Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Israel's Rightist-Nationalist-Center Left Government Sworn in

Israel's Joe McCarthy landed the foreign minister slot under Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's new government. Avigdor Lieberman's anti-Arab tirades are legendary. Doesn't the Foreign Minister negotiate with other parties on accords? How might his peace discussions go? Much like a 1950's Senator Joe McCarthy Communist hearing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Arab League Peace Plan to Close After 7 Year Window

Israel faces an ultimatum, accept the Arab League Peace Plan or it will be withdrawn. Middle Eastern countries placed the plan on the table in 2002. For seven years it lingered. During that time Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-09.

If history is a guide, parties will get to the brink and walk away from peace.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Torture Justice May Come from Spain, Not U.S.

The country that prosecuted Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet may have Alberto Gonzales in its sights. Spain has jurisdiction as five Spanish citizens were held in Guantanamo Bay. The investigation specifically names:

1. Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General

2. John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote secret legal opinions saying the president had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions

3. Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy

4. William Haynes II, former general counsel for the Department of Defense

5. Jay Bybee, Yoo's former boss at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel

6. David Addington, chief of staff and legal adviser to ex-Vice President Dick Cheney

Why not President George W. Bush or Vice President Richard P. Cheney? The pair all but confessed to their role in torture.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Building a Case Against Iran

Israeli newspapers revealed the IDF attacked a convoy in Sudan during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The stories suggested the weapons were for the Palestinian side. IAF planes took out the convoy, an "Iran coordinated arms smuggling effort."

As usual, the article didn't differentiate between a governmental vs. private sector effort. The Iranian label suffices. Another story cited "the exact origin of the arms was unclear." Could they have come from Western defense contractors? A sale is a sale.

Other articles had headlines like:

Military clash with Iran
Tehran aims to create Gaza missile base that can cover whole of central Israel

Iranian leader assures Assad of Muslim victory
Ahmadinejad tells Syrian president that 'regional conditions are working against Israel and the US'

Olmert warned time was running out in the quest for peace with Palestinians and Syrians.

The Bushehr plant has a startup date of August 2009. Should Israel take unilateral action against Iran, the U.S. crafted an illusion of separation. Recall, the Obama administration proposed increased military aid for Israel after the IDF used cluster bombs and white phosphorous in Gaza. President Obama talks a great game, but his actions reveal little change in American heavy handedness in world affairs. The U.S. is the good cop on Iran, while Israel plays the crazed bad cop.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

South Africa Once Taught the World Peace

South Africa banned the Dalai Lama through 2010, when the country holds the World Cup soccer championship. They don't want to offend large trading partner China. Here's the lesson:

Trade and politics are more important than world peace.

South Africa provided more uplifting lessons in the past. They voluntary disarmed a nuclear weapon arsenal. They conducted truth & reconciliation over the horrors of Apartheid.

Meanwhile China continues to threaten the world with poor quality products. Every time someone opens a medicine bottle with Chinese made ingredients, it's Russian roulette. American branded global corporations taught China about greed. Chinese managers are quick studies on substituting cheaper inputs. American managers substitute cheap Asian labor. Chinese managers substitute dangerous, less expensive ingredients in pet food, tires, cough syrup, infant formula, heparin, milk, and children's toys. What's next?

Substitute "economic peace" for peace. Yes, that makes things clear. The state of world greedership and bleedership is most concerning.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Banned from South Africa Peace Conference

The world has gone flippy floppy. Words have no meaning anymore. Peace now means "not pissing off your major trading partner." In other words, it has nothing to do with stopping violence and oppression. The Associated Press reported:

South Africa barred the Dalai Lama from a peace conference in Johannesburg this week, hoping to keep good relations with trading partner China but instead generating a storm of criticism.

Friday's peace conference was organized by South African soccer officials to highlight the first World Cup to be held in Africa, which South Africa will host in 2010.

What's odd is the colonial nature of the Chinese African relationship. Africa supplies raw materials and China returns finished products.

China's exports to Africa last year rose 36.3 percent from 2007 to $50.8 billion, while imports of African goods rose 54 percent to $56 billion, according to customs data reported by Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.

Critics say China's investment in and aid to Africa, ranging from building presidential palaces and sports stadiums to rail and road projects, aims to secure access to the continent's natural resources.

Apparently trade is a reason to exclude a world leader for peace. It would help if China didn't repeatedly produce dangerous products to maximize profits. It seems world bleeders may still be in charge.

Blair Approved Gaza Operation, Cites Jesus and John the Baptist

Jesus Christ instructed Peter to resheath his knife. Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, remained coy as Israel prepared to turn Gaza into a stinking charnel house. However, Blair did praise the establishment of the new Baptism Center. It's near where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
The Centre will provide for all Evangelical Christian groups whose custom is baptism by immersion.

Funny, a follower of Christ might make the whole Middle East a nuclear weapons free zone. That includes Israel. I hoped Tony would suggest governments "beat their swords into plowshares." Instead the world watches regional and global arms races. Big defense spending occurs when resources are limited, when poverty and hunger threaten millions more worldwide.

Tony Blair may be sincere in his deep faith. It's just not obvious from his words and actions. Christ went out on a huge limb. Jesus spoke to huge crowds, without generating record speaking fees.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Israel-U.S. Coordinating on Iran

The release of tapes for the Iranian people occurred the same day. Coincidence, or coordinated message management? U.S. President Obama issued a staid new year message, while Israeli President Peres went crazy on Iranian leaders. Was Obama the good cop and Peres the loose cannon bad cop? Haaretz reported:

Top Israeli and U.S. officials have been holding meetings on Iran.

The senior U.S. official leading the American rapprochement with Iran is Dennis Ross.

Dennis Ross is President Obama's neocon. Their preference for solving problems with violence is well established.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obama Good Cop, Peres Bad Cop on Iran

Two democratic leaders spoke to Iran as their new year approached. U.S. President Barack Obama spoke for three and a half minutes. Obama never smiled despite recalling family gatherings of celebration. He seriously, even dourly, expressing hope for a changed relationship.

The same day, Israeli President Shimon Peres issued another message. It was mostly bat shit crazy. Haaretz reported:

"Things in Iran are tough," said the Israeli president at the start of the address that preceded the blessing. "There is great unemployment, corruption, a lot of drugs and a general discontent? You can't feed your children enriched uranium, they need a real breakfast. It cannot be that the money is invested in enriched uranium and the children are told to remain a little hungry, a little ignorant."

Things are tough and corrupt in U.S. and Israel. Any response? Iran's Supreme Leader, the man in charge, reacted to President Obama's good cop message. The Jerusalem Post reported:

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has dismissed overtures from US President Barack Obama, saying Teheran doesn't see any change in American policy toward its government.

Speaking to tens of thousands of people in the holy city of Mashhad, Khamenei asked how Obama could congratulate Iranians on the new year while the US continues to accuse the country of supporting terrorism and seeking nuclear weapons.

Will he speak back to the bad cop? Or is that guy too crazy to engage in dialogue? This may end badly. The good cop/bad cop combo usually gets their way. Between the laws they make up, the weapons they shoulder, and the heavy hand they love to use, America and Israel have excessive military power. It may be coming Iran's way.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama & Peres Speak to Iranians on Nowruz

U.S. President Obama and Israeli President Peres recorded messages for Iran. The Iranian holiday Nowruz symbolizes the start of spring and a new year.. Both men spoke to the people of Iran. President Obama directly addressed Iran's leaders. He spoke for three and a half minutes, with not one smile. I expected all that good will and thoughts of family celebration to produce even the tiniest of grins. Alas, no.

President Peres said Tehran's leaders should 'stop spending their days dealing with bombs and uranium – is this in the name of God?'

Israel bombed its democratic neighbor to the north in 2006 with bombs, specifically millions of cluster bombs as the cease fire neared. Peres' Israel bombed the ghetto known as Gaza, while holding 1.5 million people under siege. Israel also has 150-200 nuclear weapons, either made from enriched uranium or plutonium. Is this in the name of God?

Coordinated message management from the good cop/bad cop? Highly likely.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Israel's Democracy, America's Best Friend

Recall President elect Obama's twenty five day silence while Israel pummeled Gaza. He missed Israel's confessed use of cluster bombs and white phosphorous during the operation. Haaretz reported:

During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive.

That same democracy arrested Hamas leaders. The NYT reported:

Among those arrested was Nasser Eddin al-Shaer, an academic from Nablus in the West Bank. Mr. Shaer served as education minister and deputy prime minister in the Hamas-led government that was formed after the Islamist group won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.

His wife, Huda al-Shaer, said that soldiers arrived at their Nablus home at around 2 a.m. and stayed for about an hour before taking Mr. Shaer away. Speaking by telephone, Ms. Shaer said she had asked the soldiers why he was being arrested, “but they told me it was not my business.”

I thought democracies came with rights, like knowing why you're being arrested.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Israel's Warrior Culture Hits Rail

Israel Railways announced all safety inspectors will now be ex-IDF soldiers. Sixty percent of current safety inspectors will lose their jobs. The company said it wanted to help discharged soldiers gain employment.

What does Quartet envoy Tony Blair think about this development? How about George Mitchell? Both want economic opportunity to raise peace from its deep grave. How might America's warrior culture follow state owned Israel Railway's lead?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Israel's Jericho Missiles Could Hit Iranian Nuclear Facilities

The Jerusalem Post reported Israel may use ballistic missiles to defuse Iran's nuclear fuse. Russian held up delivery of the S-300 to Iran. The S-300 is the world's best missile defense system . Vladimir Putin wants Israeli built drones, thus he delayed delivery.

A Washington D.C. based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggested Israel needs 40 Jericho long range ballistic missiles to strike Iran's nuclear sites. They have 100. Israel's IDF Chief of Staff is visiting the U.S. (with Iran topic #1). Did they plan for the walls to came down?

Monday, March 16, 2009

IDF Leader Gives Gaza War Update to U.S. Approvers

Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Ashkenazi met with National Security Adviser General James L. Jones and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Before their official service, Jones and Clinton approved a change of strategy on Gaza, at least Tony Blair said so on Christmas Day. Who knew it would be a package of cluster bombs and white phosphorous? Haaretz reported:

Two weeks ago Blair met with Hillary Clinton, the incoming American secretary of state, and with Gen. James Jones, who will be national security adviser. He says the two understand that a change of strategy on Gaza is necessary.

Ashkenazi met with President Obama's Special Envoy for the Persian Gulf, Dennis Ross. The story said:

The IDF chief told Ross that Israel would not tolerate a nuclear Iran.

Messages are important. If public citizens Jones and Clinton approved heavy handed intervention in Gaza, will they do so against Iran? Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Olmert's Reign of Non Peace

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attacked Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-2009. He was charged with corruption in between. As his term comes to an end, Olmert derided Palestinian leadership. The Jerusalem Post reported:

Days before the expected end of his premiership, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blasted the Palestinian leadership for lacking the courage to make peace with Israel.

What happened to the secret deal Olmert signed with PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas? Quartet envoy Tony Blair spilled the beans in early December about the agreement. Even with George Mitchell's facilitation, Ehud Olmert, couldn't ink a deal. So Olmert turned Abbas into Yassar Arafat.

Should Israel/U.S. attack Iran's nuclear facilities, carrots and sticks need to be dangled for Gaza, Lebanon and Syria to keep quiet. Israel doesn't want to fight a four front war simultaneously. Peace and $990 million might keep Gaza's remnants from exploding. Lebanese elections could keep Hezbollah in check. Dangling the Golan Heights in front of Syria may mesmerize them.

The corrupt, heavy handed, incompetent reign of Ehud Olmert comes to an end. Goodbye to Israel's George W. Bush.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Anonymous Obama Senior Official Lambasts Britain's Contact with Hezbollah

The open and transparent Obama administration has at least one senior official to reign in. Within days, an anonymous senior White House official slammed Britain's renewed ties to Lebanon's Hezbollah and promised no cuts in $30 billion in military aid to Israel.

Is the Hezbollah outrage serious or political theater? Should the U.S./Israel coalition attack Iran, Gaza, Southern Lebanon and Syria would need incentives to remain quiet. That means dialogue to pass on carrot/stick messages.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Obama Senior Officials Host IDF Chief

The Israeli Defense Force announced their Chief General would attend a five day work session in the United States. Their website reported:

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi is scheduled to meet and discuss professional matters with the General James Jones, the National Security Advisor with Mr. Denis Ross, the special advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton. He will also meet with the Commanders of the different branches of the U.S military as well as with various government, military and security figures in Washington DC.

In addition, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will meet with senior American journalists and with the heads of AIPAC, the American pro-Israel lobbyist group.

General Jones agreed on a change in strategy in Gaza, according to Quartet envoy Tony Blair. He's also building a national security empire.

Dennis Ross is President Obama's neocon. The world recalls their solution for difficult problems, violence. Watch for messages emanating from these meetings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Anonymous Obama Senior Official Commits $30 billion to Israel

The open and transparent Obama administration anonymously committed $30 billion in military aid to Israel. Haaretz reported:

U.S. President Barack Obama will not cut the billions of dollars in military aid promised to Israel, a senior U.S. administration official said Wednesday. The $30 billion in aid promised to Israel over the next decade will not be harmed by the world financial crisis, the official told Israel Radio. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

Was that Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, or another senior official? When did the executive department approve expenditures? Only Congress has the power of the purse and they answer to the people. Many are tired of overspending. Others worry about violence and pumping billions in weapons into high conflict zones. What can happen politically in ten years? Maybe, change.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Freedom to Be Catholic

The laundry list of confessional items grew by one, according to the Vatican's envoy to Israel. Haaretz reported:

The Vatican's envoy to Israel asserted on Monday that Holocaust deniers could not be considered Catholic, in an apparent bid to temper tensions ahead of a papal visit in May.

Religious followers must also be students of history. Don't forget the Crusades or the Inquisition!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Freedom to Buy Arms

Last year's $4 a gallon gas is 2009's arms order. The Abu Dhabi weapons show produced billions in orders for 900 companies from 50 countries. YNET reported:

The hosting United Arab Emirates country was the most dominant during the military exhibition, with orders worth close to $4 billion in one day. The UAE air force struck two major deals that day for the purchase of military cargo planes from the Boeing and Lockheed Martin aerospace manufacturers.

This is the same United Arab Emirates under criticism for refusing entry to an Israeli tennis player and business representatives. President Obama wants to give $2.77 billion in military aid to Israel.

What happens to $ billion of weapons? They are used or trashed. Violent, heavy handed leaders use them to trash people. Mostly innocents suffer in such circumstance, the same people who paid $4 a gallon gas. The world needs a reset in the very area unimpeded by global recession.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Freedom to Destroy Evidence

President Obama's administration quickly excelled at the Friday afternoon news release. The latest dropping highlighted the CIA's destruction of enhanced interrogation technique tapes. The Washington Independent reported:

The CIA has reportedly just confirmed — conveniently late on a Friday afternoon — that 12 of the videotapes it destroyed while its interrogation methods were under investigation and the subject of a pending lawsuit depicted the “enhanced interrogation methods” that detainees’ advocates were worried about.

Destruction of evidence? That's freedom.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chiquita's Terrorist Extradited to U.S. Banana Republic

Chiquita Brands International paid protection money to terrorist groups in Colombia. They reached a $25 million settlement with federal authorities. CNNMoney reported:

"From in or about 1997 though on or about Feb. 4, 2004, defendant Chiquita made over 100 payments to the AUC [United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia] totaling over $1.7 million."

Ever Veloza, the leader of United Self Defense, will be extradicted to the U.S., over concerns from Colombians. BBC News reported:

Ivan Cepeda, of the National Movement of Victims of Crimes of the State, said there was no reason for the extradition to go ahead so quickly.

"We didn't ask that he not be extradited, just that it be delayed until he could confess to everything."

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Colombia says victims' groups believe he was extradited because he knew too much about senior figures who were involved with the paramilitaries.

Corporate senior figures, elected officials, or American covert ops?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hillary Clinton Meets with Israeli Leader Charged with Corruption

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Mr. Olmert faces two charges of corruption, with possibly a third on the way. Some charges resulted from bribery from an American businessman.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Obama's NeoCon Dennis Ross Vectors on Iran

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy produced Dennis Ross, President Obama's Middle East envoy for the Persian Gulf. It also published a report on the danger of Iran. It came out the same day Hillary Clinton pretended "surprise" over everyone's concern about Iran. The WINEAP report concluded:

Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran's having a latent capability to quickly make nuclear weapons could lead to much the same risk of cascading instability as an Iran with an actual weapon," it reads, pointing to the risk for nuclear proliferation, Iranian regional hegemony and more.

The report makes no mention of the presidential elections in Iran this June, which could see the more moderate Muhammad Khatami replace fiery current President Mahmoud

"Even without testing a nuclear weapon or declaring the ability to do so, Iran's progress toward nuclear weapons capability is already having a substantial impact on the Middle East," it says. "Time is short if diplomatic engagement is to have a chance of success."
Time is short. That's what makes the uniformity of message so concerning. Now Change Means No Change from W.

PA Leader Abbas Biggest Concern is Iran?

Israel pounded Gaza for 25 days beginning December 27. The move had the approval of Quartet envoy Tony Blair and U.S. representatives Hillary Clinton and General James L. Jones.

Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had no concern with war approving Blair, Clinton or Jones. After meeting with the new U.S. Secretary of State, Abbas relayed his worries over Iran's tampering in Palestinian affairs.

Hillary called Israel's destruction of East Jerusalem homes "unhelpful," sounding remarkably Condoleezza Rice-ish. It seems everyone has their lines. Abbas and Clinton read the script today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Clinton's Israel Visit, "Main Topic is Iran"

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Isreali Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his three hoped successors, Netanyahu, Livni and Barak. The Jerusalem Post reported:

"Israel cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran, and I heard President Obama and the secretary of state say that they resolutely object to a nuclear Iran," Olmert said before having dinner with Clinton at his Jerusalem residence. "We will discuss ways in which we can ensure this."

The issue of Israeli settlements was not raised in Clinton's meeting with Netanyahu, the leader trying to form a coalition government. As for Hillary's session with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, "The main topic was Iran."

U.S. State Department Envoys for Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced two envoys would conduct preliminary conversations with Syrian representatives. Jeffrey Feltman and Dan Shapiro are the State Department representatives. Feltman is acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Shapiro serves on the White House's National Security Council.

Mr. Shapiro was hired as a lobbyist for Timmons & Company, Washington's premier lobbying firm, in February 2007. He actively worked for the Obama campaign, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. I thought President Obama wasn't going to appoint lobbyists. What are the odds Syria will view Mr. Shapiro as an impartial envoy?

Jeffrey Feltman spent years as the Chief, Consular Section at the American Embassy in Israel. He may or may not be viewed as impartial by Syrian representatives.

Monday, March 2, 2009

CIA Free to Destroy 92 Interrogation Tapes

The Obama administration sent a letter dated March 2 to a judge. It indicated the CIA destroyed 92 tapes. It also said the CIA was gathering more details for the lawsuit, such as a list of the destroyed records, any secondary accounts describing what was on the destroyed tapes, and the identities of those who may have viewed or possessed the recordings before their destruction.

More proof U.S. law is bifurcated. One set of laws exists for common people, another for power heads and the big money men.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tormenting Tony Blair Sees Handiwork in Gaza

Tormentor Tony Blair visited Gaza. It was his first visit to Gaza since he was appointed Quartet Mideast Envoy in 2007. Two years late Blair had the gall to say:
"I wanted to come to hear for myself first-hand from people in Gaza, whose lives have been so badly impacted by the recent conflict."

Did any Gazan's recall Tony's December words? Should anyone need a reminder, his Christmas comments (two days before the outbreak of war) are below:
"We have to be very clear on one thing," he says. "The present situation is not harming Hamas in Gaza but it is harming the people."
Two weeks ago Blair met with Hillary Clinton, the incoming American secretary of state, and with Gen. James Jones, who will be national security adviser. He says the two understand that a change of strategy on Gaza is necessary. "I'd rather that they would declare their policy rather than me, but when I say that I don't think that the current situation is sustainable, I think most people who would analyze it think the same."

"I argued for the calm and I think it was a sensible thing that it happened, but we need to get a resolution of this issue in a way that allows progress toward peace. Any Palestinian state needs to [include both] Gaza and the West Bank. Nothing else would work."

I ask him several times what he proposes. Here Blair stops and goes silent. "I have ideas about this," he says, "but it is not sensible to talk about it at the moment." Reading between the lines, one can see that for him, unlike other European leaders, all options are on the table regarding Gaza. Livni and Vice Premier Haim Ramon are also against the status quo in there, I say to him. They want to topple the Hamas government by force. Here as well, Blair replies circuitously: "I think we should be clear that we have got to get to a place where we are offering the people of Gaza a clearer way out."

But are you concerned about the possibility of a military operation in Gaza?

"All the options for Israel are difficult, but the present option is difficult, too. I have already said enough."
Yes, Tony. You've said enough. Don't forget your slip of the tongue in early December.

Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair told the Al Quds Arabic-language newspaper that outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas have reached a secret but unsigned agreement.

Dangling economic peace, but implementing war. Gazan's should show Mr. Blair, Mrs. Clinton, and General Jones the door.