Steve Lendman

Obama’s Middle East Hypocrisy – 1967 border

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Since taking office in January 2009, Obama broke every major campaign promise, including relevant ones to his May 19 Middle East speech; namely:

— “hope;”

— “change;”

— peace;

— democratic values;

— closing Guantanamo in one year;

— ending torture, illegal spying, and detention without trial;

— “a new era of openness;”

— willingness to meet individually with Iranian, Syrian, Venezuelan, Cuban, and North Korean leaders;

— supporting Israeli and Palestinian efforts to “fulfill their national goals: two states living side by side in peace and security;” and

— on Afghanistan saying (October 27, 2007): “I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this (and the Iraq) war(s). You can take that to the bank,” and by implication not begin new ones.

Instead, his rhetoric belied his policy, spurning democracy, civil liberties, human rights, and rule of law principles. He doubled down George Bush with:

— imperial Iraq and Afghan wars;

— two others against Pakistan and Libya;

— another allied with Israel against Palestine;

— regional support for subservient despots; as well as

— anti-populist proxy wars in Somalia, Central Africa, Yemen, Bahrain, Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working Americans.

Make no mistake. People across the Middle East aren’t fooled, unlike many Americans no matter how many times they’re betrayed.

Ahead of his speech on May 18, Washington Post writer Scott Wilson headlined, “Obama faces pressure from allies on eve of speech Thursday on Middle East policy,” saying:

US allies want more decisive action “on several volatile issues in the Middle East and North Africa, including the armed rebellion in Libya, the uprising in Syria, and the moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.”

On May 19, New York Times writer Michael Shear headlined, “Obama’s Middle East Speech Has Many American Audiences,” saying:

He aimed at a domestic and global audience, trying “to construct a cohesive narrative for American voters about his administration’s (unsuccessful) efforts in the region,” notably:

— the stalled peace process;

— continuing Bush-era policies; and

— failure to address Arab uprisings constructively.

As a result, Obama’s Middle East speech was “designed to be the first in a series of rhetorical opportunities for the president,” ahead of a Friday Netanyahu meeting in Washington.

Then over the weekend, he’ll address the annual AIPAC conference, affirming his unwavering support for Israel, expressed Thursday saying:

“As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums,” adding:

“Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat (with) robust enough (efforts) to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security.”

In fact, Israel is a global menace, nuclear-armed with other super-weapons ready and able to use them. Terrorizing Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, it’s belligerent on the slightest pretext or none at all.

As a result, it threatens world peace and security because US administrations partnered in its militarism, repression, and other high crimes for decades, a testimony to the Israeli Lobby’s power in America.

Commenting on his speech, New York Times writers Steven Myers and Mark Landler headlined, “Obama Sees ’67 Borders as Starting Point for Peace Deal,” saying:

Obama “declared that the prevailing borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war – adjusted to some degree to account for Israeli settlements in the West Bank – should be the basis of a deal.”

In fact, that notion has been on the table for years, based on isolating Palestinians in cantonized bantustans situated on worthless scrubland with few or no resources – a proposal no legitimate leader would accept.

Notably, Haaretz reported that “Obama has granted Netanyahu a major diplomatic victory” by leaving undefined the size or locations of a Palestinian state. It also quoted Netanyahu saying:

“Israel appreciates President Obama’s commitment to peace,” adding that he expects Obama to refrain from demanding Israel withdraw to “indefensible (1967 borders) which will leave a large population of Israel in Judea and Samaria and outside Israel’s borders.”

Moreover, core Israel/Palestinian issues remain to be negotiated, no matter that Washington and Israel spurn diplomacy and concessions.

As a result, Palestine is still occupied. Gaza remains isolated under siege, its legitimate government vilified as a terrorist organization. Moreover, the peace process was stillborn from inception, what journalist Henry Siegman once called “the most spectacular deception in modern” times.

Obama’s speech dripped with hypocrisy, another example of policy belying rhetoric, exposing America’s longstanding alliance with Israel for regional dominance. Saying “(i)t will be the policy of the US to support reform throughout the region” is code language for business as usual.

Adding that “(w)e face a historic opportunity (to) show that America values the dignity of a street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator” ignores a belligerent policy, as well as disdain for human rights and civil liberties. It also conceals a determination to divide, conquer, colonize, exploit and control the entire region, giving no quarter to populist aspirations anywhere, including in America, let alone Israel, Palestine, Egypt, or elsewhere in the region.

Important also is that if America had a legitimate regional policy, Obama wouldn’t have to make speeches affirming one.

Post/911, in fact, it was easier than ever for America to declare war on Islam, abroad and at home – a policy no different under Obama than Bush. Empty rhetoric changes nothing.

Around 1.5 billion Muslims want change, peace and the basic respect they deserve. They’re sick and tired of Western dominance, colonization, exploitation, and oppression, supportive of homegrown dictatorships.

On June 4, 2009, Obama addressed Muslims in Cairo, “seek(ing) a new beginning….based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, or need be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

It was hypocritical boilerplate. He decried the “killing of innocent men, women, and children,” yet US forces slaughter them daily in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. In addition, America supplies Israel with billions of dollars and the latest weapons and technology to commit slow-motion genocide against millions of Palestinians, deny their legitimate self-determination, and right of their refugees to return home as international law demands.

Moreover, America is a serial aggressor and human rights abuser. High-sounding rhetoric changes nothing. Yet Obama claimed America “did not go (to Afghanistan) by choice, we went of necessity….we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there….Iraq was a war of choice (but) I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.”

“Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future – and leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own.”

In fact, secret provisions in the Pentagon’s 2008 Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) indicate otherwise. They flagrantly violate Iraqi sovereignty, authorizing permanent US bases, camps, and prisons. Moreover, they immunize US forces, civilian security, and private contractors from criminal prosecution. They assure Iraqi “democracy” is illusory.

Afghanistan’s occupation is similar. Officials in both countries have no say over US operations, including incursions into other countries. They require Washington’s approval before concluding any agreements with other countries. Their leaders and key ministries are US-controlled.

Moreover, no timeline is stipulated for America’s withdrawal beyond disingenuous rhetoric affirming it, returning sovereign power to Iraqis and Afghans. Instead, occupation is permanent. America came to stay, allied with proxy security forces to maintain hardline control.

Since Cairo 2009, Obama’s declared support for democracy, peace, human rights, mutual understanding, and social justice brought none to the region where Washington backs its most ruthless tyrants.

His “unbreakable” bond with Israel ignored Palestinians six decade ordeal and 44-year occupation. He said nothing earlier or now about Cast Lead slaughter, besieged Gaza, land theft, home demolitions, mass arrests, torture, targeted assassinations, legitimate Palestinian self-determination, and the right of diaspora refugees to return.

In Cairo, he came, saw, spoke, made empty gestures, no clear promises, and followed it with more of the same yesterday, concealing America’s intention to exploit this resource-rich part of the world.

Unlike easily fooled Americans, Arabs have no illusions. They’ve heard it all before, this time responding with popular uprisings for change they know only they can achieve by staying resolutely committed for it.

So far, it’s nowhere in sight, but maybe, just maybe this time is different. In the fullness of time, we’ll know.

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New Bin Laden Tapes Appear Fake Like Earlier Ones

On May 2, AP writer Matt Apuzzo headlined, “US Official: New bin Laden tape, recorded shortly before death, expected to surface soon,” saying:

“US intelligence officials believe (he) made a propaganda recording shortly before his death and expect that tape to surface soon….A new recording (would) provide a final word from beyond the grave….”

On May 7, New York Times writer Elisabeth Bumiller headlined, “Videos From Bin Laden’s Hide-Out Released,” saying:

On May 7, the administration “released five videos recovered from” his alleged hideout, showing him “threatening the United States, condemning capitalism and at some points flubbing his lines and missing a cue.”

Videos were released “without sound (allegedly) to avoid disseminating terrorist messages….The intelligence official who briefed reporters….took pains to point out that bin Laden….had dyed his white beard black,” suggesting vanity or a desire to look younger.

Unmentioned were earlier tapes, including a posthumous December 27, 2001 video showing his beard clearly gray and another in 2004 the same, unlike a 2007 one showing it black. Forensic evidence proved the latter two crude audio and video fakes. More on them below.

Moreover, it’s unclear whether Islamic law or teachings prohibit dying hair black. An Islam Question & Answer site says:

“Dyeing hair with pure black dye is haram (punishable) because the Prophet….said: “Avoid black,” as well as “the threat of punishment reported with regard to this matter. This ruling applies to both men and women.”

However, if black dye “is mixed with another colour, so that it is no longer black, there is nothing wrong with it.”

A more detailed statement can be accessed through the following link:

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/476

True or false, other observers believe bin Laden never dyed his hair or beard, a notion in their minds as absurd.

New and Older Videos

The most reported newly released tape shows him wrapped in a blanket in a dilapidated looking room, watching himself on what appears to be a small old TV placed on a broken desk.

Yet he allegedly was housed in a million dollar compound, unlikely to be poorly heated and furnished, as well as shabby-looking, requiring him to sit on the floor with a blanket for warmth. At the least, the image in his alleged surroundings is incongruous, suggesting a recording made elsewhere, not at a luxury Abbottabad, Pakistan estate.

Moreover, there it shows his beard white, not black in other newly released videos, another inconsistency. In fact, he looks much younger than in 2001, suggesting images from the 1990s. Nonetheless, Bumiller cited an intelligence official saying bin Laden “was intensely interested in the image he presented to his supporters,” without saying why beard color mattered.

What does matter is a visibly older looking man in 2001, not the more youthful bin Laden in four of the five newly released videos.

Apparently, Obama officials still can’t get their story straight, acting much like Max Sennett’s “Keystone Kops” and characters in the film and book by the same name titled, “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”

An earlier article discussed the staged bin Laden killing hokum, accessed through the following link:

https://awakeningtempest.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/staged-bin-laden-killing-hokum/

It addressed a scenario sounding more like bad fiction than allegedly eliminating “Enemy Number One” with no photos, videos or body of a dead bin Laden, as well as no independent proof and shifting stories. They’re still not right, putting a lie to the entire account about a man who died earlier in mid-December 2001 of natural causes.

A decade ago, bin Ladin was very ill from kidney failure, diabetes, and by some accounts hepatitis C affecting his liver, requiring hospitalization in Pakistan and Dubai. Moreover, objective and testimonial evidence corroborated his mid-December 2001 death. An earlier article explained, accessed through the following link:

https://awakeningtempest.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/lies-damn-lies-and-bin-ladens-death/

It also discussed past strategically released videos. Two examples are noteworthy – on September 7, 2007 and October 29, 2004. Digital image forensics expert Neal Krawetz analyzed both films, concluding they were crude fakes full of low quality visual and audio splices.

Moreover, bin Laden’s beard was gray in the earlier video, black in the later one, and he was dressed in the same white hat, shirt and yellow sweater. In addition, the background, lighting, desk and camera angle were identical. Krawetz said “if you overlay the 2007 and 2004 videos, bin Laden’s face is the same (unaged).” Only his beard color changed.

Notably also, bin Laden’s December 2001 “confession” video admitting responsibility for 9/11 was fake. In February 2006, Duke University bin Laden expert Professor Bruce Lawrence exposed it, calling it a bad hoax.

Citing US intelligence informants, he said everyone knows it’s fabricated. He also compared an overweight bin Laden impostor to authentic images showing him much thinner. In fact, the difference between the real and fake bin Laden is obvious, but was falsely used for years as his admission for an inside job crime.

Earlier, post-9/11, in three Al Jazeera interviews, he claimed no knowledge or responsibility for the event.

However, on May 3, 2011, Al Jazeera misreported him admitting “responsibility for planning the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington,” an irresponsible lie with no corroborating evidence and their own 2001 interviews.

In addition, a May 25, 2010 Jeff Stein Washington Post article headlined, “CIA unit’s wacky idea: Depict Saddam as gay” said:

It considered making fake videos, and:

“(t)he agency actually (made one) purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from ‘some of us darker-skinned employees,’ ” he said.

The Pentagon took over the project, saying “(t)hey had assets in psy-war down at Ft. Bragg at the army’s special warfare center.”

Alleged DNA Evidence Confirming Bin Laden’s Identity

On May 7, Michael Ruppert’s article headlined, “Osama and the Ghosts of September 11: ‘Proof that Obama is Lying,’ ” saying:

A noted molecular biologist and DNA expert told him the following on condition of anonymity:

He “built a lucrative career in human genetics. (He ran) one of the world’s largest and most productive DNA genotyping facilities, (and is now) helping to build the global market for clinical whole human genome sequencing for the world’s largest human genome sequencing facility.”

He also worked with the best in his and other fields, saying:

“I know DNA. And, one thing I know about DNA is that you cannot, repeat CANNOT: take a tissue sample from a shot-in-the noggin-dead-guy in a north central Pakistan special forces op, extract the DNA, prepare the DNA for assay, test the DNA, curate the raw DNA sequence data, assemble the reads or QC the genotype, compare the tested DNA to a reference, and make a positive identity determination….all in 12 hours – let alone transport the tissue samples all the places they’d need to have gone in order to get this done.”

“Any way you slice it, the real work would require days,” and no nearby aircraft carrier or other ship is outfitted with a profession lab and experts on board to do it.

He concluded saying they may or may not have gotten bin Laden, but there’s no DNA proof confirming it before they allegedly dumped him at sea. In other words, they lied, one of many beginning with Obama’s May day announcement.

A Final Comment

This and previous articles highlight a shameless Washington effort to compound one lie with others, endorsed by major media reports and pundits going along with what they should expose and denounce.

Instead, ad nauseam accounts continue, contributing to war on terror fear mongering that’s changed America dramatically post-9/11 disturbingly. It suggests worse yet to come, including perhaps more war besides others now raging, while popular needs go begging.

Despite poll data showing opposition, they continue because people focus more on bread and circuses than activism, the only way to achieve constructive change. It’s high time opinions became anger enough to significantly make a difference. It better because the alternative is too dire to imagine.

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