Keeping Democracy Alive – GMOs vs Democracy/Iran Deal: Bigger than Nixon’s China? – 07.19.15

July 19, 2015

It might be all over for democracy when it comes to citizens’ right to know what they’re about to eat. Chemical companies are spending many millions to pass a bill to ensure GMOs can not be labeled. Not sure it can be stopped in the House, but maybe the Senate. And on the second half we look at the significance of Obama’s Iran deal and how it could have more profound historic impact than Nixon’s opening to China.

Washington’s ‘New Middle East’ Stalls, the Resistance Rises By Prof. Tim Anderson

July 13, 2015

Washington’s plan for a New Middle East has hit a rock called Syria. After the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the destruction of Libya, Syria was to be the next domino overthrown by a ‘colour revolution’, led by Islamists and backed by the big powers. After ‘regime change’ in Damascus the next most powerful enemy of Israel, Hezbollah, leader of the Resistance in Lebanon, would be isolated and the Islamic Republic of Iran would remain the only Middle East country without US military bases. After Iran, the empire would control the entire region, excluding possible competitors such as Russia and China. Palestine would be lost. But it was not to be. Coordinated resistance can never be discounted. Not only has Syria’s national army resisted wave after wave of fanatical Islamist attacks, Russian and Iranian backing has been solid. And new forms of cooperation with Iraq  have emerged. Washington has worked for decades to divide Iran and Iraq, so the strengthening ties between Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine represent a threat to the new ‘Great Game’ of our times. The US and its close regional collaborators (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Israel), we now know, have been behind every

Hillary Clinton: “If I’m President, We Will Attack Iran” By Stephen Lendman

July 8, 2015

On Friday, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an “existential threat to Israel… I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program.” Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism. They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel. We…have turn our attention to working with our partners to try to reign in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness. Fact: US and Israeli intelligence both say Iran’s nuclear program has no military component. No evidence whatever suggests Tehran wants one. Plenty indicates otherwise. As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she addressed AIPAC’s annual convention saying: The United States stands with Israel now and forever. We have shared interests….shared ideals….common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel’s security. (O)ur two nations are fighting a shared threat” against Islamic extremism. I strongly support Israel’s right to

The 30,000-pound bomb that could be used against Iran’s nuclear facilities ‘boggles the mind’ – JEREMY BENDER

July 6, 2015

Negotiators are working toward a June 30 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. Should the negotiations ultimately fail and the talks fall apart, the Obama administration and any future US president will have what Michael Crowley of Politico describes as an awe-inspiring “plan B” — the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). According to Crowley, the US has practiced at least three attack runs over the New Mexico desert. These runs have been flown by B-2 bombers and are meant to test the US’ trump card against any attempt to procure a nuclear weapon, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. MOP, which is 20 feet long and weighs 15 tons, “boggles the mind,” according to a former Pentagon official who spoke to Politico after watching footage of the tests. There’s no publicly available footage of the tests, but this footage of a BLU-109 in action gives an idea of how the MOP works. Bunker-buster munitions burst through a target’s defensive layering before the warhead detonates The BLU-109 has a 535-pound warhead and weighs about a ton. The MOP carries about 5,300 pounds of explosives, giving it an explosive yield about an order of magnitude greater than the weapon in the video. Read

Both Major U.S. Parties are Plagues on Humanity By Glen Ford

July 6, 2015

There has never been a dime’s worth of difference between the Clintons (Bill and Hillary) and Barack Obama, and less than ten cents separates the worldviews of these Democratic political twins from the Bush wing of the Republican Party.Each has their individual quirks. Barack destroys international order and the rule of law while dabbling at song; Bill dismantled the U.S. manufacturing base and threw record numbers of Blacks in prison as he toyed with his trumpet; George W. played the fool who would Shock and Awe the world into obedience; and Hillary is the evil crone that curses the dead while screaming “We are Woman” like a banshee. But they are all the same in their corporate soullessness. They all lie for a living, and they live to lie. Hillary Clinton commingled official and personal criminality through the medium of email. Knowing that, in a life dedicated to crime, she could never successfully sequester her private and public conspiracies — and, in the perfect spirit of neoliberalism — Hillary privatized all of her email correspondence during her tenure as Obama’s Secretary of State. The fate of millions of Haitians whose country’s earthquake and development “aid” are under the Clinton family

Human Experimentation: a CIA Habit by DAVID SWANSON

June 17, 2015

The Guardian on Monday made public a CIA document allowing the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research.” Human what? At Guantanamo, the CIA gave huge doses of the terror-inducing drug mefloquine to prisoners without their consent, as well as the supposed truth serum scopolamine. Former Guantanamo guardJoseph Hickman has documented the CIA’s torturing people, sometimes to death, and can find no explanation other than research: “[Why] were men of little or no value kept under these conditions, and even repeatedly interrogated, months or years after they’d been taken into custody? Even if they’d had any intelligence when they came in, what relevance would it have years later? . . . One answer seemed to lie in the description that Major Generals [Michael] Dunlavey and [Geoffrey] Miller both applied to Gitmo. They called it ‘America’s battle lab.’” Non-consensual experimentation on institutionalized children and adults was common in the United States before, during, and even more so after the U.S. and its allies prosecuted Nazis for the practice in 1947, sentencing many to prison and seven to be hanged. The tribunal created the Nuremberg Code, standards for medical practice that were immediately ignored back home. Some American doctors considered it “a good code for barbarians.” The code

The Dark Saudi-Israeli Plot to Tip the Scales in Syria – Colin Hallnan

June 10, 2015

A quiet meeting this past March in Saudi Arabia, and a recent anonymous leak from the Israeli military, set the stage for what may be a new and wider war in the Middle East. Gathering in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh were Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, newly crowned Saudi King Salman, and the organizer of the get-together, the emir of Qatar. The meeting was an opportunity for Turkey and Saudi Arabia to bury a hatchet over Ankara’s support — which Riyadh’s opposes — to the Muslim Brotherhood, and to agree to cooperate in overthrowing the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Taking Aim at Assad The pact prioritized the defeat of the Damascus regime over the threat posed by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and aims to checkmate Iranian influence in the region. However, the Turks and the Saudis are not quite on the same page when it comes to Iran: Turkey sees future business opportunities when the sanctions against Tehran end, while Riyadh sees Iran as nothing but a major regional rival. The Turkish-Saudi axis means that Turkish weapons, bomb making supplies, and intelligence — accompanied by lots of Saudi money — are openly flowing to extremist groups like the al-Qaeda associated

Kaplan’s Cure for the Middle East: Imperialism By Amitabh Pal

June 2, 2015

The solution to the current mess in the Middle East is to bring back imperialism—that’s what an influential foreign policy thinker is straight-facedly claiming. Robert Kaplan has been dispensing advice for decades on how to manage the world, and his words have often been heeded. In the mid-1990s, his book Balkan Ghosts apparently helped convince President Clinton that not much could be done about the carnage in that region, since it sprang from atavistic impulses. Since September 11, Kaplan has been a proponent of a muscular global presence for the United States, citing the British Empire as a role model. Now, he seems to have carried his fetish for empire a step further, arguing that only the reestablishment of imperialism can pacify the Middle East. “The meltdown we see in the Arab world today, with chaos in parts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Levant, is really about the final end of imperialism,” he writes for Foreign Policy magazine. “Imperialism bestowed order, however retrograde it may have been. The challenge now is less to establish democracy than to reestablish order. For without order, there is no freedom for anyone.” For Kaplan, it’s as simple as that. Kaplan has a soft spot for the Saudi monarchy.

Is US Planning to Increase Military Aid to Israel Even More? – Sarah Lazare

June 2, 2015

The United States is “likely” to significantly boost its already astronomical military aid to Israel, Reutersreported Thursday. Citing an anonymous U.S. official, journalist Dan Williams wrote that, after the $3 billion annual military aid package expires in 2017, this amount could be raised to $3.6 to $3.7 a year. An unidentified Israeli official pegged this post-2017 amount between $3.5 billion and $4 billion. Reuters framed the probable hike as a potential bid to assuage tensions between the two allies over nuclear negotiations with Iran. “They (the United States) are trying to douse the fires after our flare-up about the Iran deal,” the Isreali official told Reuters. However, the U.S. has maintained heavy military and political support for Israel long before the Iran talks were on the table. Since 1948, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, and the vast majority of the at least $121 billion the U.S. has given has been in the form of military funding. Read

Blocking a Nuclear-Free Mideast – Paul R. Pillar

May 29, 2015

Last week, the latest quinquennial review conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) ended as a failure, without issuing a formal statement or report. The single biggest snag concerned whether to call for the convening of a conference on a Middle Eastern nuclear weapons free zone (MENWFZ). Fingers of blame were pointed in various directions, including at Egypt for pushing some procedural changes regarding the convening of such a conference that some other delegations regarded as needless complications. But the procedural issues were not much of an obstacle and could have been resolved. The more fundamental roadblock was the same one that has been decisive every time the subject of a MENWFZ has come up. Israel doesn’t like the idea, and the United States, acting as Israel’s lawyer (Israel itself, not being a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, was only an observer and not a full participant in the review conference), blocked approval of the draft statement that was on the table. Israel doesn’t like the idea because Israel itself would naturally be the chief focus of any discussion of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, given that it has kept itself outside the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and is the owner of
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