Obama threatened by the Israeli Lobby

The Israeli lobby in America works to control this country. They want a larger portion of Obama’s cabinet to be under their control.

Adam Hasner, the majority leader of Florida’s House of Representatives, wrote in an article which was published in the media, that the actions of Obama’s government are anti-Israeli and are considered a threat to the existence of Israel.

Hasner added that Obama has chosen to consult with people such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samantha Power, and Charles Freeman, who are all anti-Israeli, about Israel and the Middle East.

Islam Times

Hasner finally wrote that it is still the beginning of Obama’s term and that we must force him to be subservient to Israel.


Withholding Judgment on Obama

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein

She fits the cliché of the Canadian who is a celebrity abroad but is mostly ignored at home.

Naomi Klein shot to international fame eight years ago with her book No Logo, which has since sold 1 million copies.

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, published 15 months ago, has already sold 800,000 copies and been translated into 26 languages. Last week, a documentary based on the book was released at the Berlin Film Festival.

Her speaking engagements and political activism keep her on the road, around the world. Her newsletter goes to 30,000 subscribers.

No Logo charted the corporate commodification of youth pop culture and the casualization of labour (what’s sold in the West are expensive brands, not products, which can be manufactured cheaply in the East).

The Shock Doctrine is about the globalization of the neo-conservative ideas pioneered by Chicago economist Milton Friedman and popularized by Ronald Reagan. There was the massive privatization – not only of public services at home but wars abroad (private security forces and contractors galore in Iraq and Afghanistan) and even disaster relief (post-tsunami and Katrina). There was the deregulation of the markets, which led, inevitably, to the current economic meltdown.

Critics attack her for seeing corporate conspiracies. They particularly sneer at her hypothesis, announced in the book’s subtitle, that right-wing economic policies have faced such popular resistance that they can only be introduced in the jet stream of shock-and-awe wars and natural disasters (laying off tens of thousands of Iraqis in order to sell state enterprises; building tourist beach hotels in Southeast Asian fishing villages washed away by the tsunami).

Her admirers see the economic crisis as proof of her prescience.

The New Yorker magazine recently ran a 12-page profile: “She has become the most visible and influential figure on the American left – what Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky were 30 years ago.”

She has campaigned against the University of Chicago’s plan to build a $200 million Milton Friedman Institute to honour its former professor, who died in 2006. “The crash on Wall St. should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian communism, an indictment of an ideology,” she has said.

In a twist of fate, the economic crisis has dried up funding for the institute, and it has been put on hold – much to her delight.

In an interview Tuesday, Klein, 38, said she welcomes the election of Barack Obama. But she has two problems: his refusal to insist on accountability for recent American misdemeanours abroad and at home; and his “narrative that everything went wrong only eight years ago” with the election of George W. Bush.

It was Bill Clinton who periodically bombed Iraq and tightened the economic sanctions that killed 1 million Iraqis, including 500,000 children, according to UNICEF. It was he who axed the Depression-era restrictions that had prevented investment banks from also being commercial banks. He and Alan Greenspan resisted the regulation of the huge derivatives industry.

If you develop amnesia about all that, “then you do exactly what Obama is doing. You resurrect the Clinton economic and foreign policy apparatus, and you appoint Larry Summers, the key architect of the economic policy that has imploded at this moment.”

Obama’s economic recovery plan, especially the bank bailout, is a disaster.

It is “layering complexity over complexity. What got us into this mess in the first place were these complex financial instruments that nobody understood. Now they have a bailout that nobody understands.

“The facts are easy to understand, namely, that these banks are bankrupt and they should be allowed to go under or be nationalized because there also needs to be a workable financial sector.

“The amount of money that’s at stake in the bailout – if you include everything, the deposit guarantees, the loans, Fannie May and Freddie Mac and AIG – is now up to $9 trillion. The American GDP is only $14 trillion. So they’ve put more than half the American economy on the line to try to fix a mess that actually cannot be fixed in this way. Just look at what happened to Iceland. The debt that their three top banks held was 10 times their GDP. You can bankrupt the country this way.”

Obama’s stimulus package is not big enough. Almost 40 per cent goes to tax cuts. “And to pay for the cuts, they had to drastically scale back much more important and stimulative spending, on such things as public transit.”

Among the many parallels to the 1930s, the one Klein finds most useful is that president Franklin Roosevelt was under constant public pressure to improve the New Deal. That “history of resistance, struggle and community organizing” needs to be replicated to keep Obama honest.

“Obama is an important change from Bush, and the reason why he is important is that he is susceptible to pressure from everyone. He is susceptible to pressure from Wall Street, to pressure from the weapons companies, from the Washington establishment. But unlike Bush and (Dick) Cheney, I don’t think he’d ignore mass protest.

“The irony is that just at the very moment when that kind of grassroots organizing and mobilization could have an impact, we are demobilizing and waiting for the good acts to be handed down from on high, whether it is the withdrawal from Iraq or the perfect economic stimulus package.”

It is equally important that America come to terms with its recent past.

“So much of this moment for me comes down to whether there’s going to be any accountability for what happened – whether it’s the illegal occupation of Iraq or torture or the economic crimes that led to this disaster.

“The FBI believes that there’s a huge criminality at the heart of the economic meltdown but they’ve made a decision not to prosecute because they were afraid that might send panic through the market.

“All this argument for impunity, amnesia is really corrosive.”

Toronto Star

Will Obama Break the Law for Israel’s Sake?

Since entering office, President Barack Obama has promised sweeping changes in three aspects of governance: transparency, law enforcement, and stewardship of American tax dollars. For a public weary of law enforcement forever prosecuting street but never elite crime, Obama’s many statements about holding all individuals accountable under the law have been encouraging. He also called for government-agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a White House mandate for transparency. Obama swore any bailouts of financial institutions and industries will hereafter avoid secretly funneling taxpayer funds into bloated Wall Street bonuses, executive junkets, and private jets.

But does Obama intend to follow these rules himself? Probably not. Obama’s entire facade momentarily crumbled under a single withering question – “Do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?” – launched by veteran reporter Helen Thomas during the president’s first evening press conference on Feb. 9, 2008.

Obama dodged the substance of the question:

“With respect to nuclear weapons, I don’t want to speculate. What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger. And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally, I think that it’s important for the United States in concert with Russia to lead the way on this, and I’ve mentioned this in conversations with the Russian president, Mr. Medvedev, to let him know that it is important for us to restart the conversations about how we can start reducing our nuclear arsenals in an effective way, so that we then have the standing to go to other countries to start stitching back together the nonproliferation treaties that frankly have been weakened over the last several years.”

The evasion inherent in Obama’s reply coupled with actions already taken may reveal the new administration’s true framework for Middle East policy: deception, wastefulness, and lawlessness.

Fortunately, Americans don’t need Barack Obama to “speculate” on what former President Jimmy Carter already confirmed on May 25, 2008: Israel possesses an arsenal of at least 150 nuclear weapons. Why does Obama trot out the discredited policy of “strategic ambiguity” – in which Israeli and U.S. officials officially refuse to confirm or deny the existence Israeli nuclear weapons – at this early moment? For one reason alone: to break the law. The 1976 Symington Amendment prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards. Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). If U.S. presidents complied with the Symington Amendment, they would not deliver yearly aid packages to Israel totaling billions of dollars. Presidents make-believe that Israeli nuclear weapons don’t exist so Congress can legally continue shoveling the lion’s share of the U.S. foreign aid budget to Israel. But this thin pretense is now over. Since Carter’s revelation, press outlets such as Reuters chat openly about how Israeli’s nukes mean that it does not qualify for U.S. aid. But like Harry Markopolos incessantly nagging the SEC about Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, fourth-estate and nuclear-activist calls for compliance continue to be rebuffed by government agencies. Denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about Israeli nukes has always been an integral tactic in preserving this hoary old ruse.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University has doggedly pursued public release of key CIA files about Israel’s nuclear weapons programs under the FOIA. The Archive has so far obtained “only a small fraction of a large body of documents … that remain classified.” Keeping all kinds of damning information bottled up was a special priority during the George W. Bush administration, whose FOIA policy was to find reasons not to release documents. As Obama backtracks on transparency – as he must if he fully commits to the policy of “strategic ambiguity” – researchers will have to wait at least another eight years for documents already long overdue for public release. That could be very dangerous.

Placing declassified documents about Israeli nuclear capabilities on the table as part of U.S.-Iranian and other regional diplomatic and academic relations is the only way to prepare for good-faith negotiations. Iran is a signatory to the NPT and allows public inspections of its civilian nuclear facilities, though many doggedly insist without hard evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. U.S. policymakers will continue to have a difficult time convincing the public and allies that newer, tougher approaches are needed against Iran if the U.S. continues to avoid discussing Israeli nukes. Regional and American negotiators must be armed with enough facts to address whether Israel’s military belligerence, coupled with a nuclear arsenal, is motivating others to seek the nuclear deterrents. Obama appears to be committing to Israeli regional nuclear hegemony rather than addressing it as a proliferation-driver. If this seems far-fetched, consider that Obama has already reauthorized a quiet blockade of Iran begun during the Bush administration.

George W. Bush responded to Israel lobby pressure to target Iran by creating a new U.S. Treasury Department unit by executive order in 2004. The secretive Office of Terrorist and Financial Intelligence (TFI) delivers most of its public briefings at an AIPAC-sponsored think-tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and even contracts the think-tankers for “consulting.” Like other agencies during the Bush presidency, TFI denied FOIA requests [.pdf] for detailed information about its activities, but it is known to be targeting commercial shippers, international banks, and companies that do business with Iran. Clearly, if this quiet commercial and financial blockade were being waged by some powerful foreign entity against the United States, Americans would consider it a casus belli. But rather than slow or shut the operation down in preparation for promised attempts at U.S.-Iran diplomacy, Obama’s new Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently announced that Stuart Levey will continue to lead this financial blockade unit at Treasury. This particular clandestine operations component of Obama’s Middle East policy may soon spark a senseless military conflict with Iran, but perhaps that’s the plan. Obama’s policy, if honestly verbalized, may be the following: As your president, I will continue to deceive you about Israeli nuclear weapons, so that my administration can violate the Symington Amendment and deliver unwarranted amounts of taxpayer dollars to Israel. My administration will negotiate in bad faith with Iran while clandestinely attacking it, in order to preserve Israeli nuclear hegemony in the Middle East.

For Americans impoverished in both reputation and wallet by years of corruption and waning rule of law, such a crass public admission would be refreshing. But is not change we can believe in.

22 Pakistanis Reportedly Killed

So much for the peace activists who supported Obama – how deluded could they be? To have expected (or “hoped”) for anything different was a daydream.

Just like any warmonger, just like Bush, Obama put to use the same old policy of attacking and rationalizing the killing of Pakistanis. The death count as yet being reported is 22 (see ABC news & Press TV.)

What a start to Obama’s idea of an American “role in ushering in a new era of peace” which he spoke of in his inaugural address. Sadly, it is only the beginning of what will be continual bloodshed by the U.S. government under Obama’s presidency.

In his Obama expressed no rejection of the bogus “War on Terror.”

Quotes from Obama’s inaugural address; the words of a man who plans to continue the empire building:

“…Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred….
…And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today…know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more…
…and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan…
…we will defeat you…that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace…
…To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West …
…we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains…We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty…”

In view of Obama’s above statements:
The truth is that our nation is not at war, although civilians worldwide will continue to die at the hands of the U.S. military.
Our nation has no business “leading” the world in any pursuit, but rather should ends its coercion and persecution of other governments, and respect their sovereignty.
Our nation has no right to continue its military assault on the people of Afghanistan. Rather all troops should be removed from not only Iraq and Afghanistan, but from the hundreds of military bases we maintain worldwide.
There is no one to “defeat”, but there will be many to defend against due to Obama’s continued violent assaults on people worldwide.
No one is blaming their “society’s ills on the West,” but many are enraged and seek vengeful retribution for the ills and violence we arrogantly inflict.
There is no place I can think matching Obama’s description of where Americans are guarding our “liberty” in “far-off deserts and distant mountains,” although our military will suffer more needless losses for a government agenda which has nothing to do with our security.

Thus, it is just as objectionable to hear Obama use words such as “peace,” “liberty,” and “dignity,” as it was to hear Bush.

And as for Obama’s ubiquitous presidential last line, “And God bless the United States of America.” Saying it doesn’t make it so. Will God continue to bless a nation which kills indiscriminately making it a nation which participates in and condones murder (which I define as unjustified killing), which invades and occupies sovereign nations, and which seeks to manipulate and control that which does not belong to it using its might to force others worldwide to acquiesce to its selfish agenda?

Keep in mind, Obama didn’t keep it hidden that he would continue such policies, no indeed. I highly recommend the following “St. Pete for Peace” webpage with its list of Obama quotations and positions.

Though the world can expect no change, we as Americans can expect more retributive and vindictive anger waged against us, not for our way of life, but for our way of imposing our will upon others. Obama, like past presidents, will make sure he keeps those “wars” going, with the missile attacks on Pakistan an ominous sign of what is to come.

Will there ever be a day when our military men and women’s lives are valued as so precious so as not to send them into harm’s way so needlessly and unjustly…and the same day when they are not ordered to needlessly and unjustly inflict harm upon innocent men, women and children?

The Obama body count has begun.


Republicans Destroy, Democrats Serve Cookies

I got a bad feeling that if we liked the Clinton years, we’re gonna love the Obama ones.

Remember those fun 1990s? Actually, they really weren’t, of course. If they look good at all in retrospect, it is purely because the intervening monster mash gave us a point of reference so that we might know what ugly really looks like.

Apart from that, however, the political story of that decade had a depressingly simple narrative arc to it. Republican bottom-feeders demonstrated at every opportunity how scummy politics can be, and Democrats responded over and over again with the political equivalent of “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” And wasn’t that fun to watch?

What the last months seem to be screaming out for all to hear is the lesson that some people just can’t change. Or won’t.

Could the little project launched a few centuries back, and affectionately referred to as ‘America’, possibly be in a more precipitous free-fall than it is right now?

No. And yet…

…And yet, while Wall Street firms are desperately trying to out-30s the 1930s themselves with their 2008 exercise in earnings annihilation, management gladly rewarded itself with nearly $20 billion dollars in bonuses, many funded by the United States taxpayers. This caused the people’s president to nearly raise his voice in remonstration, he was so upset.

…And yet, with the Republican Party tanking so badly that its best likely outcome in the years ahead (and you should see the second best) is to wind up as the undisputed vote-getting champ of Mississippi and large parts of Georgia, still they reiterate their most aggressive and abysmal of behavior.

…And yet, with the Democratic Party holding more or less all the political cards imaginable, still they go desperately looking for any and all possible ways to share their political power with the GOP. And when the latter folks reward such generosity with an immediate slap to the face, still the Dems come back begging for more.

We’re two weeks into the Obama decade, and already I’d be bored if I wasn’t so pissed. Even with every imaginable self-made predator circling the camp, still we go on with the same set of juvenile antics that substitute for a meaningful politics in America. Even with every conceivable disaster hungrily lapping at our shores, some of us would rather get rich than live to retirement age, some of us would rather win elections than save the country, and some of us would rather hold hands than be the guy who walks away from the knife fight alive.

Yep, it’s the Clinton years again. Minus the booming economy and probably the sexual shenanigans. But the politics sure look the same.

Wall Street greed that exists absolutely without bound, to start with. And a government that finds increasingly creative ways to liquidate the commonwealth of its common wealth and turn it instead into private playgrounds, corporate jets, MBA bacchanals, and really big rings on the fingers of really big trophy wives. What, you’ve got a problem with a $35,000 toilet for a company accepting taxpayer bailout money?

Don’t worry. Barrack Obama called it shameful. Since that appears to be just about all he plans to do about it, and since I had already made that particular analytical leap on my own horsepower, I must confess to being seriously unimpressed. Yeah, limiting salaries of the execs running companies receiving bailout funds is not a bad idea, but mostly another terribly trembling tactic from timid town. Since I am now an owner of these firms, would it be too much to ask for new management? Call me strange if you must, but I don’t want corporate chiefs who have proven their ability to wreck companies running mine. It’s just this odd quirk I’ve always had.

But the finger-wagger-in-chief’s little dressing down was actually the high point of the week. Somewhat less amusing was the GOP’s reaction to the president’s fiscal stimulus plan. Even though Obama went out of his way to include within it tax cuts that seem to be the only two words the lips of Republicans are able to form in discussions of economics or public policy – tax cuts that are widely understood not to have serious stimulus capacity at this point – still not a single member of the House – not one – voted for the bill. Instead, they went parading around the media complaining about how the legislation would favor illegal immigrants, or would spend a few bucks on family planning services. Can’t have that. Brown women in America? Not barefoot and not pregnant? Not okay.

Did I mention that this looks a lot like the 1990s? Zero was precisely the number of Republicans who voted for Bill Clinton’s economic rescue package in 1993. Taxes, sex, war, taxes. Taxes, sex, war, taxes. This guys are like a jazz singer who can only hit four notes, two of which are the same. And about as useful.

Of course, people gotta have principles. Texas Senator John Cornyn – who is absolutely everything you’d expect a Texas senator to be – said this week “I read the bill in vain for any real stimulus in the economy. What I do see mainly is an opportunity being exploited to spend a lot of money without much scrutiny.” Now see, dang it, that’s not okay. For example, let’s just say you had this Treasury secretary – we’ll just call him John Doe Paulson, to pick a name at random – and he spent $350 billion by giving banks rescue money that they used instead for bonuses and really cool toilets, literal and figurative. Now that there, my friends, is an example of money being spent without scrutiny. Or certain contractors (oh, you know, like Haliburton maybe) and their no-bid contracts in certain wars (let’s say Iraq, for instance). Or a prescription drug bill that actually forbids the government from using its buying power to obtain volume discounts. Now those are some nasty cases of unscrutinized federal spending, and we can all be thankful that Cornyn and other Republicans have been on the job this last decade, making sure none of that transpired.

The party, meanwhile, was busy last week choosing for themselves a new chairman. And guess what? He’s a real conservative fellow. Now there’s a shocker. And he’s a black man. And he argues that Republicans have gotten a totally bum rap when it comes to perceptions of their racist politics these last decades. You know, that whole Reagan states’ rights campaign kick-off speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi – a town famous for only one thing, murdering civil rights workers – for example. Or that whole Nixonian Southern Strategy to appeal to racist white voters in the South. Or the Willie Horton ad. Or the small matter of mass black voter disenfranchisement campaign in Florida in 2000. Or Ohio in 2004. Yeah, man. You gotta feel bad for the GOP and this unfair reputation. They really need to hire some new marketing people!

Oh, and did I mention the guy who didn’t get the chairmenship? He sent around a CD to party leaders that included the snappy little tune, “Barack, the Magic Negro”! Some people in the party thought that was pretty tacky. But others didn’t, and so a serious and major debate ensued within the party leadership as to whether this was an appropriate thing to do, and whether it was a good idea to put such a person at the top of the party. Hmmm, tough question. No wonder they had such a struggle over it.

Of course, the good news for the GOP is that with a black man as their chairman now, they’ll no doubt be drawing tons of black votes from this point forward. And the even better news is that the GOP thinks that with a black man as their chairman now, they’ll no doubt be drawing tons of black votes from this point forward. You know, just like Sarah Palin knocked down those barriers preventing women from gaining equality (the same ones that Republicans had spent lifetimes erecting) and thus energized the female vote for the GOP ticket. Oh yeah.

Let’s be honest. The chances that the GOP would change its ugly ways only rose to the high-water mark of about three out of a thousand because of the trouncing they took in two elections back-to-back. Anyone who thought these folks were about to give up either their abysmal politics or their disgusting tactics hasn’t been paying attention since the 1950s. And, besides, what would be the point? We already have a party that stands for just about nothing, and does so with unsurpassed strategic blunder, and a passionate devotion to the avoidance of both passion and devotion. Who needs another?

Speaking of which, I’m starting to feel kinda dumb for having said lately that a certain fellow by the name of Obama is a real smart guy. The more I see him in operation, the more I get the sense that the prime directive of his operating system is to always seek the making of happy-happy with his adversaries. He actually had some nice Republican members of Congress over to his new house the other day and personally walked around the room carrying a plate of oatmeal raisin cookies to serve them. You think I’m making this up, don’t you? You wish. I wish. If this keeps up, pretty soon he’s gonna make Chamberlain at Munich look as tough as the siege of Stalingrad by comparison.

He gave the Republicans a couple of hundred million bucks worth of worthless tax cuts as a means of compromise, even though that substantially diminishes his chances for succeeding in bringing recovery, and therefore also in succeeding at playing president. He says nice things about Ronald Reagan and throws a big shindig for the guy who just got through spending half a year calling him a socialist terrorist. He’s now put three Republicans in his cabinet, which by my count totals to a contingent therein approximately three hundred percent bigger than the liberal cohort (of, maybe, one person). Not only that, instead of trading the last Republican added for the 60th Democratic senator and thus a filibuster-proof majority that would guarantee getting his legislation through Congress, Obama agrees to a deal wherein the Democratic governor of New Hampshire backfills Judd Gregg’s seat with a Republican appointee.

And what do they do, in return? Trash his bill in public, say that they hope he fails, and vote – with nary a single exception – against the signature legislative initiative of his presidency. During an economic crisis, no less, with a public already massively angry at them.

If anyone knows this guy’s Blackberry address, pass it along, wouldya? I’d like to remind him that Republicans don’t get that whole ‘post-partisan’ thing. Precambrian, yes. Post-partisan, no. They will thrash the country (again) if they think it will wreck this presidency and bring them back to power. I’m not sure how Rush Limbaugh could possibly have been quite any more explicit about that. Yo, Barry. They are going to resist you any and every way they can. If you succeed, they’ll take credit for it, maybe saying that the Bush tax cuts finally kicked in. If you fail, I’m pretty sure they won’t be acknowledging the role of their political sabotage during a national economic crisis.

Lose the hand-holding impulse, dude. You’ve got cred, you’ve got crises, you’ve got control of the government. If you throw them a bone and they slap your face in return, the thing not to do here is increase the size of the bone. No more oatmeal cookies, man. Pull their useless stuff out of the bill, redraft it exactly the way you want it, and ram it down their throats. If they use their 41-seat minority in the Senate to block a relief bill that the people desperately want, the House has passed, and the president is waiting to sign, make them pay for it politically by endlessly reminding the public just who’s standing in the way of the Red Cross trucks, and just who’s driving them.

I mean, is it really too much to ask for a Democratic Party actually does something? Without asking the GOP for permission first?

Once before, American had a crumbling economy, a bumbling foreign policy, an angry electorate, and a decisive election. Ronald Reagan won in 1980, and Democrats cowered for the next three decades. They’re still cowering.

This time the conditions are almost identical, except for three things. First, people are hurting a lot worse now than in 1980. Second, it’s the Democrats who have won this time. And, third, it wasn’t an election. It was two.

But, of course, one thing hasn’t changed.

It’s still the Democrats doing the cowering.


Obama and the Drug of Hope

On January 20, 2009, during a frigid and fiercely cold day, hundreds of thousands of allegedly sane American patriots had traversed land, air, and sea to attend a majestic spectacle: the inauguration of President Barack Obama, 44th behaloed president of the United States of America.

CNN, the mainstream news network for lemmings that spearheaded the event, bore witness to a jubilant and expectant audience of men, women, and children, sweeping across Washington like a sea, nay, a tsunami that prophets would be reluctant to part. Within the cold thunderous mishmash, old war veterans and baby boomers, the young and hip hopefuls, and trendites, socialites, and new-agey feel-goods attended this spiritually vivifying event. Flag-wavers, nationalists, newly-born patriots and born-again patriots reveled in song, dance, and poetry, patting one another, eyes shut and smiling wryly in disbelief, congratulating each other as comrades with the look of a mission finally accomplished. Roland Martin reminded us that, in the name of change, pop-culture iconoclasts Oprah, Puff Daddy, and Smokey Robinson were present. Hilarity ensues – as if Americans just had to know. As if the Washingtons, Paines, Lincolns, and squirrels gave a flying acorn whether they attended or not. The monolithic gears of the corporate media machine were well-oiled, running, and ready to embellish a princely procession estimated to cost a baffling $150 million.

Talking female heads glossed over excitedly the philosophy behind the new charismatic leader, pontificating the resemblance to the struggles of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. As Obama began to utter his prescribed words, televised montages were intricately slabbed across American screens: pictures of starry-eyed commoners from Memphis, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Pasadena, a perfect portrayal of people so enraptured by Obama’s rhetoric that they were cerebrally neutralized and rendered speechless. In one scene, a woman with clasped, prayerful hands and chin atremble is choked in tears. Opposite that, men nod their heads agreeably to the tune of the same war agenda. The rest continued to listen and watch with mouths agape. Hilary Rosen admitted to crying after witnessing the chain reaction of scenes of other teary-eyed people. The audience, unable to contain their joy, horned in their hollers of approval when the speech got really good. Proceeding to the paperwork, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper commented on the panache of Obama’s penmarkship and the sexiness of his signature’s flourish, in case viewers were slow to appreciate the way a man signs his papers. Everything segues into the fluttering backdrop of a silent American flag.

Quoting Thomas Paine in his speech, Obama says: “Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it.” How often had politicians touted the eloquence and wisdom of the revolutionaries as if they admired it, respected it – understood it? The ugly punishing reality contends many have abused it and forgotten it: where is the virtue in funneling billions to foreign conflicts and shenanigans, wasting more billions brewing client states and proxy wars, welcoming the bankers with their fiat money and fiat laws, and rewriting our own laws to transform a grand republic into a corporate, draconian democracy?

The few strong who could wield what was left of their intellectual reserves were aware of the carefully planned coup de grace, and dodged the merciful blow intended to daze the populace and cloak runaway tyranny as it reformed itself. The geriatric elite in their crisp American flag-pinned suits and their Zionist counterparts from afar must’ve realized that the blitzkrieg doctrines under Bush and Cheney could only last for so long no matter who passed the torch. A defiant public had even sacrificed self-reliance and are now rank with a sickly dependence on big government, and coupled with their ignorance of the darker realms of history, they are now binging on the ecstatic drug of hope to replenish their depleted, wayworn souls. Now the timid and inexperienced are apt to choose pretenders who easily masquerade as messiahs. The timing was perfect. Henry Kissinger in a recent interview with CNBC had praised Obama. With a majority of the anti-war movement now quelled and pacified, a “new world order” can finally emerge.

“The president-elect is coming into office at a moment when there is upheaval in many parts of the world simultaneously. You have India, Pakistan; you have the jihadist movement. So he can’t really say there is one problem, that it’s the most important one. But he can give new impetus to American foreign policy partly because the reception of him is so extraordinary around the world. His task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period when, really, a new world order can be created. It’s a great opportunity, it isn’t just a crisis.”

Many remain green, evasive, and unacquainted towards geopolitics and the ancient art of empire. And now Obama, who has bedded the Israeli Zionist leadership and their AIPAC cohorts, is now free and fated to willingly carry out that elusive agenda.

Obama surrounds himself by an unmistakably pro-war and pro-business entourage that includes Iraqi war architect Robert Gates, classic war hawk Hillary Clinton, and the new national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who has entertained racy thoughts of imperialism through subterfuge and proxy since the days of the Cold War. The appointment of Secretary of Agriculture, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and big-agribusiness stooge, is ominous to the domination of big-agribusiness at home and operations abroad. Hope-Change addicts cannot help but further stroke themselves to the cockered Obama who kowtows without qualms or conscience to the racist Zionist euphemism of “security” in Israel, salivating over any meaty piece of legislature that suppresses the original Semities – the Palestinians – and sends munitions unconditionally to Israel as they continue to quarter and eradicate Gazan civilians en masse. Zionism 1, Change 0.

Meanwhile, Russia, the mighty bear who emerged victorious against the proxy South Ossetia war, expressed cautious optimism about Obama who still believes Russia was the aggressor in the conflict. Eugene Kolesnikov, a private consultant in the Netherlands, had it nicely summed up during in Expert’s Panel for Russia Profile, that it’s unclear what the pro-war Obama administration will now do, whether they will continue sponsoring the loathed missile-shield in Poland, push forward the annexation of Georgia into NATO, or amplify other “Russia-containment policies.”

“Obama’s Clintonite foreign affairs team and such advisors as Zbigniew Brzezinski will want [Obama] to carry on with the Russia containment policies. The containment approach is based on the assessment prevalent in the U.S. establishment that America will be capable of dominating the world if China is allied, Europe is taken back into the fold by involvement in decision-making, and all sorts of “smart power” improvements are implemented elsewhere.”

Hamid Karzai, stooge and successor to the bygone Taliban leadership, is now condemning Obama’s audacity-authorized missile strike that killed 16 civilians. And likewise, another missile strike – with love from Obama – hits Pakistan, where many enraged Pakistanis clamored that it would only aggravate the growth of terrorist and militant activity, should Americans continue to violate the country’s sovereignty. Juan Cole from Salon.com writes:

“This resort to violence from the skies even before Obama had initiated discussions with Islamabad is a bad sign. It is not clear if Obama really believes that the fractious tribes of the Pakistani northwest can be subdued with some airstrikes and if he really believes that U.S. security depends on what happens in Waziristan.”

Obama’s audacious attacks only days within office run counter to the hope and change policies that he had mightily professed. Even the executive orders for the closure of Gitmo and other prisons still cannot abolish torture and illegal detention, in stark contrast to what CNN lackeys had prematurely parroted during the inauguration. The orders are still tinged and knowingly laden with loopholes, as investigated by Prof. James Hill of Global Research.

“The loopholes in President Obama’s executive order on torture may permit cruel abuses of prisoners to continue, using a legal parlor trick. Labeling detainees the product of counterterrorism operations rather than of armed conflict, or holding detainees in detention facilities operated by entities other than the CIA, may allow government agents and private contractors conforming to the letter of the president’s order to continue practices most would consider torture.”

It’s impossible to class Obama amongst the ranks of men who did uphold virtue in the stately quarters of Washington, where the storms of corruption always struck. Before they fancied thoughts of presidency, where was the hero Obama as Dennis Kucinich spoke against and voted against Iraq war funding and the rising tide of unconstitutional laws such as the Patriot Act, which Obama had both supported? Where was the absent Obama as Ron Paul lambasted the bailouts and the illegal Federal Reserve, both again which Obama either stood quiet or supported? Ex post facto remorse doesn’t count. In the depth of winter, when the city and country were finally met with that one common danger: Where was the man during the decisive battle, not after!

Obama’s cheerleaders and corps of provocateurs can only admit that they have foolishly divined a man who has masterfully altered his image and aura to where people have mistaken him as someone spiritual, magical – seductive. Stout and reactionary, many have become forever loyal and refuse any Obama criticism. In turn they brand their opposites as querulous, fault-finding haters who trumpet paranoia over hope and change. However, the real freedom-fighters had always embraced the blood-stained ideals of common sense, the same tired sons and daughters of liberty who would fight in chains rather than swallow sweet acid and die by the sword of a politician’s scripture. They are indeed the same brothers and sisters who, on another frigid and fiercely cold day, stood together with Obama’s supporters against Bush, Cheney, and the Zionists, long before Obama was deified. Now our armies have been split: by altering the realities of the ignorant. Divide and conquer.

Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail

George Bush

George Bush

Karl Rove recently described George W. Bush as a book lover, writing, “There is a myth perpetuated by Bush critics that he would rather burn a book than read one.” There will be many histories written about the Bush administration. What will they use for source material? The Bush White House was sued for losing e-mails, and for skirting laws intended to protect public records. A federal judge ordered White House computers scoured for e-mails just days before Bush left office. Three hundred million e-mails reportedly went to the National Archives, but 23 million e-mails remain “lost.” Vice President Dick Cheney left office in a wheelchair due to a back injury suffered when moving boxes out of his office. He has not only hobbled a nation in his attempt to sequester information – he hobbled himself. Cheney also won court approval to decide which of his records remain private.

President Obama was questioned by George Stephanopoulos about the possibility of prosecuting Bush administration officials. Obama said: “We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions and so forth. … I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backward … what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past.”

Legal writer Karen Greenberg notes in Mother Jones magazine, “The list of potential legal breaches is, of course, enormous; by one count, the administration has broken 269 laws, both domestic and international.”

Torture, wiretapping and “extraordinary rendition” – these are serious crimes that have been alleged. Obama now has, more than anyone else, the power to investigate.

John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has just subpoenaed Rove while investigating the politicization of the Justice Department and the political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Rove previously invoked executive privilege to avoid congressional subpoenas. Conyers said in a press release: “I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court. … Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who blocked impeachment hearings, is at least now calling for an investigation. She told Fox News: “I think that we have to learn from the past, and we cannot let the politicizing of the – for example, the Justice Department – to go unreviewed. … I want to see the truth come forth.”

Why not take it a step further?

Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who led the charge in Congress for impeachment of Bush and Cheney, has called for “the establishment of a National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, which will have the power to compel testimony and gather official documents to reveal to the American people not only the underlying deception which has divided us, but in that process of truth-seeking set our nation on a path of reconciliation.”

Millions have served time in federal prisons for crimes that fall far short of those attributed to the Bush administration. Some criminals, it seems, are like banks judged too big to fail: too big to jail, too powerful to prosecute. What if we apply Obama’s legal theory to the small guys? Why look back? Crimes, large or small, can be forgiven, in the spirit of unity. But few would endorse letting muggers, rapists or armed robbers of convenience stores off scot-free. So why the different treatment for those potentially guilty of leading a nation into wars that have killed untold numbers, torture and widespread illegal spying?

Which brings us back to Bush and books. Ray Bradbury’s novel “Fahrenheit 451” is one of the titles in the National Endowment for the Arts’ “The Big Read.” This ambitious program is “designed to restore reading to the center of American culture.” Cities, towns, even entire states choose a book and encourage everyone to read it. In “Fahrenheit 451” (the temperature at which paper spontaneously combusts), books are outlawed. Firemen don’t put out fires, they start them, burning down houses that contain books. Bradbury said: “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” The secretive Bush administration is out of power; the transparency-proclaiming Obama administration is in. But transparency is only useful when accompanied by accountability.

Without thorough, aggressive, public investigations of the full spectrum of crimes alleged of the Bush administration, there will be no accountability, and the complete record of this chapter of U.S. history will never be written.


History, Hypocrisy, and Empire

The so-called democracy of the powerful U.S. elite continues to live up to its legacy of hypocrisy and deceit.

Now that the spectacle of the Barack Obama coronation as the “American” Empire’s first African-American emperor has run its course, and many, many millions of dollars have been spent on self-adulation by the power elite of this nation, the huddled masses will necessarily be compelled to return to a system of no universal, single-payer health care, increasing joblessness, insatiable corporate / military greed, homelessness, de facto racial disparity & discord, police brutality, a burgeoning U.S. prison population, and endless U.S. wars abroad. For yet again, this nation will have done what it all too often does: perverted its promise, including the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., into a hypocritical nightmare of gigantic and historic proportions.

For the majority of Black, Brown, White, Red, and Yellow peoples, the “dream” to which the late Langston Hughes referred [in the poem A Dream Deferred] has not only been “deferred,” it has been obscenely and grotesquely disfigured and distorted into something almost beyond recognition. Barack Obama’s presidency is not a step forward nor is it a step towards the fulfillment of the struggles by Nat Turner, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so very many others. Rather, he is the slick pro-apartheid Zionist antithesis and perversion of the fulfillment of these struggles.

Barack Obama has already begun to repeatedly and shamelessly call upon the people of this nation to make “sacrifice[s],” as if the everyday people of this country have not already made enormous, heart rendering sacrifices. How about having Obama’s elite corporate backers in Lockheed, Goldman Saks, and the insurance and banking industries make some meaningful, ongoing, and painful sacrifices?! How about reversing the government’s criminal financial bail out of the big corporations [which government bail-out Obama enthusiastically supported], and passing those billions upon billions of dollars back directly to the everyday people of this nation – no strings attached?! How about immediately stopping all U.S. wars of aggression, and bringing our men and women in uniform home right NOW – no strings attached?! So many of these men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of so-called U.S. “national security,” which false “security” has meant their being the perpetual working-class cannon fodder for Halliburton and other avaricious corporate components of the U.S. “military / industrial complex.”

Barack Obama, though the first African-American “presidential” figurehead of the U.S. Empire, is actually the last best hope of continuing U.S. international hegemony under the fake cloak of democracy and justice at home and abroad. Therein is Obama’s appeal to the political and economic ruling elites. He is a conscious, willing, and potent tool of the power elite, and should be understood and dealt with as such. He is neither a progressive, nor a leftist or socialist. He is a cynical opportunist and a shrewd politician, who cloaks his double-speak in glitzy so-called “progressive” sounding rhetoric. He is arguably the most dangerous U.S. politician, to the actual economic and political well being of everyday people of all colors, thus far in this 21st Century.

A reader of The Black Commentator recently reminded me of what is undoubtedly the most important, defining, and yet perhaps the least known speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is the speech that Dr. King delivered on April 4, 1967 at the Riverside church in New York City, precisely one year before he was shot down in Memphis, Tennessee, under the auspices of the U.S. Government. The speech is titled, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. Every discerning person who peruses this speech will quickly realize what a perversion, of the struggle for justice at home and abroad, the pro-apartheid Zionist Barack Obama really is. We can and must do so much better.

The installment of Barack Obama as U.S. president has not ushered in a “post racial” era in this nation. To the contrary, it has ushered in a heightened economic, political, and yes racial hypocrisy, which the masses of Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples will ultimately not ignore.

The paraphrased adage, often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, that: “You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time” is absolutely correct. And even though the U.S. corporate media (including CNN and PBS) is unabashedly complicit in their de facto mission to “fool the people,” the legitimate needs and aspirations of the people can be contained for only so long; Obama or no Obama.

To the people of this nation of all colors and ethnicities who are losing your jobs, your homes, and your families…to those with no health insurance… to those who cannot afford to send your children to college…and to those languishing in prisons… this writer says: Place not your faith in the rhetoric of politicians or the false promises of such cynical opportunists. Place your faith in yourselves and each other, in your / our ability to discern the difference between rhetoric vs. reality, and in our determination to find and create ways of organizing and coming together to bring about real systemic change dedicated to everyday people and not the corporate blood suckers of the peoples of this nation and world.

To the long-time freedom fighters, including Assata Shakur, Reverend Edward Pinkney (no relation), Leonard Peltier, the SF 8, and so many others who have held on and struggled for collective justice for so long, and to all political prisoners everywhere, this writer says: Please keep holding on, for the time is approaching when your struggles will

be rewarded and that proverbial “day of reckoning” is hastening hither, sooner than some may realize.

To Cynthia McKinney, Rosa Clemente, and Cindy Sheehan: Thank you for your ongoing and brave examples of what it means to be truly for-real and in service to the people and not the blood sucking corporate / military / prison apparatus.

To the young people of this nation and world be you Black, Brown, Red, White, or Yellow: This writer understands your legitimate rage and your desire for a better world. You have every right to want a just and humane world. YOU are humanity’s present and future. YOU are why so many of us have struggled and died so that we might live through you. YOU must carry this struggle on.

To the peoples of Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, and elsewhere: Know that the peoples of the U.S. do not hate you and that those of us who are socially and politically conscious stand with you in your just quests to live free and strong, unfettered and unhindered by U.S. hegemony.

History does not repeat itself. People repeat history.

Let us commit and re-commit ourselves to the struggle for systemic change in this nation, and not be duped by this latest dose of U.S. hypocrisy in the person of Barack Obama.



What if Israel Were in Your Neighborhood?

Israeli Soldier

Israeli Soldier

I left Washington last week when many of friends and family members were coming here to celebrate the inauguration of our first African-American President.

My eleven year-old son asked me — why turn your back on Obama?

I threw back at him Martin Luther King — It’s not the color of his skin, it’s the content of his character.

What does it say about Obama’s character that he sides with the Israeli slaughter machine against those that it slaughters?

What does it say about the character of his “progressive” supporters, who cry for joy at his inauguration, but say not a peep about the slaughter machine and its victims?

(See, for example, former AIPAC staffer and “progressive Democratic” columnist David Sirota, who broke down and cried watching Obama’s inauguration, but has not written one word about the slaughter in Gaza.)

Earlier this month, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) took out full page ads in major newspapers around the country.

The ad was titled: What if Hamas Was in Your Neighborhood? (link to ad at: http://www.adl.org/Israel/posters/HamasAd_Phoenix.pdf)

The ad showed missiles reigning down on Phoenix, or Boston, or Washington, D.C.

“Imagine if Hamas terrorists were targeting you and your family,” the ad read. “No country would allow such danger on its border, and neither will Israel. That’s why Israel is fighting back.”

In response, the American Arab Anti-Defamation Committee (ADC) last week put up an ad on its web site titled — What If Israel Were in Your Neighborhood? (Link to ad at: http://www.adc.org/PDF/gazaposter.pdf)


Death and Destruction with American built F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters.

Yes, when Hamas launches rockets that kill innocent civilians, it engages in war crimes.

But Hamas has no Army, no Navy, no Air Force.

The slaughter machine has a modern military with hundreds of nuclear weapons and U.S. supplied F-16s and Apache helicopters.

So, there is a balance of terror.

And the Palestinian bodies tip the scales in the slaughter machine’s favor.

Since the first rocket was launched into Israel in 2002 up until the December 17, 2008 invasion of Gaza, the Israel body count was maybe two dozen.

The Palestinian body count was 2,700.

That would be about 100 to one.

Since the invasion, the Israeli body count is 14.

The Palestinian body count was more than 1,400.

That would be about 100 to one.

As the ADC ad puts it: “Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be justified by self-defense. An armed attack that is not justified by self-defense is a war of aggression. Under the Nuremberg Principles affirmed by U.N. Resolution 95, aggression is a crime against peace. Prosecute Israel for War Crimes.”

So, here’s one concrete thing you can do to counter the slaughter machine’s propaganda.

If you are interested in placing the “What If Israel Were in Your Neighborhood?” ad in your local newspaper, contact ADC’s Nabil Mohammad at organizing@adc.org.

Turn the tide of terror.


Chomsky: No Change Coming With Obama



Professor Chomsky, we better start with Pakistan. The White House not commenting on the killings of people [in cross-border drone attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan]. Richard Holbrooke, someone whom you’ve written about in the context of Yugoslavia, is the man [President Barack] Obama has chosen to solve the situation.

Chomsky: Well, it was pretty clear that Obama would accept the Bush doctrine that the United States can bomb Pakistan freely, and there have been many case which are quite serious.

There has been for example a great deal of chaos and fighting in Bajaur province, which is a adjacent to Afghanistan and tribal leaders- others there- have traced it to the bombing of a madrassa school which killed 80 to 95 people, which I don’t think was even reported in the United states, it was reported in the Pakistani press of course.

The author of the article reporting it, a well-known nuclear physicist, Pervez Hoodbhoy pointed out at the time that this kind of massacre will of course engender terror and reactions, which will even threaten the state of Pakistan. And that has been what is happening. We are now seeing more of it.

The first message of the Pakistani government to General [David] Petraeus, the American General when he took command of the region was that they did not want any more bombings in Pakistan.

Actually, the first message to the new Obama administration by President [Hamid] Karzai of Afghanistan was the same, that he wanted no more bombings. He also said that he wants a timetable for the withdrawal of the foreign troops, US and other troops, from Afghanistan. That was of course just ignored.

Press TV: And these three foreign envoys, well the third one has not been announced yet perhaps, but some people are expressing optimism about George Mitchell’s position as Middle East envoy.

Richard Holbrooke, which have looked at. We have talked to the former Bosnian foreign minister here, who seemed to imply that he may even have had a role in the say so for the Srebrenica massacre, and of course, Dennis Ross is being talked about as an envoy for Iran.

Chomsky: well Holbrooke has a pretty awful record, not so much Yugoslavia, but earlier. For example, In the Indonesian atrocities in eastern Timor, where he was the official in charge, and evaded to stop the US support for them, and all together it’s a very spotty record.

George Mitchell is, of the various appointments that have been made, he is the most decent let’s say. He has a pretty decent record. He achieved something in Northern Ireland, but of course, in that case there was an objective.

The objective was that the British would put an end to the resort to violence in response to IRA terror and would attend to the legitimate grievances that were the source of the terror. He did manage that, Britain did pay attention to the grievances, and the terror stopped- so that was successful.

But there is no such outcome sketched in the Middle East, specially the Israel-Palestine problem. I mean, there is a solution, a straightforward solution very similar to the British one. Israel could stop its US-backed crimes in the occupied territories and then presumably the reaction to them would stop. But that’s not on the agenda.

In fact, President Obama just had a press conference, which was quite interesting in that respect. He praised the parabolic peace initiative, the Saudi initiative endorsed by the Arab League, and said it had constructive elements. It called for the normalization of relation with Israel, and he called on the Arab states to proceed with those “constructive elements,” namely the normalization of relations.

But that is a gross falsification of the Arab League initiative. The Arab League initiative called for accepting a two-state settlement on the international border, which has been a long-standing international consensus and said if that can be achieved then Arab states can normalize relations with Israel.

Well, Obama skipped the first part, the crucial part, the core of the resolution, because that imposes an obligation on the United States. The United States has stood alone for over thirty years in blocking this international consensus, by now it has totally isolated the US and Israel.

Europe and now a lot of other countries have accepted it. Hamas has accepted it for years, the Palestinian Authority of course, the Arab League now for many years [have accepted it]. The US and Israel block it, not just in words, but they are blocking it in actions constantly, (this is) happening every day in the occupied territories and also in the siege of Gaza and other atrocities.

So when he skips that it is purposeful. That entails that the US is not going to join the world in seeking to implement a diplomatic settlement, and if that is the case, Mitchell’s mission is vacuous.

Press TV: Is there a contradiction in that George Mitchell of course did speak to members of the Sinn Féin, their military wing of course of the IRA.

At the same time, well on this channel [Press TV] we have been covering the Gaza conflict, its headquarters were bombed, and now we are being told that Israeli soldiers will not give their names, and the names of people are not being released for fear of prosecution.

And yet, some were saying that Obama did say that the border should be opened. Should we see any change in policy there?

Chomsky: He did say that, but he did not mention the fact that it was in the context of a lot other demands. And Israel will also say, sure the borders should be opened but he still refuses to speak to the elected government (i.e. Hamas), quite different from Mitchell in Northern Ireland.

It means Palestinians will have to be punished for voting in a free election, the way the US did not want them to, and he endorsed the Condoleezza Rice-Tzipi Livni agreement to close the Egyptian-Gaza order, which is quite an act of imperial arrogance.

It is not their border, and in fact, Egypt strongly objected to that. But Obama continued. He says we have to make sure that no arms are smuggled through the tunnels into the Gaza Strip. But he said nothing about the vast dispatch of far more lethal arms to Israel.

In fact, right in the middle of the Gaza attack, December 31, the Pentagon announced that it was commissioning a German ship to send 3,000 tons of war material to Israel. That did not work out, because the government of Greece prevented it but it was supposed to go through Greece but it could all go through somewhere else. This is right in the middle of the attack on Gaza.

Actually there were very little reporting, very few inquiries. The Pentagon responded in an interesting way. They said, well this material won’t be used for the attack on Gaza, in fact they knew that Israel had plans to stop the attack right before the inauguration, so that Obama would not have to say anything about it.

But the Pentagon said that this material is being used for pre-positioning for US forces. In other words, this has been going for a long time, but this is extending and reinforcing the role of Israel as a US military base on the edge of the major oil producing regions of the world. If they are ever asked why they are doing it, they will say for defense or stability, but it is just a base for further aggressive action.

Press TV: Robert Gates and Admiral [Mike] Mullen have been talking about the 16-month timeline for withdrawal from Iraq is just one of the options, a slight difference from what Obama has been saying in the campaign. And, Hillary Clinton famously said she was prepared to obliterate all of Iran and kill 70 million citizens. On Iraq and Iran what do you see as changes?

Chomsky: What happened in Iraq is extremely interesting and important. The few correspondents with real experience any whom know something have understood it. Patrick Cockburn, Jonathan Steele and one or two others.

What has happened is that there was a remarkable campaign of non-violent resistance in Iraq, which compelled the United States, step-by-step, to back away from its programs and its goals. They compelled the US occupying forces to allow an election, which the US did not want and tried to evade in all sorts of ways.

Then they went on from there to force the United States to accept at least formally a status of forces agreement, which if the Obama administration lives up to it, will abandon most of the US war aims. It will eliminate the huge permanent military bases that the US has built in Iraq. It will mean the US will not control decisions over how the oil resources will be accessed and used. And in fact just every war aim is gone.

Of course there is a question of whether the US will live up to it and what you are reporting is among the serious indications that they are trying to evade living up to it. But what happened there is really significant, and a real credit to the people of Iraq, who have suffered miserably. I mean, the country has been absolutely destroyed, but they did manage to get the US to back away formally from its major war aims.

In the case of Iran, Obama’s statements have not been as inflammatory as Clinton’s, but they amount to pretty much the same thing. He said all options are open. Well, what does all options mean? Presumably that includes nuclear war, you know, that is an option.

There is no indication that he is willing to take the steps, say, that the American population wants. An overwhelming majority of the American population for years has been in favor, has agreed with the Non-Aligned Movement, that Iran should have the rights granted to the signers of the non-proliferation treaty, in fact to develop nuclear energy.

It should not have the right to develop nuclear weapons, and more interestingly about the same percentages, about 75 to 80%, call for the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone in the region, which would include Iran, Israel, and any US forces deployment there, within all kinds of verifications and so on.

That could eliminate probably one of the major sources of the conflict. There is no indication that the Obama administration has any thought of doing anything about this.

Press TV: Just finally Professor Chomsky, the US economy, of course where you are -that is dominating the news and the lives all Americans and arguably the people around the world- and this 825 billion dollar package. How do you think the Obama people are going to handle this?

Chomsky: Nobody really knows. I mean, what is happening with the economy is not well understood. It is based on extremely opaque financial manipulations, which are quite hard to decode. I mean, the general process is understood, but whether the $800 billion, or probably larger government stimulus, will overcome this crisis, is not known.

The first $350 billion have already been spent- that is the so-called part bailout but that went into the pockets of banks. They were supposed to start lending freely, but they just decided not to do it. They would rather enrich themselves, restore their own capital, and take over other banks- mergers and acquisition and so on.

Whether the next stimulus will have an effect depends very much on how it is handled, whether it is monitored, so that it is used for constructive purposes. [It relies] also on factors that are just not known, like how deep this crisis is going to be.

It is a worldwide crisis and it is very serious. It is suddenly striking that the ways that Western countries are approaching the crisis is exactly the same as the model that they enforce on the Third World when there is a crisis.

So when Indonesia has a crisis, Argentina and everyone else, they are supposed to raise interest rates very high and privatize the economy, and cut down on public spending, measures like that. In the West, it is the exact opposite: lower interest rates to zero, move towards nationalization if necessary, pour money into the economy, have huge debts.

That is exactly the opposite of how the Third World is supposed to pay off its debts, and that this seems to pass without comment is remarkable. These measures for the West are ones that might get the economy moving again, while it has been a disaster for others.

Press TV

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