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December 31, 2009

Eye of The Storm Series #9: A Confluence of Conflicting Energies

Hello everysoul!

I was not expecting to send you another compilation so quickly, but recent developments have compelled me to research most of the material for this compilation, much of which is a complement to a Special Peace Vigil for the Middle East—which I'll send you in the next few hours along with a special message from Matthew on this—namely, all that relates to the current unrest in Iran as well as the renewed saber-rattling between Israel and Iran over the nuclear weapon program being allegedly developed in Iran and the various plans hatched in Israel to curtail it.

Aside from that, you'll find many other fascinating discoveries I made in my web searches and through reviewing the numerous emails I continuously receive from various ERN subscribers.

And on this 37th and final (really!) compilation for 2009, I wish you all a wondrous new 2010-20 decade, a period of history that we are all co-creating moment by moment and which will see us breaking new ground in our Quest for global Oneness and most possibly taking during this period our first steps as a newbie galactic civilization.

Sky is no longer the limit. The universe and the depth of our imagination are... well... limitless!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com

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STATS for this compilation: Over 38,000 words and 183 links provided.

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THE QUOTES

"I read your compilation every week (well, almost – sometimes it is too dark for me to bear and I need to skip some of it...) and I realize you offer this as a service to humanity. Awesome, dear soul! By the way, I also appreciate your pointing out news of humor and/or beauty. I loved the tribute to the 50th anniversary of Asterix! But mostly, I read you for the inspiration. Through your work, I have learned so much about what is happening in this spiral time: crop circles, channels and UFO’s alongside hidden information about climate change, 9-11, the economy, politics and so much more. Where else could I possibly find all of this in digest form? It’s not in the New York Times. And on top of all of that, you provide space for us to to share announcements of global meditations, the International Day of Peace, and other items of interest to your wide community of readers. What a treasure you are. Sending you blessings for infinite joy and abundance in the coming year. May the web of light woven by so many across our beloved planet empower 2010 as the first year of a culture of peace for our entire civilization. May Peace Prevail on Earth!"

- Deborah Moldow (revdeb1@comcast.net) - http://www.worldpeace.org/


"For far too long, we have been stumbling blindly around the Universe, not knowing where, if anywhere, we came from, how we got here, what the purpose of our journey might be, and where we are heading. And as if all that were not enough, our problems on Earth have now reached such a critical stage that many rational people have come to the conclusion that our entire civilisation is going into meltdown. And so it is. And not a moment too soon! Because whatever replaces it must surely be a huge improvement on what we see around us today. As soon as the Mayan prophecy about December 21, 2012 became public knowledge, good old Hollywood, with its genius for grabbing the wrong end of the stick, immediately interpreted it as a prophecy of the physical destruction of the world - rather than the end of a soulless, destructive system that is about to destroy itself and make way for something far better. And so the disaster movie of all disaster movies went straight into production... So now for the good news... While all the destruction and disintegration has been going on, and the media relentlessly pump out the bad news, and nothing but the bad news, something else has been happening: Unseen and unpublicised, a number of pathfinders, pioneers and visionaries have been working away behind the scenes, picking their way past the surrounding chaos, reading the signs and detecting faint signals from the future...Those signals are growing stronger every day. And the future they depict is light years away from the endless catalogue of conflict, disaster, oppression, mind control and war that is human history. The most recent signals indicate that the future is now only moments away - all we need do is reach out for it, grasp it, hold it close. A new world is now ready to replace the dying one. This is not just good news - it is the best news the human race has ever received. Please share it with those who who need it and deserve it most - those who can see no escape from Detention Centre Earth, where they are valiantly living out their lives, unaware that reprieve is only just around the corner..."

- Michael Dean (mikhailovich@me.com)


"Thinking is the sharpener of psychic energy. It intensifies it and directs it into space. The stronger the thought transmission, the more powerful will be its interaction with the current of primary energy.
Thus, man is a constant conductor of the most powerful energy."

- Sent by Rudolf Schneider (ipsbox@ipsgeneva.com)




CONTENT

1. One strike could have ended Iran nuclear program in 2004
2. Handicapping Mideast war and peace 2010: Pick your dead horse
3. US spies: Israel or UK forged nukes report on Iran
4. Americans Are Hell-Bent on Tyranny
5. Obama and the Supremes Stand Up for Slavery
6. Welcome to Orwell’s World 2010
7. U.S. missile shield holding up nuclear deal: Putin
8. Scientists Confirm the Effectiveness of The Big Lie
9. 'The US military is exhausted'
10. Are environmentalists an endangered species?
11. Solar Could Generate 15% of Power by 2020, If US Ends Fossil Fuel Subsidies
12. James Cameron's Avatar delivers a powerful message of connectedness with Mother Nature
13. Who Are the Cetaceans?
14. 2009 is ending with cosmic fireworks
15. A Worldwide Epidemic is spreading with enormous speed




WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION

World rings in new decade with fireworks, parties (Dec 31, 2009)
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/01/2783741.htm?section=world
Revellers have started ringing in the New Year across the globe with spectacular fireworks displays and massive parties hosted by world capitals against a backdrop of tightened security. Party-goers in the South Pacific were the first to raise their glasses to 2010, leading the world into a new decade after one scarred by war, terrorist attacks, natural disaster and financial turmoil. In Australia, about 1.5 million people crowded the Sydney Harbour foreshore to watch a vast array of fireworks burst into the night sky at midnight, launched from the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and four barges on the water. Thousands of people crammed into Hong Kong's harbour, where 9,000 fireworks were unleashed in a display that lasted nearly five minutes, shot off from the city's tallest skyscraper as well as other buildings CLIP

156 Countries Sing Together for the Starbucks Love Project - CHEERFULLY MOVING!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh7D2g5v-Sg
On December 7th, 2009 at 1:30pm GMT Starbucks invited musicians from all over the world to sing together at the same time to raise awareness for AIDS in Africa. In that one breathtaking moment, musicians from 156 countries played "All You Need is Love" together. Watch now, as musicians from all around the world come together and share a song. Recommended by Richard and Sandra Keber (srkeber@msn.com) who wrote: "Deliciously emotional" -- You can the promotional video for this magnificent event at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbDGX3pQ6jI and also watch a replay of this global event at http://starbucksloveproject.com/#/main/

The Green Beautiful (La belle verte) - Part 1/9 (with English subtitles)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5CmMm_SRpM

Bic National Park in Quebec
http://photo.photojpl.com/tour/08biclarge/08biclarge.html
It is recommended to select "full screen" and then click on your mouse and move it around while holding the click on. You can also zoom either with the + sign or with the little scrolling ball (if you have one) on top of your mouse. Full Index of tours at http://photo.photojpl.com/tour/ - all locations are in Quebec (click on the html link - usually at the top of each place you wish to tour. Other recommended choices:
Autumn in Mont Tremblant - Hot-air balloon trip over St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu - Montreal Downtown at night in winter - A fall in Mont Tremblant Park - Stevie Wonder, Festival de Jazz de Montréal

Climate Wizard Makes Large Databases of Climate Information Visual, Accessible (Dec. 29, 2009)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215145050.htm
A Web tool that generates color maps of projected temperature and precipitation changes using 16 of the world's most prominent climate-change models is being used to consider such things as habitat shifts that will affect endangered species, places around the world where crops could be at risk because of drought and temperatures that could cripple fruit and nut production in California's Great Central Valley. CLIP

Sublime Sand: Desert Dunes Seen From Space
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/deserts-gallery-1/

The Silbury Hill Stargate? The Full Story About Police Sergeant Witness to Tall Beings
http://www.colinandrews.net/UFO-PoliceSergeant-SilburyHill.html
(...) The contact, who doesn’t want to be named, was driving past Silbury Hill early Monday morning (6th July 2009) when he saw three figures in the formation there. At first he thought they were forensic officers as they were dressed in white coveralls. He stopped his car and approached the field. The figures were all over 6ft and had blond hair. They seemed to be inspecting the crop. When he got to the edge of the field he heard what he believed to be a sound not dissimilar to static electricity. This crackling noise seemed to be running through the field and the crop was moving gently close to where the noise was moving. He felt the hair on his arms and back of his neck raise up. He shouted to the figures who at first ignored him, not glancing at him. When he tried to enter the field they looked up and began running. He said “They ran faster than any man I have ever seen. I’m no slouch but they were moving so fast. I looked away for a second and when I looked back they were gone. I then got scared. The noise was still around, but I got an uneasy feeling and headed for the car. For the rest of the day I had a pounding headache I couldn’t shift”.
(...) After the experience the officer suffered what he called poltergeist experiences. Several electrical items began to malfunction and there were strange knocks at the front door. When the officer answered the door there would be no-one there. The officer felt he had brought something home with him, several days after the experience he said that he had felt a presence within his home. Sometimes, when walking out to the kitchen, he said he saw in his minds eye a brief flash of a towering black figure (approx 8ft) standing before him. These types of experiences are quite common with experiencers. A few days after the experience the officer felt there were pieces of the experience coming to mind that he was not at first aware of. He came to believe that the beings were identical, in a clone-like manner but also shared an intelligence, almost in a hive-like mentality. He also believes that these beings were not responsible for this or any crop circle. He also went on to state that he shouldn’t have seen what he had seen, and believes this was communicated to him at the time. He doesn’t know where this information came from and these concepts and thoughts are outside his usual frame of reference.
(...) More recently, the officer involved witnessed an orange globe in the sky not far from his home. He was having difficulty sleeping, which he claims is unusual for him, so he decided to get up and pop outside the back of his house for a cigarette. He had been in his garden long enough to light up a cigarette when he noticed a large orange/amber globe several hundred yards from the bottom of his garden. The globe hovered silently, started a move very slightly from side to side, then shot off at high speed. The officer’s continuing experiences show that whatever the origin of these events, once they enter into someone's life they seem to have a continuing presence. The officer has agreed in principle to an interview with a major media outlet for a forthcoming documentary which will allow the wider crop-circle/UFO community to hear this amazing incident from the experiencer himself. He will also show a forensic sketch-artists recreation of the beings that he saw.Not long after this event I was contacted by a computer programmer from London who had an experience with a tall being in the car park at Silbury Hill a few weeks after the officers experience. CLIP

Proof of Aliens on the Moon (25:31)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6507661008750185648#
NASA did go to the moon, but then were told to never come back. Many more interesting videos in the right-hand column.

Alien Contact
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4082679431972911812&hl=fr&emb=1#
Documentary about SETI's discovery of an ET signal - It gives a good idea of the kind of initial media and public reaction we can expect to any official announcement about the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations.

Disclosure Endgame: Free Ebook! by David Wilcock
http://divinecosmos.com/index.php/start-here/davids-blog/521-disclosure-endgame?showall=1
Survey the incredibly wide-ranging evidence -- including video -- that certain insider factions are pushing for UFO/ET Disclosure very soon. The Norway Spiral is only the most recent attempt to 'force' the issue -- after the US failed to deliver on November 27th. (...) A missile could not have created the Norway Spiral. There is no longer any question about this. It is a scientific fact. CLIP

Profits for us, losses for you
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/761.html
Lest we forget... The big banks have taken over the government and the economy. What ever works for them is what's done, even if if destroys the country in the process.

Gerald Celente Predicts US Dollar Currency Crisis in 2010 (Nov 23, 2009)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG3EAUx2p20
Trends Research Institute Founder Gerald Celente discusses forecasts for 2010 and beyond.

Trillions Of Troubles Ahead (12.18.09)
http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/18/government-budget-deficit-personal-finance-financial-advisor-network-treasury-debt.html
A crushing burden of debt threatens to sap America's growth for years to come. -- Not too long ago, a billion dollars in a governmental budget was a lot of money. Then we got into hundreds of billions. People understood that this was a lot, just because of all the zeros. Now, unfortunately, the number has become small: the world "trillion," as in $1.2 trillion for health care reform, seems so tiny. But it has 12 zeroes behind it, which is so easy to forget. If the government stays on the course it's been on for the past forty years without a radical change, the federal government will soon have a $10 trillion budget. In other words, the federal budget deficit will be $1.4 trillion. Just to make the size more visible, that's $1,400 billion.Our colleague Rob Arnott, who always does terrific research, wrote in his recent report that "at all levels, federal, state, local and GSEs, the total public debt is now at 141% of GDP. That puts the United States in some elite company--only Japan, Lebanon and Zimbabwe are higher. That's only the start. Add household debt (highest in the world at 99% of GDP) and corporate debt (highest in the world at 317% of GDP, not even counting off-balance-sheet swaps and derivatives) and our total debt is 557% of GDP. Less than three years ago our total indebtedness crossed 500% of GDP for the first time."Add the unfunded portion of entitlement programs and we're at 840% of GDP.




SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE SITUATION IN IRAN

Iran protests turn into open rebellion (December 30 2009)
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f874f20a-f579-11de-90ab-00144feab49a,dwp_uuid=be75219e-940a-11da-82ea-0000779e2340.html
Iran has relapsed into political turmoil, highlighting the resilience of the opposition that erupted after the clerical regime stole last June’s presidential election. Six months on, what began as an attempt to reform the Islamic Republic is turning into a rebellion against the theocrats – now revealed as little more than a fig leaf cloaking an emerging military dictatorship. A showdown looks inevitable. The trigger for this upsurge was the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who came to embody some of the higher Shia clergy’s unease that the brutality of the regime and its vested interests were dragging Islam through the political dirt. He virulently opposed the electoral imposition of the fundamentalist President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.Untouchable in life, and now entered into the Shia canon with its cult of martyrdom, he is in death an even deadlier enemy of the regime. CLIP

Anti-Government Clashes In Iran Deadliest Since June (December 28, 2009)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121963822
A nephew of an Iranian opposition leader is said to be among eight people killed Sunday in a confrontation between protesters and Iranian security forces in Tehran. Opposition Web sites describe one of the most violent confrontations in months. Because of government restrictions on media coverage, some of the accounts can't be confirmed. Borzou Daragahi, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, talks to Steve Inskeep about the outbreak of violence in Iran. We're learning more today about the way that Iranian protesters confronted security forces. It was one of their bloodiest encounters in months. At least eight people have been reported killed. These street battles took place on one of the most important days for Shiite Muslims, who form a majority in Iran. The government has imposed tight restrictions on media coverage, but Borzou Daragahi of The Los Angeles Times, he is learning what he can. He was in Iran recently, and joins us now from his basin Beirut. Welcome back to the program, Borzou. Mr. BORZOU DARAGAHI (Reporter, The Los Angeles Times): It's my pleasure.
INSKEEP: How did these clashes develop?
DARAGAHI: Well, this was really a weekend of clashes that coincided with not only the culmination of this year's Ashura ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, but also the seventh day of mourning following the death of dissident cleric Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri. And what we saw was a level of anger and daring and boldness on the part of the protestors that we haven't seen in a while, just really extraordinary scenes and witness descriptions, people confronting the cops, sometimes violently, taking their equipment, trashing their motorcycles and police vehicles. In at least one case, burning down what appeared to be a police substation. We also had a report that one of the Basijy headquarters - the Basijy are the pro-government militia - was also burned down.
INSKEEP: What is the symbolic significance of protesting on this Shiite Muslim holy day that you mentioned?
DARAGAHI: Well, in the seventh century, the Imam Hussein, who was the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, was slain in a battle. And so there's this very interesting parallel between the plight of Imam Hussein, this seventh-century figure, and the current situation now where you have many Iranians believing that their rightful president, Mir Hossein Mousavi, was unjustly usurped from power by a tyrannical force. And so this metaphorical parallel is very powerful to Iranians. And many people in the protests yesterday were using religious slogans, and it was kind of chilling to hear these slogans against the regime, which incorporated both the story of Imam Hussein and Iran's current politics.
INSKEEP: You know, when you talk about this, I'm reminded of one of the challenges for Iran's government. You do have a branch of Islam that is steeped in martyrdom, right back to its first moments. And I suppose that makes it challenging for the government to crack down. If you kill a protestor, say, that person is made into a martyr automatically.
DARAGAHI: Indeed, this is one of the drawbacks of yesterday's violence, as far as the government is concerned. Now, the government is facing this potential cycle of unrest associated with the third, seventh and 40th days following the deaths of the people who were in the protests, including the nephew of opposition figurehead Mir Hossein Mousavi. His name is Ali Mousavi, or Ali Habibi Mousavi. And now there are calls to turn his religiously significant mourning days into more protests. It was this type of rolling protests linked to mourning ceremonies that ultimately dislodged Iranian former monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the late '70s.
INSKEEP: Borzou, because the government is cracking down somewhat on information, I'd like to ask how it is that we know what it is we're describing here?
DARAGAHI: I mean, the protestors themselves are so brave, they get on the phone or get on Skype or get on Facebook, and immediately after they see something or do something, they send messages out to the rest of the world. In addition, they're videotaping themselves. This is kind of like the YouTube generation protest movement, because as they confront the cops or burn down a police vehicle, they're taping it and then immediately going to an Internet cafe or to their own homes and uploading it.
MUCH MORE ON THE DEVELOPING SITUATION IN IRAN THROUGH THIS LINK

Iran opposition leaders face threat of prosecution (December 31, 2009)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123100339.html
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's opposition leaders faced new threats Thursday with the state prosecutor warning they could be put on trial if they do not denounce this week's anti-government protests - the worst unrest since the immediate aftermath of the disputed June election. Police firing tear gas and wielding batons dispersed opposition supporters trying again Thursday to gather in two locations in central Tehran, said an opposition Web site called The Green Road. Police detained many of them, it said. The information could not be independently confirmed due to restrictions barring journalists from reporting on opposition activity in the streets.The confrontation between Iran's clerical rulers and their opponents has returned to the streets in recent weeks, after a harsh crackdown immediately following the election had all but put an end to demonstrations. Despite a continuing tough response from security forces, the opposition movement has regained some momentum. CLIP

Iranian protest is grassroots and unstoppable, say activists (December 30, 2009)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6971010.ece
Iran’s panicking regime is once again seeking to suppress the Green Movement by decapitating it. Just as it did after June’s hotly-disputed presidential election, it is arresting high-profile reformists, academics and journalists who support the opposition. It hesitates to detain Mir Hossein Mousavi lest millions of his supporters take to the streets, but it has locked up his brother-in-law and is widely suspected of killing his nephew. It cannot arrest Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel laureate, as she is abroad, but it has imprisoned her sister.The tactic will prove as futile now as it did in June. Decapitation will not work because the opposition is a bottom-up movement run not by Mr Mousavi or Mehdi Karroubi, its nominal leaders, but by its grassroots members. It is a massive campaign of civil disobedience. “Ahmadinejad, Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards still don’t get it,” said one Iranian academic. “The Green Movement is a decentralised popular front run by local cells and local leaderships across the country. The main opposition figures do not control it. They are spiritual leaders, but do not provide any direction in regard to demonstrations or slogans.” For the most part the demonstrations are spontaneous outpourings of anger. Decapitating the movement will not stop them, nor stop the defacing of banknotes with anti-government slogans, the daubing of anti-government graffiti on walls, the boycott of goods advertised on the state-controlled media or the shouting of “Allahu akbar” from rooftops at night. Iranians are doing these things not because they are told to, but because they choose to. For a reviled regime that rules by diktat, that has to bus in supporters to fill its rallies, that must be a difficult concept to grasp. Protests are now common not just in Tehran, but in conservative cities such as Mashad and Qom. The regime’s use of violence during the holy month of Muharram, its lack of respect for Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri after his recent death, and other sacrilegious acts have eroded its support among the pious poor. One activist said: “Do Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and the elite of the Revolutionary Guards really think that I, or anyone else, after being beaten by the police, witnessing the murder of Iranians on the streets, hearing stories of rape and murder in the prisons, and knowing of electoral cheating, will ever remain passive and quiet? None of us will ever accept the rule of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei after what they have done.”

Amid crackdown, Iran wages war on 'star students' (1 January 2010)
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Amid-crackdown-Iran-wages-war-on-star-students/articleshow/5401167.cms
WASHINGTON: The Iranian regime has quietly clamped down on some of the country's best students by derailing their academic and professional amid fears that the growing unrest could get out of control if youths take to the streets in a big way. Dozens of university students have been arrested as part of an aggressive policy against Iran's "star students" as massive nationwide protests since last Sunday targetted the government. In Iran, 'star students' are considered a threat by the intelligence ministry, inviting a ban from education, the Wall Street Journal reported. They were categorised based on intelligence information from security forces. CLIP

Maryam Rajavi calls on Iranians to unite and security forces to refrain from attacking people
http://www.maryam-rajavi.com/en/

Pictures of the protest in Iran
http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/photos/2009/12/protest-in-iran.html#more

All the latest mainstream media updates on the situation in Iran
http://news.google.com/news/search?aq=f&cf=all&ned=ca&hl=en&q=iran

Iran is crippled by conspiracy theories (Dec 31, 2009)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/31/iran-conspiracy-theories
Iranians must determine their own political destiny. They're not helped by a culture too ready to blame things on foreign forces -- This week the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, blamed America and Israel for the widespread anti-government protests around Sunday's holy mourning day of Ashura. He insisted that "Americans and Zionists are the sole audience of a play they have commissioned and sold out". These allegations echo earlier episodes when Ahmadinejad, his ministers and loyal clerics, have insisted that Britain, Israel and the US are responsible for fomenting the mass protests that have followed June's election-grabbing coup.Iran has formally protested this alleged foreign interference, summoning ambassadors and crying foul. Relations with the west – already tense over the nuclear impasse – have been further strained by arrests of foreign nationals, harassment of embassy employees and the unsavoury record of Iranian involvement in Iraq. Just today this newspaper has published evidence showing that a British hostage captured in Iraq may in fact have been held in Iran by the Revolutionary Guard. This revelation will worsen already deeply strained relations. At one level Ahmadinejad's remarks blaming the west for recent protests seem a crass political attempt to discredit the opposition and to play both on a certain Iranian tradition of xenophobia and on a widespread public memory of repeated foreign power interference historically in Iranian affairs. At another, and more worrying, level they are clearly indicative of an irrational conspiracy theory mentality that permeates Iranian society. An obsession with conspiracy theories is, unsurprisingly perhaps, particularly concentrated among the supporters of a regime now totally lacking legitimacy. Iranian conspiracy theories are above all centred on the British, and an obsession with a pervasive, quasi-omnipotent British power CLIP

Is Regime Change Coming to Iran? - an interview with Amil Imani (29 Dec 2009)
http://www.analyst-network.com/article.php?art_id=3283
Introduction: Since the fraudulent June 12th Presidential elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), an increasingly emboldened opposition, the green movement, has arisen to demand the overthrow of the IRI. The green movement refuses to desist from launching massive street protests in Tehran, Qum, Isfahan and other major Iranian cities. All this is occurring despite violence wreaked upon thousands of valiant regime opponents by the ruling Mullahs and President Ahmadinejad. As of this writing more than 15 have been killed in clashes with Iranian security services including the nephew of reformist Presidential candidate Mir Mouhammed Mousavi, former IRI Prime Minister. Moreover several dissident leaders have been jailed. Something major is brewing in Iran - possibly revolution. As the year was closing, first a crescendo of massive protests occurred at Students Day events. Then tens of thousands used the occasion of the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri to demonstrate their determination to end the rule of the Supreme Ruling Council head, Ayatollah Khamanei, and his puppet President Ahmadinejad. The final bloody weekend of 2009 witnessed the faltering IRI regime undertaking unprecedented security measures to pre-empt public mourning and observances of the Shia Ashura holy day. Police, revolutionary guard and the Basiji para-military forces blanketed Tehran in a vain attempt to stifle public gatherings. They failed. Massive throngs of people from all classes in Tehran and other major cities defied bans in spite of warnings that violators would be dealt with mercilessly. As a Der Spiegel article reported these protesters were shouting: "We will fight, we will die, we will reconquer our country." There were graphic video images sent via the internet of protesters engaged in street battles with Basiji forces. Now there are reports that elements of the Iranian Military may have sided with the opposition in support of a secular republic. Jane Jamison in the American Thinker noted in a report, “Iranian Military moves in support the people’s revolution”: It is difficult to verify, but factions in the Iranian military may be breaking rank to join the people’s cause. A group calling itself the National Iranian Armed Resistance Forces (NIRU) posted a news release on an Iranian protest website at the end of the day’s violence. We, a number of Officers, Soldiers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, hereby declare our readiness for rise to the armed defense of our nation against the forces of the criminal, illegitimate transgressing and occupying current Government of Iran, and hereby inform our brothers and sisters serving with the armed security forces of Iran, invite them to join us, request their support and ask them to provide cover for us in this moral & national act. A special request for support & cooperation goes to our brothers of the Military Police. The NIRU says it intends to secure Iranian radio and television stations, the Parliament, and the courts, will hold local elections and referendums within 3 months and new presidential elections within 9 months and will dissolve the murderous “Basij” plainclothes police and establish a new national police force.Protection and firepower from even a few factions of the military could signal a critical momentum change for the Iranian people, who by law cannot own weapons. All this occurred despite the visible tyranny imposed by Basij para-military, Revolutionary Guards, and regime secret police arresting, beating and torturing opposition student and opposition political leaders. All this amidst vain attempts to prevent the news of this emerging Iranian revolution reaching the world by cell phone and the internet. Some observers have even suggested that the apocalyptic version of Shia Islam espoused by the ruling Mullahs, might ultimately be consigned to the dustbin of history if such a revolution occurred. Amir Taheri, expatriate Iranian journalist, in a Wall Street Journal column, “Iran’s Democracy Moment,” has pronounced the democracy movement a possible “hinge moment” in Iranian history reflecting the increasing demand by opposition protesters for replacement of the oppressive theocracy with a democratic secular republic. This development comes at a time when the ruling Mullahs are desperate to retain control in a truculent nation where many clearly despise Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei and President Ahmadinejad. These unexpected developments throw into confusion the responses of the Obama Administration in Washington and that of other international players regarding how to deter the Mullahs from their inexorable quest for the ultimate apocalyptic weapon of choice- a nuclear bomb and the missiles for delivering it. In the face of evident rebellion by Iranians against the Mullahs, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. John Kerry, was seeking clearance from the White House to travel as an emissary to Tehran to confer with the IRI regime that could be in the throes of dissolution. This was an incredible affront to the opposition movement leaders in Iran and supporters of Iranian regime change in America, Europe and Israel. Ehud Barak, Israel’s Minister of Defense in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government announced daunting prospects of a possible unilateral military option against the IRI’s nuclear facilities. In a Jerusalem Post report when he said:. . . that the recently revealed nuclear facility at Qom was "built over a number of years, located in a reinforced underground bunker and immune to standard bombs."Barak further noted the indifference of the West in assisting Iran’s beleaguered people, when he went on to say:"It is not pleasant to see the response of the free world to the activities there, to the trampling of citizens by the regime." CLIP

Iran issues stern warning against rioters (31 Dec 2009) PROTESTS MUST REMAIN NON-VIOLENT!...
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115058&sectionid=351020101
The Intelligence Ministry of Iran has issued a stern warning, asking rioters not to be manipulated by foreigners seeking to once again dominate Iran. The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it will take the necessary steps to deal with those who incite riots and violence in the country. The warning came after protesters took to central streets in downtown Tehran on Sunday, hijacking the Ashura ceremonies, during which people commemorate the 7th century martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) grandson, Imam Hussein (PBUH). The protesters chanted slogans against top government officials and vandalized public property. Iranian anti-riot police forces used tear gas to disperse the protesters. Seven people were confirmed dead during the unrest. The statement added that post-election events in Iran have allowed opportunists to take advantage of the situation and cause extensive damage to the public property. It said that the Islamic Republic has popular support and that the dreams of "a velvet revolution" induced by foreigners will never be realized. CLIP

Obama condemns Iran's 'iron fist' (29 December 2009)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8433281.stm
US President Barack Obama has condemned the Iranian government's attempts to quell recent protests, in which eight people have been killed.He said the "iron fist of brutality" had been used to silence protesters, calling the actions of officials an "unjust suppression". Barack Obama also urged the government to release detained opposition figures. Sunday's protests were the most violent for months. The opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew was killed. Officials deny opposition claims that police shot Seyed Ali Mousavi or were responsible for the deaths of other protesters killed on Sunday. Speaking from Hawaii, Mr Obama said: "The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens."The United States stands with those who seek their universal rights," he said, adding that his government wanted to see all those "unjustly detained" freed immediately. (,,,) Among those reported arrested on Monday were opposition politician Ebrahim Yazdi, a foreign minister after the 1979 revolution and now leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran, his nephew, Lily Tavasoli. The Parlemannews website reported that three aides to Mir Hossein Mousavi had been arrested. It also named two aides to reformist former President Mohammad Khatami as being among those rounded up by the authorities. Mousavi Tebrizi, a senior cleric from the holy city of Qom who is close to Mr Mousavi, is also reported to have been arrested, as is human-rights campaigner and journalist Emeddin Baghi. Iranian security forces have been on alert since influential dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri died a week ago aged 87. His funeral attracted tens of thousands of pro-reform supporters, many of whom shouted anti-government slogans.

Iran condemns foreign interference in protests (29 Dec 2009)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114873&sectionid=351020101
Iran strongly condemns the interference of foreign countries in its internal affairs after the US and Britain praised the group of people who held anti-government protests on the holy day of Ashura. "Moves made by certain individuals aimed at violating the law and sanctities and confronting the Iranian nation on an exceptional day were incorrect and inappropriate. This is rebellion," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast told reporters at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday. "If countries support this violation of law and encourage the protestors, this is considered as interference in internal affairs of countries," he added. "We seriously condemn such acts and think they run counter to prevalent principles in countries," said the spokesman. The Iranian capital on Sunday was the scene of anti-government protests on the anniversary of the Shia Muslim Ashura religious event, during which people commemorate the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) grandson, Imam Hussein (PBUH). Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters who used the religious ceremony to chant slogans against the government. Eight people were killed during the unrest. Police say the force was not involved in the killings, adding that the incidents are under investigation. Washington and London were quick to criticize Tehran for ordering the security forces to disperse the protesters, with the White House strongly condemning the "violent and unjust suppression" of civilians and pronouncing its support for the riots. On Monday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, in a statement issued in London, hailed the “great courage” of those who took part in illegal protests in Tehran, during which several people were killed and public property was damaged. Miliband blamed the Islamic Republic for the deaths, saying they were “yet another reminder of how the Iranian regime deals with protest.” CLIP

US, Israel staged Iran protests: Ahmadinejad (Dec 29, 2009)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ho-vWeOypIxDTi-LBS2tzANtSIEg
TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad branded Sunday's anti-government protests as a "nauseating play" staged by the United States and Israel, state news agency IRNA reported."Iranians have seen lots of these games. Americans and Zionists are the sole audience of a play they have commissioned and sold out," he said on Tuesday in reaction to the protests, in which eight people were killed.

No easy answers in Iran (29 Dec 2009)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/6903890/No-easy-answers-in-Iran.html
Telegraph View: Western governments have rightly condemned the latest round of repression. But they are aware that criticism will intensify hardline efforts. The crisis of legitimacy caused by Iran's fraudulent presidential poll has deepened over the past week in a wave of demonstrations against the clerically dominated regime. The first mass protests followed the announcement in June that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won a second term in office. After sporadic disturbances, serious unrest flared again on the death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the leading religious figure advocating reform. Yesterday, demonstrators were on the streets to express their sympathy for Mir Hussein Mousavi, the runner-up in the June election: his nephew was killed in protests that erupted two days ago on Ashura, the Shia festival which commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet's grandson. Hundreds of thousands of people have come out openly against the government over the past six months; offence has been given to older, more traditionally minded Muslims by the government's treatment of Montazeri; and there are indications of differences within the security forces: these amount to the most serious challenge to the rule of the clerics since Khomeini seized power in 1979. Their reaction has been to deploy their shock troops, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia, and gradually to move in on opposition leaders. In China 20 years ago, the death of another reformer, Hu Yaobang, inspired the democracy movement that was snuffed out in Tiananmen Square. The immediate prospects for its Iranian counterpart seem no brighter; the hard core of the Islamic Revolution remains determined to crush dissent by force. Western governments have rightly condemned the latest round of repression. But they are aware that criticism will intensify hardline efforts to rally support by accelerating the nuclear programme and blaming foreigners for unrest. Persuading Iran to stop uranium enrichment is complicated not only by an invigorated opposition but also by deep divisions between conservatives and reformers within the regime.

Analysis: Beginning of the end for the ayatollahs? (Dec 29, 2009)
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364530777&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
In mid-June, about a week after the presidential election in Iran and at the height of the protests on Teheran's streets, Mossad chief Meir Dagan appeared before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and predicted that the riots would not escalate into a revolution. In the short term, Dagan was right. The protests that began after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the election from Mir Hossein Mousavi did not immediately topple the 30-year-old Islamic regime.But months later, there are those in Israel's defense establishment who believe that Dagan was way off the mark and that the protests that began in June and reignited last week are all part of a process that will ultimately spell the end for the ayatollahs. (...) Israel is, of course, closely following the riots in Iran. Some officials in the defense establishment believe that this is proof of what a few have said over the years - that investing in Iranian opposition groups would do more for stopping the nuclear program than any diplomatic effort.Others believe that either way, the nuclear program will likely not be affected. "This is a clash between radicals and ultra-radicals," one veteran observer of Iran said on Monday. "This is not about accepting Israel or the US but about obtaining more freedom, spurred on by the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and the beginning of a 40-day-period of mourning known as Ashura." While the regime is still far from falling, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is understood to be under immense pressure due to the riots. On Monday, in a rare comment on domestic issues, Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, deputy head of the Iranian military, slammed the protesters and tried to downplay their significance. At the same time, though, the Revolutionary Guards declared a state of emergency. According to one senior Israeli official, this demonstrates genuine concern with the riots and what they could potentially lead to. The Revolutionary Guards is also believed to have a lot to lose. Not just a military force, the corps is the largest commercial enterprise in Iran. The loss of a political power would also mean the loss of billions of dollars.

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BOMBSHELL: Evidence Clearly Indicates Staged Attack on Detroit Flight (December 29, 2009)
http://www.infowars.com/bombshell-evidence-clearly-indicates-staged-attack-on-detroit-flight/
CNN Airs Eyewitness Testimony that ‘Well-Dressed’ Indian accomplice helped Abdulmutallab board without passport and that man on plane filmed entire flight and bombing attempt -- Evidence is emerging that clearly indicates Abdulmutallab was more than just a Nigerian extremist carrying out his anger through an ill-conceived plot to ignite a powdery explosive substance on-board a flight to the United States. Eyewitness testimony pointing to a man helping the accused terrorist board without a passport, along with an unusual cameraman documenting the attempted attack on board the plane raise more than red flags– they point towards an intelligence operation, run as a drill, meant to conjure up public support for a number of fronts in the continuing ‘War on Terror.’CNN interviewed key flight witnesses during their Dec. 28 program who raised these very points, making clear that the full story is still emerging and that wider-connections to intelligence handlers is evident. (...) Put this together with new focus on Yemen ‘in the fight against Al Qaeda’, including calls from Sen. Lieberman to pre-emptively attack, the media’s immediate hype of the event, and the ready-made Body Scanners and other ‘enhanced’ Airport security, it is clear that this is a contrived incident intentionally unleashed to goad renewed support for ever-expanding terrorism-related warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and now Yemen. Just like after 9/11, airport travelers are again prepared to accept greater violations of their liberties and privacy for supposed security. Yet patsies and watchlist-subjects alike have repeatedly been allowed to bypass security clearance and been proven to have ties to the intelligence community.The latest accused ‘terrorist’ Abdulmutallab was very likely the fall-guy in a pattern-drill– handled by wealthy, mismatched associates, allowed to board without required credentials, and videotaped by a cameraman with an unknown connection. Was Abdulmutallab involved with these figures through a drill which ended with an intentionally-failed bombing meant to incite great fear of terrorism? PREVIOUSLY-STAGED TERROR This would fit closely with other elements of CIA-concocted “terrorism.” Many of the 9/11 hijackers and other known extremists were revealed to have participated in ‘dry run’ drills, shared addresses with intelligence handlers or lived on military bases, were allowed to pass through the border despite being on one or more watchlists, and were given VISAS/Passports through execptions and/or special clearance.Similarly, David Headly, named in the Mumbai attack, has been exposed as a CIA-double agent.FBI/CIA provocateurs and exaggerated accounts of extremists groups have continued to emerge from the phony stories given to the public in the cases of many would-be plots, such as in Toronto, the ‘plot’ to bomb the Sears Tower, the Transatlantic liquid bomb plot, alleged plans to ‘blow up a Jewish temple and shoot down military planes’ in New York and more.We see a similar pattern here, the emerging evidence strongly suggests. How long will we allow deliberately-provoked terror incidents to frighten us to death, invade our privacy, erode our liberties, restrict our travel and perpetuate an ever-expanding string of wars? CLIP - CHECK ALSO Government Allowed Plane Bomber to Attempt Attack - Officials Admit Second Man Detained As More Witnesses Emerge - The New, Terrifying, No-Electronics US Flight Security Rules

Detroit Airliner Terror Incident A Convenience Theory (December 30. 2009) http://www.opednews.com/articles/Detroit-Airliner-Terror-In-by-Grant-Lawrence-091227-265.html
I am not one that sees conspiracies everywhere, but I do like a good Convenience Theory. Like the one that is coming together out of the botched terror attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up an airliner in Detroit just as it was arriving.For the last couple of months Saudi Arabia has been bombarding Yemen with fighter jets. Just recently the US sent cruise missles into Yemen in a reported attempt to hit Al Qaeda sites. Also, US fighter jets joined the attacks on Yemen. In return, Al Qaeda reportedly issued a warning that it would avenge US raids. Now it appears that the Detroit bound Airline Terrorist Suspect from Nigeria has supposed links to Yemen. Or at least the suspect is supposedly saying his bomb was made in Yemen.Well just when America needs a good excuse to attack Yemen, conveniently we have one. Now never mind that we have initiated the US and Saudi attacks before this recent terror attempt. Just keep in mind that the Nigerian is a Yemeni terrorist. Some are beginning to question how a No Fly list that bans Cat Stevens and a guy that was writing a critical book on the CIA could miss this 'Nigerian/Yemeni' terrorist. Reports are that the terror suspect was on a Watch List and his dad reported to the US Embassy in Nigeria that his son (the future terrorist) was possibly dangerous. Also some are a bit concerned that this Watch List Detroit Terrorist Bomber was allowed to get on the plane with explosives strapped to his body. Something smells of a needed convenient incident to help promote the attacks on Yemen and the expansion of our terrorist war there.As luck would have it, and conveniently, Congresspersons are calling for a needed expansion of the terror wars to include Yemen. One of the clearest voices for a greater expansion of the terror war is coming from the noted corporate sellout (aren't they all?) Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman warns on Fox News,"Somebody in our government said to me in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, Iraq was yesterday's war. Afghanistan is today's war. If we don't act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war. That's the danger we face."It appears that, according to Lieberman, the government was already getting ready for an expansion of the War on Terror to include Yemen. But the recent bombings of Yemen by the United States proves that point. Still there is one other point I want to mention regarding my Convenience Theory of the Nigerian/Yemeni airliner bombing incident. Parts of the Patriot Act are due to expire this New Years Eve. Now talk about a real convenience. Just as controversial aspects of the Patriot Act are expiring, and there is not a lot of political will to extend them, you get a real terrorist attempt with links to Yemen.How convenient! At this point we can only say that the attempted terror attack in Detroit appears a bit too convenient. It comes at a convenient time for those in the government that want to extend the War on Terror abroad and the Technological Police State here at home. So I am not one to see a conspiracy but I am one to see a convenience. You can call me a Convenience Theorist nut job, but I must call attention to conveniences when I see them. Grant Lawrence - Visit his blog http://grantlawrence.blogspot.com/

US sharply steps up military, economic aid to Yemen (Dec 30, 2009)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091230/pl_afp/usattacksyemendiplomacyaidmilitary
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States is sharply increasing military and economic aid to Yemen, as it has been doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to fight a growing threat from Al-Qaeda, officials said Wednesday.The threat has been highlighted by the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who reportedly confessed to being trained by an Al-Qaeda bomb maker in Yemen for his alleged mission to blow up a US-bound jet over Detroit."To a certain extent you can argue that the airline incident on Christmas day brought attention, public attention to Yemen," a senior State Department official told AFP on the condition of anonymity. CLIP

U.S. Arms Feed Yemen's Gun Culture (Dec 30, 2009)
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49860
When Yemen refused to vote in support of a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution against Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, a visibly angry U.S. delegate turned to the Yemeni diplomat and said: "That will be the last time you will ever vote against a U.S. resolution."Washington's subsequent retaliation, in the aftermath of that negative vote, was predictable. The United States not only downgraded its relationship with Yemen but also cut off all military aid to a country once heavily armed with Soviet weapons. But since that much-talked-about confrontation in the Security Council chamber, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the fluctuating love-hate relationship between the two countries. And this week's aborted attempt to blow up a U.S. plane by a Nigerian student, with ties to a terrorist group in Yemen, has brought the political spotlight back on a country which is proud of its gun culture. Yemen reportedly has over 60 million handguns and small arms spread over a population of some 21 million people. Yehya al-Mutawakil, a former interior minister, was quoted as saying that everyone in Yemen is armed with handguns, while members of various tribes have gone upscale: they are armed with assault weapons, rocket launchers and submachine guns. (...) The projected total, he said, is about 70 million dollars, or roughly the amount provided during the entire administration of former President George W. Bush. "U.S. military aid to Yemen is a double-edged sword," Hartung told IPS. On the one hand, the Yemeni government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh has participated in strikes against al Qaeda and al Qaeda-inspired groups within and around its borders. On the other hand, he said, "The Yemeni government is one of the most unstable regimes in the world, and there is a danger that U.S. weapons and training could be turned against U.S. interests, if there is a change in government there." (...) The government, which is battling an armed insurgency in the south, is also receiving U.S. funds to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Hartung told IPS the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is also involved in counterterrorism efforts in Yemen, at an unknown budgetary cost. "It is also possible that a more visible U.S. role in counterterrorism efforts in Yemen could provide a rallying cry for extremists seeking to garner support for terrorist activities originating there," he added. Hartung said the Obama administration "is essentially initiating a low-level war in Yemen with little or no public discussion about its potential consequences".

Cause and effect in the "Terror War" (DEC 29, 2009)
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/12/29/terrorism/index.html
"The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.'s drone program in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president’s decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan" -- New York Times, December 4, 2009."In the midst of two unfinished major wars, the United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen" -- New York Times, yesterday. Actually, if you count our occupation of Iraq, our twice-escalated war in Afghanistan, our rapidly escalating bombing campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen, and various forms of covert war involvement in Somalia, one could reasonably say that we're fighting five different wars in Muslim countries -- or, to use the NYT's jargon, "five fronts" in the "Terror War" (Obama yesterday specifically mentioned Somalia and Yemen as places where, euphemistically, "we will continue to use every element of our national power"). Add to those five fronts the "crippling" sanctions on Iran many Democratic Party luminaries are now advocating, combined with the chest-besting threats from our Middle East client state that the next wars they fight against Muslims will be even "harsher" than the prior ones, and it's almost easier to count the Muslim countries we're not attacking or threatening than to count the ones we are. Yet this still isn't enough for America's right-wing super-warriors, who accuse the five-front-war-President of "an allergy to the concept of war." In the wake of the latest failed terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines, one can smell the excitement in the air -- that all-too-familiar, giddy, bipartisan climate that emerges in American media discourse whenever there's a new country we get to learn about so that we can explain why we're morally and strategically justified in bombing it some more. (...) There very well may be some small number of individuals who are so blinded by religious extremism that they will be devoted to random violence against civilians no matter what we do, but we are constantly maximizing the pool of recruits and sympathy among the population on which they depend. In other words, what we do constantly bolsters their efforts, and when we do, we always seem to move more in the direction of helping them even further. Ultimately, we should ask ourselves: if we drop more bombs on more Muslim countries, will there be fewer or more Muslims who want to blow up our airplanes and are willing to end their lives to do so? That question really answers itself.

Attack Yemen? By Congressman Ron Paul (video - 5:16)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBNG1F77eoI
Congressman Ron Paul gives his thoughts on Yemen, the attempted airline bombing, the motivations of Al Qaeda, the radicalization of the Middle East, and the negation of our liberties to government provided "security." “The bigger the problem and the more the fear is built up, the more they take away our personal liberties and turn us all into zombies and the American people go along with it and say as long as it makes us safer I guess it’s OK to go along but it’s time the American people woke up and started realizing that there’s a bit of propaganda going on and quite possibly this incident will not only undermine our personal liberties but will also accelerate our intervention and the violence occurring in the Middle East.” Many comment on this statement HERE

US Set for Fresh Yemen Attacks, but Where? (December 29, 2009)
http://news.antiwar.com/2009/12/29/us-set-for-fresh-yemen-attacks-but-where/
Officials Say Talks With Yemeni Govt Aimed at Picking New Targets -- In the shockingly rapid run-up to war in the wake of Friday’s failed lap bomber attack, officials say the United States is poised to launch fresh attacks against sites inside Yemen.The problem, officials say, is picking where to lob the missiles. Officials say American special forces are working with the Yemeni government to try to figure out which would be a good place to attack next. The ideal, they say, would be if they were able to link some site to the lap bomber. The US has been attacking Yemen for awhile, including a series of cruise missile attacks earlier this month against a suspected al-Qaeda hideout, killing several civilians. The full details of what is being called a covert war are just now coming to light, as the abortive Detroit attack has given them opportunity enough to convert it into an overt war. Yemen has been eager to include the United States in its assorted civil wars, as the nation is committing what little money it has almost exclusively to the military efforts, with only dubious success. America’s deep pockets and endless supply of military hardware seem an ideal solution for the government as it tries to crush secessionist movements and combat al-Qaeda, and the lap bombing has created an immediate upswing of support for such a mission.

Yemeni HR groups condemn Sa'ada bombings (29 Dec 2009)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114869&sectionid=351020206
Yemeni human rights groups have condemned orchestrated air raids by Yemeni, Saudi and the US forces against civilians in the northern province of Sa'ada. The groups said the attacks, which have killed scores of civilians including women and children, amounted to "war crimes." The Yemeni National NGO Coalition for Child Rights Care and the Yemeni Center for Human Rights also called on the Yemeni and Saudi governments to stop the attacks. The groups also urged Sana'a and Riyadh to take measures in order to open an investigation into the war crimes against civilians. The Yemeni military has launched a major offensive, dubbed 'Operation Scorched Earth', against Houthi Shias in the northern sector of the country. The government accuses the fighters led by Abdul Malik al-Houthi of seeking to restore the imamate system, which was overthrown in a 1962 coup. The Houthis, however, argue that they are defending their rights against government marginalization, a policy which they believe has been adopted under pressure from Saudi-backed Wahhabi extremists. The Saudi Arabian government has added to the problem by launching its own offensive against northern Yemen. The US military is also said to raid Yemen's northern rugged regions of Amran, Hajjah and Sa'ada which have already been the target of joint Saudi-Yemen offensives. According to UN estimates, during the past five years, up to 175,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Sa'ada to take refuge in overcrowded camps set up by the international body.

CIA present in Yemen since 2008: Report (28 Dec 2009)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114817&sectionid=351020206
The US has opened a covert front against 'al-Qaeda' in Yemen by offering support to the country's military operations, a US intelligence sources says. Citing an unnamed former CIA official, The New York Times reported late on Sunday that about a year ago the CIA sent many field operatives with counterterrorism experience to the country. The report revealed that some of the most secretive special operations commandos have begun training Yemeni security forces. The paper noted that the Pentagon will be spending more than USD 70 million over the next 18 months to train and equip Yemeni military, Interior Ministry and coast guard forces. Yemen's national security chief had earlier declared that the country was receiving assistance from the US in the crackdown on what he called "al-Qaeda operatives" in southern Yemen. Mohamed al-Anisi had told the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz that the Yemeni forces were cooperating with the US military on attacks against al-Qaeda camps. The developments come as international aid agencies and some UN bodies including the United Nations Children's Fund and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees have voiced concern over the dire condition of the Yemeni civilians, who have become the main victims of the conflict in the country. The United Nations, which according to its charter is set up "to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace," has failed to adopt any concrete measures to help end the bloody war.

Battle against al-Qaida stepped up in Yemen (December 24, 2009)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/24/AR2009122400321.html
(...) Information about any spike in U.S. involvement - including an airstrike last week, which missed a key al-Qaida leader but killed other militants and, reportedly, some civilians - is closely guarded by Yemeni authorities, who fear that a visible American role in the country will fuel internal conflicts.As a result, observers can only whisper about Americans coming and going at an increasing rate from a military base in northwest Yemen, or the sightings of new aircraft and drones in the skies above.The training sessions are generally small-scale events that last a few weeks, and the number of military trainers in the country has fluctuated over time, said a senior defense official. The official said the counterterrorism training has varied from ground combat to air and maritime instruction."The U.S. presence is certainly growing there," said Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert at Princeton University, who regularly visits the country. He said it was particularly evident at the U.S. embassy this summer, when he was last in the country. That increase, along with the recent strikes, may only result in more support for al-Qaida in Yemen and stir up anti-government factions, he said."In the end it's probably counterproductive," said Johnsen, adding that video and photos of women and children killed by the blast could create "a recruiting field day for al-Qaida." CLIP

Al-Qaida: US support for Yemen crackdown led to attack (28 December 2009)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/28/al-qaida-us-yemen-attack
US has increased military aid package to Yemen from less than $11m in 2006 to more than $70m in 2009 -- Al-Qaida in Yemen has been galvanised into winning local support over recent months by direct US and British support for Yemen's counter-terrorism efforts, according to sources close to the group. CLIP

Why is the USA in Afghanistan? (Dec 9, 2009) MUST SEE TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE LONG-TERM STRATEGIC AIMS OF THE US/PENTAGON
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2PNzG6q8bE
William Engdahl: Key objective is a permanent military presence in Asia

Afghan civilian casualties up 10%: UN (DEC 29, 2009)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jeFu2Zg2NrPY8rQne16txWOQgj8Q
KABUL — Civilian deaths in Afghanistan rose more than 10 percent in the first 10 months of 2009, UN figures showed Tuesday, amid anger over the alleged killing of children in a Western military operation.Figures released to AFP by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) put civilian deaths in the Afghan war at 2,038 for the first 10 months of 2009, up from 1,838 for the same period of 2008 -- an increase of 10.8 percent. CLIP

North Magnetic Pole Moving East Due to Core Flux (12-26-2009)
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091224-north-pole-magnetic-russia-earth-core.html
Earth's north magnetic pole is racing toward Russia at almost 40 miles (64 kilometers) a year due to magnetic changes in the planet's core, new research says. The core is too deep for scientists to directly detect its magnetic field. But researchers can infer the field's movements by tracking how Earth's magnetic field has been changing at the surface and in space. Now, newly analyzed data suggest that there's a region of rapidly changing magnetism on the core's surface, possibly being created by a mysterious "plume" of magnetism arising from deeper in the core. And it's this region that could be pulling the magnetic pole away from its long-time location in northern Canada, said Arnaud Chulliat, a geophysicist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in France. CLIP

A Cure For Cancer? Eating A Plant-Based Diet - by Kathy Freston (September 24, 2009)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/a-cure-for-cancer-eating_b_298282.html
I have been working closely recently with a few extraordinary nutritional researchers, and I find that the information they have compiled is quite eye opening. Interestingly, what these highly esteemed doctors are saying is just beginning to be understood and accepted, perhaps because what they are saying does not conveniently fit in with or support the multi-billion dollar food industries that profit from our "not knowing". One thing is for sure: we are getting sicker and more obese than our health care system can handle, and the conventional methods of dealing with disease often have harmful side effects and are ineffective for some patients. As it is now, one out of every two of us will get cancer or heart disease and die from it - an ugly and painful death as anyone who has witnessed it can attest. And starting in the year 2000, one out of every three children who are born after that year will develop diabetes--a disease that for most sufferers (those with Type 2 diabetes) is largely preventable with lifestyle changes. This is a rapidly emerging crisis, the seriousness of which I'm not sure we have yet recognized. The good news is, the means to prevent and heal disease seems to be right in front of us; it's in our food. Quite frankly, our food choices can either kill us - which mounting studies say that they are, or they can lift us right out of the disease process and into soaring health. In the next few months, I will share a series of interviews I've conducted with the preeminent doctors and nutritional researchers in the fields of their respective expertise. And here it is straight out: they are all saying the same thing in different ways and through multiple and varying studies: animal protein seems to greatly contribute to diseases of nearly every type; and a plant-based diet is not only good for our health, but it's also curative of the very serious diseases we face. CLIP

EMF-Omega-News 26. December 2009
http://www.buergerwelle.de:8080/helma/twoday/bwnews/stories/188/




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From: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1135892.html

One strike could have ended Iran nuclear program in 2004

By Aluf Benn and Amos Harel -- 18/12/2009

It is possible that years ago, the problem of Iran's nuclear project could have been solved by one tough blow and with relatively minimal risk. At that time, the project was dependent on one facility: the uranium conversion plant in Isfahan.

If it had been bombed, Iran would have lost large quantities of raw material for uranium enrichment, and its nuclear program would have been set back years. But nothing happened, and the Iranians went ahead and dispersed their facilities and materials into fortified bunkers that would be far more difficult to hit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to do everything in order to prevent the Iranians from acquiring military nuclear capabilities, but if he fails, he can pin the blame on his predecessors, who flinched from attacking at the propitious moment. Perhaps that is what National Security Adviser Uzi Arad was getting at when he blamed previous governments for leaving Netanyahu "scorched earth" in advance of further confrontation with the Iranian threat.

People who spoke about the Iranian nuclear project with Netanyahu after last February's election, but before he took office, got the impression that he is determined to act against Iran and for this reason returned to power. He described the nuclear project as an existential threat to Israel - as the potential second Holocaust of the Jewish people.

In the face of international apathy regarding the Iranians in recent months, he frequently praises U.S. President Barack Obama for his diplomatic moves to thwart the Iranian threat, and talks about the importance of encouraging opponents of the regime and independent Internet sites in Iran.

In every public reference to the subject, Defense Minister Ehud Barak emphasizes that "all the options remain on the table." For his part, former prime minister Ehud Olmert relied on the advice of Mossad chief Meir Dagan, head of the "forum for the political prevention of the Iranian nuclear project." Olmert and Dagan believed the Iranian bomb could be delayed by a few years by diplomatic or other means, without incurring the tremendous risks entailed in a war. Barak, in contrast, sought even then to cultivate an option within his field of responsibility.

In May 2008, when then-U.S. president George W. Bush visited Israel, Barak (who was defense minister at the time) and Olmert met with him at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem. They smoked cigars and talked about the Iranian threat. Barak surprised Olmert - whose relations with him were strained - by asking Bush to discuss military matters. Bush refused. Some time later, when he met with Barak in Washington, the president told the minister: "You really gave me a scare" (the actual wording was less diplomatic).

When Netanyahu took office, however, Israeli officials even gave foreign media briefings and leaked details about an attack in the works.

Struggles over power

Today Barak and the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, believe that Israel needs to create capabilities to deal with every scenario. Their stance is partly explained by considerations related to a struggle over power and influence. The defense establishment received a large budget increase for deployment in the face of the Iranian threat, and if that money is to be invested in the IDF and not elsewhere, the army has to persuade the political echelon that it can do the job. If it is impossible to deal with Iran, it would be better to invest the money in secret operations.

This is also an inter-organizational struggle: If the Iranian nuclear project is described everywhere - including in a speech that the director of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, gave this week at the Institute for National Security Studies - as the No. 1 threat to Israel, the identity of the person who formulates the response to it is of crucial importance. Once the army presents a plan to solve the threat, Ashkenazi will be in the game, too, and not only Dagan, whose relations with the chief of staff have turned hostile in the past year.

Ashkenazi has a professional duty to prepare the IDF, to the best of his ability, for the possibility of launching an attack on nuclear sites in Iran. In military forums a frequent comment is that "history will not forgive us" if it turns out, after policymakers ask the IDF for a response to the threat, that the General Staff has not done its homework.

There has been more than one instance in which strategically important decisions were made mainly because the defense establishment put forward a persuasive operational solution that fired up the imagination of the political leaders. Prime examples are the assassination of the Fatah terrorist Raed Karmi in 2002, the assassination of Hezbollah secretary general Abbas Musawi and the plan to assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (Operation Bramble Bush), which was curtailed mainly because of the "Tze'elim 2" training accident (the last two cases, by the way, took place in 1992, while Ehud Barak was IDF chief of staff).

It is also hard to ignore the part played by the air force "lobby," consisting of past and present pilots. Many seem to have a "can do" mentality: If there are bombs, a flight route and targets, all that needs to be done is to move the munitions from point A to point B. Their enthusiasm and persuasiveness can be infectious.

The preparations under way in Israel have a mirror image in Iran, which this week tested a long-range missile and signed a defense pact with Syria. Every few weeks a senior Iranian official threatens a painful and destructive response if Israel dares to attack.

But despite the growing tension around the world, senior experts on security and strategy believe that there is little likelihood of an Israeli attack. In not-for-attribution conversations, they say Israel will not act without a green light from the White House. An Israeli attack on Iran would imperil key U.S. strategic interests - its intended military presence in Iraq until late in 2011, the supply of oil, the stability of the Persian Gulf regimes - and therefore will require authorization from Obama. It is very doubtful that Netanyahu will be able or will want to act alone, leaving Israel exposed to Iran's harsh response without a protective American military and political umbrella.

Year of decision

Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, a former head of the National Security Council, said this week that in his view, Israel will have to decide in the year ahead whether to attack or not. "The question of a decision on attacking Iran's nuclear capability is liable to be very much not theoretical but very practical in 2010," Eiland said at the same conference at which Yadlin spoke. According to Eiland, an Israeli attack will be feasible only in the event that a crisis occurs in nuclear-related talks between Iran and the great powers, followed by a cessation of negotiations altogether and the failure by the United States to cobble together an international coalition against the Iranians.

Another retired major general, Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, who was a Kadima MK in the previous Knesset and advised Olmert on security affairs, noted at the same conference, "If there is no choice, Israel can set back the Iranian nuclear process."

Iran can be expected to retaliate against such an attack with Shihab missiles. Ben-Israel, who specialized in operations research in the air force and took part in planning the attack on the Iraqi reactor in 1981, estimated that Israel would be hit by about 80 Iranian missiles - twice the number that Saddam Hussein fired at Tel Aviv, Haifa and Dimona during the 1991 Gulf War. According to Ben-Israel, the Iranians would also make use of Hezbollah, which serves them to deter Israel from attacking their nuclear facilities: "Hezbollah has more missiles than it had during the Second Lebanon War, but the number of missiles that will be fired at Israel will not be much larger than it was then." (In 2006, some 4,200 Hezbollah missiles and rockets struck Israel, killing 54 people.)

Even if Obama agrees to an Israeli attack, the real dilemma that will confront Netanyahu, his colleagues in the forum of seven and the heads of the army and intelligence, will lie in assessing the benefits vs. the damage. Israel will survive an Iranian missile attack and a rain of rockets from Lebanon. But an attack also carries strategic costs, which will only be aggravated if the operation against Iran does not succeed: Israel will be denounced as a militant and aggressive state, the price of oil will soar, America and its allies in the gulf are liable to be adversely affected - and worst of all, Iran will be perceived as the victim of Israeli aggression and will obtain international legitimization to renew the devastated nuclear project. Israel will also have to gamble on whether Syrian President Bashar Assad will join the war on the side of Iran, or will follow custom and sit on the sidelines.

Only on paper

Another critical question in this discussion concerns the deployment on the Israeli home front. In the wake of the Second Lebanon War, the political and military echelons understand how exposed the civilian population is to a massive missile and rocket attack. The summer of 2010 has already been earmarked by the IDF as an in-principle target date for completion of repairs on essential lacunae. But despite the massive media coverage given to the multilayer defense system against missiles, it is worth recalling that most of its components still exist only on paper. In every scenario of warfare projected for the years ahead, many more missiles will be fired at Israel than can be intercepted by its anti-missile system.

In the face of all the risks and damage, what will Israel gain from an attack? A three- to five-year delay in the manufacture of the Iranian bomb, according to the optimistic estimate. Is that worth the certain price that will be paid and the risk entailed in a complicated air mission so far from home? Do Netanyahu and Barak have what it takes to make that decision? It's not certain. And these doubts lead the experts to assess that Israel will agonize and will talk about a strike, but will do nothing. In their view, it is more reasonable that the U.S. and Iran will continue their dialogue, with "controllable" crises erupting from time to time. As long as Obama sees to it that Israel does not feel isolated and abandoned in the face of the Iranian threat, Netanyahu will not dare attack.

Understanding this, Obama dispatched 1,500 soldiers to Israel for a missile-defense exercise about two months ago, and he continues to operate the sophisticated warning radar that Bush stationed in the Negev. The president prefers to reassure Israel on the Iranian front and exact concessions from Netanyahu on the Palestinian front. The question that is apparently not now under discussion between Jerusalem and Washington is the stage at which Iran will agree to stop its nuclear project under international pressure. Will this be a case of Iranian nuclear brinkmanship, with Tehran just a decision away from a bomb, or will Iran gamble and go the whole way? Even then, it's likely there will be enough experts in the administration and in American research institutes who will recommend that Israel take a deep breath and adapt to the new situation. In other words, learn how to stop worrying and love the bomb.

Despite the experts' assessments - and as MI head Yadlin hinted this week - no scenario promises that the year ahead will be quiet and tranquil. Most of the wars in the past broke out by surprise, because of mistaken risk assessments or seemingly irrevocable political commitments. The same could happen between Israel and Iran.

Prof. Yehoshafat Harkabi was director of Military Intelligence in the second half of the 1950s. Some officers in the present General Staff continue to view his books, notably "Israel's Fateful Hour" and "Nuclear War and Nuclear Peace," as relevant guidelines even today. "What is special about our situation in Israel is that we cannot allow ourselves a process of learning by trial and error," Harkabi wrote in 1986 in the last chapter of "Israel's Fateful Hour." "We cannot allow ourselves the calamities of mistaken policy, lest we are unable to turn around and start over. Our great weakness is that it is very doubtful whether we will be able to backtrack from the wrong path ... Many countries can adopt foolish policies and will suffer accordingly, but without experiencing any great ill, whereas we are permitted only narrow margins of error" [unofficial translation]. Harkabi quotes the British military historian Basil Liddell-Hart: "An important difference between a military operation and a surgical operation is that the patient is not tied down. But it is a common fault of generalship to assume that he is."

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Related articles:

Report: Iran seeking to smuggle purified uranium (29/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1138508.html
Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday. Such imports are banned by the UN Security Council, and diplomats said the assessment was heightening international concern about Tehran's nuclear activities. Such a purified uranium ore deal would be significant because Tehran appears to be running out of the material, which it needs to feed its uranium enrichment program. A summary of the report obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday said the deal could be completed within weeks. It said Tehran was willing to pay $450 million, or close to 315 million euros, for the shipment. (...) Meanwhile, Iran again rejected a deadline for the end of this year set by the world powers on a uranium enrichment deal. "Actually we have a deadline and our deadline is that if no proper response is received [from the world powers] on the deal, then we will go on with further uranium enrichment for our Tehran medical reactor," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters. The United States and the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - Britain, China, France and Russia - as well as Germany, have threatened Iran with new punitive measures if it did not accept a compromise deal by the end of this year. According to a plan brokered in October by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran's low enriched uranium was to be exported to Russia and France for further enrichment of up to 20 percent and processing into fuel for the Tehran reactor. CLIP

Russia to probe alleged Iran uranium deal with Kazakhstan (December 31, 2009)
http://televisionwashington.com/floater_article1.aspx?lang=en&t=2&id=16887
(WashingtonTV)—Russia said on Thursday that it had no knowledge of an alleged uranium deal between Iran and Kazakhstan, but it will look into the allegations.The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Iran was close to clinching a deal to import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan.Iran and Kazakhstan have both rejected the report, which AP based on an intelligence report by an unnamed member-nation of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]. clip

Israel Says Iran Close to Nuclear Capability (28 December 2009)
http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Israel-Says-Iran-Close-to-Nuclear-Capability-80222767.html
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Iran is moving quickly toward the "point of no return." Speaking behind closed doors to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak said Iran will have the technology to build a nuclear bomb by early next year and could produce one in 2011. Cabinet Minister Yuval Steinitz is a former chairman of the committee."Iran is trying to gain nuclear weapons. And if nothing serious, nothing dramatic will be done by the West, it will get there in a year or two," he said.Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Steinitz says Israel has proof that the Islamic Republic is building the atom bomb."There are good, I would say even excellent evidence and intelligence showing that this is the case. And this is crystal clear to all Western intelligence services," he added. Israel is alarmed by Iran's recent test firing of its longest-range missile and previous threats by its president to wipe the Jewish state "off the map." So Israeli leaders are calling for tougher international sanctions on Iran before it is too late. But Israel has warned time and again that if diplomacy fails, it might launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

U.S. army chief: New sanctions likely against 'non-responsive' Iran (20/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1136381.html
World powers are likely to back a new set of sanctions against Iran over the Islamic Republic's refusal to prove it is not trying to build a nuclear bomb, the top U.S. military officer said Sunday. "I think signals are very clearly in the air that another set of sanctions, another resolution, that that's coming," said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Obama administration had given a rough deadline of the end of 2009 for Iran to respond to an offer of engagement and show that it would allay world concerns about its nuclear program. The administration is now beginning a push to get international support for additional penalties against Iran as a result. "I grow increasingly concerned that the Iranians have been non-responsive. I've said for a long time we don't need another conflict in that part of the world," Mullen told reporters while flying from Germany back to the United States. "I'm not predicting that would happen, but I think they've got to get to a position where they are a constructive force and not a destabilizing force." CLIP

After U.S. warning, Israel's top brass discusses Iran nukes (23/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1137098.html
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday convened a meeting of the forum of seven cabinet ministers along with top defense officials to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue. The meeting comes after a White House spokesman said that the U.S. has begun to take steps to confront Iran's unwillingness to "pursue it responsibilities" regarding its nuclear program. CLIP

'No proof Iran nuke program is military' (Dec 25, 2009)
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364500279&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Moscow is not convinced that Iran plans to weaponize its nuclear program, and has not been shown evidence convincing it otherwise, deputy Russian foreign minister Alexander Saltanov told The Jerusalem Post this week. CLIP

Diplomats: Weak climate deal is harbinger of failure on Iran (19/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1136149.html
The weak accord with which the United Nations climate summit closed is a harbinger of world leaders' likely future failure in efforts to impose tougher sanctions against Iran, diplomats said Saturday. The historic climate talks ended Saturday after a 31-hour negotiating marathon, with delegates accepting a U.S.-brokered compromise that gives billions in climate aid to poor nations but does not require the world's major polluters to make deeper cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions. Following the end of the summit, diplomats said that China's flexing of its political muscles in its disputes with the United States at the conference should serve as a warning of what will happen when the Obama administration seeks to bring tougher sanctions against Iran for UN Security Council approval. CLIP

Think tank: U.S. would sideline Israel in Iran nuclear dispute (23/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1136889.html
Israel will find itself diplomatically sidelined and militarily muzzled as the United States pursues a nuclear deal with Iran next year, according to a closed-door wargame at Israel's top strategic think tank. Not even a warning shot by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - the simulation featured an undeclared Israeli commando raid on Iran's Arak heavy water plant - would shake U.S. President Barack Obamas's insistence on dialogue. Israel's arch-foe, meanwhile, will likely keep enriching uranium, perhaps even winning the grudging assent of the West. (...) The simulation -- in which several serving Israeli officials took part on condition their names would not be made public -- was run by Emily Landau, a senior INSS policy expert. Reuters obtained a first look at the conclusions after they were passed to the Netanyahu government. "The idea was to create a situation whereby the Americans try a new, bilateral approach to Iran -- both in terms of curbing its nuclear project and finding a way of satisfying its other demands," said Landau, who sees little future for UN Security Council sanctions given Russian and Chinese balking. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said the wargame results would be incorporated in internal strategic assessments. Such papers are not generally shared with the United States. As it happened, the wargamers hunkered down in long-set stances: Iran entertaining negotiations while refusing to give up nuclear projects it says are peaceful; the United States talking tough but avoiding outright threats; and Israel fuming. CLIP

There’s Only One Way to Stop Iran (December 23, 2009) FOOLISH THOUGHTS, TO SAY THE LEAST!
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/opinion/24kuperman.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&sq=stop%20iran&st=cse&scp=1
(...) Tehran’s rejection of the original proposal is revealing. It shows that Iran, for domestic political reasons, cannot make even temporary concessions on its bomb program, regardless of incentives or sanctions. Since peaceful carrots and sticks cannot work, and an invasion would be foolhardy, the United States faces a stark choice: military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities or acquiescence to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. The risks of acquiescence are obvious. Iran supplies Islamist terrorist groups in violation of international embargoes. Even President Ahmadinejad’s domestic opponents support this weapons traffic. If Iran acquired a nuclear arsenal, the risks would simply be too great that it could become a neighborhood bully or provide terrorists with the ultimate weapon, an atomic bomb. As for knocking out its nuclear plants, admittedly, aerial bombing might not work. Some Iranian facilities are buried too deeply to destroy from the air. There may also be sites that American intelligence is unaware of. And military action could backfire in various ways, including by undermining Iran’s political opposition, accelerating the bomb program or provoking retaliation against American forces and allies in the region.But history suggests that military strikes could work. Israel’s 1981 attack on the nearly finished Osirak reactor prevented Iraq’s rapid acquisition of a plutonium-based nuclear weapon and compelled it to pursue a more gradual, uranium-based bomb program. A decade later, the Persian Gulf war uncovered and enabled the destruction of that uranium initiative, which finally deterred Saddam Hussein from further pursuit of nuclear weapons (a fact that eluded American intelligence until after the 2003 invasion). Analogously, Iran’s atomic sites might need to be bombed more than once to persuade Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. As for the risk of military strikes undermining Iran’s opposition, history suggests that the effect would be temporary. For example, NATO’s 1999 air campaign against Yugoslavia briefly bolstered support for President Slobodan Milosevic, but a democratic opposition ousted him the next year.Yes, Iran could retaliate by aiding America’s opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does that anyway. Iran’s leaders are discouraged from taking more aggressive action against United States forces — and should continue to be — by the fear of provoking a stronger American counter-escalation. If nothing else, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the United States military can oust regimes in weeks if it wants to. Incentives and sanctions will not work, but air strikes could degrade and deter Iran’s bomb program at relatively little cost or risk, and therefore are worth a try. They should be precision attacks, aimed only at nuclear facilities, to remind Iran of the many other valuable sites that could be bombed if it were foolish enough to retaliate. The final question is, who should launch the air strikes? Israel has shown an eagerness to do so if Iran does not stop enriching uranium, and some hawks in Washington favor letting Israel do the dirty work to avoid fueling anti-Americanism in the Islamic world. But there are three compelling reasons that the United States itself should carry out the bombings. First, the Pentagon’s weapons are better than Israel’s at destroying buried facilities. Second, unlike Israel’s relatively small air force, the United States military can discourage Iranian retaliation by threatening to expand the bombing campaign. (Yes, Israel could implicitly threaten nuclear counter-retaliation, but Iran might not perceive that as credible.) Finally, because the American military has global reach, air strikes against Iran would be a strong warning to other would-be proliferators. Negotiation to prevent nuclear proliferation is always preferable to military action. But in the face of failed diplomacy, eschewing force is tantamount to appeasement. We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponing military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.

Policy on Iran: Words or Warheads? (December 29, 2009) A COMMENT ON THE ARTICLE ABOVE...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/30/opinion/l30iran.html?_r=1
Re “There’s Only One Way to Stop Iran” (Op-Ed, Dec. 24):Alan J. Kuperman proposes the most dangerous idea of the coming year: bombing Iran’s nuclear sites, which some suspect are intended not only for nuclear power but also for nuclear weapons. Yet his own argument undermines the case for attacking Iran. As Mr. Kuperman suggests, Iran’s demagogic president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, may have rejected President Obama’s compromise offer on nuclear fuel not because rejection helps him build a bomb but because a “tough” stand plays to Iranian national pride. Such pride goes far beyond Mr. Ahmadinejad’s supporters — which is why opposition leaders have repeatedly warned the West that harsh sanctions or a strike would be a gift to the regime. Iran’s nuclear facilities are buried and dispersed. A strike would be ineffective while killing many civilians. The political reaction would be explosive — including in nuclear-armed, unstable Pakistan.

How would a US-Iran war begin? (Oct 12, 2009)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLT8UjF7ZYY
Ray McGovern (former CIA Intelligence analyst) and Greg Thielmann on the potential catalysts to armed conflict in Iran.

What You Didn't Know About The War
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsrMzfhdmkU
This video is mandatory viewing to all supporters of the war(s). Narration used in the video is DAHLIA WASFI. Her website is http://www.liberatethis.com/ - Please also visit: http://www.antiwar.com/

Vanunu: I was arrested because I have a Norwegian girlfriend (29/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1138464.html
A Jerusalem court on Tuesday released nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu to house arrest, after he was detained for meeting with a Norwegian citizen in direct violation of his parole orders. Vanunu was released after claiming during a court hearing that the relationship between him and the Norwegian woman he met with is of a romantic nature, Channel 10 news reported. "He is not accused of divulging any information," said Vanunu's lawyer Avigdor Feldman, according to Channel 10. "She is not interested in nuclear matters. She is interested in Mordechai Vanunu, who seems to be interested in her." Jerusalem police arrested Vanunu on Monday for violating his parole. Vanunu was released from prison in 2004 after serving an 18-year sentence for revealing details of Israel's nuclear weapons program. Vanunu also addressed U.S. President Barack Obama during the hearing, imploring him for help. "President Obama was a nuclear weapons-free world, and he must work for my freedom. All I want is to be free. I don't have freedom of speech and freedom of movement." (...) Vanunu was a former low-level technician at an Israeli nuclear plant who leaked details and pictures of the operation to the Sunday Times of London in 1986.From the material, experts concluded that Israel had the world's sixth-largest nuclear arsenal. Vanunu was later kidnapped by Israeli intelligence agents in Rome and brought back to Israel to stand trial. Four months ago, the High Court decided that the order prohibiting Vanunu from leaving the country, speaking with foreigners or approaching foreign embassies would remain in force for another six months. The court told Vanunu that after the six months were up, he could petition the court again to annul the order. Before the hearing, he said: "I want and need freedom and only freedom. Twenty-five years is enough. This is not my government. I want to see the world, to be beyond the Mossad and the Shin Bet." Vanunu distributed to the press a letter he wrote earlier this year to the Nobel Prize committee, in which he declined to be on the list of candidates for the prize because President Shimon Peres, who he said was "behind the Israeli atomic policy," was a Nobel laureate.




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From: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1138329.html

Handicapping Mideast war and peace 2010: Pick your dead horse

By Bradley Burston -- 29/12/2009

I have yet to meet the person here, Arab or Jew, who believes that 2010 will be a good year in the Middle East. This may be the only hope we have left. It has happened before. Everyone could be wrong.

There do not seem to be any politicians left - on any side, Hamas and Kahane people included - who truly believe that their own ideology would really, truly, unqualifiedly work here. You can see it deep in the burn-out in their eyes. They are flogging dead horses, and they know it.

Still, with murmurs of impending intifada from Iran to Silwan, it's only natural to rummage the entrails of the year just past, for the kinds of peace signs and war drums that could foretell the year just beginning. Particularly after a year which was mostly entrails. Herewith a number of signs on which Mideast war and/or peace may hinge in the new year:

1. Political and economic upheaval within Iran

In the end, internal turmoil in Iran may prove to have a more decisive impact on the course of the nation's nuclear program, than international sanctions or the threat of military intervention.

More immediately, from a security standpoint, domestic considerations in Iran may also influence the orders and aid sent to Hezbullah and Hamas.

Two scenarios:

Peace: If reform protests widen, Iran's rulers will come under pressure to concentrate on the troubled domestic economy and lessen international isolation. This could force a re-evaluation of the nuclear program, which burdens Iran with the enormous costs of building, maintaining, securing and operating nuclear facilities in at least 16 locations, some of which are among the world's deepest and most expensive bunkers. There could also be pressure to cut military and other financial aid to Hezbollah and Hamas, and to curtail attacks on Israel. By the same token, however ...

War: If deepening reform protests seriously threaten the rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militia, the government could order diversionary escalation by Hezbollah and/or Hamas against Israel. Whether the focus of hostilities was the north or the south, renewed conflagration would almost certainly lead to advanced Iran-supplied Katyusha rocket attacks specifically targeting the Tel Aviv region. Other primary targets could include Ben-Gurion airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor complex.

2. The Avigdor Lieberman indictment

The expected indictment against Lieberman on a range of money laundering charges could be crucial to any resumption of the peace process. But it has been delayed for long months by a range of factors, including the complexity of the case (the evidence is said to involve investigating leads as many as seven countries), the prosecutorial and evidentiary demands of the many graft cases faced by Ehud Olmert as well as the rape trial of former president Moshe Katsav, and the appointment of a new attorney-general who will be called upon to decide when and if Lieberman is to be brought to trial.

Peace: If Lieberman leaves the government [thus effectively gutting his Yisrael Beiteinu party of its public following] the Israeli political map changes overnight. There would be a much greater chance that Tzipi Livni's Kadima party would agree to join the coalition. If Benjamin Netanyahu truly means to move toward a peace based on a two-state solution, Kadima's 28 Knesset seats, the largest of all current parliamentary blocs, and its moderate ideology could anchor passage of key peace moves.

War: Although Lieberman voted for the settlement freeze, such as it is, and has made statements in the past regarding possible partition of the West Bank and even Jerusalem, his presence in the government and the Foreign Minsitry remains one of the strongest bulwarks against a peace process and rapprochement with Israel's neighbors.

3. Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The conduct of the wars may well determine the nature and even the existence of a vigorous White House-driven peace bid for Israel and Palestine. A prompt resolution, as unlikely as that now seems, would free the administration to focus attention and resources on the two-state solution.

If, however, the U.S. public comes to view the wars as quagmires, traditional American isolationism may limit the administration's ability to propose and support compromise solutions, especially if aid is involved, whether military [e.g. peacekeeping] or economic [for settler resettlement]. Moreover, if the goals of nation-building and stability are unmet, the U.S. will be viewed in the Arab world as little more than an occupying power, and unfit as an honest broker. Finally, following a long string of missteps in addressing Israel, the president will at some point need to engage the Israeli public if he is to be seen in the Jewish state as an honest broker.

4. Gilad Shalit, and Hamas at a crossroads

A prisoner exchange involving Gilad Shalit and a total of 1,000 jailed Palestinians could spark a sea change in the Mideast diplomatic equation, especially if it included Marwan Barghouti, the only Fatah leader currently capable of uniting Palestinians and acting as an effective counterweight and partner to Hamas.

The prisoner issue is of paramount importance to the Palestinian public. Israel holds some 10,000 Palestinians in all, and there are few West Bank and Gaza families without family ties to the prisoners. But the prolonged negotiations over the exchange have shed light on the changing role of Hamas, and its difficulty in adjusting to it.

If Hamas does not agree to the exchange, many Palestinians will be bitterly disappointed. But if it does, it will have negotiated with an entity it has sworn to annihilate and never to recognize. What was once a precisely disciplined hierarchy is now an organization whose decision-making is split along various ideological [the issue of accommodation with Israel] and geographical [leadership in Gaza vs. leadership in Damascus] lines.

Then there are difficult domestic questions to address. There is tension in Gaza spurred by radical groups who believe Hamas has forsaken its militant Islamist roots. It is also lost on few Palestinians that the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which they properly view as collective punishment on a colossal scale, acts to enrich Hamas and enshrine its control through its overseeing and taxing the tunnel systems.

5. Israel's relations with Fatah

The recent IDF raid into Nablus illustrated all too well the fragility of the renewal of limited Palestinian Authority autonomy in the West Bank, the cornerstone of U.S. hopes to shore up Fatah in its rivalry with Hamas. The drive-by killing last week of a rabbi and father of seven, a member of a northern West Bank settlement, sparked an IDF decision to launch a raid into Area A, which is under PA civilian and security control. Three Palestinians suspected of the shooting were killed in the raid. Witnesses said they were unarmed when the IDF opened fire. What is clear is that the IDF has undermined PA efforts - largely successful of late - to curb attacks on Israelis. Stay tuned for loss of control.

6. Cast Lead II

No one wants it. The IDF doesn't want it. Hamas doesn't want it. Netanyahu doesn't want it. But everyone is preparing for it. And unfortunately, preparations can be more than just a sign. Preparations can have a terrible way of making the last thing you want, come true.

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Related articles:

Year after Gaza war, Hamas says ready to fight Israel again (24/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1137451.html
One year after Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip, the spokesman for Hamas' armed wing said this week that the Islamist group would not shirk away from a new battle with Israel. "We do not wish for war. We wish for calm and peace for our people," Abu Ubaida, Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades spokesman told Reuters. "But if any battle is imposed on us, we are ready with all our manpower and equipment to confront any Zionist war, any crime and any attack regardless of scale," he added. Israel has said the brigades, which some observers estimate have 25,000 fighters, have been seeking with Syrian and Iranian help to upgrade their rocket capabilities and put the Israeli heartland and the commercial capital of Tel Aviv within range. Abu Ubaida said Hamas had no choice but to improve its arsenal. "The enemy is developing its weapons and is using internationally banned weapons against us," he said, without giving details. "Therefore, we have the right to use any weapon that we deem suitable and we have the right to get into [Gaza] any weapon that we see as appropriate in the ongoing battle with the occupation," Abu Ubaida said, using Hamas' term for Israel. CLIP

Egypt's Gaza wall months from completion - Israel (Dec 30, 2009)
http://af.reuters.com/article/egyptNews/idAFLDE5BT1A720091230?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=egyptNews&rpc=401&sp=true
JERUSALEM, (Reuters) - An underground wall that Egypt is building along its border with the Gaza Strip will significantly stem Palestinian arms smuggling when is completed, an Israeli military officer said on Wednesday. It may be months before it is finished, however, the officer said.Cairo has played down the scope of the dig on the 14-km (8-mile)-long frontier but Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers condemn it as a "wall of death" that could seal an Israeli-led blockade by smothering smuggler tunnels from the Egyptian Sinai. "The wall definitely has the potential to make things difficult, though it (smuggling) won't stop hermetically," an Israeli military officer briefed on Gaza intelligence said."There has certainly been an effect already. It's driving Hamas crazy."Israel has long lobbied Egypt to tackle the cross-border smuggling, which supplies Palestinians with both munitions and basic commercial goods lacking in Gaza. Asked when the Egyptian wall might be finished, the officer, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said: "If they work 24/7, it will still take a protracted period -- months." Egyptian officials have said steel tubes were being placed at several points along the frontier to form a barrier, but have not elaborated on its purpose. Unlike Israel, Egypt maintains relations with Hamas and has an Islamist opposition movement.Citing an unnamed Egyptian intelligence source, Israel's biggest newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said the wall would run as deep as 30 metres (yards) and would be rigged with sensors and pressurised hoses to flood tunnels with seawater. Tunnel-builders say some 3,000 of the underground passages were operational before Israel launched a three-week Gaza offensive a year ago, but only 150 were still functional following the conflict and subsequent Israeli air raids. The Israeli officer said Hamas, using the tunnels, had replenished its rocket and small-arms arsenal since the war. CLIP

Gaza Freedom March (31 December 2009) by Jean Athey who is a retired grandmother of six who lives in Brookeville, Maryland. She is the coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery, a local volunteer peace group in Montgomery County, Maryland. CHECK THEIR Peace Action Montgomery Position Statement
http://www.truthout.org/1231097
We are in the Middle East, seeking a nonviolent solution to the blockade of Gaza. Free Gaza actions are occurring all over Cairo, and so the police, who are often in riot gear, have had a busy day - they show up wherever we go. They are incredibly young, maybe 18 or 19. Typically, they surround us with movable steel fences, which they line up behind, and they watch us with what seems to be curiosity, not malice. However, their innocent appearance doesn't mean they won't become aggressive; police today were very rough with several Spanish protesters. As internationals, though, we have great protection not enjoyed by locals. Some Egyptians have joined in these protests, and we find their courage astounding (...) In that same speech, President Obama acknowledged the dire circumstances of Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular. He said:So let there be no doubt: the state of the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own ... Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security . . . Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress. And, yet, it seems that we Americans have turned our backs on the people of Gaza; we are doing nothing to end the siege, which is creating enormous suffering. We have done nothing to compel Israel to end the siege. Indeed, the US is presently facilitating a strengthening of the siege: it was announced last week that the Army Corps of Engineers is assisting Egypt in further isolating the people of Gaza by helping in the construction of a huge underground wall. This wall will cut off the only remaining sources of food, clothes, medicine, and all othera necessities of life, which now enter Gaza through tunnels from Egypt. How shameful that the US is working to increase the suffering of the people of Gaza rather than to diminish it. CLIP

UK protesters blast Israeli Gaza blockade (28 Dec 2009)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114809&sectionid=351020601
Britain has witnessed major anti-Israel demonstrations, as several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters rallied in front of the Israeli embassy in London. The demonstrators condemned the deadly Israeli offensive and continued Israeli siege of the impoverished Gaza Strip, demanding an end to the 'inhuman' blockade. "We continue to be outraged at the attacks on Gaza and the crimes against humanity that was committed there," Glen Secker from Jews for Justice for Palestinians said on Sunday. The protesters who chanted "end the siege now", also held banners naming Saudi King Abdullah, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as accomplices in the massacre of Gazans. A group of UK parliamentarians also took part in the protests, voicing concern for the Gaza siege. CLIP

'Israel is the persecutor,' says Holocaust survivor on hunger strike for Gaza (December 30, 2009)
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=110169
BEIRUT: An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor entered the second day of her hunger strike on Tuesday, in protest over the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow an international Palestinian solidarity march to enter the Gaza Strip. American peace activist Hedy Epstein came to Cairo as part of an international delegation with participants from 43 countries. The delegation had planned to join Palestinians in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza toward the Erez border with Israel, calling for the end of the blockade on Gaza on the anniversary of the Israeli invasion last December. Egyptian authorities have refused to allow any of the 1,300 protesters entry into Gaza, prompting Epstein and many others to go on hunger strike. “There comes a time in one’s life when one has to step up and risk one’s own body,” she told The Daily Star. “We’re in a desperate situation here, but not as desperate as the people in Gaza.” Epstein escaped Hitler’s Germany in 1939, when she was 14 years old. (...) Epstein acknowledged that she represents somewhat of an anomaly in the American Jewish community. “There is an almost thoughtless, blind support of Israel no matter what it does,” she said. “The issue for Israeli Jews and the American Jewish community is the holocaust, and everything is due to the holocaust. Israel is not being persecuted now, Israel is the persecutor.” Epstein did, however, note a slight change in attitude recently: “Since the massacre in Gaza at the end of last year, I do see a crack in the way people are looking what Israel is doing, and that crack needs to be broken wide open, so that a change will take place.” CLIP

Egypt to allow 100 protesters into Gaza (Dec 29, 2009)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gKc9Qmw6xY4YDWIVeTl0ZN_kS0TA
CAIRO — Protest leaders stranded in Cairo accepted an Egyptian offer on Tuesday to allow only 100 out of about 1,300 protesters into blockaded Gaza after the activists staged demonstrations and a hunger strike. The decision split delegates from more than 40 countries who came to Cairo planning to reach the Palestinian enclave, which shares the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.Some organisers said Egypt's offer was a victory after it initially refused to allow any of the protesters into the Gaza Strip for the Gaza Freedom March, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday. "It's a partial victory," said Medea Benjamin, an American activist and one of the demonstrations organisers. "It shows that mass pressure has an effect."They said the foreign ministry offered to let them choose 100 delegates who would be allowed into Gaza. They were due to leave Cairo for Gaza on Wednesday morning.Activists have staged demonstrations and sit-ins around Cairo to push for entry to Gaza. Dozens of French activists camped out in front of their embassy in Cairo after being refused passage. The offer, however, angered many of the activists. A French organiser rejected it as divisive and said the sit-in in front of the French embassy would continue."This just gives the Egyptian government a photo-up and the chance say we allowed people through," said Bassem Omar, a Canadian protester. Activists left behind in Cairo said they planned further protests. Egypt had said it barred the protesters because of the "sensitive situation" in Gaza. It has refused to permanently open the Rafah crossing since the militant Islamist group Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, prompting Israel's blockade, but opens it for a few days every month. CLIP

Egypt urged to allow Gaza aid (December 26, 2009)
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/12/20091225145733609177.html
British politician George Galloway has appealed to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, to allow a humanitarian aid convoy to cross to Gaza through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba. The Viva Palestina convoy, containing some 210 vehicles and 500 people, is currently stranded in Jordan, with Cairo refusing to allow it passage to Gaza through Nuweiba. Galloway issued the appeal on Saturday through Al Jazeera."Please Mr President Hosni Mubarak, allow us to pass through Nuweiba. We are here only four hours away from Gaza," he said."Otherwise, we should go all the way through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. All fingers should point now against Israel, not Egypt. This is not what we want."But Hossam Zaki, an Egyptian official, insisted that there would be "no entry from Nuweiba", saying "entry can only be through El-Arish".El-Arish is a port on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, while Nuweiba is on the Red Sea. The Egyptian decision means the convoy would have to travel hundreds of kilometres by ferry around the Sinai peninsula and through the Suez Canal. The lorries are laden with European, Turkish and Arab aid - both food and medical supplies. CLIP

Viva Palestina Update: Deal Reached Galloway Statement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-Qi_QB50TM
George Galloway gives a statement explaining a deal that has been reached between the Turkish side of the Viva Palestina Convoy the Egyptian Government allowing the convoy to proceed to Gaza. Aired on December 30, 2009

Viva Palestina Update: Back On The Move Towards Gaza
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxmTK7r2vwM
Update on the Viva Palestina 3 Convoy that was stuck in Jordan due to Egyptian issues. Now back on the move and onwards to Gaza. Aired on December 31, 2009

US congressmen fighting for Gaza - 29 Dec 09
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99H96o5e49Y
A year after Israel's war on Gaza, the territory is still struggling to rebuild.In the weeks after the offensive, politicians from around the world visited the Strip and made promises to help. But it appears many of those pledges have not been delivered. Al Jazeera's Todd Baer caught up with two US Democratic congressmen whose efforts to lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza are being met with stiff resistance.

Israel to seek another 1b euros Holocaust in reparations from Germany (20/12/2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1136383.html
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will demand between 450 million to 1 billion euros in reparations from Germany on behalf of Jews forced into slave labor during the Holocaust, it emerged on Sunday. Minister Steinitz will reportedly present German government with the demand on behalf of 30,000 Israeli survivors of forced labor in wartime ghettos, during a joint session scheduled to take place in early 2010 in Berlin. Israeli officials estimate that according to a ghetto workers act passed by the German parliament in 2002, all of the 30,000 living forced labor survivors are entitled to a retroactive payment of approximately 15,000 euros each. CLIP

Key News: Mumbai Suspect "US Secret Agent," CIA Supported Torture in Palestine, More
http://www.WantToKnow.info/009/091228_mumbai_suspect_secret_agent_cia_torture_palestine

EU calls settlements in Jerusalem Al-Quds illegal (29 Dec 2009)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114861&sectionid=351020202
The European Union has said new settlements in East Jerusalem Al-Quds are illegal under international law and urged Israel to reconsider its plans. “The presidency of the European Union is dismayed at the announcement of the Israeli government to build nearly 700 apartments in the occupied East Jerusalem Al-Quds,” said a statement issued on Monday from Sweden, which holds the EU presidency. The Israeli Housing Ministry has sought bids for the construction of 692 new homes within Jewish settlements in annexed Arab East Jerusalem Al-Quds. Israel's continued expansion of the settlements is one of the biggest obstacles to the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. The plans to build about 700 new Jewish homes in areas of the occupied West Bank has even prompted strong US criticism. The United States has said it opposes Jewish settlement construction on occupied land and has urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume the negotiations, which have been stalled for a year. A spokesman for Palestinian Authority acting chief Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli plan, saying new construction on territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war is illegal.

Israel can't launch strike against Iran on its own (December 30, 2009)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1138680.html
The year 2010 will be the year of Iran. Granted, we have said the same thing every year since 2005. But stopping the Iranian nuclear program will continue to top Israel's priorities during the year that begins in two days' time. The major powers are expected to announce soon that diplomacy has failed to persuade Tehran to freeze its nuclear project. And Western intelligence services believe the Iranians have already accumulated enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb or two. In the meantime, Israel is striving to develop a military option. Judging by certain leaks and remarks emanating from Jerusalem, the use of force seems to be a real possibility. Such preparations are necessary: The Israel Defense Forces must have a military plan in case other measures fail. The defense establishment needs to improve its protection of the home front, which would be hit by thousands of rockets and missiles even in the event of a limited war with Hezbollah or Hamas. Military preparations are also essential to prod the United States and Europe to exert maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic. This will not happen unless Western states come to believe that Israel Air Force planes are starting to rev up their engines. This date with destiny has caused some Israeli leaders to adopt a messianic tone. Some even see a tempting opportunity to change the wider strategic reality in the region. Yet opinions are divided: Air force pilots, as they have stated on several occasions, are confident in their own abilities should the order to strike be given, but senior defense officials are describing their primary mission as preventing any foolish acts in the coming year. The IDF General Staff, as it did during the Gaza offensive, is likely to behave as an operational subcontractor, content merely to present the government with various military scenarios and their possible implications. It must be stated plainly: Israel does not have independent strike capability against Iran - not in the broad sense of the term. The air force is capable of delivering a certain amount of explosives to a given target and bringing most of its aircraft back home intact. But it is doubtful whether Israel can allow itself to act against the wishes of the United States - to stand alone against an Iranian response and begin an open-ended operation against a nation of 70 million people. An attack must be the last resort, not just another option placed on the table. It is best to disabuse ourselves of illusions about our ability to dictate a new Mideast order. That is the lesson learned, in blood, by Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon in Lebanon in 1982 and by George W. Bush in Iraq in 2003. This week, new protests erupted against the Iranian regime. It is difficult to predict whether the demonstrations will ultimately topple the government or simply strengthen it, along with the Revolutionary Guards. Maj. Gen. (Res.) Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, formerly the head of Military Intelligence, recently compared the two most significant developments in Iran - the demonstrations and the nuclear program - to two trucks: "Both of them moved up a gear in the past six months, but it is unclear which will reach its destination first. The regime is losing its legitimacy with so much blood spilled on the streets. Israel must now show caution and patience." Over the past year, the Obama administration has provided the world with ample reason to criticize it for its naivete, its overblown confidence in the power of the spoken word to tear down walls and its impotence on North Korea. On the Iranian front, however, it has acted exactly as it should. Its pursuit of dialogue has pushed Tehran into an uncomfortable corner, created unanticipated common ground between the United States and Russia and could even lead to harsh sanctions against Iran. What Israel needs now is a responsible adult, one who knows how to pull the emergency lever should the need arise. If such an adult cannot be found in Jerusalem, we must hope there is one sitting in the White House.

Israel, U.S. "not discussing" military tack on Iran (Dec 31, 2009 )
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BU1TO20091231
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A U.S.-Israeli dialogue on Iran has not reached the point of discussing a military option to thwart its nuclear ambitions, focusing instead on sanctions in 2010, Israel's envoy to Washington said on Thursday.

Mahathir: US preparing for attack on Iran (31 Dec 2009)
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115061&sectionid=351020104
The former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has warned that the US is preparing to launch an attack on Iran with the help of Israel. "Obama is preparing for a (military) offensive on Iran with the help of his ally, the Israeli regime," IRNA quoted Mohamad as writing on his weblog. Mahathir said that President Barack Obama, who had received the Nobel Peace Prize, did not fulfill his promises regarding withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as a pledge to close the Guantanamo prison. Obama "has not even fulfilled one word of his promises," he said. Mahathir went on to say that the US is expected to launch the war on Iran on the pretext that the Islamic Republic was seeking to build a nuclear bomb. He said that the US will introduce "forged evidences" showing Iran aims to "start a nuclear war against the world." Tel Aviv and Washington have never ruled out the possibility of a military strike against Iran, which is accused by the US, Israel and some European countries of aiming to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its civilian nuclear program. While categorically denying the allegations, Iran says it has the capability to ward off any attack on the country and has stressed that an Israeli or US strike would meet a 'decisive' response from Tehran. Iran says its nuclear program is meant to meet the civilian needs of its people and is being pursued within the framework of international atomic agency regulations. Mahathir also referred to Iraq that came under the occupation of the US and its allies on the pretext that the country has weapons of mass destruction — a claim which proved to be untrue. He questioned "whether we could believe that the war against Iran will be because of its potential nuclear strike against the world?"

Report: Iran to launch counterattack if Israel strikes (12.29.09)
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3826770,00.html
Lebanese al-Nahar reports Ali Larijani said attack will focus on Israel, US bases in Gulf States -- Lebanon's al-Nahar reported Tuesday that Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak against an Israeli attack on his country. Larijani told Mubarak that if Israel dared to attack its nuclear facilities, Iran would launch a counterattack on Israel and all US bases in the country, as well as countries of the Gulf region. The two leaders met nine days ago. al-Nahar's report cites "diplomatic sources in Beirut" as saying that Larijani had asked Mubarak to convey his message to a number of Gulf States the latter was visiting. According to the report Mubarak did indeed convey the message to leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, who fear Iranian aggression within their boundaries. Larijani stressed that Iran intended to retaliate only against American bases used against it, the report says, and therefore urged the states to ask the US not to use bases situated on their territory to attack the Islamic Republic. The report adds that Mubarak's visit to the Gulf States focused on prevention of a regional conflict between Israel and Iran, and that he updated the Islamic Republic as to as to efforts made by the US to the same effect.




3.

From: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114871&sectionid=351020104

US spies: Israel or UK forged nukes report on Iran

29 Dec 2009

US intelligence sources have confirmed Iran's assertions that a document published by a British daily about Tehran's nuclear program is a fabrication.

According to a former CIA official, US intelligence agents have found that the document, which was published by the Times of London on December 14, was fabricated by Israel or Britain, the Inter Press Service (IPS) reported on Monday.

The IPS report was penned by renowned investigative journalist Gareth Porter.

Philip Giraldi, who was a CIA counterterrorism official from 1976 to 1992, told IPS that intelligence sources say the US had nothing to do with forging the document.

He added, however, that US intelligence sources mainly suspect Israel of carrying out the forgery, although, they do not rule out the possibility of the British having played a part in it.

The Times article said that Iran had been secretly experimenting on a key component of a nuclear bomb called the "neutron initiator."

Right after the article was published, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast dismissed the report as completely "baseless."

The Times article did not identify the source of the document, but rather quoted comments by "an Asian intelligence source," who claimed that his government believes that Tehran has been working on a neutron initiator since 2007.

"An Asian intelligence source" is a term some news media use to refer to Israeli intelligence officials.

The Times story came just before US politicians and their European allies launched a new round of verbal attacks against Iran, threatening it with tougher sanctions and the possibility of an Israeli military attack.

Porter wrote US media reports have left the impression that US intelligence analysts are confident about the document's authenticity. This is while it has been widely reported that they have now had a year to assess the issue.

Although Giraldi's intelligence sources did not reveal all the reasons that led analysts to conclude that the document had been fabricated, they did note that the source of the story itself was suspicious.

"The Rupert Murdoch chain has been used extensively to publish false intelligence from the Israelis and occasionally from the British government," Giraldi said.

Other than The Times, Murdoch's press empire includes the Sunday Times, Fox News and the New York Post, all of which are known for the strongly pro-Israeli tone they take in their reports.

Porter added that other than its source, the two-page document itself included a number of giveaways that also indicated fraud.

For example, the image of the Farsi-language original of the document, which was also published by the Times lacked any confidentiality marking, although the subject of the document logically put it into the highly classified category.

Furthermore, the document did not include information about the issuing office or the intended recipients. It vaguely referred to "the Centre," "the Institute," "the Committee," and the "neutron group."

The ambiguity was in stark contrast with the concreteness of the plans, which included detailed instructions about recruiting eight individuals for different tasks for very specific numbers of hours and for a four-year time frame.

The vagueness can be explained by reasoning that security markings and identifying information in a forged document would increase the likelihood of potential errors that could expose the fraud.

The absence of any date on the document also conflicted with the rest of the information, which came in detail. The 2007 timeline was only introduced by the Times' unnamed foreign sources.

A clear motive for suggesting the early 2007 date would be to appease the Israeli government by discrediting the US intelligence community's November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb.

The biggest reason for discarding the document as fraudulent is its attempt to suggest past Iranian experiments on Polonium-210 for use in a neutron initiator, a claim which was ruled out by the UN nuclear watchdog in a February 2008 report.

This is not the first time that Giraldi has been tipped off by his intelligence sources on forged documents. He was the individual who identified those responsible for the two most notorious forged documents in recent US history.

In 2005, Giraldi identified Michael Ledeen, the extreme right-wing former consultant to the Pentagon, as an author of the fabricated letter, which introduced the allegation that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger.

That letter gave the administration of former US President George W. Bush the opportunity to claim that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons program, an allegation that was proven completely false following the invasion of Iraq.

Giraldi also identified officials in the "Office of Special Plans" who worked under Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith as those who forged a letter, allegedly written by a Saddam intelligence aide, about an operation to arrange for an unidentified shipment from Niger.

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Related articles:

Barak: Qom plant immune to regular strike (Dec 28, 2009)
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364529384&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered a pessimistic outlook for those expecting an easy end to the Iranian nuclear crisis when he said on Monday that the recently revealed nuclear facility at Qom was "built over a number of years, located in a reinforced underground bunker and immune to standard bombs." Barak: Hamas power rising, Qom site immune to regular strike Barak made the comments as part of a briefing to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, during which a verbal battle erupted between him and National Union MKs."The Iranian fraud concerning the site, together with their neutron experiments, cannot serve any goal other than uranium enrichment," Barak continued, reiterating previous statements by top IDF intelligence officers that the Qom site did not serve any civilian purpose. CLIP

The Region: Overcast with a chance of nuclear weapons (Dec 27, 2009)
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1261364519733&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
(...) Then there's Iran. Originally, the administration was going to increase sanctions in September. That was moved back to the end of December. Now it is too late to meet that deadline. At best, we are going to see negotiations in January and maybe - maybe - increased sanctions in February. But who knows? That's not all. The administration keeps pretending it has China and Russia on board for sanctions. This is just untrue and will soon become obvious. Either there will be no sanctions, ridiculously weak sanctions or more serious sanctions without these two. Once again, there is no easy way out for the administration from looking like a failure. And by the end of next year or earlier, it will be clear that any sanctions applied aren't working. The year 2010 is the make or break year for stopping Iran. Not hard to guess which it will be if current trends continue.




4.

Recommended by Kelley Elkins (elkins_delgado@yahoo.com)

From: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Americans-Are-Hell-Bent-on-by-Paul-Craig-Roberts-091221-838.html

Americans Are Hell-Bent on Tyranny

By Paul Craig Roberts -- December 21, 2009

Obama's dwindling band of true believers has taken heart that their man has finally delivered on one of his many promises -- the closing of the Guantanamo prison. But the prison is not being closed. It is being moved to Illinois, if the Republicans permit.

In truth, Obama has handed his supporters another defeat. Closing Guantanamo meant ceasing to hold people in violation of our legal principles of habeas corpus and due process and ceasing to torture them in violation of US and international laws.

All Obama would be doing would be moving 100 people, against whom the US government is unable to bring a case, from the prison in Guantanamo to a prison in Thomson, Illinois.

Are the residents of Thomson despondent that the US government has chosen their town as the site on which to continue its blatant violation of US legal principles? No, the residents are happy. It means jobs.

The hapless prisoners had a better chance of obtaining release from Guantanamo. Now the prisoners are up against two US senators, a US representative, a mayor, and a state governor who have a vested interest in the prisoners' permanent detention in order to protect the new prison jobs in the hamlet devastated by unemployment.

Neither the public nor the media have ever shown any interest in how the detainees came to be incarcerated. Most of the detainees were unprotected people who were captured by Afghan warlords and sold to the Americans as "terrorists" in order to collect a proffered bounty. It was enough for the public and the media that the Defense Secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, declared the Guantanamo detainees to be the "780 most dangerous people on earth."

The vast majority have been released after years of abuse. The 100 who are slated to be removed to Illinois have apparently been so badly abused that the US government is afraid to release them because of the testimony the prisoners could give to human rights organizations and foreign media about their mistreatment.

Our British allies are showing more moral conscience than Americans are able to muster. Former PM Tony Blair, who provided cover for President Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq, is being damned for his crimes by UK officialdom testifying before the Chilcot Inquiry.

The London Times on December 14 summed up the case against Blair in a headline: "Intoxicated by Power, Blair Tricked Us Into War." Two days later the British First Post declared: "War Crime Case Against Tony Blair Now Rock-solid." In an unguarded moment Blair let it slip that he favored a conspiracy for war regardless of the validity of the excuse [weapons of mass destruction] used to justify the invasion.

The movement to bring Blair to trial as a war criminal is gathering steam. Writing in the First Post, Neil Clark reported: "There is widespread contempt for a man [Blair] who has made millions [his reward from the Bush regime] while Iraqis die in their hundreds of thousands due to the havoc unleashed by the illegal invasion, and who, with breathtaking arrogance, seems to regard himself as above the rules of international law." Clark notes that the West's practice of shipping Serbian and African leaders off to the War Crimes Tribunal, while exempting itself, is wearing thin.

In the US, of course, there is no such attempt to hold to account Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the large number of war criminals that comprised the Bush Regime. Indeed, Obama, whom Republicans love to hate, has gone out of his way to protect the Bush cohorts from being held accountable.

Here in Great Moral America we only hold accountable celebrities and politicians for their sexual indiscretions. Tiger Woods is paying a bigger price for his girlfriends than Bush or Cheney will ever pay for the deaths and ruined lives of millions of people. The consulting company, Accenture Plc, which based its marketing program on Tiger Woods, has removed Woods from its Web site. Gillette announced that the company is dropping Woods from its print and broadcast ads. AT&T says it is re-evaluating the company's relationship with Woods.

Apparently, Americans regard sexual infidelity as far more serious than invading countries on the basis of false charges and deception, invasions that have caused the deaths and displacement of millions of innocent people. Remember, the House impeached President Clinton not for his war crimes in Serbia, but for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Americans are more upset by Tiger Woods' sexual affairs than they are by the Bush and Obama administrations' destruction of US civil liberty. Americans don't seem to mind that "their" government for the last eight years has resorted to the detention practices of 1,000 years ago -- simply grab a person and throw him into a dungeon forever without bringing charges and obtaining a conviction.

According to polls, Americans support torture, a violation of both US and international law, and Americans don't mind that their government violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spies on them without obtaining warrants from a court. Apparently, the brave citizens of the "sole remaining superpower" are so afraid of terrorists that they are content to give up liberty for safety, an impossible feat.

With stunning insouciance, Americans have given up the rule of law that protected their liberty. The silence of law schools and bar associations indicates that the age of liberty has passed. In short, the American people support tyranny. And that's where they are headed.

---

Related article:

Israel Rules - By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts12302009.html
On Christmas eve, the New York Times delivered forth a call for war. “There’s only one way to stop Iran,” declared Alan J. Kuperman, and that is “military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.” Kuperman is described as the “director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin,” but his Christmas eve call to war relies on disinformation and contradiction, not on objective scholarly analysis.For example, Kuperman contradicts the unanimous report of America’s 16 intelligence agencies, the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Russian intelligence with his claim that Iran has a nuclear weapon program. Astonishingly, it does not occur to Kuperman that readers might wonder how an academic bureaucrat in Austin, Texas, has better information than these authorities. (...) The US, the world's greatest supporter of terrorism, is the main financier of terrorist groups that stage attacks within Iran, and US money succeeded in financing protests against President Ahmadinejad's re-election and in dividing the ruling Islamic clerics. It was American money, weapons, and diplomatic cover that enabled the Israeli war crimes against the Lebanese people during 2006 and against Palestinian civilians in Gaza during 2008-2009, crimes documented in the Goldstone Report. Iran has never interfered in US internal affairs, but the US has a long record of interfering in Iranian affairs. In 1953 the US overthrew Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammed Mosaddeq and installed a puppet who tortured Iranians who desired political independence. Despite this and other American offenses against Iran, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly expressed Iran's interest to be on friendly terms with the United States, only to be repeatedly rebuffed. The US wants war with Iran in order to expand US world hegemony. (...) In the second decade of the 21st century, America’s Zionist wars against Islam will expand. America’s wars in behalf of Israel’s territorial expansion will complete the bankruptcy of America. The Treasury’s bonds to finance the US government’s enormous deficits will lack for buyers. Therefore, the bonds will be monetized by the Federal Reserve. The result will be rising rates of inflation. The inflation will destroy the dollar as world reserve currency, and the US will no longer be able to pay for its imports. Shortages will appear, including food and gasoline, and “Superpower America” will find itself pressed to the wall as a third world country unable to pay its debts. America has been brought low, both morally and economically, by its obeisance to the Israel Lobby. Even Jimmy Carter, a former President of the United States and Governor of Georgia recently had to apologize to the Israel Lobby for his honest criticisms of Israel’s inhumane treatment of the occupied Palestinians in order for his grandson to be able to run for a seat in the Georgia state senate.This should tell the macho super-power American tough guys who really runs “their” country.




5.

From: http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1887-dred-scott-redux-obama-and-the-supremes-stand-up-for-slavery.html

Obama and the Supremes Stand Up for Slavery

Written by Chris Floyd - 18 December 2009

While we were all out doing our Christmas shopping, the highest court in the land quietly put the kibosh on a few more of the remaining shards of human liberty.

It happened earlier this week, in a discreet ruling that attracted almost no notice and took little time. In fact, our most august defenders of the Constitution did not have to exert themselves in the slightest to eviscerate not merely 220 years of Constitutional jurisprudence but also centuries of agonizing effort to lift civilization a few inches out of the blood-soaked mire that is our common human legacy. They just had to write a single sentence.

Here's how the bad deal went down. After hearing passionate arguments from the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court acquiesced to the president's fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a "suspected enemy combatant" by the president or his designated minions is no longer a "person." They will simply cease to exist as a legal entity. They will have no inherent rights, no human rights, no legal standing whatsoever -- save whatever modicum of process the government arbitrarily deigns to grant them from time to time, with its ever-shifting tribunals and show trials.

This extraordinary ruling occasioned none of those deep-delving "process stories" that glut the pages of the New York Times, where the minutiae of policy-making or political gaming is examined in highly-spun, microscopic detail doled out by self-interested insiders. Obviously, giving government the power to render whole classes of people "unpersons" was not an interesting subject for our media arbiters. It was news that wasn't fit to print. Likewise, the ruling provoked no thundering editorials in the Washington Post, no savvy analysis from the high commentariat -- and needless to say, no outrage whatsoever from all our fierce defenders of individual liberty on the Right.

But William Fisher noticed, and gave this report at Antiwar.com:

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to review a lower court’s dismissal of a case brought by four British former Guantanamo prisoners against former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the detainees’ lawyers charged Tuesday that the country’s highest court evidently believes that "torture and religious humiliation are permissible tools for a government to use."

...Channeling their predecessors in the George W. Bush administration, Obama Justice Department lawyers argued in this case that there is no constitutional right not to be tortured or otherwise abused in a U.S. prison abroad.

The Obama administration had asked the court not to hear the case. By agreeing, the court let stand an earlier opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court, which found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – a statute that applies by its terms to all "persons" – did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law.

The lower court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that "torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants."


The Constitution is clear: no person can be held without due process; no person can be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. And the U.S. law on torture of any kind is crystal clear: it is forbidden, categorically, even in time of "national emergency." And the instigation of torture is, under U.S. law, a capital crime. No person can be tortured, at any time, for any reason, and there are no immunities whatsoever for torture offered anywhere in the law.

And yet this is what Barack Obama -- who, we are told incessantly, is a super-brilliant Constitutional lawyer -- has been arguing in case after case since becoming president: Torturers are immune from prosecution; those who ordered torture are immune from prosecution. They can't even been sued for, in the specific case under review, subjecting uncharged, indefinitely detained captives to "beatings, sleep deprivation, forced nakedness, extreme hot and cold temperatures, death threats, interrogations at gunpoint, and threatened with unmuzzled dogs."

Again, let's be absolutely clear: Barack Obama has taken the freely chosen, public, formal stand -- in court -- that there is nothing wrong with any of these activities. Nothing to answer for, nothing meriting punishment or even civil penalties. What's more, in championing the lower court ruling, Barack Obama is now on record as believing -- insisting -- that torture is an ordinary, "foreseeable consequence" of military detention of all those who are arbitrarily declared "suspected enemy combatants."

And still further: Barack Obama has now declared, openly, of his own free will, that he does not consider these captives to be "persons." They are, literally, sub-humans. And what makes them sub-humans? The fact that someone in the U.S. government has declared them to be "suspected enemy combatants." (And note: even the mere suspicion of being an "enemy combatant" can strip you of your personhood.)

This is what President Barack Obama believes -- believes so strongly that he has put the full weight of the government behind a relentless series of court actions to preserve, protect and defend these arbitrary powers. (For a glimpse at just a sliver of such cases, see here and here.)

One co-counsel on the case, Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, zeroed in on the noxious quintessence of the position taken by the Court, and by our first African-American president: its chilling resemblance to the notorious Dred Scott ruling of 1857, which upheld the principle of slavery. As Fisher notes:

"Another set of claims are dismissed because Guantanamo detainees are not ‘persons’ within the scope of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – an argument that was too close to Dred Scott v. Sanford for one of the judges on the court of appeals to swallow," he added.

The Dred Scott case was a decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1857. It ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants — whether or not they were slaves — were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States.

And now, once again, 144 years after the Civil War, we have established as the law of the land and the policy of the United States government that whole classes of people can be declared "non-persons" and have their liberty stripped away -- and their torturers and tormentors protected and coddled by authority -- at a moment's notice, with no charges, no defense, no redress, on nothing more than the suspicion that they might be an "enemy combatant," according to the arbitrary definition of the state.

Barack Obama has had the audacity to declare himself the heir and embodiment of the lifework of Martin Luther King. Can this declaration of a whole new principle of universal slavery really be what King was dreaming of? Is this the vision he saw on the other side of the mountain? Or is not the nightmarish inversion of the ideal of a better, more just, more humane world that so many have died for, in so many places, down through the centuries?

---

Among the numerous comments posted there, here is a telling one: "You all get the salient point of this article: We are all serfs now. What has been done here does not shred the Constitution, it eliminates it completely, not just for "suspected enemy combatants" but for each and every one of us, from the minute this depraved abomination of a SCOTUS bowed to the hysterical conniptions of the Flunky-In-Chief and refused to consider reversing that barbaric decision which could have been penned by Torquemada himself. Let me repeat this: We are all serfs now, not "free people" in anybody's sense of the word. Re-read this incomparable essay, and contemplate your new status. Think about just what it means, because everything is GONE now, for all of us. Organize against it and guess what you become? Welcome to the Gulag, sisters and brothers, and it's going to get a lot worse."

---

Related article and video:

Supreme Court Guts Due Process Protection (DECEMBER 20, 2009) http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/12/supreme-court-guts-due-process-protection.html
Reader Walter passed along this distressing sighting from Chris Floyd’s blog. American civil liberties were gutted last week, and the media failed to take note of it.The development? If the president or one of his subordinates declares someone to be an “enemy combatant” (the 21st century version of “enemy of the state”) he is denied any protection of the law. So any trouble-maker (which means anyone) can be whisked away, incarcerated, tortured, “disappeared,” you name it. (...)It is hard to overstate the significance of this horrid decision. The fact that the Supreme Court authorized this land grab says we no longer have an independent judiciary, that the Supreme Court itself is gutting the protections supposedly provided by the legal system. (...) The implications are FAR worse. Anyone can be stripped, with NO RECOURSE, of all their legal rights on a Presidential say so. Readers in the US no longer have any security under the law. Roman citizens enjoyed a right to a trial, a right of appeal, and could not be tortured, whipped, or executed except if found guilty of treason, and anyone charged with treason could demand a trial in Rome. We have regressed more than 2000 years with this appalling ruling.

- AGAIN MANY COMMENTS POSTED THERE INCLUDING: "I am beginning to believe Oh’bama was nothing but a Trojan Horse all along, a virus whose sole intent is to destroy whatever Bush left of the Constitution. Two administrations one after another assaulting incessantly every remnant of civil liberties and human rights cannot be coincidental. This development, plus his escalation of America’s involvement in the Middle East, plus his betrayal of the American people with his pathetic healthcare bill, plus the rapid impovereshing of the American people to the immense benefit of his accomplices on Wall St, to me indicates just one thing: This man is an Antichrist by every definition of the word. This is a very sad day for America." AND ...

"And these powers acceded to the Executive will be used. Oh the idea is that, as of now, these will only be used ‘rarely,’ and against ‘bad guys.’ Critics and truth-tellers are bad guys from the standpoint of the powers that be. Not that everyone in the US has had due process during the course of American history. If you were a non-Protestant immigrant, person of any color other than ‘white’ [sic], or advocate of some political position judged ‘un-American’ prior to 1954 or so, you couldn’t expect any kind of due process from the Federal Government, and far less than that from many state governments. The extension of fair play, human rights and, y’know, basic human decency to the rest of the population and those passing through was a grudging and embarrassed concession, wrested from power by noncompliance and tireless legal advocacy. Many in the US have never accepted this change, have wanted to retain the color of authority to abuse anyone who, in a given hour, they hate and fear, or simply hold in contempt. We have been moving toward this moment since Reagan came into office and now we are there. These powers will be used, on some widespread and intentional basis to undermine and as necessary suppress dissent, some time in the next twenty years. To me, that is a given. The effort will fail because the long trend in American history has been the steady extension of civil rights and liberties to the population as a whole. But, consider this: American policy for four generations _abroad_ has been exactly what the policy was for generations before against indigenous resistance in North America: massacre, suppression, disappearance, gulags, show trials, legislative theft, Executive subjugation. There isn’t a day where this approach isn’t operative in some country off-shore where ‘American interests’ are advanced; if you bother to educate yourself at all, this is incontestable. What we are really seeing is that as resistance to the US mounts abroad and those efforts off-shore become more compromised of success, as opposed to continuance, the methods are seeping home. A crucial part of the American Big Lie is that we refuse to acknowledge the blood on our hands overseas and the implied racism embedded in our policies. Now, we will bring them home to use against ‘dissenters.’I don’t know that such an effort will be major in scale, but it will be tried. Because the unchecked power to disappear individuals one finds vexatious is simply too tasty for those who hold it to deny themselves the pleasure of the option. We can see now how little in the way of principle and nothing whatsoever in the stead of scruple are possessed by the kind of folks who make their address on Pennsylvania Avenue for four years. We are fascist now de facto, and before long at all our deeds will be fascistic in substance and de jure. Not the citizenry en masse, but those who have hollowed out and taken over the government of us all. I look forward to the failure of that program—and it will fail execrably—but not to the walking of the road from this day to that one."

Fall of the Republic HQ full length version (23 October 2009) A film by Alex Jones 2 hr 24 min
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU
Fall Of The Republic documents how an offshore corporate cartel is bankrupting the US economy by design. Leaders are now declaring that world government has arrived and that the dollar will be replaced by a new global currency.President Obama has brazenly violated Article 1 Section 9 of the US Constitution by seating himself at the head of United Nations' Security Council, thus becoming the first US president to chair the world body. A scientific dictatorship is in its final stages of completion, and laws protecting basic human rights are being abolished worldwide; an iron curtain of high-tech tyranny is now descending over the planet. A worldwide regime controlled by an unelected corporate elite is implementing a planetary carbon tax system that will dominate all human activity and establish a system of neo-feudal slavery. The image makers have carefully packaged Obama as the world's savior; he is the Trojan Horse manufactured to pacify the people just long enough for the globalists to complete their master plan. This film reveals the architecture of the New World Order and what the power elite have in store for humanity. More importantly it communicates how We The People can retake control of our government, turn the criminal tide and bring the tyrants to justice.




6.

From: http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?linkid=103968

Welcome to Orwell’s World 2010

By John Pilger

December 30, 2009

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell described a superstate called Oceania, whose language of war inverted lies that “passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’, ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”

Barack Obama is the leader of a contemporary Oceania. In two speeches at the close of the decade, the Nobel Peace Prize winner affirmed that peace was no longer peace, but rather a permanent war that “extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan” to “disorderly regions and diffuse enemies”. He called this “global security” and invited our gratitude. To the people of Afghanistan, which America has invaded and occupied, he said wittily: “We have no interest in occupying your country.”

In Oceania, truth and lies are indivisible. According to Obama, the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001 was authorised by the United Nations Security Council. There was no UN authority. He said the “the world” supported the invasion in the wake of 9/11 when, in truth, all but three of 37 countries surveyed by Gallup expressed overwhelming opposition. He said that America invaded Afghanistan “only after the Taliban refused to turn over [Osama] bin Laden”. In 2001, the Taliban tried three times to hand over bin Laden for trial, reported Pakistan’s military regime, and were ignored. Even Obama’s mystification of 9/11 as justification for his war is false. More than two months before the Twin Towers were attacked, the Pakistani foreign minister, Niaz Naik, was told by the Bush administration that an American military assault would take place by mid-October. The Taliban regime in Kabul, which the Clinton administration had secretly supported, was no longer regarded as “stable” enough to ensure America’s control over oil and gas pipelines to the Caspian Sea. It had to go.

Obama’s most audacious lie is that Afghanistan today is a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda’s attacks on the West. His own national security adviser, General James Jones, said in October that there were “fewer than 100” al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. According to US intelligence, 90 per cent of the Taliban are hardly Taliban at all, but “a tribal localised insurgency [who] see themselves as opposing the US because it is an occupying power”. The war is a fraud. Only the terminally gormless remain true to the Obama brand of “world peace”.

Beneath the surface, however, there is serious purpose. Under the disturbing General Stanley McCrystal, who gained distinction for his assassination squads in Iraq, the occupation of one of the most impoverished countries is a model for those “disorderly regions” of the world still beyond Oceania’s reach. This is a known as COIN, or counter-insurgency network, which draws together the military, aid organisations, psychologists, anthropologists, the media and public relations hirelings. Covered in jargon about winning hearts and minds, its aim is to pit one ethnic group against another and incite civil war: Tajiks and Uzbecks against Pashtuns.

The Americans did this in Iraq and destroyed a multi-ethnic society. They bribed and built walls between communities who had once inter-married, ethnically cleansing the Sunni and driving millions out of the country. The embedded media reported this as “peace”, and American academics bought by Washington and “security experts” briefed by the Pentagon appeared on the BBC to spread the good news. As in Nineteen Eighty-Four, the opposite was true.

Something similar is planned for Afghanistan. People are to be forced into “target areas” controlled by warlords bankrolled by the Americans and the opium trade. That these warlords are infamous for their barbarism is irrelevant. “We can live with that,” a Clinton-era diplomat said of the persecution of women in a “stable” Taliban-run Afghanistan. Favoured western relief agencies, engineers and agricultural specialists will attend to the “humanitarian crisis” and so “secure” the subjugated tribal lands.

That is the theory. It worked after a fashion in Yugoslavia where the ethnic-sectarian partition wiped out a once peaceful society, but it failed in Vietnam where the CIA’s “strategic hamlet program” was designed to corral and divide the southern population and so defeat the Viet Cong -- the Americans’ catch-all term for the resistance, similar to “Taliban”.

Behind much of this are the Israelis, who have long advised the Americans in both the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures. Ethnic-cleansing, wall-building, checkpoints, collective punishment and constant surveillance – these are claimed as Israeli innovations that have succeeded in stealing most of Palestine from its native people. And yet for all their suffering, the Palestinians have not been divided irrevocably and they endure as a nation against all odds.

The most telling forerunners of the Obama Plan, which the Nobel Peace Prize winner and his strange general and his PR men prefer we forget, are those that failed in Afghanistan itself. The British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th century attempted to conquer that wild country by ethnic cleansing and were seen off, though after terrible bloodshed. Imperial cemeteries are their memorials. People power, sometimes baffling, often heroic, remains the seed beneath the snow, and invaders fear it.

“It was curious,” wrote Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same, everywhere, all over the world … people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same people who … were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.”

More from John Pilger at http://www.johnpilger.com




7.

From: http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/tre5bs0hz-us-russia-usa-treaty/

U.S. missile shield holding up nuclear deal: Putin

By Gleb Bryanski - 2009/12/29

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Dec. 29, 2009 (Reuters) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday U.S. plans for a missile defense system were the main obstacle to reaching a new deal on reducing Cold War arsenals of nuclear weapons.

The two largest nuclear powers say they are close to agreeing on a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), although U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have yet to clinch a deal.

Asked by a reporter what the biggest problem was in the talks, Putin said: "What is the problem? The problem is that our American partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one."

Speaking to reporters in the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, Putin said the U.S. plans would fundamentally disrupt the Cold War balance of power and Russia would thus be forced to develop new offensive weapons.

The comments, from Russia's most powerful politician, showed the seriousness of the problems hampering talks on a replacement for START I and illustrated the deep unease still felt in Moscow over Washington's missile defense plans.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly rejected any attempt to broaden the START negotiations to cover defensive weapons systems, although another senior U.S. official voiced optimism over the talks.

"We have made substantial progress in the negotiations and remain confident that when talks resume in January that we'll be able to finalize an agreement," the senior official said.

In September, Obama said the United States would scrap parts of George W. Bush's missile defense plans, a step seen as an attempt to allay Kremlin fears that the system was a direct threat to Russia.

Cutting the thousands of nuclear weapons accumulated during the Cold War is the centerpiece of Obama's efforts to "reset" relations with Russia, which the United States is pressing to offer more help on Afghanistan and Iran.

OFFENSIVE WEAPONS SYSTEMS

Russia's leaders have remained wary about Obama's revised missile defense plans, which are based on sea- and land-based missile interceptors in Europe.

"If we are not developing an anti-missile shield, then there is a danger that our partners, by creating such 'an umbrella,' will feel completely secure and thus can allow themselves to do what they want, disrupting the balance, and aggressiveness will rise immediately," Putin said.

"In order to preserve balance ... we need to develop offensive weapons systems," Putin said, echoing a pledge by Medvedev last week to develop a new generation of strategic nuclear weapons.

Putin said Moscow wanted more information about the U.S. plans in exchange for details about Russia's deployed nuclear offensive missiles.

"The problems of anti-missile defense and offensive weapons are very tightly linked to each other," he said, adding that talks on a new treaty were moving in a generally positive direction.

The State Department's Kelly said the new START agreement would "break no new ground" on defensive weapons systems.

"While the United States has long agreed that there is a relationship between missile offense and defense, we believe the START follow-on agreement is not the appropriate vehicle for addressing it," Kelly said in a statement.

"We have agreed to continue to discuss the topic of missile defense with Russia in a separate venue," he said.

Russia and the United States failed to agree on a successor to START I by December 5, when the treaty was due to expire, and have extended it as they try to work out a new agreement.

Obama and Medvedev failed to clinch a deal when they met on the sidelines of the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen earlier this month. No reason was given, although they said they were close to an agreement.




8.

From: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/08/scientists-confirm-effectiveness-of-big.html

Scientists Confirm the Effectiveness of The Big Lie - People Will Go To Extraordinary Lengths to Create False Justifications for Government Misdeeds

Washington's Blog - August 25, 2009

Adolph Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:

"All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true in itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying."

Similarly, Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, wrote:

"That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one's secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous."

Science has now helped to explain why the big lie is effective.

Specifically, sociologists from four major research institutions investigated why so many Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, years after it became obvious that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

The researchers found, as described in an article in the journal Sociological Inquiry (and re-printed by Newsweek):

Many Americans felt an urgent need to seek justification for a war already in progress

Rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe.

"For the most part people completely ignore contrary information."

"The study demonstrates voters' ability to develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information."

People get deeply attached to their beliefs, and form emotional attachments that get wrapped up in their personal identity and sense of morality, irrespective of the facts of the matter.

"We refer to this as 'inferred justification' because for these voters, the sheer fact that we were engaged in war led to a post-hoc search for a justification for that war.

"People were basically making up justifications for the fact that we were at war."

"They wanted to believe in the link [between 9/11 and Iraq] because it helped them make sense of a current reality. So voters‚ ability to develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information, whether we think that is good or bad for democratic practice, does at least demonstrate an impressive form of creativity.

As the study notes, this tendency of many people to make up false stories to explain why we went to war and then to hold on to such false beliefs in the face of contrary evidence is "a serious challenge to democratic theory and practice". Until people learn to think more clearly and rationally, they are easily manipulated.

All a government has to do is tell a big enough lie, and many people will swallow it hook, line and sinker. Or the government can just do something big—like starting a war for no good reason (or giving trillions in bailouts to the wealthiest corporations instead of the "little people" who most need it?)—and many people will struggle mightily to themselves concoct false justifications for doing so.




9.

From: http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/12/200912883024475217.html

'The US military is exhausted'

By Sarah Lazare -- DECEMBER 26, 2009

The US army is overstretched and exhausted, says peace campaigner Sarah Lazare

The call for over 30,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan is a travesty for the people of that country who have already suffered eight brutal years of occupation.

It is also a harsh blow to the US soldiers facing imminent deployment.

As Barack Obama, the US president, gears up for a further escalation that will bring the total number of troops in Afghanistan to over 100,000, he faces a military force that has been exhausted and overextended by fighting two wars.

Many from within the ranks are openly declaring that they have had enough, allying with anti-war veterans and activists in calling for an end to the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with some active duty soldiers publicly refusing to deploy.

This growing movement of military refusers is a voice of sanity in a country slipping deeper into unending war.

The architects of this war would be well-advised to listen to the concerns of the soldiers and veterans tasked with carrying out their war policies on the ground.

Many of those being deployed have already faced multiple deployments to combat zones: the 101st Airborne Division, which will be deployed to Afghanistan in early 2010, faces its fifth combat tour since 2002.

"They are just going to start moving the soldiers who already served in Iraq to Afghanistan, just like they shifted me from one war to the next," said Eddie Falcon, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Soldiers are going to start coming back with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), missing limbs, problems with alcohol, and depression."

Many of these troops are still suffering the mental and physical fallout from previous deployments.

Rates of PTSD and traumatic brain injury among troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have been disproportionately high, with a third of returning troops reporting mental problems and 18.5 per cent of all returning service members battling either PTSD or depression, according to a study by the Rand Corporation.
Marine suicides doubled between 2006 and 2007, and army suicides are at the highest rate since records were kept in 1980.

Resistance in the ranks

US army soldiers are refusing to serve at the highest rate since 1980, with an 80 per cent increase in desertions since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the Associated Press.
These troops refuse deployment for a variety of reasons: some because they ethically oppose the wars, some because they have had a negative experience with the military, and some because they cannot psychologically survive another deployment, having fallen victim to what has been termed "Broken Joe" syndrome.

Over 150 GIs have publicly refused service and spoken out against the wars, all risking prison and some serving long sentences, and an estimated 250 US war resisters are currently taking refuge in Canada.
This resistance includes two Fort Hood, Texas, soldiers, Victor Agosto and Travis Bishop, who publicly resisted deployment to Afghanistan this year, facing prison sentences as a result, with Bishop still currently detained.

"There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan," wrote Agosto, upon refusing his service last May. "The occupation is immoral and unjust."

Within the US military, GI resisters and anti-war veterans have organised through broad networks of veteran and civilian alliances, as well as through IVAW, comprised of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

This organisation, which is over 1,700 strong, with members across the world, including active-duty members on military bases, is opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and openly supports GI resistance.

"Iraq Veterans Against the War calls on Obama to end the war in Afghanistan (and Iraq) by withdrawing troops immediately and unconditionally," wrote Jose Vasquez, the executive director of IVAW, in a December 2 open letter.

"It's not time for our brothers and sisters in arms to go to Afghanistan. It's time for them to come home."
No clear progress

GI coffee houses have sprung up at several military bases around the country. In the tradition of the GI coffee houses of the Vietnam war era, these cafes provide a space where active duty troops can speak freely and access resources about military refusal, PTSD, and veteran and GI movements against the war.

"Here at Fort Lewis, we've lost 20 soldiers from the most recent round of deployments," said Seth Menzel, an Iraq combat veteran and founding organiser of Coffee Strong, a GI coffee house at the sprawling Washington army base.

"We've seen resistance to deployment, mainly based on the fact that soldiers have been deployed so many times they don't have the patience to do it again."

As the occupation of Afghanistan passes its eighth year, with no clear progress, goals that remain elusive, and a high civilian death count, this war is coming to resemble the Iraq war that has been roundly condemned by world and US public opinion.

The never-ending nature of this conflict belies the real project of establishing US dominance in the Middle East and control of the region's resources, at the expense of the Afghan civilians and US soldiers being placed in harm's way.

The voices of refusal coming from within the US military send a powerful message that soldiers will not be fodder for an unjust and unnecessary war. By withdrawing their labour from a war that depends on their consent, these soldiers have the power to help bring this war to an end, as did their predecessors in the GI resistance movement against the Vietnam war.

And the longer the war in Afghanistan drags on - the more lives that are lost and destroyed - the more resistance we will see coming from within the ranks.

Sarah Lazare is an anti-militarist and GI resistance organiser with Dialogues Against Militarism and Courage to Resist. She is interested in connecting struggles for justice at home with global movements against war and empire. 

---

Related article:

US military contractors (DECEMBER 20, 2009)
http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/rizkhan/2009/12/20091219234730703737.html
There are currently 121,000 US contractors and 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan.As a result of the coming 'surge', another 30,000 troops and 56,000 contractors are expected. But US politicians are afraid that the mistakes that plagued military contracting in Iraq will be repeated in Afghanistan. Will the shadow armies be required to protect the Afghan civilian population? What are the chances that military contractors could cause major damage to America's mission in Afghanistan? Will the Obama administration be able to prevent the waste, fraud and abuse seen in Iraq? In a globalised world, perhaps it was inevitable that private companies would become major players in diplomacy. But the fact is that contractors are doing the job that the state department, Pentagon and CIA once did on their own. Recently the CIA announced that it had stopped using Blackwater (now known as Xe Services) to conduct raids and other special operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But some press reports say Xe Services are still at the centre of a secret programme in Karachi, Pakistan, where they plan assassinations of suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda members, among other operations. On Monday's show we will discuss the role of US military contractors in Afghanistan as the US widens its footprint there. CLIP




10.

From: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/worldview/091229/-endangered-environmentalists

Are environmentalists an endangered species?

People haven't stopped caring about our planet, but the reasons why they care have changed immensely.

By Stephan Faris - December 30, 2009

ROME, Italy — Way back during the first decade of this century, the Earth was roamed by a beast that will soon be extinct. Environmentalists, it seemed, were everywhere: at the supermarket, plucking at organic produce; at the stoplight, breaking in their hybrid cars; on your neighbor’s roof, putting up solar panels. Even oil companies got in on the action, smiling green from the pages of your magazine.

Yet the last 10 years will be remembered as the time that the environmental movement began its slow sink into the tar pits of obsolescence. It’s not that people have stopped caring about the health of the Earth. They’re more concerned than ever. What’s changing is the reasons why. Protecting the planet and its ecosystems is no longer the purview of those who worry about tropical forests, polar bears or the spotted owl. Increasingly, it’s the priority of people who care about themselves.

The public has woken up to the fact that much of what it once considered narrow environmental concerns can have an impact on the way we live. It’s a link that ecologists have labored to make for years, with little success. No matter how often they maintained that a patch of preserved forest could contain a yet undiscovered cure for cancer, what was guaranteed was the virgin timber in its trees and the prairie pasture beneath them.

It took something on the scale of climate change to drive the point home. There’s no telling to what extent the emissions of our cars, factories and power plants contributed to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina. But the 2005 flooding of New Orleans marked the high-water mark of the environmental movement, the moment when it became clear that caring for nature was not altruistic, but ultimately selfish and self-protective.

Compare Rachel Carson’s "Silent Spring," the book credited with the birth of modern environmentalism, with the movie that marked the beginning of its slide towards death, Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth." The first warns of a countryside devoid of birdsong. The other, of a world stripped of Florida.

The old habits are dying hard, but they’re dying nonetheless. Environmentalism sometimes bore the aesthetics and asceticism of a religion. The new movement is firmly grounded in mammon. The ranks of those who revered nature as a counterbalance to consumerism are being penetrated by a generation that sees sustainability not as an alternative to growth, but as its prerequisite.

Gore himself seems only dimly aware of the change he’s wrought. Speaking at the climate change talks in Copenhagen, he warned the North Pole had a 75 percent chance of being completely ice-free within a decade — a dramatic change, to be sure, but one whose most noticeable impact will be positive. Freed of ice, the Arctic Ocean becomes a channel for shipping and a potential source of mineral wealth.

And while the polar bear remains the symbol of climate change, there’s a growing awareness that the warming of the world will be hitting closer to home. Rising seas will threaten coastal cities. Drifting ecosystems will wreak havoc on health and agriculture. Natural disaster and shifting weather patterns will send hundreds of thousands on the move.

The question for the next decade is what to do about it. It’s no surprise that the Copenhagen talks — long heralded as a make or break moment in the fight against climate change — ended in failure. Environmental challenges are uniquely difficult in that they frequently involve sharing common, but limited, resources. It’s no coincidence that this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Elinor Ostrom, spent her career studying the problem. One thing is clear, however. It’s going to be easier to muscle towards a solution if we realize that what’s at risk isn’t the environment, the planet or nature. It’s each and every one of us.

---

Related article:

Top 10 environmental moments of the decade (December 29, 2009) http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/12/17/environmental.decade.top.ten/
(CNN) -- What a difference a decade makes. Since the turn of the millennium environmental issues have come to the forefront with a marked shift toward all things green in politics, technology and perhaps most importantly, society. An understanding of climate change was no longer limited to a small group of scientists or environmentalists, and concern started to change the way more us live our lives. Eco Solutions looks back at 10 environmental developments that defined this as the most green decade yet. CLIP




11.

Forwarded by Mark Graffis (mgraffis@gmail.com)

From: http://solveclimate.com/blog/20091228/solar-could-generate-15-power-2020-if-us-ends-fossil-fuel-subsidies

Solar Could Generate 15% of Power by 2020, If US Ends Fossil Fuel Subsidies

The Result: 882,000 New Jobs, 10% Drop in Emissions

by Stacy Feldman - Dec 29th, 2009

Solar power technologies could generate 15 percent of America's power in 10 years, but only if Washington levels the playing field on subsidies, a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says.

That means either rolling back fossil fuel subsidies, as President Obama proposed earlier this year, or increasing subsidies for clean energy, the association says.

Fossil fuels received $72 billion in total federal subsidies from 2002 to 2008, keeping prices artificially low, according to figures from the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). About 98 percent of that went to conventional energy sources, namely coal and oil, leading to more emissions. The rest, $2.3 billion, was pumped into a new technology to trap and store carbon dioxide spewed by coal plants.

During that same period, solar got less than $1 billion, according to the SEIA, a trade group representing 1,100 solar companies across the nation.

To compete and gain market share — and stop global warming — this inconsistency "must reverse itself immediately," said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO.

There had been hints of this happening.

In September, the G20 group of the largest 20 economies agreed to phase out the $300 billion spent worldwide in fossil fuel subsidies "over the medium term" to combat climate change.

But neither the Obama administration nor Congress has yet to take steps to comply with the G20 commitment.

For solar to have a shot, the world cannot wait, Resch told reporters at the Copenhagen climate talks this month.

"We either remove subsidies with oil and gas or create parity with solar," he said.

Almost a million jobs could hang in the balance.

Currently, solar contributes less than 1 percent of energy used in the U.S. and employs some 60,000 people. Increasing that amount to 15 percent would result in a total of 882,000 new jobs, the association said.

That's compared with a dwindling coal mining industry that employs 85,000 people, said Resch.

The solar ramp-up would also fight climate change. A 15 percent scenario would slash America's energy-related emissions by an estimated 10 percent, curbing national carbon dioxide output by 1.4 gigatons (1 gigaton equals 1 billion tons).

To get there, however, rooftop solar photovoltaic systems would need to grow massively — from today's 1,500 MW to 350,000 MW by 2020. Concentrating solar power, which generates electricity by focusing sunlight on giant mirrors on desert land, would have to leap to 50,000 MW, up from just 424 MW today.

It "won't happen naturally," Resch said.

Domestic policy provisions that favor renewable energy sources are needed now, the solar industry argues. Many of these would not cost the government "a penny," said Resch. In fact, getting to 15 percent solar would require a relatively small government investment of between $2 billion and $3 billion in total, he said. But, he added,

"The government will have to change the way things have been done."

The policies proposed by SEIA are contained in the association's "Solar Bill of Rights." They include: the right to connect to a grid with uniform standards; the right to new transmission lines to connect solar resources in the Southwest to population centers; and the right to equal access to public land.

The last one is vital for utility-scale solar power. The oil industry currently leases over 45 million acres of federal land, much of it on sun-blessed stretches of Southwestern earth. The solar industry has access to "zero" of that, said Resch.

Also vital is global warming legislation that creates a long-term price on carbon and a federal "renewable portfolio standard" that would ensure a chunk of the nation's electricity gets produced by green power.

The industry hopes momentum from the utilities and the states will trickle up to the federal government. In 2009, solar accounted for 13 percent of all new utility announcements and filings, according to figures from the Electric Edison Institute. "There are orders right now for solar in excess of 10 GW from utilities," Resch said.

Assuming the solar industry returns to its pre-recession growth rate of 50 percent each year, electricity from the sun will be the lowest cost option in almost every state by 2018, the association said.

Copenhagen Plea

When SEIA presented the 15 percent accelerated deployment scenario at the Copenhagen talks this month, the U.S. trade group wasn't alone. Over 40 solar associations from around the world banned together to release a report summarizing surveys of the leading solar nations.

The main point was this: If the EU industry makes good on its pledge to get 12 percent of its electricity from solar by 2020, and if the U.S. can hit 15 percent in the same time frame, 6.3 million new jobs would flow. On top of that, China and India have each pledged promising near-term solar booms.

"Our message was clear," said Resch, "We are ready now to help solve the climate crisis."

Before the talks, solar representatives sent the UN secretary-general a letter, urging him to keep in mind that solar energy "offers a concrete way forward" in negotiations on how to curb and adapt to global warming. In the end, it didn't help. The Copenhagen Accord that emerged produced no binding commitments to slow climate change, and no hard signals to stimulate clean-tech investment.

But it appears the summit was not for naught for Big Solar.

"This is the first time in the history of climate negotiations that the global solar industry has gathered together with one voice," said Resch. It's also the first UN climate convention where the renewable energy industries outweighed the fossil fuel industries in "both in numbers and in influence," he added.

The key in the short term, Resch said, is not legally binding and verifiable carbon reductions but action in the biggest economies.

"If agreement has to wait until Mexico City or South Africa, fine, but we can no longer wait to star building the solar industry and making sure we have uniform policies around the world," Resch said.

---

Related articles:

China to shut more small power plants in 2010 - media (Dec 28, 2009)
http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTOE5BR06A20091228
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China plans to shut down small coal-fired power plants with a combined 10 million kilowatt (KW) power generating capacity in 2010, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, quoting the country's top energy official.China will have phased out a total of 55.45 million KW of capacity at small thermal power plants by end of this year, said Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Agency, reaching the goal set for the period between 2006 and 2010.Small and inefficient thermal power plants with capacities below 200,000 KW represented a combined capacity of 80 million KW, Zhang said. (...) China aims for renewable energy sources to make up 15 percent of power generation by 2020, up from about 9 percent currently. CLIP

China Coal Demand May Rise 4%-6%, China Securities Journal Says (Dec. 28 , 2009)
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601072&sid=a.D8F5tcqsvI
(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-largest energy user, may consume between 4 and 6 percent more coal next year on continued economic growth, China Securities Journal said, citing a forecast from the China National Coal Association.Demand from the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal may expand to about 3.4 billion metric tons from this year, the Beijing-based newspaper reported today. China uses coal to operate about 80 percent of its power plants and to make steel. Government stimulus may boost economic growth by more than 8 percent this year, according to official forecasts, spurring factory output and power and fuel use. China’s energy demand may rise 3.6 percent in 2010, the Shanghai Securities News said, citing National Energy Administration Director Zhang Guobao. CLIP

Quebec adopts California's auto emission standards (Dec 29, 2009) 3 BIG CHEERS FOR QUEBEC!
http://green.yahoo.com/news/nm/20091229/wl_canada_nm/canada_us_environment.html;_ylt=AsL0gUP0UB7c6nfch3.U4ROAV8cX
TORONTO (Reuters) - Quebec will become the first province in Canada to adopt California's strict auto emissions standards, the province's environment ministry said on Tuesday. The new rules will come into effect on January 14 and will impose increasingly stringent limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks made between 2010 and 2016 that are sold in the province.Emissions from vehicles will be cut by about 35 percent over the four years, from 187 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer for passenger vehicles to 127 grams per kilometer by 2016, Charles Larochelle, assistant deputy environment minister in Quebec, said in an interview. "In Quebec, 40 percent of our GHG emissions are from our transportation sector, so it's quite an important sector if we want to get some reductions in our greenhouse gases," he said. Quebec first announced its plan to adopt the California emission standards two years ago, but was waiting for legal wrangling between the state of California and automakers to be resolved before it officially got on board. Fourteen other U.S. states have also adopted the California plan, including Vermont, Maine, and New York state, all of which border Quebec. The United States is looking at a national strategy to reduce carbon emissions, and the Canadian government has said it will probably tie itself to the U.S. plan.

Brazil's Lula signs law cutting CO2 emissions (Dec 29, 2009)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iez9sn2BkTTmjkMO-JxaGawmSrdw
BRASILIA — President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Tuesday signed a law requiring that Brazil cut greenhouse gas emissions by 39 percent by 2020, meeting a commitment made at the Copenhagen climate change summit. Brazil announced at the summit a "voluntary commitment" to reduce CO2 emissions by between 36.1 and 38.9 percent in the next ten years. The new law, however, is subject to several decrees setting out responsibilities and regulations for the farming, industrial, energy and environmental sectors.Lula is expected to sign the decrees in January after consulting scientists and other experts, officials said.Despite its ambitious targets, Greenpeace's top representative in Brazil, Sergio Leitao, called it merely a list of good intentions and accused Lula of using double standards in environmental issues. "Brazil usually makes good speeches on the international stage, as in Copenhagen, but in practice it doesn't keep its word," he told reporters. Before signing the new law, in fact, Lula vetoed three of its provisions, including a reference to "promoting the development of clean energy sources and the gradual phasing out of energy from fossil fuels." CLIP

French Constitutional Court Rejects Carbon Tax (Dec. 30, 2009)
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2009-12-30/french-constitutional-court-rejects-carbon-tax-update1-.html
(Bloomberg) -- France’s constitutional court rejected a proposed tax on carbon emissions, saying a web of exemptions violated the principal of equality and rendered efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions ineffective. The government said it will make new proposals on Jan. 20. The tax, which would have started on Jan. 1, was set at 17 euros ($24.38) per ton of carbon-dioxide emissions, President Nicolas Sarkozy said in September. To make the tax more palatable, he partially or fully exempted power plants, public transport, airlines, farming and fishing, as well as 1,018 older cement, steel and glass factories.In all, 93 percent of all industrial carbon emissions in France would have avoided paying the full tax, the constitutional court said in a decision published on its Web site. The tax would have fallen disproportionately on fuel for heating and cars, it said. “The court ruled that the system of exemptions, due to their extensive nature, were contrary to the objective of fighting global warming and contravene the principle of equality before the tax system,” the court said. The court rejected all the articles relating to the carbon tax in the government’s 2010 budget.In a statement, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said a carbon tax remains a “priority for the President of the Republic and the government.” He said changes to satisfy the constitutional court will be presented at a cabinet meeting Jan. 20. The tax had been criticized by the Socialist-led opposition and critics in Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement, who said the tax would hurt the poor and handicap employers.

MANY MORE SUCH NEWS THROUGH THIS LINK




12.

Forwarded by Mark Graffis (mgraffis@gmail.com)

FROM: http://www.naturalnews.com/027810_Avatar_James_Cameron.html

James Cameron's Avatar delivers a powerful message of connectedness with Mother Nature

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) If you see just one film this holiday season (or even this year), make it James Cameron's Avatar. It's a powerful, inspiring film that demonstrates movie-making at its best, and it delivers a crucial message for our time: That all living beings are connected and that those who seek to exploit nature rather than respect it will only destroy themselves.

Much of the press about Avatar has focused on the special effects, the motion capture and the 3-D presentation. These are modern filmmaking marvels, for certain, but the film succeeds for a far more important reason: Its story -- and its message. Others have reviewed the film in a more critical light; notably Alex Jones who sees it as more of a propaganda piece (http://www.infowars.com/alex-jones-reviews-avatar). But I see the film differently, and I think it carries a strong, positive message. (Spoiler alert: This article discusses some of the plot elements of the film.)

With Avatar, Cameron has delivered a fast-paced fantasy adventure that weaves together a stream of powerful themes that are so important to our modern world that they extend far beyond the world of fictional film: Issues like corporations destroying nature for profit, the lack of respect for living creatures, and the failed policies of "military diplomacy" that the USA continues to pursue. The themes in Avatar reflect the greatest challenges of our modern world, and the message of Avatar is both deeply moving and highly relevant to the future of human civilization.

Not many who view Avatar will understand all this, of course. To the younger crowd, Avatar is simply a cool action-adventure film with a compelling love story that makes it a great date flick. But to those who've been around on this planet a little longer, the story of Avatar is a far important story of good versus evil, war versus peace, destruction versus healing and isolationism versus interconnectedness. This depth of sensitivity to life is rare to find in any film these days, much less a blockbuster feature film, but that's what makes Avatar so truly remarkable: It speaks to viewers at many different levels, intertwining the core themes of human mythology in an extremely tight, fast-paced screenplay that doesn't let a second go to waste.

That's classic James Cameron, of course: Cutting scenes, dialog and seconds out of the film until it becomes a polished, tightly-presented story that transports you into the on-screen world and doesn't let go of you until the credits roll. It's an emotional story, too. Much like Titanic, Avatar convincingly pulls you into the minds and hearts of the key characters, delivering an authentic emotional connection with the on-screen characters even though their skin is blue.

Colonialism

The overriding theme of Avatar is one of western Colonialism, where western nations use their military might to invade lesser developed countries, terrorize their people and pillage their lands for valuable natural resources.

And yet these acts of military imperialism are always justified by the imperialists. As the top military commander says in the film in response to the natives resisting their lands being pillages, "We'll fight terror with terror!"

It remains the standard operating procedure of any military imperialist nation: Invade whatever country you wish, and if the locals fight back, condemn them as terrorists and use that as an excuse to turn up the heat with even more bombs and weapons.

Gaia and the interconnectedness of nature

One of the more interesting elements in Avatar is the neural connection fibers that each living creature is born with on the planet. Animals, humanoids and even the trees have these neural connection fibers, allowing all living creatures to "plug in" to each other's neural networks. Once connected, they can feel each other's emotions and thoughts. They are, in essence, operating as one single being with expanded sensory awareness.

This plot element is largely thought of as fiction, but in reality, it is merely a representation of something that's very real in our world: The interconnectedness of all living systems through methods that science hasn't yet identified. Although science won't admit it, there does exist some medium of communication between living things right here on planet Earth.

Plants, for example, really do talk to each other through their roots and other sensory systems. The study of this field of science is called Plant Neurobiology, and the world's top research facility is the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology in Italy. There, it has long been established that plants are, in fact, intelligent. (http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/10/veggie_intelligence)

Recent research actually demonstrates that plants communicate over their own "chat networks" where important information is exchanged about what's happening in their immediate environment. (http://www.physorg.com/news109944832.html)

The world depicted in Avatar also demonstrates the healing power of Mother Nature as the key character Jack Sully has his consciousness transferred from his broken human body to his much stronger alien body through the help of a healing tree (into which all the natives are neurologically plugged in, too).

The concept of Gaia is also unleashed in the film, although it's never referred to as Gaia. At one point in the film when all hope seems lost for the natives, Jack Sully prays to Gaia to help save them, at which point the female character Na'vi says, "[Mother Nautre] doesn't take sides. She only maintains the balance of life." This demonstrates a much deeper understanding of the role of nature than most modern humans grasp.

Avatar and the Amazon Rainforest

Much of what takes place in Avatar could be described as a very accurate reflection of the struggle between petroleum companies and the indigenous populations of the Amazon rainforest.

As someone who lives in Ecuador full time, I am particularly aware of some of the local details of this struggle. It is essentially the same setup as Avatar: Native people live in harmony with the environment, respecting the life around them, and then a western corporation shows up and destroys their ecosystem, poisons the people and exploits the land in order to mine it for valuable natural resources. The people fight back and they're met with military force.

This reflects the very modern story of the indigenous Ecuadorian Indians versus Chevron and its oil drilling agenda. Read more about this conflict between Chevron and the people of the Amazon here: http://chevrontoxico.com/

Fighting back

What's satisfying about Avatar, of course, is that the natives fight back. Rather than allowing their lands to be destroyed by corporate greed, they fight the imperialists with intelligence and a network of willing animals operating via land and air -- animals who ultimately allow the natives to defend themselves against the invaders.

Here's where Avatar really becomes fiction, because in the real world, spears usually aren't victorious over bullets. And hoards of large bullet-proof animals don't stampede to your rescue. But that's Hollywood, and it makes for a great story even if it's not an accurate reflection of what happens in our world.

There's a level of violence in Avatar, but it's not gratuitous, bloody violence. It's not gore, and the military action violence that takes place in the story always moves the story forward. James Cameron never uses violence solely for the sake of violence -- he uses it in the film as a crucial part of the story.

Technology and emotions

The reason Avatar works is because the technology has advanced enough for CG (computer graphics) to accurately capture and render the subtleties of facial expressions. As human beings, we are hard-wired to read and interpret subtle facial expressions as emotional content, and without the subtleties, computer-animated characters look stale and plastic.

But thanks to the remarkable technology that Cameron has applied to Avatar, facial expressions are convincingly carried through the computer-rendered alien characters (no doubt with a fair bit of 3D modeling work to help augment the motion capture). The result is a level of human authenticity (in alien-looking characters) that has never been achieved before... in any film!

Remember, though, that technology alone never makes a great film. It's the story that really makes it work. Technology just makes the story convincing.

Go see Avatar

If you love nature, and you love to see beautiful alien worlds depicted in breathtaking scenery, go see Avatar. If you love action films, or a touching romance, or science fiction, go see Avatar. In my opinion, it is easily the best film of the year, and perhaps even the best film of James Cameron's career.

It also delivers a message that feels right at home to NaturalNews readers: The love of nature, the interconnectedness between all living things, and the victory of good over military might. Avatar is much more than an action flick. It's much more than a love story, too. In my view, it's an urgent message for our modern world where many of the atrocities committed by the human invaders in Avatar are being carried out right now against our own planet.

When it comes to planet Earth, after all, humans are the imperialists. We have destroyed much of the natural habitat on our planet; we've poisoned the rivers and oceans; we've polluted the sky and burned up much of the planet's natural resources. In our quest for more energy, more consumption and more profit, we are stupidly destroying our own planet... and destroying our own future in the process.

We are, in effect, both the invaders and the natives on this planet, and through our misguided collective consumption, we are destroying our own land, our own trees and our own home. And because life is so delicately interconnected, in destroying our own planet, we are only destroying ourselves.

This is one of the many messages that Avatar delivers. Go see the film yourself to catch the rest.

---

Related articles:

Avatar is like nothing you've ever seen before - Sexy, primal, anti-imperialist (12/18/2009)
http://www.thedailypage.com/movies/article.php?article=27724
At 162 minutes and a cost of somewhere between $250 and $300 million, James Cameron's Avatar is both a spectacular slab of virtually nonstop action and an unmistakable diatribe against corporatized American imperialism. There are the usual muscled-up boys (and equally powerful girls) with big-bang toys, wreaking havoc, to be sure, but at its heart this mammoth film is......a chick flick, with all the dramatic keynotes that the phrase implies. Forbidden interspecies love? Reverence for a planetary feminist godhead? Clandestine dalliances far from the madding crowd? Avatar has all of those and more, and, despite a script that at times leaves its most interesting characters delivering some of the most banal lines, somehow it all holds together.Avatar is the work of a director who passionately believes that untrammeled, Western-style imperialism is a pivotal societal sin, along with its attendant reliance on the rape and looting of foreign cultures and their natural resources. That said, there's enough white-hot testosterone and Amazonian estrogen to satisfy Cameron's sci-fi fanboy base and then some. CLIP

Subversive subtext in `Avatar' (Dec 27 2009)
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/742686
Avatar is James Cameron's first project since the decade-old Titanic. Whereas Titanic was a megahit because it touched 100 million teeny-bopper hearts (thus being one of the great "chick-flicks" of all time) Avatar is far more hard-nosed. Superficially it is about a much-improved 3D technology ("cinema will never be the same"). But underneath that gloss, Cameron makes a thinly disguised assault on American neo-imperialism that has had catastrophic impacts on dozens of nations around the globe, as documented by the likes of Noam Chomsky. (...) In the movie, the would-be colonizers are defeated. When arrows fired from a seemingly primitive Navi bow penetrate the brutal heart of the military commander to whom the Navi are a pestilence to be crushed, it seems Cameron wants to herald the end of American empire.

FILM REVIEW: AVATAR, A HUMANIST CALL FROM MT. HOLLYWOOD BY GILAD ATZMON (DECEMBER 30, 2009)
http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/film-review-avatar-a-humanist-call-from-mt-hollywood-by-gila.html
Avatar may well be the biggest anti War film of all time. It stands against everything the West is identified with. It is against greed and capitalism, it is against interventionalism, it is against colonialism and imperialism, it is against technological orientation, it is against America and Britain. It puts Wolfowitz, Blair and Bush on trial without even mentioning their names. It enlightens the true meaning of ethics as a dynamic judgmental process rather than fixed moral guidelines (such as the Ten Commandments or the 1948 Human Right Declaration). It throws a very dark light on our murderous tendencies towards other people, their belief and rituals. But it doesn’t just stop there. In the same breath, very much like German Leben philosophers (1), it praises the power of nature and the attempt to bond in harmony with soil, the forest and the wildlife. It advises us all to integrate with our surrounding reality rather than impose ourselves on it. Very much like German Idealists and early Romanticists, it raises questions to do with essence, existence and the absolute. It celebrates the true meaning of life and livelihood.It is pretty astonishing and cheering to discover Hollywood paving the way to the victorious return of German philosophical thought. (...) The message of the 300 million cinematic spectacle is clear: NO to war, NO to greed, NO to intervention, No to throwing bombs, YES to nature, harmony and respecting the beliefs of others. (...) I would maintain that to stand up against your own people for an ethical cause is the real meaning of humanism and liberty. Yet, it is pretty astonishing that such an inspiring message is delivered by Hollywood. We may have to admit, once again, that it is the artist and creative mind (rather than the politician) who is there to shape our reality and present a prospect of a better amicable future by the means of aesthetics. THIS IS A MOST EXCELLENT AND DETAILED REVIEW! WARNING! IT GIVES AWAY MANY DETAILS ABOUT THE MOVIE PLOT.




13.

From: http://tutunui-wananga.blogspot.com/2009/09/who-are-cetaceans-jeff-phillips.html

"WHO ARE THE CETACEANS?"

by JEFF PHILLIPS

NOTE FROM JEFF: This article was originally written upon the request of Jim Nollman for his Interspecies newsletter. After reading it, they accused me of being "anti-human", refused to print it, and to this day have banned me from receiving their newsletter.

The cetaceans are more than just large-brained mammals who live in the ocean, breathe air and give birth to their young; they are more than highly intelligent animals with complex social systems and sophisticated uses of sound like echo-location and communication. They are even more than the people of the sea, which is how the ancient Lemurians referred to them, humans being the people of the land.

A few years ago I was talking with musician Ralph Towner about doing live musical dialogues with whales from boats and beaming it into space via radio-telescope. He thought the project was interesting, but his immediate comment was that we should really leave those people alone.

To me, the cetaceans as a whole possess not only the full spectrum of attributes which humans have traditionally reserved exclusively for ourselves, including self-awareness, but beyond these they show through the example of how they live an intelligence more highly-evolved than that of man, the wise.

The cetaceans, for example, are far more perfectly adapted to their environment than we are ours; and they live in the sea, which not only covers 70% of the Earths surface and enables relative freedom from gravity as well as self-locomotion in three dimensions, but is also a much more stable environment than land and provides protection during periods of cosmic energy bombardment.

We dont really know all that much about their inner experience mainly because we havent bridged the physical communication barrier, but I think that it is likely that they are capable of all endeavours that indigenous humans participate in, for example, advanced knowledge of astronomy and cycles of time, knowledge of the sun and planets, mapping the ocean and sky, knowledge of plants and foods, oral histories shared from memory, spiritual psychologies, a sense of the sacred in their lives, and music.

They are gifted with internal technologies much the same as we have been; yet I believe they have developed theirs much more fully than we have, as we have been distracted by a full spectrum of external hardware and extra-somatic artifacts which seem ultimately to be our down-fall.

Our most highly advanced external technologies are used in the service of killing; not only do cetaceans not kill members of their own species, they show a profound deference for man, the wise even in the face of repeated abuse on our part. Dolphins have been known to go to great lengths to assist humans in distress; and Capt. Paul Watsons (a founder of Greenpeace and currently Sea Shepherd) life was changed from momentary eye-contact with a breaching cachelot who was about to crush his dingy and then rolled to spare him.

Greek naturalist Pliny the Elder said he believed that dolphins were capable of something that even humanity had not attained: friendship for no advantage.

The cetaceans have been on the same planet as us, with neurobiological systems more highly evolved than ours, for tens of millions of years. Man, the wise only came to be about a million years ago. That they live in tune with the Earth is an understatement.

I think we are living on their planet. Man, the wise is wreaking catastrophe upon catastrophe not only on the cetaceans, but on the Earth as a whole. We are destroying in years what Mother Nature has taken billions of years to create and bring to fruition.

That we do not recognize the cetaceans as fellow beings is a testament to our blindness, our unwillingness to open our hearts and minds to who they really are.

I do not think that humanity is innately dysfunctional; but in our present condition of amplified koyaanisqatsi, we as a whole are no longer people but have become the HSMV, or homo sapiens macro virus.

I think that the word people should be reserved for those who act like real people and in the homo sapiens population, these are few and far between!

The cetaceans are the REAL PEOPLE of planet Earth!!!

John Lilly believed that if we couldn't even learn to communicate with fellow intelligences possessing similar neurobiology and living on the same planet, there was no way we could hope to communicate with beings from other worlds.

If the remnant of real people in the human population got together and made a huge effort to reach out to the cetaceans and attempted a quantum leap in our abilities truly to understand and communicate, we might actually become more than we have ever been, not only real people but for the first time, the actual crew of Spaceship Earth!

JEFF PHILLIPS (therockist@yahoo.com)
HOBART, TASMANIA, 2006

Much more to discover on his blog at http://thebrink-jeffphillips.blogspot.com/ including lots of his music available for free download. His beautiful pictures - many are truly magnificent! - are available through http://picasaweb.google.com/therockist - Jeff is a long-time ERN subscriber.




14.

Forwarded by DaVid (globalpeace999@aol.com)

2009 is ending with cosmic fireworks

Dearest Friends

2009 is ending with cosmic fireworks. We are blessed with a Lunar Eclipse of mythical proportions.

Anything said, felt, wished for, thought about today, is hugely amplified. A most powerful portal is being opened enabling us to create a whole new reality. Let our feelings be of love, our thoughts be of peace and our joy overflow, as everything we are experiencing today on an inner and outer level is redirecting our course for many months to come.

A deep love relationship is being cemented today. We are realistic about our link and are reaching a powerful balance of the masculine and the feminine inside and outside.  We can face the future reassured that we are destined to journey together. For those of you who have not yet found their true spirit partner, this is the day to know deep in your heart that this being is already in your life on an inner plane. Your certainty will create the vibration to attract him/her on a physical level.

We are also finding today our true roots: where do we feel the happiest? Where is our true home? Where do we feel safe and nurtured? Where does our soul soar?

We need to find our joy, reconnect with the creativity we had as a child, playfully follow our bliss and believe in our uniqueness. The more we use our own special talents, the more glorious our path will become. Our vocation needs to be, or become, a labor of love. How do we contribute to society in alignment with our body, our mind, our emotions, our soul and our spirit? How do we communicate our wisdom with love from a place of deep knowingness of our truth? As we follow our hearts, financial abundance is created.

We are freeing ourselves from any conditioning, belief and untruth that may have been binding us. We are are becoming true co-creators aware of the power of our thoughts and our feelings to manifest a whole new reality.

As we seek the tranquility of nature or of quiet spaces throughout the day, we regenerate at a cellular level. It is important that we protect our bedrooms from unwanted electronical devices and undue noise or negative vibrations. The place where we sleep needs to become a sanctuary of peace as much is happening in our dreams, visions and meditation. We are being opened wide to the magic of the cosmos and connecting to the sacredness of our soul.

I wish you all the most MAGICAL new year 2010 in every possible way, from the beauty and power of the tropical jungle in Utica, Colombia with my Beloved.

In Loving Light.

Michelle Karén M.A., D.F.Astrol.S.
www.MichelleKaren.com




15.

Forwarded by Rudolf Schneider (res0@bluewin.ch)

HAPPINESS PANDEMIC (HP101) Hits Worldwide!

A Worldwide Epidemic is spreading with enormous speed.

The 'WWO' (World-Wellness-Organisation) foresees billions of people becoming infected within the coming decade!

Here are the most prominent symptoms of this wonderful enlivening 'disease':

1) The tendency to let yourself be guided by intuition instead of acting under pressure of fear, forced ideas and pre-conditioned behaviour.

2) A total loss of interest in judging others, convicting yourself and preoccupation with things that create conflict.

3) A complete loss of the capacity to worry: This is one of the most serious symptoms!

4) A continual pleasure in appreciating humans and things the way they are, which weakens one's tendency to want to 'change' others.

5) The desire to change oneself so that innate thoughts, feelings, emotions and bodily matters are managed in ways that facilitate only Health, Creativity and Love.

6) Repetitive attacks of smiling - a smile that says THANK YOU and stimulates being at-one with all those around.

7) A growing openness towards childlikeness, simplicity, laughter and happiness.

8) More frequent moments of communication with one's Soul in non-duality, that in turn creates the pleasant feeling of fulfillment and joy within.

9) Finding pleasure in acting as a Healer who spreads Joy and Light, instead of criticism and indifference.

10) The ability to effortlessly live alone, as a couple, with family, or in a community on the basis of equality, without any need to play the role of executioner (or wanting to be sacrificed!).

11) A feeling of responsibility and joy to share with the world one's dreams of an abundant, harmonic and peaceful future for all.

12) Total acceptance of one's own presence on Earth and the will to choose each moment only for what is gracious, good, truthful and alive!

---

Do you want to continue living in fear, dependency, conflict, dis-ease and conformism? If so, then at all cost avoid people who display these symptoms; this disease is very contagious! Medical treatment can temporarily repress the symptoms, although the progress of the disease has very often been inevitable.

There just isn't an 'anti-happiness' Vaccine'!

Because this Happiness Pandemic causes a loss of fear of death, the central pillar upon which the beliefs of materialistic modern-day society rest, there is now a risk of societal turmoil with a complete loss of interest in warfare and the necessity to always be 'right'!

Gatherings of happy people who sing, dance and celebrate life, the emergence of people who celebrate their physical and spiritual healing, crises of extreme joy and even instances of collective emotional vent, are all now at hand!

(May you infect others with 'HP101' where ever you go...


"Be ready for love when it does come. Prepare the field and be ready to nourish love. Be loving, and you will be lovable. Be open and receptive to love."

- Louise L. Hay




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