Thursday, February 28, 2013

Juan Cole's post about the Hagel confirmation

The title is "Hagel Confirmed, but Bloodied by American Nationalists Seeking Wars & World Dominance." Here is the first paragraph or so:
The GOP senators have their own foreign policy, and it isn’t the same as that of President Obama or Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

For them, the US is a 900 pound behemoth that can boss the world around with its high-tech military at will. Their foreign policy is to shoot first and ask questions later, to cowboy it all alone, to never have regrets and never question American supremacy. They believe in a civilizational hierarchy, with Americans at the top of it, and for some of them ‘Americans’ means white Americans.
So we now have Pat Buchanan (but without the intelligence) for Secretary of State, and Juan is pleased. All that excoriating rhetoric about Republicans means that he's happy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Gilad Atzmon at PressTV: "BDS takes stance against George Galloway to please its Zionist masters"

With Gilad, every day is Purim.
With BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), it’s never boring. Although formed initially to mount pressure on Israel, increasingly BDS campaigns are now, bit by bit, focusing on silencing any pro-Palestinian voice with an IQ over 90.

For the BDS leadership, intellect is a threat - and they may be right.

For a year now, we have noted BDS’ repeated assaults on leading activists and intellects such as Ken O’Keefe, Prof. Norman Finkelstein, Alison Weir, Greta Berlin, Daniel Barenboim, yours truly and many others. But this weekend, the BDS found a new potential punch-bag: British MP George Galloway.

On Wednesday, MP Galloway walked out of a debate at Christ Church, Oxford. Galloway was upset to find that he was about to be in debate with an Israeli. "I was misinformed" he said. "I don't debate with Israelis. I don't recognise Israel." Galloway later wrote on Twitter "No recognition, No normalisation. Just Boycott, divestment, sanctions."

Now surely, Galloway’s reaction, though impulsive, must be accepted or at least understood by Palestinians and their advocates. Not so, it seems. The ‘Jews in the movement’ were really distressed, so much so that Israeli BDS enthusiast Rachel Shabi confirmed on The Guardian yesterday that the BDS national committee was quick ‘to issue a statement’ to disassociate itself from Galloway’s attitude. It looks like the BDS Committee in Ramallah has, once again, had to bow to its paymasters.

On The Telegraph Toby Young maintained the exact same line. “Following George Galloway's dramatic exit from an Oxford University debate” Young wrote, A leading Palestinian organisation (BDS) has issued a press release saying it doesn’t condone boycotting individuals.” Young concludes, “It seems the Respect MP hasn't simply lost the respect of his political opponents after his antics at the Oxford debate. He's losing the respect of his political allies, too.” Somebody in Ramallah better advise us why did BDS joined the Hasbara campaign against MP Galloway. Seemingly in the BDS committee they are yet to grasp the notion of solidarity.

The BDS statement, brilliantly original as ever, reads as follows:

“The global BDS movement has consistently adopted a rights-based approach and an anti-racist platform that rejects all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.”

Pretty impressive. Anti-racism is certainly important except that Galloway did not once refer to Jews or to race. He referred to Israel and refused to debate an Israeli national. Now, I happen to think that Galloway was wrong but still, his decision, a purely political one, was entirely legitimate.

Interestingly, BDS leader Omar Barghouti is not exactly himself much of an anti-racist. In fact, it has amply demonstrated what a banal, racist mind he has. Recall how last year Barghouti was caught on video exploring some extremely vile, racist, biological determinist terminology when this essentially banal mind launched an attack on the White race.

For a while, Barghouti’s open racism bewildered me but I then realised that this Palestinian petty Marxist probably fell asleep during the relevant lesson and missed the most important bit. Israel is not South Africa and it is not the ‘White State’ or the ‘White man’ who plunders Palestine, it is actually the ‘Jewish state.’

In her Guardian article, Israeli Rachel Shabi explained in the clearest of terms why she has a problem with Galloway. “One reason that many left-leaning Jews don't join the BDS movement is precisely because the boycott is perceived to be about rage against people, rather than an effective political tool.” There you go, plain and clear, according to Shabi BDS is there to appease the ‘Left-leaning Jews’. It is not about Palestine or the Palestinians, not even about justice or universalism, it is just a ‘political tool’. In fact, this clumsy statement by Shabi may explain why more and more of us regard the BDS, in its current form, as nothing short of a ‘controlled opposition’ dominated by Jewish tribal interests. (According to some Israeli sources, it is also largely funded by liberal Zionist George Soros’ Open Society.)

But here are some critical questions for the BDS Committee, Shabi and Soros. Do you really want to form a totalitarian movement dominated by an intellectually lame ‘big brother’ that will tell us exactly what we may talk about and how we may express ourselves? Do you really want to turn Palestine into a synagogue and the solidarity movement into a yeshiva? Does the prospect of intellectual and spiritual freedom not appeal to you? After decades of abuse, don’t the Palestinian people deserve freedom?

Let me be clear. I believe that BDS is a force for good but BDS leadership had better reflect a little and start to focus on the real enemies of justice and of Palestine rather than harassing the most dedicated voices in this discourse.

But still, one question is still unresolved. Almost a year ago we discovered that BDS had compromised the most fundamental of Palestinian rights: the Right of Return. In an entirely underhand way the BDS National Committee had changed the wording of its mission statement from demanding that Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands to its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967.

BDS made this change without alerting its affiliated organization. In fact an Israeli BDS activist confirmed to me that the change was made to appease the ‘Jews in the movement’. However, in spite of the wide publicising of this strange conduct by BDS, the organisation has, to date, failed to clarify its position. For more than 8 months since this crucial question was raised, BDS remains silent - but it took the BDS Committee in Ramallah less than five hours to react to Galloway and to disassociate itself from him.

The message is clear. BDS, in its current form, is an occupied territory. If it wants to save itself, (and I hope it does), it must be de-Zionised - and immediately. If it fails to do this, it will be remembered as possibly the most repugnantly treacherous chapter in the history of the Palestinian struggle. And this is indeed painful and tragic.
That's an interesting claim about Barghouti. I'll have to see if I can look into it.

Update: Here is that video.

"IRGC Tests Suicide Drones, Modern Warfare Units' Capabilities in Wargames" (Fars)

We learn that "IRGC forces also tested targeting hypothetical enemies' drones." Drones of hypothetical enemies? Or hypothetical drones? Only the mind behind those shades knows for sure.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force tested different asymmetric tactics and various types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs), including its suicide drones, as well as its special modern warfare units on the first day of the massive wargames underway in Iran's Southeastern province of Kerman on Saturday.

The IRGC Ground Force started massive wargames, codenamed Payambar-e Azam 8 (The Great Prophet 8), which include exercising different defense tactics, in Southern Iran on Saturday.

"For the first time, our special modern warfare task forces are conducting specialized operations," Spokesman of the Wargames General Hamid Sarkheili told reporters, elaborating on the missions and goals of the drills.

Sarkheili said the IRGC forces also tested targeting hypothetical enemies' drones, and used different types of UAVs in the wargames.

"In the other phases of the wargames, the reconnaissance as well as suicide drones, which are capable of attacking the enemies, have been used and their operational capabilities came under assessment," the spokesman noted.

He added that IRGC drones are now monitoring the moves of the hypothetical enemy in the wargame zone, while electronic warfare units are wiretapping enemy communications.

Earlier this month, Commander of the IRGC Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour had informed the media that the massive wargames would be held in Iran's Southeastern regions of Kerman, Siriz and Sirjan.

The IRGC drills are aimed at maintaining and improving the combat preparedness of the IRGC Ground Forces, testing the latest combat systems of the IRGC Ground Force and exercising different asymmetric warfare tactics.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Amnesty International believes that the Memorandum of Understanding 'is an important contribution to the quest of justice'"

"Argentina's International Amnesty Politics and Justice Area coordinator" is an Amnesty International official speaking in an official capacity? It would be nice to see this reported widely enough to embarrass Amnesty International's central whatever into confirming or denying it. I'm not holding my breath, however.
Leah Tandeter, Argentina's International Amnesty Politics and Justice Area coordinator, defined today the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Argentina and Iran “as an important contribution to the quest of justice and reparation for the victims” of the 1994 Amia terrorist attack, because “it is Constitutional and respects the domestic legislations”.

During a dialogue with Buenos Aires Radio Nacional, she said that “from Amnesty International we believe that this agreement expresses both countries´will to advance in the elucidation of the AMIA attack”.

The agreement, she added, “makes possible the inquiries in Teheran and besides it creates the Commission of Truth, which will be made up by high-profile jurists of renowned prestige”.

Regarding the debate at the Argentine Senate yesterday, she said that “it is very healthy to have such a broad debate on such an important document, since it is within the Congress’s powers to approve this kind of agreements".

"U.S., S. Korean Provocations Push Situation to Brink of War" (Korean News)

Hmmm, the "Brink of War." Are your regular news sources keeping you up to date on how bellicose and threatening North Korean rhetoric is these days?
The U.S. and the south Korean puppet regime are busy staging madcap war drills in south Korea this month in their wake in January.

Anti-submarine naval maneuvers were kicked off in the East Sea of Korea on Feb. 19 with the U.S. forces and the south Korean puppet armed forces involved. "Winter-season combined maneuvers" of the U.S. Marines and the south Korean Marine Corps have been under way this month. A drill for gearing up for wartime operations has been staged between the U.S. 7th Air Force and the south Korean air force operational command since Feb. 12.

The 20th Division and the 55th Division of the south Korean ground force launched "a drill in biting cold" in the areas of Ryoju and Yangphyong of Kyonggi Province on Feb. 18 and it will last till Feb. 28 and its unit 6953 is now staging a ground drill in the area of Mugon-ri, Phaju City, Kyonggi Province.

The war exercises being staged by the U.S. and south Korea in the sky, land and sea from the outset of the year are serious military provocations pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region to the brink of a total war as they are aimed at invading the north to all intents and purposes.

What merits attention is that these drills are under way in the areas similar to forefront areas and the north's strategic vantage points.

The programs of the drills involve river crossing, precision strike, infiltration by use of skis and mobile drills for carrying out the scenarios for invading the north.

Also involved in the drills are warships equipped with new type cruise missiles capable of striking various areas of the DPRK and Northeast Asia.

What should not be overlooked is that the U.S. and the south Korean group of traitors are letting loose a spate of invectives hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK such as "calls for bringing down its social system" and "making a precision strike at the windows of the office of the north's headquarters", kicking up war atmosphere.

All these facts go to clearly prove that the military drills are the war exercises for mounting a surprise preemptive attack and nuclear war drills being staged in pursuance of their heinous hostile policy to stifle the DPRK.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region has reached an extremely dangerous phase owing to the hostile forces which are kicking up evermore frantic anti-DPRK racket over its satellite launch for peaceful purposes and its nuclear activities for self-defence.

Their noisy war drumbeats are a blatant challenge to the efforts of the international community to defend global peace and security as they are a product of their strategic scenarios to hold hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region including Northeast Asia.

Their claim that those war maneuvers are to cope with the additional provocation of the north is no more than sheer rhetoric to pass the buck for the escalating military tension on the peninsula and in the region to the DPRK and justify their acts of aggression.

If they ignite a war on this land, the army and the people of the DPRK will not miss the gold chance but deal decisive and deadly retaliatory blows at them and blow up the strongholds of aggression and thus achieve the historic victory in the war for the country's reunification.

Monday, February 04, 2013

"After listening to the historic speech made by Kim Jong Un with great excitement, the participants in the meeting extended highest glory and deepest thanks to Kim Jong Un, who is ushering in the greatest heyday of increasing the military capability with his extraordinary wisdom and stratagem, matchless grit and pluck and noble virtues"

And that isn't even the whole sentence:
An enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea was held under the guidance of Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the WPK, chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, first chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.

Present there were members of the WPK Central Military Commission, staff members of the KPA Supreme Command and commanding officers of the large combined units including the navy, air force and anti-air force and strategic rocket force.

The enlarge meeting of the WPK Central Military Commission discussed the issue of bringing about a great turn in bolstering up the military capability, true to the Songun revolutionary leadership of the WPK, and an organizational issue.

Kim Jong Un made an important concluding speech which serves as guidelines for further strengthening the KPA into a matchless revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu and defending the security and sovereignty of the country as required by the WPK and the developing revolution.

After listening to the historic speech made by Kim Jong Un with great excitement, the participants in the meeting extended highest glory and deepest thanks to Kim Jong Un, who is ushering in the greatest heyday of increasing the military capability with his extraordinary wisdom and stratagem, matchless grit and pluck and noble virtues and evinced their firm determination to unconditionally and thoroughly implement the militant tasks set forth by him in his speech.

The enlarged meeting of the WPK Central Military Commission held at an important time when a turning phase is being opened in building a thriving socialist nation and achieving the cause of national reunification will mark an important occasion in powerfully encouraging the army and people of the DPRK all out in the general advance of the new year full of conviction of certain victory and optimism and bolstering up the defence capability of the country in every way.