Int’l Days of Action in Support of Bradley Manning

On September 16-19, groups and individuals will call on the United States government to drop the charges against Army Private First Class Bradley Manning. Manning’s imprisonment has resulted in an international outcry, with groups and activists throughout the US and abroad demanding his release and calling for transparency in America’s war policies.

The opening event is Sept. 16 in Oakland, California, featuring Daniel Ellsberg, Col. Ann Wright, and Ray McGovern. This event will be webcast live and made available at michaelmoore.com.

Event locations include Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Spokane, Toronto, New York City, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, and several others. Click here for a full list. If there is no event planned in your area, or want to help in any way, contact the Bradley Manning Support Network to help organize one.

Wednesday Iran Talking Points

from LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 15th, 2010:

The Washington Post: Thomas Erdbrink reports on comments made Tuesday by former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in which the cleric criticized the government for not taking U.S.-led sanctions seriously and warned that Iran could become a dictatorship. “The remarks by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani represent a rebuke of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though Rafsanjani did not mention him by name,” writes Erdbrink. The Iranian government maintains that sanctions have strengthened Iran, but Rafasanjani, speaking at the influential clerical council, said, “I would like to ask you and all the country’s officials to take the sanctions seriously and not as a joke.” Rafsanjani is seen as a major force behind the opposition Green Movement and longstanding rival of Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad has faced increasing criticism from all strata of the Iranian political system.

Washington Post: The Post picks up an AP article by George Jahn chronicling the U.S.’s request that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) take “appropriate action” in response to alleged Iranian intimidation of nuclear inspectors. The message was delivered to the IAEA in Vienna by Glyn Davies, the U.S. representative to the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The request for “action” came after Iran barred two inspectors several months ago. Jahn reports that Iran’s representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, accused the agency and its director general, Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, of “entering into a political game of certain countries,” a clear shot at the U.S. and its allies. Reuters has reported similar comments from the head of Iran’s atomic program, Ali Akbar Salehi. Earlier this week, Amano said Iran had not provided “necessary cooperation” that would allow the IAEA to ensure that the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful. Salehi responded yesterday that, if Amano knew what he was implying, “he made a big mistake which is very dangerous because it indicates that he has been under political pressure.” Iran, which like all participants in inspections, is entitled to approve inspectors, last banned particular inspectors in 2007, after the IAEA reported Iran to the UN Security Council.

Huffington Post: John Feffer, the co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) at the Institute for Policy Studies, has a new post up outlining some basics of Iran’s conflict with the West and pointing to FPIF pieces about how war with Iran is avoidable. The piece is a solid primer of where the sides stand now and where they are coming from. Feffer thinks a U.S. or Israeli strike is not likely, nor does he think economic and other international sanctions will work. An expert on North Korea, Feffer makes this apt observation: “The Bush administration’s failure to continue Clinton’s engagement of North Korea shows us what happens with the isolation strategy. With no other options, North Korea simply pushed ahead with its nuclear program.” Obama should wait until after the political dust of the mid-term U.S. Congressional elections settles, writes Feffer, then use help from third parties such as Turkey to cut a deal with Tehran.

Tuesday Iran Talking Points

from LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 14th, 2010:

Reuters: Louis Charbonneau reports Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to attend a UN-meeting next week on moving forward global disarmament talks, which have been stalled for the past 12 years, during the annual General Assembly gathering of global leaders. “The schedule has not been firmly set, but I understand [Ahmadinejad] is going to participate in the high-level meeting on disarmament,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters. It is not clear who will be the U.S. delegate. President Obama, who has identified nuclear disarmament a major foreign policy initiative of his first term, will probably be attending other meetings.

The Washington Post: Thomas Erdbrink reports Iranian authorities released American hiker Sara Shourd on bail who then boarded a plane to meet family in Oman. Shourd and two other American hikers were arrested last year when they reportedly crossed into Iran from northern Iraq. All three of the hikers face espionage related charges but Shourd, who has been reported to be in poor health, has been permitted to leave Iran on $500,000 bail. Iran has indicated Shourd’s two hiking companions will be detained for at least another two months. Shourd is obliged to return to Iran for future legal proceedings.

Foreign Policy: Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an often hawkish spin-off of AIPAC, observes Obama’s biggest test in Middle East peacemaking will how he deals with “the regional challenge that poses the most serious consequences for Middle East security” — Iran’s nuclear program. Only with a clearly articulated policy will the U.S. have enough regional clout to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, he argues. Satloff comments, without evidence, that Obama has abandoned ‘linkage’ and espouses in its place ‘reverse linkage.‘ Experts doubt sanctions will work, he says, which “leaves U.S. military power as the last repository of credibility” for a U.S. commitment to stopping an Iranian bomb. He concludes that “U.S. action to prevent Iran’s march toward a nuclear weapons capability would buoy America’s friends and undermine its adversaries from Morocco through the Persian Gulf.”

New York Times: ‘Politicus’ columnist John Vinocur questions the direction of Obama’s leadership on Iran. Citing some hawks, including neocon Robert Kagan, Vinocur focuses on Obama’s August meeting with journalists where the President touted his record on sanctions (summed up in our August 5th Talking Points). He notes ahead of that briefing, CIA director Leon Panetta, his predecessor Michael Hayden, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen all seemed to hint about the possibility of a U.S. strike against Iran. Only, writes Vinocur, “nothing was reported among the president’s comments to match it in substance or tonality.” Carnegie Endowment official George Perkovich told Vinocur, “it would be desirable for the United States to have credible use of force in relation to Iran, but in my view we do not.” Vinocur cites Tony Blair’s recent blustering and draws the conclusion that “American leadership is difficult to detect.”

A Snapshot of Linguistic Cynicism on ‘Terrorism’

A quick but illustrative juxtaposition of news tonight, before I start building tomorrow’s page:

Shin Bet chief: Hamas will use terror to thwart talks

and

Likud MKs threaten to withdraw support for budget if settlement freeze extended

Same newspaper, same night. In the first piece, it is clear that any action taken by Hamas is automatically terror, even if directed at Israel soldiers. As pointed out often here, this is not terrorism but a military attack on state actors by non-state actors (though in Hamas’ case, the “non-state” is debatable). But let’s just assume they mean the typical Tel Aviv café attacks of the Intifada. This warning about Hamas’ intentions has within it the assumption that Israel is doing all it can to help along the peace talks. The second piece shows that it in fact does the very opposite.

Hardline Israeli MPs are calling for an end to the (false) settlement freeze in order to pass the budget, just as another round of certainly pointless “peace talks” are to resume. If this happens, it will certainly kill any agreement, and the Likudniks know it. Israel, of course, doesn’t have to do terrorism to be able to build its settlements, because it has achieved terror in totality throughout Palestine. That is, Israel’s terror is a finished product of many decades. None have the power or inclination to challenge the state’s land grabs and colonial project on any level.

Except, you see, for Palestinian “terrorists.” Neat, huh?

9/11 Comm. Report Burnt on 9/11

The 9/11 Commission was one of the biggest frauds of a fraudulent decade. Here’s an excellent list of sources from “Washington’s Blog” on why the Commission’s report was a scam. (H/t Tom Blanton) Here’s a piece I did a few years ago detailing some of the charades of that farce of an “independent” commission. (Simply because the feds have lied up and down for years about 9/11 doesn’t prove that the government did it.)

Portland protestors finally gave the 9/11 Commission Report the respect it deserved.

Here’s the YouTube video clip of the toasting – -the discussion of Portland starts about 2 minutes into the clip.

Here’s another YouTube video of another 9/11 report burning by Pat Jaynes, along with his sidekick Deborah doing the filming and adding very good snark.

The 9/11 Commission report was also burnt by Rogan McIntyre in California on Saturday as well. Here is a picture Rogan took with his Iphone (he said he’ll use a different camera next year). Rogan notes: “I actually printed the entire commission out from the internet and burned 585 pages in my tiny firepit in my back yard. It took some cleaning in the middle of the work because the ashes were getting to be a bit much.”