Bombing a Prison Camp for Children

Even the shameless Israeli state seems momentarily shamed, as it has announced a five-hour ceasefire in their bombardment of Gaza after having shelled to death four Palestinian children who had been playing soccer on a beach, thereby presumably serving as “human shields” for Hamas fighters ingeniously hiding under the sand.

Over 36 children have now been killed by Israel’s assaults out of 200+ total (mostly civilian) Palestinian deaths. Such a high proportion is hardly surprising, given that a majority of the population in Gaza is under 18, and over 40 percent are age 14 and under. Israel is bombing what is for the most part a vast open-air prison camp for children. This is what the Obama administration refers to as Israel “defending itself.”

“Eye for an eye” probably wouldn’t make the whole world blind. But, “the eyes of your children and neighbors for an eye,” sure as hell will. This bombing campaign of collective punishment is bloodthirsty, rank tribalism of the most primitive sort. Every American should be as aghast as Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder recently expressed himself to be that his tax dollars are paying for it.

Exchange of Projectiles?

Numerous headlines in mainstream American coverage of Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip feature language about Israelis and Palestinians “exchanging rocket fire,” which conveys to the American public the sense that it is a matter of a “battle” between two neighboring “powers,” instead of the bombardment of an occupied territory; as if there was any kind of equivalence between the 400 tons of explosives that have rained down from Israeli jet planes, and the primitive, unguided rockets being lobbed from Gaza. The former has, in just a few days already killed over 100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and including at least 13 children. The latter has resulted in zero Israeli deaths, and only 7 injuries.

It’s rather like a scrum of cops assaulting a prostrate man with batons and tasers, and the media calling that a “fight” instead of a beating, because the man, as he flailed about under the blows raining down on him, kicked the leg one of the cops.

The Palestinians aren’t allowed to leave; the Gaza Strip is a giant open-air prison camp. They have no air raid shelters or sirens. They are like fish in a barrel, being blasted by a shotgun from above. It’s like some of the fish in the barrel pathetically spitting water at the gunman, and calling that a “shooting battle.” Indeed one has to wonder, if the economic blockade and the destruction wrought upon the Palestinians were to reduce them to such penury that they no longer had enough materials for rockets, and were reduced to only throwing rocks while continuing to have 1-ton smart-bombs dropped on their houses, would the American mainstream media call the affair an “exchange of projectiles”?

Playing With Fire, Both Israel and Ukraine Say, “No Truce for You”

The empire is in a particularly testy and truculent mood. Two of its appendages have, virtually simultaneously, eschewed ceasefires in their respective campaigns of aggression. Both have bombarded civilian centers with airstrikes, and Ukraine has been rolling in armored vehicles, while Israel is preparing to do the same. As Jason Ditz reports:

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich today ruled out any ceasefire negotiations with Hamas, as the Israeli military continues to escalate airstrikes against the tiny Gaza Strip, and is building up for a ground invasion.

and

Having taken Slovyansk earlier this week, Ukrainian officials are increasingly bellicose about their ongoing civil war, demand unconditional, unilateral disarmament by the rebels before any future discussions. “There will be no more unilateral ceasefires” by Ukrainian troops, announced Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey, while other officials promised a “nasty surprise” for any of the eastern rebels that continue to resist their takeover. (…) “…the Ukrainian military is increasingly using not only airstrikes, but armored vehicles in its offensives.”

With Ukraine, as it always does with Israel, the U.S. government, which funds and arms both, defends its actions as “defending itself.” Propping up such merciless savagery is unbelievably reckless on the part of U.S. policymakers. It is precisely this kind of mass brutalization of Arabs that has resulted in incidents of blowback like 9/11. And now, even as the empire doubles down on this treatment of Arabs, it is so suicidally stupid as to actually extend it to Russian-speaking people, right on the border of nuclear Russia.

Demonize Putin all you want, but never forget that control over Russia’s mountain of H-bombs is, in the final analysis, in the hands of the Russian people. And it is far from impossible that the “blowback” rage and hatred to come from grinding Russian-speakers under the imperial boot will not be dissimilar from the blowback of doing the same to Arabs; only this time with potentially thermonuclear consequences. How, after all, do you think it makes Russians feel to see pictures like this, which is from a Ukrainian airstrike on Russian-speakers in early June?

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And no, you hubris-addled neocons, not even regime-change against Putin would solve the problem. If anything his popularity is putting a lid on the outrage, because the Russians trust him to stand up for them, and therefore give him leeway for compromise.

Stop the madness now.

Stop doing what you’re not doing? AGAIN?

Iran’s imaginary nukes and other war-lies: Take 83  – – –

It’s the sort of bureaucratic lying-by-obfuscation below which caused the U.S. to unnecessarily nuke Japan twice in three days, attack North Vietnam for an incident which Defense Sec. Robert McNamara admits “didn’t happen,” and invade Iraq based on weapons of mass destruction it didn’t have — and at least 935 other documented lies – – –

You have said a couple of times that you did not believe the Iranians were pursuing a nuclear weapon … are you still confident they’re not pursuing a nuclear weapon?  —Moderator Chuck TODD,  Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

What I’ve said, and I will say today, is that the intelligence we have is they have not made the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.  —U.S. Defense Secretary Leon PANETTA, Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

The “innies” — like Mr. Panetta for example — know perfectly well Iran’s government has no nuclear weapons program. But almost certainly because the U.S. Government often marches to Israel’s drumbeat, it’s clear Mr. Panetta is reluctant to reveal that inconvenient truth. Chuck Hagel did reveal it. Which is one reason his appointment as Defense Secretary is being held up.

[PANETTA:] They’re developing and enriching uranium. …

TODD: Why do you believe they’re doing that?

MR. PANETTA: I think– I think the– it’s a clear indication they say they’re doing it in order to develop their own energy source. I think it is suspect that they continue to– to enrich uranium because that is dangerous, and that violates international laws… —Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

Mr. Panetta, apparently giving in to his political experience and training, is out-and-out lying. This does NOT “violate international laws” as Mr. Panetta asserts. Unlike Israel, for example, not only has Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — which allows the enrichment Iran is doing — but, despite Israel’s own clandestine nukes — and its intensive anti-Iran disinformation operations — Iran’s government has allowed much more stringent inspections than other NPT signatories.

And it’s no more dangerous for Iran to enrich uranium this way than for any other country which wants to produce nuclear-electric power. The U.S. for example.

TODD: And you do believe they’re probably pursuing a weapon, but you don’t– the intelligence doesn’t know what…

(Cross talk)

MR. PANETTA: I– no, I can’t tell you because– I can’t tell you they’re in fact pursuing a weapon because that’s not what intelligence says we– we– we’re– they’re doing right now. But every indication is they want to continue to increase their nuclear capability. And that’s a concern, and that’s what we’re asking them to stop doing.  —Meet The Press, February 3, 2013

So, exposed to even the feeble light of U.S. Main Stream Media, Mr. Panetta had to tell the truth. Again. So he reluctantly admits, “I can’t tell you they’re in fact pursuing a weapon because that’s not what intelligence says.” That would be all 16 official branches of the U.S. Intelligence Community, including his own C.I.A. that are telling him that — with unanimous “high confidence.”

Which is why keeping Iran from producing a nuclear weapon may be Mr. Obama’s most easily kept campaign promise.

None the less, Mr. Panetta insists that “every indication is they want to continue to increase their nuclear capability?” So, Mr. Panetta, your HUNCH is better than the carefully evolved high confidence conclusions of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies? Really?

And Mr. Panetta goes on, “that’s what we’re asking them to stop doing.” In other words, “we’re asking them to stop doing what we know they’re not doing.”

It’s this sort of obtuse double talk that gets politicians elected, bureaucrats like Mr. Panetta into lofty positions — and Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Defense  Secretary held up by Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and the rest of Israel’s Amen Corner.

As already suggested, it’s also this sort of bureaucratic lying-by-obfuscation that caused the U.S. to unnecessarily nuke Japan twice in three days, attack North Vietnam for an incident which Defense Sec. Robert McNamara admits “didn’t happen,” and invade Iraq based on weapons of mass destruction it didn’t have — and at least 935 other documented lies.

So, will “we the people” allow our public servants to once again lie us into war? Squeak up!

The easiest campaign promise??

Both War Party candidates (Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama) have stumbled all over themselves — and each other — to promise the government of Israel  they won’t let Iran produce a nuclear bomb.

Unless they begin to believe their own propaganda as Kennedy did (which inadvertently fired-up the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union), it’s the one campaign promise they’ll both be able to easily keep at almost no cost.

Here’s why:

U.S. Defense Sec. Leon Panetta: “Are they [Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” –Panetta Admits Iran is Not Trying to Develop a Nuclear Weapon, CBS’s “Face The Nation” Jan. 8, 2012

The Buried Lead on Iran: All Nuclear Sites Routinely Inspected, No Violations Antiwar.com

'What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?' Iranian President Ahmadinejad

Iran to Allow Nuclear Inspectors Into Secret Military Complex
+
Iran has announced it will allow international nuclear inspectors to visit its secret Parchin military complex. Iran has long said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, but some international analysts have speculated Iran may be using the Parchin complex to do research relevant to nuclear weapons. It is not clear when inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will visit the site. –Democracy NOW! HEADLINES, March 06, 2012

SEYMOUR HERSH: …let me say again, there is no evidence that our intelligence community or even the Israeli intelligence community has — and I know that firsthand — suggesting that there’s an ongoing bomb program. So we are now — the United States is now in the position of increasing sanctions and pressuring all sorts of economic pressure on the Iranians to stop — the whole purpose of the economic sanctions is to stop the Iranians from making a bomb that we know they’re not making. –Training Terrorists in Nevada: Seymour Hersh on U.S. Aid to Iranian Group Tied to Scientist Killings

So everyone, including U.S. and Israeli intelligence, knows that the Iranian government isn’t trying to make a bomb. Unless a seriously careless Iranian scientist slips on a banana peel and pushes the wrong 10,000 buttons in exactly the right sequence, there’s little chance Iran — which, unlike Israel with its estimated 100 secret nukes, has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty  — will build even one bomb.

How hard can it be to stop someone from doing something they’re not doing? So, is the War Party candidates’ mutual promise to the government of Israel to prevent Iran from producing  a nuclear bomb the easiest campaign promise?

Or, as with Kennedy and the nuclear arms race, Iraq, and now Iran, is THIS the main danger – – –

Little girl's sign: They lied about Iraq

For further information: Common Sense: IRAN: A Medley Against the MIC (MilitaryIndustrialComplex)

Update: Gag Lifted in Druze Spying Case

Richard Silverstein sent this update last night to Antiwar.com regarding Sunday’s article Shin Bet Arrests Israeli Druze at Syrian Border, Slaps Gag on Media Reporting:

Yesterday, the Shin Bet lifted the gag order prohibiting reporting on the case of the 38 year-old Druze doctor, Eyad Jamil al-Jawhari. He’d been arrested on June 28th as he attempted to enter the occupied Golan heights at the Kuneitra border crossing. His entire family had been waiting for him, as he hadn’t visited them in the past three years (he’d spent a total of ten years in Syria pursuing medical studies and a career in family medicine).
Continue reading “Update: Gag Lifted in Druze Spying Case”