Friday, 16 January 2009
Departing CIA Director Michael Hayden said Thursday that the Islamic Republic's production of low-enriched uranium does not necessarily substantiate an Iranian objective to build atomic weaponry.
He said that even if the country does gain the capability to create highly enriched uranium, still there is no “clear proof” that Iran will use the material to fuel a nuclear warhead.
Washington accuses Tehran of developing a nuclear military program. Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), insists its program is poised for the civilian applications of the technology.
This is while UN nuclear watchdog Director General Mohamed ElBaradei disputed Western claims and ruled out suggestions that the Iranian nuclear program should be considered hostile.
"They [Iranians], as I just recently mentioned still don't even have the nuclear material, the low-enriched uranium, to develop one nuclear weapon," he said in an address to the London City Hall.
"But even if they decide to walk out tomorrow from the Non-Proliferation Treaty - and you go into a lot of scenarios - it is not that we are going to see Iran tomorrow having nuclear weapons."
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has extensively monitored Iran's nuclear work since 2003, said in its latest report that it could not find any 'components of a nuclear weapon' or 'related nuclear physics studies' in the country.
As I pointed out in previous briefs during that period, the purpose of the bogus National Intelligence Estimate (NIE of November 2007) was to both defuse the reason for the planned attack AND permanently alter the public perception about Iran's nuclear weapons program. Prior to the changed NIE the US government had never made their case that Iran actually had a working nuclear weapons program --even though we could all see that Iran had every reason to do so (given the degree to which they perceived the Western powers were "out to get them"). But now, in an instant, US disinformation experts were able to turn that corner by simply stating that Iran HAD a weapons program and had abandoned it. With the apparent threat gone, the public now had no reason to pursue or even doubt the first assertion that there was, indeed, a weapons program--which, in fact, was never proven.
Of course, this was all enhanced by the fact that not a single journalist or pundit dared to point out this discrepancy to the public in their commentaries. The US did have solid evidence that Iran was interested in a weapons program because the US itself provided the initial weapons plans--but they couldn't admit to that directly. We now know (due to certain admissions about CIA involvement with the Abdul Khan ring of nuclear smugglers in Pakistan) that the US actively fed Iran's nuclear ambitions with partly flawed nuclear plans that were sold to Iran via the CIA's nuclear front man in Pakistan, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. Only Pakistan got the real plans--thanks to a US black operation. Others were sold bogus plans in an attempt to create future conflict in the Middle East which, in turn, provides the globalists with the excuse to intervene.
As the US expected, the Iranians got help from the Russians in correcting portions of the formulas that were bad and the Russians have continued to assist Tehran ever since. Thus, this story allows the US to claim it was only sabotaging Iran's nuclear intentions by the bogus plans and to simultaneously blame the Russians for Iran's actual nuclear program. The US has refrained from attacking the Russians, for now--that's a matter of a different war still to come.
In September of 2007 when the US attack was imminent an Arab underground newspaper out of the Iranian province of Khuzestan, reported that the entire staff of Russian nuclear engineers and experts employed in building the nuclear reactor at Bushehr had suddenly left on the 28th of that month for Russia. The Russian technicians are now back and they have nearly a thousand workers in Iran feverishly trying to finish the Bushehr reactor during this lull in US attack plans.
The attack is still coming but probably not imminent. That's what this week's rash of disinformation leaks from the government is all about--prepping the public for who they will look to for blame in the future (Israel) and who to give cover for (the Obama administration).
The point man for this disinformation campaign is David E. Sanger of the NY Times. The Times has often been the vehicle for setting up public opinion for acceptance of a coming war. My older readers will remember the Time's propaganda campaign on behalf of Fidel Castro by Herbert L. Matthews, or the campaign by Washington Post columnist Jack Anderson to undermine President Samoza of Nicaragua in favor of the Marxist Sandinistas. Each of these disinformation campaigns is carried out by "unnamed sources" in government that regularly feed leaks to the designated reporter(s) at mainstream newspapers. Sanger's new book and this week's piece in the Times are full of these sources. Although Sanger never mentions the contradiction between the former bogus NIE report and his new revelations that clearly show that every government leaker in Washington is convinced that Iran never did stop its nuclear program--and thus knew that the former NIE was falsified for political purposes.
Sanger's new book, The Inheritance -- The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power is dedicated to bashing the foreign policy errors of George W. Bush, but as review by Bush apologist professor Gary Bass (Princeton) points out, "Mr. Sanger's criticism... is too hawkish to be easily dismissed by conservatives. He believes in putting brute military power behind diplomacy, wants to win the war in Afghanistan and hates the thought of a nuclear-armed Iran and North Korea." Yes, Sanger's real agenda, providing fodder for future globalist wars, is clear to Bass, though Bass doesn't see it as a negative and therefore throws it out as a counter to conservative critics. And, to that, Clay Waters has this retort: "Wanting to win in Afghanistan makes you a hawk at the Times? That seems a pretty low bar. And how about winning in Iraq?"
What Waters is alluding to is how disinformation reporters selectively evade talking about subjects that would undermine or contradict their thesis. People like Sanger are far too intelligent not to notice the same contradictions that I do, but their skewed motives (wanting to support the thesis being fed to them by government sources) make them partially blind to contradictions. Readers of commentaries themselves are led down the disinformation path by their own failing to look past what a commentator writes and compare it to other facts, not said, that contradict those assertions or that illuminate inconsistencies in principle. Of course, that's hard to do if you haven't read enough in alternative sources to know that contradictions exist.
Here are excerpts from Sanger's NY Times piece claiming that the "US rejected aid for Israeli raid on Iranian nuclear site" [my analysis in brackets]. "President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran's main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran's suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons [notice how this is a direct contradiction to last year's claim by the Bush administration that Iran had given up its nuclear weapons program, and yet Sanger never mentions it. In fact, he never asks, "What's the rationale for a covert program if Iran isn't pursuing nuclear weapons."], according to senior American and foreign officials.
"White House officials never conclusively determined whether Israel had decided to go ahead with the strike before the United States protested, or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was trying to goad the White House into more decisive action before Mr. Bush left office [Nonsense. Israel is working hand in glove with the US on this issue and the White House very well knows that Israel wouldn't proceed on their own--since the US supplies all their major weapons].
"But the Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran's major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country's only known uranium enrichment plant is located [Another fib. The US has already allowed Israel to fly into US airbases in Iraq and do aerial refueling using US tanker aircraft]. The White House denied that request outright, American officials said, and the Israelis backed off their plans, at least temporarily [The real reason was that the US had not yet delivered to Israel its latest bunk-busting bomb technology- but, they are now on the way. see story following this]. But the tense exchanges also prompted the White House to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran's nuclear infrastructure, a major covert program that Mr. Bush is about to hand off to President-elect Barack Obama."
Sanger now comments on his sources. "This account of the expanded American covert program and the Bush administration's efforts to dissuade Israel from an aerial attack on Iran emerged in interviews over the past 15 months with current and former American officials, outside experts, international nuclear inspectors and European and Israeli officials. None would speak on the record because of the great secrecy surrounding the intelligence developed on Iran." So, what are they talking to a NY Times reporter for, even "off the record" if this is so hush-hush? It's because this is NOT a secret. This is a planned government "leak and misinform" campaign. But, you'd have to know how government secrecy works to figure out why these are purposeful leaks.
Let me tell you straight. Sanger's bragging about the depth of his sources is his undoing. A truly top secret covert program like this would only be known to a tiny handful of people in the intelligence community. Sanger thinks he is being careful by saying, "Several details of the covert effort have been omitted from this account, at the request of senior United States intelligence and administration officials, to avoid harming continuing operations." That's an understatement. Don't kid yourself. Just mentioning this covert operation even once to the public in a general statement would cause Iran to instantly take countermeasures to ferret out the moles. Besides, no honest government intelligence official would have even mentioned damaging details to a reporter in the first place.
Any of these government sources caught talking to the press, even "off the record" would be hunted down by the CIA's counterintelligence boys and put in jail. The only reason they aren't in jail is because these people all know Sanger is "approved" and that they have permission to share this disinformation message. Sanger doesn't even have to be a knowing conspirator for this to happen. Government officials feed leaks to reporters all the time. Such leaks ensure a reporter's success and often lead to a Pulitzer Prize. Thus, it is natural they don't fret about the illegalities. After all, they've been given the "wink and the nod" that it's OK.
Here's more proof that Sanger is being fed purposeful disinformation. "The interviews also suggest that while Mr. Bush was extensively briefed on options for an overt American attack on Iran's facilities, he never instructed the Pentagon to move beyond contingency planning, even during the final year of his presidency, contrary to what some critics have suggested." Ask any military logistics person aboard those carriers who knew the weapons on board and they will confirm this was far beyond "contingency planning." Clearly that isn't the impression Sanger is giving.
What's the purpose behind all this? The phony NIE of November 2007 was designed to make it easy for the US to change positions on Iran's threat quickly and without further debate by simply saying, "Iran did stop its weapons program in 2003 but we found out later they started it up again." --No proof necessary because they already convinced Congress and the public in the former NIE that an Iranian weapons program was a fact--not with evidence but by decree!
Now, because they've put in a nominally anti-war president, they have to shield him from the appearance of the US launching an attack on Iran directly. They plan on letting Israel do the attack, so that Obama will appear to be "forced to respond." They leaked this story about the US refusing to give permission to Israel to attack Iran in order to plant the idea firmly in the public's mind that Israel is intent on doing this attack (which they are) and simultaneously inferring (falsely) that the US is in vehement opposition to this attack. The US is just as much in this as the Israelis but is planting the seeds of plausible deniability.
Part of that deniability is Obama's pitch that he is willing to "engage" Iran diplomatically. This was echoed in Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearings this week where she talked about her new "smart power" foreign policy. I did note, however, that she was quick to emphasize that, in dealing with Iran, "all the options, including military, remained on the table." In other words, diplomacy with Iran is simply the prelude to excusing military action when US impossible demands are rejected.
US SECRET ARMS BASES IN ISRAEL
The subject of more arms to Israel emerged again this week with a leaked story about a huge arms shipment heading to Israel via Greece. While most of the Palestinian supporters were concentrating on the charge that the US was resupplying Israel in the midst of its battle with Hamas in the Gaza strip, I will concentrate on the larger picture.
The US is planning something very big in the Middle East and has been ever since they started building two huge logistic bases in Israel in the year 2001. I covered these in the briefings at that time. One huge base is located ten minutes from Ben Gurion Airport, another located in the southern Negev district. Here are pictures of the former provided by Barry Chamish and his sources. This is only the above ground portion. http://rense.com/general66/excl.htm
For some reason the US has made arrangements to build these bases with US military funds rather than use aid to Israel to finance them. The US is also keeping custody of these bases which indicates that in the long range planning for war, the US is putting its own soldiers and armaments at risk--perhaps as a trigger for US involvement in some future war. But it also allows the US to control what Israel does with the arms it sends there--essentially forging golden military handcuffs.
These arms in transit (reportedly 325 container loads of munitions--3,000 tons) were apparently part of an even larger shipment from US ships docking at a Greek port and transferring their cargos to smaller Greek ships for the trip to Israel. This was done in part because the US wants to avoid the overt evidence of showing the quantity of armaments it is shipping to Israel. More importantly, this quantity of arms and munitions has to be planned months in advance. These shipments were too large to be in response to resupply needs of the IDF in its Gaza operations. I believe these shipments are destined for the eventual Iran attack. If so, it makes a lie out of what the US is proclaiming in its campaign about this being solely an Israeli fetish.
When the shipments were discovered the media took it as a resupply of the Israeli military in Gaza. The US quickly claimed the shipments were cancelled. Believe me--they weren't cancelled--just postponed until there is less media frenzy in the region. It can't have been good for the Greek government to be seen as collaborating with the US and Israel against the Palestinian cause, which has great support in Greece. Neither Israel nor the US are popular with the Greek Left which holds a political majority in the country. The Leftist Greek political parties naively think they control the government, but, as usual, these revelations demonstrate the ability of the US to buy off even anti-American governments at will. They are all corruptible.
There was a certain amount of disinformation involved in the US government leaking the details of the naval tender agreement for shipping the weapons. First of all, these shipments to Israel are very hush-hush. These things don't go out for public bid. The reports claimed the "The United States Navy's Military Sealift Command issued a tender on December 31st for a ship to deliver 325 standard 20-foot containers of ammunition on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January... But the request to shippers had now been canceled due to safety concerns at the final destination related to the conflict in Gaza." Good excuse, but that wasn't the real reason. The US rep admitted that "EUCOM (U.S. European Command) is developing an appropriate course of action to deliver the items to the U.S. stockpile in Israel."
I'll bet it's news to most people in Congress that the US has a large stockpile of weapons in Israel. That kind of stockpile, out of sight out of mind, makes it much easier to use in black operations, exchanges to terrorists, or off-budget aid to Israel or compliant Arab states.
World Affairs Brief - Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com
World Affairs Brief, 290 West 580 South, Orem, Ut 84058, USA
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Because of Bush's policies, the U.S. also is complicit in the Israeli attack on the Palestinians on the Gaza Strip by providing a "made-in-America" high-tech arsenal for the assault and blocking a ceasefire for nearly two weeks, a move intended to help the Israelis consolidate their hold.
Not to worry, Bush says he isn't concerned about how history will view his militant eight years in the White House, telling ABC News that he "won't be around to read it."
Well, they say that journalism is the first draft of history. So I am going to predict that those future historians will not deal kindly with the Bush presidency.
It's true -- as Bush and company point at their proudest achievement-- there have been no new terrorist attacks on the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.
But they fail to acknowledge administration mistakes before and after that fateful day, starting with the fact that White House and security officials ignored significant early warnings of an imminent strike against the U.S.
The second half of the double 9/11 mistake was the trampling of our constitutional system and American values by the administration's infamous torture policies, illegal interrogation practices, including water boarding (simulated drowning), secret prisons abroad and U.S. run jails at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Post- 9/11 Bush strategy also nurtured a climate of fear that enabled the self-styled "decider" to lead the country into a senseless war against Iraq, a calamity still underway as he leaves office almost six years after the invasion.
Add the administration's pathetic response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and you have basis to dub Bush's eight White House years as the "Bush error."
He was to be the great "unifier" but instead he became a great polarizer.
While he remained stubbornly steadfast to his core social convictions, he did a 180-degree turn when it came to the role of government in the economy when he bailed out the collapsed giants of Wall Street.
He told CNN: "I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market systems." So much for all the anti-government rant of Republican conservatives.
After the 9/11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice drummed up the fiction that Iraq was linked to the al Qaida attacks and sold that fable to a naive Congress and jittery American people. During the first crisis meeting after the 9/11 attack, neo-con advisor Paul Wolfowitz, said: "Let's bomb Iraq."
There were no Iraqis involved in the attack and no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any role in planning or executing it.
Other falsehoods that these officials peddled included the tale that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Cheney told his Sunday television audiences, "We know where they are."
Official inspectors found none. The non-existent weapons were used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Bush is not about to admit that his costly inhumane attack on Iraq was a mistake. How could he tell grieving families of more than 4,000 American service members that their loved ones had died because of his error?
In addition to the flawed decision to attack Iraq, Bush and Co. used the aftermath of 9/11 to take wholesale swipes at our civil liberties, including warrantless wiretapping.
So those future historians will have a clear view of the 43rd president as they look back on the early years of the 21st century.
A list of Bush's accomplishments also should include his efforts to pay more money and political support into helping victims of AIDS and malaria in Africa. And he is proud of his controversial program "No Child Left Behind" to upgrade public school students by imposing national standards on an education system that had none.
Those future historians should also take note that Bush was hailed for his "likeability" when he came into office and was dubbed the guy you would like to share a beer with.
However, a CNN poll last year suggested that Bush had become the most unpopular president in modern American history. That CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey indicated that 71 percent of the American public disapproved of how Bush was handling his job as president.
Bush must have a sense of relief in giving up the presidential burdens.
He is confident that those future historians will vindicate him and his presidency.
But no one is expecting him to wind up on Mount Rushmore.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
French paratroopers landed at team headquarters at around 2:30 a.m. local time. After initial resistance, French heavy armor was deployed to the compound and quickly subdued remaining Detroit Lions forces. By 5:30 am, the Detroit Lions surrendered unconditionally to the invading French forces. World officials were quick to condemn the attack, but a United Nations declaration did concede that the Lions “sucked quite a good deal, and at this point basically have all of this coming to them.”
A very shaken Daunte Culpepper spoke to SSNN after the carnage: “It was awful…they swarmed us from all sides…the pocket was nonexistent, I couldn’t find anyone downfield…I will never forget this, not if I live to be 100.”
Initial calls for help from the Lions went unanswered, as the city of Detroit had recently declared Ford Field to be a no-man’s-land, and was reportedly considering leasing the team to the CFL, where they would have continued to suck in all likelihood.
Red Cross officials have confirmed to SSNN that 59 members of the Lions’ players, coaches, and staff we’re killed while the French suffered only 3 casualties, one of whom was crushed when soldiers toppled the goal posts.
France—known in the academic world as the “Detroit Lions of War”—had been on a century-plus skid since their victory in the Battle of Fuzhou in 1884, when the French Navy destroyed a Chinese fleet made almost entirely of wood.
“We obviously wanted to shut the door on all the heartache we’ve been through over the past century,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy told SSNN. “We saw our opportunity and pounced on it. We’ve finally moved past losing Napoleon, and we’re ready to begin a new chapter of our lives in the 21st Century.
NFL commissioner is reportedly mulling over whether or not the Detroit Lions should be entitled to a compensatory draft, but is unable to take any action at the moment, as all Detroit Lions property and equipment are now in the possession of the French government.
Lions Owner William Ford was optimistic, saying the defeat would serve to be “an excellent learning opportunity” and that the team was “moving full steam ahead”, despite its active roster now composing of only 8 players.
Former GM and unrepentant Luciferian Matt Millen appeared delighted with the news, saying his only regret was that “he didn’t get to taste the tears of pain and anguish” of his now-deceased former co-workers and employees.
In 1924, a panel revoked France’s claim to a joint victory with the United States and Great Britain in World War I when it was discovered that France had actually ceased fighting in 1915.
"My understanding is that the Medal of Freedom was given because of Uribe's promotion of democracy, freedom and human rights," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) at a Washington press conference on Wednesday.
"Personally, I have a hard time figuring out who is more audacious, President [George W.] Bush for giving the human rights award, or President Uribe for receiving it."
Roth added: "Neither Bush nor Uribe has anything to be proud about in the human rights arena."
Uribe's government has been criticized over maintaining links with right-wing paramilitary death squads that have killed, maimed and displaced thousands of labor organizers, civil rights activists, and political dissenters.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
As in past Mideast conflicts, both the media story line and political commentary here in the US has closely followed Israel's talking points on the war. This has been an essential component in Israel's early success and in its ability to prolong fighting without US pushback. Because it recognizes the importance of the propaganda war, Israel fights on this front as vigorously and disproportionately as it engages on the battlefield.
Here's how they have done it:
1) Define the terms of debate, and you win the debate. Early on, the Israelis work to define the context, the starting point, and the story line that will shape understanding of the war. In this instance, for example, they succeeded by constant repetition, in establishing the notion that the starting point of the conflict was December 19th, the end of the six-month ceasefire (which Israel described as "unilaterally ended by Hamas"). In doing so, they ignored, of course, their own early November violations, and their failure to honor their commitment in the ceasefire to open Gaza's borders. They also ignored their having reduced Gaza into a dependency, a process which began long before and continued after their withdrawal in 2005. Because they know that most Americans do not closely follow the conflict and are inclined to believe, as the line goes, "what they hear over and over again," this tactic of preemptive definition and repetition succeeds.
2) Recognize that stereotypes work. Because, for generations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been defined with positive cultural images of Israel and negative stereotypes of Palestinians, Israel's propagandists have an advantage here that is easy to exploit. Because the story has long been seen as "Israeli humanity confronting the Palestinian problem," media coverage of any conflict begins with how "the problem" is affecting the Israeli people. As Golda Meir once put it, "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, but we can never forgive them for making us kill their children." And so, it was not surprising that, despite the disproportionate suffering of the Palestinians, media coverage attempted to "balance" the story, giving an extensive treatment, with photos of anguished and fearful Israelis and the impact the war was having on them. Early on, when media treatment mattered most, Palestinians were reduced, as always, to mere numbers or objectified as "collateral damage."
3) Anticipate and count on your opponent's blunders. Hamas' stupidity played into Israel's strategy. From the outset, Israel could count on the fact that Hamas would launch rockets and issue the kind of threats that Israel could then parley into sympathy in the West. Knowing that these would most certainly come, and could be exploited, was an advantage in their propaganda war.
4) Be everywhere, and say the same thing -- and make sure your opponents remain as invisible as possible. Israel begins each war with a host of English-speaking spokespersons (many born in the West) available at any time for every media outlet (it's no accident, for example, that Israel has an "Arab" Consul General in Atlanta - that's where CNN is). The work of their propaganda operation, which spreads multiple spokespersons in venues across the United States with consistent talking points, guarantees success. At the same time, they are able to deny media access to Gaza, only allowing the Western reporters to operate near the war zone under IDF supervision, guaranteeing Israel the opportunity to shape every aspect of the story while removing the possibility of independent verification of the horror unfolding in Gaza.
5) Give no ground. Since half of the story will be determined by what political leaders say and do, the political apparatus in Washington is also pressed into service, ensuring that White House and Congressional leadership will "toe the line." Statements issued by Congress, therefore, reflect the talking points and, together, the Israeli spokespersons, the political commentators, and the Congressional statements serve as echoes of one another
6) Deny, deny, deny. When events and reality break through, contradicting the Israeli-established narrative, creating stories that run counter to the imposed story line, the propaganda machine works overtime to deny, deny, deny (saying quite boldly, "Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes?"), and/or concoct a counter-narrative that shifts the blame ("We didn't do it, they made us"). In this instance, that means asserting that the death of Palestinian civilians is always the fault of someone else, or that reporters or their opponents are staging the photos of grief (as if to say, "Arabs don't really grieve like we do").
7) The last refuge.... When all else fails, point to a few examples of outrageous anti-Semitism, generalize them, suggesting that that is what motivates critics. It stings, and may be over-used, but it can silence or put critics on the defensive.Dr. James Zogby is president of the Arab American Institute. For comments or information, contact James Zogby.
If growing forests in India can generate lucrative carbon credits, then why isn't everyone planting trees? Paroma Basu reports.
On a humid morning in August 2008, Harshkumar Kulkarni strolled through a thicket of young eucalyptus trees, surveying their slender forms. Stroking each silver trunk as he passed, Kulkarni, the general manager for plantations at the conglomerate Indian Tobacco Corporation (ITC), seemed like a concerned father checking on his children — albeit more than 3 million of them.
Kulkarni has spent the better part of two decades breeding fast-growing, disease-tolerant varieties of eucalyptus, leucaena and casuarina trees that can survive in the swampy, inhospitable soils of Khammam district, in India's southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. Farmers who had struggled to grow traditional crops such as cotton can now earn up to US$500 per hectare from timber that they sell to paper mills, including the one owned by the ITC.
But for the past few years, Kulkarni has been grooming some of his trees for a new role: carbon offsetting. Kulkarni and his colleagues realized that they might benefit from the global carbon market established in 2001 as part of the Kyoto Protocol. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a system by which participating countries can meet some of their greenhouse-gas reductions by buying certified carbon credits from projects in developing countries that reduce emissions. Kulkarni decided to devote a portion of the ITC's plantations to supplying those credits.
“I lost 11 kilos and ruined my health trying to get this project off the ground.”
Seven years, mountains of paperwork and almost $70,000 of the company's funds later, the project is set to become one of only two forest-based CDM projects in India — and one of only a handful in the world — to win the necessary approval from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). If it is approved as expected in the next few months, families will be paid $65 per year for each hectare they commit to grow for four years rather than logging every year. The owners still get money from timber sales when the trees are logged, as long as they immediately replant the plot. Kulkarni considers the project one of his biggest triumphs — but the past seven years have been difficult. "I lost 11 kilos and ruined my health trying to get this CDM project registered," he says.
India should be thick with forestry carbon-offset schemes: it was one of the first nations to move aggressively into carbon offsetting, has robust forestry policies and has vast swaths of land that could be planted. The challenge for Kulkarni and others trying to establish CDM forestry projects has come from the convoluted, expensive and bureaucratic approval process. Some of the biggest difficulties lie in documenting how much carbon the growing trees will absorb. Piecing together the patchwork of land involved is hard too; the 3,070 hectares in Kulkarni's project is owned by around 3,000 local tribal families. "Forest-based CDM has not yielded the desired results so far," says a high-ranking forestry official in India's Ministry of Environment and Forests, who did not want to be named. "The required methodologies and calculations are too complex and the costs are too high to justify. There is certainly huge scope to simplify the whole business."
Despite the complex system, India and other countries are keen to grow more forests for carbon credits. Those efforts that plant native trees could aid biodiversity conservation, and all such schemes can provide a potential source of income for impoverished families who depend on forests for their livelihoods. Soyam Nagamani, a community leader of the Koya tribe in Khammam district's Bhimavaram village, says that ever since she switched from growing traditional cotton crops to the ITC's eucalyptus trees, a lot more money has come in from the sale of timber. Now the promise of additional income has convinced her to devote a portion of her land to carbon offsetting. "We don't understand that much [about global warming]," says Nagamani, "but before we ate only two small meals a day whereas now we eat three full meals of rice."
India is among the most densely forested countries in the world and already has robust conservation policies requiring that trees are replanted as they are removed. Some 24% of the country's land mass is now forested, with the government aiming to reach up to 33% by 2012. India also has vast stretches of land degraded by agriculture, development and pollution, plus remote and uncultivable lands, all of which could be planted with trees. It is here that the CDM could make a big difference. Project developers and forest-dependent communities now have an economic reason to plant and preserve trees. "Through the CDM, we need to create situations in which a standing tree makes more business sense than a felled tree, for only then will poor communities retain the tree," says Mohit Gera, a government forestry officer who has carried out research at the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi. "In developing countries such as India, carbon sequestration and poverty alleviation must happen side by side."
“In developing countries, carbon sequestration and poverty alleviation must happen side by side.”
Trees can only ever be a temporary carbon sink. They will eventually release all their carbon when they die from old age, if not before, because of logging, fires, pests, floods or cyclones. "I feel that in forestry projects you are not actually mitigating climate change but just 'buying' time, or postponing the problem, because of the non-permanence issue," says José Domingos Miguez, a member of the UN's CDM executive board and an adviser on climate change in Brazil's ministry of science and technology. But forestry projects are still considered to be valuable as temporary 'carbon banks' that soak up greenhouse gases until researchers work out ways to make longer-lasting emissions cuts.
When the CDM was formally established, some expected forestry schemes to thrive because tree-planting is a relatively cheap and easy way to mitigate emissions compared with establishing a wind farm or hydropower plant. But although the incentives are there, few projects have materialized. Only one, in China's Pearl River basin, has received the green light from the UNFCCC. Around 25 more are awaiting final approval, according to UNFCCC figures: six in India (see map, below), five in China and the rest scattered through Asia, Africa and South America. By contrast, the organization has approved 1,270 schemes worldwide — including 378 in India, more than any other country — to offset carbon in other sectors, ranging from wind farms to the destruction of non-CO2 greenhouse gases.
China's Pearl River project aims to reforest 4,000 hectares of watershed areas along the Pearl River basin in Guangxi province and to generate around 600,000 carbon credits by 2036. It was an inspiration for the Indian forestry community, but it also exposed serious bottlenecks in the system, says Promode Kant, a former forestry official and director of the Institute of Climate Change and Ecology in New Delhi. Kant learned this first-hand as a technical adviser to a small, 370-hectare reforestation project in the north Indian state of Haryana that is, along with Kulkarni's project, on the brink of getting UNFCCC approval for carbon offsetting.
Where the Pearl River project enjoyed full government support — including a multi-million-dollar budget and the contribution of its mostly government-owned land — the Haryana scheme received none. The project was funded with less than $75,000 by the state's cash-strapped forestry department, and Kant and his colleagues had to corral together 227 farmers across many villages, each owning tiny patches of a hectare or less. State forest departments ought to be the most enthusiastic proponents of India's forest-based carbon offsetting, but they lack financial resources and the experience to compile complicated project applications, says Jagdish Kishwan, director-general of the government's Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education.
There are a number of bureaucratic hurdles to forest-based carbon offsetting. Many of them arise from the UNFCCC's stringent approval process. Before they can sell carbon credits, potential CDM projects have to pass through three rounds of evaluation: a government task force in the home nation, an audit of methodologies, finances and documentation by a UN-accredited body, and a final review by a CDM executive board staffed by scientists and officials.
After the CDM executive board was established in 2001, Indian entrepreneurs moved aggressively into the carbon-trade business and an industry of domestic and international carbon-consulting firms soon emerged to help Indian clients prepare technically sound projects in renewable energies and other areas. But the same is not true for forestry. The CDM guidelines for the forestry sector weren't figured out until 2003, two years after other emissions-reducing sectors, says Martin Schröder, lead auditor for forestry projects at TÜV SÜD Industrie Service in Munich, Germany, a UN-accredited firm that evaluates CDM projects. "Very few consultants are actually experienced in the field, so there are more project developers who are trying to make a go of it on their own," says Schröder. "They are discovering the hard way that the process is not so easy, because UNFCCC rules [for forest-based schemes] are rather complex, maybe even more complex than regular CDM projects."
One of the complexities lies in documenting — to the UNFCCC's satisfaction — how much carbon a forest will actually store for the duration of a project. Different tree species take up carbon at different rates and store it for varying amounts of time, depending on lifespans and harvesting cycles. Although researchers have fairly good estimates for these figures, it has been challenging for people such as Kulkarni, who are going it alone, to apply the CDM's methods on the ground. To ensure he made all of his calculations accurately, Kulkarni spent a lot of time travelling to conferences, reading scientific papers and consulting with CDM specialists, climate scientists and forestry researchers. But Miguez says that such an involved approval process is unavoidable. "The complexity of this type of project is necessary to guarantee that uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere is real and measurable," he says.
Managers of carbon-offset ventures must also meticulously account for 'leakage' — greenhouse gases that will be released into the atmosphere in the process of setting up the project. For example, a World Bank-funded reforestation project in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh had to account for emissions that would have been released by resident cattle, and would continue to be released when the cattle were moved elsewhere, along with those caused by land preparation, clearing bushes, petrol-burning trucks, water pumps and labourers.
More challenging, say proponents, is demonstrating that projects meet the crucial 'additionality' concept, meaning that the greenhouse-gas reductions will be more than those that would have occurred anyway. As part of his application, Kulkarni had to prove that the land he wanted to plant on stood no chance of being otherwise reforested — by locals who own the land or by government 'social forestry' programmes — because the cost was too high and the soil so poor that it could support nothing but eucalyptus and other specially bred trees. Offset projects also have to describe the exact Global Positioning System coordinates for each of the land patches included, a job that, in India, must be contracted out to the only government agency that can produce such maps. This can cost thousands of dollars.
Even if Kulkarni and others do get approval for their projects, they cannot be sure of getting a good price for their carbon credits — or of finding buyers for them at all. This comes back to Miguez's 'non-permanence issue', the fact that the carbon in the forest will eventually be released, however many times it is logged and replanted. Because of their uncertain environmental value, forest-generated credits are expected to fetch only $4–$5 apiece in the global markets, compared with the $20–$23 fetched by carbon credits from other offset schemes. So far, only a few buyers, including Japan, Canada, Spain and the World Bank's BioCarbon Fund have expressed interest in buying these credits, and China's Pearl River project is yet to sell a single one.
On the way to market
Demand for forestry credits also remains low because the European Union does not yet allow their sale on its emissions trading system, or carbon stock exchange, ostensibly fearing that cheap forest credits would swamp the market and bring down prices. Miguez says this exclusion may be reconsidered during the next review by the system's governing committee, although it is still uncertain when that will be.
Kulkarni and other forestry managers are hoping that pricing issues and the other problems they have encountered will be ironed out in the post-Kyoto negotiations, so all eyes are on the 2009 Copenhagen talks, when discussions are expected to begin in earnest. Kant says he would like to see a simplification of the rules and regulations for forest-based CDM projects so that "the process becomes accessible to larger numbers of poor communities across the world through, for example, the reduction of transaction costs. This is one area that has to be tackled and will be tackled."
Kant now conducts CDM training workshops for forestry officers in several developing countries and says that the situation is already improving. "I constantly used to hear that the CDM just can't be done," he says. "But now awareness and actual training efforts are growing, so there is increased understanding and confidence about the process." As many as six groups around India are currently in the early stages of planning forest offset schemes. Forestry managers still think that such ventures, with their UNFCCC stamp of approval, will provide an international, reputable business for the long term, says N. H. Ravindranath, an ecologist at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, who serves on the government's CDM task force. "The whole CDM process is maybe a bit too rigorous, but it is generally the right way of doing projects as it is introducing accountability, encouraging community participation and trying to set good standards."
Kulkarni's experience in meeting those standards means that he is now in regular contact with others in the CDM community and has come to be known as something of an expert on forest-based carbon offsetting. "I still say the future [of forest offsetting] is bright in India," he says, "provided we line up simpler methods and practices."
On the ITC plantations, more and more farmers are agreeing to grow eucalyptus trees for carbon storage, persuaded by the additional income. But as for Kulkarni, he says that his motivations have changed. "By this point, earning money [from carbon credits] is not even the issue," he says. "We just want others to feel that if we can succeed, they can too."
Monday, 12 January 2009
History's terror bombings. This article reviews some of the most infamous:
-- Guernica - 1937;
-- the London Blitz - 1940 - 41;
-- Dresden - 1945;
-- Tokyo - 1945;
-- Hiroshima and Nagasaki - 1945;
-- North Korea - 1950 - 53;
-- Southeast Asia - 1964 - 73;
-- Iraq - 1991 to the present;
-- Serbia/Kosovo - 1999;
-- Afghanistan - 2001 to the present;
-- Lebanon - 1982 and 2006; and
-- Gaza - 2008 - 09.
Strategic bombing involves destroying an adversary's economic and military ability to wage war. It targets its war making capacity and related infrastructure. Terror bombing is another matter. It's against civilians to break their morale, cause panic, weaken an enemy's will to fight, and inflict mass casualties and punishment.
Geneva and other international laws forbid the targeting of civilians. The Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907 Hague IV Convention) states:
-- Article 25: "The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited."
-- Article 26: "The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities."
Article 27: "In sieges and bombardments, all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes." The besieged should visibly indicate these buildings or places and notify an adversary beforehand.
The Fourth Geneva Convention protects civilians in time of war. It prohibits violence of any type against them and requires treatment for the sick and wounded. In September 1938, a League of Nations unanimous resolution prohibited the:
"bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings not in the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces....In cases where (legitimate targets) are so situated, (aircraft) must abstain from bombardment" if this action indiscriminately affects civilians.
The 1945 Nuremberg Principles prohibit "crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity." These include "inhumane acts committed against any civilian populations, before or during the war," including indiscriminate killing and "wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity."
The 1968 General Assembly Resolution on Human Rights prohibits launching attacks against civilian populations. Israel and America do it repeatedly - by land, sea and terror bombings.
Below is some relevant history.
Guernica, Spain - 1937
On April 26, 1937, German and Italian aircraft fire-bombed the small Basque town at the request of their fascist ally General Francisco Franco. It destroyed the town, killed an estimated 1650 people, and injured hundreds more. An eyewitness account said:
"The only things left standing were a church, a sacred tree, the symbol of the Basque people....There hadn't been a single anti-aircraft gun in the town. It (was) mainly a fire raid....A sight that haunted me for weeks was the charred bodies of several women and children huddled together in what had been the cellar of a house." It was a drill for larger-scale bombings to come, and civilian sites were as fair game as military ones.
The scene was repeated throughout the town. Guernica was in flames. It wasn't the first instance of bombarding civilians. Germans did it in WW I. Britain did it against Iraq in the 1920s with poison gas. Secretary for Air and War Winston Churchill's secret poison gas memo recommended it. In a May 12, 1919 departmental minute he wrote: "I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas....I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes."
In 1937, Hitler used explosives, fragmentation bombs and incendiaries in the two and a half hour raid "with a brutality that had never been seen before," according to Basque Autonomous Republic president Jose Antonio de Aguirre. "They scorched the city and fired machine guns at the women and children who fled in panic, resulting in numerous deaths."
The London Blitz - 1940 - 41
Following a German-staged August 31, 1939 attack, Hitler invaded Poland on September 1. Honoring their obligations to Poland, Britain and France demanded a withdrawal. None came, and on September 3, Prime Minister Chamberlain announced on-air that a state of war existed against Germany. WW II began.
On September 7, 1940, Hitler changed tactics. After initially targeting RAF airfields and radar stations in preparation for an invasion, he attacked London for 57 consecutive nights to demoralize the population and force Britain to come to terms. It began the "Blitz" against numerous UK cities. It lasted intensively until May 11. Hitler then focused on Russia, continued smaller-scale UK bombings, and by 1944 used pilotless V-1 flying ("Buzz) bombs and V-2 rockets.
Ernie Pyle was a noted war correspondent witness to the Battle of Britain and invasion of France. He described a 1940 London night raid as follows:
"It was a night when London was ringed and stabbed with fire. They came just after dark, and somehow you could sense from the quick, bitter firing of the guns that there was to be no monkey business this night."
"Shortly after the sirens wailed you could hear the Germans grinding overhead. In my room....you could feel the shake from the guns. You could hear (explosions) tearing buildings apart....You have all seen big fires, but I doubt if you have ever seen the whole horizon of a city lined with great fires - scores of them, perhaps hundreds....Every two minutes, a new wave of planes would be over...."
"Later on, I went out among the fires....London stabbed with great fires, shaken by explosions....all of it roofed over with a ceiling of pink that held bursting shells, balloons, flares and the grind of vicious engines. (It was) the most hateful, most beautiful single scene I have ever known."
London wasn't the only city attacked. In addition to military sites, so were Dublin, Manchester, Liverpool, Belfast, Birmingham, Sheffield, Plymouth, Nottingham, Southhampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Clydebank, Coventry, Greencock, Swansea, and Hull.
Before it ended, around 43,000 died in London, thousands more in other cities, hundreds of thousands were injured, and more than a million London houses were destroyed - yet the British public was more than ever committed to defeating Nazism.
Dresdan - 1945
As a German POW, author Kurt Vonnegut witnessed the effects of its fire-bombing and described the horror that Arthur ("Bomber) Harris inflicted:
"You guys burnt the place down, turned it into a single column of flame. More people died there in the firestorm, in that one big flame, than died in Hiroshima and Nagazaki combined."
Well, not quite as explained below. Nonetheless, on the evening of February 13 and early 14th morning, 1945, the raid was horrific by any measure. It was an orgy of barbarism against a defenseless German city and one of Europe's great cultural centers.
In less than 14 hours, it was ruined and as many as 100,000 Germans died, although later accounts suggested lower totals. Dresdan was also a hospital city for wounded soldiers. It was of no military importance, and, by February, Germany was soundly defeated. Attacking was morally indefensible, and unleashing a firestorm and slaughter of tens of thousands was one of WW II's great war crimes.
More than 700,000 phosphorous bombs were dropped on 1.2 million people. The temperature in city center reached 1600 degrees centigrade. Bodies became molten flesh. The slaughter was horrific, so why was it ordered? The February 4 - 11 Yalta Conference was approaching at which the Big Three (Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin) would divide the spoils of war. Churchill and Roosevelt wanted an edge as well as a way to "impress" Stalin. It wasn't gotten as bad weather delayed the original raid, yet Churchill ordered it anyway and declared it successful when over.
Morality wasn't an issue for the man who felt no "squeamishness" over using poison gas against Iraqis in the 1920s and recommended it in his secret memo. Nor in firebombing Hamburg in July 1943 - causing widespread destruction, killing an estimated 50,000, injuring many more, mostly civilians, and leaving around one million Germans homeless.
Tokyo - 1945
US air forces bombed Tokyo several times before using incendiaries. On April 18, 1942, four months after Pearl Harbor, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle led the raid MGM made famous in its 1944 film, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." It did little damage. All 16 US aircraft were lost, 11 crewmen were either killed or captured, but it achieved its aim. It sent a propaganda message and proved Tokyo was vulnerable to more attacks.
The B-29 Superfortress made the difference. Introduced in May 1944, it was a long-range heavy bomber used first in a single plane high altitude reconnaissance mission over Tokyo in November. The first firebombing raid came on February 24, 1945 when 174 planes destroyed one square mile of the city. The major attack came days later on March 9 when 279 Superforts demolished 16 square city miles, killed an estimated 100,000 in the firestorm, injured many more, and left over one million homeless. Around five dozen other Japanese cities were also firebombed at a time most structures in the country were wooden and easily consumed. And for what?
Early in 1945, Japan sent America peace feelers, and, two days before the February Yalta Conference, Douglas MacArthur sent Roosevelt a 40-page summary of its terms. They were near-unconditional. The Japanese would accept an occupation, would cease hostilities, surrender its arms, remove all troops from occupied territories, submit to criminal war trials, and allow its industries to be regulated. In return, they asked only that their Emperor be retained in an honorable capacity.
Roosevelt spurned the offer. So did Truman. In March, Tokyo was firebombed, then in August atomic bombs were used for the first (and so far only) time against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki - 1945
The week of August 6, 1945 was the worst in Japanese history. On August 8, Soviet Russia declared war, invaded Manchuria, and occupied it and the Sakhalin and Kuril Islands.
On August 6 and 9, president Truman authorized Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be attacked with atomic weapons. Records at the time estimated that by December the (mostly civilian) Hiroshima death toll was about 140,000. In Nagasaki, it was somewhat lower at 74,000, but those numbers rose in succeeding months and years. Radiation poisoning is permanent and enough of it kills or causes grievous illnesses, disfiguration, and birth defects to offspring. Decades later, they're still being felt.
The joint US, UK, Canada (1939 - 1946) Manhattan Project developed nuclear weapons with the first bomb test-detonated three weeks before August 6. Hiroshima was the initial target, a medium-sized city of industrial and military importance although that late in the war Japan was largely destroyed and in a state of collapse.
Nagasaki was a large southern Japanese sea port. Kokura was the primary target, but poor visibility on August 9 diverted the mission to the alternate choice. Howard Zinn recounted what happened in his August 2000 "Bombs of August" article.
Their principle justification was to save "lives because otherwise a planned US invasion of Japan would have been necessary, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands. Truman at one point (said) 'a half million lives,' and Churchill 'a million lives,' but these figures" had no basis in fact. "Even official projections" were at most around 46,000.
"In fact, the bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not forestall an invasion of Japan because (none) was necessary" or even likely. Japan was "on the verge of surrender" and top US military and government officials knew it so "dropping the bomb(s were) completely unnecessary."
Afterward, Joint Chiefs Chairman, William Leahy, called the atomic bomb "a barbarous weapon" and admitted that using them against Japan was unnecessary. After the US May 1945 Okinawa victory, Japan had enough of war. By June, six of its Supreme War Council members authorized Foreign Minister Togo to ask the Soviets to mediate its end. Hitler and Mussolini were dead. Germany surrendered in early May, and Japan offered near-unconditionally provided its Emperor was retained.
Truman spurned the offer to ensure the atomic bombings. "It seems that the United States government was determined to drop those bombs," according to Zinn. Why so?
He cites Gar Alperovitz "whose research on that question is unmatched." Based on Truman's papers, "the bomb was seen as a diplomatic weapon against the Soviet Union" - to let us dictate war-ending terms and as the "first major operation of the cold diplomatic" one that followed.
Horrifying as it was, incinerating hundreds of thousands late in the war was judged good politics plus a message to Soviet Russia and other potential adversaries that we were the toughest adversary around - and for doubters, visit the remains of Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Other aims as well lay behind the attacks then and later on - "There was tin, rubber, oil, corporate profit (and) imperial arrogance." Human rights and lives relate to none of these.
North Korea - 1950-53
East Asia and Korean expert Bruce Cumings wrote this about the Korean War:
"What was indelible about it was the extraordinary destructiveness of the United States air campaigns against North Korea, from the widespread and continuous use of firebombing (mainly with napalm), to threats to use nuclear and chemical weapons, and the destruction of huge North Korean dams in the final stages of war."
Post-WW II, neither North Korea, China or any other country threatened America. Creating adversaries was entirely bogus to advance our imperial agenda, and slaughtering millions of North Koreans was perfectly acceptable. Later millions of Southeast Asians. More on that below.
On June 25, 1950, after months of US-influenced Republic of Korean (ROK) provocations, North Korean forces invaded the South. James Petras wrote about "Provocation and Pretext for the US War Against Korea" and referred to America's "incomplete conquest of Asia" following WW II.
Revolutionary upheavals followed in China, Southeast Asia and Korea. "President Truman faced a profound dilemma - how to consolidate US imperial supremacy in the Pacific" when the public and "war wearied soldiers....demand(ed) demobilization and a return" to normalcy. Like Roosevelt in 1941, he chose the usual course, provoked a confrontation, and intervened in Korea's civil war.
In the run-up to the US invasion, "Truman, the US Congress, and mass media engaged in a massive propaganda campaign (like today to sell foreign wars) and purge of peace and anti-militarist organizations throughout US civil society. Tens of thousands" were affected but not like what we did to Koreans.
Until the 1953 armistice, North Korea was literally bombed to rubble with principle targets hit around Pyongyang (the capital), Chongyin, Wonsan, Hungnam and Rashin. Three to four million deaths resulted and unimaginable additional casualties, mostly innocent civilians.
"Korea (was) assumed to have been a limited war," but it bore strong resemblance to the air war against Japan in WW II, and it was directed by some of the same military leaders. The use of napalm against populated areas was horrific as one survivor described:
"It fell right on people. Men all around me burned. They lay rolling in the snow. Men I knew....begged me to shoot them...It was terrible. When the napalm had burned the skin to a crisp, it would be peeled back from the face, arms, legs....like fried potato chips."
Orders were given to burn towns and villages and create oceans of fires. General Matthew Ridgway ordered the air force to burn the capital, Pyongyang, to the ground. Other areas also in a scorched earth campaign few in America knew about, then or now.
MacArthur asked for commander's discretion to use nuclear weapons, lots of them, and if Truman hadn't intervened he would have. In posthumously published interviews, he said he had a plan to win the war in 10 days: "I would have dropped 30 or so atomic bombs strung across the neck of Manchuria," spread a radioactive cobalt belt from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea, and deterred any invasion from the North. "My plan was a cinch," he claimed, and the Russians would have done nothing about it.
Even without nuclear weapons, "the air war leveled North Korea and killed millions of civilians. North Koreans tell you that for three years they faced a daily threat of being burned (alive) with napalm." There was no escape, and by "1952 just about everything in northern and central Korea had been completely leveled. What was left of the population survived in caves."
Bomb damage assessment showed that 18 of 22 major cities were half or more obliterated. The big industrial ones were from 75 - 100% destroyed. Villages were described as "low, wide mounds of violent ashes." This was Korea, "the limited war." Southeast Asia was next.
Southeast Asia - Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos - 1964 - 1973
Gabriel Kolko wrote the definitive history of the Vietnam war in his 1985 book: "Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience." He saw America's invention as a predictable consequence of its ambition, strengths, weaknesses, and quest for world dominance.
Nonetheless, it miscalculated. Vietnamese tired of colonial rule so the communists in the North gained control. They won peasant loyalty by promising more equal land distribution. In addition, their top leaders were intellectuals. They planned well and were patient. The contrast in the South was stark. America installed the authoritarian Ngo Dinh Diem regime to build a strong army, crush opposition, and serve as a reliable ally.
From the 1950s, the US supplied military advisors, slowly escalated under Kennedy, and much more when Lyndon Johnson became president. After the bogus August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, war began to establish client regimes and military bases across East and South Asia, encircle China, and crush nationalist anti-imperial movements.
Operation Rolling Thunder began in February 1965 and lasted through October 1968. For 44 months, over one millions tons of ordnance were used in targeted and indiscriminate bombings. It aimed to destroy North Vietnam's economy and curtail help reaching National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) resistance in the South. Over the course of the war, eight million tons of bombs were dropped from 1965 - 73, threefold the tonnage in WW II and amounting to 300 tons for every Vietnamese man, woman, and child.
As in Korea, napalm was also used along with other incendiary devices. In addition, terror weapons like anti-personnel cluster bombs spewing thousands of metal pellets hitting everything in their path plus the indiscriminate planting of land mines that to this day take lives.
From 1961 to 1971, the dioxin-containing defoliant Agent Orange was used as well, mainly in the South, Cambodia and Laos. Millions of gallons were sprayed with devastating human consequences. It's one of the most toxic of known substances, a potent carcinogenic human immune system suppressant. It accumulates in adipose tissue and the liver, can alter living cell genetic structures, cause congenital disorders and birth defects, and contribute to diseases like cancer and type two diabetes.
These consequences were never considered nor the effects of expanded spraying to destroy vital food crops like rice. Also in 1970, US forces conducted Operation Tailwind using sarin nerve gas in Laos causing many deaths, including civilians. Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Joint Chiefs Chairman, confirmed the use on CNN in 1998. Then under Pentagon pressure, CNN retracted the report, fired its award-winning journalist Peter Arnett and co-producers April Oliver and Jack Smith because they refused to disavow it.
The Indochinese war engulfed Cambodia and Laos as well. From March 1969 through May 1970, Nixon ordered Cambodia secretly bombed (without consulting Congress) to destroy North Vietnam and Viet Cong sanctuaries. Around 3500 sorties caused 600,000 deaths, mostly civilians, and helped the marginal Khmer Rouge rise to power in 1975. Neutral Cambodia was bombed with over 500,000 tons of ordnance until August 1973. Over 25,000 US ground forces also invaded. They destroyed dozens of towns, villages and hamlets, and killed many thousands more, mostly peasants guilty of living in the wrong country at the wrong time.
A second 1962 Geneva Accord recognized Laos as a neutral country and banned the presence of foreign military personnel. The reality on the ground was quite different. From 1964 - 1973, America dropped over two million tons of ordnance during 580,000 bombing sorties - the equivalent of a planeload of bombs every eight minutes, round-the-clock for nine years. The aim was to destroy North Vietnamese supply lines along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and target the Pathet Lao government and North Vietnamese Army in control of the country's eastern provinces.
Secret bombings were again the strategy. Terror weapons were used, including napalm, white phosphorous and cluster bombs - leaving millions of unexploded bomblets buried in fields, roads, forests, villages, and rivers. Laos had a population of about 6.5 million. About one-third of it was either killed, injured, or displaced. Overall, Southeast Asia's wars killed about three to four million, inflicted vast amounts of destruction, and caused incalculable human suffering felt to this day.
Iraq - Since 1991
Four days after Saddam entered Kuwait (on August 2, 1990), Operation Desert Shield was launched. US-demanded UN sanctions were imposed. A large American troop deployment began along with a Kuwait-funded PR campaign to win public support for Operation Desert Storm. It began on January 17, 1991.
By any standard, it was horrendous and criminal. Before it ended six weeks later (on February 28), US forces committed grievous war crime violations of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, UN Charter, Nuremberg Principles, and US Army Field Manual 27-10. Among them were gratuitous mass slaughter and destruction of essential to life facilities, including:
-- power plants;
-- water purification facilities;
-- sewage treatment and disposal systems;
-- telephone and other communications;
-- up to 20,000 homes, apartments and other dwellings;
-- irrigation sites;
-- food processing, storage and distribution facilities;
-- hotels and retail establishments;
-- transportation infrastructure;
-- oil wells, pipelines, refineries and storage tanks;
-- chemical plants;
-- factories and other commercial operations;
-- government buildings;
-- historical sites; and
-- civilian shelters in a willful targeting of innocent men, women and children.
Virtually everything needed for normal functioning was destroyed or heavily damaged - and more. Tens of thousands were gratuitously killed, as many as 200,000 or more by independent estimates.
Twelve years of genocidal sanctions followed that killed as many as 1.7 million, two-thirds of them children under age five. From the 2003 "shock and awe" blitzkrieg through 2007, as many as 1.5 - 2.0 million more lives were lost, most of them young children. By any standard since 1991, Washington conducted a 17-year campaign of genocide to slaughter innocent Iraqis, erase the "cradle of civilization," turn the country into a free market paradise, and make serfs of its people - as part of a greater aim for regional and global dominance and control of world resources and markets.
Human rights and lives are non-starters. So is the rule of law. War continues to rage. Permanent occupation is planned. The human tragedy continues with no foreseeable end.
Serbia-Kosovo - 1999
In June 1999, playwright Harold Pinter told a UK anti-war demonstration that NATO's Yugoslavia bombing made him ashamed to be British:
"Little did we think two years ago that we had elected a government which would take a leading role in what is essentially a criminal act, showing total contempt for the United Nations and international law." He called cutting children to pieces from 15,000 feet "barbaric" and despicably hypocritical.
"Let us face the truth - neither Clinton nor Blair gives a damn about the Kosovar Albanians. This action has been yet another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile. It set out to consolidate one thing - American domination of Europe. This must be recognised and it must be resisted." This barbarism mustn't be allowed to stand.
Diana Johnstone explained the conflict in her superb 2002 book, "Fools' Crusade." Edward Herman reviewed it and wrote this:
"Military interventions on supposedly humanitarian grounds have become an established feature of the post-Cold War global order. Since September 11, this form of militarism has taken on new and unpredictable proportions." Diana Johnstone did an admirable job analyzing NATO's intervention. Muslims were portrayed as "defenseless victims," Serbs as "genocidal monsters" to prepare the ground for America and NATO to dominate the Balkans.
Herman: Johnstone explained "that the 'Kosovo war' was in reality the model for future destruction of countries seen as potential threats to the hegemony of an 'international community' currently being redefined to exclude or marginalize all but those who conform to the interests of the United States."
Throughout the 1990s, conflict and civil wars divided Yugoslavia into separate states culminating with the US-NATO 1999 bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Serbia-Kosovo. From March 24 - June 10, around 600 aircraft flew about 3000 sorties dropping thousands of tons of ordnance plus hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles. To that time, the ferocity of the attack was unprecedented given the destructiveness of modern weapons and technology.
Nearly everything was struck causing massive destruction and disruption: known or suspected military sites and targets; power plants; factories; transportation; telecommunications facilities; vital infrastructure including roads, bridges and rail lines; fuel depots; schools; a TV station; the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade; hospitals; government offices; churches; historical landmarks; and more in cities and villages throughout the country.
An estimated $100 billion in damage was inflicted. A humanitarian disaster resulted. Environmental contamination was extensive. Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced. Two million people lost their livelihoods. Many their homes and communities and for most their futures from what America planned and implemented jointly with NATO.
Michel Chossudovsky explained earlier in a February 2008 article that:
"The Balkans constitute the gateway to Eurasia. The 1999 invasion establishes a permanent US Military presence (at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo) in Southern Europe, which serves the broader US led war. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq: these three war theaters were waged on humanitarian grounds. (In each case, utterly bogus.) Without exception, in all three countries, US military bases were established" as part of America's global imperial agenda.
The US, NATO and international community support the organized crime-connected KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) government and its leader Hashim Thaci. Kosovo as it was no longer exists. Afghanistan and Iraq were next.
Afghanistan - 2001
The 9/11 attack was the pretext for bombing, invading and occupying Afghanistan, an operation planned months in advance the way Michel Chossudovsky explained in his superb book, "America's War on Terrorism." Most people don't "realize that a large scale theater war is never planned and executed in a matter of weeks."
The Taliban and bin Laden became fictitious "outside enem(ies)" without which no "war on terrorism" could exist or imperial wars fought. Afghanistan was the first target. It began on October 7, 2001, four weeks after 9/11, and ended five weeks later on November 12. Once again, conflict ravaged Afghanistan, a country more abused, long-suffering, and less helped than most any in living memory, according to John Pilger. Today it's occupied under a US-installed puppet. Its suffering continues unabated and may intensify under Obama if he follows through on his promise to add more troops for a larger combat role.
US imperialism aims to "recoloniz(e)...a vast region extending from the Balkans into Central Asia" - the "center of world power," according to Zbigniew Brzezinski extending from German, Poland and the Balkans in the East through Russia and China in the Pacific, including the Middle East and Indian subcontinent. It's an area with 75% of the world's population, most of its resources and physical wealth, three-fourths of its oil and gas, and the grandest of grand prizes for whoever controls it.
...."America's war machine purports to enlarge America's economic sphere of influence" - through its newly established military bases "in Iraq, Afghanistan (and) in several of the former Soviet republics on China's Western frontier." The South China Sea as well.
"War and Globalization go hand in hand. Militarization supports the conquest of new economic frontiers and the worldwide imposition of free-market" capitalism. Afghanistan became its victim. Thousands were killed and as many as six million displaced. Most now have returned but to what - deplorable conditions of no future, despair, no shelter, work, schools, medical care, clean water, security, and for many hunger, disease and early deaths.
Like Serbia-Kosovo and Iraq, Afghanistan is another country terror-bombed to oblivion to impose free-market capitalism everywhere. Conflicts will continue. World peace is an illusion, nowhere more than in the Middle East.
Lebanon - 1982 and 2006
Israel and Lebanon have had a troubled history through no fault of the Lebanese. In 1968, the IDF conducted cross-border terror raids, including attacking the Beirut airport and destroying 13 commercial planes, claiming it was in retaliation for an attack by Lebanese-trained Palestinians targeting an Israeli airliner in Athens.
Further IDF incursions continued in the 1970s against the PLO, including the "Litani River Operation." It was launched in March 1978 to establish a southern occupation zone with Christian South Lebanon Army (SLA) soldiers in place to secure it once Israeli forces withdrew weeks later.
In June 1982, "Operation Peace of the Galilee" (called the First Lebanon War) was launched against the Palestinian leadership. The IDF invaded after claiming PLO involvement in an assassination attempt on its UK ambassador. The charge was bogus, yet Israel exploited it to attack and remain in the country until it withdrew in May 2000.
In the interim, Israeli forces occupied southern Lebanon, attacked the PLO, drove out the leadership to Tunis, slaughtered around 18,000 mostly non-combatant Lebanese and Palestinians, and authorized a Phalange militia force to massacre about 3000 men, women and children in southern Beirut Sabra and Shitila camps.
In June 2006, Palestinians responded to continued Israeli provocations by striking an IDF military post, killing two soldiers, injuring several others and capturing a third. Events escalated when Hezbollah resistance fighters captured two IDF soldiers who illegally crossed the UN-monitored "blue line" - a near-daily Israeli routine since it withdrew from South Lebanon in May 2000.
Israel responded with overwhelming force by launching "Operation Summer Rain" against Gaza and invading South Lebanon in what became known as the Second Lebanon War. It lasted 33 days against Hezbollah, the Lebanese people, and the entire country, including northern Christian areas.
It was long-planned terror against civilian, commercial, and infrastructure targets - bridges; roads; power plants; the three largest cities of Beirut, Tyre and Sidon; Beirut airport; factories; warehouses; civil defense centers; schools; radio and TV stations; mosques; churches; hospitals; ambulances; and anything else in the path of a scorched-earth blitzkrieg killing over 1300, injuring many more, displacing one million people (or one-forth of the population), and causing billions of dollars in damage.
Both assaults were planned months in advance and closely coordinated with Washington like always. Terror weapons were also used, including blanketing entire towns with cluster bombs. Others reported were:
-- depleted uranium (DU) munitions spreading toxic radiation;
-- banned white phosphorous bombs and shells (known as Willy Pete) that burn flesh to the bone and can't be extinguished by water; and
-- reportedly a thermobaric bomb able to penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels, and able to create blast pressure enough to suck all oxygen from spaces and human lungs in the vicinity.
Hezbollah prevailed, nonetheless. A post-conflict analysis showed its commanders were well prepared, and successfully penetrated Israel's strategic and tactical decision-making cycle, including its intelligence, military and political operations. As a result, their fighters held their own, killed over 100 IDF soldiers, retained their military capability, and effectively embarrassed the Israeli government - at a very stiff cost to Lebanon and a million or more of its people.
Gaza - 2008 - 09
For Israel, attacking Palestinians is a long-standing practice, beginning with its 1948 "War of Independence." It involved:
-- the wholesale massacre and displacement of 800,000 Palestinians;
-- destroying their homes, 531 villages and crops, and their futures;
-- 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and elsewhere;
-- mass incidents of rape and other atrocities; and
-- the myth that Palestinians left voluntarily to avoid being harmed by invading Arab armies.
The State of Israel was created on 78% of historic Palestine. Palestinians retained the remainder in Gaza and the West Bank. On June 5, 1967, Israel launched its so-called "Six Day War" against Egypt, Jordan and Syria - a long-planned preemptive act masquerading as self-defense. When it ended, Israel controlled the remainder of Palestine.
It's now occupied the Territories militarily for over 41 years - the longest continuous illegal occupation anywhere under which Palestinians lost all freedom; are collectively punished; are losing their land; are being cantonized in the West Bank; and since December, assaulted by Israel's most savage aggression since the "Six Day War."
"Operation Cast Lead" terror bombings began on December 27 and have continued daily round the clock. The death and injury toll exceeds 5000 as of January 12, the great majority of whom are civilian men, women and children. Portions of Gaza have been reoccupied. Israel is pursuing genocide. Gaza is completely sealed off. It's now a free-fire zone on the ground and from repeated air attacks. Tanks, missiles, bombs, terror weapons, and the latest technology is matched against crude rockets, home-made mortars, hand-held automatic weapons, and the redoubtable spirit of brave Gazan freedom fighters unjustly called "terrorists." Civilians, including women and children, are being willfully slaughtered and comprise the vast majority of killed and wounded.
On January 6, IDF tank shelling killed 42 Palestinians and wounded dozens more taking shelter in an UNRWA school. False reports claimed "militants" were inside and fired first. UN officials denied it and provided Israeli authorities with GPS coordinates (in advance) and left no doubt this was a school used as temporary shelter for civilians fleeing the fighting. There were no fighters inside.
On January 9, a disturbing UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report read as follows:
"From 3 to 7 January, the IDF prevented medical teams from entering the area to evacuate the wounded. In one of the gravest incidents....on 4 January Israeli foot-soldiers (herded about) 110 Palestinian (civilians) into a single-residence house in Zaytoun (half of whom were children), warning them to stay indoors."
"Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately thirty. Those who survived and were able, walked two kilometers to Salah Din road before being transported to the hospital in civilian vehicles."
On January 9, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) suspended its relief operations after Israel attacked its convoys and installations. Its statement read:
"On numerous occasions in recent days, humanitarian convoys have come under Israeli fire even though their safe passage through clearly designated routes at specifically agreed times, had been confirmed by the Israeli liaison office....the nature, severity and frequency of these incidents" necessitated the suspension of operations.
The International Committee of the Red Cross faces similar problems. ICRC's Geneva-based operations director, Pierre Kraehenbuehl, said: "There is no doubt in my mind that we are dealing with a full-blown and major crisis in humanitarian terms."
UNWRA's Gaza head, John Ging, expressed similar sentiments and added: "There is nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized." Israel and the world community are dismissive, unresponsive, and arrogant. Mass slaughter and destruction are green-lighted to continue - international human rights laws be damned.
These and other incidents are grievous war crimes. Everything and everyone is attacked as the IDF connects the entire population to Hamas - long targeted since democratically winning a decisive January 2006 PLC majority. It's been severely punished ever since. Gaza was politically separated from the West Bank, and since June 2007 isolated under a medieval siege. It's now intensified as the Territory is engulfed in war, in a state of collapse, and a grave humanitarian crisis approaches a calamity of biblical proportions.
On January 8, the Security Council passed a toothless resolution. SC Res. 1860:
-- "stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza;"
-- other provisions call for humanitarian assistance; "initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors;" international efforts to alleviate the situation and "prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition; intra-Palestinian reconciliation;" support for Egypt's mediation efforts; the Quartet's "consideration;" and
-- the SC condemns "all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism."
No Israeli condemnation was included; its wanton targeted slaughter; its international law violations; its blitzkrieg against men, women and children; its military juggernaut against vulnerable civilians; the thousands of killed and wounded; Gazans for 18 months under siege; the calamitous humanitarian crisis; no firm timelines for attacks to halt; the siege to end; action threats if they don't; no ordering of immediate border openings and emergency airdrops until they do; no teeth in a worthless resolution to let mass slaughter continue with impunity.
No respect either for the UN Charter's mandate "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which (dozens of times) in our lifetime (have) brought untold sorrow to mankind; to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights;" respect for justice and international law; "to promote social progress; practice tolerance; maintain international peace and security;" and advance the rights of all peoples everywhere.
Fourteen nations voted aye. One abstained, America.
Israel ignored it and maintained round-the-clock terror raids. Prime Minister Olmert called it "unworkable" and his office said that Israel "has never agreed to let an external body decide its right to protect the security of its citizens."
Israel disdains the rule of law, has a long history of ignoring UN resolutions, and believes it can do anything it pleases, law or no law.
World and Arab leaders don't object and remain largely dismissive as casualties keep mounting. Israel is strangling Gaza. Foreign journalists can't enter in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling.
On January 6, editor Ramzy Baroud reported that his PalestineChronicle.com site was "hacked today by an Israeli group (called) "Blue Dolphin." It's because of his important work providing vital information about the conflict and Occupied Palestine. Israel and Washington ruthlessly suppress truths. After a heroic effort, Baroud was again operating in less than 24 hours.
Gazan Sameh Habeeb is a heroic blogger despite threats on his life. On January 8 he wrote:
"I got three calls from anonymous persons (saying) stop blogging or I would be killed. Yet I would keep on this track. Some of you do wonder how I send news in such conditions. I really suffer a lot to send you this update due to a lack of power (with) shells rain(ing) down and drones hover(ing) over me. I will keep this up."
Not if Washington can help it. By supplying Israel with weapons, munitions and defense technology, it violates the 1976 Arms Export Control Act. It requires recipient governments to restrict their use to legitimate defense. Israel uses them for aggressive wars and its illegal occupation. Exports are prohibited to countries that "contribute to an arms race, aid in the development of weapons of mass destruction, support international terrorism, increase the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict, or prejudice the development of bilateral or multilateral arms control or nonproliferation agreements or other arrangements."
The 1994 Human Rights and Security Assistance Act affirms "human rights as principal goal of foreign policy." It also states that "no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." Israel has been a serial violator for six decades, yet receives more aid than all other countries combined and uses it for aggressive wars, military oppression, colonial expansion, and grievous human rights violations.
On January 6 (in complicity with Israel and Washington), Haaretz reported that Egypt is barring doctors (except for two Norweigians) from entering through Sinai to provide help. Mubarack's "closure (is) seen by some as abetting Israel's siege" and partnering in its war crimes. Obstetrician Jemilah Mahmood expressed her frustration: "Can you imagine how many women are hurt and how few doctors there are? All of us are sitting at the border" and can't get in to help.
Reports are that Gaza hospitals are in chaos - with little power, few supplies, a patient overload, and air and ground assaults all around. Nonetheless, doctors work day and night to save lives, yet often they fail. Hundreds of patients are clinically dead with no hope of saving them. The toll keeps mounting. The frustration is unbearable, and at Shifa Hospital 90% of the patients are civilians, many with the ghastliest of wounds.
Disturbing reports claim Israeli use of terror weapons. Tehran Press TV said medics found DU traces in wounded Gazans following the ground invasion. The TimesOnline.UK headlined: "Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorous shells" - a weapon that causes horrific burns on human skin and is illegal except for smokescreens. "Tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops' advance. (They) blind the enemy (but) anyone caught beneath them" gets severely burned. Using this type weapon in tightly concentrated Gaza assures some or perhaps many are vulnerable.
Former British major and military expert calls white phosphorous a terror weapon and if "deliberately fired at a crowd of people (should) end (someone) up in the Hague."
Norwegian Dr. Mads Gilbert is a member of its Gaza triage medical team. He told Press TV about "clear evidence that the Israelis are using new type very high explosive weapons called Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) that are made out of a tungsten alloy."
They have enormous explosive power, and "humans who are hit by (them are) cut to pieces. (They were) first used in Lebanon (and Gaza) in 2006....On the long term, these weapons will have a cancer effect on those who survive....So they kill and those who survive risk having cancer."
Gilbert accused Israel of violating international law. His account was horrifying;
-- a "ten-year old boy (with) his whole chest filled with (bomb) fragments;
-- on his lap was another person's leg that had been cut off;
-- we resuscitated him and did everything we could do to save his life but he died between our hands." The "common people" of Palestine "are paying the price for the Israeli bombardments...."
The humanitarian crisis is horrific; 80% or more of Gazans are impoverished; half of them are under 15; "now they don't have food....electricity; it's cold, they don't have warmth and in addition...they are killed; this must be stopped."
"Almost all of the patients we have received have these severe amputations." Terror weapons caused them - burns, fragment injuries and most with their limbs cut off.
These are horrific crimes of war and against humanity against 1.5 million Gazans. Global mass outrage keeps protesting. World leaders are dismissive and unconcerned. Washington spurns efforts to stop the carnage. Israel is free to continue terror bombing from the air and use ground assaults against innocent civilians called "terrorists."
Israeli Radio reported Monday morning (January 12) that the IDF intensified its operation to a "third stage" and pushed deeper into more Gaza areas. More reserve units have been activated. Heavy bombing and shelling continues. White phosphorous incendiaries are being used on civilian neighborhoods and the Jebaliya refugee camp. White smoke and fires are seen. Severe burns are being reported.
One leader expressed outrage against Israel's "holocaust. Genocidal" he called it. On January 7, the BBC reported that "Venezuela ordered the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador (Shlomo Cohen) to Caracas (and a number of diplomatic staff with him) in protest at Israel's offensive in" Gaza.
Chavez strongly condemned Israel and called the IDF "cowardly" (for) attacking worn-out, innocent people, while they claim that they are defending their people....I call on the world to stop this madness....The president of Israel....should be taken to the International Criminal Court together with the president of the United States." Venezuela's foreign ministry said Israel's campaign constituted "flagrant violations of international law (and amounted to) state terrorism." Ecuador's Raphael Correa and Cuba's government sent similar messages. Other world leaders stay silent. World outrage keeps raging in spite of them.
Remember Gaza - immortalized as one of history's terror-bombing victims. World outrage demands an end to this and the prosecution of its perpetrators. We stand together in solidarity. Today we're all Gazans. We're all Palestinians.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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