Libya

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri ‘million man plus’ demonstration turns into a Pakistani-spring

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri ‘million man plus’ demonstration turns into a mini Pakistani-spring

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri ‘million man plus’ demonstration turns into a mini Pakistani-spring

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri ‘million man plus’ demonstration turns into a mini Pakistani-spring

This morning I was up at 6am (UK time) to tune into ARY News, probably the only Pakistani International News station which was reporting, the developments of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri political challenge to the ruling government of Pakistan and its opposition party.  I followed this demonstration for almost a week now and last night when Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri reached Islamabad and addressed his gatherers – he announced that up until 11am the following day was the deadline for the government to salvage any integrity and to discuss reform with him.

For me, this has been an interesting development and change in politics for Pakistan albeit following it from UK.  Interestingly enough, I was totally surprised how Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and the Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran long march had developed ‘possibly’ into a ‘game changer’ for Pakistan and its current weak government – who, according to popular public opinion – have achieved nothing but anarchy at an unimaginable level in its first democratic five years.

The live broadcast from ARY News and its confident and courageous news presenters dotted strategically around the March since it started to this very second showed the power of Pakistani people.  Those very people, who feel betrayed, robbed and oppressed by an elite of political gangsters who have done nothing more than to serve their own interests.

The address this morning, which was scheduled for 11am by Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri but was actually given after 2pm was a true challenge to the current ruling government of Pakistan.  During the address, many technical difficulties were reported live as the authorities deliberately sabotaged the communication around the country and around the world – but that didn’t stop the address.  What was a true turning point in favor of the general public was when the Supreme Court of Pakistan authorised arrest warrants for the Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf and his accomplishes in a pending corruption case.  This saga is ongoing.

What is remarkable to me, and at one point, a commentator echoed exactly what was in my mind was that since the current government of Pakistan has taken office – under the leadership of Asif Ali Zardari – three prime ministers have been appointed and each one removed due to involvement in corruption.  So is there any credibility left for the current PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party)?  Shouldn’t Mr Asif Ali Zardari resign from his post immediately and recall early elections to avoid this country from being destroyed?

Anyway I’d like to see what your view on this whole political change is?

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Rabbi Shalom Rav speaks out about Israeli crimes in Palestine-Gaza Strip

The following is what Rabbi Shalom Rav writes – I must admit, although simple language is used it is inspiring and heart warming.

Israel’s military assault on Gaza in 2008-09 represented an important turning point in my own relationship with Israel. I recall experiencing a new and previously unfamiliar feeling of anguish as Israel bombarded the people living in that tiny, besieged strip of land over and over, day after day after day. While I certainly felt a sense of tribal loyalty to the Israelis who withstood Qassam rocket fire from Gaza, I felt a newfound sense of concern and solidarity with Gazans who I believed were experiencing nothing short of oppression during this massive military onslaught.

And now it’s happening again. Only this time I don’t think the term “anguish” quite fits my mindset. Now it’s something much closer to rage.

It’s happening again. Once again 1.7 million people, mostly refugees, who have been living in what amounts to the world’s largest open air prison, are being subjected to a massive military assault at the hands of the world’s most militarized nation, using mostly US-made weapons. And our President is not only looking on – he is defending Israel’s war crimes by saying that Israel had a right to “self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.”

Let’s be clear: this tragedy didn’t start with the Qassams.  It didn’t start with the election of Hamas. And it didn’t start with the “instability” that followed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.

No, this is just the latest chapter of a much longer saga that began in 1947-48, when scores of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their cities and villages in the coastal plain and lower Galilee and warehoused in a tiny strip of land on the edge of the Mediterranean. By all accounts, most were simply too overwhelmed to realize what was happening. Some tried to return to their homes and were killed on sight. Others resisted by staging raids in the newly declared state of Israel. Sometimes they succeeded, more often they did not. Either way, Israel decided early on that it would respond to each of these reprisals with a overwhelming military show of force.  And those reprisals and that show of force have essentially been ongoing until this very day.

I realize, of course, there is plenty of political subtext to this latest go-around.  I’ve read the timelines and have formed my own opinions on the latest “who started it?” debate. I’ve also read plenty of analyses by Israeli observers who believe that this was not a response to Qassam fire at all but was very much a “war of choice” waged by an Israeli administration looking to shore up political support in an election season.

I’ve also read a widely circulated article from Ha’aretz about Israel’s recent execution of Ahmed Jabari (the head of Hamas’ military wing). I learned that up until now, Jabari was “Israel’s subcontractor” for security in the Gaza Strip, that Israel has been literally funding Hamas through intermediaries in exchange for peace and quiet on their southern border, and that when Jabari failed to deliver of late, the decision came down to take him out. Another article, written by the Israeli who negotiated with Jabari for the release of Gilad Shalit, revealed that negotiations were still ongoing between Jabari and Israeli officials when Israel assassinated him with a drone strike.

Yes, the wonky side of me has been avidly reading all these analyses. And while I do believe they provide an important counterbalance to the mythic statements by Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department, the more I read the cynical political subtext for this war, the sicker I get. No, this isn’t about Qassams, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s about elections either. It’s really just the most recent chapter in a much longer litany of injustice – the latest attempt by Israel bring the Palestinian to their knees through the sheer force of their formidable military might.

Of all the analyses I’ve yet read, one of the very few that truly seemed to grasp this truth came from Yousef Munayyer, of The Jerusalem Fund/Palestine Center:

The problem Gaza presents for Israel is that it won’t go away—though Israel would love it if it would. It is a constant reminder of the depopulation of Palestine in 1948, the folly of the 1967 occupation, and the many massacres which have happened since them. It also places the Israelis in an uncomfortable position because it presents a problem (in the form of projectiles) which cannot be solved by force…

Israel has tried assassinating Palestinian leaders for decades but the resistance persists. Israel launched a devastating and brutal war on Gaza from 2008 to 2009 killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, but the resistance persists.

Why, then, would Israel choose to revert to a failed strategy that will undoubtedly only escalate the situation? Because it is far easier for politicians to lie to voters, vilify their adversaries, and tell them ‘we will hit them hard’ than to come clean and say instead, ‘we’ve failed and there is no military solution to this problem.’

Like last time, I know many in the Jewish community will say it is unseemly of me to criticize Israel this way while Israelis live in fear of Qassam fire out of Gaza. I know there are those who believe that by writing these words, I’m turning my back on my own people in their time of need. But I know in my heart that my outrage at Israel’s actions goes hand in hand with compassion for Israelis – particularly those who know that their leaders’ devotion to the sword is leading them into the abyss.

Additionally, as I wrote under tragically similar circumstances in 2009:

I believe Israel’s response to Hamas’ missile attacks have been disproportionate and outrageous. I believe their actions only further endanger the security of  Israelis while inflicting collective punishment and a severe humanitarian crisis upon Gazans. Indeed, just as I cannot understand what it must be like to be a citizen of Sderot, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to be a Gazan citizen at the moment, living under constant air attack, with no running water or electricity and dwindling food, as hospitals fill up with wounded and corpses lie rotting in the streets because relief workers are unable to reach them.

When will we be ready to accept that this is not a “balanced” conflict or even a “war” by any reasonable definition – and it never was.  When will we face the painful truth that this is not a story about one side versus the other but about one side oppressing the other?  Frankly, all the well-meaning liberal comments about “praying for peace on both sides” and leave me cold. Worse, I find them insidious because they simply serve to support the myth that this is a conflict between two equal parties. It is not. And peace will not come until we admit this – until we admit that there is an essential injustice at the heart of this tragedy and that try as it might, Israel will never be able to make it go away through the sheer force of its increasingly massive military might.

Beyond the rage, I’m heartened that this time around there is a growing community of conscience that is speaking out publicly and in no uncertain terms to protest Israel’s latest outrage in Gaza. I am so deeply grateful for my friends and colleagues at Jewish Voice for Peace, who is alone in the Jewish world in condemning this latest assault.  I urge you to read JVP’s courageous statement, which I know gives voice to increasing numbers of Jews and non-Jews, young and old, religious and secular, who are coming together through the courage of their convictions.

At this point in my posts I would typically write “click here” to lend your voice to some kind of collective statement.  I’m going resist that temptation and urge you instead to take to the streets.

I’ll see you there.

Israel Considers Any Palestinian Infrastructure That Can Be Connected to Hamas to Be ‘Terrorist’

While it is unlikely that the escalating violence in Gaza will be placed into proper context by United States media, who report on it in the context of Israel’s blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, it is also just as unlikely that there will be any meaningful coverage on how Israel justifies bombing civilian infrastructure in Gaza.

Israel decimated the Gaza City office of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who was elected in the legislative elections in 2006 but later dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas. He has continued to exercise authority and is a head of state yet, if one saw the headline at the New York Times they would not see a headline explaining how a Gaza Prime Minister’s office was bombed. They would see one that read, “Israel Destroys Hamas Prime Minister’s Office.”

The Times reported spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, stated, “Government buildings had been targeted because Hamas ‘makes no distinction between its terrorist military machine and the government structure…We have seen Hamas consistently using so-called civilian facilities for the purposes of hiding their terrorist military machine, including weapons.”

Under this concept, it is hard to see how Israel would not be able to justify hitting any part of Gaza and killing any person inside or nearby that infrastructure. Saturday morning, according to Haaretz, Israel’s air force targeted Gaza’s police headquarters, other government buildings and a mosque in Rafah. It also is impossible to see how a cease-fire can be brokered if Israel is going to destroy the offices of political leaders elected in disputed or undisputed Palestinian elections. 

The United Nations’ fact-finding mission in 2009, after the Gaza conflict that year that left over 1400 Palestinians dead, did not accept Israel’s concept of Hamas “supporting infrastructure.” The mission found it “particularly worrying” as it “appeared to transform civilians and civilian objects into legitimate targets.” This made it possible for Israeli political and military leaders to make it seem like in order to respond to Hamas it had to carry out “disproportionate destruction” and create “maximum disruption in the lives of many people as a legitimate means to achieve not only military but also political goals.”

The mission determined Israeli armed forces had launched “numerous attacks against buildings and persons of the Gaza authorities.”

…As far as attacks on buildings are concerned, the Mission examined the Israeli strikes against the Palestinian Legislative Council building and the Gaza main prison…Both buildings were destroyed and can no longer be used. Statements by Israeli Government and armed forces representatives justified the attacks arguing that political and administrative institutions in Gaza are part of the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure”. The Mission rejects this position. It finds that there is no evidence that the Legislative Council building and the Gaza main prison made an effective contribution to military action. On the information available to it, the Mission finds that the attacks on these buildings constituted deliberate attacks on civilian objects in violation of the rule of customary international humanitarian law whereby attacks must be strictly limited to military objectives… [emphasis added]

This indicated Israel had committed a “grave breach of extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

It believed four years ago that it was acceptable to strike the office of Ismail Haniyeh. This was a statement the government made claiming it did not need to distinguish between military and civilian targets:

…While Hamas operates ministries and is in charge of a variety of administrative and traditionally governmental functions in the Gaza Strip, it still remains a terrorist organization. Many of the ostensibly civilian elements of its regime are in reality active components of its terrorist and military efforts. Indeed, Hamas does not separate its civilian and military activities in the manner in which a legitimate government might. Instead, Hamas uses apparatuses under its control, including quasi-governmental institutions, to promote its terrorist activity… 

Because Israel considers the democratically elected Hamas to be a “terrorist organization,” Gaza technically has little in the way of structures for administrative or traditional government functions that could not be characterized in some way as part of Hamas’ “terrorist organization.” And so, that is why it is not a war crime to Israel to hit an office where he met Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil the day before.

The United States, which provides $150 million in military aid or more each year to Israel, has no problem with this concept justifying the targeting of civilian infrastructure. Deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for US President Barack Obama stated, according to Haaretz, “The Israelis are going to make decisions about their own military tactics and operations. What we want is the same thing the Israelis want, which is an end to the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. We wouldn’t comment on specific targeting choices by the Israelis other than to say that we of course always underscore the importance of avoiding civilian casualties. But the Israelis again will make judgments about their military operations.”

The mention of “civilian casualties” is a token gesture to a Palestinian people the US is willing allow Israel to continue to subject to a blockade in Gaza and policies of apartheid.

Moreover, Haaretz has reported that Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.” It is hard not to interpret that as a commitment to further devastate Gaza to force it to submit even more to Israeli dominion.

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Solidarity with Palestine

Ahead of May 15 Nakba commemorations, massive crowds assembled in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square in solidarity. They displayed banners, proclaiming, “The People want the Rafah Crossing opened,” and “Palestine is a Arab state.”

They also waved Palestinian flags, chanting “Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada” and “National Unity” ahead of a planned weekend march to Gaza. More on that below.

Domestic issues were also addressed, including ending recent sectarian violence and concerns about popular unaddressed issues under military junta rule. After Friday prayers, Sheikh Safwat Hegazy addressed the crowd, saying:

“(Appointed prime minister) Essam Sharaf: this is not your government. This is the revolution’s government. You should kick out the six former (NDP ruling party) ministers from the cabinet. We won’t accept (deputy prime minister) Yehia El-Gamal who’s part of the former regime….”

In response, crowds chanted, “Down, down Yehia El-Gamal.” One participant, identified only as Mohammad, spoke for others, saying:

“Sharaf’s government is taking the same path as the former government. They have the same double standards, secrecy and authoritarian policy-making in internal (and) external affairs.”

Though Egypt’s spring hasn’t bloomed, its spirit pervades Tahrir, suggesting perhaps renewed uprisings ahead. For now, however, Egyptians head for Gaza in solidarity with Palestinian liberation, a goal millions around the world support, as well as a Third Intifada to achieve it.

Surprisingly, however, despite MENA region (Middle East/North Africa) Morocco to Oman to Syria uprisings, Palestinians haven’t yet reacted, except for regular small-scale demonstrations far short of large masses throughout Egypt and neighboring countries, posing challenges for ruling authorities.

Yet nowhere is regional abuse more extreme, including occupation, isolation, land theft, mass arrests, torture, targeted assassinations, daily terror, and at times war, causing thousands of casualties and widespread destruction.

Perhaps Egypt’s solidarity march will inspire what hasn’t yet occurred, under the slogan, “Cairo’s liberation will not be complete without the liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).”

According to Justice and Freedom Youth Movement’s Ahmed Doma:

“We are organizing this event as part of the Arab Internet call for a third Palestinian Intifada, and as part of what has been termed ‘the Arab mass march.’ ”

Facebook was used, urging that regional Arabs march en masse to Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Jordanian/Israeli borders, demanding what Palestinians have long sought, including liberation, ending occupation, the right of return, and East Jerusalem as its capital.

Participating Egyptians also want:

— Rafah’s border crossing permanently open, permitting free movement of people and goods;

— halting Egypt’s sale of gas to Israel;

— ending all “humiliating agreements with the Zionist state;” and

— immediate release of all Palestinians in Egyptian prisons.

On May 14 at noon Cairo time, marchers headed for Gaza, expecting to arrive that evening ahead of planned May 15 Nakba day rallies. At the same time, protesters demonstrated in front of Israel’s Giza embassy and its ambassador’s Maadi residence.

We are All Resistance member Arwa said “other convoys heading to Palestine are moving from Alexandria, Suez, Damietta and North Sinai. People will also join convoys from Gharbiya, Beni Suef, Assiut, Qena and Sohag” in a mass show of solidarity.

Cairo participating groups include:

— the National Front for Justice and Democracy;

— Cairo University’s Supporters of the Palestinian Revolution;

— the Justice and Freedom Youth Movement,

— Kifaya;

— We are All the Resistance Movement;

— Helwan University’s Resistance Movement;

— Ultras Ahlawy Ahly football club supporters;

— Zamalek club White Knights;

— Activists for Palestine;

— the Palestinian Women’s Coalition;

— the April 6 Movement;

— the Nasserist Party; and

— various independent activists.

In Tel Aviv, Israel’s Zochrot organization also shows support, defying the imposed ban on Nakba commemorations by posting a sign in German saying “we remember.” Other Israelis joined them in solidarity.

On its web site (zochrot.org), it:

“seeks to raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba, especially among Jews in Israel, who bear a special responsibility to remember and amend the legacy of 1948.”

Palestinians were victimized, losing “their entire world. But Jews in Israel also pay a price for their conquest,” living with the criminal legacy Palestinians and global supporters won’t forget. Zochrot’s goal is “recognition for injustice and new paths toward change and repair,” including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, saying:

“Return is fundamental to resolving the conflict and implementation of return need not cause injustice to Jewish people….in Israel.” It doesn’t mean expelling them. In fact, “the very opposite: The mutual existence of Palestinians and Jews in the country,” co-existing together peacefully. Return can thus free two societies from the destructive occupier/occupied relationship, ending a longstanding intolerable blight.

As a result, Zochrot will participate in March of Return activities, its site saying its members will visit Miska village, destroyed and ethnically cleaned by Israelis in 1948. They’ll then join the March of Return in al-Damun and al-Ruways villages, also demolished in 1948.

Ahead of May 15 demonstrations, Haaretz writers Anshel Pfeffer, Jack Khoury and Nir Hasson headlined, “Israeli – Palestinian tensions rise in Jerusalem, West Bank as Nabka Day nears,” explaining that:

Clashes erupted between IDF soldiers and Palestinians throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem Friday morning, including in Silwan, Isawiya and the Old City. Israeli police arrested 11 protesters. IDF soldiers used rubber bullets, tear gas, and heavy-handed thuggishness, assaulting nonviolent demonstrators.

Several injuries were reported, including an American and 17-year old Milad Said Ayyash, shot in the head Friday at close range with a high-velocity tear gas cannister and killed. At his Saturday funeral, two Palestinians were wounded. Others were arrested.

Further, Haaretz said “(t)ens of thousands of Palestinian refugees will converge in Maroun al-Ras, a village in southern Lebanon that was a major point of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War. A parallel demonstration will also be held on the Israeli side of the Lebanon border in Avivim….where demonstrations will be staged concurrently with” a planned Maroun al-Ras rally.

The International Middle East Media Center also reported on May 13 IDF – Palestinian clashes, including:

— Israelis blocking roads, impeding weekly Bil’in anti-wall protesters from traveling to established sites;

— arresting 34 West Bank/East Jerusalem protesters; and

— wounding 22 Palestinians in Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, including photo-journalist Hilmi Tamimi.

Moreover, Italian and Malaysian activists arrived in Gaza, including friends of slain activist/journalist Vittorio Arrigoni. They’ll join growing numbers of others in solidarity for Palestinian liberation and justice.

However, according to Press TV on May 14, Egyptian authorities blocked access to Sinai, preventing activists from reaching Rafah. Also, buses to transport other supporters didn’t arrive. Nonetheless, “a convoy left Cairo’s Liberation square on Saturday,” hoping to show Palestinian solidarity on the Gaza/Rafah border.

A Final Comment

On May 12, a Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) report said Israeli soldiers and settlers killed 7,342 Palestinians from September 29, 2000 (start of the second Intifada) through December 31, 2010.

PCBS also said Israeli security forces “kidnapped” nearly 750,000 Palestinians since June 1967, including 12,000 women and many children, targeted for wanting freedom in their own land.

Occupation harshness continues daily throughout the West Bank, East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza. On May 15, regional solidarity will converge in Gaza, along Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Syrian border areas, and perhaps other locations worldwide, commemorating Nakba day for what Palestinians have long sought – liberation on their own land in their own country. Long overdue, it can’t come a moment too soon.

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Real Cause for Gaddafi’s Expulsion: Wanted Gold Currency?

Some believe it [the NATO/US-led Libyan invasion] is about protecting civilians, others say it is about oil, but some are convinced intervention in Libya is all about Gaddafi‘s plan to introduce the gold dinar, a single African currency made from gold, a true sharing of the wealth.

Gaddafi did not give up. In the months leading up to the military intervention, he called on African and Muslim nations to join together to create this new currency that would rival the dollar and euro. They would sell oil and other resources around the world only for gold dinars.

It is an idea that would shift the economic balance of the world.

“If Gaddafi had an intent to try to re-price his oil or whatever else the country was selling on the global market and accept something else as a currency or maybe launch a gold dinar currency, any move such as that would certainly not be welcomed by the power elite today, who are responsible for controlling the world’s central banks,” says Anthony Wile, founder and Chief Editor of the Daily Bell.

“So yes, that would certainly be something that would cause his immediate dismissal and the need for other reasons to be brought forward from moving him from power.”

And it has happened before.

In 2000, Saddam Hussein announced Iraqi oil would be traded in euros, not dollars. Some say sanctions and an invasion followed because the Americans were desperate to prevent OPEC from transferring oil trading in all its member countries to the euro.

A gold dinar would have had serious consequences for the world financial system, but may also have empowered the people of Africa, something black activists say the US wants to avoid at all costs.

Some say the US and its NATO allies literally could not afford to let that happen.

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Bin Laden’s Death

Winston Churchill rightly explained that “(a) lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” He said it perhaps before television. For sure before 24-hour cable TV and modern technology instantly communicating globally.

It applies to Obama’s latest lie, announced at 11:35PM EDT on bin Laden, saying:

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”

Highlighting 9/11, he painstakingly discussed everything but the truth. America’s media repeated it. Celebratory crowds in front of the White House, in Times Square, and at “ground zero” cheered it past midnight, mindlessly believing a lie. More on that below.

On May 1, New York Times writers Peter Baker, Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti headlined, “Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama says: continuing:

Calling him “the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world,” Obama announced his death Sunday night, declaring “justice has been done.”

Cheerleading, not reporting, Baker, Cooper and Mazzetti called his “demise….a defining moment in the American-led fight against terrorism, a symbolic stroke affirming the relentlessness of the pursuit of those who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.”

New Year’s eve arrived early in America, celebrating a lie, the “bewildered herd” again seduced by presidential deception.

A USA Today editorial headlined, “At last, bin Laden is dead,” saying:

“Could there be any more satisfying words to hear?”

The Boston Globe highlighted “a moment of unity” after nearly a decade of war, calling Obama’s announcement a “vindication of a manhunt spanning presidential administrations, and involving numerous agencies and countless intelligence officers.”

AP quoted Bill Clinton saying:

“I congratulate the president, the national security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al Qaeda attacks.”

House speaker John Boehner (R. OH) said it was “great news…”

House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi called it “historic.”

Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid “reaffirm(ed) our resolve to defeat the terrorist forces that killed (9/11 victims) and thousands of others across the globe.”

Expect lots more cheerleading ahead, led by major media reports doing what they do best, providing sanitized, managed news, not truth.

Separating Fact from Fiction

Post-9/11, bin Laden became “Enemy Number One,” the nation’s top “security threat.” In fact, if he hadn’t existed, he’d have been invented for political advantage.

In March 1985, after Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 166 to arm Afghan Mujahideen fighters, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) recruited bin Laden to fight Soviet Afghan forces as a CIA asset. He likely remained one until his death, while simultaneously called “Enemy Number One,” using him advantageously both ways.

David Ray Griffin wrote seminal books on 9/11, including “The New Pearl Harbor,” “The 9/11 Commission Report,” “9/11 and American Empire,” “9/11 Contradictions,” “Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7,” and “Osama Bin Laden: Dead of Alive?”

It was also the title of his October 9, 2009 Global Research article, covering two types of evidence:

(1) Objective evidence that he’s dead:

After December 13, 2001, his regularly intercepted messages stopped.

On December 26, 2001, according to “a leading Pakistani newspaper” story, a prominent Taliban official said he attended his funeral.

Bin Laden, in fact, was very ill with kidney disease. In September 2001, CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported that he was admitted to a Rawalpindi, Pakistan hospital on September 10, 2001, and France’s Le Figaro said:

“Dubai….was the backdrop of a secret meeting between Osama bin Laden and the local CIA agent in July (2001). A partner of the administration of the American Hospital….claims that (bin Laden) stayed (there) between the 4th and 14th of July (and) received visits from many members of his family as well as prominent Saudis and Emiratis. (During the same period), the local CIA agent, known to many in Dubai, was seen taking (the hospital’s) main elevator (to) bin Laden’s room.”

Why not if he was a valued asset.

In July 2002, “CNN reported that (his) bodyguards had been captured in February of that year, adding: ‘Sources believe that if the bodyguards were captured away from bin Laden, it is likely the most wanted man in the world is dead.”

Finally, despite Washington offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or killing, no one came forward.

(2) Testimonial evidence of his death:

In 2002, influential “people in a position to know” that he died included:

— Pakistan President Musharraf;

— FBI counterterrorism head Dale Watson;

— Oliver North saying, “I’m certain that Osama is dead….and so are all the other guys I stay in touch with;”

— Afghanistan President Karzai;

— Israeli intelligence saying supposed bin Laden messages were fake; and

— Pakistan’s ISI “confirm(ing) the death of….Osama bin Laden (and) attribut(ing) the reasons behind Washington’s hiding (the truth) to the desire of (America’s hawks) to use the issue of al Qaeda and international terrorism to invade Iraq.”

Other evidence includes former CIA case officer Robert Baer telling National Public Radio (NPR): “Of course he’s dead.”

Then in March 2009, “former Foreign Service officer Angelo Codevilla published an essay in the American Spectator entitled ‘Osama bin Elvis,’ ” saying:

“Seven years after (bin Laden’s) last verifiable appearance among the living, there is more evidence of Elvis’s presence among us than for his.”

Griffin also explained fake messages and videos, saying today’s advanced technology can fool experts, but not all of them.

For years, bin Laden tapes surfaced at strategically-timed moments. Consider one on Friday, September 7, 2007 ahead the sixth 9/11 anniversary. Hector Factor’s Neal Krawetz, a digital image forensics expert, said it was full of low quality visual and audio splices, a likely fake.

Striking also was bin Laden’s beard that was gray in recent images. In this one, it was black. In addition, he was dressed in a white hat and shirt, as well as a yellow sweater, the same attire as on an October 29, 2004 video. Moreover, the background, lighting, desk and camera angle were identical.

Krawetz noted that “if you overlay the 2007 and 2004 videos, bin Laden’s face is the same (unaged).” Only his beard was darker, and the picture contrast was adjusted. Most important are the edits showing obvious splices, at least six video ones in all. Even more audio ones were used that appeared to be words and phrases spliced together, making Krawetz suspect a vocal imitator was used.

A Final Comment

Clear evidence showed bin Laden died years ago, likely in December 2001. However, reporting it was concealed to pursue America’s “war on terror.”

As a result, “Enemy Number One” was used to stoke fear as pretext for imperial wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, perhaps others now planned, and numerous proxy ones in Somalia, Yemen, Bahrain, Palestine, Central Africa, Colombia, and elsewhere.

Griffin wrote his bin Laden book, hoping to shorten America’s wars. He also wished to expose “fake bin Laden tapes (used as) one part of an extensive propaganda operation….furthering the militarization of America and its foreign policy” while popular needs go begging.

Obama’s latest lie left America’s imperial agenda unchanged. In fact, his announcement likely bolsters public support for what’s clearly become unpopular, saying:

“(T)hink back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” urging people to show it again despite how militarism harms their security, well-being and futures by draining funds badly needed for domestic needs.

Instead, expect increasing amounts used for corporate handouts and wars, Obama as uncaring about human needs as extremist Republicans. He’s also an inveterate liar.

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Humanitarian Intervention

Masquerading as “humanitarian intervention,” Washington launched full-force barbarism on six million Libyans, all endangered by America’s latest intervention. More on how below.

Beginning March 19, it was visible. However, months of planning preceded it, including US and UK special forces and intelligence operatives on the ground enlisting, inciting, funding, arming and supporting violent insurrection to oust Gaddafi and replace him with a Washington-controlled puppet like in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The scrip is familiar, playing out now in Libya – full-scale “imperial barbarism,” a term James Petras used in a September 2010 article titled, “Imperialism and Imperial Barbarism,” saying:

“The organizing principle of imperial barbarism is the idea of total war,” including:

— use of mass destruction weapons, unleashed on Libya as explained below;

— targeting the entire country and society; and

— dismantling “the entire civil and military apparatus of the state,” replacing it with “colonial officials, paid mercenaries and unscrupulous and corrupt satraps” – puppets, figures As’ad AbuKhalil calls “useful idiots.”

Moreover, as Petras explains:

“The entire modern professional class is targeted (and) replaced by retrograde religious-ethnic clans and gangs, susceptible to bribes and booty-shares. All existing modern civil society organizations are pulverized and replaced by crony-plunderers linked to the colonial regime. The entire economy is” disrupted by “shock and awe” bombings and ground attacks, affecting essential civilian infrastructure on the pretext of destroying military and “dual use” targets.

As a result, mass casualties follow, many post-conflict from disease, homelessness, starvation, depravation, and environmental contamination. All wars are ugly, especially modern ones Washington wages, unleashing full force human and overall destruction, mostly affecting noncombatant men, women and children – imperialism’s hidden victims.

Already, unknown hundreds of Libyans have been killed, wounded, or disabled, besides countless numbers affected overall. Expect much worse ahead, including violent, US-backed proxy insurgence, perhaps later joined by Pentagon troops if current air and ground attacks don’t accomplish “Operation Odyssey Dawn’s” objectives.

UN Resolution 1973

Claiming authority under the UN Charter’s Article VII, it, in fact, violates Article 51, stating:

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Effectively, UN Resolution 1973 authorized war, not peace. Moreover, it denied a sitting government, despotic or otherwise, the right of self-defense. A Western-backed insurgency initiated attacks, permitting a head of state to respond.

Further, the UN Charter explains under what conditions intervention, violence and coercion are justified. None exist in Libya.

In addition, Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes, not “shock and awe” attacks. Article 2(4), in fact, prohibits force or its threatened use, including no-fly zones that are acts of war.

Further, Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral or other external threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or otherwise authorized by the Security Council – that may not violate its own Charter. In fact, Washington bullied enough members to do so, planning naked aggression in response.

Ostensibly to protect civilians, Resolution 1973’s paragraph 4 authorized Member States “to take all necessary measures….” As a result, a giant interventionist loophole was created they knew Washington would exploit.

Under paragraph 6, moreover, “establish(ing) a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians,” in fact, harms them by US “shock and awe” attacks.

Further, paragraph 7’s authorization for “flights whose sole purpose is humanitarian” denies them because Pentagon-controlled airspace will destroy any encountered Libyan aircraft, claiming it hostile, not delivering food, medical or other essential supplies or personnel.

In addition, supplying insurgents with weapons and munitions violates paragraph 13, “Call(ing) upon Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from” Libya.

In fact, besides covertly supplying its own weapons, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps other regional and/or NATO countries are arming insurgents, at the behest of Washington – violating Resolution 1973.

As a result, Libyans are at the mercy of US imperial aggression, disdaining all international laws, principles and standards. At war, Washington causes mass casualties and destruction. Now begun, expect much more ahead.

In addition, “coalition” participation is fig leaf cover for US aggression. AFRICOM’s General Carter Ham has full command authority, directing UK, French and other belligerent partners, besides America’s full air, sea and ground might.

Expect protracted conflict, perhaps “boots on the ground,” putting a lie to Obama’s promise for “humanitarian intervention” to end in “a matter of days, not weeks.” Already, insurgency has been ongoing for weeks, perhaps months covertly, the worst yet to come, but already conditions are bad. They always are when Washington arrives.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Used

Since the 1991 Gulf War, Washington used nuclear weapons covertly – in depleted uranium (DU) form. Contaminating exposure is deadly. All US missiles, bombs, and shells have solid DU projectiles or warheads in them. Even bullets because in all forms, DU-tipped munitions easily penetrate armor, irradiating air, ground and water when used. DU, in fact, painfully kills from later contracted illnesses and diseases, including cancer and many others.

When weaponized DU strikes, it penetrates deeply, aerosolizing into a fine spray which then contaminates wide areas. Moreover, its residue is permanent. Its microscopic/submicroscopic particles remain suspended in air or swept into it from contaminated soil.

Atmospheric winds then carry it far distances as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, falling indiscriminately to earth and water. Virtually every known illness and disease may result from severe headaches, muscle pain and general fatigue, to major birth defects, infection, depression, cardiovascular disease, many types of cancer and brain tumors. As a result, permanent disability or death may follow.

Moreover, DU use is illegal under international law. Although no specific convention or treaty bans radioactive weapons, including DU, they’re, in fact, illegal de facto and de jure under the Hague Convention of 1907, prohibiting use of any “poison or poisoned weapons.”

In all forms, DU is radioactive and chemically toxic, thus fitting the definition of poisonous weapons Hague banned. America is a signatory. As a result, DU weapons use for any purpose violates international law. Moreover, all DU weapons meet the U.S. federal code WMD definition in 2 out of 3 categories:

The US CODE, TITLE 50, CHAPTER 40, SECTION 2302 defines a Weapon of Mass Destruction as follows:

“The term ‘weapon of mass destruction’ means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity.”

As a result, commanders up the chain of command, including civilian ones to the highest level, authorizing DU weapons use for any purpose are war criminals.

Moreover, under various UN Conventions and Covenants, weapons causing post-battle environmental or human harm are banned. Nonetheless, Washington uses them indiscriminately, including DU. As a result, millions of Iraqi, Serbian/Kosovar, and Afghan nationals, as well as belligerent US troops have been gravely harmed, yet Pentagon and administration authorities deny all responsibility.

Libyans will now be victimized by DU poisoning. Wherever it strikes and spreads, it’s unforgiving, disabling and deadly. If enough is used, a future cancer epidemic will follow, too late to help those harmed.

Helen Caldicott calls radiation a “Destroyer of Worlds,” doing it by killing people silently, painfully, illegally, and at times genocidally.

In 2005, before his death, no wonder Nobel laureate Harold Pinter condemned US aggression saying:

“(T)he United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious……It quite simply doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant.”

Under Bush, Obama or anyone else, it does what it pleases – the law, human welfare, and environmental considerations be damned.

A Final Comment

On March 21, Reuters said missile and air attacks on Libya continue. The New York Times headlined, “Allies Target Qaddafi’s Ground Forces, but Resistance Continues (unconfirmed) Reports Say.” The Washington Post said, “Libyan rebels launch offensive; coalition pounds Gaddafi forces,” that may be observing a ceasefire. Al Jazeera reported “Rejoicing in Libya’s Benghazi,” continuing its biased war reporting, siding with anti-Gaddafi forces.

In contrast, independent web sites, analysts, and on-air programming offer detailed, truthful information, including the Progressive Radio News Hour this writer hosts on the Progressive Radio Network.com, featuring distinguished guests, dominant media sources spurn.

Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is one of many reliable sources. On March 20, his Global Research.ca article headlined, “BREAKING NEWS: Libyan Sources Report Italian POWs Captured. Additional Coalition Jets Downed. Qatar has joined the War,” saying:

— unconfirmed “(i)nternal Libyan sources reported….the capture of an Italian vessel and military personnel, who were detained;”

— Gaddafi’s government “started supplying (Libyans) with food rations, medicine, and weapons to defend themselves;”

— unconfirmed “Libyan sources reported” downing two more “coalition” jets, “identified as Qatari military planes;” and

— unconfirmed Libyan sources claim five “coalition” jets downed, three attacking Tripoli, two others over Sirt.

March 22 marks day four of a protracted conflict. It’s certain to cause widespread deaths, injuries, disabilities and destruction. It’s assured when America arrives – on cruise missiles, bombs and shells, not white horses promoting peace and democratic values, what all US administrations disdain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

[by Stephen Lendman]