Thursday, December 10, 2009

US Terrorizes Iran - Which Side Are You On?

Threatens nuclear war over "wipe Israel off map" "nuclear program" lies

By Carl Herman

December 10, 2009 "
Examiner" -- The policy describing US military use of nuclear weapons is the 2005 Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. Its preface states:

"The guidance in this publication is authoritative; as such, this doctrine will be followed except when, in the judgment of the commander, exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise. If conflicts arise between the contents of this publication and the contents of Service publications, this publication will take precedence unless the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, normally in coordination with the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has provided more current and specific guidance."

The chapter on Theater Nuclear Operations begins with a foreboding quote:

“Who suspected Pearl Harbor would occur? Who suspected that Hitler would really be as dreadful as he turned out to be? You know, the worst possible case is generally worse than the imagination can imagine.”
In “Preparation”:
Military forces must prepare to counter weapons and capabilities that exist or will exist in the near term even if no immediate likely scenarios for war are at hand. To maximize deterrence of WMD use, it is essential US forces prepare to use nuclear weapons effectively and that US forces are determined to employ nuclear weapons if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use…
And “Theater Nuclear Weapons Use” lists its first example for use as: “An adversary using or intending to use WMD against US, multinational, or alliance forces or civilian populations.”
“Theater Nuclear Weapons Use” has it’s third example as: “Attacks on adversary installations including WMD, deep, hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons or the C2 infrastructure required for the adversary to execute a WMD attack against the United States or its friends and allies.”
Regarding this development of US nuclear weapon policy use, the Washington Post reported:
Early last summer, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved a top secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" directing the military to assume and maintain readiness to attack hostile countries that are developing weapons of mass destruction, specifically Iran and North Korea.
Two months later, Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force, told a reporter that his fleet of B-2 and B-52 bombers had changed its way of operating so that it could be ready to carry out such missions. "We're now at the point where we are essentially on alert," Carlson said in an interview with the Shreveport (La.) Times. "We have the capacity to plan and execute global strikes." Carlson said his forces were the U.S. Strategic Command's "focal point for global strike" and could execute an attack "in half a day or less."
In the secret world of military planning, global strike has become the term of art to describe a specific preemptive attack.
So let’s summarize this data succinctly: official and authoritative US policy for the use of nuclear weapons has first-strike plans to strike targets “intending to use WMD” against a US ally.
Please read the previous sentence again.
Let’s review the US rhetoric concerning Iran. US political “leaders” state Iran threatens to “wipe Israel off the map” and they have a “nuclear program.” In other words, Iran intends to develop a nuclear weapon and use it on Israel. Therefore, per US policy, Iran is a target for a US nuclear first-strike pre-emptive attack to destroy their intended use of WMD against a US ally.
The US is terrorizing Iran with threat of an unannounced nuclear attack. Or is it announced?
"This is a signal that patience is running out. We can't continue talks for talks' sake. We can't have round after round of fruitless negotiations, circular negotiations that don't get us where we want to get." - Glyn Davies, US envoy to IAEA.
"Our patience and that of the international community is limited, and time is running out. If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and the consequences." - Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary.
“The clock is ticking…the picture is not a good one.” – James Jones, US National Security Advisor.
Wipe Israel off the map”? Let’s be clear this is contrived propaganda that is nothing at all what President Ahmadinejad said. Click here to read in detail the actual translation, compare with “wipe Israel off the map” or “threatens Israel’s existence” and conclude the obvious: US political leaders are lying to set the stage for war with Iran, just as they did for war with Iraq. What did Mr. Ahmadinejad say?
In his speech, Ahmadinejad said people once thought it was impossible to remove the Shah as Iran’s dictator, but it was done. He then said that people thought the Soviet government and Saddam’s government would never fall. He then quoted Ayatollah Khomeini’s words from speeches he gave encouraging Iran’s persistence to oppose the Shah’s government that translate awkwardly into English as, “erase from the page of time.” Unless Khomeini and Ahmadinejad were advocating for the destruction of their own country, the speech’s meaning is to encourage the Iranian people to persist for change in Israel’s government.
If you have friends and/or professionals fluent in Farsi, they can confirm this information for you.
Nuclear program”? Iran is signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty for the legal development of nuclear energy. Threat of war includes rhetoric of Iran “not meeting their legal obligations.” This is a lie of omission. For full discussion, click here and here. The briefest summary: all 16 US intelligence agencies and the international body responsible for inspecting Iran’s facilities agree that Iran is only producing nuclear energy and not weapons. There is no evidence of nuclear weapons development. Again, for complete explanation and documentation, click on the links.
Historical context: These current lies to justify the terrorism of a first-strike nuclear attack is in the context of vicious US history with Iran. The US overthrew Iran’s democracy with CIA Operation Ajax in 1953, and installed a US-friendly dictator who ruled for 26 years until 1979. When Iran exerted their democracy, the US gave sanction for the dictator who murdered thousands of Iranians fighting for their freedom and refused extradition. In 1980, the US supported Saddam in an unlawful War of Aggression invasion of Iran. The US supplied military intelligence, loans, approved sales of components for chemical weapons, destroyed Iranian oil platforms, and shot down an Iranian passenger plane in Iranian airspace. The war lasted until 1988 and killed at least 200,000 Iranians defending their nation from US-backed invasion.
A real threat to justify another war with Iran is a false flag attack, where the US attacks one of our own targets, plants evidence, and blames Iran.
For helpful comparison, imagine how Americans would react if China acted toward us as we act toward Iran.
And please keep in mind that all the reasons given to attack Iraq are now known to have been false at the time they were told to the American people.
And also know that wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a new one in Iran are absolutely illegal under US and international law. For a full explanation and one of the most valuable investments of your time to understand, click here. The briefest explanation is unless a nation can justify its military use as self-defense from armed attack from a nation’s government that is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation," all other acts of war are unlawful. The legal definition of “self-defense” ends when the attackterminates. In general legal definition, no party is allowed use of force under the justification of “self-defense” if the law can be applied for redress and remedy.
I have four videos:
  • One minute of presidential candidates repeating the lie of “wipe Israel off the map.”
  • Three minutes of media saying the same.
  • Four minutes of media manipulation of Mr. Ahmadinejad calling for democracy in Palestine being twisted as a threat to Israel
  • PuppetGov with a 7-minute video titled, “False flags, Lies, and Nuclear Bombs.”

As always, please share this video with all who can benefit. If you appreciate my work, please subscribe by clicking under the article title (it’s free). Please use my archive of work to help you build a better future.

Afghanistan Rag

Yo,Yo yo
wake up texters, listen in
Uncle Sam's after more boogeymen
Dubya left Barack in a jam
Way over in Afghanistan
So drop dat i-Phone get a gun
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun

And it's one, two, three, four
What are we fighting for?
Not freedom or our fellow man
Next stop Afghanistan

And it's five, six, seven, eight
Open up those pearly gates
cause there ain't no need to wonder why
For oil we're all gonna die.

Come McChrystal let's move fast
Your big chance has come at last
Gotta kill all those towel heads
Though muslims aint who we should dread
Our robber barons now they're the ones
Who blew the Towers to kingdom come.


Come on Wall Street
Don't move so slow
Since 9-1-1 it's go-go-go.
There's plenty money to be made
Supply both sides with tools of da trade.
Just hope if they grab a bomb,
They drop it on Dick Cheney's lawn

Come on mothers throughout the land
Send your child to Afghanistan.
Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
Send 'em off before it's too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your kid come home in a box.

Wave ba ba ba bye to the bus
Like Strummer said you're one of us
Cold water in your face
Brings to you back to this awful place
Wave bye bye
yeah wave bye bye

The Magnificent Afghanistan is a song produced and performed by Johnny Punish. Lyrics by Bruce Arnold. The lyrics are based on the song VIETNAM RAG by Country Joe MacDonald. The melody is loosely based the song The Magnificent Seven by The Clash. It is dedicated to our U.S. Veterans and active military who fight in Afghanistan, Pakistan for the war U.S. President Barack Obama is about to expand. With leaders like the now deceased Benazir Bhutto gone from the scene, war is omnipresent and this song is simply about The Magnificent Afghanistan. Enjoy!

Fidel Castro: Obama´s Cynical Action was Uncalled For

Imagen activa

Havana, Dec 10 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, expressed it was not the Soviet soldiers, but US and NATO troops those who occupy Afghanistan with great violence and the policy offered the US population is the same that of Bush, who ordered the invasión on Iraq, that had nothing to do with the attack on the Twin Towers.

In an article titled: "Obama´s cynical act was uncalled for", published Wednesday by Cubadebate website, Fidel Castro says the President of the United States does not say one word of the hundreds of thousands of persons, including innocent children and elderly who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and the millions of Iraqis and Afghans who suffer the consequences of war, without any responsibility of the events that occurred in New York.

"Why did Obama accept the Peace Nobel Prize when he had already decided to take the war in Afghanistan to the last consequences? His cynical act was uncalled for."

Prensa Latina transmits as follows the whole text of the article:


In the final paragraphs of a Reflection entitled "The Bells Are Tolling For the Dollar," published two months ago, on October 9, I mentioned the climate change problem brought on humanity by imperialist capitalism. With regards to carbon emissions I said: "The United States is not making any real effort but accepting just a 4% reduction with respect to the year 1990." At that moment, scientists were demanding a minimum of 25 to 40 percent by the year 2020.

Then I added: "In the morning of this Friday 9, the world woke up to the news that "the good Obama" of the riddle -as explained by Bolivarian President Hugo Chavez Frias at the United Nations- had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I do not always agree with the positions of that institution but I must admit that, at this moment it was, in my view, a positive action. It compensates the setback sustained by Obama in Copenhagen when Rio de Janeiro, and not Chicago, was chosen as the venue of the 2016 Olympics, a choice that elicited heated attacks from his right-wing adversaries.

"Many will feel that he has yet to earn the right to receive such an award. Rather than a prize to the President of the United States, we choose to see that decision as a criticism of the genocidal policy pursued by more than a few presidents of that country who took that nation to the crossroads where it is today. That is, as a call for peace and for the pursuit of solutions conducive to the survival of the species."

Obviously, I was carefully watching the black president, elected in a racist country afflicted by a deep economic crisis; however, I avoided prejudiced judgments based on his campaign statements and his position as leader of the Yankee executive.

Nearly one month later, in another Reflection entitled "A Science Fiction Story," I wrote that:

"The American people are not the culprits but rather the victims of a system that is not only unsustainable but worse still: it is incompatible with the life of humanity.

"The smart and rebellious Obama who suffered humiliation and racism in his childhood and youth understands this, but the Obama educated by the system and committed to it and to the methods that took him to the US presidency cannot resist the temptation to pressure, to threaten and even to deceive others."

And immediately added: "He is a workaholic. Perhaps no other American president would dare to engage in such an intense program as he intends to carry out in the next eight days."

As it shows in that Reflection, I analyzed the complexity and contradictions of his long journey through Southeast Asia and I wondered: "What is our distinguished friend planning to discuss during his intense journey?" His advisors had claimed that he would be discussing every issue with China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and so on, and so forth.

It is clear now that Obama was paving the way for his remarks of December 1st, 2009, in West Point. That day he made a thorough analysis. He carefully chose and produced 169 phrases aimed at pressing the right "keys" that would win him the support of the American people for a certain war strategy. Cicero´s diatribes would pale beside his assumed postures. That day I had the impression to be listening to George W. Bush. His arguments were no different from the philosophy of his predecessor, except for a fig leaf: Obama was opposed to torture.

The main leader of the organization blamed for the terrorist act of 9/11 had been recruited and trained by the Central Intelligence Agency to fight the Soviet troops, even when he was not an Afghan.

Cuba´s condemnation of the terrorist action and other additional measures were made public that same day. We also warned that the way to fight terrorism was not through war.

The organization of the Taliban -a word meaning student- sprang up from the Afghan forces fighting the USSR; they were no enemies of the United States. An honest analysis would lead to the true story behind that war.

Today, it is not the Soviet troops but the US´s and NATO´s that are occupying that country with great violence. The policy that the new US Administration is offering the American people is the same as that of George W. Bush, who ordered the invasion of Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the attack on the Twin Towers.

The President of the United States is not saying a word of the hundreds of thousands of people, children and elders included, who have perished in Iraq and Afghanistan or of the millions of Iraqis and Afghans suffering from the consequences of the war, even when they had no responsibility whatsoever with the events of New York. Rather than a wish, the final phrase of his speech, "God bless America," sounded like an order to heaven.

Why did Obama accept the Nobel Peace Prize if he had already decided to fight the war in Afghanistan to the very end? His cynical action was uncalled-for.

He later announced that he would be receiving the Prize in the Norwegian capital on December 11, and then travel to the Copenhagen Summit on the 18th.

Now, we should expect another dramatic speech in Oslo; a new textbook of phrases hiding the real existence of an imperial superpower with hundreds of military basis deployed all over the world; two-hundred years of military interventions in our hemisphere; and, over a century of genocidal actions in countries like Vietnam, Laos and others in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and elsewhere on Earth.

The problem with Obama and his wealthiest allies now is that the planet they dominate with an iron fist is just falling apart.

The crime against humanity committed by Bush is well known, as he ignored the Kyoto Protocol and failed to do for ten years what should have been done long before that. Obama is not an ignorant. He is aware --as Gore was-- of the grave danger threatening us all, but he hesitates and shows weakness vis-à-vis that country´s blind and irresponsible oligarchy. He does not act like Lincoln did in 1861 to resolve the slavery issue and preserve national integrity, or like Roosevelt to cope with the economic crisis and with fascism. On Tuesday, he merely cast a timid stone in the troubled waters of international opinion. The manager of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, has stated that the threats to the American people´s health and wellbeing posed by global warming make it possible for Obama to take action without consulting Congress.

None of the wars known to history pose a greater danger.

The wealthiest nations will try to place on the poorest ones the bulk of the burden to save the human species. The wealthiest should be asked to make the greatest sacrifices, be most rational in the use of resources and bring a maximum of justice to human beings.

It is likely that in Copenhagen only a minimum of time will be bought to reach a binding agreement that can really help to find solutions. If that were the case, the Summit could at least be considered a modest step forward.

Let´s see what happens!

Fidel Castro Ruz

December 9, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Targeting Civilians in Gaza

- by Stephen Lendman

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an "independent legal body dedicated to the protection of human rights, the promotion of the rule of law, and the upholding of democratic principles in the Occupied Territories." It issues frequent press releases, statistics, fact sheets, documents, and reports like its October 22, 2009 English version of "Targeted Civilians: A PCHR Report on the Israeli Offensive against the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009)."

Its 184 pages comprise a comprehensive, conclusive, and damning account of Israel's war crimes, along with numerous others, including:

-- PCHR's "Through Women's Eyes" on the war's effect on women;

-- B'Tselem's "investigation of fatalities in Operation Cast Lead;"

-- Amnesty International's "Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 days of death and destruction;"

-- several Human Rights Watch reports, including "White Flag Deaths" and Rain of Fire: Israel's Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza;"

-- former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, John Dugard's "Independent Fact-Finding Committee (IFFC)....investigations of Israeli conduct during the war in Gaza;" and

-- the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)'s "Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict" - the prominent Goldstone report that has Tel Aviv and Washington officials scrambling to diffuse its extensive Israeli war crimes evidence. The report's conclusion was that:

"....the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing (humiliating and terrorizing) the Gaza population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population."

In a September 17 New Times op-ed, Goldstone said "Israel willfully killed hundreds of civilians as a result of 'disproportionate attacks (and repeatedly) failed to adequately distinguish between combatants and civilians, as the laws of war strictly require....Pursuing justice in this case is essential because no state or armed group should be above the law....the perpetrators of (these) violations must be held to account."

Israel's "Dahiya Doctrine"

For over six decades, targeting civilians and inflicting collective punishment have been standard Israeli practice. But after the 2006 Lebanon war, it was named "Dahiya" after the Beirut suburb the IDF destroyed in the conflict. Later, Northern Command General Gabi Eisenkot explained:

"What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force at the heart of the enemy's weak spot (civilians) and cause great damage and destruction. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages (towns or cities), they are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved."

Israel's 2006 chief of staff, Dan Halutz, said Lebanon's bombing would "turn back the clock 20 years." In October 2008, Col. Gabriel Siboni added that:

The idea is to use enough "disproportionate force (to inflict) damage and met(e) out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes....With the outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproptionate to the enemy's actions and threat it poses....The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damag(ing) aimed at decision makers and the power elite (and at) economic interests and the centers of civilian power."

Applied to Operation Cast Lead, General Yoav Galant called it "send(ing) Gaza decades into the past," with no regard for the safety or welfare of civilians. The Goldstone report referred to the "military doctrine that views disproportionate destruction and creating maximum disruption in the lives of many people as a legitimate means to achieve military and political goals."

It quoted retired Major General Giora Eiland's war strategy of eliminating the military threat as well as destroying "the national infrastructure and (inflicting) intense suffering among the population." It concluded from facts on the ground that this was "precisely what (Israel did, and the responsibility for these actions lies) in the first place with those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations."

Dahiya tactics were central to the overall war strategy to inflict mass civilian deaths, injuries, destruction, and human suffering on 1.5 million Gazans. PCHR's report documents what it calls "the most extensive and brutal offensive in (the) history of Israeli occupation (constituting) clear and flagrant violations of IHL (international humanitarian law)."

Background to the War

Throughout 2008, Israeli crimes escalated in what "was the bloodiest year since the beginning of the" 1967 occupation, particularly while Gaza's been under siege since mid-2007 "in violation of all relevant international human rights instruments."

Besides closure, Israel conducted willful killings, extra-judicial assassinations, targeted civilian property and vital infrastructure destruction, and deliberate razing of agricultural land. From February 28 - March 5, 2008 alone, a planned air and sea operation caused extensive property destruction and killed 110 Palestinians, including 27 children, six women, and a paramedic. During the first six months of 2008, over 440 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians, including 65 children and six women.

On June 19, 2008, Egyptian mediators negotiated a six-month truce with the possibility of renewal. It stipulated that attacks by both sides would cease. Israel would gradually reopen crossings. Then life in Gaza would begin to be normalized.

Israel reneged despite the deteriorating humanitarian conditions, yet Hamas and other Palestinian factions committed no major violations during the first five months.

As the six month anniversary approached, repeated IDF violations interrupted the truce throughout November and December in what clearly were planned provocations to encourage a response and provide justification for an all-out attack.

On December 18 alone, Israeli warplanes bombed a Khan Yunis workshop destroying it as well heavily damaging nearby houses. For weeks, attacks escalated. Palestinians were being killed and many other wounded. Property was being destroyed. The siege remained fully in force. In desperation, Palestinian resistance factions responded in self-defense as international law allows.

Israeli officials hyped the danger to create popular outrage and enlist international community support. On December 25, prime minister Ehud Olmert demanded that rocket attacks stop, saying "otherwise, I will use power (to do) it." In Egypt, foreign minister Tzipi Livni said Israel intended to topple Hamas through a planned operation, whether or not calm returned, and deputy defense minister Matan Vilnaei told Israeli radio that "Israel is about to take a cabinet decision of waging a wide scale military campaign against the Gaza Strip." On December 27, Operation Cast Lead followed, an operation six months in the planning to reign terror on a defenseless civilian population.

For eight days, indiscriminate land, sea and air bombardment was intensive against civilian infrastructure targets, including homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, municipal buildings, UN facilities, charitable foundations, fishing boats, and civilians visible in public.

On day eight, a ground operation followed despite international appeals for a halt. Indiscriminate bombing and shelling continued. Hundreds of deaths and injuries were reported. Thousands sought shelter for their safety, but all targets were fair game making no place off-limits to attack. Human shields were used. Snipers shot civilians waving white flags in cold blood, including women and children. Entire families were killed. The Al-Samounis lost 29 members when Israeli forces shelled their house, leveled the property, and massacred them.

On January 18, when hostilities officially ended, 1,413 Palestinians were killed. An estimated 922 were unarmed civilians, including 313 children and 118 women. Another 255 were police officers, not involved in hostilities, and at least 5,300 Palestinians were wounded, many seriously enough to lose limbs, suffer brain damage, and/or experience severe psychological trauma.

Under the Hague Regulations of 1907, Fourth Geneva, Geneva's Common Article III, and various other international laws, civilians are protected persons. So is civilian property. Attacking them is prohibited. War crimes are clearly defined. The principles of distinction and proportionality apply:

-- distinction between combatants and military targets v. civilians and non-military ones; attacking latter ones are war crimes except when civilians take direct part in hostilities; and

-- proportionality prohibits disproportionate, indiscriminate force likely to cause damage to or loss of lives and objects.

In addition, precautions must be taken to avoid and minimize incidental loss of civilian lives, injuries to them, and damage to non-military sites. Under Fourth Geneva, they must be given "effective advance warning" and "neutralized zones" where they can be as protected as possible.

Fourth Geneva also prohibits collective punishment; the use of human shields; private property destruction; torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; denying the population adequate amounts of food and medical supplies; and assuring free passage of all "consignments" intended for civilian purposes.

Under international law, Israel willfully and repeatedly committed grievous crimes of war and against humanity and must be held accountable. The Goldstone and other reports demand it.

Illegal White Phosphorous and Flechette Shells Used

Israeli forces illegally used both weapons in densely populated residential areas. Flechettes are 4cm-long metal darts used as anti-personnel weapons that can penetrate human bone and inflict horrific injuries. One artillery shell contains from 5,000 - 8,000 of them. After firing, the shell ruptures, releasing them at high speed in a funnel-shaped pattern over a range of about 300 meters.

White phosphorous is a flammable chemical used both as an incendiary weapon and a smoke screen. When exposed to air, it spontaneously ignites and keeps burning until either all of it is consumed or it's deprived of oxygen. On human flesh it causes severe second and third degree chemical burns that are extremely hard to treat as well as suffocation, convulsions, severe eye pain and inhalation complications. Head of Al-Shifa Hospital's burn unit, Dr. Nafez Abu Sha'gan, said persons were admitted with "severe burns due to which (their) muscles and body cells (were) completely destroyed." In some cases, amputations were necessary. Others sustained fractures, internal hemorrhaging, and three patients died after surgery.

Using Civilians as Human Shields, Holding Others in Their Homes as Hostages

Fourth Geneva's Article 28 and Article 8(2)(b) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court explicitly prohibit both practices. Yet Israeli troops repeatedly forced civilians to walk in front of them as they searched houses. They also held them involuntarily during clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters. Others were subjected to various humiliations and cruel treatment in their homes.

Attacking Medical Crews and Humanitarian Relief Personnel

Dozens were killed or wounded. Many of the wounded were denied health care. As a result, dozens bled to death in close proximity to soldiers. Medical personnel, ambulances, and fire fighters were prevented from helping them. In total, two doctors, five paramedics and one driver were killed. Another 50 were wounded. Shelling destroyed or heavily damaged dozens of hospitals and medical centers.

Fourth Geneva's Articles 14 - 23 explicitly protect medical personnel and facilities. Article 20 states:

"persons regularly and solely engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals, including the personnel engaged in the search for, removal and transporting of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases, shall be respected and protected."

Israel's non-compliance caused widespread suffering throughout Gaza, especially affecting those who lost loved ones or were denied proper treatment for their wounds. Many died as a result.

Targeting Journalists and the Mass Media

International human rights laws protect journalists as civilians and ensure their right of free expression, opinion, access to information, and freedom to report it. Nonetheless, Israeli forces fired indiscriminately at them, killed two, wounded nine more, detained others, shelled five media offices, and denied international journalists access to Gaza for a month before the war and throughout hostilities by declaring the Strip a closed military zone.

Attacking Educational Institutions

The attacks were heavy enough to bring the "entire educational a halt," depriving half a million students one month's education or more. Many of them and their teachers were also killed, many others wounded, and public, private, and UNRWA schools were either partially or entirely destroyed. Universities were also attacked with the same disturbing results.

"Israel's conduct of hostilities seriously affected the educational sector, violating Palestinian civilians' right to education, life and security. The Israeli offensive violated numerous (international laws), including the right to education" as affirmed by Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Fourth Geneva.

Violations of the Right to Life

Israeli attacks killed or wounded many children and young men and women at school, including on the offensive's first day when air strikes coincided with the end of the first school day shift and beginning of the second when most students were on Gaza's streets.

HIgher educational institutions were also struck, damaged and in some cases heavily. Included were the Islamic University, al-Azhar University's Faculty of Agriculture in Beit Hanoun, the University College for Applied Sciences, al-Aqsa University, Palestine University, al-Quds Open University and the College of Science and Technology.

Attacking NGOs

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Union of Agriculture Relief Committees, al-Karama Society for Children of Martyrs, Union of Medical Care Committees, and other NGO and charitable groups were directly targeted and heavily damaged.

Arrests, Torture, and Other Forms of Cruel and Abusive Treatment

Israeli forces made large numbers of arbitrary arrests, transferred those seized to Israeli detention facilities, and subjected them to harsh torture and abuse that included violent beatings, exposure to severe cold, starvation, and sleep deprivation. The "majority of those (arrested) were civilians taken from houses stormed by Israeli troops," including children and the elderly, some of whom were used as human shields.

Destruction of Civilian Facilities

Ones targeted, destroyed or damaged included government buildings, homes, businesses, mosques, hospitals and medical clinics, graveyards, schools, media institutions, agricultural land, irrigation networks, fishing harbors and boats, animal and bird farms, beehives, sports clubs, and more.

The destruction of houses and residential buildings created an unprecedented state of forced migration, affecting thousands of Palestinian civilians. As many as "450,000 individuals had to leave their homes" to seek shelter. As a result, thousands of families lost everything - their homes, property, personal belongings, identity cards, passports, birth certificates, and worst of all husbands, wives, children and other extended family members.

Destruction of Government Ministries, Local Councils, and Other Facilities

Attacks targeted the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) building, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, police stations and compounds, municipality structures, and numerous other facilities.

Infrastructure Destruction

Infrastructure affected included main and secondary roads, water and sewage networks, power transformers, high and low pressure power networks, communication networks, and more, causing serious disruptions to vitally needed services.

Economic Infrastructure Destruction

The entire economy was severely impaired after a nearly two and a half year total import and export ban, yet air and ground attacks destroyed industrial, agricultural, commercial, tourist, service and construction facilities, including concrete and brick factories and material storage facilities. It was pre-planned, systematic, of course, illegal under international law, and it devastated the entire economy already reeling under siege.

Destruction of Cultural Property

Included were archaeological buildings, museums, historic sites, religious ones, ancient buildings, heritage centers, the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, and more such as invaluable art works, manuscripts, books, and other objects of historic, cultural, religious or scientific value.

Aggravating an Already Severe Humanitarian Crisis

Already in dire need, the conflict caused a far greater crisis, leaving many thousands of Gazans without essentials for their health, well-being or safety. Most lack everything, including enough food, medical care, shelter, clean water, power, and virtually everything normal societies need. Rampant poverty and unemployment make it worse and deter their ability to survive under conditions that for many are impossible.

Targeting Humanitarian Organizations and Personnel

Ones struck were distributing food, medicines, fuel, blankets, and other essentials. In addition, basic services providing water, sanitation, power and much more were disrupted or destroyed.

Tightened Restrictions on Free Movement

The siege was further tightened to a degree PCHR called "unprecedented" to halt deliveries of food, medicine, fuel, and other essentials.

Final Comments

"PCHR strongly condemns all war crimes committed during" Operation Cast Lead. It "also condemns the international community's silence," including its failure to exert enough pressure to halt the fighting and hold Israel accountable. PCHR and others demand more, including:

-- ending the Gaza siege;

-- holding Israel responsible for rebuilding Gaza and making proper redress to the victims;

-- effectively investigating its crimes of war and against humanity; disseminating the findings widely, and holding those responsible to the highest levels accountable;

-- assuring non-compliance with international laws no longer will be tolerated;

-- denying Israel weapons and munitions; halting all financial aid; cutting diplomatic ties; and supporting and strengthening the global BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement; and

-- exerting pressure to insure all the above measures are implemented and enforced, with enough teeth to compel Israel to obey the law and face punishment for its crimes against Gazans.

The time for accountability is now.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate for the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.


By William Blum

December 09, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- All the crying from the left about how Obama "the peace candidate" has now become "a war president" ... Whatever are they talking about? Here's what I wrote in this report in August 2008, during the election campaign:

We find Obama threatening, several times, to attack Iran if they don't do what the United States wants them to do nuclear-wise; threatening more than once to attack Pakistan if their anti-terrorist policies are not tough enough or if there would be a regime change in the nuclear-armed country not to his liking; calling for a large increase in US troops and tougher policies for Afghanistan; wholly and unequivocally embracing Israel as if it were the 51st state.

Why should anyone be surprised at Obama's foreign policy in the White House? He has not even banned torture, contrary to what his supporters would fervently have us believe. If further evidence were needed, we have the November 28 report in the Washington Post: "Two Afghan teenagers held in U.S. detention north of Kabul this year said they were beaten by American guards, photographed naked, deprived of sleep and held in solitary confinement in concrete cells for at least two weeks while undergoing daily interrogation about their alleged links to the Taliban." This is but the latest example of the continuance of torture under the new administration.

But the shortcomings of Barack Obama and the naiveté of his fans is not the important issue. The important issue is the continuation and escalation of the American war in Afghanistan, based on the myth that the individuals we label "Taliban" are indistinguishable from those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, whom we usually label "al Qaeda". "I am convinced," the president said in his speech at the United States Military Academy (West Point) on December 1, "that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak."

Obama used one form or another of the word "extremist" eleven times in his half-hour talk. Young, impressionable minds must be carefully taught; a future generation of military leaders who will command America's never-ending wars must have no doubts that the bad guys are "extremists", that "extremists" are by definition bad guys, that "extremists" are beyond the pale and do not act from human, rational motivation like we do, that we — quintessential non-extremists, peace-loving moderates — are the good guys, forced into one war after another against our will. Sending robotic death machines flying over Afghanistan and Pakistan to drop powerful bombs on the top of wedding parties, funerals, and homes is of course not extremist behavior for human beings.

And the bad guys attacked the US "from here", Afghanistan. That's why the United States is "there", Afghanistan. But in fact the 9-11 attack was planned in Germany, Spain and the United States as much as in Afghanistan. It could have been planned in a single small room in Panama City, Taiwan, or Bucharest. What is needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? And the attack was carried out entirely in the United States. But Barack Obama has to maintain the fiction that Afghanistan was, and is, vital and indispensable to any attack on the United States, past or future. That gives him the right to occupy the country and kill the citizens as he sees fit. Robert Baer, former CIA officer with long involvement in that part of the world has noted: "The people that want their country liberated from the West have nothing to do with Al Qaeda. They simply want us gone because we're foreigners, and they're rallying behind the Taliban because the Taliban are experienced, effective fighters." 1

The pretenses extend further. US leaders have fed the public a certain image of the insurgents (all labeled together under the name "Taliban") and of the conflict to cover the true imperialistic motivation behind the war. The predominant image at the headlines/TV news level and beyond is that of the Taliban as an implacable and monolithic "enemy" which must be militarily defeated at all costs for America's security, with a negotiated settlement or compromise not being an option. However, consider the following which have been reported at various times during the past two years about the actual behavior of the United States and its allies in Afghanistan vis-à-vis the Taliban, which can raise questions about Obama's latest escalation: 2

The US military in Afghanistan has long been considering paying Taliban fighters who renounce violence against the government in Kabul, as the United States has done with Iraqi insurgents.

President Obama has floated the idea of negotiating with moderate elements of the Taliban. 3

US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, said last month that the United States would support any role Saudi Arabia chose to pursue in trying to engage Taliban officials. 4

Canadian troops are reaching out to the Taliban in various ways.

A top European Union official and a United Nations staff member were ordered by the Kabul government to leave the country after allegations that they had met Taliban insurgents without the administration's knowledge. And two senior diplomats for the United Nations were expelled from the country, accused by the Afghan government of unauthorized dealings with insurgents. However, the Afghanistan government itself has had a series of secret talks with "moderate Taliban" since 2003 and President Hamid Karzai has called for peace talks with Taliban leader Mohammed Omar.

Organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as the United Nations have become increasingly open about their contacts with the Taliban leadership and other insurgent groups.

Gestures of openness are common practice among some of Washington's allies in Afghanistan, notably the Dutch, who make negotiating with the Taliban an explicit part of their military policy.

The German government is officially against negotiations, but some members of the governing coalition have suggested Berlin host talks with the Taliban.

MI-6, Britain's external security service, has held secret talks with the Taliban up to half a dozen times. At the local level, the British cut a deal, appointing a former Taliban leader as a district chief in Helmand province in exchange for security guarantees.

Senior British officers involved with the Afghan mission have confirmed that direct contact with the Taliban has led to insurgents changing sides as well as rivals in the Taliban movement providing intelligence which has led to leaders being killed or captured.

British authorities hold that there are distinct differences between different "tiers" of the Taliban and that it is essential to try to separate the doctrinaire extremists from others who are fighting for money or because they resent the presence of foreign forces in their country.

British contacts with the Taliban have occurred despite British Prime Minister Gordon Brown publicly ruling out such talks; on one occasion he told the House of Commons: "We will not enter into any negotiations with these people."

For months there have been repeated reports of "good Taliban" forces being airlifted by Western helicopters from one part of Afghanistan to another to protect them from Afghan or Pakistani military forces. At an October 11 news conference in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai himself claimed that "some unidentified helicopters dropped armed men in the northern provinces at night." 5

On November 2, (Qatar) reported: "The emboldened Taliban movement in Afghanistan turned down an American offer of power-sharing in exchange for accepting the presence of foreign troops, Afghan government sources confirmed. 'US negotiators had offered the Taliban leadership through Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil (former Taliban foreign minister) that if they accept the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan, they would be given the governorship of six provinces in the south and northeast ... America wants eight army and air force bases in different parts of Afghanistan in order to tackle the possible regrouping of [the] Al-Qaeda network,' a senior Afghan Foreign Ministry official told" 6

There has been no confirmation of this from American officials, but the New York Times on October 28 listed six provinces that were being considered to receive priority protection from the US military, five which are amongst the eight mentioned in the IslamOnline report as being planned for US military bases, although no mention is made in the Times of the above-mentioned offer. The next day, Asia Times reported: "The United States has withdrawn its troops from its four key bases in Nuristan [or Nooristan], on the border with Pakistan, leaving the northeastern province as a safe haven for the Taliban-led insurgency to orchestrate its regional battles." Nuristan, where earlier in the month eight US soldiers were killed and three Apache helicopters hit by hostile fire, is one of the six provinces offered to the Taliban as reported in the story.

The part about al-Qaeda is ambiguous and questionable, not only because the term has long been loosely used as a catch-all for any group or individual in opposition to US foreign policy in this part of the world, but also because the president's own national security adviser, former Marine Gen. James Jones, stated in early October: "I don't foresee the return of the Taliban. Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling. The al-Qaeda presence is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies." 7

Shortly after Jones's remarks, we could read in the Wall Street Journal: "Hunted by U.S. drones, beset by money problems and finding it tougher to lure young Arabs to the bleak mountains of Pakistan, al-Qaida is seeing its role shrink there and in Afghanistan, according to intelligence reports and Pakistan and U.S. officials. ... For Arab youths who are al-Qaida's primary recruits, 'it's not romantic to be cold and hungry and hiding,' said a senior U.S. official in South Asia." 8

From all of the above is it not reasonable to conclude that the United States is willing and able to live with the Taliban, as repulsive as their social philosophy is? Perhaps even a Taliban state which would go across the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which has been talked about in some quarters. What then is Washington fighting for? What moves the president of the United States to sacrifice so much American blood and treasure? In past years, US leaders have spoken of bringing democracy to Afghanistan, liberating Afghan women, or modernizing a backward country. President Obama made no mention of any of these previous supposed vital goals in his December 1 speech. He spoke only of the attacks of September 11, al Qaeda, the Taliban, terrorists, extremists, and such, symbols guaranteed to fire up an American audience. Yet, the president himself declared at one point: "Al Qaeda has not reemerged in Afghanistan in the same numbers as before 9/11, but they retain their safe havens along the border." Ah yes, the terrorist danger ... always, everywhere, forever, particularly when it seems the weakest.

How many of the West Point cadets, how many Americans, give thought to the fact that Afghanistan is surrounded by the immense oil reserves of the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea regions? Or that Afghanistan is ideally situated for oil and gas pipelines to serve much of Europe and south Asia, lines that can deliberately bypass non-allies of the empire, Iran and Russia? If only the Taliban will not attack the lines. "One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south ...", said Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs in 2007. 9

Afghanistan would also serve as the home of American military bases, the better to watch and pressure next-door Iran and the rest of Eurasia. And NATO ... struggling to find a raison d'être since the end of the Cold War. If the alliance is forced to pull out of Afghanistan without clear accomplishments after eight years will its future be even more in doubt?

So, for the present at least, the American War on Terror in Afghanistan continues and regularly and routinely creates new anti-American terrorists, as it has done in Iraq. This is not in dispute even at the Pentagon or the CIA. God Bless America.

Although the "surge" failed as policy, it succeeded as propaganda.

They don't always use the word "surge", but that's what they mean. Our admirable leaders and our mainstream media that love to interview them would like us to believe that escalation of the war in Afghanistan is in effect a "surge", like the one in Iraq which, they believe, has proven so successful. But the reality of the surge in Iraq was nothing like its promotional campaign. To the extent that there has been a reduction in violence in Iraq (now down to a level that virtually any other society in the world would find horrible and intolerable, including Iraqi society before the US invasion and occupation), we must keep in mind the following summary of how and why it "succeeded":

  • Thanks to America's lovely little war, there are many millions Iraqis either dead, wounded, crippled, homebound or otherwise physically limited, internally displaced, in foreign exile, or in bursting American and Iraqi prisons. Many others have been so traumatized that they are concerned simply for their own survival. Thus, a huge number of potential victims and killers has been markedly reduced.
  • Extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place: Sunnis and Shiites are now living much more than before in their own special enclaves, with entire neighborhoods surrounded by high concrete walls and strict security checkpoints; violence of the sectarian type has accordingly gone down.
  • In the face of numerous "improvised explosive devices" on the roads, US soldiers venture out a lot less, so the violence against them has been sharply down. It should be kept in mind that insurgent attacks on American forces following the invasion of 2003 is how the Iraqi violence all began in the first place.
  • For a long period, the US military was paying insurgents (or "former insurgents") to not attack occupation forces.
  • The powerful Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr declared a unilateral cease-fire for his militia, including attacks against US troops, that was in effect for an extended period; this was totally unconnected to the surge.

We should never forget that Iraqi society has been destroyed. The people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their health care, their legal system, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their security, their friends, their families, their past, their present, their future, their lives. But they do have their surge.

The War against Everything and Everyone, Endlessly

Nidal Malik Hasan, the US Army psychiatrist who killed 13 and wounded some 30 at Fort Hood, Texas in November reportedly regards the US War on Terror as a war aimed at Muslims. He told colleagues that "the US was battling not against security threats in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Islam itself." 10 Hasan had long been in close contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric and al Qaeda sympathizer now living in Yemen, who also called the US War on Terror a "war against Muslims". Many, probably most, Muslims all over the world hold a similar view about American foreign policy.

I believe they're mistaken. For many years, going back to at least the Korean war, it's been fairly common for accusations to be made by activists opposed to US policies, in the United States and abroad, as well as by Muslims, that the United States chooses as its bombing targets only people of color, those of the Third World, or Muslims. But it must be remembered that in 1999 one of the most sustained and ferocious American bombing campaigns ever — 78 days in a row — was carried out against the Serbs of the former Yugoslavia: white, European, Christians. Indeed, we were told that the bombing was to rescue the people of Kosovo, who are largely Muslim. Earlier, the United States had come to the aid of the Muslims of Bosnia in their struggle against the Serbs. The United States is in fact an equal-opportunity bomber. The only qualifications for a country to become an American bombing target appear to be: (a) It poses a sufficient obstacle — real, imagined, or, as with Serbia, ideological — to the desires of the empire; (b) It is virtually defenseless against aerial attack.


  1. Video on Information Clearinghouse
  2. For the news items which follow if not otherwise sourced, see:
    • The Independent (London), December 14, 2007
    • Daily Telegraph (UK) December 26, 2007
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto) May 1, 2008
    • BBC News, October 28, 2009
  3. New York Times, March 11, 2009
  4. Kuwait News Agency, November 24, 2009
  5. Pakistan Observer (Islamabad daily), October 19, 2009; The Jamestown Foundation (conservative Washington, DC think tank), "Karzai claims mystery helicopters ferrying Taliban to north Afghanistan", November 6, 2009; Institute for War and Peace Reporting (London), "Helicopter rumour refuses to die", October 26, 2009
  6. IslamOnline, "US Offers Taliban 6 Provinces for 8 Bases", November 2, 2009
  7. Washington Times, October 5, 2009, from a CNN interview
  8. Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2009
  9. Talk at the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, September 20, 2007.
  10. Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2009

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Will the Last “Progressive for Obama” Please Turn Out the Lights?

Leaving Obamaland
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Black Agenda Report heartily endorses this Saturday’s Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally in front of the White House. Having said that, we turn to the subject of the legions of Obama-smitten activists that abandoned confrontation with Power for the past several years, for fear of harming their hero’s presidential prospects. How wrong they were, as subsequent events have shown.
Will the Last “Progressive for Obama” Please Turn Out the Lights?
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
It should now be clear to even the most dense among self-styled ‘progressives’ that Obama was never worth a damn.”
The U.S. peace “movement,” much of which “comes and goes” as often as Boy George’s “Karma Chameleon,” has finally discovered that its presumed perch in Barack Obama’s tree was untenable, if not wholly imaginary. To be sure, “Progressives for Obama” and other assorted delusional groupings were always squatters in the Obama camp – but they were the only ones who didn’t know it. How embarrassing it would have been, back during the campaign, had the lost little lefties realized that Obama’s imperial soul mates were laughing at them from a disdainful distance, knowing full well the path their bought-and-paid-for president would soon be traveling. How would the Obama peacenik groupies have preserved their sense of self-worth – much less their arrogant smugness – had they realized the absolute contempt in which they were held by their hero’s funders and packagers – and no doubt by the Object of Adulation, himself?
With the president’s hearty embrace on December 1 of not only current U.S. aggressions in South Asia but the entirety of the glorious rise of U.S. global hegemony since the end of World War Two, it should now be clear to even the most dense among self-styled “progressives” that Obama was never worth a damn. To Obama, the world-terrorizing nuclear arms race against the Soviets, the savage assaults on countries emerging from colonialism, the death of millions in the quest to make the world safe for corporations, the spread of the global drug trade under management of U.S. intelligence services – all this can be summed up as: “The United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades, a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, markets open, billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human liberty.”
“’Progressives for Obama’ and other assorted delusional groupings were always squatters in the Obama camp.”
Obama lives and breathes American Manifest Destiny – which means, as a non-white person, he is profoundly mentally unbalanced. But any lefty worth her/his salt should have known that. Obama’s yearly talks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the regional equivalent of the Council on Foreign Affairs, were models of imperial-speak, totally consistent with his West Point performance. Beginning years ago, he repeatedly declared that, as president, he would draw a line in the sands (or mountains) of Afghanistan – which is something only militarist, imperialist pigs draw in other people’s countries. He warned everyone that, under the Bin-Ladin-Might-Be-There Doctrine, he would refuse to respect the sovereignty of Pakistan. And he has ceaselessly lied about his actions and intentions in Iraq – a key qualification for the job of imperial U.S. president.
Still, there seems to be a soggy cloud hanging over some self-styled anti-war circles, as if Obama’s most recent display of rabid war mongering, American Manifest Destiny-ism was a tragedy for and betrayal of the “movement.” And I suppose that those confused souls who believed that they were doing “movement” work while engaged in Obama groupy-ism for the last several years, might feel that some kind of tragedy had occurred. And they might be right, in that the absence of an anti-war movement during the campaign years undoubtedly encouraged Obama in his warlike proclivities. As a result, hundreds of thousands will undoubtedly die, because American “progressives” forsook their duty to humanity for reasons no more defensible than those a teenage girl would give for following a shallow but “hot” celebrity around from city to city.
Let’s make it plain: Obama didn’t do anything to the “movement.” Most especially, he did not fool anyone in the “movement.” Rather, people who claimed to be in the “movement” fooled themselves and then proceeded to fool lots of other people into thinking that Obama-work was “movement”-work – when events have shown it was the opposite.
The absence of an anti-war movement during the campaign years undoubtedly encouraged Obama in his warlike proclivities.”
A huge number of “movement” notables should be deeply humbled and, to varying degrees, ashamed at their lemming-like susceptibility to Obama’s…what? The two-year near-silence in the anti-war “movement” is proof, not of Obama’s Svengali-like powers (his imperialism is actually quite transparent), but of profound weaknesses in the “movement,” itself (which is why I’ve been putting the term in quotes).
I have a hunch that the worst of the paralyzing Obama-effect on “movement” politics is finally over – due mainly to Obama’s insistence on remaining true to the logic of imperialism and refusal to toss his groupies on the Left a straw to cling to, any further.
There is no need to name-the-names of the politically prodigal ones, many of whom are returning to some kind of oppositional activism now that their erstwhile idol is in full-spectrum war mode. Far better to quote Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, whose engagement with struggle is a constant:
We have now reached the point where those who make and interpret current events think they can make us believe that war is for peace, ignorance is strength, slavery is freedom, and lies are the truth. Well, we know the truth, and we will not rest until every drone is stopped and no more bombs are dropped. We will not rest until peace is won. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said there comes a time when we do what we must because our ultimate measure is not where we stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where we stand at times of challenge and controversy. At this time of challenge, we are clear: we will not give up and we will not stop.”
There are many “movement” notables who, in fact, did try in the recent past to peddle a banker’s best friend as a man of the people, a proponent of “race-neutrality” as an ally of oppressed minorities, and an imperial invader and occupier as something resembling a man of peace.
Hopefully, they will make up for past misconduct and bad judgment through prodigious feats of activist productivity, including plenty of shouting at the White House on Saturday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at


AFRICOM:  Not the Peace Corpsby Mark P. Fancher
The U.S. military’s AFRICOM forces pretend their mission on the continent is humanitarian. In reality, AFRICOM is the sharp edge of U.S. imperialism, a killing force eager to impose American dominance. The military command “locks Africa into a state of dependency and maintains favorable political and social conditions for U.S.-based corporations that exploit Africa’s natural resources.” This is not a bug in the system. It's a defining feature of it.
by Mark P. Fancher
AFRICOM downplays its military projects and instead presents itself as a Peace Corps type operation.”
Mention the words “Peace Corps” to folks who associate that agency with the idealism of the 1960s and in their minds’ eye they will probably see a dynamic young president who dispatched a virtual army of gentle, denim-clad, pony-tail wearing young Americans into the world’s most poverty-stricken villages to carry out a simple mission - to lend a neighborly hand.
Not to be found in this naive, rosy memory is a provision of the 1961 Peace Corps law that required volunteers to submit to: “... instruction in the philosophy, strategy, tactics, and menace of communism.” The plan to use the Peace Corps as a Cold War propaganda tool was explained by John F. Kennedy himself when he was still a presidential candidate. An advance text of one of his speeches said:
...A friend of mine visiting the Soviet Union last year met a young Russian couple studying Swahili and African customs at the Moscow Institute of Languages. They were not language teachers - he was a sanitation engineer and she was a nurse. And they were being prepared to live among African nations as missionaries for communism.... Missiles and arms cannot stop them - neither can American dollars. They can only be countered by Americans equally skilled and equally dedicated....”
The plan to use the Peace Corps as a Cold War propaganda tool was explained by John F. Kennedy himself.”
Regardless of whether Peace Corps volunteers were aware that their benevolent impulses were being politically exploited, some leaders of underdeveloped countries knew exactly what was going on, and they did not take kindly to U.S. attempts to gain a Cold War advantage at the expense of impoverished nations. Irritation escalated to rage when some leaders began to suspect that the Peace Corps was a cover for intelligence operations. In 1965, Ghana’s then-president Kwame Nkrumah wrote: “[Sargent] Shriver’s record makes a mockery of President Kennedy’s alleged instruction to Shriver to ‘keep the CIA out of the Peace Corps.’...Since its creation in 1961, members of the Peace Corps have been exposed and expelled from many African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries for acts of subversion or prejudice.”
Numerous well-meaning Peace Corps volunteers never became entangled in political intrigue and with the purest of motives they provided assistance and friendship that was much appreciated by the villages they served. But the program’s early propaganda agenda as spelled out in legislation and regulations was completely disrespectful of the rights to sovereignty, non-intervention and self-determination of the countries where volunteers were assigned. The Peace Corps’ Cold War agenda was later to be officially jettisoned, and in the 21st Century, it is disturbing to look back on that chapter in U.S. history. At least we can now take comfort in knowing that the U.S. no longer uses deception to advance a propaganda agenda. Or can we?
Irritation escalated to rage when some leaders began to suspect that the Peace Corps was a cover for intelligence operations.”
The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) deploys U.S. military personnel to advise and support African soldiers in missions designed to advance U.S. strategic and economic interests in Africa. But it also implements a not-so-subtle propaganda campaign to win the hearts and minds of Africans and the grudging support of a broader public that correctly suspects that AFRICOM is a Trojan horse for imperialism.
If one takes AFRICOM’s reports about its own activities at face value, it is easy to conclude that it exists solely for humanitarian purposes. For instance, the AFRICOM website has published warm and fuzzy accounts naval deployment AFRICOMof: a military chaplain’s assistance to a homeless double amputee in Uganda; an Army Reserve nurse’s delivery of a baby in a rural village; the delivery of emergency supplies for Chad refugees; and the exchange of medical information with the Djibouti military. It almost appears from these reports that AFRICOM personnel are really Peace Corps-type volunteers who happen to dress in military combat gear.
Not emphasized is AFRICOM’s primary mission, which is to use the armies of African governments to make Africa “a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy.” Interviews given by AFRICOM’s leaders make it pretty clear that they pay special attention to armed African militants, even if these rebels claim they are preserving and protecting their environment and natural resources from exploitative western corporations and individuals.
It almost appears from these reports that AFRICOM personnel are really Peace Corps-type volunteers who happen to dress in military combat gear.”
For example, insurgent forces in the Niger Delta that have battled oil companies have been specifically identified by AFRICOM’s leadership as a problem. Last year, AFRICOM sent a military ship from port to port in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea training African civilians and soldiers to combat “security threats” in the region. Likewise, so-called “pirates” in Somalia who in some cases have contested foreigners’ illegal dumping and fishing are among those that have been the focus of AFRICOM’s not-so-charitable concern.
By design AFRICOM downplays its military projects and instead presents itself as a Peace Corps type operation. However, missing from that version of its public face is the practice that makes it most like the 1961 version of the Peace Corps. That is, that AFRICOM is committed to the indoctrination of Africa’s people. It implements its program in a way that is far more sophisticated than any method contemplated when politicians hoped to use the Peace Corps to fight the “communist menace.”
Specifically, AFRICOM’s International Military Education and Training program is a vehicle not only for selling African leaders on the value of cooperating with the U.S. militarily, but also for exposing them to “the U.S. way of life.” An AFRICOM fact sheet on the program states that graduates “fill key leadership positions in militaries of many African nations.”
AFRICOM is committed to the indoctrination of Africa’s people.”
Even the smallest, poorest African countries have a right to self-determination that is firmly grounded in international law. However, when AFRICOM drags future African leaders into a room to brainwash them into believing that U.S. strategic and economic interests are helpful to Africa’s development needs, it does not promote African independence, self-sufficiency and self-determination. Rather, it locks Africa into a state of dependency and maintains favorable political and social conditions for U.S.-based corporations that exploit Africa’s natural resources.
Although it is shameful that some Peace Corps volunteers were instructed to politically indoctrinate struggling, poverty-stricken villagers, it was probably a whole lot easier for a villager to tell a sandal-wearing Peace Corps volunteer to “go to Hell” than it is to give that same advice these days to a steely-eyed, square-jawed, gun-toting, U.S. military commander. AFRICOM ain’t the Peace Corps.

Mark P. Fancher coordinates the National Conference of Black Lawyers’ Africom TaskForce, and he is a member of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party. He can be contacted at mfancher(at)