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US policy: “You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it.”

When Hillary Clinton testified before a Senate committee on the Benghazi consulate shootings, she inadvertently summed up the entire foreign US policy in one pithy sentence: “You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it.”  She said this specifically in regards to the US helping France in its attacks on Mali, but it captures the essence of our relationship with most of the world today.

“We are in for a struggle, but it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven,” she said.[…]

U.S. military planes have helped to ferry French soldiers and equipment to Mali after France launched air strikes and deployed some 2,150 ground forces this month to halt a surprise Islamist offensive toward the Mali capital Bamako.

The United States is also helping to train and equip African forces from the ECOWAS regional group of West African countries who are mobilizing to join the battle. U.S. officials stressed there are no plans to dispatch American combat troops.

Clinton said the security situation in northern Mali is complicated by an inflow of weapons from neighboring Libya following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. She said such weapons were used in the Algeria attack.

“There is no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya. There is no doubt that the Malian remnants of AQIM have weapons from Libya,” she said, referring to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the regional affiliate of the al Qaeda network.

The United States must prepare for the possibility that groups like AQIM could threaten direct attacks on U.S. interests as they gain power, Clinton said.

You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it. This is not only a terrorist syndicate, it is a criminal enterprise. So make no mistake about it, we’ve got to have a better strategy.”

Clinton said she had no information to substantiate a report in the New York Times quoting an Algerian official as saying that some of the militants involved in the Algeria attack had also taken part in the Benghazi attack.

The United States was pressing officials in Libya and elsewhere in the region to keep up the hunt for the Benghazi attackers and improve overall security, she said.

“I have found the Libyan officials to be willing but without capacity. And part of our challenge is to help them build greater capacity because now it’s about them,” Clinton said.

“They are having leaders attacked and assassinated on a regular basis, so we have to do more to help them build up their security capacity.”

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Will Dunham and Christopher Wilson)

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-23/news/sns-rt-us-usa-libya-clinton-malibre90m0xl-20130123_1_mali-capital-bamako-benghazi-attack-islamic-maghreb

Although the US previously voiced support for the people in the Arab Spring countries, we now blame their quest for democracy and freedom for the lack of security in the area.  The fact that we interfered, sometimes openly, but more often covertly, in the outcomes in these countries is one of the great unmentionables.

Hillary Clinton on Benghazi: ‘Arab Spring shattered security in region’

Hillary Clinton said the Arab Spring “shattered” security in North Africa, pointing to instability in Mali and Algeria, as she was finally grilled on the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya.[…]

“Benghazi didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Mrs Clinton said at the start of the hearing. “The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region.” […]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9821292/Hillary-Clinton-on-Benghazi-Arab-Spring-shattered-security-in-region.html

The Senate committee was completely incurious as to how Libya’s officials came to be “without capacity” (the US took down its real government and installed a puppet government), where the weapons used in the Benghazi attack originally came from (the US and NATO passed them out to the “rebels” during the invasion of Libya), how Libya suddenly became so destabilized (the US and NATO sent the CIA and some foreign operatives in to stir up trouble and pretend to be “rebelling Libyans”, thus creating a situation specifically designed to lead to a civil war), why some Libyans might be seeking revenge on the US (we bombed schools, food depots, water supply routes, orphanages, television stations, killed Ghaddafi, whom a significant percentage of the Libyan population supported, obliterated a number of cities, and caused the deaths of over 50,000 Libyans).  No-one asked her about the rumored CIA black site in Benghazi or why our “ambassador” might be involved in the collecting of weapons which had previously been passed out to “rebels” like so much candy.

Never in our history have we been less inclined toward introspection, ethics, or logic; rather, facile and dogmatic rhetoric hold sway over not only our leaders, but the entire media and public domain.  There is no such thing as “blowback” or “imperial overreach” as far as we are concerned.  We are entitled to whatever we set our sights on, no matter where it is or how we have to go about obtaining it, and any who question this droit du seigneur or the methods we employ are considered foolish or childish and are scorned.

No-one asked Hillary why she thought the torture and assassination of Ghaddafi was so funny or questioned her mental capacity.    Nor did anyone ask her why the State Dept. posted a bounty on his head – “wanted: dead or alive, large reward”.

Not one senator queried her regarding the statements she and Leon Panetta made admitting that the US was backing al Qaeda in Libya and Syria.  [See: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/08/is-you-is-or-is-you-aint-aiding-a-terrorist/ ]

No-one asked why we had invaded and ruined Libya in the first place.  The truth is that our senators all know why we did it: because it was there and it looked to have some good stuff that we wanted.  It’s just what we do.

Obama, in his inaugural speech, said this:

Obama: […] We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.

Our brave men and women in uniform tempered by the flames of battle are unmatched in skill and courage.

Our citizens seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace, and not just the war. Who turn sworn enemies into the surest of friends. And we must carry those lessons into this time as well. We will defend our people, and uphold our values through strength of arms, and the rule of law.

We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully. Not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.

America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad. For no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice.[…]
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-obamas-second-inaugural-address-transcript/2013/01/21/f148d234-63d6-11e2-85f5-a8a9228e55e7_story_3.html

“We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.”  This comes from a guy who is currently running clandestine shadow wars and directing drone killings in a dozen or so different countries.  He drops a bomb on someone somewhere once every hour and a half or so. [See: http://www.alternet.org/world/bomber-chief-20000-airstrikes-presidents-first-term-cause-death-and-destruction-iraq-somalia  ]  Despite the rhetoric about Lasting Peace, his very next sentence is an homage to the Warriors.  The remark on “uphold[ing] our values through strength of arms, and the rule of law” is simply laughable coming from him.  Perhaps the rule of law bit was added as an afterthought to the original speech.  Take that phrase out, as it is a blatant untruth at this point, and what’s left is the crux of matter.

In our quest for Lasting Peace, we are undertaking plans to place our military in 35 African nations [see: http://rt.com/usa/news/us-deploying-troops-order-749/ ] and are seeking to build a spy drone base in northern Africa; the drones can be militarized rapidly if need be.

U.S. Weighs Base for Spy Drones in North Africa
By ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — The United States military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

The move is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts. The United States military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in the country of Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of Mali.

A new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small airstrips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft.[…]

The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. “This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.,” one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

A handful of unarmed Predator drones would carry out surveillance missions in the region and fill a desperate need for more detailed information on a range of regional threats, including militants in Mali and the unabated flow of fighters and weapons from Libya. American military commanders and intelligence analysts complain that such information has been sorely lacking.[…]

American military officials said that they were still working out some details, and that no final decision had been made. But in Niger on Monday, the two countries reached a status-of-forces agreement that clears the way for greater American military involvement in the country and provides legal protection to American troops there, including any who might deploy to a new drone base. […]

Some Africa specialists expressed concern that setting up a drone base in Niger or in a neighboring country, even if only to fly surveillance missions, could alienate local people who may associate the distinctive aircraft with deadly attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. […]

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/us/us-plans-base-for-surveillance-drones-in-northwest-africa.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Obama is now considering intervening in Syria as well, with or without Congressional approval.  Not that Congress disapproves of any sort of warfare at this point in our history, so this is a hypothetical argument Obama need not waste too much time preparing for:

[…] Now, Obama is reportedly debating whether to intervene in yet another civil war — undeterred by the now superfluous constitutional limits on his war-making authority. Israel has also publicly stated that it is considering a preemptive strike on Syria and reserves the right to make such an attack if it feels threatened by events in that civil war.[…]

President Barack Obama said he has been struggling with the decision whether to enter into another war as the 22-month civil war in Syria drags on. Here is what he considers to be the operative question:
“In a situation like Syria, I have to ask: can we make a difference in that situation?”

That is a bit different from the question that the Framers wanted him to ask: “Do I have authority from Congress to engage in a war?” That question is now just a quaint concern for a president who has acquired unprecedented unchecked powers. Once again, the Democrats are silent because it is Obama not Bush who is speaking of war. It is the type of hypocrisy that is not just laughable. It is lethal.[…]

 We have taken a balanced and well-reasoned system and turned it on its head. The result is precisely what the Framers anticipated: continued foreign wars carried out on a unilateral basis.

http://jonathanturley.org/2013/01/28/obama-reportedly-considering-intervention-into-syrian-civil-war/#more-60022

As an update to Turley’s article above, it appears that Israel has indeed taken preemptive action against Syria.  See this: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/31-0 and this: http://www.rferl.org/content/syria-israel-/24888752.html

Barack is not alone; Hillary has been hankering to do away with Assad, Syria’s president, for a long time:

“[…] Late last week, [note: this article was written in Aug. ’12] during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Turkey, Ankara and Washington agreed that ‘a unified task force with intelligence, military and political leaders from both countries would be formed immediately to track Syria’s present and plan for its future.’

“After meeting with her Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoðlu, Secretary Clinton said that the United States and Turkey are discussing various options for supporting opposition forces working to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, including the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over rebel-held territory in Syria.[…]” – http://consortiumnews.com/2012/08/15/would-us-intervention-help-syria/

Remember that she also gave forth with the opinion that “Assad’s days are numbered”; this is our Secretary of State speaking here.  And yesterday, Chuck Hagel stepped up to the plate and proved that, rumors to the contrary, he was no damn hippie liberal – he could monger war with the best of them.  He bared his teeth – no, not at Congress, silly, God forbid he not fit in with that crowd – at Iran and imaginary enemies everywhere.

Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense told Congress he will ensure the US can strike Iran, if necessary. Former Senator Chuck Hagel, who was criticized for his dovish stance on Iran, has made an apparent U-turn by saber-rattling towards Tehran.

Hagel addressed Congress ahead of his confirmation hearing on Thursday, stressing that although there is “time and space” for negotiation with Iran, “the window is closing” on a diplomatic solution.

If confirmed, I will focus intently on ensuring that [the] US military is in fact prepared for any contingency,” Hagel said in a write-up of questions and answers for the confirmation hearing obtained by Reuters. […]

Hagel also outlined his “unshakable” commitment to maintaining the longstanding US alliance with Israel. […]

­Defending his record, Hagel said he’s always believed in the need for a strong American military presence in the world and the use of “all tools of American power” for protecting US interests.[…]

The defense secretary nominee assured he always supported multilateral sanctions, and believed that Iran was a state sponsor of terrorism.[…]

RT’s Gayane Chichakyan suggested that the nomination of Hagel might be a way of toning down the war rhetoric in Washington. However, the possibility of a less aggressive strategy has angered some in Washington.

“Since the beginning of the attack campaign against Chuck Hagel over these two months or so, many of the attackers have withdrawn their objections,” said Chichakyan, suggesting that maybe they received confirmation behind closed doors that Hagel would not do anything drastic upon assuming the post of secretary of defense.

http://rt.com/usa/news/chuck-hagel-iran-prepared-142/

Any talk smacking of peace is now considered “drastic” and unacceptable to our Congress, whose outlook on the rest of the inhabitants of this planet is, “You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it”.  This is also the Congressional point of view on Americans, but that’s a post for a different day.

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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Congress, Iran, Libya, MIC, State Dept/diplomacy, Syria

 

In which we protect the entire Western Hemisphere from Iran. (Stop laughing.)

This amazingly paranoid law was signed by Obama on 28 Dec., 2012.   And here I thought Congress was doing nothing.  Yet they managed to enact this, an extension of the FISA law, and the 2013 NDAA all in one year.

Despite Iran’s allowing the IAEA to come in as often as they wish and the finding by the IAEA that Iran is NOT developing nukes [for latest report, see: “(1) The IAEA is confident about ‘the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran’; and (2) The IAEA can ‘conclude that all nuclear materials in Iran is in peaceful activities.’ …” – http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/NJ18Aa03.html],  Congress and Obama feel the need for protecting the entire Western Hemisphere from Iran.  As a side note, the 2013 NDAA (the legislation below is not from the 2013 NDAA) imposes more sanctions on Iran and calls the Central Bank of Iran itself a “Terrorist Organization” – a title more aptly applied to BoA, Goldman, Sachs, and JP Morgan.  (Obama has not yet signed the 2013 NDAA, although there is no doubt he will.)

We see as a threat the idea that Iran is seeking to extend diplomatic ties with some South American and Latin American countries.  They have signed ” economic and security agreements in order to create a network of diplomatic and economic relationships to lessen the blow of international sanctions and oppose Western attempts to constrict its ambitions” (see #2 below).  The gall!  Trying to avoid the worst of the impacts of our sanctions on them.  Reminds one of the Iraqis complaining that our sanctions were killing their children.  It’s rather like China making investments and strengthening economic ties to Africa.  We’ve been threatening, sanctioning and bombing other countries into submission for so long that we see any other way of conducting affairs, such as actual diplomacy or peaceful financial agreements between countries, as suspect and something to be feared.   We are terrified lest peace break out, leaving our belligerence and weapons despised and unused.

Everyone knows that Africa and the entire Western Hemisphere belong to us and have no right to make their own decisions regarding their economies and diplomatic ties.  They are mere children, after all, and we must protect them from making such disastrous choices.  One would think they had the notion that they were sovereign nations or something.  We don’t know who told them that, but we must disabuse them of that idea post haste.  Iran has furthermore “dramatically increased” “diplomatic missions to Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil. Iran has built 17 cultural centers in Latin America, and it currently maintains 11 embassies, up from 6 in 2005”  (see #7 below).  Good God!  Diplomatic missions?  Cultural Centers?  Everyone knows that diplomatic missions are secretly CIA ops and US black sites…whoops, sorry, I didn’t mean to mention that.  Forget that, erase it; this is about Iran.  It’s time to bring up the “failed attempt on the life of a Saudi Arabian ambassador” (see #11 below).  That story didn’t stick the last time we trotted it out, maybe we’ll have better luck this time by writing the story into an official law.  Plus, there is the notorious case of one (1) individual who, while not actually Persian per se, but Lebanese, was caught trying to traffic cocaine to the US from Mexico and was stopped in the nick of time by the US government shutting down the Lebanese Canadian Bank.  While the connections between Iran, Canada, Mexico and Lebanon may seem nebulous to you and the case of one individual a rather far stretch in condemning an entire country, Congress finds the evidence irrefutable.  This one fellow may have had ties to Hezbollah.  Enough said.  Persia (Iran) has not invaded any other country in several hundred years, but you never know.  We need to shore up the borders.  More than we already have.  We need more cameras and drones, damnit.

Of prime concern are “energy pipelines” (see #7b below).  This has to do with the IPI and the TAPI.  We just got India to sign up for the TAPI line, so that’s a plus; they’ll be on our side in WW3.  [See this Pepe article: http://tinyurl.com/3wyzafv which was written in ’09 – before India signed the TAPI agreement – but which contains about all the info you need on what our real interest in the ME is.]

When you read item #7d, “…to address the vital national security interests of the United States in ensuring energy supplies from the Western Hemisphere that are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets”, you are to refrain from remarking that it is speculators on Wall Street, which is located in the USA, that manipulate energy prices and do so in a fashion that is completely arbitrary to reality.  Also, do not mention the fact that the US sanctions on Iran disrupted global markets more than any other single factor in the past several years.  Dissent in the ranks will not be permitted and believe me, we know who you are.

Here are pictures of an Iranian child and an Iranian couple, and a view of Tehran, Iran.  Click on photos to enlarge.  The portraits were taken by travel writer Rick Steves – those and the cityscape came from: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/where-was-this-picture-taken.html and http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/what-do-these-beautiful-people-have-in-common.html  You should take a look at all the photos displayed in these two links.  Even if you think we ought to blow these people and this place up just for the hell of it – especially if you think that – you should look at the entire set of photos.  Ahmadinejad (and the fabulous stories told about him) is not the sum total of Iran any more than Hillary Clinton laughing and joking about torturing and assassinating the leader of a sovereign nation is the entirety of the US.

 

Text of the new law:

H.R.3783

One Hundred Twelfth Congressof theUnited States of AmericaAT THE SECOND SESSIONBegun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,

the third day of January, two thousand and twelve

An Act

To provide for a comprehensive strategy to counter Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.This Act may be cited as the ‘Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.Congress finds the following:

(1) The United States has vital political, economic, and security interests in the Western Hemisphere.

(2) Iran is pursuing cooperation with Latin American countries by signing economic and security agreements in order to create a network of diplomatic and economic relationships to lessen the blow of international sanctions and oppose Western attempts to constrict its ambitions.

(3) According to the Department of State, Hezbollah, with Iran as its state sponsor, is considered the ‘most technically capable terrorist group in the world’ with ‘thousands of supporters, several thousand members, and a few hundred terrorist operatives,’ and officials from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force have been working in concert with Hezbollah for many years.

(4) The IRGC’s Qods Force has a long history of supporting Hezbollah’s military, paramilitary, and terrorist activities, providing it with guidance, funding, weapons, intelligence, and logistical support, and in 2007, the Department of the Treasury placed sanctions on the IRGC and its Qods Force for their support of terrorism and proliferation activities.

(5) The IRGC’s Qods Force stations operatives in foreign embassies, charities, and religious and cultural institutions to foster relationships, often building on existing socioeconomic ties with the well established Shia Diaspora, and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America.

(6) According to the Department of Defense, the IRGC and its Qods Force played a significant role in some of the deadliest terrorist attacks of the past two decades, including the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, by generally directing or supporting the groups that actually executed the attacks.

(7) Reports of Iranian intelligence agents being implicated in Hezbollah-linked activities since the early 1990s suggest direct Iranian government support of Hezbollah activities in the Tri-Border Area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and in the past decade, Iran has dramatically increased its diplomatic missions to Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil. Iran has built 17 cultural centers in Latin America, and it currently maintains 11 embassies, up from 6 in 2005.

(8) Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies with a presence in Latin America have raised revenues through illicit activities, including drug and arms trafficking, counterfeiting, money laundering, forging travel documents, pirating software and music, and providing haven and assistance to other terrorists transiting the region.

(9) Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela expressed their intention to assist Iran in evading sanctions by signing a statement supporting Iran’s nuclear activities and announcing at a 2010 joint press conference in Tehran their determination to ‘continue and expand their economic ties to Iran’ with confidence that ‘Iran can give a crushing response to the threats and sanctions imposed by the West and imperialism’.

(10) The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration concluded in 2008 that almost one-half of the foreign terrorist organizations in the world are linked to narcotics trade and trafficking, including Hezbollah and Hamas.

(11) In October 2011, the United States charged two men, Manssor Arbabsiar, a United States citizen holding both Iranian and United States passports, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of Iran’s IRGC Qods Force, with conspiracy to murder a foreign official using explosives in an act of terrorism. Arbabsiar traveled to Mexico with the express intent to hire ‘someone in the narcotics business’ to carry out the assassination of the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in the United States. While in the end, he only engaged a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency informant posing as an associate of a drug trafficking cartel, Arbabsiar believed that he was working with a member of a Mexican drug trafficking organization and sought to send money to this individual in installments and not in a single transfer.

(12) In February 2011, actions by the Department of the Treasury effectively shut down the Lebanese Canadian Bank. Subsequent actions by the United States Government in connection with the investigation into Lebanese Canadian Bank resulted in the indictment in December 2011 of Ayman Joumaa, an individual of Lebanese nationality, with citizenship in Lebanon and Colombia, and with ties to Hezbollah, for trafficking cocaine to the Los Zetas drug trafficking organization in Mexico City for sale in the United States and for laundering the proceeds.

SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.It shall be the policy of the United States to use a comprehensive government-wide strategy to counter Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere by working together with United States allies and partners in the region to mutually deter threats to United States interests by the Government of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the IRGC’s Qods Force, and Hezbollah.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.In this Act:

(1) WESTERN HEMISPHERE- The term ‘Western Hemisphere’ means the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, and Central America.

(2) RELEVANT CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES- The term ‘relevant congressional committees’ means the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

SEC. 5. REQUIREMENT OF A STRATEGY TO ADDRESS IRAN’S GROWING HOSTILE PRESENCE AND ACTIVITY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.(a) In General- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall conduct an assessment of the threats posed to the United States by Iran’s growing presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere and submit to the relevant congressional committees the results of the assessment and a strategy to address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere.

(b) Matters To Be Included- The strategy described in subsection (a) should include–

(1) a description of the presence, activities, and operations of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its Qods Force, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations linked to Iran that may be present in the Western Hemisphere, including information about their leaders, objectives, and areas of influence and information on their financial networks, trafficking activities, and safe havens;

(2) a description of the terrain, population, ports, foreign firms, airports, borders, media outlets, financial centers, foreign embassies, charities, religious and cultural centers, and income-generating activities in the Western Hemisphere utilized by Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations linked to Iran that may be present in the Western Hemisphere;

(3) a description of the relationship of Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, and Hezbollah with transnational criminal organizations linked to Iran and other terrorist organizations in the Western Hemisphere, including information on financial networks and trafficking activities;

(4) a description of the relationship of Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations linked to Iran that may be present in the Western Hemisphere with the governments in the Western Hemisphere, including military-to-military relations and diplomatic, economic, and security partnerships and agreements;

(5) a description of the Federal law enforcement capabilities, military forces, State and local government institutions, and other critical elements, such as nongovernmental organizations, in the Western Hemisphere that may organize to counter the threat posed by Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations linked to Iran that may be present in the Western Hemisphere;

(6) a description of activity by Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations linked to Iran that may be present at the United States borders with Mexico and Canada and at other international borders within the Western Hemisphere, including operations related to drug, human, and arms trafficking, human support networks, financial support, narco-tunneling, and technological advancements that incorporates–

(A) with respect to the United States borders, in coordination with the Governments of Mexico and Canada and the Secretary of Homeland Security, a plan to address resources, technology, and infrastructure to create a secure United States border and strengthen the ability of the United States and its allies to prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, Hezbollah, or any other terrorist organization from entering the United States; and

(B) within Latin American countries, a multiagency action plan, in coordination with United States allies and partners in the region, that includes the development of strong rule-of-law institutions to provide security in such countries and a counterterrorism and counter-radicalization plan to isolate Iran, the IRGC, its Qods Force, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations linked to Iran that may be present in the Western Hemisphere from their sources of financial support and counter their facilitation of terrorist activity; and

(7) a plan–

(A) to address any efforts by foreign persons, entities, and governments in the region to assist Iran in evading United States and international sanctions;

(B) to protect United States interests and assets in the Western Hemisphere, including embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines, and cultural organizations, including threats to United States allies;

(C) to support United States efforts to designate persons and entities in the Western Hemisphere for proliferation activities and terrorist activities relating to Iran, including affiliates of the IRGC, its Qods Force, and Hezbollah, under applicable law including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act; and

(D) to address the vital national security interests of the United States in ensuring energy supplies from the Western Hemisphere that are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets.

(c) Development- In developing the strategy under this section, the Secretary of State shall consult with the heads of all appropriate United States departments and agencies, including the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the United States Trade Representative.

(d) Form- The strategy in this section may be submitted in classified form, but shall include an unclassified summary of policy recommendations to address the growing Iranian threat in the Western Hemisphere.

SEC. 6. SENSE OF CONGRESS.It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State should keep the relevant congressional committees continually informed on the hostile actions of Iran in the Western Hemisphere.

SEC. 7. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the rights or protections enjoyed by United States citizens under the United States Constitution or other Federal law, or to create additional authorities for the Federal Government that are contrary to the United States Constitution and United States law.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3783/text

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Congress, Iran, MIC

 

Lies about Iraq, same lies about Iran.

Number of countries Iran has invaded in the last 200 years: zero.

 

A CENTURY OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTIONS
by Dr. Zoltan Grossman

The following is a partial list of U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 2011.
Below the list is a Briefing on the History of U.S. Military Interventions.
The list and briefing are also available as a powerpoint presentation.
This guide does not include:
•    mobilizations of the National Guard
•    offshore shows of naval strength
•    reinforcements of embassy personnel
•    the use of non-Defense Department personnel (such as the Drug Enforcement Administration)
•    military exercises
•    non-combat mobilizations (such as replacing postal strikers)
•    the permanent stationing of armed forces
•    covert actions where the U.S. did not play a command and control role
•    the use of small hostage rescue units
•    most uses of proxy troops
•    U.S. piloting of foreign warplanes
•    foreign or domestic disaster assistance
•    military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat
•    civic action programs
•    and many other military activities.

Among sources used, beside news reports, are the Congressional Record (23 June 1969), 180 Landings by the U.S. Marine Corp History Division, Ege & Makhijani in Counterspy (July-Aug, 1982), “Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798-1993” by Ellen C. Collier of the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, and Ellsberg in Protest & Survive.[…]

COUNTRY OR STATE/ Dates of intervention
Forces
Comments

SOUTH DAKOTA  1890 (-?)
Troops
300 Lakota Indians massacred at Wounded Knee.
ARGENTINA 1890
Troops
Buenos Aires interests protected.
CHILE 1891
Troops
Marines clash with nationalist rebels.
HAITI 1891
Troops
Black revolt on Navassa defeated.
IDAHO 1892
Troops
Army suppresses silver miners’ strike.
HAWAII 1893 (-?)
Naval, troops
Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed.
CHICAGO 1894
Troops
Breaking of rail strike, 34 killed.
NICARAGUA 1894
Troops
Month-long occupation of Bluefields.
CHINA 1894-95
Naval, troops
Marines land in Sino-Japanese War
KOREA 1894-96
Troops
Marines kept in Seoul during war.
PANAMA 1895
Troops, naval
Marines land in Colombian province.
NICARAGUA 1896
Troops
Marines land in port of Corinto.
CHINA 1898-1900
Troops
Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies.
PHILIPPINES 1898-1910 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos
CUBA 1898-1902 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, still hold Navy base.
PUERTO RICO 1898 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, occupation continues.
GUAM 1898 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, still use as base.
MINNESOTA 1898 (-?)
Troops
Army battles Chippewa at Leech Lake.
NICARAGUA 1898
Troops
Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.
SAMOA 1899 (-?)
Troops
Battle over succession to throne.
NICARAGUA 1899
Troops
Marines land at port of Bluefields.
IDAHO 1899-1901
Troops
Army occupies Coeur d’Alene mining region.
OKLAHOMA 1901
Troops
Army battles Creek Indian revolt.
PANAMA 1901-14
Naval, troops
Broke off from Colombia 1903, annexed Canal Zone; Opened canal 1914.
HONDURAS 1903
Troops
Marines intervene in revolution.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1903-04
Troops
U.S. interests protected in Revolution.
KOREA 1904-05
Troops
Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.
CUBA 1906-09
Troops
Marines land in democratic election.
NICARAGUA 1907
Troops
“Dollar Diplomacy” protectorate set up.
HONDURAS 1907
Troops
Marines land during war with Nicaragua
PANAMA 1908
Troops
Marines intervene in election contest.
NICARAGUA 1910
Troops
Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.
HONDURAS 1911
Troops
U.S. interests protected in civil war.
CHINA 1911-41
Naval, troops
Continuous occupation with flare-ups.
CUBA 1912
Troops
U.S. interests protected in civil war.
PANAMA 1912
Troops
Marines land during heated election.
HONDURAS 1912
Troops
Marines protect U.S. economic interests.
NICARAGUA 1912-33
Troops, bombing
10-year occupation, fought guerillas
MEXICO 1913
Naval
Americans evacuated during revolution.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1914
Naval
Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo.
COLORADO 1914
Troops
Breaking of miners’ strike by Army.
MEXICO 1914-18
Naval, troops
Series of interventions against nationalists.
HAITI 1914-34
Troops, bombing
19-year occupation after revolts.
TEXAS 1915
Troops
Federal soldiers crush “Plan of San Diego” Mexican-American rebellion
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1916-24
Troops
8-year Marine occupation.
CUBA 1917-33
Troops
Military occupation, economic protectorate.
WORLD WAR I 1917-18
Naval, troops
Ships sunk, fought Germany for 1 1/2 years.
RUSSIA 1918-22
Naval, troops
Five landings to fight Bolsheviks
PANAMA 1918-20
Troops
“Police duty” during unrest after elections.
HONDURAS 1919
Troops
Marines land during election campaign.
YUGOSLAVIA 1919
Troops/Marines
intervene for Italy against Serbs in Dalmatia.
GUATEMALA 1920
Troops
2-week intervention against unionists.
WEST VIRGINIA 1920-21
Troops, bombing
Army intervenes against mineworkers.
TURKEY 1922
Troops
Fought nationalists in Smyrna.
CHINA 1922-27
Naval, troops
Deployment during nationalist revolt.
MEXICO and HONDURAS 1923, 1924-25
Bombing
Troops
Airpower defends Calles from rebellion
Landed twice during election strife.
PANAMA 1925
Troops
Marines suppress general strike.
CHINA 1927-34
Troops
Marines stationed throughout the country.
EL SALVADOR 1932
Naval
Warships send during Marti revolt.
WASHINGTON DC 1932
Troops
Army stops WWI vet bonus protest.
WORLD WAR II 1941-45
Naval, troops, bombing, nuclear
Hawaii bombed, fought Japan, Italy and Germay for 3 years; first nuclear war.
DETROIT 1943
Troops
Army put down Black rebellion.
IRAN 1946
Nuclear threat
Soviet troops told to leave north.
YUGOSLAVIA 1946
Nuclear threat, naval
Response to shoot-down of US plane.
URUGUAY 1947
Nuclear threat
Bombers deployed as show of strength.
GREECE 1947-49
Command operation
U.S. directs extreme-right in civil war.
GERMANY 1948
Nuclear Threat
Atomic-capable bombers guard Berlin Airlift.
CHINA 1948-49
Troops/Marines
evacuate Americans before Communist victory.
PHILIPPINES 1948-54
Command operation
CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion.
PUERTO RICO 1950
Command operation
Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.
KOREA 1951-53 (-?)
Troops, naval, bombing , nuclear threats
U.S./So. Korea fights China/No. Korea to stalemate; A-bomb threat in 1950, and against China in 1953. Still have bases.
IRAN 1953
Command Operation
CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah.
VIETNAM 1954
Nuclear threat
French offered bombs to use against seige.
GUATEMALA 1954
Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat
CIA directs exile invasion after new gov’t nationalized U.S. company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua.
EGYPT 1956
Nuclear threat, troops
Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis; Marines evacuate foreigners.
LEBANON 1958
Troops, naval
Army & Marine occupation against rebels.
IRAQ 1958
Nuclear threat
Iraq warned against invading Kuwait.
CHINA 1958
Nuclear threat
China told not to move on Taiwan isles.
PANAMA 1958
Troops
Flag protests erupt into confrontation.
VIETNAM 1960-75
Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats
Fought South Vietnam revolt & North Vietnam; one million killed in longest U.S. war; atomic bomb threats in l968 and l969.
CUBA 1961
Command operation
CIA-directed exile invasion fails.
GERMANY 1961
Nuclear threat
Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.
LAOS 1962
Command operation
Military buildup during guerrilla war.
CUBA 1962
Nuclear threat, naval
Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union.
IRAQ 1963
Command operation
CIA organizes coup that killed president, brings Ba’ath Party to power, and Saddam Hussein back from exile to be head of the secret service.
PANAMA 1964
Troops
Panamanians shot for urging canal’s return.
INDONESIA 1965
Command operation
Million killed in CIA-assisted army coup.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1965-66
Troops, bombing
Army & Marines land during election campaign.
GUATEMALA 1966-67
Command operation
Green Berets intervene against rebels.
DETROIT 1967
Troops
Army battles African Americans, 43 killed.
UNITED STATES 1968
Troops
After King is shot; over 21,000 soldiers in cities.
CAMBODIA 1969-75
Bombing, troops, naval
Up to 2 million killed in decade of bombing, starvation, and political chaos.
OMAN 1970
Command operation
U.S. directs Iranian marine invasion.
LAOS 1971-73
Command operation, bombing
U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion; “carpet-bombs” countryside.
SOUTH DAKOTA 1973
Command operation
Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas.
MIDEAST 1973
Nuclear threat
World-wide alert during Mideast War.
CHILE 1973
Command operation
CIA-backed coup ousts elected marxist president.
CAMBODIA 1975
Troops, bombing
Gassing of captured ship Mayagüez, 28 troops die when copter shot down.
ANGOLA 1976-92
Command operation
CIA assists South African-backed rebels.
IRAN 1980
Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing
Raid to rescue Embassy hostages; 8 troops die in copter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution.
LIBYA 1981
Naval jets
Two Libyan jets shot down in maneuvers.
EL SALVADOR 1981-92
Command operation, troops
Advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash.
NICARAGUA 1981-90
Command operation, naval
CIA directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbor mines against revolution.
LEBANON 1982-84
Naval, bombing, troops
Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions. 241 Marines killed when Shi’a rebel bombs barracks.
GRENADA 1983-84
Troops, bombing
Invasion four years after revolution.
HONDURAS 1983-89
Troops
Maneuvers help build bases near borders.
IRAN 1984
Jets
Two Iranian jets shot down over Persian Gulf.
LIBYA 1986
Bombing, naval
Air strikes to topple Qaddafi gov’t.
BOLIVIA 1986
Troops
Army assists raids on cocaine region.
IRAN 1987-88
Naval, bombing
US intervenes on side of Iraq in war, defending reflagged tankers and shooting down civilian jet.
LIBYA 1989
Naval jets
Two Libyan jets shot down.
VIRGIN ISLANDS 1989
Troops
St. Croix Black unrest after storm.
PHILIPPINES 1989
Jets
Air cover provided for government against coup.
PANAMA 1989 (-?)
Troops, bombing
Nationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ killed.
LIBERIA 1990
Troops
Foreigners evacuated during civil war.
SAUDI ARABIA 1990-91
Troops, jets
Iraq countered after invading Kuwait. 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.
IRAQ 1990-91
Bombing, troops, naval
Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports, air strikes; 200,000+ killed in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait; large-scale destruction of Iraqi military.
KUWAIT 1991
Naval, bombing, troops
Kuwait royal family returned to throne.
IRAQ 1991-2003
Bombing, naval
No-fly zone over Kurdish north, Shiite south; constant air strikes and naval-enforced economic sanctions
LOS ANGELES 1992
Troops
Army, Marines deployed against anti-police uprising.
SOMALIA 1992-94
Troops, naval, bombing
U.S.-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction.
YUGOSLAVIA 1992-94
Naval
NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.
BOSNIA 1993-?
Jets, bombing
No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbs.
HAITI 1994
Troops, naval
Blockade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup.
ZAIRE (CONGO) 1996-97
Troops
Troops at Rwandan Hutu refugee camps, in area where Congo revolution begins.
LIBERIA 1997
Troops
Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
ALBANIA 1997
Troops
Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
SUDAN 1998
Missiles
Attack on pharmaceutical plant alleged to be “terrorist” nerve gas plant.
AFGHANISTAN 1998
Missiles
Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies.
IRAQ 1998
Bombing, Missiles
Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.
YUGOSLAVIA 1999
Bombing, Missiles
Heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo. NATO occupation of Kosovo.
YEMEN 2000
Naval
USS Cole, docked in Aden, bombed.
MACEDONIA 2001
Troops
NATO forces deployed to move and disarm Albanian rebels.
UNITED STATES 2001
Jets, naval
Reaction to hijacker attacks on New York, DC
AFGHANISTAN 2001-?
Troops, bombing, missiles
Massive U.S. mobilization to overthrow Taliban, hunt Al Qaeda fighters, install Karzai regime, and battle Taliban insurgency. More than 30,000 U.S. troops and numerous private security contractors carry our occupation.
YEMEN 2002
Missiles
Predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda, including a US citizen.
PHILIPPINES 2002-?
Troops, naval
Training mission for Philippine military fighting Abu Sayyaf rebels evolves into combat missions in Sulu Archipelago, west of Mindanao.
COLOMBIA 2003-?
Troops
US special forces sent to rebel zone to back up Colombian military protecting oil pipeline.
IRAQ 2003-?
Troops, naval, bombing, missiles
Saddam regime toppled in Baghdad. More than 250,000 U.S. personnel participate in invasion. US and UK forces occupy country and battle Sunni and Shi’ite insurgencies. More than 160,000 troops and numerous private contractors carry out occupation and build large permanent bases.
LIBERIA 2003
Troops
Brief involvement in peacekeeping force as rebels drove out leader.
HAITI 2004-05
Troops, naval
Marines & Army land after right-wing rebels oust elected President Aristide, who was advised to leave by Washington.
PAKISTAN 2005-?
Missiles, bombing, covert operation
CIA missile and air strikes and Special Forces raids on alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban refuge villages kill multiple civilians. Drone attacks also on Pakistani Mehsud network.
SOMALIA 2006-?
Missiles, naval, troops, command operation
Special Forces advise Ethiopian invasion that topples Islamist government; AC-130 strikes, Cruise missile attacks and helicopter raids against Islamist rebels; naval blockade against “pirates” and insurgents.
SYRIA 2008
Troops
Special Forces in helicopter raid 5 miles from Iraq kill 8 Syrian civilians
YEMEN 2009-?
Missiles, command operation
Cruise missile attack on Al Qaeda kills 49 civilians; Yemeni military assaults on rebels
LIBYA 2011-?
Bombing, missiles, command operation
NATO coordinates air strikes and missile attacks against Qaddafi government during uprising by rebel army.

http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

List not updated since last year.  There are several more countries to be added to the list since Libya, 2011.  These would include Pakistan (drone bombings), Philippines (drone bombing and CIA/US Army training of the Filippino forces in the use of drone technology against Muslims in southern Philippines), Somolia (drone bombings), Yemen (continued drone bombings), and Syria (covert CIA operations in coordination with al Qaeda  in civilian uprising).

Ten-minute video regarding the lies being used to promote a US/Israeli invasion against Iran:

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Iran, MIC

 

Is you is, or is you ain't, aiding a terrorist?

According to the 2012 NDAA  [National Defense Authorization Act], you can be picked up and detained indefinitely without trial for aiding terrorist organizations.  This most specifically includes the Taliban, al Qaeda and its related affiliates.  The Obama administration is appealing Judge Forrest’s recent decision barring enforcement of the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA.  In other words, despite Obama’s words that he didn’t “like” that part of the NDAA and that he only signed it for the sake of national security, his administration is battling for the right to use exactly those provisions.

[…]Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest in May ruled in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December.

The government says indefinite military detention without trial is justified in some cases involving militants and their supporters.
The judge’s preliminary injunction prevents the U.S. government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, which represents the government in this case, along with named defendants Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta filed its notice of appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiffs in the case have asked Judge Forrest to make her injunction permanent. Oral argument on the request is scheduled for Tuesday.[…]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/indefinite-detention-ruling_n_1749566.html

 As it came out during the hearings in this case, there are many ways the government can pick you up for “aiding terrorists”: you might interview a member of the Taliban or al Qaeda for an article you are writing or include a sentence expressing support for the political goals of the Taliban in a book or article you have written.  You may donate money to a group that is later added to a “watchlist” by the FBI or Homeland Security.  Perhaps you organize a demonstration that someone decides shows support for a terrorist organization (both “support” and “terrorist organization” being only vaguely defined by the NDAA).  You may loan money to a friend in need who has somehow become involved with a group on one of the “watchlists”; the fact that you did not know this, that you helped the friend unwittingly, is irrelevant under the provisions of the NDAA.

Now let’s look at the situation in Syria.  News reports recently revealed that Obama signed secret orders some time ago allowing the CIA to take part in the “rebel uprising” in Syria.

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, sources familiar with the matter said.

Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.[…]

Precisely when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorization, an action not previously reported, could not be determined.
The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.[…]

A U.S. government source acknowledged that under provisions of the presidential finding, the United States was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies.[…]

Separately from the president’s secret order, the Obama administration has stated publicly that it is providing some backing for Assad’s opponents.

The State Department said on Wednesday the U.S. government had set aside a total of $25 million for “non-lethal” assistance to the Syrian opposition. A U.S. official said that was mostly for communications equipment, including encrypted radios.[…]

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury confirmed it had granted authorization to the Syrian Support Group, Washington representative of one of the most active rebel factions, the Free Syrian Army, to conduct financial transactions on the rebel group’s behalf. The authorization was first reported on Friday by Al-Monitor, a Middle East news and commentary website.[…]

Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad’s opponents.[…]

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/02/us-usa-syria-obama-order-idUSBRE8701OK20120802

We are determined to intervene in Syria and oust President Assad, for “humanitarian reasons”, of course.  We seemed to have liked Assad well enough when we were using his prisons as black sites to hold and torture people we deemed threats.  Now the Assad regime must go and we just have to get involved in another country’s internal problems. The thing is, we are determined to move forward with the broader war planned with Iran, and Syria is the last country standing in the way.

Thus we hear Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton, ever the diplomat, warn that Assad’s days are numbered. “The sand is running out of the hourglass,” she said.  “It should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime their days are numbered.” http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2012/07/clinton-assads-days-are-numbered.html ]  (Did a cackling Clinton just invoke the Flying Monkeys meme?)

Leon Panetta did her one better, threatening members of Assad’s family.  Although to be fair, he was merely stating US policy of going after the entire family in grand mafioso style as we did in Libya – one of our first targets there was a Ghaddafi family home and the dead included one of Ghaddafi’s sons and three of his little grandchildren.  “I’m sure that deep down Assad knows he’s in trouble and it’s just matter of time before he has to go,” Panetta said. “I would say if you want to be able to protect yourself and your family, you better get the hell out now.”  Interestingly, Panetta also thinks it is important to keep Assad’s military intact after getting rid of Assad; this is the same military supposedly running rampant and killing civilians throughout Syria.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says that when Bashar al-Assad loses his grip on power, he wants the Syrian military to remain in place.

“I think it’s important when Assad leaves – and he will leave – to try to preserve stability in that country. And the best way to preserve that kind of stability is to maintain as much of the military, the police, as you can, along with the security forces, and hope that they will transition to a democratic form of government. That’s a key,” Panetta told CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr in an exclusive interview in Tunis, Tunisia, Monday.[…]

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/30/panetta-says-when-not-if-al-assad-falls-syrian-military-should-remain-intact/?hpt=hp_t3

 

According to one Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the US is seeking a “controlled demolition” of the Assad government.  (Which he seems to find not an altogether bad idea.)  [ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/world/middleeast/us-to-focus-on-forcibly-toppling-syrian-government.html ]

The “rebel” group we have befriended in our effort to get rid of Assad is the Free Syria Army.  They are supported by al Qaeda, as is acknowledged by both Clinton and Panetta, and a fact which has been pointed out by numerous media sources.  For instance:

Syria: Clinton Admits US On Same Side As Al Qaeda To Destabilise Assad Government

by Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that Al Qaeda and other organizations on the US “terror list” are supporting the Syrian opposition.

Clinton said: “We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region, al-Qaida [sic], Hamas, and those who are on our terrorist list, to be sure, supporting – claiming to support the opposition [in Syria].”

Yet at the same time, in the above BBC interview the US Secretary of State repeats the threadbare Western claim that the situation in Syria is one of a defenceless population coming under “relentless attack” from Syrian government forces.

There is ample evidence that teams of snipers who have been killing civilians over the past year in Syria belong to the terrorist formations to which Clinton is referring to.[…]

The admission at the weekend by Hillary Clinton corroborates the finding that armed groups are attacking civilians and these groups are terroristic, according to US own definitions, and that the situation in Syria is not one of unilateral state violence against its population but rather is one of a shadowy armed insurrection[…]

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29524#.UCIk3H88pmw.email

 

German intelligence: al-Qaeda all over Syria
By John Rosenthal

German intelligence estimates that “around 90” terror attacks that “can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups” were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July, as reported by the German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).[…]

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG24Ak02.html

From the Council on Foreign Relations’ Ed Husain:

The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.

In Syria, al-Qaeda’s foot soldiers call themselves Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Sham (Front for the Protection of the Levantine People). The group’s strength and acceptance by the FSA are demonstrated by their increasing activity on the ground (BBC)–from seven attacks in March to sixty-six “operations” in June. In particular, the Jabhat has helped take the fight to Syria’s two largest cities: the capital of Damascus, where 54 percent of its activities have been, and Aleppo. Indeed, al-Qaeda could become the most effective fighting force in Syria if defections from the FSA to the Jabhat persist and the ranks of foreign fighters (Guardian) continue to swell.

Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its “martyrs” in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization’s remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat’s future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria.

Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran’s position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.

But the planning to minimize al-Qaeda’s likely hold over Syrian tribes and fighters must begin now as the Obama administration ramps up its support to rebel groups (Reuters). […]

http://www.cfr.org/syria/al-qaedas-specter-syria/p28782#cid

See also: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/30/al-qaida-rebels-battle-syria

And who are the experts in regard to all matters Syrian, the most often quoted by the press when a spokesman is needed to push for the invasion of Syria?  Charlie Skelton, a journalist for the Guardian UK, did an amazing bit of reporting when he asked just that question and found some answers:

A nightmare is unfolding across Syria, in the homes of al-Heffa and the streets of Houla. And we all know how the story ends: with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed, towns and families destroyed, and President Assad beaten to death in a ditch.

This is the story of the Syrian war, but there is another story to be told. A tale less bloody, but nevertheless important. This is a story about the storytellers: the spokespeople, the “experts on Syria”, the “democracy activists”. The statement makers. The people who “urge” and “warn” and “call for action”.[…]

It’s important to stress: to investigate the background of a Syrian spokesperson is not to doubt the sincerity of his or her opposition to Assad. But a passionate hatred of the Assad regime is no guarantee of independence. Indeed, a number of key figures in the Syrian opposition movement are long-term exiles who were receiving US government funding to undermine the Assad government long before the Arab spring broke out.[…]The most quoted of the opposition spokespeople are the official representatives of the Syrian National Council. The SNC is not the only Syrian opposition group – but it is generally recognised as “the main opposition coalition” (BBC). The Washington Times describes it as “an umbrella group of rival factions based outside Syria”. Certainly the SNC is the opposition group that’s had the closest dealings with western powers – and has called for foreign intervention from the early stages of the uprising. […]
The most senior of the SNC’s official spokespeople is the Paris-based Syrian academic Bassma Kodmani.

Kodmani is a member of the executive bureau and head of foreign affairs, Syrian National Council. Kodmani is close to the centre of the SNC power structure, and one of the council’s most vocal spokespeople. […]This year was Kodmani’s second Bilderberg. […]

Back a few years, in 2005, Kodmani was working for the Ford Foundation in Cairo, where she was director of their governance and international co-operation programme.[…]
In September 2005, Kodmani was made the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) – a research programme initiated by the powerful US lobby group, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

The CFR is an elite US foreign policy thinktank, and the Arab Reform Initiative is described on its website as a “CFR Project” . […]

Another often quoted SNC representative is Radwan Ziadeh – director of foreign relations at the Syrian National Council. Ziadeh has an impressive CV: he’s a senior fellow at the federally funded Washington thinktank, the US Institute of Peace (the USIP Board of Directors is packed with alumni of the defence department and the national security council; its president is Richard Solomon, former adviser to Kissinger at the NSC).

In February this year, Ziadeh joined an elite bunch of Washington hawks to sign a letter calling upon Obama to intervene in Syria: his fellow signatories include James Woolsey (former CIA chief), Karl Rove (Bush Jr’s handler), Clifford May (Committee on the Present Danger) and Elizabeth Cheney, former head of the Pentagon’s Iran-Syria Operations Group.
Ziadeh is a relentless organiser, a blue-chip Washington insider with links to some of the most powerful establishment thinktanks.[…]

Along with Kodmani and Ziadeh, Ausama (or sometimes Osama) Monajed is one of the most important SNC spokespeople. There are others, of course – the SNC is a big beast and includes the Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition to Assad is wide-ranging, but these are some of the key voices. […]  So, again, a fair question might be: who is this spokesman calling for military intervention?

Monajed is a member of the SNC, adviser to its president, and according to his SNC biography, “the Founder and Director of Barada Television”, a pro-opposition satellite channel based in Vauxhall, south London. In 2008, a few months after attending Syria In-Transition conference, Monajed was back in Washington, invited to lunch with George W Bush, along with a handful of other favoured dissidents […]

At this time, in 2008, the US state department knew Monajed as “director of public relations for the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD), which leads the struggle for peaceful and democratic change in Syria”.

Let’s look closer at the MJD. Last year, the Washington Post picked up a story from WikiLeaks, which had published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables. These cables appear to show a remarkable flow of money from the US state department to the British-based Movement for Justice and Development. According to the Washington Post’s report: “Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the state department has funnelled as much as $6m to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.”[…]

One of the most widely quoted western experts on Syria – and an enthusiast for western intervention – Michael Weiss echoes Ambassador Ross when he says: “Military intervention in Syria isn’t so much a matter of preference as an inevitability.”
Some of Weiss’s interventionist writings can be found on a Beirut-based, Washington-friendly website called “NOW Lebanon” – whose “NOW Syria” section is an important source of Syrian updates. NOW Lebanon was set up in 2007 by Saatchi & Saatchi executive Eli Khoury. Khoury has been described by the advertising industry as a “strategic communications specialist, specialising in corporate and government image and brand development”.[…]

But Weiss is not only a blogger. He’s also the director of communications and public relations at the Henry Jackson Society, an ultra-ultra-hawkish foreign policy thinktank.

The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include: James “ex-CIA boss” Woolsey, Michael “homeland security” Chertoff, William “PNAC” Kristol, Robert “PNAC” Kagan’, Joshua “Bomb Iran” Muravchick, and Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle. The Society is run by Alan Mendoza, chief adviser to the all-party parliamentary group on transatlantic and international security.[…]

Statistic after horrific statistic pours from “the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (AP). It’s hard to find a news report about Syria that doesn’t cite them. But who are they? “They” are Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdel Rahman), who lives in Coventry.

According to a Reuters report in December of last year: “When he isn’t fielding calls from international media, Abdulrahman is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.”[…]

That name, the “Syrian Observatory of Human Rights”, sound so grand, so unimpeachable, so objective. And yet when Abdulrahman and his “Britain-based NGO” (AFP/NOW Lebanon) are the sole source for so many news stories about such an important subject, it would seem reasonable to submit this body to a little more scrutiny than it’s had to date.

The Observatory is by no means the only Syrian news source to be quoted freely with little or no scrutiny […]They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change, and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.

But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinise sources. Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there’s a sceptic born every minute.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking

I know that was a lengthy excerpt, but I think it important to understand who the spokesmen pushing for intervention in Syria are.  The entire article is excellent and I highly recommend you read the whole thing.  We see all the usual suspects pushing for war – the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg people, the Ford Foundation (Obama’s mother worked for the Ford Foundation at one point in her career, by the way), etc.  And the Syrian opposition is not really so much “rebels” and “freedom fighters” as it is CIA and al Qaeda.  Although it has become painfully clear that the US has been involved in staging this civil war in Syria for some time, Hillary angrily proclaimed a day ago that those working “to exploit the misery of the Syrian people, either by sending in proxies or by sending in terrorist fighters, must recognize that that will not be tolerated, first and foremost by the Syrian people.” [Clinton speaking from S. Africa: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/07/world/meast/syria-unrest/ ]  The CNN article goes on, blissfully unaware of the irony of following the Clinton quote with this: “Nations such as the United States, France, Britain and Turkey, as well as Arab League countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have supported Syrian rebels and the opposition.  There are also reports of Islamist cells schooled in terror tactics helping some rebels fight the al-Assad regime, and weaponry has flowed across the borders to Free Syrian Army rebels…”

As I pointed out at the beginning of this article, Obama wants to retain the right to imprison you indefinitely without trial for aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.  Congress likes the idea so much that they have included this provision in the 2013 NDAA, currently being worked on.  ….On the other hand, you are now encouraged to donate money to what we know is a group working with al Qaeda in Syria.   Wait a second here – what about the War on Terror?  Are we going to take al Qaeda off the terror list?  Perhaps just in this one case?  You know, temporarily-like?  What the hell?

Because this fundraiser is aimed at Americans, the donation website includes a little video game where you can shoot down Assad.  So cute and endearingly childish, we are.  Notice in the following article how sweetly we are encouraged to fight the government of a foreign nation with our donations and to “help set up a new government” there.  Getting us all to collude in the (illegal) invasion of sovereign nation with which we are not at war, and to (illegally) replace its current government with forced regime change.  Perhaps this is a method of entrapping foolish Americans into donating to terrorists.  Maybe Oblahblah forgot about the NDAA momentarily.   It may be an “oversight” (oops, did we just ask you to support al Qaeda?), or a way for the government to deny the already admitted al Qaeda affiliation to the Free Syria Army.   Perhaps it is just intended to be a tax deduction for the Koch Brothers and Jeffrey Immelt.  It is clearly a way for Americans and Big Money to directly fund terrorism and call it a charitable donation.  It may just be a sign of the insanity and nonsense that rules the US now.  Who the hell knows?   For what it is worth, though, here it is:

Now you legally can buy weapons for Syrian rebels, according to the Obama administration. Sacramento and national media are now telling U.S. residents that they can legally arm Syrian rebels by sending money to the Syrian Support Group based in Washington, DC at 1000 Connecticut Avenue NW, suite 900, Washington DC 20036 and run by an American. There’s a link on the group’s website you may click if you wish to donate money.

The group supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The Free Syrian Army is an armed opposition group operating in Syria that has been active during the Syrian civil war. […]

The organization reports that it advocates military intervention by any willing country to ensure saving lives on the ground, according to its website.

The U.S. Treasury Department cleared the way today for U.S. residents to buy weapons to send to Syria by donating money, not mailing guns and bombs, of course.

Today the federal government, that is, the Obama administration’s Treasury Department, has now cleared the way after more than a year and a half of rebel fighting in Syria for U.S. residents actually to buy weapons for the rebels who are fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. This means that now a Washington-based advocacy group has been legally granted a rare license to collect money for arms and other equipment.

You can’t actually mail guns to Syria, but the Washington-based advocacy group can collect money from you to buy arms and other equipment to fight the Syrian government and knock Bashar Assad out of office with the imagery of a pin-ball game, where you figuratively shoot the target photo of Assad, that is, send money to that organization which in turn buys the arms such as guns and other equipment like tanks and bombs to fight the government of Syria and help set up a new government there.[…]

http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-residents-now-can-legallly-arm-sryian-rebels

See also: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/02/4684067/us-residents-can-help-arm-syrian.html

Or: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/08/01/159311/us-eases-arms-purchases-for-syrian.html

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Congress, Iran, MIC, Syria

 

"Israel-first" now the law.

On 27 July, President Obama signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, thus making it the law of the land.  See my previous entry immediately under this one to read a summary of the bill.  I decided to post a new entry on this rather than merely an update to the previous, as I found some of the president’s remarks upon signing the bill to be rather remarkable and wanted to highlight them.

First, Obama’s remarks as he signed the bill.  I have bolded certain portions of interest: Obama actually brags about bringing Israel into our internal security operations (albeit without details), additional spending of US money on Israel (although he only cites the figure for the Iron Dome project and not overall increases), and how the US has to keep Israel secure and safe.  He notably does not mention that the bill allows the Israeli air force to practice within American air space or detail exactly how deep the “cooperation” on security matters will go.

Remarks upon signing the bill – full text:

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Hope you guys are all staying cool.  Well, listen, I just wanted to welcome these outstanding leaders to the Oval Office.  I want to in particular acknowledge Congressman Howard Berman and Senator Barbara Boxer, who have done outstanding work in shepherding through this bipartisan piece of legislation that underscores our unshakeable commitment to Israel.

As many of you know, I have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation with Israel across the whole spectrum of security issues — intelligence, military, technology.  And, in many ways, what this legislation does is bring together all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen, really, at an unprecedented level between our two countries that underscore our unshakeable commitment to Israel security.

I’m also very pleased that this week we are going to be able to announce $70 million in additional spending — $70 billion [million]*, excuse me, in additional spending for Iron Dome.  [Teri’s note: the correct figure is $70 million additional for the Iron Dome program alone, and does not reflect overall US monetary benefits to Israel.]  This is a program that has been critical in terms of providing security and safety for the Israeli families.  It is a program that has been tested and has prevented missile strikes inside of Israel.  And it is testimony to the leadership of the folks sitting here that we’re going to be able to lock in that fund to assure that that program continues and that we are standing by our friends in Israel when it comes to these kinds of attacks.

Let me just close by saying that the tragic events that we saw in Bulgaria emphasize the degree to which this continues to be a challenge not just for Israel, but for the entire world — preventing terrorist attacks and making sure the people of Israel are not targeted.

And I hope that, as I sign as this bill, once again everybody understands how committed all of us are — Republicans and Democrats — as Americans to our friends in making sure that Israel is safe and secure.

Leon Panetta, our Secretary of Defense, will be traveling to Israel to further consult and find additional ways that we can ensure such cooperation at a time when, frankly, the region is experiencing heightened tensions.

So, with that, let me sign this bill.  Again, I want to thank all who are standing beside me for their outstanding leadership and their outstanding work on this issue.
(The bill is signed.)

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/27/remarks-president-signing-united-states-israel-enhanced-security-coopera

Next, let’s look at the White House fact sheet about the bill.  Again, the bolding is mine.  The amount of money going to Israel is astounding and the White House even acknowledges that we are funding Israel generously “despite tough fiscal times”.  The priorities of Congress and Obama are repulsively laid out in microcosm here; while Americans continue to lose jobs and homes and get bitch-slapped into poverty in unprecedented numbers, Congress votes to take financial support from the American people and send US tax-payer monies overseas to fund military operations in a foreign country.  Because Israel can depend on the US to finance more than one-fifth of its military budget, the Israeli government can spend its money on such benefits as universal health care for its citizens.  I hope they appreciate it – it’s one thing we are never going to offer our own people, because we “don’t have the cash”.    [From wikipedia on Israel’s universal health coverage: “Health care in Israel is universal and participation in a medical insurance plan is compulsory. Health care coverage is administered by a small number of organizations, with funding from the government. All Israeli citizens are entitled to the same Uniform Benefits Package, regardless of which organization they are a member of, and treatment under this package is funded for all citizens regardless of their financial means. Generally, health care in Israel is of high-quality and is delivered in an efficient and effective manner. Partly as a result of this, at an overall 82 years, Israelis enjoy the fourth-longest life expectancy in the world as of 2012.”]

There is a significant amount of rhetorical threat against Iran in this WH “fact sheet” on the Israel-first bill.  Whether this is included simply as column B of the menu or to actually signal Obama’s increasing willingness to start another war remains to be seen.  In this fact sheet, Obama gloats about the long history of his sanctions against Iran – even bringing up his ex-Congressional executive orders – but neglects to admit that the sanctions are a form of economic warfare and the supposed reasons for sanctioning Iran have no basis in facts.  Iran, in truth, has not been found to be violating their nuclear agreements or to be developing nuclear weapons.  Obama says that “the impact on Iran has been severe”, but does not detail just how Iranian civilians are suffering because of them, with soaring food and medicine prices driving many of them into hunger and rising transportation costs preventing them from being able to keep their jobs.  Our State Department has admitted that the forced destitution of the Iranian people is our goal, in much the same way we deliberately intended to harm the Iraqis through the US/UN sanctions in the 1990’s.  We seem to think the sanctions will turn the Iranians against their own government even though time after time, in country after country, what really happens is that civilians tend to become more nationalistic and blame the sanctioning governments for their misery.

Notice that here again, no mention is made of the fact that we have offered to host the Israeli air force, nor are any specific details spelled out regarding the level of “help” Israel will give us with our own internal security.  Also not brought up is the part of the bill which starts the process of including Israel in NATO.

Fact Sheet on the bill from the White House, in full:

The President has strengthened Israel’s security in tangible and concrete ways.

On July 27, 2012 the President signed the “United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012”, which strengthens Israel’s qualitative military edge.  The bill expressed bipartisan Congressional support for Administration initiatives that deepen U.S. defense and security cooperation with Israel, to include providing Israel with financial and technological assistance to produce defensive systems to counter the threat of rockets and missiles; access to U.S. manufactured defense equipment and excess defense articles; and increased opportunities to train with U.S. military forces.

Despite tough fiscal times, the President fought for and secured full funding for Israel in FY 2012, including $3 billion in Foreign Military Financing – the largest amount of funding for Israel in U.S. history.

The President secured an additional $205 million in FY 2011 to help produce an Israeli-developed short-range rocket defense system called Iron Dome, which has helped defend Israeli communities against rocket attacks by successfully striking rockets as they are fired at Israeli civilians.

In July 2012, President Obama provided an additional $70 million to Israel to ensure that Israel could maximize its production of the Iron Dome system for 2012.  Over the next three years, the Administration intends to request additional funding for Iron Dome, based on an annual assessment of Israeli security requirements against an evolving threat.

Israeli forces now benefit from regular joint exercises and training opportunities, access to advanced U.S. military hardware, emergency stockpiles, and favorable terms for the acquisition of equipment.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the AIPAC conference on May 23, 2012, that “Yesterday President Obama spoke about his ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.  He rightly said that our security cooperation is unprecedented… And he has backed those words with deeds.”

In a July 25, 2012, speech to the Israeli National Security College, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “The security ties between us and the current administration are at the highest level they have ever been.  The administration is consistently strengthening the depths of Israel’s security abilities.  The decision to expand the Iron Dome system with U.S. financial backing is yet another expression of this deep connection and commitment.”

The President has galvanized the international community to put more pressure on the Iranian regime than ever before.
President Obama has been clear that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  He has backed up this commitment with tangible steps to increase pressure substantially on the Iranian regime and raise the costs of its defiance of the international community.

With President Obama’s leadership, the United States gained the support of Russia, China, and other nations to pass United Nations Security Council resolution 1929, creating the most comprehensive and biting international sanctions regime the Iranian government has ever faced.  This resolution imposes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities, ballistic missile program, conventional military exports to Iran, Iranian banks and financial transactions, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Obama Administration also worked with allies such as the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada, and others to adopt additional national measures to increase pressure on the Iranian regime, including in the financial, banking, insurance, transportation, and energy sectors.  Iran is now virtually cut off from large parts of the international financial system and we are working aggressively to isolate Iran even further.

In addition to multilateral sanctions, President Obama worked with Congress to pass in 2010 the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which strengthens existing U.S. sanctions, and makes it harder for the Iranian government to buy refined petroleum and the goods it needs to modernize its oil and gas sector.  Already, close to $60 billion in energy-related projects in Iran have been put on hold or discontinued.

More recently, the Administration worked with Congress to develop Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which makes sanctionable a host of transactions involving the Central Bank of Iran.

The United States has worked closely with partners during the first half of 2012 to secure their cooperation with these sanctions, resulting in the significant reduction of purchases of oil from all of Iran’s major oil trading partners.  For instance, the European Union has put in place a full embargo on Iranian oil.  The impact on Iran has been severe, with perhaps as much as 1 million barrels per day in sales revenue taken away from Iran, at the cost of billions per month.

International companies are increasingly recognizing the risks of doing business with Iran and are abandoning existing business opportunities, declining to take advantage of new ones, and scaling back any existing relationships.  This trend has been replicated across a broad range of industries.  Examples of companies withdrawing from business with Iran include:  Shell, Total, ENI, Statoil, Repsol, Lukoil, Kia, Toyota, Siemens, and foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms such as GE, Honeywell, and Caterpillar.

The Obama Administration is working to develop more sanctions to further isolate and increase the pressure on the Iranian regime.  The President signed two new Executive Orders in April 2012 that addressed human rights violations and sanctions evasion, and we continue to look for new ways to expand our authorities and strengthen our implementation of existing ones to ensure that Iran understands that its failure to comply with its international obligations will have ever intensifying consequences.
The President has stood with Israel in times of crisis.

The President personally intervened to help avert catastrophe when a violent mob stormed the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.  Afterwards, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said of the President: “I requested his assistance at a decisive—I would even say fateful—moment.  He said he would do everything possible, and this is what he did. He activated all of the United States’ means and influence — which are certainly considerable.  I believe we owe him a special debt of gratitude.”
The President has made clear that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Hamas, a terrorist group sworn to its destruction.

In his speech in Cairo and elsewhere, the President has consistently demanded that Hamas accept Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to all existing agreements before it can play a role in achieving Middle East peace.
The President has spoken out forcefully to condemn Hamas attacks against Israelis.  He has made clear that “it is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus.  That’s not how moral authority is claimed; that’s how it is surrendered.”  At the United Nations, he emphasized that “the slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance – it’s injustice.”

The President has forcefully opposed unbalanced and biased actions against Israel in the Security Council, the UN General Assembly, and across the UN system.

The President has consistently opposed attempts to shortcut the peace process through resolutions at the United Nations.  When an effort was made to insert the Security Council into matters that should be resolved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, we vetoed it.  In his September 21, 2011 address to the United Nations General Assembly, the President said “I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades.  Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.  Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side.  Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians — not us –- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.”

When the UN General Assembly voted for a commemoration in September 2011 of the original 2001 Durban conference, we voted against it and announced we would not participate.  When the Goldstone Report was released, we stood up strongly for Israel’s right to defend itself.

The President has called on all sides – Arabs, Palestinians, and Israelis alike – to do their part to help achieve Middle East peace.
In Cairo, the President said that Arab states must recognize that they too have responsibilities to move towards peace, including by fostering a culture of peace.  He said clearly that “threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong,” and that denying the Holocaust is “baseless, ignorant, and hateful.”
 
In his May 19, 2011 speech, President Obama emphasized that a peace agreement must meet the needs of both sides, including by:  ending the conflict and resolving all claims, achieving the goal of two states for two peoples with Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people, achieving secure and recognized borders for both sides, and devising robust security arrangements that will not leave Israel vulnerable.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/27/fact-sheet-advancing-israels-security-and-supporting-peace

 

On the above mentioned Goldstone report, you can read a summary of it here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Fact_Finding_Mission_on_the_Gaza_Conflict

Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton spoke the truth about why the US did not endorse the Goldstone report:  “On 26 February 2010, in testimony before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Hillary ‘admitted that the report was problematic for the United States and other countries, which face the same type of war on terrorism coming out of populated areas’. She also warned that if the Goldstone report were to set the international standards, the U.S. and many other countries might be accused of war crimes for their military operations.”  – from the wikipedia article mentioned above.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Congress, Iran

 

In which we attempt to codify "Israel first" into law.

Updated below.

The Senate has passed its version of the “Israel-first” law, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 – S.2165.  The House announced it will vote on this bill, which originated in the Senate, this week;  if it passes the House, it presumably would then go to Obama for signature.  [Note: this bill is on the House schedule for vote today.]  The House has its own version of the bill (House bill HR4133) which has passed the House and now heads to the Senate – I am not sure why the redundancy exists. S.2165 originated in the Senate and HR4133 originated in the House, but they are basically the same thing.  I am going to focus on the Senate bill, since it seems to be moving ahead more quickly.

The stated purpose of the bill is to “enhance strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel, and for other purposes”.  In the bill, we pledge undying support for Israel, financially, militarily, and (weirdly) spiritually, and manage to castigate and threaten Iran at the same time.

In section two of the bill, we read:

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
•    Congress makes the following findings:
◦    (1) Since 1948, United States Presidents and both houses of Congress, on a bipartisan basis and supported by the American people, have repeatedly reaffirmed the special bond between the United States and Israel, based on shared values and shared interests.
◦    (2) The Middle East is undergoing rapid change, bringing with it hope for an expansion of democracy but also great challenges to the national security of the United States and our allies in the region, particularly to our most important ally in the region, Israel.
◦    (3) The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is continuing its decades-long pattern of seeking to foment instability and promote extremism in the Middle East, particularly in this time of dramatic political transition.
◦    (4) At the same time, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to enrich uranium in defiance of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.
◦    (5) A nuclear-weapons capable Iran would fundamentally threaten vital United States interests, encourage regional nuclear proliferation, further empower Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, and pose a serious and destabilizing threat to Israel and the region.
◦    (6) Over the past several years, with the assistance of the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas have increased their stockpile of rockets, with more than 60,000 now ready to be fired at Israel. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to add to its arsenal of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, which threaten Iran’s neighbors, Israel, and United States Armed Forces in the region.
◦    (7) As a result, Israel is facing a fundamentally altered strategic environment.
◦    (8) Pursuant to chapter 5 of title 1 of the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 (Public Law 108-11; 117 Stat. 576), the authority to make available loan guarantees to Israel is currently set to expire on September 30, 2012.

In section three, we are for some reason making it policy to support the Jewishness of Israel, although our own Constitution calls for the separation of church and state here in the US.  Furthermore, we intend to help Israel maintain its military edge (note that we are here tacitly admitting that Israel has the military edge – thanks to us), veto any “one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the UN” (so far, we have vetoed every UN resolution calling Israel to task – calling them “one-sided” and “anti-Israel” resolutions no matter what international laws Israel has violated), and call on other nations to recognize Israel’s right to exist, but we fail to ask for anyone to recognize Palestine’s right to exist.

SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.
•    It is the policy of the United States:
◦    (1) To reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. As President Barack Obama stated on December 16, 2011, `America’s commitment and my commitment to Israel and Israel’s security is unshakeable.’ And as President George W. Bush stated before the Israeli Knesset on May 15, 2008, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, `The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty.’.
◦    (2) To help the Government of Israel preserve its qualitative military edge amid rapid and uncertain regional political transformation.
◦    (3) To veto any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council.
◦    (4) To support Israel’s inherent right to self-defense.
◦    (5) To pursue avenues to expand cooperation with the Government of Israel both in defense and across the spectrum of civilian sectors, including high technology, agriculture, medicine, health, pharmaceuticals, and energy.
◦    (6) To assist the Government of Israel with its ongoing efforts to forge a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that results in two states living side-by-side in peace and security, and to encourage Israel’s neighbors to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
◦    (7) To encourage further development of advanced technology programs between the United States and Israel given current trends and instability in the region.

Next, we move on to some particulars in how we will provide support for Israel.  These include giving Israel a lot of money and military hardware, including all the materiel we no longer need in Iraq.  We are planning to let Israel practice its air force training within the US because they have “limited air space”.  I guess this means that the first foreign military bases ever allowed in this country will be Israeli. We also want to start down the path for Israel’s inclusion in NATO.

SEC. 4. UNITED STATES ACTIONS TO ASSIST IN THE DEFENSE OF ISRAEL AND PROTECT UNITED STATES INTERESTS.
•    It is the sense of Congress that the United States Government should take the following actions to assist in the defense of Israel:
◦    (1) Seek to enhance the capabilities of the Governments of the United States and Israel to address emerging common threats, increase security cooperation, and expand joint military exercises.
◦    (2) Provide the Government of Israel such support as may be necessary to increase development and production of joint missile defense systems, particularly such systems that defend against the urgent threat posed to Israel and United States forces in the region.
◦    (3) Provide the Government of Israel assistance specifically for the production and procurement of the Iron Dome defense system for purposes of intercepting short-range missiles, rockets, and projectiles launched against Israel.
◦    (4) Provide the Government of Israel defense articles and defense services through such mechanisms as appropriate, to include air refueling tankers, missile defense capabilities, and specialized munitions.
◦    (5) Provide the Government of Israel additional excess defense articles, as appropriate, in the wake of the withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq.
◦    (6) Examine ways to strengthen existing and ongoing efforts, including the Gaza Counter Arms Smuggling Initiative, aimed at preventing weapons smuggling into Gaza pursuant to the 2009 agreement following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, as well as measures to protect against weapons smuggling and terrorist threats from the Sinai Peninsula.
◦    (7) Offer the Air Force of Israel additional training and exercise opportunities in the United States to compensate for Israel’s limited air space.
◦    (8) Work to encourage an expanded role for Israel with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises.
◦    (9) Expand already-close intelligence cooperation, including satellite intelligence, with Israel.

Section five extends military support already promised to Israel and extends the loans already promised for a further period of time. Section six of the bill asks for reports from the President regarding Israel’s “military edge” in the region and for other reports.  Under “Other Reports” is a hint that Israel will be playing a part in our own internal security apparatus.

    (b) Reports on Other Matters- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on each of the following matters:
(1) Taking into account the Government of Israel’s urgent requirement for F-35 aircraft, actions to improve the process relating to its purchase of F-35 aircraft, particularly with respect to cost efficiency and timely delivery.
(2) Efforts to expand cooperation between the United States and Israel in homeland security, counter-terrorism, maritime security, energy, cyber-security, and other related areas.
(3) Actions to integrate Israel into the defense of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Section seven is a definition of terms.  The term `qualitative military edge’… “has the meaning given the term in section 36(h)(2) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776(h)(2))”. That definition relates specifically to Israel and is stated thusly:

“QUALITATIVE MILITARY EDGE DEFINED.—In this sub-section, the term ‘qualitative military edge’ means the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics are superior in capability to those of such other individual or possible coalition of states or non-state actors.’’.

The full text of Senate bill S.2165 may be read here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s2165/text

Here is a brief summary of the amount of money Israel has already gotten from us over the years. We have maintained the 3 billion/year threshold even while we are in a depression and can’t afford to take care of our own infrastructure and people:

New data shows Washington has given more than 115 billion dollars in financial aid to Israel over the years, indicating Tel Aviv’s great dependence on the US.

According to the report published by the Congressional Research Service Israel has received more assistance from the US than 15 European countries did to recover from the devastation caused during World War II.

More than 67 billion dollars of the Washington’s aid to Israel has been in military, the report said.

The astonishing report adds that the US has allocated 3.1 billion dollars, around one-fifth of its defense budget, to Israel this year alone.

Americans also allow the Israeli army to use their emergency reserve ammunition stored in Israel. The value of the weapons held in the US emergency supplies is 1.2 billion dollars.

The US gives billions of dollars in American taxpayers’ money to the Tel Aviv regime each year in the form of military and economic aid, legally justified as part of US government’s foreign aid package.

Washington has never downsized its annual 3 billion dollars grant to the Israeli regime despite going through its worst recession in decades which has prompted the government to impose major cuts on most public service programs for citizens.

http://www.eutimes.net/2012/04/us-gives-115-billion-dollars-aid-to-israel/

Update:  The House just passed this bill by voice vote this evening.  It now goes to Obama for his signature.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Congress, Iran

 

Smiting the oil market.

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2012

Statement by the G-8 on Global Oil Markets

“There have been increasing disruptions in the supply of oil to the global market over the past several months, which pose a substantial risk to global economic growth.  In response, major producers have increased their output while drawing prudently on excess capacity.  Looking ahead to the likelihood of further disruptions in oil sales and the expected increased demand over the coming months, we are monitoring the situation closely and stand ready to call upon the International Energy Agency to take appropriate action to ensure that the market is fully and timely supplied.”

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/19/statement-g-8-global-oil-markets

This would be funny – in fact, I admit I laughed when I first read it – if it weren’t for the effect all this is going to have on pretty much everyone in the world.  These guys might as well have said that having now shot themselves in their collective feet, they just can’t figure out why they are having trouble running the marathon.  The statement released by the White House makes it sound as though the disruptions are happening for reasons beyond anyone’s control.  An act of God or a natural disaster, perhaps?  Why, oh, why dear Lord, are we being smitten by these inexplicable disruptions to the oil supply?

The increasing disruptions are caused, of course, by the sanctions on Iranian oil.  Sanctions to get them to stop doing what they are not doing; i.e., develop nuclear weapons.  Despite all the rhetoric from US and Israeli politicians, the consensus from the world’s military leaders (including those in the US and Israel) and the IAEA is that Iran is not building nukes.  We also managed to take Libya’s oil production off-line for nearly a year; quite effectively and deliberately – no act of God that either – although now that US soldiers are guarding the oil fields, Libya is entering the market again.  (Not that it does Libya much good.  Instead of the oil profits going to the Libyans, they will go to some private companies and to pay the “debt” Libya “owes the NATO countries” for its “liberation”.)

The G8, or “Group of Eight,” consists of eight large world economic powers. (The G7, as the group is sometimes known, lacks Russia.)  The G8 countries are Canada, 
France
, Germany, 
Italy
, Japan, 
Russia
, United Kingdom
, United States.  Russia did not attend this year’s meeting of the G8 at Camp David, so perhaps they should be calling it the G7 Summit, and refuses to participate in the sanctioning of Iran.

Iran oil exports: where do they go?

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz through which 20% of global oil supplies pass through. Which countries does Iran export to and how much of their crude oil supply does it make up?
    
Iran has threatened to cut oil exports to the west and threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz through which one fifth of global oil supplies pass through – in bitter retaliation to the Iranian oil embargo agreed by the European Union.

The warning from Tehran comes after EU ministers agreed on Monday to stop any further oil contracts with the country with existing deals being allowed to run to July. The latest threats have added to an already tense relationship between the West and the Islamic Republic. Ian Traynor and Nick Hopkins have written:

Tehran threatened to respond by closing the strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of global oil supplies pass, while a senior US official vowed that the west could use force to keep the route open.

The decision by EU foreign ministers in Brussels raised the stakes dramatically in the standoff between Iran and the west over Iran’s nuclear programme.

The closing of the Strait would impact heavily on oil exports from not only Iran but also from Saudi Arabia – the largest exporter of crude oil in 2010. As the third-largest exporter of crude oil, Iran is also of major importance as would be the closure of the Strait of Hormuz which provided the route for 17 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011 – totalling 20% of oil traded worldwide.[…]

The top destination for Iran’s crude oil exports in the six months between January and June 2011 was China, totalling 22% of Iran’s crude oil exports. Japan and India also make up a big proportion, taking 14% and 13% respectively of the total exports of Iran. The European Union imports 18% of Iran’s total exports with Italy and Spain taking the largest amounts.[…]

Saudi Arabia, as of 1 January 2011, is the country with the top proven oil reserves at 263bn barrels followed by Venezuela and Canada. Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world at 137bn barrels beating Iraq, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/feb/06/iran-oil-exports-destination

 

According to the WH, “In response, major producers have increased their output while drawing prudently on excess capacity. ”

Well, not really.  We have reached peak oil.  OPEC nations know it.   Hell, even the US and German militaries know it.  There is not much of an output to increase unless the point is to suck up the final drops as quickly as possible, and in fact, Saudi output has been decreasing 3% per year.  As far as drawing from the strategic reserves (“drawing prudently on excess capacity”): given that we are facing the natural occurrence of less oil in the immediate future, why are we using up our reserves on a situation we created willfully?  And at a time when global demand is actually going down?  This is known colloquially as “eating the seed corn.”

The peak oil crisis: the German army report
by Tom Whipple

In the last five or six years at least 20 major studies have been published by governmental and non-governmental organizations that either deal with or touch upon the possibility of severe energy shortages developing in the near future.

Studies done by governmental entities, however, are rare for nearly all of the world’s governments still prefer to wait as long as possible before confronting the myriad of problems that will accompany declining oil production. Exceptions to this phenomenon of denial, however, seem to be military organizations that have realistic planning baked into their DNA. All professional military services know that in the last century they have become so dependent on liquid fuels that their effectiveness would be severely degraded should shortages or extremely high oil prices develop.

Last year two military planning organizations went public with studies predicting that serious consequences from oil depletion will befall us shortly. In the U.S. the Joint Forces Command concluded, without saying how they arrived at their dates, that by 2012 surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear and that by 2015 the global shortfall in oil production could be as much as 10 million b/d. Later in the year a draft of a German army study, which went into greater detail in analyzing the consequences of peaking world oil production, was leaked to the press. The German study which was released recently is unique for the frankness with which it explores the dire consequences which may be in store for us.

The Bundeswehr Transformation Center, the organization that prepared the study, starts with the assertion that as there are so many forces in play, it is impossible to determine an exact date for peak oil, but that it will become obvious in hindsight. The Germans also believe that it is already too late to complete a comprehensive global transition to a post fossil fuel economy. They introduce the notion of a peak oil induced economic “tipping point” that would trigger so much economic damage that it is impossible to evaluate the possible outcomes.

For the near future the study foresees that a very large increase in oil prices would harm the energy-intensive agricultural systems that produce much of our food. Not only could the costs of fertilizers and pesticides become prohibitive, but the massive amount of oil-dependent transportation needed to move agricultural products long distances could make food unaffordable for many.

The study goes on to postulate a “mobility crisis” that would arise from substantial increases in the costs of operating private cars and trucks. Although sudden shortages could be relieved by volunteer and regulatory measures, ultimately the mobility crisis would feed into and add to the worsening economic situation.[…]

For the immediate future, however, the German Army study foresees: 1. increasing oil prices that will reduce consumption and economic output (i.e. a recession or worse); 2. increasing transportation costs that will lead to lower trade volumes – less income for many and unaffordable food for some; and 3. pressure on government budgets as they must keep populations fed, deal with the social consequences of mass unemployment, and attempt to invest in sustainable sources of energy. Governmental revenues are bound to fall as unemployment increases along with resistance to further taxation.[…]

http://energybulletin.net/stories/2011-09-22/peak-oil-crisis-german-army-report

The G8, says the Obama White House, is “looking ahead to the likelihood of further disruptions in oil sales,” and they should know.  The entire range of sanctions on Iran go into effect in July.  And, of course, if the mad dogs in the US Congress and Israel get their way, there may be a new war in the Middle East soon enough. That will cause a bit of an oil supply issue, yessireebob.

Why, oh, why dear Lord, are we being smitten by these inexplicable disruptions to the oil supply?

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in economy, fossil fuels, Iran