(TORONTO) – U.S. Iraq war resister Corey Glass was told on May 21, 2008, that his application stay in Canada has been rejected and he now faces deportation.

Glass, 25, came to Canada in August 2006 after serving in Iraq as a Military Intelligence Sergeant. “What I saw in Iraq convinced me that the war is illegal and immoral. I could not in good conscience continue to take part in it,” said Glass. “I came here because Canada did not join the Iraq War. Also, I knew Canada had welcomed many Americans during the Vietnam War,” Glass stated.

It is estimated that several hundred Iraq War resisters are currently in Canada, many of them living underground.

“Corey Glass would be the first Iraq War resister to be deported from Canada. He would face imprisonment and severe penalties in the US,” said Lee Zaslofsky, coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign and a Vietnam War resister. “This goes against Canada’s tradition of welcoming Americans who disagree with policies like slavery and the Vietnam War.”

On December 6, 2007, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration called on the Canadian Government to “immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members […] to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and … the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions … against such individuals.”

“The Government should implement that recommendation immediately,” said author Lawrence Hill. “Corey Glass had the courage to listen to his conscience. He is working hard to build a new life in this country. He should be allowed to stay.”

“We must not forget that the invasion of Iraq was a war justified only by lies, greed and stupidity for which permission was not sought nor granted to the Bush administration by the United Nations,” said Alexandre Trudeau, son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and director of the documentary film Embedded In Baghdad. “This outlaw war has ravaged the Iraqi landscape, destroyed tens of thousands of lives and sorely sapped the American treasury all while filling the coffers of profiteers.”

“Those Americans who served in Iraq and have come to Canada to avoid being pressed into further participation in the indignities of the American occupation there are brave men and women of principle who should be given a chance to become landed in Canada. Like many Vietnam draft dodgers before them, their heightened sense of morality and truth can only be a benefit to our nation,” Trudeau concluded.

– 30 –

punditman says...

For more information please call Lee Zaslofsky at 416.598.1222 or Michelle Robidoux at 416.856.5008.

More stuff you can do:

CALL LIBERAL LEADER Stéphane Dion: 613.996.6740 or 613.996.5789

Tell him you want the Liberal Party...
  • • to support the Parliamentary motion to allow Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada,
  • • to oppose the deportation of people of conscience who have resisted an illegal war, and
  • • to support the will of the Canadian people, not Stephen Harper’s decision to deport war resisters, and not the U.S.’s war agenda.
  • • Let Them Stay!

More info: War Resisters Support Campaign


Death-Wish Hillary Primes Manchurian Candidate


Ever since she realized back in early March that Obama was going to take the nomination Hillary Clinton’s long-term strategy has been to do her best to ensure McCain will win this November so she can become the Democratic nominee in 2012. But she had a short term strategy too and on Friday she deliberately made it explicit in a newspaper office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There she suggested that some is likely to step up to the plate and assassinate Barack Obama in the waning moments of the California primary, just as Bobby Kennedy was forty years go almost to the day. The wish is mother to the deed. If anything does happen to Obama in California Mrs Clinton should surely be indicted as a co-conspirator.

How to else construe her grotesque remarks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in the editorial offices of the Argus Leader newspaper. Here she told the editors, "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

There is no other way to construe these sentences, not thrown over her shoulder on a campaign walk, but delivered in measured tones to the Argus-Leader editorial board, but to interpret them as Mrs Clinton’s more or less explicit statement that she is spending a million a day just to keep her hat in the ring because Obama might well get killed. Then, just like the scenario at the end of the Manchurian candidate, Hillary will straddle Obama’s bleeding body, make the speech of her life and become the assured nominee. In fact, right now she’s probably sitting down with some numbed vet and whispering coyly in her best Angela Lansbury mode to the Lawrence Harvey stand-in, “How about passing the time by playing a little solitaire?" I pass on whether Hillary reprises Angela Lansbury’s famous incestuous kiss on her son’s lips. Perhaps Sid Blumenthal is the stand-in, though I doubt he’s a very good shot.

To get added insight into what a truly nasty woman Hillary Clinton is, remember that her remarks on Friday came a couple of days after Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Next thing you know, his fellow senator is saying that California might well be celebrating the fortieth anniversary of his brother’s murder by killing the candidate he has endorsed for the nomination.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...Wow.


Where Are Those Iranian Weapons in Iraq?

The US military command in Iraq continues to talk about an alleged pipeline of Iranian weapons to Iraqi Shiites opposing the US occupation, implying that they have become dependent on Iran for indirect-fire weapons and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

But US officials have failed thus far to provide evidence that would support that claim, and a long-delayed US military report on Iranian arms is unlikely to offer any data on what proportion of the weapons in the hands of Shiite fighters are from Iran and what proportion comes from purchases on the open market.

When Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner was asked that question at a briefing May 8, he did not answer it directly. Instead Bergner reverted to a standard US military line that these groups "could not do what they're doing without the support of foreign support [sic]." Then he defined "foreign support" to include training and funding as well as weapons, implicitly conceding that he did not have much of a case based on weapons alone.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...Answer: Overwhelmingly, the weapons used by Iraqi insurgents are purchased on the open market, meaning that the Bush administration claims are once again, a pack of lies.


Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern


Former CIA analyst and antiwar activist Ray McGovern discusses his open letter to Adm. Fallon and the probability of a U.S. attack on Iran, the history of Robert Gates and his weak influence on Bush, the corporate media’s corrupt relationship with the state, the Pentagon’s bogus Iranian arms expose and the near total indifference of the press, Adm. Fallon’s firing for speaking out against attacking Iran, the Air Force’s role, the insanity of John McCain, the unconstitutionality and illegality of our aggressive wars, Congress’s impotence in deterring the White House from attacking Iran, Bush’s life-long lack of accountability, how The Project For The New American Century blueprint for world domination and neocon “Israel first” foreign policy has made the U.S. and Israel less secure, the role of Elliot Abrams and Dick Cheney in fomenting the next war, possible disastrous consequences, the Israeli government’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty to hide their war crimes in 1967 and the U.S. government’s role in the cover-up.

MP3 here. (50:45)

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years – from the John F. Kennedy administration to that of George H. W. Bush and is a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Canadians losing big to Big Oil

Oil equals money, but neither belongs by right to Big Oil
by Duncan Cameron

In the last year the price of a barrel of oil has gone up by $45 or 65 per cent. It averaged $70 in 2007, while this year it is looks to average $115.

In Canada, as recently as 2003, the cost of producing a barrel of oil, including royalties, averaged only $5.57. Of course, that year Canadian royalties were again among the lowest in the world, 23 cents a barrel.

For natural resources, the difference between the cost of production, including normal profits and the selling price, represents the resource rent, a one-time benefit to the owners. If we assume the cost of production has nearly doubled since 2003, including small royalties increases in Alberta, the resource rent per barrel this year is $105.

This resource rent money has been treated as a windfall profit and has gone directly into the pockets of the oil producers. As many of them are foreign-owned, the profits go directly out of the country.

Since, under the constitution, the beneficial owners of the resources are the people of the provinces where the resources are located, the rent belongs to the people, and it should have subject to an excess profits tax. Indeed when the price of oil increased in the late 1970s, the Alberta government introduced just such a measure.

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Charles Goyette Interviews Scott Ritter


Scott Ritter, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq and author of Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change, discusses the Chicago city council’s attempt to bring attention of the possibility of war with Iran
to the Illinois congressional delegation, the effectiveness of city council’s antiwar resolutions, Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ attempt to focus attention on Iraq instead of Iran, Cheney’s role, the chances he’s giving that the U.S. will attack Iran, Iran’s influence in Iraq, the bad Ho Chi Minh Trail analogy, Iran’s possible response to a U.S. military attack, the scenario of a what a war between the U.S. and Iran would look like, Iran’s air defense system, why a U.S. strike on Iran would be the worst thing for Israeli national security, the president’s lack of constitutional authority to go to war, and takes questions from callers.

MP3 here. (24:50)

Scott Ritter is the former chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He is the author of “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement.” Scott Ritter has been noted for his criticism of United States foreign policy in the Middle East. Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Ritter publicly argued that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction. He has become a popular anti-war figure and talk show commentator because of his stance.


Can You Really "Shame" Despots?

punditman says...

First, before I rant: to donate to the Myanmar (Burma) cyclone relief effort or to the victims of the China earthquake, there are many options available online including Oxfam, Save the Children, The Humanitarian Coalition, Doctors Without Borders, and World Vision.

I urge you all to give.

Natural Disasters, Rhetoric and Politics

According to numerous reports, Burma’s military junta continues to insist on being the sole distributor of aid in the cyclone-ravaged country. They persist in restricting movement of foreign aid workers, while pilfering aid for themselves and their supporters or selling it to those who need it most. This of course, is contemptible.

Not surprisingly, President Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, various allies and much of the Western media immediately climbed all over the Burmese junta for their tepid and tainted response to Cyclone Nargis.

Mrs. Bush, (who has suddenly found her US foreign policy towards Burma chops rather late in the game), is a vocal critic of Burma's generals. Straight away, she accused the military junta of failing to give people adequate warning about the approaching cyclone. According to the Washington Post, this did not sit well with exiled Burmese political analyst Aung Naing Oo, who called her verbal scolding “totally and utterly inappropriate. She is trying to score political points out of people’s disaster.”

The article also quoted Thant Myint-U, a former United Nations official and Burmese historian: “the problem is that everything, including aid, has been politicized, with suspicions on all sides.”

It is hard to see how the US lambasting the Burmese military junta will accomplish anything of value—other than make an already paranoid regime even more mistrustful. Such chastising rhetoric does nothing to alleviate the suffering of the people and therefore should be understood within the greater political and strategic context in which it occurs.

Just prior to the cyclone, the Bush administration strengthened its trade and investment ban against Burma, along with the freezing of assets, only slightly easing restrictions on financial aid. The West, led by the United States wants to counter China's influence, which has close ties with the military regime and sees the country as a critical point of access into the Indian Ocean.

Interestingly, the sanctions have not affected US oil giant, Chevron, of San Ramon, California. Through its subsidiary Unocal, the company has multibillion-dollar investments in Burma and has been flagged by human rights groups as being complicit in abuses in Burma in order to protect its pipeline routes. Also of note is Presidential nominee John McCain's initial choice to manage the Republican convention this summer: lobbyist and PR guy, Doug Goodyear, who as CEO of the firm DCI Group, represented Burma's repressive regime in 2002 by attempting to polish up their ah…image. Oops, time to resign!

Those Republicans: such inconvenient connections.

Speaking on May 12, after the first American military aid flight to Burma, President Bush denounced the Burmese junta for failing to act more quickly to accept international help, saying "either they are isolated or callous.”

"It's been days and no telling how many people have lost their lives as a result of the slow response," he said.

He's right, but he's also the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the US Department of Homeland Security refused aid from Canada of all places. Slow response, indeed. So says the hypocrite-in-chief, who, when not pursuing wars of aggression or plotting new international crimes, occasionally transforms, as if by magic, into champion humanitarian--a fantastical veneer so tarnished by objective reality that only the severely indoctrinated can fathom the transcendence.

The hurricane Katrina/Rita comparison is instructive. According to an article that appeared last year in the New York Sun entitled, U.S. Refused Most Offers of Aid for Hurricane Katrina, the US declined 54 of 77 recorded aid offers from three of its staunchest allies: Canada, Britain, and Israel.

In another instance, according to the Sun...
State Department officials anguished over whether to tell Italy that its shipments of medicine, gauze, and other medical supplies spoiled in the elements for weeks after Katrina's landfall on August 29, 2005, and were destroyed. "Tell them we blew it," one disgusted official wrote. But she hedged: "The flip side is just to dispose of it and not come clean. I could be persuaded."
U.S. officials also turned down many offers of help from allied troops and search-and-rescue teams to save people from rooftops. Melanie Sloan of the public interest group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which called for an investigation into the foreign aid offers said, "It's clear that they're trying to hide their ineptitude, incompetence, and malfeasance."

The US has offered a measly $3.5 million in relief aid to Burma. For a reality check, the Iraq War costs an astounding $341.4 million per day. That's over 2 billion a week. The contrast is beyond obscene; it is more in the realm of a great cosmic injustice.

The Bush administration also favours regime change for Burma. And who doesn't? But theirs should be viewed as part of a permanent cyclone of corporatism intended to sweep up every hamlet on the planet, commodifying everything in its wake. The affects--a downward spiral of wages and the expansion of a global reserve labour force--are mostly hidden from view under the pretext of "democratization."

Obviously, the military regime in Burma deserves condemnation for its horrendous human rights record and its ruthless indifference to the plight of its people. But when the rebuke comes from the Bush administration, it rings rather hollow. Why would the Burmese regime respond positively to scolding verbiage from those who want to defeat them?

Is it beyond the pale to compare their reaction to how Bush dealt with the storm of criticism that occurred when storms Katrina and Rita ravished New Orleans and Texas? Let's see: is there any evidence that Bush felt ashamed at his administration's slow and lame reaction? Did the hue and cry of the people cause him to rectify his incompetence and neglect? Ask the victims who are still suffering from a lack of any coherent plan to rebuild their infrastructure—and their lives. It appears he behaved as he always does: without shame.

Perhaps I am off base to draw a comparison between how a dictatorship and how the so-called "world's greatest democracy" each reacted to their own natural catastrophes. But democracies aren't supposed to launch wars of conquest or destroy people by putting their names on bogus lists. They are not supposed to arrest citizens without charges and without access to legal assistance. They are not supposed to scrap habeas corpus and they are not supposed to condone torture and official lying. And they are not supposed to disgrace themselves in times of national emergency. That's what tyrannies do.

Then again, maybe I have a point.

Canadians Still Oppose Afghan Mission Extension

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many adults in Canada believe the House of Commons should not have extended the country’s military mandate in Afghanistan until the end of 2011, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 54 per cent of respondents disagree with the decision.

When asked if the Canadian government should actively negotiate with the Taliban if this helps the peace efforts led by the elected Afghan government, 48 per cent of respondents reject the idea, while 37 per cent are open to it.

Afghanistan has been the main battleground in the war on terrorism. The conflict began in October 2001, after the Taliban regime refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked and crashed four airplanes on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

At least 800 soldiers—including 82 Canadians—have died in the war on terrorism, either in support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom or as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

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Disturbing Stirrings - Ratcheting Up For War on Iran

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, May 12, 2008

Led by Dick Cheney, Bush administration neocons want war on Iran. So does the Israeli Lobby, but it doesn't mean they'll get it. Powerful forces in Washington and the Pentagon are opposed and so far have prevailed. Nonetheless, worrisome recent events increase the possibility and must be closely watched.

Recall George Bush's January 10, 2007 address to the nation. He announced the 20,000 troop "surge" and more. "Succeeding in Iraq," he said, "also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing 'terrorists' and 'insurgents' to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt (those) attacks....we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

That was then; this is now. On May 3, Andrew Cockburn wrote on CounterPunch: "Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret 'finding' authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, (is) 'unprecedented in its scope.' " The directive permits a range of actions across a broad area costing hundreds of millions with an initial $300 million for starters. Elements of the scheme include:

-- targeted assassinations;

-- funding Iranian opposition groups; among them - Mujahedin-e-Khalq that the State Department designates a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO); Jundullah, the "army of god militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan; Iranian Kurdish nationalists; and Ahwazi arabs in southwest Iran;

-- destabilizing Syria and Hezbollah; the current Lebanon turbulence raises the stakes;

-- putting a hawkish commander in charge; more on that below; and

-- kicking off things at the earliest possible time.

These type efforts and others were initiated before and likely never stopped. So it remains to be seen what differences emerge this time and how much more intense they become.

More concerns were cited in a Michael Smith May 4 Times Online report headlined "United States is drawing up plans to strike on Iranian insurgency camp." It refers to a "surgical strike" against an "insurgent training camp." In spite of hostile signals, however, "the administration has put plans for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities on the back burner" after Gates replaced Rumsfeld. The article makes several other key points:

-- "American defense chiefs (meaning top generals and admirals) are firmly opposed to (attacking) Iranian nuclear facilities;"

-- on the other hand, they very much support hitting one or more "training camps (to) deliver a powerful message to Tehran;"

-- in contrast, UK officials downplay Iranian involvement in Iraq even though Tehran's Revolutionary Guard has close ties to al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army; and

-- Bush and Cheney are determined not to hand over "the Iran problem" to a successor.

Full Article...

Ex-officials: Bush admin. ignored Iraq corruption

Ex-State employees allege Bush Admininstration ignored corruption at senior levels in Iraq

AP News

May 12, 2008 20:04 EST

The Bush administration repeatedly ignored corruption at the highest levels within the Iraqi government and kept secret potentially embarrassing information so as not to undermine its relationship with Baghdad, according to two former State Department employees.

Arthur Brennan, who briefly served in Baghdad as head of the department's Office of Accountability and Transparency last year, and James Mattil, who worked as the chief of staff, told Senate Democrats on Monday that their office was understaffed and its warnings and recommendations ignored.

Brennan also alleges the State Department prevented a congressional aide visiting Baghdad from talking with staffers by insisting they were too busy. In reality, Brennan said, office members were watching movies at the embassy and on their computers. The staffers' workload had been cut dramatically because of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's "evisceration" of Iraq's top anti-corruption office, he said.

Full Article...


The Limits of Exposure

punditman says...I couldn't agree more with the following piece by Gary Leupp (who has been kind enough to grant full re-publication below). I would only add the following: While it is true that politicians, institutions and the "lamestream media" are all hopelessly tied into the pro-war power nexus, a US attack on Iran and all its ramifications--including, I would expect, stratospheric oil prices--may just be enough to wake up the American public. At least one can always hope for a silver lining amongst a stirred up citizenry...

Why All of Our Efforts Won't Stop an Attack on Iran


May 9. I read tonight a brief article by Philip Giraldi posted on the American Conservative website: “War with Iran Might Be Closer than You Think.”

“There is considerable speculation,” writes the former CIA officer, “and buzz in Washington today suggesting that the National Security Council has agreed in principle to proceed with plans to attack an Iranian al-Qods [Revolutionary Guards]-run camp that is believed to be training Iraqi militants. The camp that will be targeted is one of several located near Tehran.”

Giraldi provides details. He reports that the meeting came as “the direct result” of Hizbollah advances in Lebanon in recent days. (Recall that the U.S. State Department lists the Shiite organization Hizbollah as “terrorist” and as a tool of both Iran and Baathist Syria. In fact it is probably the country’s largest and most popular political party and has built significant ties with some Christian and Sunni groups. Hizbollah’s rapid seizure of the Muslim sections of Beirut, accomplished with little resistance, may have been deliberately provoked by the U.S.-backed quasi-government of Lebanon when the latter shut down the party’s private communications network.)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, according to Giraldi, was the only senior official present urging delay. That suggests that the military is not enthusiastic about a widened war in Southwest Asia, but that the other regular members of the NSC (Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley as well as President Bush and Vice President Cheney) are willing to provoke just that.

They will do what they do with the solid backing of Congress, the presidential candidates, and the mainstream press which if history is our guide will for a time shape shockingly malleable public opinion. Yes, I fear that we (most of us) will be fooled again.

The Congress has passed near-unanimous resolutions against Iran, endorsing the administration’s unprecedented designation of a component of a nation’s military as a “terrorist organization.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be on board the program. Recall how after the Democratic victory two years ago she capitulated to AIPAC by stripping from a military spending bill the requirement that Bush seek Congressional approval before attacking Iran. (That was after she’d pointedly declared that Bush-Cheney impeachment hearings were “off the table.” And after Rep. John Conyers, head of the House Judiciary Committee and sometimes maverick, bitterly disappointed those pinning their hopes on him by going along with the Democratic leadership’s line. And after the Democrats had made it clear they weren’t serious about ending the war they’d been elected to end---showing us how very well the democratic system works in this country.)

John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton (all of whom agree that an attack on Iran is “on the table”) will publicly approve. The media will call upon the same “military analysts”/military industry consultants who have been disseminating Pentagon propaganda for pay since 2002 to explain why the attack is justified and necessary. The main talking-point has been decided: “Iran is killing American soldiers in Iraq.” Public opinion polls will show the public divided, but a majority in support of the action because, regardless of their feelings about the war in Iraq, they want to “support our troops” and after all, Iran was asking for it by interfering in Iraq and attacking us.

All the “exposure” that so many journalists and academics have tried to provide for years will have failed to prevent another illegal attack on a sovereign nation based on lies and bound to produce more outrage against the U.S. throughout the world. A cruise missile strike on an alleged training camp site won’t end there. It will be designed to provoke an Iranian response and legitimate further U.S. attacks, not only on Iran but Syria and Lebanon, probably in coordination with Israel. Some in Israel badly want the U.S. to behead all their main enemies in the region before their good friend George Bush leaves the White House. If that means regional chaos---clashes between Iranian and U.S. forces, the fall of the Maliki puppet regime in Baghdad (which actually is friendly with Tehran and says it’s playing a positive role in Iraq), the collapse of Shiite cooperation with the U.S. occupation, Iran-Iraq border clashes, U.S. forays into Iranian territory, the closing of ranks in fractious Iran against the imperialist assault on their country---so be it!

If it means renewed war in Lebanon including Israeli invasion, an Iranian shift from supporting U.S. puppet Karzai to Iran’s longtime enemy the Taliban in Afghanistan, active Syrian support for Sunni forces in Iraq, the disintegration of the fragile Sunni-“Coalition” alliance against al-Qaeda in western Iraq as the region descends into a Shiite-Sunni war---so be it! If it means the use of nuclear weapons against Iran to try to cow its leaders and people into accepting a U.S.-Israeli blueprint for the region---so be it! If it means the unthinkable in the U.S.—a return to the draft---so be it! All of this will at least have prevented the “nuclear holocaust” that the neocons, Cheney and Bush have been insisting the Iranians plan to inflict on the Jewish state unless they are stopped now. (No matter that all the U.S. intelligence agencies in their National Intelligence Estimate on Iran published late last year agreed that Iran does not now have a nuclear weapons program. And no matter that the Ahmadinejad quote about “wiping Israel off the map” has been exposed as a lie by Juan Cole and others.)

If Benjamin Netanyahu is Israeli prime minister at the time of the planned attack on Iran, a time of apocalyptic confusion might be the perfect opportunity to empty the West Bank of its Palestinians. This NSC agreement “in principle” to attack Iran is an agreement to risk all these ramifications, confident that the press and politicians will cooperate.

* * * * *

So often in recent months I’ve started to write a column exposing some recent lie (or at least some report pertaining to Iran or Syria that strikes me as obvious neocon-generated disinformation) only to give up midway through. Not because of writer’s block, fatigue, or even the thought that “Someone else has already written this, or someone like Alex Cockburn or Justin Raimondo or Scott Ritter or Gordon Prather will in the next day or so.” It’s more a matter of despairing at how much exposure can accomplish.

A friend of mine was saying last month, “People are ‘exposured’ out. They’re “Chomskyed” out.” He was speaking about young antiwar activists mainly, but his point was that people who know what’s going on are eager to act on the knowledge. To paraphrase Marx, the point is not to expose the world, or have it further exposed to you, but to change it.

The readership of sites like Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, and Antiwar.com know the main points. They know that Dick Cheney, the most powerful vice president in history (and the most secrecy-obsessed among powerful figures in U.S. history), has made his office the hub of a cabal of neocons hell-bent of effecting “regime change” throughout Southwest Asia by the end of Bush’s second term. They know that the Office of Special Plans fabricated “intelligence” to terrify the masses and gain support for the invasion of Iraq. They know that U.S. intelligence has actually concluded that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, and that the UN’s IAEA scientists have found no evidence for one. But they also know that Cheney insists that he knows there’s one, just as the neocons such as Norman Podhoretz and Michael Ledeen know there’s one. Just as top Israeli officials know there’s one as they demand U.S. action against Iran. They know there’s a huge anti-Iran propaganda campaign underway very similar to the one that preceded the lie campaign leading up to the Iraq War now in its disastrous sixth year. They know that the U.S. is funding terrorist groups to carry out attacks in Iran. They know that the administration’s allegations about a Syrian nuclear program are highly dubious.

They know that there are conflicts between the traditional intelligence community and the neocons, and that the latter draw upon a coherent (Straussian) philosophy that justifies the “noble lie” in order to induce the foolish masses to support what the “wise”---who must conceal their real objectives---want them to support. They distrust anything the administration says about Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan…

Yes, they’re “Chomskyed out.”

Maybe we need to shift the focus of exposure a bit. From the particular to the general. From nasty individuals to nasty institutions. From the symptoms to the system.

What’s worse? Cheney and his attorney David Addington crafting a document in November 2001, bypassing routine staff review before receiving Bush’s signature, which denied “foreign terrorist” suspects in the U.S. access to any courts and allowing for their indefinite detention? (This was exposed by Barton Gellman and Jo Becker in the Washington Post last summer.) Or the failure of the elected officials in Congress to even start impeachment proceedings against Cheney and Bush?

What’s worse? John Yoo writing up his torture memos in 2002 as a Justice Department employee, as eventually exposed in the mainstream press? Or the decision of the trustees of the University of California, Berkeley to hire him as a law professor in 2003?

What’s worse? Judith Miller’s willingness to funnel disinformation to the American people through her NYT articles before and after the Iraq invasion? Or the Time’s willingness to publish them, and now those of her sometimes co-author Michael Gordon, cheerleading the coming Iran attack?

The Congress, the Justice Department, academia, and the press are all complicit in imperialist war and attacks on the Constitution. Does this mean the system isn’t working, or that it’s working all too well?

Is the system supposed to expose itself, through congressional hearings, investigative reporting, war crimes trials? Or is it, serving the small minority it’s designed to serve, supposed to simply tolerate exposure (in the name of freedom of the press) while saturating citizens with propaganda? (If the exposure ever gets widely enough disseminated, and threatens to undermine its objectives, it can always “kill the messenger”---or at least accuse the writer of undermining national security, abetting terrorism, etc.)

Voting for “antiwar” Democrats two years ago didn’t end the war. Even millions in the streets, peacefully demonstrating as the system encourages, didn’t prevent the assault on Iraq over five years ago. Now there’s no feasible political recourse to stop an attack on Iran. And little time to mobilize mass demonstrations against it. It will come as a thief in the night, presented to the American people as a fait accompli. As the Bush-Cheney cowboys ride off into the sunset, smirkin’ and grinnin’ and slapping each other’s backs, the people will start to pay.

A character in Bertolt Brecht’s The Beggar’s Opera asks what’s worse---robbing a bank, or owning a bank? The system itself, that is to say, is the criminal product of wrongly acquired wealth, much of it obtained through imperialist war. Exposure alone, no matter how voluminous, eloquent and persuasive, will not change it.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.
He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu


The Morality of the Stomach

Food Riots are Coming to the U.S.


"I don’t want to alarm anybody, but maybe it’s time for Americans to start stockpiling food. No this is not a drill."

--Brett Arends

There is a time for food, and a time for ethical appraisals. This was the case even before Bertolt Brecht gave life to that expression in Die Driegroschen Oper. The time for a reasoned, coherent understanding for the growing food crisis is not just overdue, but seemingly past. Robert Zoellick of the World Bank, an organization often dedicated to flouting, rather than achieving its claimed goal of poverty reduction, stated the problem in Davos in January this year. ‘Hunger and malnutrition are the forgotten Millennium Development Goal.’

Global food prices have gone through the roof, terrifying the 3 billion or so people who live off less than $2 a day. This should terrify everybody else. In November, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization reported that food prices had suffered a 18 percent inflation in China, 13 percent in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10 percent or more in Latin America, Russia and India. The devil in the detail is even more distressing: a doubling in the price of wheat, a twenty percent increase in the price of rice, an increase by half in maize prices.

Finger pointing is not always instructive. In this case, it may be. The US and various European countries are moving food crops into the bio-fuel business, itself an environmentally unsound business. This, in addition to encouraging developing countries to not merely ‘liberalize’ their agricultural sectors, but specialize in exporting specific cash crops (cotton, cocoa), has done wonders to precipitate the shortages. Consumption in developing economies, added to the vicissitudes of climate change, water availability, and rising fertilizer costs, are others.

Political stability is being undermined. Food shortages are proving endemic. Food riots are becoming common. Riots have been sparked in Cameroon, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and Yemen. There have been riots over spiraling grain prices in Mauritania and Senegal. In Mexico City, mass protests were sparked by a price hike in tortillas. In Haiti, biscuits are being made from a mud compound. The Somali capital Mogadishu bore witness to the deaths of five people.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...As the article points out, US Secretary of State Condi Rice, being a free-market fundamentalist fool, blames export caps from India and China. You see, in a radical move beyond her blinkered neo-con comprehension, these countries know that it may actually be important to feed their own populations first in times of crisis. This makes sense for any self-preserving government; a hungry population can become a very angry population, very quickly. She'd be wise to abide by this maxim (although I'm all but convinced that the Bush administration has sent the United States on several simultaneous suicide missions--wrecking the economy being just one of many).


Punditman's Musical Interlude: Rush: The Larger Bowl

If we're so much the same like I always hear
Why such different fortunes and fates?
Some of us live in a cloud of fear
Some live behind iron gates

Why such different fortunes and fates?
Some are blessed and some are cursed
Some live behind iron gates
While others only see only the worst

Some are blessed and some are cursed
The golden one or scarred from birth
While others only see the worst
Such a lot of pain on the earth

The golden one or scarred from birth
Some things can never be changed
Such a lot of pain on this earth
It's somehow so badly arranged

Some things can never be changed
Some reasons will never come clear
It's somehow so badly arranged
If we're so much the same like I always hear

Some are blessed and some are cursed
The golden one or scarred from birth
While others only see the worst
Such a lot of pain on the earth

Some are blessed and some are cursed
The golden one or scarred from birth
While others only see the worst
Such a lot of pain on the earth
Such a lot of pain on the earth

Some are blessed and some are cursed
The golden one or scarred from birth
While others only see the worst
Such a lot of pain on the earth

Some are blessed and some are cursed
The golden one or scarred from birth
While others only see the worst
Such a lot of pain on the earth

Such a lot of pain
Such a lot of pain
Such a lot of pain on the earth

Media Disinformation: Iran's Link to Iraqi Insurgents

New York Times vs McClatchy
by Greg Mitchell
Global Research, May 6, 2008

Michael Gordon, the military writer for The New York Times who contributed several false stories about Iraqi WMD in the runup to the U.S. attack on Iraq in 2002, has written several articles in the past year about Iran’s alleged training of Iraqi insurgents -- or supplying them with weapons to kill Americans. He produced another major report on this subject for today’s Times – based solely on unnamed sources -- which is at odds with an account from McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau.

Gordon asserts that “Militants from the Lebanese group Hezbollah have been training Iraqi militia fighters at a camp near Tehran…An American official said the account of Hezbollah’s role was provided by four Shiite militia members who were captured in Iraq late last year and questioned separately.

“The United States has long charged that the Iranians were training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran, which Iran has consistently denied, and there have been previous reports about Hezbollah operatives in Iraq.

“But the Americans say the reports of Hezbollah’s role at the Iranian camp offer important details about Iranian assistance to the militias, including efforts Iran appears to be making to train the fighters in unobtrusive ways.”

But McClatchy has a quite different take.

Leila Fadel, the bureau chief, and Shashank Bengali report: “The Iraqi Government seemed to distance itself from U.S. accusations towards Iran Sunday saying it would not be forced into conflict with its Shiite neighbor. And Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki ordered the formation of a committee to look into foreign intervention in Iraq.

“As the government appeared to back down from its hardening stance against Iran, four marines were killed in Anbar in the deadliest attack in the Sunni province in months.

"The government spokesman, Ali al Dabbagh, told reporters Sunday that a committee was formed to find ‘tangible information’ about foreign intervention, specifically Iran's role in Iraq rather than ‘information based on speculation.’

"’We don't want to be pushed into any conflict with any neighboring countries, especially Iran. What happened before is enough. We paid a lot,’ Dabbagh said, referring to the eight years war between the two nations in which an estimated 1 million people died.”

Also today from Agence France-Press: “Iraq said on Sunday it has no evidence that Iran was supplying militias engaged in fierce street fighting with security forces in Baghdad.

“Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said there was no 'hard evidence' of involvement by the neighbouring Shiite government of Iran in backing Shiite militiamen in the embattled country. Asked about reports that weapons captured from Shiite fighters bore 2008 markings suggesting Iranian involvement, Dabbagh said: ‘We don't have that kind of evidence... If there is hard evidence we will defend the country.’"

Here is a list of Gordon’s sources in his Times article:

-- “An American official”

-- “But the Americans say”

-- “American officials”

-- “American officials”

-- “The Americans “

--“American officials”

--“An American official”

-- ditto, and so on

Greg Mitchell's new book explores Gordon's and McClatchy's past reporting on Iraq and Iraq. It is titled, "So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq."

© Copyright Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher, 2008


Why Isn't It the End of Hillary? Because she's the War Party's favorite

by Justin Raimondo

With Barack Obama sweeping North Carolina – in part due to massive turnout by students and African-Americans – and Indiana (as of 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) very possibly a close call, the numbers should be telling us Hillary Clinton is finished – at least as far as the elected delegates are concerned.

The mathematics and the clock would normally doom her campaign, but being the candidate of the Establishment, she's not being counted out. Far from it. The one chance she has, and it's not all that unlikely, is if she manages to convince the "super-delegates" – elected officials and other grand poobahs of the Democratic Party –that Obama is unelectable. If you thought the campaign was dirty at this point, then just wait until you get a gander at what's to come. The smear campaign – a technique the Clintons were always masters of – is going to be something to see.

What is clear, by now, is that the War Party is openly rooting for Hillary: see the Weekly Standard for the neocons' paean to Hillary the war goddess. Before the Obama surge nearly wiped her out, she was sounding like Obama in his denunciations of the "war that should never have been fought," i.e., Iraq, yet she shifted gears rather abruptly and began presenting herself as a lunch-bucket know-nothing pro-war demagogue who could pass for Joe Lieberman in drag.

punditman says...If it was an anti-war candidate challenging Obama, (who, like Hilary, is not exactly a George McGovern or a Ron Paul), the person would have been forced out by Democratic Party apparatchiks long ago.

Mikhail Gorbachev has accused the United States of mounting an imperialist conspiracy against Russia that could push the world into a new Cold War.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev: US could start new Cold War
Mikhail Gorbachev: conspiracy

With Dmitry Medvedev due to be inaugurated today as Russian president, the Soviet Union's last leader said that the White House's claims of peaceful intentions towards its former superpower rival could no longer be trusted.

Delivering one of his most scathing attacks on the US, Mr Gorbachev told The Daily Telegraph that a US military build-up was under way to contain a resurgent Russia.

From Nato's expansion plans in the former Soviet Union to Washington's proposals for a bigger defence budget and a missile shield in central Europe, the US was deliberately quashing hopes for permanent peace with Russia, Mr Gorbachev said.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...Gorby makes some good points. And if the Bush administration can't even see eye-to-eye with a guy that even Reagan liked, what does that tell us about their mindsets? And how would the US react if, in this post-cold war era, Russia decided to encircle the US with military bases and a missile shield by cajoling friendly allies?

Hmmm...look what happened last time Russia responded to American encirclement à la Cuba missile crisis (we're lucky we aren't a radically-reduced population of radioactive mutants, foraging to survive on a glowing landscape.)


An Open Letter to Michael Moore: Why Didn't You Say It?



Dear Michael,

I was slightly stunned at the irony of this paragraph in your endorsement of Barack Obama:

"Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, 'Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for "spiritual counseling?" THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!'"

I am at a loss to understand why you wanted Obama to say that, and yet YOU didn't take the opportunity to mention it yourself on Larry King Live when he gave you a perfect opening. In fact, I shouted at my TV set, "Say it, Michael, say it now!"

punditman says...Good point! And gee willikers...I learn something new about the corruption and dishonesty of Hilary Clinton everyday!


Secrecy is a nasty virus that can lay low the body politic

Canada's former Minister of Foreign Affairs Speaks Out

There is a disturbing virus settling into Ottawa. Let's call it the Spreading Northern Security Plague, a variation of a virulent strain of illegal counterterrorism practices imported from the Bush White House. Its symptoms were first detected in the Maher Arar case, where a Canadian was sent off to be tortured in a Syrian jail. Only years later was an inquiry established, presided over by a courageous judge who blew the whistle on such nefarious practices by our security forces.

But by then, the disease had become embedded in the body politic of successive governments with all the signs of a well-established syndrome in which security trumps human rights, international covenants can be disregarded, commissions of inquiry can be secretive and dismissive of rule and procedure, and vital information on crucial issues such as the transfer of Afghan detainees is deliberately withheld.

And now, we learn of Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Sudanese Canadian who was imprisoned in Khartoum, allegedly at the request of CSIS, and who has been stranded in the country for nearly five years. That the Canadian government, knowing full well the egregious human-rights record of the Sudanese regime, would leave one of its citizens marooned in the Sudan, is inexplicable.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...

As soon as the State has the right to apprehend you without charges or a fair trial, as soon as they can act in the name of "national security" without oversight or transparency, as soon as they can send you on a "rendition" flight, well, you have lost your freedom, buddy boy. And here's an elementary civics lesson: a violation to one is a violation to all. Too bad they don't teach this in Canadian schools, because we now see the result: where there should be outrage and solidarity, there is mostly silence.

Good for Mr. Axworthy for speaking up.

Iraqi official says Iran arms evidence not conclusive

Iraqi official says no conclusive evidence on some Iran arms to militias

AP News

A top Iraqi official said Sunday there was no conclusive evidence that Shiite extremists have been directly supplied with some Iranian arms as alleged by the United States.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq does not want trouble with any country, "especially Iran."

Al-Dabbagh was commenting on talks this week in Tehran between an Iraqi delegation and Iranian authorities aimed at halting suspected Iranian aid to some Shiite militias.

Keep Reading...

punditman says...What? You mean the Bush administration is relying on half-truths, speculation and fabrication in order to justify attacking Iran, even as the Iraqis push for goods relations with Iran? Imagine my shock!


Ex-Iraq commander accuses Bush Administration of 'gross incompetence'

Filed by John Byrne

In a new memoir set to be published May 6, the former commander of US forces in Iraq provides new intimate details of the goings-on at high levels of the Bush Administration in the first year of the Iraq war.

His sharp tongued conclusion: "Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars were unnecessarily spent, and worse yet, too many of our most precious military resource, our American soldiers, were unnecessarily wounded, maimed, and killed as a result. In my mind, this action by the Bush administration amounts to gross incompetence and dereliction of duty."

An excerpt from Sanchez's book, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story, published in TIME, buries the quotation on the third page of the article.

Full Article...


The Iranian Chessboard: Five Ways to Think About Iran Under the Gun

By Pepe Escobar

More than two years ago, Seymour Hersh disclosed in the New Yorker how George W. Bush was considering strategic nuclear strikes against Iran. Ever since, a campaign to demonize that country has proceeded in a relentless, Terminator-like way, applying the same techniques and semantic contortions that were so familiar in the period before the Bush administration launched its invasion of Iraq.

The campaign's greatest hits are widely known: "The ayatollahs" are building a Shi'ite nuclear bomb; Iranian weapons are killing American soldiers in Iraq; Iranian gunboats are provoking U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf - Iran, in short, is the new al-Qaeda, a terror state aimed at the heart of the United States. It's idle to expect the American mainstream media to offer any tools that might put this orchestrated blitzkrieg in context.

Here are just a few recent instances of the ongoing campaign: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates insists that Iran "is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons." Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admits that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" when it comes to Iran. In tandem with U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus, Mullen denounces Iran's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq, although he claims to harbor "no expectations" of an attack on Iran "in the immediate future" and even admits he has "no smoking gun which could prove that the highest leadership [of Iran] is involved."

But keep in mind one thing the Great Saddam Take-out of 2003 proved: that a "smoking gun" is, in the end, irrelevant. And this week, the U.S. is ominously floating a second aircraft carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf.

But what of Iran itself under the blizzard of charges and threats? What to make of it? What does the world look like from Tehran? Here are five ways to think about Iran under the gun and to better decode the Iranian chessboard.

Keep reading about how to decode the Iranian Chessboard...

Georgie Bush Went to War - Political Parody Song

Nope, that's not me. But it's my kind of tune!