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""Hail Mary" or THE CRIME OF LEBANON AND PALESTINE

by Stephen Lendman Saturday, Aug. 05, 2006 at 5:47 PM

"If this scenario is possible, why then would US, UK, Israeli, and other Western leaders who see what's going on, be willing to take the risk? Ahmed states what a growing number of knowledgeable observers now believe - that the Western, mainly US, so-called neoliberal imperial freewheeling "free-market" model is failing and may collapse short of a desperate "Hail Mary" military solution to try to save it even though the chance for success at best would be uncertain and in some views unlikely."

Dear friends,

If you are concerned about your loved ones futures please read the following. Spread it far and wide and help stop the madness it portends. Jamie

-----

THE CRIME OF LEBANON AND PALESTINE - ARE IRAN AND SYRIA NEXT? - PART II

Stephen Lendman 28 Jul 2006 12:05 GMT

THE US FUNDED AND SUPPORTED WAR ON LEBANON AND PALESTINE - PART II

THE CRIME OF LEBANON AND PALESTINE - ARE IRAN AND SYRIA NEXT? - PART II

The Crime of Lebanon and Palestine - Are Iran and Syria Next?: Part II - by Stephen Lendman

On July 26, Aljazeerah reported a story headlined - "Israeli invasion of Lebanon planned by neocons in June (2006)." It was done at a June 17 and 18 meeting at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado at which former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Likud Knesset member Natan Sharansky met with US Vice President Dick Cheney. The purpose was to discuss the planned and impending Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) invasions of Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Cheney was thoroughly briefed and approved the coming assaults - before Hamas' capture of an IDF soldier on June 25 or Hezbollah's capturing of two others in an exchange first reported as occurring in Israel and now believed to have happened inside Lebanon after IDF forces illegally entered the country.

Following the Colorado meeting, Netanyahu returned to Israel for a special "Ex-Prime Ministers" meeting in which he conveyed the message of US support to carry out the "Clean Break" policy officially ending all past peace accords including Oslo. At the meeting in Israel in addition to Binyamin Netanyahu were current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres.

Aljazeerah also reported that after the Colorado AEI conference Natan Sharansky met with the right wing Heritage Foundation in Washington and then attended a June 29 seminar at Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia sponsored by the Middle East Forum led by US Israeli hawk Daniel Pipes. Sharansky appeared there with Republican Senator Rick Santorum who on July 20 was hawkishly advocating war against Syria, Iran, and "Islamo-fascism" in an inflamatory speech at the National Press Club attended by a cheering section of supporters composed of members of the neocon Israel Project, on whose Board Santorum serves along with Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss and Virginia Republican Representative Tom Davis.

Aljazeerah reported further that in a published interview in the Spanish newspaper ABC on July 23, Syrian Information Minister Moshen Bilal warned Israel that his country would enter the Lebanon conflict if Israel launched a major incursion into the country. He said: "If Israel makes a land entry into Lebanon, they can get to within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of Damascus. What will we do? Stand by with our arms folded? Absolutely not. Without any doubt Syria will intervene in the conflict." Bilal said his country wanted above all a ceasefire "as soon as possible" combined with a prisoner exchange and explained he was working with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos with whom he had met in Madrid. Bilal also criticized the US saying it was "unjustifiable (that) the superpower is not working for a rapid ceasefire." He rejected claims by Washington that

Syria had armed Hezbollah (which contradicted an earlier admission by the Syrian defense minister that his country did supply some arms to Hezbollah), saying it offered "moral support" but not financing for "any resistance."

The Aljazeerah report also cited the work of former intelligence officer and now author/writer James Bamford who wrote about "going after Syria (and then Iran) in accordance with the 'A Clean Break' war for Israel agenda" in his book A Pretext for War published in 2004 which concentrated on the abuse of the US's intelligence agencies to invent reasons to attack Iraq. If Bamford is right, Syria may soon be drawn into this conflict, and if so, will Iran be next?

Another Report Believes the "War With Iran is On"

Iran may indeed be next (and Syria too) according to UK political scientist, human rights activist and writer Nafeez Ahmed in an article published in OpEd News on July 23 titled: "UK Govt Sources Confirm War With Iran Is On." In it, Ahmed writes: "In the last few days, I learned from a credible and informed source that a former senior Labour government Minister, who continues to be well-connected to British military and security officials, confirms that Britain and the United States 'will go to war with Iran before the end of the year.' "

Ahmed goes on to say that in similar fashion to the lead-up to the March, 2003 Iraq invasion, current war plans may change and the scheduled time for it be begin may be postponed. But he quoted Vice President Dick Cheney in an MSNBC interview over a year ago saying Iran is "right at the top of the list (of) rogue states (and) Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel (so) Israel might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards." What the Vice President claimed the Iranians said was false (the Iranian president was deliberately misquoted), and he neglected to mention the immediate mass death and destruction that would result from this "act," and the resulting calamity from destroying commercial nuclear reactor and facilities sites that would spread devastating irremediable toxic radiation over a vast area making those territories uninhabitable forever and eventually killing an unknown number of people living there from the cancers and other diseases they will eventually contract from the deadly contamination.

Ahmed goes on to discount the possibility of Israel taking the lead in an assault against Iran saying it prefers to be a "regional proxy force in a US-led campaign." And he reports that writer Seymour Hersh quotes a former high-level US intelligence official saying that despite the increasing disaster in Iraq, overall "This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah-we've got four years, and we want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism." Hersh has been on and off in what his sources are telling him about the likelihood of war with Iran so it may be uncertain what conclusion he now has as of this article's publication. But whatever it is, it's clear it can change in an instant as things in the Middle East are so fluid.

Nafeez's article also reported an analysis of the Monterey Institute for International Studies on the likely consequences of a war against Iran in which, if it happens, the US said it would use "bunker-buster mini-nukes." The language is deceptive as these are powerful nuclear bombs. The Institute painted the dire possibility that an extended conflict with Iran could catastrophically spin out of control with irreversible consequences for the global political economy. It would affect energy security, relations with other nations like China and Russia concerned about their own access to energy supplies in the region, and the US "dollar-economy" that would be under pressure, greatly harmed and even potentially threatened with collapse.

If this scenario is possible, why then would US, UK, Israeli, and other Western leaders who see what's going on, be willing to take the risk? Ahmed states what a growing number of knowledgeable observers now believe - that the Western, mainly US, so-called neoliberal imperial freewheeling "free-market" model is failing and may collapse short of a desperate "Hail Mary" military solution to try to save it even though the chance for success at best would be uncertain and in some views unlikely. And if it fails, the result may be an unimaginable social, political and economic calamity.

The fate of the corrupted neoliberal model may be what's now at stake. That model is already unraveling in Latin America where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is proving his alternate Bolivarian participatory democracy is overwhelmingly popular and working. It's based on a government serving the people by providing essential social services, especially to the poor and desperate ones most in need of it. Chavez's success has made him a symbol of hope and a hero in the region and beyond, it's allowed his form of governance to spread to Bolivia, and there's every reason to imagine and hope it will continue spreading unstoppably because people in other Latin countries are beginning to fight for it. It's all greatly alarmed the ruling authority in Washington that views Chavez as the threat it most fears, even above Iran - a powerful good example that will spread unless the US acts forcibly to stop it, which clearly is its plan.

Apparently though, with the conflict raging in the Middle East, including in Iraq, the US attention is focused there as well as on the upcoming mid-term elections in which Republicans fear they will lose their control of the Congress because of their geopolitical failures that have turned the public against them. Politicians never accept defeat without a determined fight to prevent it including assuming the added risk of expanding an already out-of-control conflict in the Middle East to one or more countries in it hoping to convince a doubting public it's only being done to protect our national security. Up to now, an unknowledgeable and naive public has bought the story, and with enough effective packaging of a new contrived Iranian and Syrian threat, likely may do it again. If it happens, the potential calamitous consequences may be enormous and unimaginable, and the likely disaster will only be worse if Iran is attacked with nuclear weapons. The world, indeed, is holding its collective breath with no clear idea yet what may unfold or what will result if the worst happens - a nuclear terror-war against Iran.

-----



“I want nobody to sleep at night in Gaza”, declared the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, as children went out of their minds.

MIDDLE EAST: The US empire makes its move to take over

John Pilger

The National Museum of American History is part of the celebrated Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Surrounded by mock Graeco-Roman edifices with their soaring Corinthian columns, rampant eagles and chiselled profundities, it is at the centre of Empire, though the word itself is engraved nowhere. This is understandable, as the likes of Hitler and Mussolini were proud imperialists, too: on a “great mission to rid the world of evil”, to borrow from President Bush.

One of the museum’s exhibitions is called “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War”. In the spirit of Santa’s Magic Grotto, this travesty of revisionism helps us understand how silence and omission are so successfully deployed in free, media-saturated societies. The shuffling lines of ordinary people, many of them children, are dispensed the vainglorious message that the US has always “built freedom and democracy” — notably at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the atomic bombing saved “a million lives”, and in Vietnam, where the US crusaders were “determined to stop communist expansion”, and in Iraq where the same true hearts “employed air strikes of unprecedented precision”.

The words “invasion” and “controversial” make only fleeting appearances; there is no hint that the “great mission” has overseen, since 1945, the attempted overthrow of 50 governments, many of them democracies, along with the crushing of popular movements struggling against tyranny and the bombing of 30 countries, causing the loss of countless lives.

In Central America, in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan’s arming and training of gangster-armies saw off 300,000 people; in Guatemala, this was described by the UN as genocide. No word of this is uttered in the Grotto. Indeed, thanks to such displays, US people can venerate war, comforted by the crimes of others and knowing nothing about their own.

In Santa’s Grotto, there is no place for Howard Zinn’s honest People’s History of the United States, or I.F. Stone’s revelation of the truth of what the museum calls “the forgotten war” in Korea, or Mark Twain’s definition of patriotism as the need to keep “multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries”. Moreover, at the Price of Freedom Shop, you can buy US Army Monopoly, and a “grateful nation blanket” for just 0. The exhibition’s corporate sponsors include Sears, Roebuck, the mammoth retailer. The point is taken.

To understand the power of indoctrination in free societies is also to understand the subversive power of the truth it suppresses. During the Blair era in Britain, precocious revisionists of Empire have been embraced by the pro-war media. Inspired by Washington’s Messianic claims of “victory” in the Cold War, their pseudo-histories have sought not only to hose down the blood slick of slavery, plunder, famine and genocide that was British imperialism (“the Empire was an exemplary force for good”: Andrew Roberts) but also to rehabilitate Gladstonian convictions of superiority and promote “the imposition of Western values”, as Niall Ferguson puts it.

Ferguson relishes “values”, an unctuous concept that covers both the barbarism of the imperial past and today’s ruthless, rigged “free” market. The new code for race and class is “culture”. Thus, the enduring, piratical campaign by the rich and powerful against the poor and weak, especially those with natural resources, has become a “clash of civilisations”. Since Francis Fukuyama wrote his drivel about “the end of history” (since recanted), the task of the revisionists and mainstream journalism has been to popularise the “new” imperialism, as in Ferguson’s War of the World series for Channel 4 and his frequent soundbites on the BBC.

In this way, the public is “softened up” for the rapacious invasion of countries on false pretences, including a not-unlikely nuclear attack on Iran, and the ascent in Washington of an executive dictatorship, as called for by Vice-President Dick Cheney.

So imminent is the latter that a supine Congress will almost certainly reverse the Supreme Court’s recent decision to outlaw the Guantanamo kangaroo courts. The judge who wrote the majority opinion — in a high court Bush himself stacked — sounded his alarm through this seminal quotation of James Madison: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

The catastrophe in the Middle East is a product of such an imperial tyranny. It is clear that the long-planned assault on Gaza and now the destruction of Lebanon are Washington-ordained and pretexts for a wider campaign with the goal of installing US puppets in Lebanon, Syria and eventually Iran. “The pay-off time has come”, wrote the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe; “now the proxy should salvage the entangled Empire”.

The attendant propaganda — the abuse of language and eternal hypocrisy — has reached its nadir in recent weeks. An Israeli soldier belonging to an invasion force was captured and held, legitimately, as a prisoner of war. Reported as a “kidnapping”, this set off yet more slaughter of Palestinian civilians.

The seizure of two Palestinian civilians two days before the capture of the soldier was of no interest. Neither was the incarceration of thousands of Palestinian hostages in Israeli prisons, and the torture of many of them, as documented by Amnesty.

The kidnapped soldier story cancelled any serious inquiry into Israel’s plans to re-invade Gaza, from which it had staged a phoney withdrawal. The fact and meaning of Hamas’s self-imposed 16-month ceasefire were lost in inanities about “recognising Israel”, along with Israel’s state of terror in Gaza — the dropping of a 500-pound bomb on a residential block, the firing of as many as 9000 heavy artillery shells into one of the most densely populated places on Earth and the nightly terrorising with sonic booms. “I want nobody to sleep at night in Gaza”, declared the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, as children went out of their minds.

In their defence, the Palestinians fired a cluster of Qassam missiles and killed eight Israelis: enough to ensure Israel’s victimhood on the BBC; even Jeremy Bowen struck a shameful “balance”, referring to “two narratives”. The historical equivalent is not far from that of the Nazi bombardment and starvation of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto. Try to imagine that described as “two narratives”.

Watching this unfold in Washington — I am staying in a hotel taken over by evangelical “Christians for Israel” apparently seeking rapture — I have heard only the crudest colonial refrain and no truth. Hezbollah, drone the United States’ journalistic caricatures, is “armed and funded by Syria and Iran”, and so they beckon an attack on those countries, while remaining silent about the United States’ billion-dollar gifts of planes and small arms and bombs to a state whose international lawlessness is a registered world record.

There is never mention that, just as the rise of Hamas was a response to the atrocities and humiliations the Palestinians have suffered for half a century, so Hezbollah was formed only as a defence against Ariel Sharon’s murderous invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which left 22,000 people dead.

There is never mention that Israel intervenes at will, illegally and brutally, in the remaining 22% of historic Palestine, having demolished 11,000 homes and walled off people from their farmlands, and families, and hospitals, and schools. There is never mention that the threat to Israel’s existence is a canard, and the true enemy of its people is not the Arabs, but Zionism and an imperial United States that guarantees the Jewish state as the antithesis of humane Judaism.

The epic injustice done to the Palestinians is the heart of the matter. While European governments (with the honourable exception of the Swiss) have remained craven, it is only Hezbollah that has come to the Palestinians’ aid. How truly shaming. There is no media “narrative” of the Palestinians’ heroic stand during two uprisings, and with slingshots and stones most of the time.

Israel’s murders of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall have left them utterly alone. Neither is the silence of governments all that is shocking. On a major BBC program, Maureen Lipman, a Jew and promoter of selective good causes, is allowed to say, without serious challenge, that “human life is not cheap to the Israelis, and human life on the other side is quite cheap actually ...”

Let Lipman see the children of Gaza laid out after an Israeli bombing run, their parents petrified with grief. Let her watch as a young Palestinian woman — and there have been many of them — screams in pain as she gives birth in the back seat of a car at night at an Israeli roadblock, having been wilfully refused right of passage to a hospital. Then let Lipman watch the child’s father carry his newborn across freezing fields until it turns blue and dies.

I think George Orwell got it right in this passage from Nineteen Eighty-Four, a tale of the ultimate empire: “And in the general hardening of outlook that set in ... practices which had been long abandoned — imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions ... and the deportation of whole populations — not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.”

[Reprinted from http://www.johnpilger.com>.]

From Green Left Weekly, August 2, 2006.

Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.

-----

Again, please spread widely. jamie



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