Thursday, November 23, 2006

 

Carlos Latuff on Gaza

The Killing Fields of Gaza by ~Latuff2


White washing war crimes by ~Latuff2


Save Gaza now by ~Latuff2

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Bush, Zionists Still Backing Bolton

In July, I published a long post--Battle Over Bolton Could Be Decided by Jewish Support--about John Bolton's tenure as US Ambassador to the UN. Bolton's recess appointment will expire in December and despite earlier rejection Bush has renominated him.

Marc Perelman reports in the Jewish Forward that the "Jewish community" is determined to stand by their (and Bush's) man. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:
Bush appointed Bolton, a leading neoconservative who failed to garner sufficient votes in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2005, during a congressional recess for one year. ...

The administration is now reportedly looking for ways to keep Bolton at the U.N. by circumventing the Senate.

“The Jewish community remains supportive and would want to see [Bolton] stay,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “He has been an effective advocate, and he is appreciated by the diplomatic corps.”

At the same time, Hoenlein said, he was not aware of any recent effort by Jewish organizations to press administration and Congress on the issue. Several major Jewish groups had expressed their support, in public and in private, when Bolton’s appointment became a political battle in Washington in early 2005. None of these groups has issued statements on the issue in recent weeks.

"The administration and the Congress know where the community stands," Hoenlein said. "But this is not in our hands, obviously." Bolton is viewed as a strong supporter of Israel, and exercised the American veto last week on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. While American support for Israel at the U.N. is unlikely to change with a new ambassador and a Democratic Congress, Bolton had cultivated especially close personal bonds over the years with all major Jewish groups. They have hailed him for his role in convincing U.N. members in 1991 to repel [sic] the infamous "Zionism equals racism" resolution, for his outspoken criticism of the U.N.’s failures to enact more reforms, and for his support for regime change in Iraq and a tough line on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He also has been a fairly active voice for international efforts to stop the mass killings in Darfur. ...
It is important to note that Bolton's opposition from Congress stems not primarily, if at all, from his ardent support for Israel but from his personal combativeness and general hostility to international institutions and law.

See also: Bolton's Proudest Moment: Breaking the UN's Anti-Zionist Resolution by Gary Leupp

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Jack Murtha-Steny Hoyer Followup

In The Impending US Troop Buildup in Iraq, I wrote: "Late last week, as expected, the House Democrats soundly defeated John "Jack" Murtha in his bid to become Majority Leader." Murtha was defeated by Steny Hoyer who got a brief mention in an earlier post--Waxman, AIPAC on US Elections: No Sweat for Israel.

E.M., a friend, recently sent the text of Hoyer's 12/15/2003 remarks to the AIPAC Political Leadership Conference. Below are a few gems from that speech.
From my perspective as the Democratic Whip, I believe that AIPAC and all the friends of Israel can look back at the past year as one of many successes.

In April, Roy Blunt and I circulated a letter signed by 313 House Members urging President Bush to abide by the principles for Mideast peace that he articulated on June 24th, 2002.

First and foremost among them was this absolute precondition for peace: that the Palestinian side unconditionally cease the campaign of terror and violence against Israel.

In June, the House passed a resolution by a vote of 399 to 5 condemning the unconscionable terrorist attacks against Israel and expressing our solidarity with Israelis in the continuing war on terrorism.

In October, the house passed the Syria accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act by a vote of 398 to 4.

That legislation would require the president to impose economic and diplomatic penalties on Syria unless it makes immediate and meaningful changes in its policies.

And it sends an unequivocal message to Damascus: you cannot belong to the family of civilized nations while simultaneously sponsoring and providing safe harbor to terrorist organizations.

On October 30th, the House unanimously passed a resolution repudiating the repugnant anti-Semitic remarks by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad at the Islamic Summit Conference.

Comments such as these – that "the Jews rule the world by proxy"– are not simply hateful and outrageous, they are divisive and dangerous.

Jew and non-Jew alike must combat them.

And, of course, we also saw the fall of the butcher of Baghdad – Saddam Hussein – who was a mortal threat to his own people, the state of Israel, the middle east region and the world [No mention of WMD nor a particular threat to the US].

And, as you know, I had the privilege of leading the largest congressional delegation in history to Israel in August.

This was my sixth trip to Israel, and my fifth as a member of Congress. ...

Let me say very clearly: as a member of the Democratic leadership and a long-time supporter of Israel, it is absolutely imperative that Members of Congress – especially our new members and those who have few Jews in their Congressional Districts – recognize the moral and strategic significance of the U.S.-Israel partnership.

Furthermore, it is imperative that Israel’s circle of friends in Congress include non-Jews, too. For the reality is this: Israel’s safety and security is not a Jewish/non-Jewish issue. It is an American national security issue.

I am confident in saying that two new Democratic members who have a better appreciation of that are Denise Majette of Georgia and Artur Davis of Alabama. Both were part of our delegation [Majette defeated incumbent Rep. Cynthia McKinney with a large influx of cash from Zionist American Jews; Davis has likewise been the beneficiary of Zionist Jewish largesse (see e.g. McKinney opponent rakes in pro-Israel cash)] pro-Israel. Both are articulate, engaging African-Americans from the south. And both are committed supporters of Israel. ...

Secondly, I am very disturbed by the surge in virulent anti-Semitism, and the accompanying hostility toward the Jewish state. Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two manifestations of the same bigotry. ...

There are some who believe that we must demonstrate more even-handedness in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

I do not.

Instead, I believe we must guard against making muddled parallelisms between justified actions by Israel and terrorist tactics designed only to inflame and destroy. ...

The United States and Israel have stood together since 1948 because we stand up for what is right – liberty, freedom, and democracy. ...
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Hizbullah, Israel, and the Gemayel Assassination

Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Amine Gemayel was assassinated in Beirut on Tuesday. Gemayel was a leader of the Kata'ib Party, better known in the West as the Phalange Party, and the grandson of Party's founder, Pierre Gemayel.

For background, here are three excerpts from the Library of Congress country study on Lebanon:
Formed in 1936 as a Maronite paramilitary youth organization by Pierre Jumayyil [Gemayel] (who modeled it on the fascist organizations he had observed while in Berlin as an Olympic athlete), the Phalange, or Phalanxes (Kataib in Arabic), was authoritarian and very centralized, and its leader was all powerful. It quickly grew into a major political force in Mount Lebanon. After at first allying itself with the French Mandate authorities, the Phalange sided with those calling for independence; as a result, the party was dissolved in 1942 by the French high commissioner (it was restored after The French left Lebanon). Despite this early dispute, over the years the Phalange has been closely associated with France in particular and the West in general. In fact, for many years the party newspaper, Al Amal, was printed in Arabic and French.

Consistent with its authoritarian beginnings, Phalangist ideology has been on the right of the political spectrum. Although it has embraced the need to "modernize," it has always favored the preservation of the sectarian status quo. The Phalange Party motto is "God, the Fatherland, and the Family," and its doctrine emphasizes a free economy and private initiative. Phalangist ideology focuses on the primacy of preserving the Lebanese nation, but with a "Phoenician" identity, distinct from its Arab, Muslim neighbors. Party policies have been uniformly anticommunist and anti-Palestinian and have allowed no place for pan-Arab ideals. ...

During the 1980s, the Phalange lost much of its credibility and political stature. In 1982, under pressure from Israel, which occupied a good deal of Lebanon, Bashir was elected president. Later that year, before talking office, Bashir was assassinated. Subsequently, his brother Amin was elected president, again not so much for his Phalange Party connection as because of his support from Israel. ...
The Phalangists collaborated extensively with Israel during its occupations of Lebanon and were Israel's instruments of hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian deaths in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres of 1982.

The American media is now pointing the finger at Syria and Hizbullah as the culprits in Pierre Amine Gemayel's death and while this may be the case, a strong brief can be made for Israel as the most likely suspect. Israel has never wanted a strong, unified Lebanon and Israeli leaders were probably not happy with the possibility of limited American rapprochement with Syria. Israel has a track record of covert assassinations--attempted and completed--in Lebanon (see links below) although this has not been widely reported in the US.

After defeating Israel this summer, the pro-Syrian Hizbullah was more popular in Lebanon than before the war. Just four days before Gemayel's death, Gallup's Richard Burkholder in "Lebanese See Hezbollah as Politically Stronger After Conflict With Israel" reported:
... 59% of all Lebanese say they regard the conflict [last summer with Israel] as "mostly a political victory for Hezbollah," while just 27% view it as "mostly a political defeat" ...

Nearly half (48%) of all Lebanese respondents Gallup interviewed say they personally have a better view of Hezbollah than the one they held prior to the conflict (including 33% "much better"), ...

The vast majority of Lebanese (92%) say it is very important to them personally that the country be maintained as a multi-faith society.

Lebanese are relatively optimistic that Hezbollah is committed to respecting the country's religious diversity. Just more than half (55%) say they believe Hezbollah is "very firmly" committed to seeing Lebanon maintained as a multi-faith society, while an additional 16% think Hezbollah is "fairly firmly" committed in this regard. Only about one in four Lebanese sees Hezbollah as either "not too" (10%) or "not at all" (13%) committed to this outcome.

Lebanon's Christians express the greatest concern in this regard, with just less than one-third indicating they think Hezbollah is "not too" (13%) or "not at all" (18%) committed to maintaining the country's religious diversity. They are offset, however, by the 39% of the country's Christians who say they view Hezbollah as being "very firmly committed" to Lebanon's continuance as a multi-faith society. One in four Christians think Hezbollah is "somewhat firmly" committed to this end. [emphasis in bold above added]
Above: Graph from the Gallup News Service.

A poll conducted at the end of October by the Beirut Center for Research and Information showed that Hizbullah and allied parties had "crossed sectarian borders and can now be considered more secular parties." They had profited politically from the war and now enjoyed the support of nearly 60% of the Lebanon's people.

As Israel gears up for another attack on Lebanon, it can't have a strong Lebanon with Hizbullah in charge. The assassination of the pro-Western, anti-Syrian Gemayel has had a demonstrably disruptive effect on Lebanese affairs--probably to Hizbullah's detriment--and has once again resulted in crocodile tears from Washington over violations of Lebanese sovereignty, etc. There can be little doubt that Israeli leaders would assassinate a leader of the pro-Israel Phalangists if they thought it was in their strategic interests. After all, Zionists sacrificed millions of Jews to their racist dreams of conquest during WWII. And, as Yossi Alpher, a former senior Mossad official, notes: "... an Israeli leader looks at Iran through the prism of the Holocaust and his responsibility to the ongoing existence of the Jewish people ... at the end of the day, it matters, and so we may be willing to do the strangest things."

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

 

Hersh on CIA, Iran & Israel

Many readers of this blog will know about the Israeli connection to the US war in Iraq and Zionist agitation for a US attack on Iran. Early this morning, I heard a BBC interview with Seymour Hersh answering criticism of his recent article in the New Yorker. In the interview, Hersh stated that the CIA had found no "conclusive evidence" of a clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program but that the Bush administration is relying upon Israeli 'intelligence' that there is such a program. However, the White House refuses to make the Israeli 'intelligence' available to the CIA. This smacks of the buildup to the Iraq war where the White House created special units--with strong Israeli connections--to cook up 'intelligence' to support the adminstration's determination to go to war.

In the New Yorker article Hersh writes that post-election (emphasis in bold added):
The White House's concern was not that the Democrats would cut off funds for the war in Iraq but that future legislation would prohibit it from financing operations targeted at overthrowing or destabilizing the Iranian government, to keep it from getting the bomb. "They're afraid that Congress is going to vote a binding resolution to stop a hit on Iran, à la Nicaragua in the Contra war," a former senior intelligence official told me.
Concerning the Vice President, Hersh writes:
Cheney is emphatic about Iraq. In late October, he told Time, "I know what the President thinks," about Iraq. "I know what I think. And we’re not looking for an exit strategy. We're looking for victory." He is equally clear that the Administration would, if necessary, use force against Iran. "The United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime," he told an Israeli lobbying group early this year. "And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
Hersh also writes:
In the past six months, Israel and the United States have also been working together in support of a Kurdish resistance group known as the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan. The group has been conducting clandestine cross-border forays into Iran, I was told by a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon civilian leadership, as "part of an effort to explore alternative means of applying pressure on Iran." (The Pentagon has established covert relationships with Kurdish, Azeri, and Baluchi tribesmen, and has encouraged their efforts to undermine the regime's authority in northern and southeastern Iran.) The government consultant said that Israel is giving the Kurdish group "equipment and training." The group has also been given "a list of targets inside Iran of interest to the U.S." (An Israeli government spokesman denied that Israel was involved.)
Hersh also reveals how Zionist fifth columnists in the US are stoking the fires for war against Iran:
In the current issue of Foreign Policy, Joshua Muravchik, a prominent neoconservative, argued that the Administration had little choice. "Make no mistake: President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office," he wrote. The President would be bitterly criticized for a preëmptive attack on Iran, Muravchik said, and so neoconservatives "need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes."

The main Middle East expert on the Vice-President’s staff is David Wurmser, a neoconservative who was a strident advocate for the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Like many in Washington, Wurmser "believes that, so far, there’s been no price tag on Iran for its nuclear efforts and for its continuing agitation and intervention inside Iraq," the consultant said. But, unlike those in the Administration who are calling for limited strikes, Wurmser and others in Cheney's office "want to end the regime," the consultant said. "They argue that there can be no settlement of the Iraq war without regime change in Iran."
In closing, here are a couple of more revealing excerpts from the Hersh article that shed light on the Zionist motives behind moves against Iran (emphasis in bold added):
Earlier this year, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert created a task force to coördinate all the available intelligence on Iran. The task force, which is led by Major General Eliezer Shkedi, the head of the Israeli Air Force, reports directly to the Prime Minister. In late October, Olmert appointed Ephraim Sneh, a Labor Party member of the Knesset, to serve as Deputy Defense Minister. Sneh, who served previously in that position under Ehud Barak, has for years insisted that action be taken to prevent Iran from getting the bomb. In an interview this month with the Jerusalem Post, Sneh expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of diplomacy or international sanctions in curbing Iran:
The danger isn't as much Ahmadinejad’s deciding to launch an attack but Israel’s living under a dark cloud of fear from a leader committed to its destruction. . . . Most Israelis would prefer not to live here; most Jews would prefer not to come here with families, and Israelis who can live abroad will . . . I am afraid Ahmadinejad will be able to kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button. That’s why we must prevent this regime from obtaining nuclear capability at all costs.
... A senior European diplomat agreed: "For Israel, it is a question of life or death. The United States does not want to go into Iran, but, if Israel feels more and more cornered, there may be no other choice."
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Monday, November 20, 2006

 

Church and Pike Committees Post-mortem

Historian Kathryn S. Olmsted's Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI (Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Pr., 1996) is a retrospective look at the 1975-76 work of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (the "Church Committee") and the House Select Intelligence Committee (the "Pike Committee"). Olmsted argues that the outcome of these "inquiries show that American political culture of the 1970s was characterized more by continuity than by change." More specifically, she highlights the "resistance to change in three important areas:"
  1. Congress "hesitated" to take responsibility to oversee the operations of US intelligence agencies.
  2. "The media proved reluctant ... to confront the national security state."
  3. The American people "were reluctant to acknowledge unpleasant truths about their secret agencies."
Each of the points above is drawn from Olmsted's "Introduction" and is an example of scholarly understatement, as the body of the book makes clear. For example, as Olmsted, quoting I.F. Stone, notes: "at the end of the investigations, their net effect ' has been to accustom the public mind to the evils exposed and to institutionalize and legalize them by systems of congressional "oversight." ' " Olmsted quotes former CIA head William Colby drawing a similiar conclusion.

In the chapter, "Sensational Scoops and Self-Censorship" the case of Mr. Colby shows how the press generally performed a lapdog rather than a watchdog role. Concerning Project Jennifer--the CIA's secret operation with Howard Hughes to retrieve a sunken Soviet submarine--Colby is shown to have contacted the editors of major US news organizations and they all "agreed to suppress the story." As Olmsted continues:
For his part, Colby was "totally surprised and pleased" by the media's self-censorship. ... Indeed, "responsibility," not aggressivesness, was the watchword for the post-Watergate press in the case of Project Jennifer. Far from playing the mythic role popularly assigned to them after Nixon's fall, the nation's editors seemed terrified of the potential risks of defying the government.
An earlier chapter, "Trusting the 'Honorable Men' " explores how the media suppressed information about the CIA's involvement in domestic spying and in Watergate affair.

There are mostly villians and anti-heroes--including the American public--in Olmsted's book but a few heroes emerge, too: Otis Pike, Seymour Hersh, Daniel Schorr, Jack Anderson. General Lyman Lemnitzer makes a cameo appearance in the book. In 1962, Lemnitzer, "infuriated [then-Representative Gerald] Ford by deleting some of his questions on the U-2 spy plane program from the transcript of a defense appropriations hearing" and Ford complained, at the time, of a " 'totalitarian' attempt to suppress information." In the wake of Seymour Hersh's expose on CIA involvement in the Chilean coup of Augusto Pinochet, however, Ford appointed Lemnitzer to his Commission on CIA Activities in the United States, along with Lane Kirkland and Ronald Reagan, because Ford knew that Lemnitzer could be trusted to guard the CIA's secrets and power.

I first learned of Lemnitzer while reading a book about the National Security Agency by James Bamford. During the Kennedy adminstration, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lemnitzer was one of the proponents of Operation Northwoods-- a secret plan that included killing American civilians in false-flag operations to be blamed on Cuba. According to a March 13, 1962 memorandum, the point was to create "pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba." The Northwoods memo was supported by the other Joint Chiefs and sent to the Secretary of Defense for his approval. In 1963, Lemnitzer left the JCS to become Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Operation Northwoods remained secret for 25 years.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

 

The Impending US Troop Buildup in Iraq

The day after the midterm election, I wrote "Iraq War Will Worsen." Since then, the Democrats' forthcoming capitulation to the political siren song of send-more-troops has been hastened. While in Vietnam recently, George Bush said of Iraq, "We'll succeed unless we quit." On Thursday, the Guardian (UK) reported, in part:
President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.

Mr Bush's refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources said.

Although the panel's work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point "victory strategy" developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and the vice-president Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk.

Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers. This figure is far fewer than that called for by the Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain. But by raising troop levels, Mr Bush will draw a line in the sand and defy Democratic pressure for a swift drawdown.
"Democratic pressure" will be nil. The main Party leaders and sponsors were never on board with the apparent anti-war sentiment of their base. Late last week, as expected, the House Democrats soundly defeated John "Jack" Murtha in his bid to become Majority Leader. Having fought as a US Marine in Vietnam and voted in favor of authorizing the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Murtha is no dove but last November he turned against the US presence in Iraq, making him the darling of many a benighted liberal. Make no mistake, Democrats in the House absolutely could end US involvement in Iraq next year but they will not--they have neither the will nor the courage to do so.

Echoing Bush's remarks above, today, John McCain told ABC's This Week: "deploying more troops to Iraq would put a 'terrible strain' on the U.S. military, [but] 'there's only one thing worse, and that is defeat.' " According to an AP report of the appearance, McCain said, "I believe the consequences of failure are catastrophic ... It will spread to the region. You will see Iran more emboldened. Eventually, you could see Iran pose a greater threat to the state of Israel."

McCain is a likely 2008 presidential aspirant. Defeat and insecurity for Israel--the Democrats will not be able to answer or stand up to this 'logic.' I hope I'm wrong.

Last revised: 11/20/2006

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

 

Quotable: If Only

I freed thousands of slaves; I could have freed more if only they knew they were slaves. --attributed to Harriet Tubman

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Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Red Kettle Boycott: Just Say "No" to the Salvation Army

Below is a slightly altered version of an article I wrote almost three years for the Michigan Indymedia Center under a pseudonym.

A November 27, 2003, Salvation Army (SA) press release notes, "In a dazzling nationally televised half-time performance during today's Dallas Cowboys' annual Thanksgiving Day game, country music superstar Toby Keith helped kick-off The Salvation Army's 2003 Red Kettle Campaign." That same week I kicked off my second annual seasonal boycott of businesses that host the SA's Red Kettles.

You see, what the press release doesn't tell you and you wouldn't learn from the half-time show is that the Salvation Army (SA) is a conservative church organized in a military structure and operating on "war" footing. Among other things, its official doctrine states:
Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.
If you do not "accept and abide by" these and other doctrines--for example, total abstinence from the use of alcohol and tobacco--then you cannot be a member of the SA "church body." By contrast, Jesus maintained a fellowship that welcomed the socio-religious outcasts of his day; some of these persons were deemed impure in their very being. Yet, Jesus violated the purity codes and communed fully and openly with them. The Gospels record that when Jesus sat down at the Last Supper, he ate and drank with Judas, knowing that he had already agreed to, and would, betray him; with Peter, knowing that very soon he would deny him thrice; and, with his other disciples, knowing that while still at the table some would quarrel over 'which of them should be accounted greatest.' Jesus did not eschew communion with the betrayer, the denier, or the self-aggrandizing quarrelers. Would God that the SA and other 'traditionalists' and 'revisionists' should follow Jesus' example of, yes, the inclusive table.

The SA doesn't depend solely upon their faith in God; they are also active in politics. SA leaders saw George Bush's "Faith-Based and Community Initiative" as an opportunity for increased funding and to "allow us to integrate social services and spiritual services more." So, in 2001, according to a SA memo obtained by the Washington Post, the SA offered the administration its financial and other support for lobbying efforts to increase the flow of federal taxpayer money to religious organizations. In return, the SA asked for a pass from the White House to permit them violate local and state employment non-discrimination laws that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

The SA eventually got much of what they wanted in December 2002--just in time for Christmas--George Bush signed Executive Order 13279. According to the official press release, it "amends a previous Executive Order to ensure that religious organizations receiving Federal contracts are able to take their faith into account in making employment decisions." Since LGBT people do not have any federal protections against discrimination, they are the people most adversely affected by this change.

In November 2001, the Western US territory of the SA decided--at least partially in response to local and state nondiscrimination laws--to start providing health benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of its employees. In explaining the decision Col. Phil Needham wrote:
I cannot conceive of the God of agape love saying to us: "Yes, provide needed health care access to these sinners, but not to those." Do I support the gay lifestyle? No. Do I think that refusing to provide access to benefits to a gay partner of an employee will serve to alienate us further from gays in general and confirm further the perception by probably most gays that Christianity is not for them? Yes.
After a weeklong onslaught of anti-LGBT criticism from the so-called Religious Right, including a funding boycott led by the American Family Association, the national headquarters reversed the policy.

While I support the rights of the Salvation Army and its members to freedom of religion and expression, until they change their policies, I will not knowingly support them or any business that supports them; I am also opposed to them (or any other religious organizations) receiving public funds. Charity is important but the good that the Salvation Army does must be balanced against the harm they do to LGBT people by their promotion of baneful "religious" doctrines. More importantly, in most places there are nondiscriminatory alternative organizations to which people who normally give to the Salvation Army can divert their money.

If you are offended by the presence of the SA's Red Kettle at a business you support then I encourage you to explain your concerns to the management. You can let the SA know by dropping an $3 bill or a Soulforce voucher (PDF) in the Red Kettle. Finally, don't forget to express your gratitude to businesses that don't permit the SA to solicit funds on their property.

Note: Col. Phil Needham's statement quoted above no longer appears on the Salvation Army web site. You can read excerpts of it here on the web site of the right wing Concerned Women for America.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

Iraq War Will Worsen

This is from the "I hope I'm wrong file." Now that the Democrats will have a solid majority in the US House of Representatives and, probably, a razor-thin majority in the Senate, many people will look for the US to start pulling out of Iraq. The 2006 election is widely viewed as a referendum against the war and Rumsfeld is history. The Dems now have the power of the purse (US Const. Art. I, Sec. 7) and could force a US withdrawal but I expect US troop levels to increase in Iraq in the next two years and more Iraqis and Americans to die.

Here's why: Both parties are in the grips of the arms industry and the Israel Lobby. If anything, the Democrats are even more pro-Israel--albeit only slightly (think about the difference between 97% and 99%). Furthermore, when the new Congress is seated we will be less than two years away from the 2008 presidential election. Neither major party will want to go into that election shouldering the blame for losing the war or for a "cut and run" on Iraq. On the contrary, they will both want to claim credit for a "victory." So, look for a troop build up with "pacification" and "Iraqization" or, at best, "staying the course." These policies will fail, of course, but they are the likely outcome of the political necessities constraining both wings of the single war party.

Last revised: 11/19/2006

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Powerful Recent Iraq Cartoons by Carlos Latuff


Bush likens Iraq to Vietnam by ~Latuff2 on deviantART


Iraqi taxi driver thoughts by ~Latuff2 on deviantART


The logic of Iraq war by ~Latuff2 on deviantART


Winning hearts and minds by ~Latuff2 on deviantART

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Waxman, AIPAC on US Elections: No Sweat for Israel

Below are two excerpts from "US vote may alter stance on Mideast" by Matthew Berger in the Jerusalem Post (11/7/06). Thanks to Alison Weir of If Americans Knew for the tipoff.
Throughout his final campaign swing, Bush told audiences that leaving Iraq and ignoring Iran, as he accused the Democrats of suggesting, would put Israel in danger.

"They would like to get a hold of oil resources so they could then say to the West, 'Abandon your alliance with Israel or withdraw from the Middle East, otherwise you're going to be facing highpriced oil, and we'll bring your economy down,'" he said Monday while campaigning for Republican candidates in Nebraska.

US policy toward Israel is not expected to shift dramatically if Democrats take control of Congress. While Republican leaders have made efforts to overtly back Israel in recent years, analysts point to historic support for Israel among Democrats. In recent weeks, Democrats have been working to counter concerns they would balance support for Israel and the Palestinians or that Democrats would name committee chairmen who are seen as traditionally unsupportive of the Jewish state.

"There will be some Democratic chairmen who may not share all my views or have as clear a perspective on Israel as I do," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California), a Jewish lawmaker, said in a recent on-line chat with Jewish voters, sponsored by the House Democratic caucus. "But they will not be chairing committees dealing with Israel and the Middle East."

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also weighed in. In a statement last week, it said, "Strong bipartisan support for Israel exists in both parties and, regardless of who is in control, that support will remain steadfast."

"AIPAC works closely with leaders on both sides of the aisle, each deeply committed to strengthening the bonds between the United States and Israel," the statement continued. "No matter who wins the upcoming elections, AIPAC is confident that Congress will continue to support a strong Israel and a strong relationship between the United States and its most reliable ally in the Middle East." ...

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who has led Democratic support for Israel in the House, is expected to seek the role of majority leader, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, whose Israeli father fought in the pre-state Zionist underground, is expected to challenge several candidates for majority whip. Emanuel has received praise for his role as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, charged with raising money for candidates.
See also: Remarks by the President at Missouri Victory 2006 Rally

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Is the Worm Turning on Neocons?

I first got wind of this latest episode of the building neocon backlash while reading "Neo-Con Nadir?" by Jim Lobe. I thought the Haig quote that the "Iraq war had been 'driven by the so-called neo-cons that hijacked my party...' " would be featured more prominently in the mainstream media but it's not. Below is a portion of the text from a "rush transcript" of the 10/22/2006 episode of CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer (my emphasis appears in bold). Note that Brzezinski agrees with Haig.
[Zbigniew] BRZEZINSKI [former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter]: Look, most of the Iraqis who are fighting against us and most of the Iraqis who are fighting with each other are not members of Al Qaida.

The ones who are fighting against us mostly don't like us being there because, after all, we are seen by them as legacies of the age of colonialism, as foreigners.

And a lot of Iraqis are fighting against each other for sectarian, religious reasons. We have actually destabilized, broken up Iraq. And we have created the mess in which we find ourselves now entangled.

BLITZER: And many military commanders in Iraq themselves acknowledge that the great threat to the U.S. is not necessarily from the Al Qaida operatives but from the sectarian violence, the Shia and the Sunni who hate each other and who are killing each other and, as a result, are killing American troops.

AL HAIG, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, first, I think that this is a conflict that's essentially political. It's not just purely military. It's political and religious and ideological. And it was driven by the so-called neocons that hijacked my party, the Republican Party, before this administration...

BLITZER: Name names, Mr. Secretary. Who are you talking about?

HAIG: Well, I'm talking about...

BLITZER: Because a lot of our viewers hear the word "neocon" and they don't know what you're talking about.

HAIG: Well, they're a group of people who are ex-Democrats. Many of them hovered around the Seattle Conservative Democrats some years ago, who...

BLITZER: Who specifically are you referring to?

HAIG: I'm talking about Wolfowitz. I'm talking about Richard Perle. I'm talking about some newly-made ones. I'm talking about the former editor of the Wall Street Journal.[Max Boot?]

These people are very, very deeply embedded in Yale and certain intellectual circles. And for years, they've been against NATO...

BLITZER: But did they hijack the strategy, the policy, from the president of the United States, the vice president of the United States?

HAIG: Yes.

BLITZER: The secretary of state, the secretary of defense?

HAIG: Well, no, not the secretary of state, but he sat there and had to be a passenger on a train that he wasn't driving?

BLITZER: Was Rumsfeld a neocon?

HAIG: I wouldn't say he was. I wouldn't say...

BLITZER: But was he in charge of the military strategy?

HAIG: No, no. The outcome of the strategy was to create democracy with a bayonet.

BLITZER: Is Cheney a neocon?

HAIG: I think so.

BLITZER: So he's part of that neocon conspiracy, or cabal, or whatever?

HAIG: Those around him were, if he wasn't.

BLITZER: And they could basically influence the president and dictate to the president what to do, in terms of going to war against Saddam Hussein?

HAIG: Well, I'm not here to talk about that. There were a lot of influences on the president, but he's the president, and he's responsible.

BLITZER: So what do you think of this argument?

Because you hear it all the time, Dr. Brzezinski, that there were these group of of neoconservatives in there, like Paul Wolfowitz, who has the deputy secretary of defense; Richard Perle, who wasn't even in the government but he was an outside adviser, who were effectively shaping U.S. strategy.

Do you buy that?

BRZEZINSKI: I buy a great deal of that. I think Al Haig is absolutely right.

We had, at the top a president, who was essentially uninformed about foreign policy, and then top policy-makers like Rumsfeld and, of course, Cheney who are, kind of, traditional, quote, end quote, "realists," hard nosed types.

But the guys who provided the strategy and made the argument that we have to go into Iraq, that we have to link the war on terror with an attack on Iraq, were the guys that Al Haig is talking about.

They provided strategy. They provided the argument that we would be greeted as liberators, that this would be a cake walk. And they have devastated American national interests as a consequence.
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On "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance"

Reactionary nationalists--people who think the lives of Americans are somehow more valuable than the lives of non-Americans--in the peace movement flinch at the slogan "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance" and it may be a problematic motto but no matter how these nervous nellies "feel" it does not mean "kill more US soldiers." Below are three views on the Iraqi resistance. The first is from an American soldier who served as a combat engineer for eight months in Iraq before he deserted and moved to Canada. The second is part of a statement attributed to the "Islamic Jihad Army" in Iraq. The final view is from a New Zealander and makes reference to the Vietnam war.

From "You wouldn’t catch me dead in Iraq" in the Sunday Times (UK), August 27, 2006:
[PFC Joshua] Key rejects the American government line that the Iraqis fighting the occupation are terrorists. “I’m thinking, ‘What the hell?’ I mean, that’s not a terrorist. That’s the man’s home. That’s his son, that’s the father, that’s the mother, that’s the sister. Houses are destroyed. Husbands are detained, and wives don’t even know where they’re at. I mean, them are pissed-off people, and they have a reason to be. I would never wish this upon myself or my family, so why would I wish it upon them?”

On security duty in the Iraqi streets, Key found himself talking to the locals. He was surprised by how many spoke English, and he was frustrated by the military regulations that forbade him to accept dinner invitations in their homes. “I’m not your perfect killing machine,” he admits. “That’s where I broke the rules. I broke the rules by having a conscience.” And the more time he spent in Iraq, the more his conscience developed. “I was trained to be a total killer. I was trained in booby traps, explosives, landmines.” He pauses. “Hell, if you want to get technical about it, I was made to be an American terrorist. I was trained in everything that a terrorist is trained to do.” In case I might have missed his point, he says it again. “I mean terrorist.” Deserting seemed the only viable alternative, Key says. He did it, he insists, because he was lied to “by my president”. Iraq – it was obvious to him – was no threat to the US.
See also War Resisters Support Campaign

From "http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7468.htm,' " December 13, 2004:
And to the American soldiers we say, you can also choose to fight tyranny with us. Lay down your weapons, and seek refuge in our mosques, churches and homes. We will protect you. And we will get you out of Iraq , as we have done with a few others before you.

Go back to your homes, families, and loved ones. This is not your war. Nor are you fighting for a true cause in Iraq.
From "Defeating The Occupiers On The Ground Will Free Iraq And End The War" in the GI Special, Vol. 2, No. 37 ( also available here):
Excerpts From Scott Feb 23 '04 (New Zealand) comment

The Iraqi people have a right to resist the occupation of their country. Accepting the Iraqi right to resistance also means accepting the right of Iraqis to attack New Zealand troops. We can't square the circle and be on both sides at once.

It's never 'bad PR' to tell the truth, and we shouldn't think that telling soldiers the truth will mean they'll never listen to us. When we protested against the frigate leaving for the Middle East at the beginning of 2002, one participant had a brother on the frigate, and another brother on a frigate which had just returned from a tour of duty in the same region. He didn't flinch from arguing that Iraqis had a right to attack his brother – that didn't mean he “wanted” an attack on his brother, but that he respected and cared about his brother enough to tell him the truth about the situation he had chosen to put himself in.

It was not wrong to call for a Vietnamese victory against the US, NZ etc because only the military victory of the Vietnamese, supported by a global anti-war movement, could end the war and bring the GIs and ANZACs home.

That's why so many US veterans who joined the anti-war movement used the slogan 'Victory to the Viet Cong!' They were actually being “loyal” to their comrades still in the field by calling for the defeat of the US ruling class.

Mutinies and 'fragging' – the assassination of officers with fragmentation grenades – were a factor in the eventual defeat of the US army, with historians calculating that 5% of US casualties came from their own side.

There is irrefutable evidence of armed resistance by the Iraqi working class to occupation. The last couple of months a series of armed confrontations have pitted unemployed workers against the coalition authorities.

Strypey argues that NZ should pull its troops out of Iraq and send money to help in the reconstruction of the country. No arguments there. But how on earth does Strypey think the occupiers going to be booted out of Iraq?

History – not least the history of the anti-war campaign last year – shows that imperialism will not withdraw unless it is defeated by resistance, including armed resistance. Protest in the West on its own can't do the job, because Bush, Clark et al are not going to be persuaded – they can only be defeated.

That's why the left needs to learn the lessons of the Vietnam War

Anything less will lead to a repeat of the failure of last year's anti-war movement and open the door for new US wars all over the globe.
The heroic American GI resistance to the US invasion of southeast Asia was massive, albeit covered up by the US media. For example, in 1972, dissident sailors took five US aircraft carriers out of the war through sabotage. As a primer on this topic, I recommend chapter three in Vietnam and Other American Fantasies by H. Bruce Franklin, an ex-US air force officer. You can read a review of the book by Christian Parenti here.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

 

Latuff on North Korean Nukes

World peace bullshit by ~Latuff2 on deviantART

See also: Of Nukes--North Korean and American

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