Israelis assert the United States should not wait for Iran to decide on building a nuclear weapon before it considers military action. Dan Meridor, deputy Israeli prime minister, says: When is the point at which it should be stopped? Just when the bomb is assembled on the tip of the missile and is ready for launch? This demands clarification, to my mind, to make clear that even an Iran that is a decision away from nuclear weaponry, be it within days or weeks, is a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran could reach stage of nuclear development which would allow it to make a warhead quickly years in the future when the world's guard was down. Hermann Goering used to say the people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country. http://venitism.blogspot.com Continue reading "Warrior Netanyahu and Worrier Obama"
On 9/11 Doubts Were Immediate
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, September 09, 2012
On September 11, 2001, a neighbor telephoned and said, ?turn on the TV.? I assumed that a hurricane, possibly a bad one from the sound of the neighbor?s voice, was headed our way, and turned on the TV to determine whether we needed to shutter the house and leave.
What I saw was black smoke from upper floors of one of the World Trade Center towers. It didn?t seem to be much of a fire, and the reports were that the fire was under control. While I was trying to figure out why every TV network had its main news anchor covering an office fire, TV cameras showed an airplane hitting the other tower. It was then that I learned that both towers had been hit by airliners.
Cameras showed people standing at the hole in the side of the tower looking out. This didn?t surprise me. The airliner was minute compared to the massive building. But what was going on? Two accidents, one on top of the other?
The towers?the three-fourths or four-fifths of the buildings beneath the plane strikes?were standing, apparently largely undamaged. There were no signs of fire except in the vicinity of where the airliners had hit. Suddenly, one of the towers blew up, disintegrated, and disappeared in fine dust. Before one could make any sense of this, the same thing happened to the second tower, and it too disappeared into fine dust.
Continue reading “On 9/11 Doubts Were Immediate”
Women, wartime and the dream of peace
Zainab Salbi TED
Al Jazeera and U.S. Foreign Policy: What WikiLeaks' U.S. Embassy Cables Reveal about U.S. Pressure and Propaganda
?The U.S. Embassy cables published by WikiLeaks present numerous very interesting stories about how Al Jazeera was brought to heel by the U.S. Government.? The U.S. Embassy in Doha, and officials from Washington, used a variety of direct and indirect methods of ensuring a greater degree of compliance on the part of Al Jazeera.? Elaborates?? Maximilian C. Forte .
Maximilian C. Forte
Associate professor in anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
His website 😕www.openanthropology.org
“Al Jazeera is a vital component to the USG’s strategy in communicating with the Arab world.” –?Joseph E. LeBaron, U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, November 6, 2008
“Al Jazeera Board Chairman Hamed bin Thamer Al Thani has proven open to creative uses of Al Jazeera’s airwaves by the USG beyond straightforward interviews.” —?Joseph E. LeBaron, U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, February 10, 2009 Continue reading “Al Jazeera and U.S. Foreign Policy: What WikiLeaks' U.S. Embassy Cables Reveal about U.S. Pressure and Propaganda”
BBC Caught In Syria Massacre Propaganda Hoax
News agency uses picture of dead Iraqi children to depict alleged government atrocity
Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, May 28, 2012
The British media has been caught yet again with its pants down in the effort to sell a NATO-led attack on Syria, with the revelation that BBC News used a years-old photo of dead Iraqi children to depict victims of an alleged government assault on the town of Houla.
In a report issued hours after the massacre, the BBC used a photo that was first published over nine years ago and taken in Al Mussayyib, Iraq. The image shows a child skipping over the dead bodies of hundreds of Iraqi children who have been transported from a mass grave to be identified.
Continue reading “BBC Caught In Syria Massacre Propaganda Hoax”
Beware, Hillary Clinton's a warmonger!
by rahnuma ahmed
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while on a surprise visit to embattled Libya, shows the V-sign as she poses with NATO-funded Libyan “rebels.? October 2011.
The US secretary of State Hillary Clinton is coming to Dhaka today, on a two day visit. Press reports inform us that her initial itinerary had involved attending the fourth round of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing on May 3-4. That, the decision to visit Bangladesh (May 4-5) and India (May 7-8) was ?sudden.? A ?surprise stopover.?
Ms Clinton’s visit to Beijing was preceded by the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s escape from house arrest to the US Embassy; while the western media furore has abated somewhat after US officials stepped in and brokered a deal on his behalf with the Chinese government, deep concern in western circles over his safety and security continue to be expressed.
Forty-year old blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng — who has suffered intimidation, beatings, jail and extralegal house arrest — escaped from being confined at home on April 22, 2012 and took refuge in the US embassy. He has since been escorted to a Beijing hospital where he was reunited with his family. The deal was brokered by US officials with the Chinese government. Chen’s release led Hillary Clinton to state, ?I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the US Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values? (May 2, 2012).
After being released, Chen, on May 3, phoned into a Congressional hearing to detail his ?predicament. He has also ?begged? that he wants to leave China with his family ?for the US on Hillary Clinton’s plane.? This has been followed by a Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry statement on its website which says that the blind human rights activist may apply to ?study abroad.? Interestingly, his dramatic journey to the US embassy — described as ?mission impossible? — was aided by US officials. The Guangcheng story has generated international headlines; while China experts, journalists and human rights activists discuss how the conflict may be further resolved, Chen has expressed his desire to meet Ms Clinton in person. To seek ?more help from her.? To ?thank her face to face.? The New York University meanwhile, has been kind enough to extend an invitation to Chen. (ABC News, May 4, 2012).
When Ms Clinton mouths ?our values,? one is forced to ask, pray, what may these be? Or, more pointedly, how far do these extend? Whom do they exclude?
Obviously not to the Palestinians, in whose case, as Philip Weiss reminds us, the US chooses its ?interests,? over its (purported) “values.? Former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter had said this spring, ?Whenever I send out a [twitter] message about the suffering, the detention without trial, civilian deaths by armed force in all these countries, I now get messages back that say to me, What about the Palestinians??
Scores of Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike presently but not a peep out of the US embassy there. No dramatic ?mission impossible? rescue efforts either. ?Nor do State Department officials dare write about the rights of the Palestinians, when they are in its employ.
Clinton’s ?our values? statement also reminds us, writes Weiss, that Israel has blocked the investigation of the massacre of 21 members of the al-Samouni family during the 2009 ?Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. That the US has helped Israel by quashing the UN’s Goldstone Report which had characterised the attack on the family as a ?war crime.?
According to the B?Tselem?s summary of the events that led to the family’s massacre:
?On 4 January 2009, soldiers gathered about 100 members of the extended a-Samuni family in the house of Wael a-Samuni, in the a-Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City. The next morning, at 6:30 A.M., when a few members of the family tried to leave the house, the military fired a missile or shell at them, killing Muhammad a-Samuni and wounding two other persons. A few seconds later, the military fired two more shells or missiles that hit the house directly. The house collapsed on its occupants, killing 21 persons, including many women and children, and injuring dozens of other family members.?
The Red Cross, B?Tselem and other human rights organisations had repeatedly requested that they be allowed to help remove injured persons, but permission had been granted two days later. By then, four wounded family members had bled to death. Of the 21 killed, nine were children, ranging in ages from 6 months to 16 years (Richard Silverstein, “IDF Closes Book on al-Samouni Killings, Whitewashes Massacre,” May 3, 2012).
On May 2, 2012 the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) informed B’Tselem that it intended to close the investigation. While ?mistakes [had been] made [which had] led to unfortunate consequences,? these had been ?inadvertent.? In other words, ?not culpable.?
Similar bouts of amnesia which exclude people selectively from ?our values? occurred when Ms Clinton, while testifying before a Senate committee on February 28, 2012, stated that Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad could be branded a ?war criminal.?
?Based on definitions of war criminal and crimes against humanity, there would be an argument to be made that he [Assad] would fit into that category.?
But this is part of the American political and media establishment’s rhetoric, writes Bill Van Auken, aimed at winning western public support for ?yet another imperialist intervention in the Middle East.? A regime change venture dressed up as a ?crusade for human rights.?
When the US Secretary of State speaks of war criminals and war crimes, which definition does she rely on? It could well be the International Criminal Court’s legislation, largely drawn from the Nuremberg tribunal, where war crimes are defined as a number of acts?including murder, extermination, torture, imprisonment and enforced disappearance of persons?knowingly ?committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population?? (Bill Van Auken, Hillary Clinton and Middle East War Crimes, Global Research, March 3, 2012).
Further, it could well be that the urge to define Assad as a war criminal gained ground after the 27-day seige of the Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs, seized by armed militias, who, it must be noted, abducted and murdered non-Sunni residents of the city — ?had ended. The US-backed rebels were forced to pull out on March 1, since Syrian military strength had proven to be superior.
Hundreds of Syrians were undoubtedly killed in the month-long siege. Many of them had been unarmed civilians.
But when twenty times as many unarmed civilians had been killed over a shorter period, only 400 miles away from Homs, had similar outrage been expressed by Ms Clinton?
When the entire city of Fallujah in Iraq had been turned into a free-fire zone? When inhabitants had been warned to leave but men and boys had been turned back? Had been “forced to face an onslaught of napalm, cluster bombs, white phosphorus shells and other munitions” which had incinerated their victims? Had brought their homes crashing down on them?
Of the fifty thousand Fallujans who had been either unwilling or unable to flee, more than 6,000 had died.
Seven years on, Fallujans suffer an “epidemic of birth defects, childhood cancers and other ailments caused by depleted uranium shells and other ordnance dumped on the city.”
There are greater war criminals around than Syria’s Assad. Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.
While it is true that the Bush administration was in power when the Falluja massacre had taken place, it is also true that one woman had agreed with all the lies uttered by president Bush, as a YouTube video available here demonstrates http://prisonplanet.com/articles/november2007/271107Warmonger.htm.
Bush: [the] Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons (July 10, 2002).
Hillary Clinton: Saddam Hussein has worked, rebuilt his chemical and biological weapon stock (October 10, 2002).
Bush: Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists including members of al-Qaeda (January 28, 2003).
Hillary Clinton: He [Saddam] has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists including al-Qaeda members (October 10, 2002).
Bush: [the] regime is seeking a nuclear bomb (January 28, 2003).
Hillary Clinton: and [Saddam] will, keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. So, it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interest of our nation, it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President (October 10, 2002).
Bush: this war will end in the defeat of totalitarians (August 31, 2006).
Hillary Clinton: any vote that might lead to war should be hard. But I cast it with conviction? (October 10, 2002).
It is also true that Hillary Clinton later lied. That, as a Democratic contendor for the post of president in the 2008 elections, she had said, “If I had been president in October of 2002, I would never have asked for authority to divert our attention from Afghanistan to Iraq and I certainly would never have started this war.”
Hillary Clinton’s feminism has been called to question as well, for, when servile commentators gush over her “feminist foreign policy”, over how she “has gone out of her way to press feminist issues” — the growing gender imbalance in China because of the high abortion rate of female foetuses, sexual violence as a weapon of war (Democratic Republic of Congo), the need to provide clean cooking stoves to save women from smoke inhalation which kills 1.9 million per year (Madeleine Bunting, “Clinton is proving that a feminist foreign policy is possible — and works,” Guardian, January 16, 2011), others point out how, over 4 million Iraqis, mostly women and children, have been turned into refugees. How, Ms Clinton seems gung-ho ready to do it to Iranian women as well, having recently warned Iran that time is “running out for diplomacy” (Guardian, March 31, 2012).
Despite the fact that the IAEA’s latest reports on Iran’s nuclear programmes, and congressional testimony from the director of National Intelligence, asserts that “there is no strong evidence that Iran has decided to restart its nuclear program” (Reuters, March 23, 2012).
Warmonger, or, maybe, as some insist, a war criminal? I leave it to you to decide.
Published in New Age, Monday, May 5, 2012, a special writeup on the occasion of Hillary Clinton’s visit to Bangladesh.
Hillary Clinton’s address to Bangladeshi youth. Live at www.drik.tv at 11:00 am BST. 6th May 2012
Control by seed
To the rest of the world, Abu Ghraib is associated with inhuman torture, incarceration without trial and arrogant US unilateralism. To the farmers of Iraq, Abu Ghraib was better known for the national seed gene bank, started in the early 70s. In fact, Iraq?s most well-known wheat variety is known as ?Abu Ghraib?. The country precious heritage is now all but lost.
Facing the same unsolicited adversary, Syria is under a similar threat. The Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) is situated there and still holds remaining samples of Iraq?s threatened seeds. It is worrying because the planned destruction of Iraq?s agriculture is not widely known. Modern Iraq is part of the ?fertile crescent? of Mesopotamia where man first domesticated wheat between 8,000 and 13,000 years ago, and home to several thousand varieties of local wheat. As soon as the US took over Iraq, it became clear its interests were not limited to oil. In 2004, Paul Bremer, the then military head of the Provisional Authority imposed as many as a hundred laws which made short work of Iraq?s sovereignty. Continue reading “Control by seed”
Bush, Blair found guilty in KL war crimes trial
By rahnuma ahmed
The accused — former President of the United States George W. Bush and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair — were tried in absentia at the tribunal’s hearings.
Their absence, presumably, was not due to lack of knowledge for the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) had duly served them notice on charges of committing Crimes against Peace.
Established in 2008, the Commission had received complaints from Iraqi war victims and those who had been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo for short, termed America’s ‘Gulag’ by many, a reference to forced labour camps in the former Soviet Union) after being illegally detained in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009.
Statutory declarations sworn by the victims were presented to the Commission; these were subjected to questioning to verify whether the facts and experiences claimed by the victims before, and during, detention were true.
The Commission conducted an extensive study and investigation for nearly two years, and finalised its report in May 2011.
The investigation revealed that none of the victims, neither those imprisoned at Gitmo, nor the Iraqis, had been charged for any actual offences. Neither had they been given access to legal representation. The due process of international law had not been complied with. All international conventions on human rights, on the dignity of captives had been suspended.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq by the combined forces of the US (148,000), UK (45,000), Australia (2,000) and Poland (194) resulted in the death of 1.4 million Iraqis. Countless others have undergone torture, and untold hardship. The international community has not paid any attention to the cries of these victims (‘complaints had already been filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against both Bush and Blair, but the ICC had refused prosecution‘).
KLWCC was established to ‘fill this void.’ To act as the people’s conscience by providing an avenue for victims of aggression and occupation to file their complaints.
Charges were framed by the Prosecution division of the Commission. The first charge was against Messrs Bush and Blair for committing Crimes against Peace.
The second charge is against 8 US citizens, for committing Crimes of Torture and War Crimes. It includes George W. Bush and other members of his administration, 2001-2008: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Jay Bybee (assistant attorney general, infamous for signing the memo which approved the use of torture) and John Yoo (department of Justice official, author of the ‘torture’ memo) among others.
The first trial, a four-day hearing was held at the headquarters of the Al-Bukhary Foundation at Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, November 19-22, 2011.
The seven-member Tribunal was headed by retired Malaysian Federal Court judge Dato? Abdul Kadir Sulaiman (member of the Council of Regency, state of Terengganu), and included other well-known and widely-respected figures.
The chief prosecutor was professor Gurdial S. Nijar, whose team included professor Francis Boyle, professor in law, Illinois, USA, and other lawyers.
Since the accused were not present at the hearing, nor had they appointed any counsel to represent them, the Tribunal appointed an amicus curiae (someone not a party to the case), to defend them; the defense team was headed by Jason Kay Kit Leon.
‘Sparks flew’ on the very first day of the hearing, says Cynthia McKinney (former US congresswoman, the Green party’s nominee for President).
Before the actual proceedings could begin, the defence counsel charged that Judge Niloufer Bhagwat would not be ‘fair’ as she had been one of the Judges at the Tokyo International Tribunal for War Crimes in Afghanistan (2004), and a prosecutor of George W. Bush at the People’s Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul (2005).
In response, Francis Boyle argued that precedents exist at the International Court of Justice and the US Supreme Court, of judges rendering judgments ‘despite what might appear at first glance to be a conflict of interests.’ But Judge Bhagwat announced that she would recuse herself from Charge 1 deliberations; her decision was accepted and she left the Chambers. Judge Datuk Dr Zakaria Yatim too recused himself on objections made by the defence.
The defence’s next line of attack was that the Tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to consider the acts of the President and the Prime Minister. One anticipated by the prosecution which countered that, war crimes had been committed, that, by virtue of the Charter of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission it had jurisdiction to hear cases of war crimes. That, its proceedings were also inspired by previous precedents such as, the Tribunal on US War Crimes in Vietnam convened in Sweden and Denmark by philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre (1967),?and the Tokyo Tribunal on Afghanistan.
Further, that international humanitarian law had developed in such a manner over the last fifty years so that ‘no head of state or nation can unilaterally renounce it.’ Nor, does the status of a head of state ‘constitute a defence.’
The Amicus Curiae entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of both the accused.
In his verdict, Chief judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman stated, ‘the essence of legality is the principled, predictable, and consistent application of a single standard for the strong and the weak alike.’ But powerful states had selectively manipulated the law which undermined its legitimacy.
The invasion of Iraq was ‘an unlawful act of aggression and an international crime.’ It ‘cannot be justified under any reasonable interpretation of international law.’ The UN Security Council’s resolution 1441 ‘clearly does not authorise the use of military action to compel its compliance.’
Bush had contemplated attacking Iraq as far back as September 15, 2001, and had confided his intention to Blair ? this is undisputable. ?Both had directed air strikes against Iraq in 2002 without the sanction of the UN Security Council in order to weaken Iraq’s air defences, to prepare for the invasion of 2003. The Downing Street Memo (July 23, 2002) recorded a meeting between Blair and his intelligence officials.?Blair had admitted this as much at the Chilcot inquiry on January 14, 2011 when he said that his attorney general Peter Goldsmith had advised him that a second Security Council resolution? was ‘necessary under international law to authorise the use of military force against Iraq.‘
What occurred in Iraq amounts to ‘mass murder.’ It also threatens the future of the UN and the international law of war. ‘The accused took the law into their own hands.’ They acted with ‘deceit and falsehood’, flagrantly violating the international law of war and peace.
Deceit and falsehoods were many for, Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Both Bush and Blair had admitted post-invasion that they knew intelligence reports on Iraq’s WMD were ‘unreliable.’
To bolster its arguments, the defence counsel mentioned Saddam Hussein’s brutality, his campaign of ethnic cleansing and use of chemical weapons against the Kurds and the Anfal campaign in 1988, but were unable to explain why US presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush senior had ‘sold Iraq chemical weapons and permitted their use.’
The defence also mentioned Al-Qaeda but there was ‘no credible evidence that Iraq had any connections with September 11, 2001 or with Al-Qaeda.’ Similarly, there was no evidence that Iraq was preparing ‘to invade or attack or threaten any nation.’
Iraq had been complying with UN inspections to disarm. The chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix had requested another 4 months, to which all UN Security Council members, except the US and UK, had agreed.?In order to obtain a new resolution, the US had ‘forged documents to accuse Iraq of trying to purchase raw materials for WMD on the international market’, while the UK, in the absence of any substantial evidence ‘plagiarized from a student thesis and tried to pass off an out-of-date student essay as an authoritative intelligence report.’
The defence had argued that the situation in Iraq justified ‘humanitarian intervention.’ But official documents submitted by the defence were mostly from one agency of the US government, the US Agency for International Development (USAid), which, according to the the director of the Agency itself, was ‘filled with US undercover intelligence agents and propagandists.’
While the defence cited authority contending that the September 11 attacks demonstrated ‘a change in the nature of the threats confronting the international community’, the prosecution introduced evidence to show that Bush was planning an ‘invasion of Iraq as early as February 1998,’ that the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) mentioned the utility of a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ to galvanise public opinion. And, as the chief judge pointed out in his verdict, no evidence was introduced to establish a ‘planning or operational connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 event’. On the contrary, it is quite probable that, as the prosecution had argued, 9/11 was used as a ‘pretext’ for the invasion of Iraq.
The verdict states, ‘Yet it is still unsettled, what the events of September 11, 2011 are all about.’
The defence attempted to conclude its proceedings by evoking the ’emotionalism of the September 11 tragedy.’ It ‘changed things’, argued the defence counsel. ‘Those of us old enough to have lived through it, who saw it, who could understand it at the time ? we knew instantly that the world would forever be a different place. In our hearts, we knew things would never be the same.’ But regrettably, instead of ‘forgiving’ the? perpetrators of 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo happened. ‘We are fallible human beings. We make mistakes.’
At this point the Judges interjected that a better defense would have been ‘temporary insanity.’ When the Defense team began playing a video of the planes hitting the Twin Towers, professor Boyle termed it a ‘continuation of the Bush administration’s propaganda campaign against Iraq.’
Since the charges against the two accused were proven ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, they were found guilty. These crimes, as the African news agency Mathaba points out, carry the death sentence in many jurisdictions (Bush and Blair Accused, November 21, 2011).
When the defence levelled the charge against Judge Bhagwat’s impartiality, Judge Alfred Webre noted that, although appropriate notice had been served on George W. Bush, he had failed to appear at various people’s tribunals which sought justice for those who had become victims as a result of his Presidential decisions. However, since president Bush had not failed to appear at a Vancouver dinner at which he collected a US$150,000 speaking fee, ‘perhaps the Tribunal should have offered [him] a sizeable speaking fee in order to [ensure] his attendance at the Tribunal.’
In an interview to Press TV, Francis Boyle explained that Bush and Blair have been ‘found guilty under the same law as applied to the Nazis after the end of World War II.’ ?[0:40/2:33]? They are both ‘international criminals [who are] guilty of Nuremberg crimes against peace and they should be prosecuted by any state in the world that gets hold of them.’ ‘We will continue our efforts to bring Bush, Blair to justice and put them in jail.
Boyle, by the way, has recently offered pro bono services to any member of Congress who will introduce a bill of impeachment against incumbent president Barack Obama. Citing specific cases which make Obama eligible for impeachment ? the murder of US citizens, the war against Libya ? he stressed that Obama had ‘gone far beyond Bush.’ While Bush had tried to justify his preventive war policy (which did violate the standards set by the Nuremberg Tribunal) by saying it was for the national defense, ‘Obama simply declares that if a nation is violating his sense of “values,” it is fair game.’ Prof. Francis Boyle Offers To Draft Bill To Impeach Obama, EIRNS press release, November 1, 2011).
The Tribunal recommended that the KLWCC file a report with the International Court of Crime against both under the Nuremberg principles, including reports of genocide and crimes against humanity. That, the names of both be entered into the Register of War Criminals and be publicised. That, the KLWCC publicise the Tribunal’s findings to all nations who are signatories of the Rome Statue, so that they can be prosecuted if they enter the jurisdiction of these nations. And, that the KLWCC should suggest the passage of a resolution in the UN General Assembly to end Iraq’s occupation and to transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqi people.
But, since the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal does not have any ‘formal enforcement power, as professor Glenn Greenwald points out, what use was the Tribunal? Bush and Blair both ‘ignored’ the summons. Every serious political and media elite in the US would ‘scoff’ at the Tribunal, for, in their view, nothing could be more ‘fringe and ludicrous’ than punishing Bush and Blair as war criminals. So, why bother to hold it?
If the principles of Nuremberg (1945-1949) — the trial and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis for having committed Crimes against Peace (planning, waging a war of aggression), War Crimes (violation of the laws or customs of war such as, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, wanton destruction of cities, towns, villages), and Crimes against Humanity (murder, enslavement, extermination, deportation) ? serves a ‘useful purpose’, then, so too does the Malaysian tribunal.
While McKinney thinks that the best thing to come out of the Tribunal was the need for conducting an ‘independent investigation of 9/11.’ As a matter of fact, when the Defence counsel had raised the issue of 9/11, Judge Webre had suggested that the Tribunal should next move on to allegations about 9/11 being a false flag operation, that ‘expert witnesses should be brought to testify before the Tribunal about the truth of the Bush adminstration’s explanation of what happened on that [day].’
As Bengalis are wont to say, kaan tanle matha ashey. Pull at the ear, along comes the head.
Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman (centre) heading the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal yesterday. The other judges are (from left) Tunku Sofiah Jewa, Alfred L. Webre, Salleh Buang, Zakaria Yatim, Niloufer Bhagwat and Shad Saleem Faruqi. – ROSDAN WAHID/New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/local/general/war-crime-hearing-against-bush-blair-begins-1.8353#ixzz1ehl3yetn
Published in New Age, Monday November 28, 2011
Blasting war, hoping for peace
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An inspiring soliloquy by Chris Hedges to those preparing for arrest in front of the White House protesting the continuous wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, intercut with interviews with Daniel Ellsberg and returning war veterans
`Conspiracy theories.' Learning from 9/11
By Rahnuma Ahmed
The truth is, conspiracies sometimes do occur.
Michael Meacher, current Labour MP, former British minister for the environment
`Bangladeshis love conspiracy theories’ was a comment I came across in foreign news reports, news analyses and blog talk soon after the BDR rebellion. Somewhat piqued, I thought, surely that’s not something essentially Bangladeshi? And, surely not more than the Bush administration?
Contending accounts of 9/11
Nagging disbelief about many aspects of the official story has seen the rise of a movement, initially grassroots, but later joined by professionals — pilots, architects, engineers, scientists, firefighters, lawyers, medical professionals, former intelligence officers including FBI and CIA whistleblowers, politicians — that has come to be known as the 9/11 Truth Movement, extending from America to Europe, and beyond. Its members have raised hard-nosed questions based on rigorous and meticuluously detailed research, serving to sideline the crackpots, and to turn it into a serious community of truth-seekers, seeking to expose the official lies and cover-up surrounding the events of September 11th, 2001. And, seeking justice and redress for those wronged on September 11th, or as a result of those events. One of its central demands is the complete disclosure of all records and evidence.
The mainstream press, both in the US and in other western countries, generally refer to the members of the movement, as conspiracy theorists. Matthew Rothschild, in Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracies, Already writes, “Here’s what the conspiracists believe: 9/11 was an inside job. Members of the Bush administration ordered it, not Osama bin Laden. Arab hijackers may not have done the deed. The Twin Towers fell not because of the impact of the airplanes and the ensuing fires but because of explosives. I’m amazed at how many people give credence to these theories.” (September 2006).
But, as Dr David Ray Griffin, professor of philosophy of religion and theology, and a renowned author of a series of eye-opening books on 9/11 (The New Pearl Harbour: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11, 2004; The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions, 2004) points out, many journalists avoid `getting empirical’ about 9/11. Professor Griffin, in a televised lecture available on YouTube says, what Matthew Rothschild should have added, was: `Here’s what the government conspiracists believe: 19 hijackers with knives and box cutters defeated the most sophisticated defense system in history. Hani Hanjour, who could barely fly a Piper Cub, flew an astounding trajectory to crash Flight 77 into the Pentagon, the most well-protected building on the planet. Other hijacker pilots, by flying planes into two buildings of the World Trade Centre, caused three of them to collapse at virtually free-fall speed, straight down. I’m amazed at how many people give credence to these theories.’
Professor Paul Zarembka (State University of New York, Buffalo, editor of The Hidden History of 9-11-2001, publ. 2006) also dismisses the official account, he calls it `absurd.’ If you just relaxed and dreamed it up no one would believe that the US could be taken out by 19 hijackers. If this had happened in Russia, we would have laughed it out. We wouldn’t have believed that they would let it happen. I don’t know exactly who did it but the evidence points that it was done internally.
But, Michael Keefer, professor of English at the University of Guelph, Ontario says, disbelieving the official account is taboo. And it is so, because of the people’s contract, the implicit contract that they [western peoples] have with their governments. Namely, that the government will kill others, and not us. That it will not turn against us. Or, in the words of a young protester at one of the 9/11 Truth Movement rallies that I watched on YouTube, In the US, the people are convinced that the government loves them. But if it was, say Russia, if you say something bad about the government, people are likely to listen to what you have to say.
Andreas von Bulow, former German defense minister (in Helmut Schmidt’s government), finds the official account `totally incredible’. Convinced that it was a covert operation, Bulow argues, `It was a highly sophisticated operation. Who [else] was capable of doing it? It was not possible for a non-inside force, to do it.’ And the reasons? To influence and brainwash the American people into a “long, long, ongoing conflict with the Muslim world,” to get “the last oil reserves which we need for the next decades before the oil age” goes out. But, how could a government, one that leads the world’s most powerful democracy, entertain the idea, let alone carry it out, of doing something as heinous, as immoral, and well, outright murderous? Bulow’s words are chillingly clear, `It’s a form of war. In war, it’s acceptable for people to die, even on your own side.”
But could so large an operation, one that must have involved hundreds, if not thousands of people, remain a secret? Professor Griffins offers an interesting instance from history. The Manhattan project to build nuclear bomb involved 100,000 workers, it was kept so secret that even vice-president Harry Truman didn’t know about it until he became president.?
Who Benefited from 9/11?
`Cui Bono?’ is the question that any good investigator asks after a crime has been committed. In other words, who benefited from 9/11??
The answers, 9/11 truth-seekers claim, are contained in `Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century’, a PNAC (Project for the New American Century) document drafted by the US military machine’s think-tank. `This is about control of middle-eastern oil,’ says Meacher. `It indicates that America is aiming for global leadership both militarily and economically and what it says, is, I think, chilling. It says if we are going to transform America to tomorrow’s dominant force, that’s their phrase, then it’s going to be a long process. Unless there is a catastrophic and catalysing event — like a new Pearl Harbour.’
And, 9/11 took place 12 months later.
Who benefited? As many 9/11 truth-seekers point out, Iraq didn’t, nor did Saddam Hussein, nor al-Qaeda, nor any of the Arab countries. But Larry Silverstein did. He had acquired the lease of the WTC complex a few weeks before 9/11, had re-worked the insurance policy to cover terrorist attacks, and after what is known as `Twin Tower’, received $7 billion in compensation. For an original investment worth $15 million only! So did those who took part in insider trading on the stocks of parent companies of American Airlines (AMR) and United Airlines (UAL), bringing in profits running to millions, possibly, as high as a billion dollars. And, the PNAC group, did. As did Dick Cheney (Halliburton), the arms industry (`there’s nothing better for the arms industry than a war’), the Bush family (Carlyle group), US oil companies (the oil pipeline from the Caspian oil fields to Afghanistan was signed the day after Karzai was installed), the US government (provided it with the excuse to pursue its goal of a new world order by means of war).
The 9/11 Commission: neither structurally nor procedurally independent
President Bush resisted forming an investigatory commission for a year. The 9/11 Commission that was subsequently formed was, despite its stated intention, neither `independent’, nor `impartial’, nor `thorough’. Bryan Sacks (a contributor to The Hidden History of 9/11) writes, it was structurally compomised by bias-inducing connections to subjects of the investigation (for instance, its executive director Philip Zelikow worked closely with Condoleeza Rice, was also her co-author). It was also procedurally compromised, on three counts. It failed to take up promising lines of inquiry, to force the release of key documents that were closely guarded by the Bush administration, the FBI and various intelligence sources. It distorted information about pre-9/11 military preparedness, foreknowledge of the attacks or similar attacks. It omitted information related to the funding of the plot and the specific whereabouts of key officials (foremost among them, vice-president Dick Cheney) on the morning of September 11, 2001.
These two key features, writes Sacks, converged to produce a report that unquestioningly accepted the official version that left unchallenged key myths associated with American exceptionalism (`the US government loves its people,’ `it would not conspire against them’).
Lessons for us
The new US administration led by Barack Obama speaks of change. Will the change be substantive? Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, who has done ground-breaking research on 9/11, thinks not. Obama’s arrival is “set to rehabilitate American hegemony and restore some sense of credibility and even respectability to US military and financial power” in the context of Bush administration’s trampling of? “any semblance of half-decent PR” during the last eight years. And even though Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State recently said that the use of the phrase `war on terror’ was to be discontinued, Obama’s formal request to Congress for $83.4 billion in ?emergency? supplemental funding to pay for the continuation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his words to students in Strasbourg, “those terrorists are still plotting today. And there — if there is another al Qaeda attack, it is just as likely, if not more, that it will be here in Europe, in a European city,” sound ominous to my ears. ?
Although our Commerce Minister, who is also coordinator of the investigations into the BDR rebellion has become more reticent recently, no longer chattering about the alleged mutineers links to Islamic militants, and the JMB, the incidents of custodial deaths, and allegations of torture cast doubts on the credibility of the evidence that is being gathered. One can only hope that the government will learn its lessons from the 9/11 Truth Movement, and that its investigative committee will not produce a report that is neither `independent’, nor `impartial’, nor `thorough’.