Sunday, April 29, 2012

Imperial Arrogance and Hysteria


Last Friday the latest high-level talks on breaking a five-month diplomatic impasse between Pakistan and the USA collapsed over American refusal to Pakistani demands for an unconditional apology from the Obama administration for an airstrike, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghanistan border last November.
Without the apology, Pakistani government may not reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan that have been closed since November. The Americans, in turn, are withholding nearly a billion dollar of promised military aid.
In three weeks the Obama administration is hosting a NATO meeting in Chicago. The event is cast as a regional security summit to discuss matters relating to the entire region including Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the USA has been quite tense since the release of a CIA operative who was involved in shooting in January of last year.
Then came the assassination of Osama bin Laden inside a compound in Abbotabad in which Pakistan’s sovereignty was violated by the US commando unit. And then there are the drone attacks inside tribal areas of Pakistan which has killed more civilians that those suspected of ties with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The public mood inside Pakistan and the election year politics inside the USA may not allow either party relenting under pressure. Under the circumstances, it is highly unlikely that Pakistan will attend the Chicago event. And that means prospect for a Taliban peace process is nil.
American ego and arrogance to confess that “it is sorry” is at the heart of this diplomatic stalemate between the two countries.
Remember all the hysteria about Iran’s nonexistent weapons program? Last month India successfully tested a powerful new missile that can carry nuclear weapons far enough to hit Beijing. But where is the outrage? Instead of condemning such provocative acts the USA and her allies said that the launch should not be seen as a threat because India has a no-first-use policy and its missiles were used only for deterrence. Really? Yes, in these days when war is sold as peace, and occupation as liberation, we better learn to accept the new cliché – provocation is deterrence! Otherwise, how could these countries trade nuclear materials with India, in violation of the very letter and spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), since 2008?
Contrast this criminal, illegal and hypocritical attitude with Iran. Iran, a signatory of the NPT, has demonstrated time and again that she has no intent to develop nuclear weapon. Her leaders, including the supreme leader Khamenie, explicitly said Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons and that their use would be “sinful.” He issued a fatwa on the matter.
Even the U.S. intelligence community concur that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. None of this stopped Israel and her western allies including the USA, however, from putting a lid on all those tough talks about further crippling sanctions and attacking Iran. And worse still, no one on the world stage dared to suggest that Iran’s posture for nuclear technology was for deterrence.
Obviously, it is the nuclear Brahmins and bullies – the U.S.A. and her western allies – that make the rules in this age of Kali about what is legal and what is not. They behave like that hideous and arrogant tiger of the children’s story book that is determined to kill the charming, peaceful deer one way or another. (The rule of the jungle was that deer won’t drink upstream so that tiger would have the privilege of drinking unpolluted water. However, even when the deer drank water far downstream of the river the tiger accused it of dirtying the drinking water before killing it.)
Iran is now viewed much like that story-book deer by these arrogant tigers of our time. So hooked up are these warmongers that they have no qualms about disregarding what their own intelligent agencies have been telling them!
Another case in point is the recent revelation from Israel. Yuval Diskin, the former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused the country's political leaders of exaggerating the effectiveness of a possible military strike against Iran, in a striking indication of Israel's turmoil over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program. He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who have been saber-rattling for months – have their judgment clouded by "messianic feelings" and should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran.
Diskin is not alone inside Israel challenging claims made by warmongers inside Israel (and the USA, UK and France). A few days ago Israel's current top military commander, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, also seemed to disagree with the country's leadership on the likelihood that Iran will pursue a nuclear weapon.
Last summer Israel's recently retired spy chief Meir Dagan called a military strike against Iran's nuclear program "stupid." Dan Halutz, who led the military from 2005 to 2007, also criticized Netanyahu last month for invoking Holocaust imagery in describing the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. "We are not kings of the world," Halutz said. "We should remember who we are." A recent survey, conducted by the Israeli Dahaf agency for the University of Maryland, suggested the public agrees.
But would any survey result make the difference for an arrogant tiger to modify its attitude?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Israeli intelligence chiefs beg to differ with Netanyahu's "messianic" stance

Yuval Diskin, the former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused the country's political leaders of exaggerating the effectiveness of a possible military strike against Iran, in a striking indication of Israel's turmoil over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program. He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who have been saber-rattling for months – have their judgment clouded by "messianic feelings" and should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran.
Diskin is not alone inside Israel challenging claims made by warmongers inside Israel (and the USA, UK and France). A few days ago Israel's current top military commander, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, also seemed to disagree with the country's leadership on the likelihood that Iran will pursue a nuclear weapon. Last summer  Israel's recently retired spy chief Meir Dagan called a military strike against Iran's nuclear program "stupid." Dan Halutz, who led the military from 2005 to 2007, also criticized Netanyahu last month for invoking Holocaust imagery in describing the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. "We are not kings of the world," Halutz said. "We should remember who we are." A recent   survey, conducted by the Israeli Dahaf agency for the University of Maryland,  suggested the public agrees. 
For those of us who want peace to prevail over war are happy to note that Diskin's comments deepened the sense that a rift is growing between the hawkish Netanyahu government and the security establishment over the question of a strike. Hopefully, Israeli leaders would behave rationally for the good of their country and the world by not preempting any strike against Iran, whether or not aided by their western masters. 
For details read here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bangladesh's Railway-gate Corruption and What Prime Minister should do




Crime and corruption always go hand in hand. Bangladesh, like many of the developing countries, has her share of such vices that never seem to go away. But her people have always expected better and thus with uninhibited enthusiasm participated in all the elections since 1970, a year before the country emerged as a new state in the world atlas. That year in the parliamentary election, the Awami League - under the able leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, popularly known as the Bangabandhu (or the Friend of Bengal or Bangladesh) – won 160 of the 300 seats contested for the National Assembly of Pakistan, winning all but two seats from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

The interim military government of Pakistan was caught by surprise at people’s verdict. In its wildest dream the latter had not imagined that the people would choose its adversary that had been demanding regional autonomy since 1954. It had foolishly fancied that a coalition of centrist parties would emerge victorious in the election which would allow it to retain most of its unchallenged powers. Instead of transferring power to Sheikh Mujib, and under the smokescreen of protecting the unity of Pakistan, the interim military government of General Yahya Khan, aided materially by the USA, launched a massive crackdown beginning on March 25, 1971 against the people of East Pakistan. The rest is history. Bangladesh was liberated on December 16, 1971 after a 9-month long war.

In 1973, Bangladeshi people again rallied behind their charismatic leader Sheikh Mujib, whose status by then has been elevated to the Father of the Nation, and voted Awami League into power which promised to better their condition through the miracle of socialistic economy. Yes, back then socialism was believed to be a cure-all-ills elixir and the Midas-key to turning the country to Golden (Sonar) Bangladesh. It was the Cold War era in which the former colonies -- the underdeveloped and developing world (more commonly called the third-world countries) – belonged to the protective umbrella of either the communist block or the capitalist block.  And thanks to the timely support that she enjoyed during the liberation war – both inside and outside the UN – from the Soviet-block countries (including India), Bangladesh’s non-aligned foreign policy was widely perceived to be aligned with those of the socialist block.

Many of the pro-western governments in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, refused to recognize the new nation of Bangladesh. The attitude of the USA government, with Dr. Kissinger as the newly appointed Secretary of State, was very hostile. He was particularly concerned about the expansion of Soviet influence in South Asia as a result of a treaty of friendship signed by India and the USSR, and sought to demonstrate to the People's Republic of China (Pakistan's foremost ally and an enemy of both India and the USSR) the value of a tacit alliance with the United States (in which Pakistan played a major role). He despised India (calling Indians ‘bastards’) and her leader Indira Gandhi, whom he called a bitch and a witch. To him, the new state of Bangladesh was world’s “basket case”.

As revealed in a PBS program decades ago, to punish Mujib and his government, the USA government under Dr. Kissinger’s guidance used food-grains as a weapon of war in the famine of 1974. He withheld 2.2 million tons of food aid to ensure that Bangladesh had abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminals. And a year later, when Bangladesh was faced with severe monsoons and imminent floods, the then US Ambassador to Bangladesh made it abundantly clear that the US probably could not commit food aid because of Bangladesh's policy of exporting jute to Cuba. And by the time Bangladesh succumbed to the American pressure, and stopped jute exports to Cuba, the food aid in transit was 'too late for famine victims'. Probably tens of thousands died in the famine, and Mujib’s once-towering popularity plummeted considerably.

And then there were other problems that the people of Bangladesh faced. The government’s massive nationalization program of the big industry and mismanagement of the nationalized assets by corrupt and incompetent administrators were ruining the economy. People had expected economic miracles ‘overnight’ and apparently Mujib failed to deliver on his promises to transforming Bangladesh into Sonar Bangla. While Mujib was an honest and a lion-hearted person, some of his party members were utterly corrupt. Although he had fired a junior minister for allegations of corruption and disciplined some high ranking members of his party, such measures were considered too little and too late to salvage his popularity in the post-famine era.

So, when Sheikh Mujib and his entire family (minus two daughters) were killed in a CIA-sponsored coup by some rogue elements of the Bangladesh Army in the early hours of August 15, 1975 many Bangladeshis fancied that they had seen the end of corruption, and things would become better. And with massive material aid pouring into the country from the USA and her friendly Arab states shortly after the overthrow of the Mujib regime, everything appeared to go in the right direction. The prices of essential commodities came down, and famine was a distant memory.

Unfortunately, with the military running the state for the next sixteen years, corruption was merely institutionalized. What was once an exception in the Mujib-era became more like a norm! People with connection to the epicenter of power became filthy rich. Even after the military dictatorship was ultimately toppled and replaced with a civilian government in 1991, by any measure, corruption did not ebb an iota. It has been steadily increasing with no sign of ever receding. Sure though that Bangladesh no longer makes the Transparency International list amongst the three most corrupt countries of our planet, but this omission has little to do with government’s anti-corruption drives. The improved ranking of Bangladesh these days owes much to the fact that other countries, especially in sub-Sahara Africa, have surpassed Bangladesh in corruption.

Mindful of the caustic effect of corruption in a civil society, the Government of Bangladesh created the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) through an act promulgated on February 23, 2004 that came into force on May 9, 2004. Sadly, however, every civilian government since its revamping has tried to make a mockery of ACC’s noble mission and vision of a corruption-free Bangladesh by weakening it as so brilliantly articulated by none other than its chief, Mr. Golam Rahman, who complained that the government measures are aimed at making the ACC a ‘toothless tiger’.

So, the latest news of corruption about former Railways minister Mr. Suranjit Sen Gupta should not come as a surprise to most Bangladeshis. Last week, he resigned as the Railways minister four months after taking charge of the ministry following the railway-gate scandal. “I am resigning as railways minister taking responsibility of everything,” Suranjit announced at a press briefing at the Rail Bhaban, referring to the controversy surrounding the recovery of Tk. 7 million from the car of his assistant personal secretary. The latter was caught with two corrupt senior officials of Bangladesh Railway during the late hours of April 9, 2012. 

The resignation came a day after Suranjit’s meeting with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, where presumably he failed to satisfy the premier with explanations regarding his involvement with huge sum of money recovered from his APS’s cars. However, for some mysterious reason, the Prime Minister has brought Suranjit back to the cabinet as a minister without portfolio, thus nakedly exposing what many analysts have called the political and administrative bankruptcy of the government. Many see the indirect hand of India in his restitution as a minister for he is long rumored as an Indian agent.

There are also allegations about the sources of funding of a telecom firm that Suranjit’s son Soumen is going to set up on obtaining an operating license from the regulatory body only two weeks ago. As reported in newspapers, he had deposited Tk 50 million for the purpose. Moreover the setting up of the business would require at least Tk 400 million. How is it possible for a former mid-level employee in a telecom company with a yearly income of less than a million Taka to come across so much cash in such a short period of time? Suranjit has been accused of grabbing Waqf land along with other land in his home constituency. He has opened the Sengupta Trade Center at his local town only a few days ago and the land on which the market has been set up is also reportedly based on false deeds. 

Suranjit has long been rumored as one of the most corrupt politicians, a sufficient reason why he was denied a ministerial portfolio in the new administration of Sheikh Hasina, until, of course, only four months ago. Now with these latest bribery accusations, he has once again given credibility to his detractors.
According to the rules set up by the government, the ACC cannot investigate a minister, unless permitted by the President. Now with the reinstatement of Suranjit as a minister that door of an impartial inquiry into his alleged bribery/corruption by the ACC is shut harshly. And that is unfortunate for a country that is trying to shed off its old image as a corrupt country.  

As I see it, Suranjit’s decision to submit his resignation was wise. However, I fail to say the same for the prime minister’s decision to reinstate him. It was dumb and unacceptable. And of all politicians, Sheikh Hasina ought to have known it better. If she truly cares about Bangladesh, she should rescind her decision and allow the ACC to conduct its investigation unhindered now, and not later after the party is voted out of power. The government must also strengthen the ACC so that it could carry out its much needed tasks of weeding out corruption without feeling either pressured or constrained by foolish government measures that are self-defeating and suicidal.  

Can the Prime Minister of Bangladesh afford to appear tolerating corruption when the very motto of the ACC is a poem from Tagore that reads:
Those who perpetrate injustice
and those who tolerate the same, 
Let both burn into ashes,
My Lord, in Your ever wrathful flame ...”?

A government simply cannot afford to appear nonchalant with corruption of one of its own ministers. Leaders must be bold enough to correct their stupid decisions. It is never too late for correcting one’s mistakes.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Hypocrisy with the NPT

Last week India successfully tested a powerful new missile that can carry nuclear weapons far enough to hit places like Beijing. And yet, there was no condemnation for such acts from the USA and her western allies. Mind that India is not a signatory of the NPT. But when it comes to Iran, just see all the nasty commotion from the same countries. What a hypocrisy. For an excellent analysis, read John Glaser's article here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The War Party is alive and kicking

In her newly released book – Drift - Rachel Maddow of the MSNBC argues that the American nation has drifted away from its founding ideals and has become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we have arrived at such a dangerous place, she discusses from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe.

Back in 1792, Thomas Jefferson (then the Secretary of State) wrote, “One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier.” As Maddow showed neither Jefferson nor the other founding fath¬ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of “privateers”; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust¬ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine. And add to that list the pre-emptive strikes that are always touted as self-defensive measures – shoot and kill first before asking questions and verifying the matter. It is perception that counts and not evidence proving contrary to the war-mongering impudent claims!

By now you must have known that the War Party is alive and kicking. The change in Washington in 2008, which saw the defeat of the Republicans in the 2008 election, failed to put a dent in its massive influence prowess. Thus, instead of a closure in two war fronts, we have settled in for what can only be described as an escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while the U.S. soldiers will continue to remain inside Iraq for an unforeseeable future. There are rumors in the air that America may be dragged into yet another unnecessary and illegal war, much like its war against Iraq in 2003. And all these events are happening under President Obama’s watch!

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 these warmongers – many are Washington insiders either active in politics or linked with dozens of think tanks and military industrial complex - wanted to use the event as the ‘Pearl Harbor’ moment to capitalize on their long-desired plans, concocted in the 1990s, to create a new American century which would ensure her unchallenged dominance in the 21st century. And what could have been better than a civilizational war with the world of Islam?
These warmongers, many of whom by then had become advisers to Bush Jr., settled for invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Blatant lies were told, sold and packaged through the embedded media (that forgot its true role) to make the case for invasion. Others were either bribed or bullied to go along with the illegal war. When the claims for the justification of the war were proven wrong, newer ones were manufactured, not the least of which included implanting democracy in the Middle East. But it was all talks, mere lips services to fool too many. None of the dictators was weakened, but rather strengthened to seal American hegemony in the region. As expected, such ploys did not work for too long. Most of the warmongering politicians that ran in 2008 election were solidly routed out by people’s verdict.

Obama promised change, and sounded sincere. And we believed him and hoped big until we were forced to settle for the sad reality that he is no different than any of his predecessors. The Nobel Committee had made a terrible mistake in 2009 when it bestowed him the peace prize. Even his diehard supporters would admit that when it comes to international policy matters, truly little has changed under Obama. He is surrounded by many advisers whose loyalty is more to the state of Israel than the interest of the nation. And they want America to fight the proxy-war for Israel against Iran.

Obama, like Bush Jr., spoke about democracy in the Middle East, but hardly did anything to make things better. He is more interested in punishing Iran, a country with a functioning democracy since 1979, than helping the Syrian people to topple the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al Assad whose family has been ruling the country for the past four decades. His administration provided the necessary justification for the Saudi intervention and collusion with the autocratic Khalifa regime in their violent crackdown of the democracy-loving people of Bahrain.

As I have noted earlier, there is a powerful group of Zionists inside the USA and many western countries that identifies itself as a vanguard of the rogue state of Israel. Events like the AIPAC annual conference allow them to mingle and solidify their ties to Israel. Because of the overwhelming power of this ‘Israeli Lobby’ it is also a much sought after event by many politicians, especially those who are running in the next election. They obviously don’t want to embrace the fate of either former 11-term congressman Paul Findley or 6-term congresswoman Cindy McKinney. President Obama’s attendance this year shows that the uneasy thought of being targeted has not escaped his mind either, let alone the power of AIPAC. After all, outside Obama, I am not aware of any U.S. president ever speaking in front of the AIPAC!

But before Obama could declare in that event that “I have Israel’s back” in its escalating confrontation with Iran, pro-Israel figures like the evangelical Christian leader Gary L. Bauer (who is also active in the group Christians United for Israel) and the Jewish neo-conservative commentator William Kristol were pushing for more. In a 30-minute video, the group that the two men lead, the Emergency Committee for Israel, mocked Obama’s “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security” and attacked his record on Iran as weak. With Israeli leaders warning of an existential threat from Iran and openly discussing the possibility of attacking her nuclear facilities, pro-Israel groups have been frantically beating up the drums of a war for the Obama administration and the Congress to act.

Among those advocating a more aggressive approach toward Iran are prominent Republicans in Congress, like Mr. Cantor (rumored to become Mitt Romney’s running mate in the presidential election) and Senator John McCain of Arizona, and the party’s presidential candidates (outside Congressman Dr. Ron Paul); some are even powerful legislators from the Democratic Party.

Many of these pro-Israelis are also part of the war party that is tied up with the military industrial complex.

So, just as with Iraq during Bush Jr.’s presidency, under Obama nothing truly has changed with administration’s character when it comes to its perception about Iran and her so-called controversial nuclear program. Like Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) we have the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group to excite our warmongers to justify a covert and overt war with Iran. Forgotten there is the fact that the group had collaborated with Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who provided it with funds and a compound, Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. With tanks provided by the Iraqi dictator, the group brutally crushed down Iraqi Kurdish people in the early 1990s.

Recently, Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has trained operatives from MEK at a secret site in Nevada. Writing in The New Yorker, Hersh reports JSOC began training the MEK in 2005 even though the group has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. The training included intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics. Last month, NBC reported that members of the MEK have been involved in the assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists. It is believed that the CIA and Mossad provided the material support for such murders.

And then there is the Jundallah, a terrorist organization, based in Iranian Balochistan, which has been linked to, and taken credit for, numerous acts of terror, kidnapping and the smuggling of narcotics. It has been fighting a proxy war against Iran on behalf of the CIA and Mossad. Iranian authorities and several other sources such as the ABC News, Daily Telegraph, and journalist Seymour Hersh have also reported that Jundullah, like the MEK, has received support from the United States against the government of Iran.

What is even more disturbing is that some former Washington officials, e.g., Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani, Francis Townsend, Louis Freeh, Hugh Shelton, John Bolton, have been vocally advocating on MEK’s behalf, often in exchange for large payments. As Jeremiah Goulka recently noted in the salon.com, given the cacophony of saber-rattling over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program – which the U.S. intelligence community generally believes was shut down in 2003 – and the risk, however low, of actually getting prosecuted for “material support of terrorism,” it is important to examine why anyone would promote a designated terrorist organization. These officials were paid to speak on the MEK’s behalf, up to $30,000 per speech.

Tom Ridge, the former governor of the state of Pennsylvania and Homeland Secretary under Bush Jr., has his own security consultancy (Ridge Global, LLC) and lobbying firm (Ridge Policy Group). He chairs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s national security task force and sits on the boards of at least one military contractor (TechRadium, Inc.) and one company (Geospatial Corporation) that serves the oil and gas industry. Townsend chairs an industry association for intelligence contractors (the Intelligence and National Security Alliance) and is the head of lobbying for a holding company (MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.) that owns the military contractor AM General. Giuliani, the ex-mayor of New York City, has a security consulting firm (Giuliani Partners) and is a partner in a law firm with prominent oil and gas and lobbying practices (Bracewell & Giuliani). He used to own a private equity fund that teamed up with Bear Stearns to invest in security companies. Louis Freeh, the 5th director of the FBI, has a security and investigations consulting firm (Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC) and a law firm (Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP), where he represents, among other clients, a Saudi prince in a bribery investigation involving an arms deal. Shelton has served on the boards of directors of several military contractors, such as L-3 Communications, CACI International, Inc., and Protective Products of America, Inc. Bolton, Mukasey, Rendell, and Dean are affiliated with major law firms whose clients include not just standard military contractors but many other more mundane corporations, that benefit from military largesse. (Bolton served as Bush’s representative at the UN; he is also affiliated with several pro-war think tanks.)

It is no-brainer that for people in the national/homeland security business, war with Iran would be a cash cow. They and their clients stand to benefit handsomely. Just stoking fears of war can get money flowing, from studies to retrofitting naval vessels. As Goulka noted, “Bombing would be better ... But full-on war, that’s the mother lode. An invasion followed by an Iraq-style lingering occupation and reconstruction would open up hundreds of billions and possibly even trillions of taxpayer dollars for the grabbing.”

There are tell-tale signs everywhere that the War Party is winning. And this, in spite of the dire warning last year from Robert Gates, the outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary of State who told Army cadets that “any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined!”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made clear last Saturday that time is running out for diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program and said talks aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon would resume in mid-April. With speculation over a possible U.S. and/or Israeli military attack adding urgency to the next round of discussions in Istanbul set for this week, Clinton said Iran’s “window of opportunity” for a peaceful resolution “will not remain open forever.”
She also expressed doubt about whether Iran has any intention of negotiating a solution that satisfies the U.S., Israel and other countries that believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

This kind of loose war talks is rather disconcerting given the fact that both American and Israeli intelligence say that Iran has neither started to build a nuclear weapon nor even decided to do so in the future. Both also regard the Iranian government as a “rational actor.”

Already the Obama administration has imposed the worst kind of economic embargo on Iran that is making the daily lives of average Iranians miserable.

The pro-war party in the media is also doing its part to beat up the drums of the war. They are blaming Iran for every thing that is going wrong with American occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq including the Qur’an burning incident where she is accused of fueling “the flames of violence” by supporting the Afghan insurgency. Iran has denied any government-backed effort to foment unrest in Afghanistan, but American officials see a pattern of malign meddling to increase Iran’s influence across the Middle East and South Asia.

Günter Grass, Germany’s most famous living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature, has seen it all. He recently published a 69-line poem, “What must be said,” in which he assailed Israel for its threats to attack Iran over its nuclear program. “Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?” Grass writes in the poem. Grass is absolutely right in his assessment of Israel.

The 84-year-old Grass also criticized the planned delivery of submarines “from my country” to Israel, a reference to Germany’s plan to deliver Dolphin-class submarines to Israel that are capable of carrying nuclear-armed missiles. Germany risks being complicit in a crime, Grass observed.

In the poem, published by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other European dailies on Wednesday, Grass also called for an “unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.” It is widely believed that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, although the IAEA has never been allowed to inspect Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

The Israeli government is very upset with Grass and declared that he is unwelcome in Israel. In response to the publication, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of “What must be said.” “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,” the statement reads. Others have also reacted. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called the poem an “aggressive pamphlet of agitation.” Grass, however, has found support from the head of the German PEN chapter, Johano Strasser, who also warned against exporting German weapons to Israel on Wednesday in a radio interview.
This is not the first time Grass has come out with critical views of Israel. In a 2001 interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he offered a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas,” he said at the time. “The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped -- it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.” Again, Grass is right. But who is listening to him and who will stop Israel? Surely not those who could have made a difference to bring a peaceful solution to the problem!

As I have noted many times, peace cannot be attained in our world with policies that are outright hypocritical. The USA and other nuclear Brahmins of our world cannot have one set of rules for goyim nations like Iran, and another set for the ‘master race of chosen people’ – the rogue state of Israel. The latter is the only country in the Middle East which has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), and yet, the USA and her western allies have failed in demanding that Israel accede to the NPT and throw its nuclear facilities open to IAEA oversight. With a Khazarite control of the citadels of power in the USA, UK and France, the sad reality is we shall not realize a nuclear-weapons-free Middle-East, which has been a long-standing legitimate demand of the entire Arab world and peace-loving people of our planet. While the NPT conferences have been held every year since 1970, so far Israel has refused to budge on its nuclear policy.

In its dealings about matters relating to Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration has been keen on buying the necessary support within the UN. It played a big role in making sure that its stooge Yukiya Amano was chosen as the chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, when the term for Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei ended in November 2010. The recent IAEA report uncritically purveying dubious "member state intelligence" in the name of the IAEA to support a flimsy argument that Iran is building nuclear weapons should come as no surprise after the release a year ago by WikiLeaks of secret diplomatic cables in which U.S. diplomats congratulated themselves on "the very high degree of convergence between [new IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's] priorities and our own agenda at the IAEA," as reported in November 2010 by the London Guardian.

In a cable in October, 2010, the U.S. mission in Vienna went as far as describing Amano as “D.G. of all states, but in agreement with us.” “Amano reminded [the] ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the developing countries group], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.”

Amano has disgraced the impartial image of the IAEA and should step aside for the good of the agency and our planet that is tired of war based on deceptions and lies. We need a nuclear-weapons-free zone not just in the Middle East but also in the entire world. For all this to happen, we can start with a couple of things: elimination of massive stockpiles of nuclear arms (so that nobody feels threatened) and democratization of the UNSC taking away veto-wielding powers from the nuclear Brahmins (that are responsible for abusing their power for their own selfish reasons and not true peace).

Of course, none of these is going to happen. After all, such would be too much to ask of when the warmongers are controlling the levers of American government and media power! They are defiantly flaunting it, which, when you think of it, is quite a comment on our impotence and sad existence.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Yukiya Amano should resign from the IAEA - he is the wrong person leading the agency

In spite of all the evidences that point out that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, the war party is busy. It is preparing for a war against Iran. And thus, just as with Iraq earlier, the USA government is trying to choke Iran by every means possible. At the heart of such accusations against Iran is the dubious role played by IAEA's new chief Yukiya Amano.

Here is an excellent article from Professor Sahimi of the prestigious University of Southern California, Los Angeles, which discusses Amano's criminal ploy at the service of the Empire. While Prof. Sahimi generously calls Amano "a political dwarf in the service of the United States," my views are that he is no less criminal than anyone within the Obama Administration and Netanyahu's government in Israel that want to repeat the crimes of Iraqi aggression against Iran for the latter's refusal to bow down to the altar of criminal Likudnik nexus. Amano is a disgrace to the IAEA, serving the interest of the warlords of our world who know only perpetual war to drift our world to chaos. No time in its history has the nuclear watchdog agency been plagued so much by bias and incompetency, all at the service of the war party. For the health of the agency, Amano should resign.

I agree with Prof. Sahimi that "Yukiya Amano is the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time. If his antics continue, the IAEA will be a prime culprit in starting a war with Iran." And we can't afford another war!!!