Feb 082013
 

PressTV

US Vice President Joe Biden (file photo)

 

The US claim that it is ready to hold direct talks with Iran is utterly preposterous as America’s deep-rooted policy of anti-Iran pressures contradict the very tenets of reciprocal interaction, political analysts tell Press TV.

At the 49th annual Munich Security Conference in Germany on February 2, the US Vice President Joe Biden said Washington was ready to hold direct talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.

However, he noted that “there will be continued pressure and isolation,” insisting that if Iran abandons “the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism, there will be meaningful incentives.”

In a strong response, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei lashed out at the idea of any talks with the United States under pressure and threats.

“I am not a diplomat. I am a revolutionary and speak frankly, honestly, and firmly. An offer of talks makes sense only when the side [that makes the offer] shows its goodwill,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in a Thursday meeting with the officials and commanders of Iran’s Navy.

“You (the Americans) point the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we pull the trigger! You should know that pressure and negotiations don’t go together, and that the [Iranian] nation will not be intimidated by such things,” the Leader added.

Analysts believe that Biden’s repeated allegations of Iran’s “illicit nuclear program” come while the Islamic Republic has categorically rejected such allegations. On the other hand, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never found any evidence during its inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities to support the US and Israel’s claims that Tehran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Moreover, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, Iran is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Political analysts also argue that Biden has adopted a diversionary tactic by portraying Iran’s support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the Palestinian resistance groups and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as Tehran’s “support for terrorism.”

They say by resorting to an ambiguous concept such as “terrorism,” Biden seeks to compel Iran to salvage the US from the quagmire it is facing in Syria, Afghanistan, Gaza, etc.

“We, of course, understand their (the Americans’) need for negotiations, because the Middle East policy of the Americans has failed, and in order to compensate for this failure, they need to play a trump card,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in his Thursday speech.

The Leader noted that taking Iran to the negotiating table is the trump card that the US needs, adding that Washington seeks to tell the world it has good will. “However, no one sees any goodwill.”

Biden has also claimed that, even according to Iranian officials, the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council have been “the most robust sanctions in history.” This is while political observers have repeatedly noted that the most “barbaric” and “inhuman” pressures and sanctions against a nation have been actually imposed on Iran not by the UN, but by the US and the European Union.

“We’ve also made clear that Iran’s leaders need not sentence their people to economic deprivation and international isolation,” Biden added.

Following the West’s sanctions on Iran’s banking sector, the import of more than 50 types of medicines required for people who suffer from certain diseases such as cancer, children’s cancer, thalassemia, multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as respiratory and heart diseases, has drastically declined.

Prominent international lawyers such as Francis Boyle contend that Iran is entitled to file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice against the US, France, the UK and their allies, on behalf of all Iranian citizens being harmed by illegal and political economic sanctions.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Biden noted that the US policy with regard to Iran’s nuclear energy program “is not containment,” but is aimed at preventing “Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

He made the comments while, according to UN figures, the US — which is the only country that has ever used atomic bombs against human beings — has conducted 1,032 nuclear tests since 1945.

The United States also plans to treat its 5,113-strong arsenal of nuclear warheads to the costliest modernization process ever, with a projected expenditure estimated to stand at USD352 billion.

The stockpile houses seven types of weapons while upgrading only the B61 thermonuclear bombs is likely to cost USD10 billion over five years, while Washington would have to lavish USD110 billion to build 12 replacements for the aging Ohio-class submarines.

At the Munich conference, the US vice president also stated that “There is still space for diplomacy, backed by pressure, to succeed. The ball is in the government of Iran’s court.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, however, refuted Biden’s remarks, and noted, “The ball is in your court, because you should answer the question of whether speaking of negotiations at the same time as continuing pressure and threats makes any sense at all.”

Continue reading »

Feb 052013
 

Fars News Agency

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the anti-narcotics squad of Iran’s Law Enforcement Police General Ali Moayyedi blamed the NATO forces for increased drug plantation, production and trafficking in Afghanistan.

“NATO’s presence in Afghanistan has not only contributed zilch to campaign on drugs, but also multiplied production of narcotics, exactly to the opposite,” Moayyedi said in a meeting with Head of Tajikistan’s Anti-Drug Agency here in Tehran today.

He added that Iran’s anti-drug measures along borders with Afghanistan have forced drug-traffickers to use other routes including Tajikistan, which, like Iran, shares lengthy borders with Afghanistan, to smuggle narcotics.

Moayyedi said that Iran and Tajikistan are trying to boost their cooperation and interactions against the harms that they sustain and the threats which are posed to them from their borders with Afghanistan.

Eastern Iran borders Afghanistan, which is the world’s number one opium and drug producer. Iran’s geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle their cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.

Iran spends billions of dollars and has lost thousands of its police troops in the war against traffickers. Owing to its rigid efforts, Iran makes 89 percent of the world’s total opium seizures and has turned into the leading country in drug campaign.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.

Afghan and western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have “overlooked” the drug problem since invading the country 10 years ago.

In relevant remarks in November, Head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov also blamed the US for a major part of the narcotics smuggled from Afghanistan to his country, saying that the volume of the drug cargos destined for Russia will decrease after the withdrawal of the US forces from the war-stricken country.

“I am convinced that the flow of (Afghan) drugs to Russia will decrease as soon as Americans withdraw from Afghanistan,” Ivanov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Ivanov, who had also previously criticized the anti-drug measures taken by the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, strongly hailed the US withdrawal scheduled for the end of 2014.

He also said that more than 100,000 people aged 15-34 died of drug abuse in Russia in 2011.

Ivanov said earlier that 30 tons of drugs, mostly from Afghanistan in the form of heroin, are trafficked into Russia annually. Continue reading »

Jan 202013
 

Global Research
Paul Craig Roberts

American Flag

Those concerned about “The New World Order” speak as if the United States is coming under the control of an outside conspiratorial force. In fact, it is the US that is the New World Order. That is what the American unipolar world, about which China, Russia, and Iran complain, is all about.

Washington has demonstrated that it has no respect for its own laws and Constitution, much less any respect for international law and the law and sovereignty of other countries. All that counts is Washington’s will as the pursuit of hegemony moves Washington closer to becoming a world dictator.

The examples are so numerous someone should compile them into a book. During the Reagan administration the long established bank secrecy laws of Switzerland had to bend to Washington’s will.

The Clinton administration attacked Serbia, murdered civilians and sent Serbia’s president to be tried as a war criminal for defending his country. The US government engages in widespread spying on Europeans’ emails and telephone calls that is unrelated to terrorism. Julian Assange is confined to the Ecuadoran embassy in London, because Washington won’t permit the British government to honor his grant of political asylum. Washington refuses to comply with a writ of habeas corpus from a British count to turn over Yunus Rahmatullah whose detention a British Court of Appeals has ruled to be unlawful. Washington imposes sanctions on other countries and enforces them by cutting sovereign nations that do not comply out of the international payments system.

Last week the Obama regime warned the British government that it was a violation of US interests for the UK to pull out of the European Union or reduce its ties to the EU in any way.

In other words, the sovereignty of Great Britain is not a choice to be made by the British government or people. The decision is made by Washington in keeping with Washington’s interest.

The British are so accustomed to being Washington’s colony that deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and a group of UK business executives quickly lined up with Washington.

This leaves Great Britain in a quandary. The British economy, once a manufacturing powerhouse, has been reduced to the City of London, Britain’s equivalent to Wall Street. London, like New York, is a world financial center of which there are none in Europe. Without its financial status, there wouldn’t be much left of the UK.

It is because of the City’s financial importance that the UK, alone of the EU member states, kept the British pound as its currency and did not join the euro. Because the UK has its own currency and central bank, the UK was spared the sovereign debt crisis that has plagued other EU member states. The Bank of England, like the Federal Reserve in the US, was able to bail out its own banks, whereas other EU states sharing a common currency could not create money, and the European Central Bank is prohibited by its charter (at Germany’s insistence) from bailing out member states.

The quandary for the UK is that the solution to the sovereign debt crisis toward which the EU is moving is to strip the member governments of their fiscal sovereignty. For the individual countries, the spending, taxing and, thereby, deficit or surplus positions of the member countries’ budgets will be set by EU central authority. This would mean the end of national sovereignty for European countries.

For Britain to remain an EU member while retaining its own currency and central bank would mean special status for Great Britain. The UK would be the only member of the EU that remained a sovereign country. What are the chances that the UK will be permitted such exceptional status? Is this acceptable to Germany and France?

If the British are to fold themselves into Europe, they will have to give up their currency, central bank, their law, and their economic status as a world financial center and accept governance by the EU bureaucracy. The British will have to give up being somebody and become nobody.

It would, however, free the UK from being Washington’s puppet unless the EU itself is Washington’s puppet.

According to reports, sometime this year Scotland, a constituent part of the UK, is to vote on leaving the UK and becoming an independent country. How ironic that as the UK debates its dismemberment the country itself faces being merged into a multi-national state. Continue reading »

Jan 142013
 
NATO Strategies, Economic Sanctions and the “Responsibility to Protect”
Global Research
Felicity Arbuthnot

NATOBLOOD
“Disengage, avoid, and withhold support from whatever abuses, degrades and humiliates humanity.” (Alice Walker, b:1944.).
[former Danish PM and Secretary General of NATO] Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Du har blod på dine hænder” ( “You have blood on your hands”), Danish protester, 2003.

The siege of Leningrad is still considered the most lethal siege in world history, a shocking “racially motivated starvation policy”, described as: “an integral part of Nazi policy in the Soviet Union during World War 11.”

The 872 day siege began on 8th September 1941 and was finally broken on 27th January 1944. It is described  as: “one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history and overwhelmingly the most costly in casualties.” Some historians cite it as a genocide. Due to record keeping complexities the exact number of deaths resultant from the blockade’s deprivations are uncertain, figures range from 632,000 to 1.5 million.

Sieges now extend to entire countries, they have become the torture before the destruction. And they are not counted in long days, but in long years. Iran thirty three years, Iraq thirteen-plus years. Ironically the disparity in the deaths in Iraq resultant from that siege, mirror near exactly what was considered a “genocide” in Leningrad.

Syria has been subject to EU “restrictions” since 2011, ever more strangulating, with near every kind of financial transaction made impossible by May 2011- when “restrictions” were also placed on President Assad himself, all senior government officials, senior security and armed forces Heads. The list of that denied is dizzying (i.) By February 2012, assets of individuals were frozen, as those of the Central Bank of Syria.

Cargo flights by Syrian carriers to the EU were also barred, as was trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds – anything which might translate in to hard cash, without which neither individuals or countries can purchase the most basic essentials.
By July 2012 Syrian Arab Airlines and even Syria’s Cotton Marketing Organisation had joined the EU’s victims.

America of course, had been way ahead of the game, with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act (ii) signed in to law on 12th December 2003, the year of Iraq’s comprehensive US-led destruction. Thus the mighty USA’s personal siege on under twenty one million people, is now entering its tenth year.

By last August, as with Iraq before it, the inability to trade meant that, as ever, the now Nobel Peace Prize winning EU and the policies of the Nobel Peace Prize winning US President, were targeting Syria’s most vulnerable.

Many pharmaceutical companies had closed, resulting in severe shortages of medication for chronic diseases and the casualties of the insurgency, according to the World Health Organisation (iii.) Prior to the US-UK-EU-NATO supported insurgency, Syria had produced ninety percent of its drugs and medication needs.

However : “ … production has been hit by the fighting, lack of raw materials, impact of sanctions and higher fuel costs.” Further, near all pharmaceutical plants were located in areas of heaviest fighting, Aleppo, Homs and Damascus provinces and have suffered “substantial damage.” The result is: “a critical shortage of medicines”, according to WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.

“Drugs for tuberculosis, hepatitis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer are urgently needed, as well as haemodialysis for kidney diseases.”

Health centres have closed due to violence, damage, or being taken over by the Western backed fighters. (image: Homs, 2012)
“The health facilities that have stopped functioning are located in the most affected areas where the urgent need for medical and surgical interventions is the most prominent,” Jasarevic said.

The Syrian Health Ministry reported that it “lost” – stolen or destroyed – two hundred ambulances in a few weeks through June and early August 2012.

Banks run out of cash and the 2012 wheat harvest is likely to have been wrecked because of the shortage of labour, according to U.N. agencies. In the Middle East bread is still truly the “staff of life.” The all mirrors Iraq, even down to the wheat harvest – in Iraq those bombing the country over thirteen years until the invasion, dropped flares on the harvested wheat and grains, reducing tentative bread security to ashes.

Syria struggles to meet it’s annual grain imports of around four million tons, because of a superb sleight of hand by the siege imposers. Essential foods are exempt from sanctions, but moneys are frozen, thus the wherewithal to trade. The country is ever potentially hours away from a bread crisis.

Continue reading »

Dec 232012
 

PressTV

United States Zionist lobby groups seek to limit the activities of Press TV in America over fears of losing the propaganda war, a human rights activist tells Press TV.

This is while the US House of Representatives has recently approved a ‘defense bill’ that includes new anti-Iran sanctions on broadcasting, another almost USD500 million for the Israeli regime’s missile systems and approximately USD89 billion for its war in Afghanistan.

Press TV has conducted an interview with William Spring, a human rights activist from London, to further discuss the issue. Spring is joined by Danny Schechter, editor with the mediachannel.org, from New York, and Omar Nashabi, Al-Akhbar Newspaper, from Beirut. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Perhaps you can tell us about your experiences regarding what Press TV went through regarding Ofcom who took it off its Sky platform based on your repeated requests from Ofcom to give us explanations. Tell us what occurred through your different ventures with Ofcom.

Spring: Initially, I wrote to Ofcom when I knew they were planning this. I said to them that if they went ahead and took Press TV off the Sky platform, I would actually bring a high-court application – which I did.

Initially, my application was based on the fact that it was invasive of my own personal rights. Article 10 allows Europeans to receive information, and this was a high-handed attempt to stop information.

But as I did more research, I was able to tell the high-court a week or so ago, that in fact the entire proceeding is unlawful. Under the European Union directive, they have no right whatsoever to take any channel off the air simply on account of its corporate governance because that was the ostensible reason Ofcom proffered for taking Press TV off the air.

This is all covered by the EU directive. It’s an entirely unlawful act. Ofcom are responsible for an unlawful act as are Eutelsat and these other satellite providers.

I think it’s very important that Press TV target the individuals who are behind this decision because the EU, Catherine Ashton, has said apparently that this isn’t anything to do with the EU.

I’m very dubious about it, anyway; but if that’s so, let’s target the actual directors of these companies.

Press TV: Who do you think is behind it?

Spring: It all fits in with the concept of full-spectrum dominance which was put forward by the neo-cons in the United States back in the late 1990s. They want US domination of the air, land, space and the media.

What we have effectively is a domination which is the US plus the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plus Israel plus Qatar, and this particular bunch of unlikely allies think they can determine broadcasting policy in the West for the rest of us.

It’s outrageous and something has to be done, and I really welcome Press TV’s initiative to take legal action.

Press TV: Which they are going to do…

Let’s pick up on something that [previous guest speaker] Danny Schechter talked about in this context. One of the quickest reactions based on this ban came from the American Jewish Committee (AJC) who has been very quick on the response. They’ve actually applauded the ban by Hispasat, and the executive director of the AJC has come out and said “it’s an important step,” and I’m quoting him, “in Westerner attempts to limit Iran’s influence around the world.”

I’m trying to understand what ‘limiting Iranian influence’ means. Does it mean that Press TV has made such a difference in terms of the impact that it has had? Do you think that’s what he means? Or is it because that revealing the truth based on some of the areas that Press TV places a focus on, that they don’t want? For example, the way that Israel violates itself on Palestinians in the occupied territories?

Spring: Yes, well, actually years ago I used to know a journalist who said to me that George Orwell had said to him that the Ministry of Truth in his book “1984” was based on the BBC, not on the Kremlin.

Unfortunately, we get thoroughly unreliable news from these other channels. What I do find is, and I incur what Danny said, I do find that there is reliable news from Press TV and also to some degree from RT.

Why is it then that the Jewish lobby, or the Zionist lobby, I’d rather say, in America, is so anxious to limit the activities of Press TV? It seems to me though there’s a real fear among the Zionist lobby in America that they are losing the propaganda law.

I was reading a magazine yesterday which was written by Christian Zionists in England and apparently the Israelis are in total disarray because many Christians now can see through the hocus pocus of the pseudo-theology that the Christian Zionists promulgate. I think that the exegesis of scripture is entirely wrong.

We can only pray that the American friends will not allow their foreign policy to continue to be determined not by Americans as it were the WASPS – the white, Anglo-Saxon protestants as it used to be – but now by a sectarian group who’ve come over from years ago.

I mean, the Zionists have a right to influence American opinion but they have no right to hijack American policy which is what has happened. Policies are now being determined by the United States of America in favor of Israel, not in favor of what are the best interests of the United States of America.

There is no interest gained by shutting down Press TV because it does offer an opportunity for people to discuss things.

As Winston Churchill said, jaw-jaw is always better than war-war.

If I can just make one last point, sorry. What they want to do is close down the debate on Syria. It’s very important what’s happening in Syria that we get a proper perspective which is not given by the BBC or Sky.

Press TV: “To seek, receive and impart information and ideas to any media regardless of frontiers,” that’s Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, William Spring.

When you want to put things into context, quickly, I’d like to get your idea on this. Let’s look at this group, the American Freedom and Defense Initiative, that’s sponsored the hate, anti-Islam ads in four Washington area metro stations, that doesn’t get censored. That doesn’t make sense especially if you put it into the context of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Spring: Well, I’m not so familiar with Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but I am familiar with Article 10 of the ACHR, the European Convention of Human Rights, which actually says the same thing, that we are allowed to receive information.

This is a very basic right which is being censored arbitrarily by this unknown group. Well, when we say unknown, we don’t know the actual individuals involved but it’s important that we do the research so that we can target these individuals and actually put writs on them, put legal actions on them.

I think they will back down if they are given a concerted attack in the courts because they have no legal basis for what they’re doing.

Press TV: Before I let you go, are you going to continue your case for Press TV against Ofcom?

Spring: Of course. What I’m seeking to do at the moment is obtain counsels’ opinion because there was a large number of legal points I raised with the judge, but unfortunately the judge seemed singularly obtuse.

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Dec 182012
 
Global Research
Patrick Henningsen

schoolI remember my history lessons in school. Among many things, I can recall Patton’s march through France and the Battle of the Bulge, and how we learned about the millions of deaths on, as well as off, the fields of battle throughout history.

All in all, it was a tale of battles won and lost, and as was rightly put by my junior high school teacher – a tale of caution for future generations. But as young students, we were never taught to idiosyncrasies of ‘war-gaming’ a conflict in the future.

Nor can I recall getting lessons in school about using various aspects of asymmetrical warfare to encircle an enemy, or how admirable and clever it is to deploy terrorist units to bomb a country in order to ‘soften it up’ from within.

Unbeknownst to many people, there are school teachers who are delivering pro-war propaganda, indoctrinating young children with violent globalist military stratagem selling the concept of an inevitable war on the people of Iran as well as anyone else deemed as ‘Axis’ powers in relation to western central planning.

Interestingly, and quite horrific in fact, when challenged by his young (and extremely bright) female student over the idea of western pre-emptive intervention against Iran, the teacher addressing these students laid down a nonnegotiable maxim stating:
“… one of the rules (in this discussion) – you can’t do nothing”.

The female student followed his NLP intellectual diversion by rightly pointing out to him:
“But we (the US) are the only country in the world that’s ever used nuclear weapons”.
To which the teacher replies sharply:

“That’s irrelevant.”

It appears also towards the end of the video, that the class was being monitored by the principal’s office, who then summoned the student in question to the office. Orwellian – in the extreme.

This is the generation of children who may be asked – or drafted in to fight a coming war with Iran and others – so is this part of the indoctrination of future soldiers? Maybe.

Certainly here, it’s safe to say that teachers are grooming the next generation of compliant consumer spectators.

Watch the classroom exchange recorded by the student:
 

 

Continue reading »

Dec 182012
 

Business Insider
Sergel Stroken
Yelena Chernenko

Iran Revolutionary GuardsRussia is categorically opposed to the Turkey’s installation of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles along its border with Syria. Most have assumed that the Moscow’s opposition was driven by its friendship with embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But Russian military experts tell Kommersant that Moscow is actually concerned that the missiles will be used in military action against Iran.

In spite of the fact that the planned location of the missiles is relatively far from the Iranian border, they could be easily deployed to any place in Turkey, and be used against Iranian rockets.

The experts Kommersant spoke with said that having the Patriot missiles in Turkey seriously increases the risk of armed conflict with Iran, which would not be able to strike back if the Patriot missiles are deployed.

Turkey has explained its request to NATO to put the Patriot missiles on its border with Syria as exclusively related to its need to defend itself from a possible attack from the Syrian army.

“But according to our information, there could be a second motivation for this actions, which is a preparation for military action against Iran,” said one diplomatic source in Moscow.

Russia has reacted extremely negatively to Turkey’s plans to install the Patriot missiles. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that this “increases the risk of military conflict,” and evoked Chekhov’s gun syndrome: if there is a gun on the stage in the first act, then it will be shot in the third act.

Western countries have reacted extremely skeptically to Russia’s concern. NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen called it “baseless,” and Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey’s self-defense plans was none of Russia’s business.

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Dec 162012
 

Global Research
Glenn Greenwald
Kourosh Ziabari

UNGlenn Greenwald is a prominent American journalist, author, lawyer and blogger. His writings and articles have appeared on several newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest and In These Times. Greenwald has received different awards including the first Izzy Award for independent journalism in 2009, and the 2010 Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary.

Until a few months ago, he was a columnist and blogger for Salon.com, but he left his job there and continued cooperating with The Guardian newspaper which he has been contributing to since June 2011.

Greenwald has published four books which include “How Would a Patriot Act?” and “A Tragic Legacy.” A progressive journalist, Glenn Greenwald is an outspoken critic of the U.S. military expeditions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and its war threats against Iran.
He has written extensively on the underground operations taken by Israel and the United States to empower and finance the exiled Iranian terrorist group MKO which has declared as one of its key objectives the overthrowing of Iranian government. With regards to the U.S. Department of State’s decision in taking the name of MKO off the list of foreign terrorist organizations, he says: “[t]his shows that anything the United States government says about terrorism and really the whole concept of terrorism itself should be viewed as nothing more than a ridiculous joke. MKO is a classic group that is a terrorist organization. They have engaged in violence against innocent civilians, they have devoted themselves to overthrow a government using violence and there are credible reports that they are the ones who are working with Israelis and are behind the assassination of civilian scientists in Iran that included the shooting of not only the scientists, but also in two cases their wives.”

I had the opportunity to talk to Glenn Greenwald for an exclusive interview which was originally appeared in Persian on Tasnim News Agency. What follows is the full text of my interview with Glenn Greenwald in which we discussed a variety of topics pertaining to the international political and military developments.

Q: What do you think about President Obama administration’s plans for shaping a new Middle East based on the national interests of the United States and dominating the vast oil reserves of these countries?

 A: A crucial part of the Obama administration’s strategy and the strategies of all the prior administrations in the United States was to basically put into place dictatorships in the Muslim world that would keep the population suppressed and serve the interests of the U.S. government, particularly in the countries with remarkable oil and energy resources. So you see the relationships the United States has with the [Persian] Gulf states such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. These are the governments which suppress their population, but serve as loyal allies of the United States and make oil available to the U.S. and the Obama administration continues supporting them.

Q: In the recent months, we have been witness to the continued killing of the pro-democracy protesters and imprisonment of political activists in Bahrain. However, the U.S. government hasn’t taken any practical steps to stop bloodshed and persuade the Al Khalifa regime to stop using force and violence. What’s your idea in this regard?

A: Well, this is a perfect example of what I was describing. The governments which I named and the Bahraini government are unbelievably oppressive. They murder protesters who are demonstrating peacefully, put people in prison and torture them and the Obama administration does nothing about that and continues to strengthen that regime through financing it and even sending it a lot of arms, while the regime is cracking down on the citizens in such a brutal way. The reason the U.S. government supports Bahrain is that the regime allows the U.S. to maintain a very large fleet of naval resources off the coast of Bahrain that can be used to threaten Iran and that generally allows the U.S. government to dominate the [Persian] Gulf region, and so in extreme for the regime in Bahrain, that is basically the puppet and client government of the United States, the U.S. government supports the regime as it murders its own citizens and suppresses of all forms of freedoms. And Bahrain is a perfect example of the strategy the Obama administration has adopted to just dominate the region militarily and help the dictators of the region suppress their populations.

Q: One of the electoral promises of President Obama was to close the Guantanamo bay detention facility within one year after being elected. However, on January 7, 2011, he signed the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill which placed restrictions on the transferring of detainees to the U.S. or other countries, thus impeding the closure of the underground detention camp. What’s your take on that?

 A: The excuse the Obama administration gave was that the people in the Congress refused to allow Obama to close down Guantanamo. But the truth is that from the beginning, Obama’s plan was to keep the system of Guantanamo in place and transfer the detainees to the U.S. while people from all around the Muslim world still are allowed to remain in prison without charges of any kind and without due processes at any time. But to remove them from Guantanamo and placing them in a new prison inside the United States would only add some sort of a symbolic aspect to it. So it was always the Obama administration’s plan to keep the Guantanamo open. They simply wanted to move it, not to close it. And this Defense Authorization Bill which you ask about was passed in December 2010 and January 2011 is a sort of legislation that empowers the president whoever he wants on accusations of terrorism, without having to charge that person with any crime, without having to in any way offer the person the opportunity to contest the allegations or present compelling evidence, and President Obama has signed a law that actually strengthened this system of indefinite lawless detention.

Q: What’s your perspective on the U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia and its violation of Iran’s airspace last year in December 2011 and in the last week? 

 A: The drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have repeatedly killed all sorts of innocent civilians; women, children and innocent men, and the Obama administration simply believes that it has the right to kill anyone it wants anywhere in the world regardless of who dies, and this is the policy that the Obama administration has actually pursued even more aggressively than the Bush administration and the drone attacks have increased significantly under President Obama. He has used drones on six different Muslim countries; Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. I should point out that President Obama has extremely aggressive beliefs that in the name of combating terrorism, he can kill whoever he wants or attack anyone he wants without regard to any nation’s sovereignty. The ironic part about that is that it’s precisely the drone attacks which cause terrorism in the first place.

The reason why there are so many people in the world, especially in the Muslim world want to attack the United States is precisely because they watch on a regular basis the United States attacking their countries, killing their children, innocent men and women and they come to the conclusion that the only way to stop this is by having the violence go both ways. The drone attacks not only kill innocent people, but they make the problem of terrorism far worse. As far as the drones in Iran are concerned, Iran has the absolute right, like any other country does, to take down surveillance instruments that fly over their land without permission. What strikes me is the way this is reported and discussed here in the United States, and that is when Iran successfully shoots down or disables a U.S. drone that has entered its airspace, it’s talked of as if it’s some sort of aggressive action on the side of the Iranian government.

But of course if Iran ever sent a drone anywhere near the airspace of the United States, let alone into the United States, not only that drone would be immediately shot down, but everyone in the United States would talk of it as if it was a horrible act of war and would probably result in bombs being dropped on Iran in retaliation. So you see here this extreme double standard that the United States thinks that it has the right to send drones on Iran’s airspace, but nobody in the United States and almost nobody would think that Iran would have the right to do the same to the United States.

Q: The United States has always called itself a champion of combating terrorism and frequently criticizes other countries for their alleged sponsorship of terrorist groups. But in a controversial decision, they took the name of Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization off the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, and there’s credible evidence showing that Washington has been supporting MKO in its terrorist operations, both militarily and financially. Isn’t this a hypocritical approach in dealing with the issue of terrorism?

 A: This shows that anything the United States government says about terrorism and really the whole concept of terrorism itself should be viewed as nothing more than a ridiculous joke. MKO is a classic group that is a terrorist organization. They have engaged in violence against innocent civilians, they have devoted themselves to overthrow a government using violence and there are credible reports that they are the ones who are working with Israelis and are behind the assassination of civilian scientists in Iran that included the shooting of not only the scientists, but also in two cases their wives. And because this group has paid so many influential politicians in the United States and also because this group now carries out terrorist operations on behalf of Israel and the United States in promotion of the interests of Israel and the United States, they have been removed from the list of terrorist organizations by the Obama administration and this really shows that the United States is not against terrorism.
The U.S. government uses terrorism continuously to serve its interests. The United States government says that it is against terrorism
only because terrorism is the word that applies to anybody who opposes or impedes the agenda of the United States, and the willingness to remove the name of MKO from the list of terrorist organizations even though they are committed to the use of violence and killing of Iranian officials proves how worthless the United States’ claims about terrorism are.

Q: What do you think about the humanitarian impacts of the anti-Iranian sanctions? In one of your articles, you alluded to some facts regarding the scarcity of foodstuff and other goods in Iran as a result of the sanctions. I’ll add the medicine, travel restrictions and unsafe aviation fleet to your list. Isn’t it some sort of violation of human rights by the United States?


A: Of course. One of the worst crimes that the United States has committed over the last several decades was the sanctions regime that it imposed on Iraq which killed several hundred thousands of children, deprived people of basic food and medicine and strengthened Saddam Hussein by making everybody in the country poor and dependent on him. This is now repeating itself in Iran, not to the same extent yet but it has its own effects where there are poor Iranian children who are sick and unable to get medicine and are dying as a result. Obviously the American officials openly brag about the destruction of Iranian economy and the collapse of Iranian currency which they are causing with their sanctions regime, and you see it’s a kind of collective punishment to terrorize the Iranian people for the alleged crimes of their government; the kinds of crimes that the United States has condemned the other countries for committing for many decades. So absolutely the sanctions regime which the United States is leading is really an act of war and a way of making Iranians and innocent civilians suffer greatly, and absolutely a kind of collective punishment that should be judged by the decent people.

Q: What’s your idea about the U.S. mainstream media’s portrayal of the developments in the Middle East and especially Iran? They don’t allow the citizens to be aware of the fact that, for example, the economic sanctions are paralyzing the daily life of ordinary Iranian citizens, as they did with regards to the Iraqi people. Why do the American media want to leave their people in ignorance and unawareness?

 A: The role of the U.S. media in general is to serve the interests of the U.S. government. They claim that we have a free media, but for a lot of different reasons, these media are owned by the corporations and these corporations are very well to the U.S. government. And so part of what any government wants to do when it wants to be aggressive on other countries is to dehumanize their population; to depict them in very simplistic ways. What the U.S. media generally show of Iran is nothing more than the claims that they have evil, extremist leaders and almost never talk of the complexities of Iran and tens of millions of Iranian citizens who produce a complicated and difficult to caricature society.

Q: How do you perceive the relationship between Obama and the Israeli lobby? How much influence has the Israeli lobby had on Obama and what role has it played in the reelection of Obama? Do you think that Obama was at odds with Netanyahu on such cases as settlement constructions, or they were simply superficial conflicts and they were practically close allies?

 A: Any differences between Obama a nd Netanyahu are, as you said, superficial and symbolic and never resulted in meaningful action. If you turn to Israelis, they will tell you that the relationship between the United States and Israel under Obama is closer than it has ever been under any prior U.S. President. We saw that with the Israeli attack on Gaza, the Obama administration 100 percent justified and stood behind Israel, and just in the two recent votes in the United Nations, one on Palestinian statehood and the other that demanded Israel to open its nuclear stockpile to inspection, the United States sided with Israel and isolated itself in almost the entire world.

So you have this extremely loyal relationship between Obama and Israelis including Netanyahu, and it’s in large part because as many prominent American columnists including Jewish and pro-Israel commentators have observed there’s a very strong pro-Israeli lobby in the United States which is very well-funded and very powerful and that basically keeps both the political parties completely on the side of Israel in every single controversy or dispute, even when doing so harms the United States, they force both political parties to choose loyalty to Israel over the interests of the United States and as a result, neither political party is able, even if they want to, to in any meaningful way pressure the Israelis or challenge them.

And despite all the loyalty that the United States has to Israel, Israelis continue to pursue policies that the United States doesn’t want them to do, like the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and yet the United States in unwilling to punish them or sanction them because of the domestic political pressures.

Q: Iran has assumed the three-year presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement in the 16th summit of the organization which was held in Tehran in August 2012. What’s your viewpoint regarding the importance of this summit for Iran which the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi along with several leaders from across the world attended? 

 A: I think it’s significant because one of the main objectives of Israel and the United States was to depict Iran as isolated from the rest of the world. But what we are seeing is that to some extent, they are Israel and the United States that are increasingly being isolated from the rest of the world. And the refusal of so many countries in denouncing Israel and the United States’ calls for not attending the summit and otherwise isolating the Iranian government is very significant in that regard as are the two votes that just took place in the UN that overwhelmingly sided against Israel. So I think the Israelis have become their own worst enemies through their extreme pursuance of the ideological vision, their refusal to compromise, their expansion of settlements that are illegal and their use of violence and aggression have alienated a huge part of the world, much more than Iran has, and if there’s anyone in the danger of isolation, I think it’s Israel.

Q: And finally, what’s your viewpoint regarding Israel’s aggressive war rhetoric against Iran and its continued threats of using force against Iran? These war threats clearly violate the UN Charter, but the Security Council hasn’t taken any practical steps to criticize and punish Israel for its illegal behavior. What’s your take on that?

 A: Well, I think that UN Security Council’s enforcement of those roles is practically impossible because almost everybody knows that the United States will veto any resolution to condemn Israel for its use of those threats. It’s also the case that many countries that are in the Security Council, mostly the United States, but also Russia and China also use threats against other countries in violation of the UN Charter, so everyone is a little bit afraid of punishing Israel for violating rules that those countries themselves like to violate, but it’s really the case that the United States and Israel have made a joke of the UN Charter and continuously threaten Iran to use military force against Iran, to bomb Iran, to keep all options on the table including a military strike, and this is a clear violation of the UN Charter and everything that it was intended to stand for. As long as the U.S. has the veto power, the Security Council will be completely unable to act against Israel’s violation of the UN Charter.

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Dec 132012
 

Global Research
Julie Levésque

Israel's Mossad Teams up with Terror Group to Kill Iran's Nuclear ScientistsIsrael is conducting a covert cross-border operation directed against Syria in liaison with NATO and the Pentagon.

After looking for a “smoking gun” in Iran earlier this year, Israeli special forces are now “tracking” Syria’s “stocks of chemical and biological weapons”, according to The Sunday Times.

“The cross-border operation is part of a secret war to trail Syria’s non-conventional armaments and sabotage their development. ‘For years we’ve known the exact location of Syria’s chemical and biological munitions,’ an Israeli source said, referring to the country’s spy satellites and drones. ‘But in the past week we’ve got signs that munitions have been moved to new locations.’” (Uzi Mahnaimi and Lucy Fisher Israel tracks Syria’s chemical arsenal, The Sunday Times 9 December 2012.)

Everyone recalls the WMD hype prior to launching the war on Iraq. It turned out that the Iraqi WMD threat was an outright fabrication.

Those involved in the Iraq WMD propaganda ploy are now applying their skills with a view to fabricating a WMD pretext to intervene in Syria. According to a report from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, “Israelis ‘misread’ the Iraqi threat”. In 2003, the BBC wrote on the report’s findings:

Israeli intelligence miscalculated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein […] This contributed to the “false” picture painted by US and British services […]
“Israeli intelligence was a full partner with the US and Britain in developing a false picture of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction capability,” said the author of the report, retired Brigadier General Shlomo Brom.
“It badly overestimated the Iraqi threat to Israel and reinforced the American and British belief that the weapons existed.”
“From now on, when we present serious data on other countries, like Iran for example, who will treat us seriously?” Israel Radio quoted Israeli left-wing parliamentarian Yossi Sarid as saying. (Israelis ‘misread’ Iraqi threat, BBC,December 5, 2003)

In late March 2012 The Sunday Times reported that “Israel is using a permanent base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch cross-border intelligence missions in an attempt to find ‘smoking gun’ evidence that Iran is building a nuclear warhead.” (Israeli spies scour Iran in nuclear hunt, The Sunday Times,March 25, 2012)

There is no evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons, even US intelligence agencies agree on that. Global Research ran a story on the Israeli covert op, potentially fabricating WMD evidence in relation to Iran. What is now unfolding in relation to Syria’s  alleged WMD is a rerun of previous attempts to funnel fabricated evidence into the news chain:

Western sources told the Times Israel was monitoring “radioactivity and magnitude of explosives tests” and that “special forces used Black Hawk helicopters to carry commandos disguised as members of the Iranian military and using Iranian military vehicles”. The sources believe “Iranians are trying to hide evidence of warhead tests in preparation for a possible IAEA visit”. (Cited in Report: Israeli soldiers scour Iran for nukes, Ynet, March 25, 2012)
The number of Israeli intelligence missions focussing on the Parchin military base in Iran has increased in the past few months, according to the article. During that period, Tehran has been negotiating with the IAEA which had requested to visit Parchin. According to Iran’s permanent representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, both parties had agreed in early February that the visit would take place in March. (Gareth Porter, Details of Talks with IAEA Belie Charge Iran Refused Cooperation, IPS,March 21, 2012)
The IAEA requested to visit Parchin in late January and late February, after having agreed to a visit in March. The IAEA thus requested to visit the military complex exactly at the same time Israel was intensifying its secret operations to allegedly search for a “smoking gun”. (Julie Lévesque, Fabricating a “Smoking Gun” to Attack Iran? Israeli Spies Disguised as Iranian Soldiers on Mission Inside Iran Global Research,March 27, 2012)

Israel’s covert operation in Syria is part of a longstanding intelligence agenda directed against the Damascus government.  According to intelNews:

[…]Israel’s covert activities against the Syrian government’s chemical and biological arsenal go back almost 30 years. Reputedly, some of the more recent such activities may have involved the targeting of Russian scientists.
Although Russia routinely denies it, it is believed that Syria’s non-conventional arsenal was significantly augmented in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the help of Russian retired general Anatoliy Kuntsevich […]
Interestingly, Kuntsevich died suddenly in 2003 onboard a flight from the Syrian capital to Moscow. It was widely speculated at the time that the Mossad, Israel’s covert-action agency, may have played a role in the Russian general’s sudden death. In 2010, another retired Russian general, Yuri Ivanov, who had served as Deputy Director of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, died in unclear circumstances […]
According to reports in the Israeli press, the former GRU official was on his way to a meeting with Syrian intelligence officers when he went missing. Israel has never acknowledged having played a part in Ivanon’s death, but many suspect that Tel Aviv had been targeting the two Russians for quite some time. (Joseph Fitsanakis Israel special forces conducting cross-border operations in Syria, intelNews.org, December 10, 2012.)
 

This interpretation of events is plausible since targeted assassinations of foreign scientists by Israeli secret services have been acknowledged in the past:

The reduction [of Israel’s covert operations in Iran] runs across a wide spectrum of operations, cutting back not only alleged high-profile missions such as assassinations and detonations at Iranian missile bases, but also efforts to gather firsthand on-the-ground intelligence and recruit spies inside the Iranian program, according to the officials. (Karl Vick, Mossad Cutting Back on Covert Operations Inside Iran, Officials Say, TIME, March 30, 2012, quoted in Julie Lévesque, “Running Short of New Targets: Israel’s Secret Service is “Cutting Back on Assassinations” in Iran, Global Research, April 17, 2012.)

While Israel’s secret operation in Syria could conceivably also target Russian scientists, it should be understood that its ultimate objective is to reinforce the intense propaganda campaign pertaining to Syria’s chemical arsenal. This leak in The Sunday Times could be part of the ongoing psychological operation against Syria, with a view to building a pretext for waging a preemptive war on Syria.

Since the beginning of the armed insurrection in March 2011, the US  and its allies alongside the Western mainstream media have been blaming the Syrian government for committing atrocities directed against civilians, including the Houla massacre. According to independent media reports as well as the testimony of witnesses on the ground, these atrocities were committed  by the  US-NATO sponsored opposition forces.

The Syrian government has been demonized to such an extent by the mainstream media that if an attack were to occur, public opinion could easily be led to believe, without evidence, that the Syrian government is responsible for crimes against its own people.
This is a perfect context for a false flag operation or intensive propaganda involving chemical weapons. These allegations based on fake WMD evidence directed against the Syrian government could be used once again to pressure the UN Security Council to give NATO a “legal mandate” to intervene in Syria under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine.

CNN recently reported that the US and “some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria.” The Syrian government expressed its concerns in a letter to the UN:

What raises concerns about this news circulated by the media is our serious fear that some of the countries backing terrorism and terrorists might provide the armed terrorist groups with chemical weapons and claim that it was the Syrian government that used the weapons […] (Quoted in John Glaser, US Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels to Handle Chemical Weapons, Antiwar.com, December 10, 2012.)

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