Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3357 (since 2010-02-17 01:44:49)

Keith

Radical dissident. Retired.

Website: http://saskck.blogspot.com

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  • Kristallnacht is memorialized w shattered mirrors
    • PHIL- “But what about this display, I confess I feel a little bit manipulated, it feels over-assertive, as if it is happening to Jews here.”

      That’s the whole point, isn’t it? The never ending overemphasis on Jewish suffering as a means to influence current emotions and perceptions regardless of how remote these incidents are from current reality. The emphasis always on Jewish suffering and Gentile culpability. Universal values smashed under the weight of tribal solidarity. The intentional inculcation of a sense of eternal victim hood. The religion of the Holocaust.

  • Remnick favors containment of Iran, calling war plans 'a heedless attack that risks the whirlwind'
    • PHIL- “…the idea of containment after World War II that was pushed by wise man George Kennan.”

      You are quite correct. It was Kennan who pushed for containment rather than coexistence, confrontation rather than rapprochement. A famous quote follows.

      “We should dispense with the aspiration to ‘be liked’ or to be regarded as the repository of high-minded international altruism. …We should cease talk about vague … unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.” (George Kennan, 1948)

      Since the US has always operated according to straight power concepts, we can only conclude that this was a reminder for those who might otherwise take US propaganda seriously, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms for example.

  • Strategic asset or rogue state? Israel's threats to Iran 'concern' Pentagon
    • SHINGO- This is going to be my last comment on this thread. I have had this type of discussion in the past. The Truther religion, like Creationism, is non-falsifiable in the eye of the true believer. Forever focusing on perceived anomalies in the “official” story, the ludicrousness of the proposed alternative is completely ignored.

      “You’re clearly not being serious. As I admitted to you, the deal breaker in the controlled demotion argument are the logistics as to how it was pulled off.”

      What’s that? No controlled demolition? But then again, no collapse caused by airplane strikes? Where does that leave us? The twin towers still standing? Good God, you aren’t going with the Judy Woods’ energy beam fantasy, I hope?

      “C4 is an example that comes to mind.”

      This in response to my question about the type of explosive commonly used in controlled demolitions and the flash point? Mighty skimpy reply. Am I to assume that C4 is a commonly used controlled demolition explosive? Am I too assume that the flash point is above 600 degrees centigrade (1112 degrees Fahrenheit), the temperature which you accept as that which is possible from burning jet fuel (but below the official estimate)? Military bombs can cook off, but not C4? But since you seem to be distancing yourself from the controlled demolition scenario, what’s the point of all of this?

      “What are you talking about Keith? One of the characteristics of steel is that it retains a high degree of flexibility and malleability. Unlike concrete, it exhibits strength in both tension and compression, thus shcckwaves do not affect steel the way they affect concrete. …The only thing that would have sheared the bolts (and the welds)
      would have been direct impact, and direct impact would have been met with resistance, friction, and inertia.”

      Thank you, Dr Shingo, for that expert opinion. You may be surprised that Dr Garcia, a physicist, doesn’t share your basic understanding of dynamic forces. He writes:

      “Elastic waves are launched from the collapse front (the leading edge of descending material, like "weather front") at the moment of first impact. Within 0.01 s, a stress wave has traveled through the metal framework to five levels below the collapse front, a distance of 20 m. These lower levels experience a rapid –dare I say explosive? –increase in the stress within their frames. Bolts and rivets may be sheared, and joints ruptured by the resulting impulsive forces.

      For example, assume a carbon steel (HR 0.45C) bolt or rivet of 1 inch diameter is used to support a force of 8,000 kilograms, equivalent to a stress of 22,500 pounds-per-square-inch (psi). This stress is only one quarter of that material’s tensile strength of 90,000 psi; an apparently conservative design. However, an unexpected increase in load by a factor of five, to a total of 48,000 kg, or 135,000 psi, would probably rupture the joint.

      The stress wave from the initial impact races down the lower structure, arriving at ground level in 0.18 s (we continue with the numerical example). During that time, the collapse front has descended another 1.3 m. The stress wave is like a messenger telling the material it passes to "move down and compress" in response to the advancing collapse front. On reaching the ground, the wave could transmit some of its energy past the building’s foundation to radiate as a seismic wave through the earth, and another portion of its energy would reflect back up (the major effect, especially if the foundation is more rigid than the building it supports). The message of the upward running wave is "compress even more, dead-end down below."

      Shingo, where does this leave me? Do I rely on your inferred expertise, or go with Manuel Garcia, Jr? And what is this nonsense about the Oklahoma bombing? Had that occurred on 9/11/01, and had it been done by alleged al Qaeda operatives, it could well have been a sufficient pretext for US military action. However, I believe that crashing planes into the twin towers was much more dramatic, recorded on video and endlessly replayed, and would likely provide the necessary pretext without collapsing the towers.

      Finally, you contradict yourself all of the time. The fire wasn’t hot enough to soften the steel, yet there was molten metal at ground zero. Are you suggesting thermite? You complain that I am asking for too many details, yet aren’t concerned that the Truther websites you frequent don’t provide a realistic alternative scenario after 8 full years, even though they have the resources to endlessly dissect and misrepresent the NIST study. You complain that the NIST report didn’t investigate endless alternative scenarios even as you yourself admit that a controlled demolition was illogical. You continue to criticize the NIST report which I doubt that you have read or are competent to evaluate based upon Truther websites which you accept as Gospel. That’s it. I’m off this thread.

    • SHINGO- “There are more scientists and engineers rejecting the NIST explanation than those supporting it(1,400 to 200).”

      1400 + 200 = 1600. Only 1600 scientists and engineers in the US? I am surprised! I don’t know what the total number of scientists and engineers is, but 1400 hardly constitutes a majority. More like a very small minority, and that is without verifying their professional credentials. The 200 are those who specifically looked at the situation, performed experiments, etc.

      “Modern explosives are not like gun powder that ignites upon heat or impact.”

      Perhaps you could enlighten us as to the common explosives used in controlled demolitions along with their flash points. I have had personal experience with military bombs “cooking off” when exposed to a jet fuel fire.

      “That’s true, but the question you are not addressing is that the official explanation is just as implausible.”

      As implausible as what? No detail has been provided of a remotely plausible alternative. A controlled demolition is assumed, period. Show me the controlled demolition! How much explosive? What type? Where placed? How wired? How wiring remained intact after an airplane strike? Why collapse the second building first? Perhaps a few tests to demonstrate feasibility?

      “Anyone who has played pool knows that a billiard ball hitting one or more other balls leads to the each becoming progressively slower.”

      And all this time I thought that gravity would tend to cause a downward acceleration. Go figure. During the initial phase of the collapse, when the hard steel of the top section hit the hard steel of the bottom section, a shock wave was produced which went up and down the structure shearing rivets, etc. Once set in motion, the dynamic forces totally overwhelmed the remaining structure, hardly requiring explosives to facilitate the process. And why would anyone want to anyway? Actually, when the first plane struck the first building, the Bush administration had their New Pearl Harbor, why collapse them at all? Why building 7 if the goal was to make it look like just the airplanes did it?

      “What amazes me is that while you are so quick to dismiss the controlled demolition theory, you remain unphased by the fact that the only time steel buildings collapsed due to fire was 911 and that it happened 3 times.”

      What amazes me, Shingo, is that you seem oblivious to the obvious rejoinder. Assuming that your statement is correct about “only time steel buildings collapsed due to fire,” how many times have controlled demolitions been preceded by airplane strikes and raging fires?

      Dr Shingo, you make many claims about the flaws in the NIST report. Does this mean that you have personally gone over it in detail, or are most of your comments based upon Truther websites? If you and your fellow “scientists and engineers” have some hard data, why not work it up and submit it to a professional journal? Or are they all part of the cover up?

      Now, I am not a scientist or an engineer, and am not competent to comment on the technical issues. However, I like to think that I have enough common sense to realize that any sort of covert operation would need to be simple and involve few people. Hijacking 4 airliners and flying them into buildings is about as complicated as possible for a realistic chance of success. Lining 3 buildings with high explosives to achieve dubious benefits is wildly improbable, requiring a huge conspiracy. Hitting the Pentagon with a missile not an airplane is outlandish, yet the Truther movement has this as one of their claims. Incidentally, there is good reason that I mentioned Lyndon LaRouche. La Rouchies are all over the 911 Truth movement. So are Ron Paul libertarians.

    • IRISH MOSES- “This has also happened to at least one well known IP commentator (I forget his name) whose IP commentary is now tainted by his propounding of 9-11 conspiracy nonsense.”

      You have hit upon the reason that all of this started. David Ray Griffin is the Truther version of Lyndon LaRouche. They represent a part of the doctrinal system in which embarrassing truths which are difficult to cover up are tainted by association which absurd assertions. The rather obvious fact of the matter is that the Bush administration knew or should have known about the 911 attacks, at least in general terms, and, at the least, bent over backwards to allow them to happen. At the least, the Bush administration was guilty of gross negligence, perhaps more. Yet, by concentrating on controlled demolition assertions, the basic issue of willful negligence was ignored, while considerable energy was expended arguing about technical issues which the general public did not comprehend, expounded by confused lay people whose “expertise” consisted of regurgitating bogus “facts” they gleaned from Truther websites, none of which they were competent to evaluate independently. Just in case the controlled demolition myth gained traction, the missile not an airplane scenario was introduced to insure ridicule.

    • PABELMONT- “Then there was 9-11, and because the engineering consensus seemed to be that the WTC buildings were brought down by demolition charges (the heat from gasoline fires being too small to melt the steel beams supporting the buildings), ….”

      The only place such a consensus exists is among the 911 Truther faithful on Mondoweiss who cling to their fantasies in spite of the irrationality of the claim, avoiding a realistic assessment of the “controlled demolition” hypothesis. Let us begin by noting that a “controlled demolition” following an airplane crash is an oxymoron. Once the plane hits, all control goes out the window. Also, any demolition charges in the area of the intense fire would pre-detonate, the fire being much hotter than the flash point of the explosives. In your estimate, how many tons of explosives were involved? How many man hours to preposition these explosives? How done with the floors, ceilings and walls intact in these occupied buildings? Seems to me like a pretty big operation to keep secret. Of course, you can go to websites where PhDs will tell you what you want to hear. None of these, however, will demonstrate how a controlled demolition could be done. Shall we discuss the missile not an airplane striking the pentagon as well? In case you missed it, below is a copy and paste quote from Manuel Garcia, Jr, a physicist, from the CounterPunch website.

      “The popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories (also outlined in a useful Wikipedia entry) has prompted NIST to present a very nice webpage addressing the usual questions of the conspiracy viewpoint, and providing clear descriptions in non-technical English of the physics and engineering explanations embodied in the NIST WTC Towers Final Report .

      Summary of NIST Findings

      The World Trade Center Towers (WTC 1, WTC 2) were tall square buildings with supporting columns grouped along the vertical axis (center) and closely spaced along the perimeter (building faces). A "hat truss," at the top of each building, tied the outer walls to the central columns; and this truss had a height equal to that of five stories.

      A hijacked airliner was crashed into each building about 10 or 20 stories down from the top. The columns along one face of the building were sheared for a height of several floors, as were many of the columns at the core. The exploding fuel from the airliner ignited fires throughout the levels within the impact zone, as well as dropping fire down the stairwells and elevator shafts at the building’s core, and billowing up to higher levels. The shocks of impact and detonation loosened the "fire protection" thermal insulation on steel beams in the impact zone.

      The damaged core columns in the impact zone could no longer hold up all the weight they were meant to carry. The core columns in the upper block now found it necessary to partially hang from the hat truss. The hat truss pressed down much more forcefully on the perimeter columns, transferring the load of the hanging weight. The added compression of the perimeter columns could only be distributed to the three undamaged faces, and because of the irregularity of the damage one face assumed a much higher load than the other two.

      The fuel fire burned up to 1,100 degrees C (2,000 degrees F) for perhaps 10 minutes. It ignited the many plastic furnishing (carpets, curtains, furniture, equipment cases, clothing, fixtures, office ceilings and partitions), paper items (paper supplies, books, pressed wood), and some structural elements (gypsum wall boards, plastic plumbing), which then continued the fire. The exposed steel beams in the impact zone heated to between 700 C to 1,000 C. Steel at 700 C has 50 per cent to 70 per cent of its strength at habitable temperatures; and steel at 1,000 C has between 10 per cent to 30 per cent.

      The floors in the impact zone sagged because of broken joints to central columns, heat causing their metal framing to soften, weaken and expand; also because of the weight of debris fallen from above . The sagging floors twisted their joints to the perimeter columns (on the three intact faces); the length of column above a floor joint being twisted inward. For one face of the building, the combined stress of the original weight above it, the added compression from the hat truss, and the torque from the sagging floors were too much. Its perimeter beams were bent inward to the point of failure, and they buckled.
      The NIST investigation was an extremely detailed analysis by 200 engineers and building professionals, describing the conditions of the buildings from the instant an airplane collided to the moment a collapse began. The next section of this CounterPunch report carries the story downward from the point where NIST leaves off. NIST concentrated its resources on the greatest uncertainty: what initiated the collapse? It was understood that once an upper block of the building was in motion the structure below would be unable to counter the dynamic forces, and collapse would proceed to the ground.”
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/11/28/the-physics-of-9-11/

    • Let me add that Uncle Sam would dearly love to gain control over Iranian oil, and if Israel’s belligerency can assist in this, it would surely be an example of a strategic asset. I think many Mondoweisser’s are defining strategic asset much too narrowly. The relationship between Israel and the US is complex and perverse, and extends to many areas outside the Middle East, not the least of which is the Zionist containment of what once was a Jewish Marxist tradition.

    • There is, of course, an alternative explanation for Israel’s heated rhetoric. Tied in with the story of the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador, this creates immense pressure to do something. And while a military attack on Iran cannot be ruled out (even though Uri Avnery rules it out), it may be a ploy to get the rest of the world to go along with actions short of war. That is, for the global financial elites to agree to sanction Iran’s central bank. Over at CounterPunch, Sasan Fayazmanesh makes the case.

      “In sum, the bizarre story of the used-car salesman, Mexican drug cartel, and the Saudi Ambassador is inextricably linked to the US-Israeli desire to sanction Bank Markazi. It is expected that this “sanction of mass destruction,” or “nuclear option,” will do the trick and will help to paralyze the Iranian economy. Down the line, it is hoped, the shattered economy will create the right conditions for the overthrow of the “Iranian regime” and its replacement by a US-Israeli friendly government.”
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/02/the-used-car-salesman-a-mexican-drug-cartel-and-the-saudi-ambassador/

  • JTA wonders why 'Jewish influence' is so 'pervasive' in our politics
    • PHIL- “herzl was a xmas tree jew like myself who … acted to try and help his community.”

      Perhaps it would be helpful to look a little closer at this. Obviously, you are referring to the Jewish community. But what, exactly, is outside of the Jewish community? Is it a lot of similar communities? An Italian community? A Mexican community? A Roma community? Or is every Gentile lumped together into one huge oppressive Gentile community? Now, if Jews mostly believe that the world is divided into Jews and Gentiles, not Jews and Italians and Mexicans and Roma, etc, and if the Gentile “community” supported their “community” at the expense of the Jewish community, what would that be called?

  • Creeping halacha rolls on
  • Netanyahu’s party platform 'flatly rejects' establishment of Palestinian state
    • CHAOS- “Likud clearly doesn’t accept a Palestinian state. No political party in Israel does.”

      Exactly! And it has been that way right from the get go, and will continue to be that way unless Israel is forced to change. And it kind of rankles me that these Zionists totally misrepresent this reality, bringing up Hamas’ charter while ignoring six decades of empirical evidence along with very clear policy statements, spoken in Hebrew, to the Israeli Jewish electorate. Their arguments are bogus, completely tainted by a lack of intellectual integrity.

  • 'You lost' -- reporters at State say UNESCO vote isolates U.S. from world opinion (and possibly from intellectual property enforcement)
    • AMERICAN- “I say this over and over, the Israel problem begins and ends in the US. It has to change HERE for Israel to ever change.”

      Essentially correct. Israel is the spiritual center of Zionism, however, the center of Zionist power is the US.

    • WALID- Bernard-Henri Lévy. When this guy shows up, can a “humanitarian intervention” be far behind? I am becoming more and more convinced that he is more than just a rich Zionist “philosopher.” A Mossad sayan perhaps?

    • CHARON- “If the US never apologized for accidentally shooting down Iran Air 655, a civilian jetliner, they definitely aren’t going to apologize for this.”

      Perhaps one reason that they didn’t apologize was to ensure that Iran understood that it was no accident. There are strong indications that the USS Vincennes intentionally shot down the airliner as a message to Iran that should the Iran-Iraq war continue, the US would become directly involved on the side of Iraq. The crew of the USS Vincennes were decorated with the combat action ribbon as a consequence of this “accident,” personally given by Vice President George H. W. Bush.

  • Israel lobbied Serbians in Bosnia to block Palestinians at Security Council
    • TOVIOS- Of course it would be wrong to denounce an entire people, most of whom are pawns in elite power seeking. The leadership is more to blame, Franjo Tudjman, a Ustashe racist incarnate, and Alija Izetbegovic, a Muslim supremacist, who hated Serbs and Jews equally. I reserve primary responsibility, however, for the US and Germany who armed and supported these separatists for strategic reasons.

      The Balkans have a long history of conflict resulting from great power interference. The Yugoslav federation was, in fact, formed to try achieve sufficient size and power to resist the great power machinations. It worked for a while. After the Soviet Union imploded, however, Yugoslavia lost it’s value as a buffer to Soviet power. It was now viewed as an impediment and potential threat to US designs on the area. Germany also had interests in separating the provinces.

      How many people know that in 1990, the U.S. congress passed the Foreign Operations Law of 1991 which, among other things, specified a cut-off of all aid, credits and loans to Yugoslavia within six months? The World Bank and IMF were directed to follow suite. The only money to be permitted was to go to the right-wing separatist forces. It was, in effect, a declaration of economic war against Yugoslavia. The CIA predicted a bloody civil war as a consequence. Of course, that was the intent. Mind you, this was years before anyone even heard of Sarajevo. Germany was involved somewhat before the US.

      Also, how many are aware that the Muslims were divided on this issue, many choosing to fight to remain in a united Yugoslavia? Of course, the US strongly supported the separatist forces led by Alija Izetbegovic who was trying to establish an ethnically pure Muslim republic. Considerable aid was provided, including bringing in Arab Mujahadeen Afghan veterans, possibly including al Qaeda fighters. All of this unreported, of course. Need we mention Kosovo, the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, and camp Bondsteel?

      The bottom line is that great powers act according to their strategic interests, the consequences to others and basic morality be damned. The media then engages in propaganda to disguise intent and gain popular support for war and state terrorism. “Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.” (I.F. Stone)

    • WHIZDOM- “Serbian Chetniks were active Nazi collaborators.”

      The bulk of the partisan resistance to the Nazis were Serbs, who suffered dearly for this. Muslims from Albania, however, were allied with Nazi Germany and provided one SS division to the Axis effort, and were rewarded with a greater Albania for their efforts. The Croats were also allied with Nazi Germany, providing four SS divisions, and were rewarded with a greater Croatia for their efforts. The Croats also ran the Jasenovac death camp where hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma were exterminated. After the war, the US helped thousands of Ustashe Croat war criminals escape to the US via “ratlines,” where they became émigré anti-communist freedom fighters. During US/Germany’s dismemberment of Yugoslavia, US media propaganda inverted actual history as the anti-fascist Serb partisans were depicted as the new Nazis. This propaganda continues, and has become so entrenched that the propaganda has become accepted history. The notion that the truth eventually wins out is a myth. History is mostly lies that have been agreed upon to advance elite objectives.

  • Netanyahu needs a history tutor -- Can UNESCO experts help?
    • PZ777- "The Dead Sea Scrolls were held in secret by gentile scholars and only released through the intercession of Jewish scholars."

      Perhaps you could provide additional detail. I was under the impression that Israel "acquired" the scrolls as a consequence of the 6 day war. Is this wrong?

  • West's 1% salivates over spoils of the Libyan 99%
    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- “In case you hadn’t looked, war has been consuming much of Africa for years, most of which has passed without comment or a sign of concern by the Western Left.”

      Jeffrey, Africa is a war torn basket case primarily as a consequence of Western imperialism and subsequent neocolonialism. Most of these wars are facilitated by various Western powers supplying one side or the other with the guns to fight these brutal wars. Following WWII, Africa was a low priority for the US which left the former European colonial powers in charge to exploit the continent as part of restoring the prewar capitalist system. The lack of direct US involvement meant that US activists properly concentrated on areas of direct US involvement such as Viet Nam, Central America, etc. Your comment concerning lack of “comment or a sign of concern by the Western Left” lacks relevance.

      Dan’s comment that “This is a war for Africa, and it has only just begun.” is, in my view, valid. Times have changed. Africa has reentered US imperial planning as we enter what many analysts describe as an era of resource wars. AfriCom is a concrete manifestation of current imperial strategy targeting Africa. The Europeans will no longer be left to their own devices, but will partake of the spoils as members of NATO, a US imperial out of area strike force. In this regard, I think that Obama’s recent emphasis on drone warfare and special operations forces is particularly relevant.

      “Still, those 60 military and CIA bases worldwide, directly connected to the drone program, tell us much about America's war-making future. From command and control and piloting to maintenance and arming, these facilities perform key functions that allow drone campaigns to continue expanding, as they have for more than a decade. Other bases are already under construction or in the planning stages.”
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/17/americas-secret-empire-of-drone-bases/

      "The Obama Administration has been particularly enamored of SOFs, and, according to reporters Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post, is in the process of doubling the number of countries where such units are active from 60 to 120. U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Col. Tim Nye told Nick Turse of Salon that SOF forces would soon be deployed in 60 percent of the world's nations: "We do a lot of traveling."

      Indeed they do. U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC) admits to having forces in virtually every country in the Middle East, Central Asia, as well as many in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. But true to its penchant for secrecy, SOC is reluctant to disclose every country to which its forces are deployed. "We're obviously going to have some places where it's not advantageous for us to list where were at," Nye told Turse.
      SOF forces have almost doubled in the past two decades, from some 37,000 to close to 60,000, and major increases are planned in the future. Their budget has jumped from $2.3 billion to $9.8 billion over the last 10 years

      These Special Forces include the Navy's SEALs, the Marines Special Operations teams, the Army's Delta Force, the Air Force's Blue Light and Air Commandos, plus Rangers and Green Berets. There is also the CIA, which runs the clandestine drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia."
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/08/18/shadow-warriors/

    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- “Not to go on I will end by quoting this statement of yours which I have seen in a number of forms and which may explain my criticism of those who have denied the legitimacy of the Libyan rebellion. “No doubt,” you write, “many of the people involved had, or thought they had, legitimate grievances.” You can’t get much more paternalistic than that.”

      Jeffrey, it is an elementary principal of morality that we should be much more concerned with immoral acts for which bear some responsibility than of those acts of others which we lack the power to change. US/NATO has engaged in a massive imperial intervention which has virtually destroyed the Libyan infrastructure, and has resulted in deaths estimated between 30,000 to 50,000 Libyans, most as a consequence of the US/NATO bombing campaign, with more yet to come. In my opinion, US/NATO is guilty of massive war crimes for which they will never be held to account. Libya has been effectively destroyed. As US citizens, Jeffrey, you and I bear some responsibility for empire’s actions. Gaddafi’s actions from 16 years ago do not lighten our current responsibility, and being overly solicitous of rebels who lynch blacks and execute prisoners is not meeting that responsibility. This imperial intervention is the single worse thing that has happened to Libya since Gaddafi took power. This is what we should be opposing without equivocation.

    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- With all due respect, brevity is not your forte. It is somewhat difficult to discern a coherent line of thought in your meandering comments, which seem as much concerned with self-promotion of your efforts over these many years, and of the perceived failure of others to do likewise, as with commenting on the specific issues at hand. For example, you seem obsessed with Gaddafi and the Abu Salim prison massacre. I don’t know what happened there, however, since you indicate that this prison massacre occurred in 1996, and since we did nothing at the time, I think it is safe to assume that US/NATO’s intervention had nothing to do with this. Also, Saif al Islam Gaddafi’s London mansion seems less than germane, unless you are claiming that extravagances such as this impoverished Libyans, fuelling resentment, etc, an unlikely assertion in view of Libya’s relatively high standard of living. As for oil, I believe that Gaddafi was threatening to renegotiate concessions to pay for the Lockerbie bombing penalty, and had talked about nationalizing the oil. And don’t forget about China, now no longer in position to enter into any future oil deals with a Gaddafi run Libya. There were a lot of different reasons for this US/NATO intervention, however, “humanitarianism” was not one of them.

      “But I do not absolve Gaddafi from his responsibility for continuing the war and urging the fighters of his favored Sirte to do so even if it meant that the town would be destroyed.” Beautiful! Now all of US/NATO’s destruction of Libya is Gaddafi’s fault because he didn’t surrender when US/NATO bombed! This is your advice to countries that are assaulted by outside forces? To surrender to neocolonialism? And don’t tell me that the “rebels” represented “the people.” If they did, with all of the US/NATO firepower and logistical support brought to bear, Gaddafi wouldn’t have lasted a week. Since our discussion on the Reform Jews thread began in a disagreement over the extent of US/NATO’s initial involvement, and since you reposted your comment here, I will conclude by doing the same for my response to the comment you reposted.

      JEFFREY BLANKFORT- A rather long post which in no way contradicts my original contention that the uprising was instigated/encouraged by US/NATO. No doubt many of the people involved had, or thought they had, legitimate grievances. An ideal situation for CIA assets and agent provocateurs to stir things up. Regardless of one’s opinion of Gaddafi, there is way too much evidence of prior intent and prior planning to believe that this was the fortuitous implementation of some dormant contingency plan. The events in Tunisia and Egypt created a huge impetus to implement current plans for reshaping the Middle East, as well as respond to the challenge of the uprisings. Timing is critical, hence, I seriously doubt the covert operations guys sat around twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to happen on its own. Too much occurred way too fast not to have been orchestrated.

      As for Gaddafi’s record, I don’t see anything in your laundry list that indicates that he was worse than Uncle Sam or Israel, both of whom engage in low intensity conflict and outright wars of aggression all of the time. You might at least acknowledge that one of the “terrorists” that he supported was Nelson Mandela, that Libya under Gaddafi had a relatively high standard of living for Africa, free education, etc, all of which are likely gone as a consequence of this US/NATO intervention. Or that he resisted empire’s designs on Africa, seeking African unity and independence. To reference Libya’s development index, the highest in Africa, indicates that we don’t know what we are talking about? This even as you criticize others for one-sided analyses. Two of the quotes I provided were from John Pilger and Bill Blum, two sources that I have confidence in.

      “…describing the Libyans who were putting their lives on the line fighting him as NATO stooges.” Fighting him? Who the hell was fighting him? How many US/NATO sorties were there? How many bombs dropped and missiles fired? How many US/NATO special operations forces on the ground despite denials? Qatar mercenaries? Cruise missile fired? Drones, etc? Any sane person looking at the imbalance in firepower quickly realizes that the Libyan defensive militias were hopelessly outgunned. Yet, they fought on for 8 months against the US/NATO aggression. Have you seen pictures of Sirte? Of all of the bodies being put into mass graves? This is “saving lives?” Funny, for a tyrant, there were a lot of people that preferred living in a Gaddafi ruled Libya than a US/NATO imposed neoliberal colony of empire. Libya has been destroyed. If you choose to interpret this as a glorious victory for the rebel forces and for liberty, have at it. I continue to view this as an imperial abomination.

      A final comment in regards to US/NATO’s plans and intentions. I offer a quote referencing US plans after Iraq. Of course, Iraq didn’t go as smoothly as planned, putting the whole timetable back, however, look at the countries mentioned. Do you see any correlation with what is going on now?

      “…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan…. (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
      http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23605

  • 2 reports say Israel may be preparing Iran attack
    • RICHARD WITTY- “Avi is clear who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.”

      You seem to be affected by what I refer to as manichean madness. That is, rather than judging people and nations based upon their actions, you subjectively label them as “good” or “bad” and judge their actions based upon your label. If one were to look at the Middle East objectively and judge nations based upon the number of wars started and people killed, it would be quite obvious that the US and Israel are the baddest of the bad. Israel’s goal has for many years been to establish a mini-empire (Eretz Yisrael), and to be the local Middle East hegemon. This goal takes precedence over peace, and has been written about by high level Israeli planners. One example of this planning is the infamous proposal of Oded Yinon written in 1982 and published by the World Zionist Organization.

      “The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel's satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.”
      http://members.tripod.com/alabasters_archive/zionist_plan.html

  • Arab Spring at 9 months -- Helena Cobban
    • WALID- “For those hung up on the romantic Arab Spring tag….”

      I don’t know who came up with the “Arab Spring” metaphor, but its use has been a disaster, tying together disparate events into a false and propagandistic imagery. The metaphor took on a life of its own, used to justify the unjustifiable by ignoring the facts in favor of the romantic image.

      Helena Cobban’s assessment of the Arab uprisings 9 months on, which is much longer than the conclusions shown, is overall quite good. I am a little surprised that there aren’t more comments on this thread. Perhaps Mondo’s humanitarian interventionists have belated realized that when empire intervenes, things usually, and predictably, get worse for the folks on the ground.

  • Reform Jews' biennial will feature ultra-right, Sharansky and Kristol
    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- A rather long post which in no way contradicts my original contention that the uprising was instigated/encouraged by US/NATO. No doubt many of the people involved had, or thought they had, legitimate grievances. An ideal situation for CIA assets and agent provocateurs to stir things up. Regardless of one’s opinion of Gaddafi, there is way too much evidence of prior intent and prior planning to believe that this was the fortuitous implementation of some dormant contingency plan. The events in Tunisia and Egypt created a huge impetus to implement current plans for reshaping the Middle East, as well as respond to the challenge of the uprisings. Timing is critical, hence, I seriously doubt the covert operations guys sat around twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to happen on its own. Too much occurred way too fast not to have been orchestrated.

      As for Gaddafi’s record, I don’t see anything in your laundry list that indicates that he was worse than Uncle Sam or Israel, both of whom engage in low intensity conflict and outright wars of aggression all of the time. You might at least acknowledge that one of the “terrorists” that he supported was Nelson Mandela, that Libya under Gaddafi had a relatively high standard of living for Africa, free education, etc, all of which are likely gone as a consequence of this US/NATO intervention. Or that he resisted empire’s designs on Africa, seeking African unity and independence. To reference Libya’s development index, the highest in Africa, indicates that we don’t know what we are talking about? This even as you criticize others for one-sided analyses. Two of the quotes I provided were from John Pilger and Bill Blum, two sources that I have confidence in.

      “…describing the Libyans who were putting their lives on the line fighting him as NATO stooges.” Fighting him? Who the hell was fighting him? How many US/NATO sorties were there? How many bombs dropped and missiles fired? How many US/NATO special operations forces on the ground despite denials? Qatar mercenaries? Cruise missile fired? Drones, etc? Any sane person looking at the imbalance in firepower quickly realizes that the Libyan defensive militias were hopelessly outgunned. Yet, they fought on for 8 months against the US/NATO aggression. Have you seen pictures of Sirte? Of all of the bodies being put into mass graves? This is “saving lives?” Funny, for a tyrant, there were a lot of people that preferred living in a Gaddafi ruled Libya than a US/NATO imposed neoliberal colony of empire. Libya has been destroyed. If you choose to interpret this as a glorious victory for the rebel forces and for liberty, have at it. I continue to view this as an imperial abomination.

      A final comment in regards to US/NATO’s plans and intentions. I offer a quote referencing US plans after Iraq. Of course, Iraq didn’t go as smoothly as planned, putting the whole timetable back, however, look at the countries mentioned. Do you see any correlation with what is going on now?

      "…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.... (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
      http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23605

    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- You might want to check out Walid's comments and links on the "Arab Spring @ 9 months" thread.

    • JEFFREY BLANKFORT- There is abundant evidence that US/NATO had been preparing for some time to destabilize Libya and overthrow Gaddafi. Too many CIA assets involved not to conclude that the uprising was “encouraged” by Western sources, including Bernard-Henri Levy, media reports notwithstanding. A few quotes and links.

      “Abdul-Jalil gained his job in the Libyan government in January 2007, when he was named Secretary of the General People's Committee for Justice (the equivalent of Justice Minister). He has been paving the way for NATO's military and economic conquest of Libya ever since.” (Dan Glazebrook)
      http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/09/mustafa-abdul-jalil-and-mahmoud-jibril-have-been-paving-the-way-for-nato%E2%80%99s-conquest-since-2007-2/

      “That it is a coup by a gang of Muammar Gaddafi's ex cronies and spooks in collusion with Nato is hardly news. The self-appointed "rebel leader", Mustafa Abdul Jalil, was Gaddafi's feared justice minister. The CIA runs or bankrolls most of the rest, including America's old friends, the Mujadeen Islamists who spawned al-Qaeda.” (John Pilger)
      http://www.zcommunications.org/hail-to-the-true-victors-of-ruperts-revolution-by-john-pilger

      “But there are several reasons to question this analysis in favor of seeing the Libyan rebels' uprising as a planned and violent attempt to take power in behalf of their own political movement, however heterogeneous that movement might appear to be in its early stage. For example:
      They soon began flying the flag of the monarchy that Gaddafi had overthrown
      They were an armed and violent rebellion almost from the beginning; within a few days, we could read of "citizens armed with weapons seized from army bases"3 and of "the policemen who had participated in the clash were caught and hanged by protesters"4
      Their revolt took place not in the capital but in the heart of the country's oil region; they then began oil production and declared that foreign countries would be rewarded oil-wise in relation to how much each country aided their cause
      They soon set up a Central Bank, a rather bizarre thing for a protest movement
      International support came quickly, even beforehand, from Qatar and al Jazeera to the CIA and French intelligence.” (Bill Blum)
      http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer97.html

    • TAXI- “There ain’t a chance in hell a war against Syria or Iran is gonna take place.”

      With Obama in the White House, betting against war is risky. This guy is a neocon’s neocon! We are in a very volatile period. Our sociopathic fat cats appear to be trying to lock in imperial control during a brief window of opportunity. Who could have predicted that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt would provide an opportunity for US/NATO to instigate an uprising and militarily intervene in Libya? I’m not saying that the US or Israel will attack either Syria or Iran (the US is covertly involved in both countries), but that it can’t be ruled out. There is a certain reckless abandon to current US foreign policy that fills me with dark foreboding.

    • PHIL- “…all major American Jewish orgs have the Zionist religion.”

      Indeed they do! In this regard it should be noted while opinion polls among individual Jews may suggest disenchantment with Israel, the actions of the major American Jewish organizations indicate continuing support for Israel. Since these organizations are the agencies of Jewish power, this means that the Jewish elites continue to support Israel. Why would that be? I would suggest that these elites perceive Israel and, in particular, Zionism as important to their power-seeking activities. Zionism, Israel, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, these are the basis for the ideological bonding of the various strands of organized Jewry, which is a significant component of Jewish power. It would appear that the Reform Jewish elites prefer Jewish solidarity over other considerations.

    • CHAOS- “Remind me again what “liberal Zionist” is supposed to mean.”

      Perhaps liberal Zionist is to Zionist what Reform Judaism is to Judaism.

  • Lacking 'legitimacy' in its neighborhood, Israel is imploding -- Sullivan
    • JEFF KLEIN- “Most Jewish survivors of the Nazi extermination in Europe expressed a desire to emigrate to the US or the UK. Instead, Zionist functionaries were put in charge of the DP camps and most of the refugees were forced to Israel….”

      This needs to be stressed every time the subject comes up. The Zionists were not primarily interested in saving Jewish lives, rather, their goal was to save the Jewish tribe from assimilation. It is a little more complicated what I stated, but not much.

  • Breakthrough: 'Ynet' honestly seeks answer to question, How did American Jews get so rich?
    • JUSTICE PLEASE- “Imagine what this community of more than averagely rich, intelligent and influencial people could do, if all of them realized what a con game Zionism really is.”

      I would suggest that for the Jewish elites, Zionism has contributed to their relative success. Zionism has replaced Judaism as the unifier of the Jews, and provides much of the organizational energy in organized American Jewry. It is in the nature of oligarchy that an organized minority usually directs the activity of the unorganized majority. Zionism represents a Jewish power-seeking collective, somewhat analogous to a large mafia. In this regard, while Israel is the spiritual center of Zionism, the center of Zionist power is the US.

    • PATM- Israel Shahak’s book, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” should be required reading for those desiring insight into Israel and Zionism. I have recommended it in the past, and am taking advantage of your comment to do so again.

    • When it comes to success, regardless of the ethnicity of those involved, there is an important factor which needs to be mentioned. This has been commented on by a world renowned observer: “I have found it always true, that men do seldom or never advance themselves from a small beginning, to any great height, but by fraud, or by force…. I do not think any instance is to be found where force alone brought any man to that grandeur, but fraud and artifice have done it many times…Which things being so, it is manifest the Romans wanted not at the beginning of their rise, that dexterity of cheating that is so necessary to all people that are ambitious….” Furthermore, “...he that does practice it, understands better how to disguise it by some honorable pretense....” (Niccolo Machiavelli)

  • J Street presses division inside Jewish community, blaming neocons for leading 'charge to war in Iraq'
    • HOPHMI- “the American people and their representatives in Congress”

      "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." (Herman Goering)

    • PATM- “As to a “significant realignment elsewhere” to achieve oil security, think Canada’s tar sands.”

      This isn’t about US access to oil, this is about US control of Europe’s, China’s and Japan’s access to oil and the leverage that provides to empire. My initial answer to your question was not sufficiently clear. This is a difficult topic to write about because there are so many factors involved that a full discussion would take too long to write and take up too much space. My answer, therefore, will inevitably be somewhat of an oversimplification, all of it personal opinion in any event. I am going to make one more attempt to see if I can compress my thinking into an explanation of my views that at least makes a bit more sense.

      Something to keep in mind is that although imperial strategy has been somewhat consistent over time, the specific tactics required to achieve strategic objectives are continually modified to adapt to a changing world, and to adjust to previous actions whose outcome deviated from plan. The situation in the Middle East is significantly different than, say, 30 to 50 years ago. No Shah, no Saddam, oil prices up and oil reserves in doubt, to name a few significant changes. Also significant is the rise of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization, the intentional hollowing out of the US manufacturing base and the shift of manufacturing to transnational corporations located in China, with all of the contradictions that entails.

      It appears to me that at this point in time imperial geo-strategy is based upon three core objectives. The establishment of near total control over the known hydrocarbon fuel reserves, the establishment and control of a global financial system, and the creation of an overwhelmingly powerful military capable of rapid force projection and full spectrum dominance. These three together give empire effective hegemony over the planet. Each is significantly dependent upon the other two to be viable. The US cannot afford its bloated military without deficits funded by others as a consequence of financial control, which in turn, is facilitated by control of oil (traded in dollars). As it is, the whole system is unstable and not likely to last long. This appears to be seen as a window of opportunity in which the US destroys as much of the competition as possible to establish as much control as possible before system collapse. That is, to land on top of the rubble. It should be obvious to any sane person that all of this is a huge leap in the wrong direction, a sure recipe for global disaster. Unfortunately, the fat cats calling the shots are sociopaths not overly concerned with externalities such as the impoverishment of the citizenry or the survival of the species. As for extracting oil from Canada’s tar sands, that, along with fracking, is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

    • PATM- “Why do you think a complete withdrawal would likely “presage the rapid collapse of the US empire” ?”

      It appears to me that the US/corporate strategy is to gain almost total control of the world’s oil reserves while the getting is good. If Iraq breaks free of empire, not only would the this be a major psychological blow, but, together with Iran, this would break the US stranglehold on the region and give China the opportunity to obtain sufficient oil outside of US control to permit a more independent course, to develop its domestic economy instead of buying Treasuries. For many years, the US has been prepared to go to war to maintain effective control of the Middle East energy reserves. The consequences flowing from the loss of effective control would be enormous. Of course, there are ways to maintain control with minimal American boots on the ground. Obama has greatly expanded the use of drones for use in low intensity conflicts, and one can envision securing only the oil fields while encouraging sectarian violence elsewhere. On the other hand, a total loss of direct control of Iraq’s oil would eliminate a key component of US hegemony, requiring a significant realignment elsewhere including a dramatic reduction in US reliance on militarism. If the US can prevent this, the US will prevent this. If not, I predict a fairly rapid realignment of global power.

    • PATM- I think that it is much too early to take any of this at face value. While “combat troops” may be pulled out of Iraq, tens of thousands of support troops and contractor mercenaries are likely to remain. We will have to wait and see if these bases are in fact turned over to Iraq, or if maintained by contractors as “lily pads” for future rapid redeployment. Total US withdrawal from Iraq is almost inconceivable as this would likely presage the rapid collapse of the US empire.

  • Palestine in Oakland
    • DUMVI- Lech Walesa was a de facto asset of the US at the time, receiving critical support from the AFL-CIO, which, in turn, receives US government funding for its foreign policy institutes which have a long and sordid history of connivance with the US State Department in opposing militant 3rd World unions and supporting militant unions who oppose a regime the US wants to destabilize. They were active in Venezuela in the attempt on Chavez, for example. The actions of the AFL-CIO outside the US have been extremely harmful to US workers and to the international labor movement.

  • David Brooks propagandizes for Netanyahu-- he has no partner for peace
    • RICHARDWITTY- “The question came up of why hundreds of billions of dollars is not being invested in productive activity, but is sitting as cash in the hands of a few very very large corporations and private funds.”

      To a large degree it is because it is well understood that Wall Street is engaged in a controlled demolition of the real economy in order to implement neoliberal structural adjustment in the US. We are entering an engineered global depression which will likely spiral out of control. They hope to acquire real assets at fire sale prices. Who is going to invest in the real economy during intentional deflation? Obama’s recent economic proposals are political theater, made only after the Republicans were in a position to successfully block them. Brooks’ characterization of Obama as a fighter is a fraudulent misrepresentation of Wall Street’s lawyer in the White House.

  • World condemns Israel's Jerusalem landgrab, while US says it is 'within the frame of our policy concern'
    • ANTIDOTE- “no way, Keith, that’s not what the Vatican wants.”

      What exactly did I say? “That is pretty much what the financial elites want- a centralized financial authority to use its financial power to rule over us all.” I was noting that what dumvitaestspeset claimed was similar to what the global financial elites are pushing for. As for the Vatican, I make no claims.

      As for Sharia law and interest-is-sin ideology, be careful what you wish for. Unintended consequences can be a bummer. The idea of interest as usury is not new, the church having that position for a long time. One consequence was that lenders engaged in charade to circumvent the prohibition, charging late penalties instead of interest on the understanding that the loan would be repaid sufficiently late to require a penalty equivalent to the desired interest. Another consequence was to assign money lending to Jews who had no prohibition against charging Gentiles interest. Jews “forced” to take possession of the goose that lays golden eggs. Funny, in all the tales of Jewish suffering, they never mention being forced to care for the golden goose. Go figure.

      But what about nowadays? Current short term interest rates are close to zero and how has that worked out? Well, for starters, I’m receiving negligible interest on my Treasuries, G*d d*mn it. Additionally, the fat cats are awash in practically free money which is being used for speculation and for driving various markets up or down. My whole point being that the financial system has been intentionally made complex and that reforms need to be well thought out by many people, the solution subject to democratic accountability. In this regard, a certain humility is necessary, hubris possibly fatal. As for Karl Marx, I am not overly concerned with what he said 150 years ago.

    • DUMVI- “The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions….”

      That is pretty much what the financial elites want- a centralized financial authority to use its financial power to rule over us all. What really needs to be done is to roll back globalization as much as possible as fast as possible. We need to emphasize local autonomy and reduce corporate/financial controlled trade dependency. Think globally, act locally. Remember, our global interdependencies have been intentionally created as a means to facilitate global financial control.

    • SEAFOID- “and let’s see what happens when Greece defaults.”

      Yes, indeed. We live in interesting times, we live in scary times.

  • The Global War on Halloween (fake head not included)
    • This costume is but a small example of the extent to which our warfare state perverts the popular culture so as to manufacture support for a permanent warfare state. It is something insufficiently commented upon. The extent to which the entertainment media glorify and normalize violence in order to create a “warrior” mentality whereby the “good guys” are always locked into violent struggle with evil. In other words, the American warfare state empire inevitably produces cultural blowback in support of militarism which, in turn, results in a violent and unwholesome society.

  • For neoconservatives, Israel is a foreign and domestic issue
    • “Concern for Israel alone cannot explain why the neoconservatives turned against liberalism….”

      Liberals? Most of the original neoconservatives are ex-Trotskyites who were always more interested in power than in ideological fealty. In the 1960s, they read the handwriting on the wall, decided that being a member of the “vanguard of the elite” lacked career potential and switched sides, many going to work for “Scoop” Jackson or in the labor unions. They have been infinitely more successful as right wing fanatics than as left wing fanatics, their fundamentalism a plague on us all.

    • STOGUMBER- “Is it really a problem to call Israel in the 1950s/1960s (economically) “socialist”?”

      Yes. Israel was created as a Zionist variant of Eastern European blood and soil nationalism. Socialist vocabulary provided a universalist veneer for what was, in effect, Zionist ethnic exclusivity. Jewish nation building trumped all other concerns and was dependent upon the support of the local Zionist capitalists as well as the Diaspora Jewish capitalists.

  • Americans who support Palestinian cause must be willing to lose friends
    • POTSHERD2- “Today’s media have cheapened friendship, reduced it to the click of a button.”

      Something clicked when I read your comment. What if now or in the near future these electronic “friends” aren’t real? What if they are sophisticated computer programs designed to influence opinions and behavior? A quantum leap in manufacturing consent?

    • DBG- "Everyone knows what antisemitism is...."

      "While in the past an 'anti-semite' was someone who hates Jews, nowadays it is the other way around, an anti-Semite is someone the Jews hate." (Gilad Atzmon)

    • In fairness, I should also mention Ali Tarhouni, the former University of Washington economics professor and neoliberal enthusiast, who, after a couple of decades in the US, returned to Libya (with CIA encouragement?) to become the rebels’ oil and finance minister. According to the SEATTLE Times, he is the front runner to become Libya’s next prime minister. Shades of Syngman Rhee! Imagine that, a UW professor may become Libya’s next PM! Are we talking grassroots democracy or what?

    • OLIVE- “This young lady, Rachel Corrie, Brian Baird, Jim McDermott, the list goes on.”

      To your list, I would like to add Bert Sachs, who, on his own, defied the US government to bring humanitarian assistance to Iraq during the sanctions, and whose trial has been postponed.

  • The Real ‘Theater of the Absurd’: Netanyahu, Givat HaMatos and his endgame in Palestine
    • CITIZEN- Back when Jefferson and Rothschild made their remarks, the market economy was much less pervasive than nowadays. There was at least some measure of personal autonomy outside the market. That is no longer true in First World countries. Now, our large and highly complex society is effectively controlled by directing the flow of money, by those who direct the flow of money. This doesn’t seem to be well understood by those marinated in Marxian ideology, endlessly engaged in ritual incantations about ownership of the means of production, a 19th century delusion. Until the financial system is controlled by we the people, all other reforms are band aids doomed to eventually fail. A privately controlled debt based monetary system is crushing us down.

  • Dying of schmaltz
    • SHMUEL- “Shalit’s capture – intended to facilitate the release of Palestinian prisoners – was thus an act of legitimate resistance.”

      Absolutely correct and very well stated!

    • CHARON- “It’s the self-praise that reminds me of the psychopaths who make up the executive level of many American businesses.”

      I think “sociopaths” is more correct, but why quibble? As for the “self-praise,” a stunning example of this is President Obama’s remarks on the death of Gaddafi (linked below). US/NATO basically made war on a militarily weak oil rich country, totally destroying their infrastructure and their quality of life. In his remarks, he praises the “brave pilots” who dropped bombs on defenseless civilians. He also says that now Libya’s future looks quite bright, no doubt true for Western business and for the satraps and compradors, the immiseration of the majority a regrettable but unavoidable consequence of neoliberalism. Methinks that the “white man’s burden” is rather easily borne, and our benevolence rather exaggerated, to say the least. Link to Obama on Gaddafi- http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/obama-the-death-of-muammar-gaddafi-gaddafis-final-moments/#more-119026

    • JEFFREY- “…those who have elected to live in the illegal settlements, who carry arms and who have used them against the Palestinians and who harass their villages and uproot their trees, should not enjoy the same immunity….”

      I agree completely! As I have stated in the past, the term “settlers” is far too innocuous. These people are paramilitary invaders, paramilitary occupiers, paramilitary terrorists. Under these circumstances, armed resistance is self defense.

    • AMERICAN- “The US leadership isn’t the solution, it’s also quite mad.”

      Although you paint with an overly broad brush, there is much truth in what you write. Our business and government leaders are hyper-ambitious power seekers who will do practically anything to increase their power and influence regardless of the consequences to others. They are bona fide sociopaths. Why else all of the wars, killing and heartless exploitation down through history? It is quite depressing to realize that the people calling the shots are the last people a sane person would want calling the shots.

    • AMERICAN- “Simply put, the foreign aid bill passes due to AIPAC’s pressured lobbying for it (because it contains the Israel aid package).”

      Unless I am mistaken, there are moves afoot to move the Israel aid package from the foreign aid appropriation and stick it elsewhere, Defense I think.

  • 'Neocon' is suddenly a bad career move (and Rachel Abrams ain't helping the Elliott Abrams brand)
    • To your list of neocons, surely you need to include Barack Obama, whose foreign policy so closely resembles the Project for a New American Century action plan. Speaking of our war monger in chief, I have included a link to his comments concerning Gaddafi’s death, which is the greatest concentration of falsehoods I have ever heard. I swear, he makes slick Willie seem almost respectable. Link to Obama on Gaddafi- http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/obama-the-death-of-muammar-gaddafi-gaddafis-final-moments/#more-119026

    • SEAFOID- “That means we are spending between $16 million and $27 million per year on each potential terrorist.”

      I believe that is known as terror Keynesianism.

    • “We must redouble our commitment to independent thought….”

      Has Leslie Gelb gone into stand-up comedy?

    • KAPOK- “It doesn’t matter if the US goes broke; they need only “point their cannons at you” in John Fogerty’s immortal verse.”

      While not completely true, it is more true than a lot of Mondoweissers seem to think, having been brought up on economic mythology. Fact is, the Federal Reserve is the de facto central bank for the global financial system, and the dollar the world’s reserve currency. In an integrated global financial system, Uncle Sam isn’t quite as destitute as folks think. And the recent explosion of military spending, wars and public debt is a means to force structural adjustment on the American people. The American empire may be less in decline than undergoing a metamorphosis. All hail Lord Blankfein!

  • Finkelstein thinks shift in young Jewish opinion means there will be 2 (viable) states. Mearsheimer doesn't
    • Phil- “serbia doesn’t recognize kosovo. BFD; kosovo is a state.

      Kosovo is a state in name only. The US basically created the “state” of Kosovo for geo-strategic reasons. The US had three primary objectives: re-Balkanize the Balkans, build the strategically important camp Bondsteel, and utilize NATO as an out-of-area strike force. The three principal sources of revenue for the “state” of Kosovo are employment at camp Bondsteel, foreign aid, and mafia criminal activities, including drugs and slavery/prostitution. Kosovo is not big enough to be an independent state, only to be an occupied outpost of empire, hardly what you should be using as a role model.

    • HOSTAGE- “The number of states is completely irrelevant. The most pressing problem is the lack of equal human rights and discriminatory treatment under existing national laws.”

      Glad to hear you say this! Sometimes I think that arguing about 1 state versus 2 states is a counterproductive diversion. Right now the most pressing problem for the Palestinians is their current quality of life. The siege of Gaza is priority one, followed by the improvement in the conditions of life for all Palestinians, with an emphasis on their security concerns. The arbitrary military mass-murder, individual assassinations, and paramilitary (settler) anti-Palestinian violence needs to end ASAP. Until the ethnic cleansing stops, the number of states is irrelevant.

    • EEE- “If this were true there would surely be large anti-Zionist Jewish organizations on campuses. Where are they?”

      Where on earth would these college kids get the money to do that? You seem to be confusing individual opinions with organizational manifestations of established power.

  • Rep. Steve Israel's anti-Israel, anti-Semitic record on Occupy Wall Street (which must be news to him)
    • “By the way, Steve Israel just happens to be chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. You know, the organization that exists to get Democrats elected to the House of Representatives.”

      “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” (Lily Tomlin)

  • Erdogan dis'd Obama to his face-- US is Israel's 'lawyer'
    • WALID- “Pabelmont, there’s more show business than actual conflict between Turkey and Israel.”

      Walid, I think you have a good point. Sometimes we unrealistically project our hopes onto states and statesmen, imagining some morally righteous good guy who will ride to our rescue. Nations and politicians are rarely, if ever, driven by moral imperatives. Rather they pursue coldly calculated strategies to benefit their dominant elites. While Turkey does appear to be pursuing a somewhat different course under Erdogan, it is unwise to get carried away with wishful thinking. A long history of collaboration exists between the US, Turkey and Israel which will not disappear overnight. A recent example can be found in an article on drone warfare at CounterPunch.

      “The Air Force is now negotiating with Turkey to relocate some of the Predator drones still operating in Iraq to the giant air base at Incirlik next year.”
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/17/americas-secret-empire-of-drone-bases/

  • Is Occupy Wall Street anti-Semitic?
    • RADII- “now the overreaction raises eyebrows – my, the zio-squad is sure sensitive about the issue of the percentage of jews among the wealthy banking elite … and, hence, lends credence to the very argument they sought to rebut.”

      I doubt that these Zionists have any interest in “rebutting” any argument about Jewish financial power. Their goal has consistently been to create the perception of anti-Semitism to motivate Jewish Zionists. If, in the process, they create some real anti-Semitism, all the better for them. The perception of anti-Semitism and the induced fear of pogroms and a new Holocaust is the mothers milk of Zionism.

  • Bill Kristol: 'We need to hear' that Obama has gone to war on Iran
    • ANNIE- The ratlines are an important piece of history that has been largely suppressed. Many were run by the Catholic Church with the help of the US government. They provided a means for the US to recruit rabid anti-communist Nazis in the Holy War against communism. The most famous was Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, who worked for the US in France after WWII until he became too hot and was spirited to South America where he continued to serve Uncle Sam, sometimes working with Israeli agents in his duties. Perhaps the most significant was General Reinhard Gehlen, who was head of intelligence on the Eastern front for Nazi Germany during the war, and who was recruited by US intelligence after the war to form the Gehlen Org, providing intelligence and other duties in Eastern Europe, which involved dealing with the fascist elements which had been set up by the Nazis. He later went on to become the first head of the German BND, which was their CIA equivalent. US collusion and collaboration with Nazis and other fascist before and after WWII is astonishing and sordid and not widely known although it should be.

  • Fat lady sings -- Israel announces new E J'lem neighborhod called Givat Hamatos
    • MRW- That history lecture link you provided is an absolute hoot, so much better than most of the crap on commercial TV.

      One quick general comment concerning Canadian politics is that Canadian policies have become more closely aligned with the US empire of late because political power tends to align with economic power, therefore, the increased integration of the Canadian economy with the US economy created pressure to harmonize politics as well. After all, the Canadian Prime Minister has to answer to the same transnational corporations that the US President does.

    • Let me begin by seconding Phil that this has been an excellent discussion so far. I would only add a few thoughts concerning the dynamics of the situation. First, we must always keep in mind that Israel is to a certain degree unique, hence, to a degree unpredictable. Following the establishment of the Jewish state, secular Zionism to a significant degree lost its reason for being, the Labor party declining. There has been a steady drift to the right including a much stronger emphasis on a biblical justification for anti-Arab discrimination and abuse. Israel Shahak claims that Israel has gotten more “Jewish,” in the classical sense. What this implies is that there is a strong undercurrent of irrational fealty to old testament Zionist ideology. Stated another way, what may be seen by others as reasonable and rational compromise is viewed by the Israeli religious right as blasphemy. Giving up so much as an inch of the sacred soil an affront to God. This does not bode well for any negotiated settlement.

      The second point is that we live in interesting times, we live in scary times. Neoliberal globalization, wars, mass protests, resource depletion and environmental degradation. I sense a fast approaching global upheaval, a historic turning point where all bets are off. There is so much happening in so many places with so many problems that it is impossible to keep up. The whole point being that not only do Israel’s internal dynamics make prediction tenuous at best, but that external forces may shape Israel’s future in unknown and unpredictable ways. Things are happening so fast globally that in a year or two the whole Middle East dynamics may be radically different. It could be a wild ride.

  • Neocon orgs seek to paint Wall St protests as anti-semitic
    • DANCROWTHER- “What I have a hard time understanding is how guys like Lloyd Blankfein cease to be jewish when they destroy the economy – but are “leading jewish figures on wall street” during the boom times.”

      In view of Jewish overrepresentation in the corridors of financial power, it is perhaps relevant to inquire as to what extent Jewishness and Zionism contributed to this phenomenon, and to what extent Jewishness and Zionism influence the current course of financial behavior. While I am in no position to comment on this, perhaps Jeffrey Blankfort has gathered some data. This whole question is likely to bring shrieks of “anti-Semitism” from those who have a vested interest in stoking Jewish paranoia. For a Zionist, anti-Semitism is a win-win situation. I might add that if it turns out that Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, Larry Summers, etc are Zionists, it would impact our Middle East analysis enormously. Too much stuff goes on in the shadows.

  • Americans believe red herring-- Iran is Enemy #1. Why?
  • Do we really need another 'Gandhi'?
    • FOOD FOR THOUGHT- “In the last fifteen years or so, there have been over 150,000 political murders and disappearances.... Don’t talk to me about Gandhi; he wouldn’t have survived a week here.” (Guatemalan rebel,1994)

  • Fragile Egypt
    • PHIL- “Walking back from the Cathedral, I thought about Zionism in Jewish life.”

      Hopefully, you also think about imperialism in American life.

      “The twitter/facebook methods that Egyptians pioneered will never be killed.”

      Careful that you don’t put too many eggs in that corporate controlled basket, particularly when the basket is tethered to Wall Street and empire.

      “As for the U.S.—well, we should be helping Egypt in a peaceful transition toward democracy.”

      Democracy? You mean like we have here? Ritual voting and the illusion of democracy? You would do well to at least somewhat temper your romanticism with a smidgeon of cold rationality.

  • The 99 percent in DC
    • JUSTICEPLEASE- “Fourth, wealth means power, and if power is too concentrated and held by a minority, democracy ceases to function properly.”

      The negative relationship between concentrated wealth and anything even approaching democracy has been recognized for quite some time, but for some curious reason not by the general population. The great upwards flow of income and wealth in the last 30 or so years represents a vast upward flow of power. We have come full circle back to the middle ages, with oligarchs replacing feudal barons reigning over us all based upon the divine right of capital.

      “In short, there are many good reasons to stop the 1% and build up a new, truly market-based economy where the financial sector does not overshadow the production of real goods.”

      Our current financial system is a social disaster. It is a private system for private profit, and is based upon debt-based money. Nothing wrong with profit, per se, however, the pursuit of profit by those who create and control the money supply inevitably leads to financial gamesmanship in which the real economy is sacrificed to maximize the paper profits of the financiers. We are seeing this now. Additionally, a debt-based money system loans money into the system at interest. Interest which must be repaid with borrowed money. An internal compounding which is unsustainable, and which requires systemic mechanisms to ameliorate the compounding, mechanisms which do not exist at present. There is no more important task than taking control of the financial system away from the private financiers. We live in a complex society effectively controlled by directing the flow of money.

      “We are ruled not by governments anymore but by financial powers that use interest-bearing debt to exert control over governments, corporations, and people. Almost all other political issues with which we concern ourselves are secondary symptoms of or purposeful distractions from this larger narrative that is never reported by the Wall-Street-funded media.” (Damon Vrabel)

  • The Ninety-Nine Percent
    • RADII- “Arab Spring, European anti-austerity protests, israeli anti-oligarchy, and US “Occupy” protests are all essentially BREAD RIOTS….”

      Indeed they are. They are the belated reactions to entirely predictable circumstances caused by neoliberal globalization, which, in turn, is driven by our predatory financial system. These predictable reactions have been anticipated by the elites who have prepared laws and militarized the police forces to deal with the situation using “legal” force. Homeland security. I wish the protesters well, but cannot be optimistic. What must be kept in mind is that those who strive for and obtain significant power are sociopathic power seekers. They care only for power and are unconcerned over any collateral damage. Their immoral myopia could be the end of civilization as we know it. Cheers.

  • Operation Enduring Failure: Ten years of war on Afghanistan
    • I’M SHOCKED! Not one comment so far claiming that the neocons got us involved in Afghanistan, therefore, we did it for Israel? I am interested in how this will play out.

    • TOVIOS- “…the American people were so traumatized by 911 they would not be satisfied without war.”

      The American people were intentionally traumatized by the media and government to psychologically prepare them for this imperial slaughter (“war” is far too generous an interpretation in view of the power disparity). Works every time.

      "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." (Herman Goering)

  • Kol Nidre in Cairo. Not
    • KATHLEEN- “Well that may be but his willingness to discount and make fun of the loss of life in Iraq, Afghanistan etc….”

      I have never seen Mooser say anything even remotely resembling this. His humorous comments (not his serious ones) are almost always directed toward individuals, in the comments you reacted to towards Phil. His comments towards Phil usually revolve around some aspect of Jewish identity, and frequently involve Mooser poking Phil with a form of guy humor that women don’t understand and don’t like. Had I known that my comment would provoke such an over the top reaction, I wouldn’t have made it. As for the Mondoweiss moderation policy, you should be happy your comment got through in which you equate Mooser’s comments regarding a religious service in Cairo with making light of mass murder, an interesting conclusion to say the least.

    • KATHLEEN- Mooser’s comments are irreverent and entertaining with a bit of truth sandwiched in. He adds some needed humor to Mondoweiss. I suspect that Phil likes having him around.

  • Yom Kippur fast in solidarity with political prisoners to take place at Occupy Wall Street this Friday
    • EEE- “By the way, where does one get the license for being human, my dog wants to apply.”

      Is your dog aware that if his application is approved it will then become illegal for him to lick his you-know-what (or, at the very least, in extremely bad taste)?

  • NYT reviewer: Small group of Bush advisers will take real reason for Iraq war to their (restless) graves
    • MRW- “The entire Iraq War was for Israel’s benefit.”

      Yes, and Uncle Sam is nothing but a dim witted Sabbath Goy who, by pure happenstance, blundered into becoming an empire. Good luck on that one.

    • CITIZEN- Nice link to the debate. I have pasted the quote below for those who may not otherwise go to the link.

      “Bush decided to invade Iraq in April 2001, six months before September 11th, and the official reason was to improve Western access to Iraqi oil.”

      "President Bush's Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that 'Iraq remains
      a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to international markets
      from the Middle East' and because this is an unacceptable risk to
      the US 'military intervention' is necessary."[1]

      The whole point being not that oil was the exclusive reason for Iraq, but that it was a key determinant which figured in the calculations. This is entirely consistent with Israel being initially cool to the invasion and having to be persuaded that this was but a prelude to Iran, at which point they enthusiastically supported the invasion. That the occupation didn’t go as planned doesn’t alter any of this.

    • SEANMCBRIDE- “I can easily name a few hundred pro-Israel militants who were key ringleaders of the Iraq War.”

      Interesting analytical technique. Label someone as “pro-Israel,” then offer that up as proof that they were motivated exclusively by their pro-Israel bias. Perhaps if you could read their minds and get it notarized it would be more convincing. As an alternative, you might consider putting less time in cherry-picking quotes in your ongoing attempt to deny the obvious reality of the strategic importance of oil.

      “Please name a few dozen members of the oil lobby who agitated for an American invasion of Iraq.”

      The obvious rejoinder is for you to name me all of these ‘Israel loyalists’ who don’t put gas in their cars. Or the millions of Americans and Europeans who have abandoned their cars and switched to bicycles in droves. Or how the American military has become less dependent upon oil for its highly mechanized killing machine. The notion that the Middle East oil reserves are of no strategic value is sufficiently bizarre as to not require rebuttal, your cherry picked quotes notwithstanding. However, since you seem to have an affinity for quotes, I’ll give you two.

      “China is in fact correct to be worried about its oil supply. Some say the invasion of Iraq was meant to enhance U.S control over the Middle East’s black gold in light of a rapidly expanding Chinese appetite. Elsewhere, reports the Washington Post, “The United States is building a network of military bases and diplomatic missions whose main goal is to protect American access to oil fields in volatile places such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and tiny Sao Tome and, as important, to deny that access to China.” (Dissident voice, 4/24/10)
      http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/04/china-and-cars/

      “And the pipeline, coupled with green energy projects in China, South Korea, and Japan, might begin to wean East Asia from its dependency on Middle Eastern oil and thus on the U.S. military to secure access and protect shipping routes.” (John Feffer)
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/04/why-2012-will-shake-up-asia-and-the-world/

      We have had similar discussions in the past which have gone nowhere. It doesn’t appear to be enough for you to demonstrate the obvious pro-Israel bias in Washington. Rather, you seek to eliminate any other imperial motivation for US actions. That is, you locate the locus of causality exclusively in the Israel lobby, the US empire an innocent babe in the woods being used by the evil Zionists. Eliminate the lobby and the US reverts to its true noble self. Sorry, but this is a grotesque misrepresentation of history and current reality. The US didn’t get to be an empire by being Mr. Nice Guy, nor by ignoring its strategic interests. I, too, am an anti-Zionist. However, I am also an anti-imperialist. It is not wise to focus exclusively on the Middle East, ignoring the big picture in the process.

    • JEFFREYBLANKFORT- “Keith, the meeting of Cheney with the oil company heads was to get them on board.”

      Get them onboard for what? The meeting occurred 5/16/01. Besides, you and Sean Mcbride keep assuring the rest of us that the oil company execs were opposed to the invasion in 2003. Personally, I wouldn’t put too much stock in any public statement by these guys. They would be stupid to publicly support the war. What was said behind closed doors, however, remains secret.

      “It is a mistake to compare the two US wars on the Gulf. Bush Sr. wanted to avoid the first, hoping Saddam would withdraw, and waited so long before launching it that he was being accused of having cold feet.”

      Jeffrey, your conclusions are poles apart from mine. The first Gulf war had more to do with Israel than the second. Bush I did everything in his power to prevent a peaceful settlement, which would have left Iraq with infrastructure in place and with the potential to project power in the Middle East. The US intentionally decimated the Iraq infrastructure to preclude Iraq from recovering. Saddam was left in power for multiple reasons, a significant one being so there would be a pretext for sanctions and the complete destruction of Iraq as a viable Middle East player. By the time of the second war, Iraq was a basket case easily invaded. That the occupation created fierce resistance was caused by several factors, not the least of which was US mishandling of the occupation. Be that as it may, the US is still there and has built “enduring” bases, hardly necessary to “defend” Israel. In other words, the US has established the means to ensure access to the oil and a way of influencing China, regardless of which oil company reaps the short term profits.

      Finally, you would do well to reconsider your ongoing insistence on the lack of strategic importance of oil, and of the primacy of Israel and the Lobby in imperial strategizing. The empire doesn’t invade countries based upon only one reason, there are usually multiple goals and objectives. The importance of the Lobby in regards to the Middle East is obvious, it is hardly necessary to argue that control of access to resources, a traditional imperial concern, is not a factor. Of course it is. It is also consistent with US history from day one, the US invading countries for raw materials and markets long before there was an Israel or Lobby.

    • CORRECTION- Should read: '...Cheney held meetings of the energy task force which issued a final report on 5/16/01.'

    • NEVADA NED- I think that the reality of the US empire is sometimes underemphasized on Mondoweiss- a serious mistake, in my view. As for the timing of the Iraq invasion, prior to 9/11, Cheney held meetings of the energy task force which issued a final report on 5/16/11. At the time it was noted that “America faces a major energy supply crisis over the next two decades,” Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham told a National Energy Summit on March 19, 2001. “The failure to meet this challenge will threaten our nation’s economic prosperity, compromise our national security, and literally alter the way we lead our lives.” I find it curious there is so much emphasis on the neocons as alleged de facto Israeli surrogates, rather than on their role as imperial hawks. This when even Walt and Mearsheimer acknowledge that Israel was initially cool to the invasion, only becoming enthusiastic when told that Iraq would be first, followed by their main concern Iran. Iraq at the time a basket case and no threat whatever to Israeli ambitions. As for subsequent developments, the creation of AfriCom speaks volumes about where the US empire sees its future as the arbiter of an intensified resource war. Also, the construction and maintenance of between 750 and 1,000 US bases worldwide strategically located to secure access to known energy reserves is difficult to explain away regardless of statements by energy company executives or former government officials. Internal debate over specific tactics to achieve strategic objectives is not unusual and should not be given undue emphasis. Actions speak louder than words, and the strategic importance of oil is difficult to miss.

  • Take notice D.C. - Panel of distinguished Arabs analyze the 'Arab Spring' at Harvard
    • “Al Qassemi warned, credibly I think, that the Gulf Arab states must transition and adopt constitutional monarchism in order to survive. Their homogeneity, natural resources and strong tribal norms cannot forestall democratization.”

      I am under the impression that nowhere on this planet is there anything approaching real democracy. What you do have, particularly in the Western “democracies,” is ritual voting and the illusion of democracy. Symbolic participation to ameliorate popular discontent.

  • Anwar al-Awlaki's extrajudicial murder
    • IRISHMOSES- “The problem is that your current definition of war has been overtaken by history and the rise of non-state actors like al Queda.”

      Let us begin by noting that al Qaeda is an offshoot of the Mujahadeen which were created by the CIA in order to fight the USSR in Afghanistan. We taught them and Osama bin Laden everything they knew. As far as I know, the Mujahadeen remain a CIA asset.

      The problem is that the tactic of terrorism has been labeled as a war as a pretext for the US government to engage in blatantly criminal activities and the further shredding of the US constitution. The crap that goes on in the name of “national security” and the bogus “war” on terrorism should be an affront to all.

      “Granted, the niceties of diplomacy seem lacking in that the killings in question took place in Pakistan and Yemen. But, the fact remains, both of those countries are war zones in which war is being fought every day.”

      The US is at war in Pakistan and Yemen? Why is the US even in Pakistan and Yemen? Apparently you feel that once empire decides to kill a lot of people for geostrategic reasons, then the nationality of the victims is of no consequence? You may have a point. If one supports empire and violence then perhaps equal opportunity mass murder has a certain balance to it. On the other hand, if one supports peace and justice, then one would support the dissolution of empire and bringing the storm troopers home. Storm troopers? Let us be honest about the whole business, eh? As Martin Luther King stated before he was assassinated, the US is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. And you know what? The situation has only gotten worse. Want to dramatically reduce terrorism? Get Uncle Sam to stop doing it.

  • Michele Bachmann says Obama 'laid the table' for the Arab Spring
    • As I have commented elsewhere, the fat-cats love Obama and want to see him re-elected. How is this possible when he is a neoliberal warmonger who is screwing his base beyond belief? Easy, scare the left to death with Republican candidates who are so far beyond the pale as to be caricatures of right-wing fanatics. That is why the drift to the right has turned into a stampede. Works every time. The public is rather easily manipulated by those who have the resources to do so. US elections are rituals, a political circus, full of color and noise, diverting attention away from the underlying systems of power and control. Follow the money.

  • Perfect match: Bob Bernstein uses settler sources for racist anti-Arab 'WaPo' Op-Ed
    • BREWER- Human Rights Watch is closely linked with “liberal” Democrats from the Clinton administration and was a cheerleader for the Yugoslavia “humanitarian” intervention as well as the Libya intervention. They do some good work, Finkelstein quotes them all of the time on Gaza, however, they are not truly independent and can be relied upon to support imperial aggression when performed by a Democrat.

  • Ron Paul for Palestinian statehood: 'I believe in self-determination of peoples'
    • “As we saw after the Cold War, numerous new states were born out of the ruins of the USSR as the various old Soviet Republics decided that smaller states were preferable to an enormous and oppressive multi-national conglomerate.”

      These “old Soviet Republics” had a lot of help from Uncle Sam in deciding that “smaller states were preferable.” One can only hope that Ron Paul isn’t really so naïve as to think that US geo-strategic calculations and regime destabilization efforts didn’t play their part in the break-up of the USSR, and in the “color” revolutions which followed. But, you never know.

  • Border anxiety in the West Bank
    • “I didn’t even notice the soldier's wave, as we slid through the checkpoint. He did this with his hand, my friend mimed, because we looked Israeli.”

      “…we looked Israeli.” That is to say Ashkenazi?

  • Breaking: 'Irvine 11' found guilty on two charges for protesting Michael Oren
    • JAMES- I agree completely. This trial must be viewed in the larger context of the overall suppression of dissent under the guise of “anti-terrorism.” Look at how the anti-globalization protests in Canada were handled. As structural adjustment comes to the First World, protests are anticipated and will be dealt with harshly.

  • Clemons: Imagine Cuba trumping the Soviet Union in the 60s, that's what Netanyahu did to Obama
    • PTJ- A couple of comments. First, the very notion of Jewish “kinship” is something which Phil has broached previously, therefore, Atzmon’s discussion of “Jewishness” is in line with Mondoweiss objectives. The big difference is that Phil tries to be at least somewhat subtle and circumspect, whereas Atzmon tends to be more in your face. The other point is that, considering organized Jewish support for Israel, Jewishness and Zionism and the Jewish state of Israel are inexorably intertwined. I don’t agree with all of what Atzmon says, however, much of what he says can be excellent springboards for discussion. Whether or not this is a viable option for Mondoweiss is another story. As it is, Phil has been subjected to criticism for what he has so far done.

    • MRW- I am reading “The Wandering Who?” right now. Like most of Atzmon’s writing, it has its ups and downs. Some quite good, some not so much. Like Israel Shahak, Atzmon’s perspective is heavily influenced by having lived in Israel, hence, his perspective is inevitably different from a non-Israeli. I only skimmed the Tony Greenstein screed that Shmuel linked. From what little I read it was an over the top misrepresentation of Gilad Atzmon. Most of what Atzmon says is non-controversial, although he sometimes uses needlessly provocative language. His views on the Lobby and the neocons virtually mirror Mearsheimer and Walt, and would not stand out if posted on Mondoweiss. I think that much insight could be gained by figuring out why he is so reviled by organized Jews of all sorts. He himself comments on this noting “Could it be that it was my comprehension of the Jewish political identity that brought so much Jewish animosity to my door?” Perhaps, like Shahak, he says certain things publicly concerning Jews and Gentiles which historically Jews only spoke about to each other behind closed doors.

  • Obama speech was shattering to liberal Zionists
    • RICHARDWITTY- “Nothing at all was truly threatened by blacks having the full right to vote, equal access to public goods and services (libraries, schools, public transportation), and equal rights before the law. The same holds true for Palestinians. Palestinians are human beings.”

      Richard, you appear confused. You are arguing that Israeli pretexts are not valid, apparently unaware that pretexts are never valid. They are used not because they are true, but because they serve a purpose. Zionism requires anti-Semitism to maintain itself and Israel needs enemies and threats to justify its militarism and hegemonic ambitions, and to hold Jewish Israeli society together in opposition to a common enemy. If Israel actually worked for and achieved a secure peace, and if the ADL were to admit that anti-Semitism was a relatively insignificant problem, Israel would likely fracture due to internal conflicts, and Zionism would simply fade away. And if you were to acknowledge the reality hidden by the mythology, you would abandon liberal Zionism for liberal humanism.

    • “Feels like Obama has basically abdicated any moral authority on anything.”

      At this stage of the game, with US militarism and neoliberal globalization run rampant, it is extremely difficult to imagine Obama having any moral authority to abdicate.

    • LIBRA- “How can a handful of rich men have such influence without sitting on a very large base of support? It’s about much more than money.”

      Good point. The money is critically important, however, it is the popular support which gives the money legitimacy. The Zionification of organized American Jewry is an essential component of Zionist power. In this regard, anti-Zionist Jews are an important part of weakening American Zionism and support for Israel as a Jewish state.

  • Comments Policy
    • MIRIAM6- “Are we going to get some input from Weiss/ Horowitz about this situation soon?”

      The fact that there has been no announcement suggests that this is some sort of experiment/demonstration, the results of which would be tainted by knowledge of the objectives. Perhaps we are being demonstrated the importance of these features so that they can once again be made available for a modest fee. Also, please note Annie’s conspicuous absence from the discussion suggesting that she is in the loop as to what is going on but can’t comment. Elementary, my dear Watson!

    • ELJAY- “What if it’s just a technical glitch?”

      Then, I would have expected an announcement to that effect.

    • MHUGHES976- The ominous implication is that, if allowed to continue, this will result in a massive de-emphasis of the Mondoweiss comments section. A truly significant change in editorial policy implying a significant change in Mondoweiss goals and outlook. Perhaps even a winding down of the website itself. This is a truly significant change and the fact that it took many (most? all?) commenters by surprise makes me apprehensive.

    • The sudden, unexpected deactivation of the commenter profile and searchable comment history has ominous implications. Surely, some sort of explanation is called for.

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