the issue of disarming Hezbollah, which is supported at least by half of the Lebanese, and Lebanese parties, including clients of the United States, agreed that the issues of disarming Hezbollah should be left for internal dialogue of the Lebanese themselves.
But it seems the Bush administration, while it’s sailing into the sunset, wanted to achieve a victory that has long eluded it in Iraq and elsewhere. They were getting too excited about Lebanese affairs in the Washington Post, who were celebrating the so-called Cedar Revolution. Well, they tried to push them further, and look what happened. This is something that experts have warned the United Nations about. If you push things to that point, the other side is going to lash out, and they did lash out, even if one, like me, does not like the scenes of these militias and armed thugs running into the streets of Beirut and so on. But basically, we have to say that this is the doing of US foreign policy, and this is the true face of the Bush Doctrine in the Middle East.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk overall about the United States—what you feel the US role should be right now?
AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Well, I mean, just to get out, just to not be as heavily involved. We have to see that US policy is not only in funding and arming the militias in the Anbar province in Iraq or places in Iraq—I mean, Afghanistan, the warlords, or in Lebanon, the various militias. But we have to say that this level of intense tensions and conflict and animosity is the product of a deliberate American-Saudi policy of instigating a Sunni-Shiite conflict, the likes of which Lebanon has never seen. I mean, even somebody like myself who come from a split background—my mother is Sunni, and my father is Shiite—I mean, we’ve never seen anything like this. Saudi media, with the full cooperation of the United States, have been for three years mobilizing the Lebanese opposition, because that’s the only thing they have. I mean, if patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, sectarianism in Lebanon is the last refuge of scoundrels of the United States and Israel. They have been for serious propagandizing to splitting Sunnis from Shiites in order that they create a militia that can stand up to Hezbollah.
Well, this militia of Hariri’s, as supported by the United States, trained in Jordan, funded by Saudi Arabia, basically didn’t last. It’s very much like the Dahlan gangs in Palestine in Gaza. They do not have a cause. The United States can provide them with weapons and with money; it cannot provide them with a doctrine or an ideology. And that’s why, when push comes to shove, they flee. They flee for their life, just as militias of Israel fled across the border when Israel attacked and left, humiliatingly, South Lebanon in 2000.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor AbuKhalil, we have thirty seconds. What’s next? What do you make of Hassan Nasrallah’s comment that this is a new era in Lebanese politics?
AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Basically, he is saying that they will no more allow this heavy-handed role by the Saudis in Lebanon, and they want to change the balance of forces on the ground. Now, that in itself does not bode well for the future in Lebanon. I fear that Hezbollah may get too intoxicated with their so-called victories on the streets of Lebanon, and they may assert a sectarian agenda that is going to provoke the other side. I worry about a [inaudible] syndrome among the Sunnis of Lebanon.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much for being with us. Professor As’ad AbuKhalil teaches political science at California State University at Stanislaus, visiting professor at UC Berkeley.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Game Plan Iran -- The Next World War?

The Coming Showdown in Iran

Check out the link above for a not unlikely game plan of US-Israeli war plans against Iran. The article has excellent graphics and photos and a minimum of text. It’s especially informative about the devastating hardware on both sides. I confess that I hadn’t thought of the inclusion of a false flag attack by Israel taking out a US Carrier (is that 6,000 people?) a la the Israeli 1967 attack on the USS Liberty spy ship. For the sociopathic Bush & Cheney, rubbing out a quick 6,000 US servicepeople would only be an appetizer.

The realization that such a war – perhaps (or inescapably) escalating into a world war (the Russians aren’t going to be too happy with a US attack on Iran) – is not for Oil, not for Israel and not for Empire may help to give us a clearer focus on the danger we face.

For example, the current public position of the government of Iran is that it wouldn't be in US interests to initiate such an attack. But the public position of Iran doesn’t take into account that Bush and Cheney would go ahead with such an attack precisely because it would be devastating to everyone, especially Iran and including the US. $300-500 (or more)/barrel oil for starters would be among the smallest effects.

It’s not unlikely that Bush & Cheney are counting on the general turmoil and chaos and the inevitable aftermath of such an attack as a means to stay in office, just as co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani hoped to do after the 9/11 attacks.

It should go without saying that such an attack would be terrible for Israel as well as it will be for every other country. It may be that our only hope is that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert – - who undoubtedly understands the danger to his country –- has learned his lesson from the disastrous Lebanon war of 2006, largely provoked by Washington, and will manage to withstand the pressure to attack Iran from Bush-Cheney-Elliott Abrams. But Olmert is a thin reed. Once again – as in Lebanon 2006 -- ironically we may be missing the stronger hand of Ariel Sharon.


(Note: See below for Scott Ritter's views of the danger. He thinks that there's an 80% chance of such an attack. But didn't I see somewhere else that he had no doubt it would happen?)

Here’s a summary excerpt of the Plan from this site:

After Watching Destruction of Iraq, The Iranians Will Be Forced To Respond

Because Iran is already at total war footing, the attacks will escalate out of control in a matter of days.
• Israel hits Iran's nuclear facilities
• Iran goes to Alert One
• Israel hits a US Carrier and blames Iran
• US hits Iran's navy in northern Persian Gulf
• Iran attacks with all its missiles
Iran has already calculated their response, and they realize their only option is a massive attack. Iran is sitting on a stockpile of Exocet, Sunburn 22 and SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles. The Fifth Fleet sits at Qatar, and it is within range of the Sunburn-22 and Yakhonts. Iran is said to have commercial freighters equipped with Exocets that will be in port at the time. Once Israel hits the US carrier (similar to the USS Liberty) then Iran will have no choice but to defend itself.

The 5th Fleet sits in a lake surrounded by Iran's rugged mountains, and will be decimated by the missiles. The US fleet will arrive in the Indian Ocean, but will be helpless because the straits of Hormuz will be showered by a Phalanx of hundreds of Exocets.

Read more:

Ken wrote:

Please read carefully.
I am passing this on. I do not know when they will go, or even if they will go, but it is clear they want to go.
If you do a Google search on the “USS Liberty” and the “Gulf of Tonkin”, you will see that criminal factions of our government are not above staging a “False Flag Event” (Google the term) to get us embroiled in a bigger,broader and endless war.
I do know that by “naming the game” in advance, we can take some of the shock value away from the bad guys. It is quite possible that by vigilant action to name the game last fall we might have averted a nasty event already, but we will never really know for sure.
The Coming Showdown in Iran

Scott Ritter: It's 80% Sure
Bob wrote:
A correspondent just led me to this article by the well-informed Scott Ritter. Let's see: I'm no gambler, but 80 percent, or 4 out of 5, chance of war on Iran...seems a very solid bet, bolstered by the new information Ritter imparts (e.g., bombs/bombers enhancement by end of this month...) and driven by the increasingly insane idiot residing in our White House...Bob

Ritter says White House preparing for war in Iran
April 4, 2008
By ED BARNA Herald Correspondent
MIDDLEBURY — Scott Ritter, former head of weapons inspection in Iraq who protested there were no weapons of mass destruction to justify an invasion, believes the same is true for Iran.
But there is an 80 percent chance of war with Iran, he told about 200 people Wednesday at Middlebury College as part of a series of talks facilitated by the Vermont Peace and Justice Center.
The pattern of preparations for such a conflict has been steadily developing and involves Congress as well as the Bush-Cheney administration, he said.
People ask him if he feels vindicated by the absence of WMDs in Iraq, he said, but "there isn't any vindication in being right about this one." A war with Iran would hasten the ongoing decline of American standing in the world, and afterward Russia and China would be ready to take advantage of the resulting power vacuum, he said.

Read more: