Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why It Takes So Many Mossad Agents To Kill A Palestinian With A Pillow

On The Lighter Side

By Gilad Atzmon
Online Journal Guest Writer
Mar 3, 2010, 00:23
Courtesy Of "The Online Journal"

While in Britain, France, USA and Argentina the Mossad enjoys the support of thousands of local Sayanim, Jews who are happy to betray their neighbours for their beloved Jewish state, when operating in Arab countries the Mossad has to schlep its very many assassins and their assistants using different fraudulent methods.

Yet one may wonder why does it takes 26 Mossad agents to carry out a single murder of an unarmed Palestinian freedom fighter with a pillow. I will try to throw some light on the puzzling question.

The Mossad is not just an ordinary intelligence agency run by boring gentiles. It is actually run by Chosen people and it is there to serve the interests of the Jewish state and the Jewish national project. In recent days we learned that more than two dozen Mossad agents have been identified so far by the Dubai police. One would expect that with such a varied and extended collective of Jewish murderers operating in a hostile Arab country at least one combatant Rabbi is needed just to keep the Kosher regulations, maintaining an open line with God and sustaining a revengeful Jewish spirit.

As much as food in Dubai is known to be amazingly delicious, not many kosher delicatessens are currently operating downtown. Hence, we also need a Jewishly trained expert that would purchase the fish for the gefilte and the chicken for the soup. We would need at least one chef who knows how to transform chicken and water into Jewish Power (chicken soup). You have to remember that from a Jewish perspective, food is of the essence. Unlike animals who kill only when they need to eat or are detecting an imminent danger, the Israeli kills for “ulterior motives” (democracy, pluralism, war ‘against terror,’ etc.) and then prefers to do it when his/her belly is full.

Between the culinary concerns and the Kosher diet regulations we already allocated three members of the team. Still 23 potential assassins are more than enough for just one single kill.

But there are more facts to take into account. Bearing in mind the recent revelations about some Mossad members’ mental instability, it is more than likely that a psychiatrist, a Freudian analyst, a psychiatric paramedic and a nurse were needed to assist the Jewish lethal heroes ‘before and after.’ This indeed brings our team to just 19 potential assassins.

As we learn from the press, six of the Mossad agents were women. This would mean that we need some beauty experts. A hairdresser who specialises in ‘curly situations.’ We would also need a Jewish cosmetic consultant, and one who knows about manicure and pedicure. One who can transform the Jewish female nail into a Zionist lethal sword (just in case a technical pillow failure occurs). We also need a wig specialist, one who knows how to transform a boy from Tel Aviv into a lad from Essex. The ‘four beauty specialists’ reduce our team of assassins to 17.

But we are not finished yet, as we learn from the press. Our Mossad killers were rather enthusiastic about tennis. Clearly they wouldn’t trust an Arab or Jihady referee, they must have brought their own. They probably needed a Kosher Israeli tennis referee and a few athletic settlers who run after their balls. Let’s us assume that we need two-three ball runners and one referee, this would bring our potential assassin team to just 14.

According to The Times, the Holocaust plays a major role in Mossad’s philosophy. “We should be strong, use our brain, and defend ourselves so that the Holocaust will never be repeated,” says Meir Dagan, the Mossad ’s current chief. As it happens, the Mossad is killing in the name of the Jewish past. It is more than likely that the Mossad schleped to Dubai some of its best Holocaust priests, those who remind the spies why should they execute and why they should depart from the human family. Considering the six-figure narrative, it would be reasonable to assume that the Mossad sent to Dubai at least six Holocaust mentors: one for each million.

However, as we know, the Nazi Holocaust is just one event among countless other Judeocides. ‘Never to Forgive, Never to Forget’ is apparently the prospect of Jewish future. Altogether we can count ine or 10 Jewish Judeocide priests to include the 19th century East European Pogroms, the Inquisition, Amalek and so on. This would bring down our list of potential hit men to just five.

Yet as much as nationalist Jews and their spiritual leaders vow ‘never to forget’ and always to forget’ and always to remember, there are some things they really insist to overlook, push aside or dismiss. For instance, they seem to fail to grasp the real meaning of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict known as the Goldstone report. They insist to dismiss Shlomo Sand’s reading of their history as a bundle of invented phantasmic tales on the verge of total fallacy. They insist to turn a blind eye to the fact that AIPAC, AJC, ADL, LFI and CFI dispatches are all lobbying for racist expansionist ideology (Zionism) in our midst. With British Foreign Secretary David Miliband being listed as an “Israeli Hasbara (propaganda) Author” and Zionists preaching for interventionist wars in the media, with Bernie Madoff teaching us about Ponzi and Alan Greenspan who brought on us the biggest financial meltdown ever. We need some Jewish specialists who can indoctrinate Mossad agents into total blindness and complete amnesia. I would guess that with Wolfowitz, Miliband, Goldstone, Abe Foxman, Greenspan, Madoff, Olmert, Livni, Sharon, Peres and too many more, we may need just more than five experts to convince the Mossad’s hit-squad that the Jewish cause is truly kosher.

As we can see, we already counted 26 necessary assistants to murder without even mentioning a single Mossad pillow operator. As we see, it takes far more than just 26 Mossad agents to murder an unarmed Palestinian. I guess that in the coming days the Dubai police will bring up many more photos of Israelis in wigs.

I must admit that with Israel around, life is always full of surprises. What are we going to do when it is gone?

Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli jazz musician, author and political activist.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

Turkey’s Next Steps

Vis-A-Vis Israel

By William deB. Mills
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 7, 2010, 00:21
Courtesy Of "The Online Journal"

Ankara faces some hard decisions in its effort to alter Israeli behavior. No easy solution exists, but both diplomatic and military options exist, should Ankara wish to go beyond rhetoric and take the kind of actions that will earn Tel Aviv’s respect. Ankara’s best option would seem to be the designing of a common position with Moscow and Tehran.

Washington has already made it clear that it will not defend its own citizens. It long ago excused Tel Aviv’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, would not even protect a former presidential candidate (Cynthia McKinney) when she was arrested by Israel for joining the June 2009 flotilla to Gaza, and is evidently paying no attention to the murder by Israel (with, reportedly, five shots!) of an American on last week’s flotilla. It is hard for Washington to stand up to Tel Aviv when Tel Aviv’s bullying seems to be Washington’s model, as suggested by the similarities between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and U.S. treatment of Iraqis and Afghanis as well as the copying by Washington of the Israeli right’s anti-Iran propaganda.

Ankara is now being subjected to the same treatment that the U.S. has received, but Turkey’s new leaders -- Erdogan, Gul, Davutoglu -- appear to have more pride than any the U.S. has been able to find this century. The Turkish leaders do not seem prepared to kowtow. Those Turkish leaders claim to be working for a new type of politics. According to Erdogan [Today’s Zaman, 6/4/10], “This is to stop bloodshed and bring peace to the region. We are not after fame. We just want humanity, law and justice.” So Ankara has a problem: exactly what can it do in response to Israeli bullying?

Ankara’s first move was immediately to make an official protest to the U.N. Its second move was to send military transports to Israel, successfully demanding the release of all Turkish citizens from the flotilla [Coteret 6/2/10].

Clearly, these two moves, while impressive in comparison with the dithering West, still do not come close to making up for Israel’s killing of peaceful civilians. It may be worth noting, for those confused, that the raging debate over the precise actions of these civilians when Israeli soldiers attacked by air under the cover of darkness completely misses the point: they were behaving peacefully until attacked like any normal people before being mugged.

What might be next?

Rhetoric. Ankara is trying the rhetorical approach, but virtually no one seems to be listening, and Tel Aviv has demonstrated fairly clearly that it understands only “the language of force.”

Diplomacy. Ankara is also laudably trying the diplomatic approach. The U.N. responded to Ankara by calling for an investigation, though it is doubtful that any real pressure will be brought on Tel Aviv to cooperate. Cairo has opened its closed border to a few Gazans, at least temporarily, but essentially remains a partner of Tel Aviv in oppressing Gaza, and British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant focused on the core issue [UNMID 6/1/10], stating: “ . . . the events cannot be seen in isolation. They show clearer than ever that Israel’s restrictive access to Gaza must be lifted.”

No evidence so far suggests that Britain intends to take any action to back those words up. UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco also termed Israel’s Gaza blockade “unacceptable,” though again without any indication of action to back up those words [UNMID 6/1/10]. Obama’s most recent remarks appear designed to split the difference between the Israeli nighttime attack and massacre of flotilla members and the effort to deliver medicine to Gaza were mere differences of opinion and on the same moral plane.

One diplomatic move that Ankara may perhaps now be considering is upgrading its ties with both Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas. Such a move would catch attention, but Ankara would surely be punished by Washington and perhaps as well by conservative Arab dictatorships that it does not necessarily wish to irritate. More to the point, aside from angering and provoking Tel Aviv extremists, it is not clear what impact such a move -- akin to, say, Switzerland in 1940 demanding the liberation of the Jews from the Warsaw ghetto--might have on the lives of Gazans. Nevertheless, Erdogan has already hinted at something along these lines, pointing out that Hamas won the last Palestinian election (in 2006) [Hurriyet 6/4/10] and adding: “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization. I said the same thing to the United States. I am still of the same opinion. They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.”

Two regional diplomatic coups are potentially within reach, however. Now that Cairo has unilaterally opened its border with Gaza, Ankara should vigorously pursue an agreement with Cairo for a permanent opening. Is there anything Ankara could offer Cairo in return?

The second regional diplomatic option is to reopen nuclear discussions with Tehran pursuant of an agreement that Tehran will voluntarily choose not to exercise its legal right to enrich uranium to the 20%-level required for medical research. Although this does not directly address the Gaza issue, it would significantly strengthen Ankara’s diplomatic position by giving the whole world something it really wants. With skill, Ankara could maneuver so as to allow Moscow to share the credit; indeed, the trade-off to entice Tehran might well be the delivery of modern Russian ground-to-air missiles, enabling Moscow to take the initiative as regional peacemaker even as it earns some useful foreign exchange and minimizes the likelihood of nuclear fallout landing on its territory. The emergence of a Russian-Iranian-Turkish entente would be a Mideast game-changer that would for the first time significantly restrict Israel’s freedom of military maneuver.

Military moves. If substantive military moves prove to constitute the only language that will have any real impact on the situation, however, what options does Ankara have short of provoking a existential threat to itself?

The obvious answer is Lebanon, which is being denied the weaponry to defend itself against not only Israeli invasions but even Israel’s regular aerial violations of Lebanon’s border. Lebanon is a struggling democracy that has been making progress recently and that certainly deserves the right to defend itself. Whether or not Ankara has the capability to alter this situation is a question that Turkish national security officials should now be asking themselves.

The second most obvious answer is one that Ankara has clearly been considering for at least the past year: upgrading security ties with Damascus. Ankara could further upgrade such ties and send Tel Aviv yet another message, but what long-term benefit Ankara would derive is uncertain. Would closer military ties with Damascus do more harm, by pulling Ankara closer to a dictatorship, than good? Would this end up constraining Ankara’s options and isolating itself? More to the point, it is not clear that either of these moves would have much immediate benefit for the people of Gaza. It might eventually if it had a sobering impact on the Israeli people, and much sobering Israeli commentary has already been published in Israel. However, the opposite reaction, given the intensity of both political rhetoric and right wing media commentary in Israel, is also a real risk.

Ankara’s immediate reaction shows impressive determination to defend its citizens and punish Israeli extremism. While its way forward is far less clear, an array of interesting options does exist, the most promising of which may be the idea of building a Russian-Turkish-Iranian entente designed to lower nuclear tensions, reassure Iran about its own national security, and send a message to the Israeli people that their current government is doing them no favors.

Dr. William deB. Mills is an American political scientist specializing in the future of the global political system. He recently published “Smarter Iran Policy Begins With a New Attitude,” “Gaza: Laboratory for the Power-Hungry,” “Hammering Islamic Radicals,“ and -- here at Online Journal, “Palestine and Global Security and “Mideast Peace or Fascism?.” Retired from a career in national security, where his final position was Director of Long-Range Analysis at the National Intelligence Council, he now writes a foreign affairs blog and can be reached at

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

What Is To Be Done?

By Frank Scott
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 11, 2010, 00:18
Courtesy Of "The Online Journal"

Israel’s most recent outrage has meant harsh criticism from almost everywhere but the USA. Our captive nation status continues as those who usually echo our commands express embarrassment at the conduct of the world’s most self-righteous regime. But Americans who demand that Israel come to its senses need to come to their own. Nothing about Israel will change until everything about America’s uncritical support for Israel changes.

The blankets of distortion that covers any Israeli crime with tales of savage terrorists bent on annihilation were fully employed once again in this case. When will this idiocy end? Will we hear that the concrete on those ships was to be used by Hamas to construct gas chambers and crematoria to carry out its plot to exterminate the Jewish people? Continuing the attempt of all humanity that isn’t Jewish to murder the minority of humanity that is? Under the control of Ahmadinejad of Iran? And given the incredible garbage that fills their heads and passes for news of the world, how many unfortunate Americans might believe such nonsense?

Had Iran attacked a ship in international waters and killed nine people, the unholy trinity of Obama-Biden-Clinton would be screeching “terrorism” to the high heavens and unleashing military violence on that nation. Shamefully, they express blatant support or cowardly avoidance of criticism when Israel responds to protest against its racist rule by killing innocents and claiming self-defense. Pressure must be exercised on that renegade nation but expecting it to come from our government under its present status amounts to praying that extraterrestrials will save our planet.

We need to challenge and transform the American government and not continue useless calls for morally just behavior from an Israeli state founded on immorality and injustice. And for all its claims of uniqueness, why should it be any different from the rest of what is called “Western civilization”? A major part of that civilization’s rise has been the near total destruction of indigenous people while claiming divine right and racial superiority in colonizing every corner of the world. That world is now under threat to the survival of all its people, as clearly outlined by representatives of the global majority at the Cochabamba conference. We need to heed their call for action from the human community before it is destroyed by the forces of division and racial superiority whose time may be ending but who may bring the “end time” for everyone else if they are not brought under control by a united global people.

As Israel’s isolation grows, its near lunatic leadership is likely to become even more unpredictably dangerous. But Americans who wish for change need to direct their demands at the American government. We must end foolish support for alleged liberals and conservatives who battle viciously over how best to help corporate capital at the expense of the people but always come together in passionate unity to support a foreign country and squander billions of dollars and thousands of lives in foreign wars that endanger the entire population here at home. All of them need to be thrown out of office, impeached for dereliction of duty or tried for treason. In acting against our interests and for a foreign country, they generate more hatred for America with each subservient act of obedience to a lobby that buys them off and makes total mockery of our supposed democracy in the process.

How much more can we push people to the edge by acting as enabling therapist to a crazed state whose American political supporters reduce us to nothing remotely resembling a democratic nation? The next attempted terror bomber may not be as incompetent as the last, and there may be more after that if we do not end our suppression of foreigners who strive for their own freedom, while we take more freedom away from the American people and threaten them with future suffering beyond anything imagined now. Had that Times Square bomber learned his craft in the USA, where Timothy McVey learned how to kill 168 at Oklahoma City, hundreds might have died in New York.

The lunatic fringe in Israel has become the mainstream and armed with nuclear weapons and a cultural narrative of eternally imminent destruction, it is a threat to everyone and not just those in the area. Control needs to be exercised but it will not happen if Americans demonstrate in front of Israeli embassies or missions. We need demonstrations to be lodged at the offices of the alleged representatives of the American people, with boycotts, divestitures and sanctions against those who use our taxes, our military and our reputation among nations to support everything Israel does at the moral, financial and existential expense of this nation. Those who still think appealing to one of the two wings of the capitalist ruling party will make a difference need to be replaced by those who truly want radical change in this lifetime and not in some dreamland of a fairy tale future.

There is a global struggle between people who stand for equality of all and those who demand the superiority of only some. The Western capitalist domination of the world is ending but its decline becomes more dangerous a process as “Mother Earth” suffers the strains of accumulating private profits at the enormous cost of humanity’s loss. Palestine’s striving for justice is a major part of that struggle but it will not end successfully until those in this country who support a foreign state at the expense of America are rooted out and replaced. Only democracy will help bring peace and security to the planet, including Palestine and all its people who wish to live as equals. There is no hope for the cult of superiority and the sooner we realize it is headquartered in our government, the sooner we avoid our own demise.

Copyright © 2010 Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in print in the Coastal Post and The Independent Monitor and online at the blog Legalienate.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

Propaganda Masks Israel's Atrocities

By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 11, 2010, 00:20
Courtesy Of "The Online Journal"

Did you ever wonder why so many people in the US appear to be blind to Israel’s crimes? No matter how many international laws it breaks or UN Security Council resolutions it trashes, most Americans are oblivious to the truth.

Think about it! Since 2006, Israel has launched a war of aggression on Lebanon, killing 1,200. Then, in 2007, it began a complete blockade of Gaza before attacking its residents in the winter of 2008-09 and killing 1,440. Now, its commandos gun down nine activists on a humanitarian ship in international waters.

Yet even before the bodies were placed into coffins, the Israeli government attempted to paint these heroes as armed terrorists.

Palestinian advocates are amazed that this tiny US ally gets away with perpetrating atrocities over and over again with little more than a slap on the wrist. What is equally shocking is the backing the Israeli authorities receive from large sections of the American public.

You only have to tune in to US television networks such as Fox News or CNN. Their spin reflects the pro-Israel view of Congress and public sentiment that invariably sides with the Jewish state.

Israel’s narrative is so protected in the US that lawmakers have passed a bill calling for punitive measures against television networks in the Middle East for fuelling hatred. Such a move ensures that Americans remain indoctrinated.

Now for confession time! If these horrible events had occurred during my teens and early twenties, I would have probably been marching with Israel’s supporters.

The fact is that from the age of nine I grew up in a predominately Jewish area of London. Our neighbours on either side were Hassidic Jews and at least 70 percent of the girls in my grammar school were Jewish supporters of “poor little Israel surrounded by 100,000 hostile Arabs.”

During the 1967 war, several of my school friends flew to Israel to work on Kibbutzim and I remember wanting to go too. This didn’t go down very well with my naval officer father, who had fond memories of playing football with Palestinians in Haifa during the Second World War.

Some years later, I spent some time in Cyprus, where I was introduced to the Middle East expert and author Desmond Stewart and his agent Gillon Aitken. A lively discussion on the Israel-Palestine conflict ensued with Stewart and Aitken in Palestine’s corner and me stridently rooting for Israel as though I knew it all.

I still cringe at the thought of my arrogance and ignorance. They, on the other hand, were astonishingly patient while Stewart was kind enough to send me his book The Arab World.

My attitude softened when I lived in Algeria during the early 1970s, mainly because I had the opportunity to work with Palestinians, who told me their stories. But I wasn’t convinced enough to do a 180-degree U-turn.

Quite honestly, I must have been a complete idiot (I know, I’m leaving myself open with that one). I’ll tell you why. Algerian friends invited me to a party in Algiers and as my French was rusty in those days, I gravitated towards a small gathering of English-speakers, who turned out to be Palestinians.

Our topic of conversation was Palestine when, naturally, I launched into my usual babble. We spoke for hours. They told me of their enforced exodus from Palestine and the hardships they had endured. One explained that he was stateless. Another showed me a key to his father’s house that hung around his neck although he knew he would never live there again. A third described how life was like in a squalid refugee camp.

As I was leaving, one of the young men took me to one side to say, “Do you know who we are? We are Black September and I can assure you if you had been a man you would have been thrown out of that window.”

But everything changed for me when I actually visited Tel Aviv in 1974 and saw with my own eyes how Arabs are treated as second class citizens. In occupied Jerusalem, I witnessed elderly Palestinian women being stopped and searched and an Israeli soldier mercilessly taunting a Palestinian youth, who was hauled off when he was driven to snap back.

It soon became clear that my Israeli ‘friends’ considered the Palestinians as little better than vermin who should be exterminated. I was also a target of Israeli bigotry myself when a clinic refused to treat me for severe sunburn because I wasn’t Jewish and a hotel manager decided to berate me for having Arab stamps in my passport.

The other day, I heard an American activist on Al Jazeera saying, if ordinary Americans were allowed to know the truth they would turn over their country’s pro-Israel policy in a heartbeat.

If my own journey to an awakening of conscience is anything to go by, he may have a point.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

US Punishing Iran With New sanctions

By Jeremy R. Hammond
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 11, 2010, 00:24
Courtesy Of "The Online Journal"

The United Nations Security Council Thursday passed a fourth sanctions resolution against Iran for its insistence on enriching its own uranium under its nuclear program and for what the resolution described as insufficient cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Experts criticized the U.S. policy of continually seeking tougher sanctions on Iran by pointing out how ineffective it is.

Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and current director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said the chance that the new resolution would get Iran to acquiesce to U.S. demands is “virtually zero.”

Apparently validating that assessment, Iran responded immediately by shrugging off the resolution. “Nothing will change,” said the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue uranium enrichment activities.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad replied, “The resolutions you issue are like a used handkerchief which should be thrown in the dustbin. They are not capable of hurting Iranians.”

The international community first learned in 2003 that Iran had for 18 years been concealing its nuclear program from the IAEA, in violation of its obligations as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But since that time, Iran has allowed IAEA inspectors into the country to monitor its program. Iran insists that its program is peaceful, but the U.S. and its allies charge that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said on Monday, “While the agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

He said such cooperation included Iranian acquiescence to the Security Council’s demand that it halt uranium enrichment and implementation of the Additional Protocol, which is a further agreement NPT members may voluntarily sign that allows the IAEA even greater access to their nuclear programs.

In Iran’s case, however, adoption of the agreement is being treated as though it were a legally obligatory measure. Amano described Iran as being a “special case” in describing Iran’s adoption of the Additional Protocol as being “necessary” in order for IAEA for inspectors to do be able to do their job.

Iran charges that the Security Council’s sanctions resolutions are themselves illegal, and that the U.N. has no authority to demand that it cease enriching uranium.

The NPT does in fact guarantee that it is the “inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” which legally means that no one, including the IAEA Board of Governors and the U.N. Security Council, can tell Iran that it can’t enrich uranium so long as it isn’t doing so in order to produce a nuclear weapon.

The former director general of the IAEA, Mohammed El-Baradei, had repeatedly noted that there was no evidence that Iran actually has a parallel weapons program.

Prior to taking over the office, Amano had similarly said, “I don’t see any evidence in IAEA official documents about this,” in response to a question about whether Iran was seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran has so far only produced low-enriched uranium (LEU), not the highly-enriched, weapons-grade uranium required to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

Western media reports commonly assert that Iran has begun producing “higher-enriched uranium,” or similar language, but in fact this is a reference to Iran’s enrichment of uranium to 20 percent for its research reactor in Tehran.

Uranium must be enriched to 90 percent or more in order to manufacture a weapon.

Iran has previously been enriching to only the 3.5 percent necessary to fuel civilian power plants.

Expert analysts agree that if Iran were to actually enrich uranium to weapons-grade and produce a nuclear bomb, it would first have to expel IAEA inspectors.

Moreover, it would likely take at least two years for Iran to acquire the other technical capabilities required to manufacture a bomb from the time that the decision was made to pursue that course.

The new measure, resolution 1929, passed with a vote of 12 in favor and 2 opposed.

Brazil and Turkey, which recently entered into an agreement with Iran to have uranium shipped to Turkey for enrichment there, voted against the resolution. Lebanon abstained from the vote.

Ban Ki-moon previously described the agreement, known as the Tehran Declaration, as a potential positive step, but the U.S. has sought to downplay its importance.

The Brazilian representative stated that sanctions would not be effective, but “would lead to the suffering of the Iranian people and play into the hands of those on all sides who did not want a peaceful resolution of the issue.”

It also undermined Brazil’s efforts with Turkey to engage Iran diplomatically, and “would delay rather than accelerate or ensure progress.”

The Turkish delegate similarly expressed his country’s deep concern “that the adoption of sanctions would negatively affect the momentum created by the Tehran Declaration and the overall diplomatic process.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We disagreed with their vote. But I can understand from a diplomatic perspective why they might be able to make a convincing case for how they voted today.”

Clinton had previously acknowledged that the goal of U.S. policy towards Iran was to gain support for “crippling sanctions” to punish the country for its defiance of the U.S., suggesting that punishment, rather than actual progress towards verifying the peaceful nature of Iran’s program, is itself Washington’s endgame.

The U.S. ambassador, Susan Rice, denied that the sanctions were “aimed at Iran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” despite the fact that the U.S. has led the effort in demanding that Iran halt enrichment regardless of whether or not there was proof that Iran had a parallel weapons program.

President Barack Obama said the resolution “will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government.”

He also said it “was not inevitable,” suggesting that it was Iran that had not been willing to engage diplomatically with the U.S., and not vice versa.

“We made clear from the beginning of my administration that the United States was prepared to pursue diplomatic solutions to address the concerns over Iranian nuclear programs,” he said, adding that the U.S. had made the offer to Iran of better relations “if -- and only if -- it lives up to its international obligations” -- the usual euphemism for demands issued from Washington.

Obama added, “And I want to be clear: These sanctions do not close the door on diplomacy.” Iran could “take a different and better path,” a reference to the U.S. demand that Iran not enrich its own uranium.

For Iran, the whole point of a dialogue would be to negotiate on that point.

The U.S. policy, which consists primarily of this ultimatum, thus effectively renders “diplomacy” moot and administration rhetoric about “engaging” Iran virtually meaningless.

The Obama administration’s policy of demanding that Iran halt enrichment is a continuation of the Bush administration’s policy towards the Islamic Republic. Like Bush, Obama has preferred the dual threat of sanctions and military action to serious engagement with the Iranian leadership.

Obama told Newsweek last year that he had “been very clear” that a U.S. military attack on Iran would not be taken “off the table,” a position he repeated in April of this year.

In addition, he issued a further threat against Iran in April, saying that the U.S. “will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.”

Since the U.S. charges that Iran has not lived up to its obligations under the NPT, this logically means the U.S. could use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Iran -- a statement which itself constitutes a direct threat of violence.

The U.N. Charter forbids member nations from not only from using, but also from threatening to use force in international relations, a fact of international law which Washington perpetually disregards.

As political analyst and historian Gareth Porter wrote, “The Barack Obama administration’s declaration in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that it is reserving the right to use nuclear weapons against Iran represents a new element in a strategy of persuading Tehran that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites is a serious possibility if Iran does not bow to the demand that it cease uranium enrichment.”

With the new resolution, the Security Council decided “that Iran shall not acquire an interest in any commercial activity in another State involving uranium mining, production or use of nuclear materials and technology.”

It also forbids member nations from the sale or transfer to Iran of conventional military equipment, including “battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems,” and forbids Iran from developing ballistic missiles that could potentially be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

The resolution thus could be interpreted as effectively seeking to impair Iran’s ability to maintain a defensive capability against the continual threat of either a U.S. or Israeli attack against its nuclear installations.

The U.S. has long sought to get China and Russia, two other permanent members of the Security Council, on board for further sanctions against Iran, but a lesser known fact is that Israel has also been working behind the scenes to this end.

The New York Times reported Thursday that “a high-level Israeli delegation” travelled to Beijing in February “to explain in sobering detail the economic impact to China from an Israeli strike on Iran.”

An Israeli official said their Chinese counterparts “really sat up in their chairs when we described what a preemptive attack would do to the region and on oil supplies they have come to depend on.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response to the passage of the resolution saying, “The Security Council’s decision is insufficient, and it must be accompanied by additional steps against Iran outside the Security Council,” a reference to their desire to see the U.S. and its European allies adopt more severe sanctions of their own.

Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent political analyst and editor of Foreign Policy Journal (, an online source for news, critical analysis, and opinion commentary on U.S. foreign policy. He was among the recipients of the 2010 Project Censored Awards for outstanding investigative journalism.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

Demand For My Government

By Nick Egnatz
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 14, 2010, 00:15
Courtesy Of "The Online Journal"

On May 31 in international waters, Israel attacked and hijacked a flotilla of six vessels carrying 600 human rights activists from more than 30 countries and their cargo of medicine, construction materials and other humanitarian aid to the 1.5 million Palestinian people in Gaza which has been under siege since 2007 by Israel and Egypt, supported by the U.S. Siege is defined as a military blockade of a city to compel it to surrender.

Nine of the humanitarian activists were killed and 46 wounded by Israeli commandos boarding the largest ship, the Turkish Mavi Marmara. Five were fatally shot in the back and a total of 30 bullet wounds were found in the nine dead.

Israel confiscated all phones, cameras, computers and released a video showing commandos rappelling down to the ship while men with clubs waited for them. There was no mention of tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live ammo fired upon the ships before boarding as some of the activists are saying now that they have been released.

Gaza has been referred to as the largest open air prison in the world, since its people have no access to the outside world under the blockade and are totally dependent upon limited Israeli trucks bringing in U.N. aid and whatever items can be smuggled in via tunnels from Egypt.

The World Health Organization reports, “The closure of Gaza since mid-2007 and the last Israeli military strike between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 have led to on-going deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health . . . 70 percent of families are living on income of less than one dollar per day.”

When Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel consider a terrorist organization, won the U.N. certified parliamentary elections in 2006, the U.S. and Israel backed a military coup against Hamas by the Fatah Party which had been defeated at the polls. Hamas then defeated Fatah in bloody fighting and took control of Gaza, but not the West Bank.

The U.S. cut off all aid to Hamas and Gaza, Israel and Egypt instituted the blockade and Hamas shot their wildly inaccurate rockets into southern Israel. In 2008, Hamas and Israel reached a cease fire. The Israeli Intelligence and Information Center reported that “Hamas was careful to maintain the cease fire” but other groups did not, although there were no Israeli fatalities or injuries from them. On November 4, Israel troops entered Gaza and killed six members of Hamas building a tunnel. The rockets from Hamas into Israel started again and a single Israeli civilian fatality preceded Israel’s massive offensive in December 2008-January 2009, justified by Israel as necessary to stop the rocket attacks.

Israel’s Operation Cast Lead resulted in 1,440 dead Palestinians, including 545 women and children. Israel’s casualties were considerably fewer; a total of 13 dead, including three civilians. Four of the military dead were killed by their own Israeli forces. In Gaza more than 4,000 homes, 600 factories and businesses, 24 mosques, 8 hospitals and 26 clinics were damaged or destroyed in addition to sewage/water treatment facilities, roads and bridges.

Israel does not allow construction supplies into Gaza. Something as simple and basic as concrete is banned and the people have not been able to rebuild their homes, hospitals or businesses. The Freedom Flotilla had some construction supplies onboard.

The blockade is collective punishment of a civilian population. The offensive is clearly a disproportionate response. The hijacking of the flotilla is piracy and an act of war. All are violations of international law.

As a believer in human rights and as peace activist I do not sanction rocket attacks or violence of any kind, but then I am not living with my family cut off from the rest of humanity in the world’s largest open-air prison. So I will not pontificate to those that are in this condition. What I will do is demand that my government stop funding and supporting Israel as long as they continue to deny the Palestinian people basic human rights, including the right to return to the land Israel took from them.

Nick Egnatz of Munster, Indiana, is a Vietnam veteran and member of Veterans For Peace. He has been actively protesting our government’s crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named “Citizen of the Year” for Northwest Indiana in 2006 by the National Association of Social Workers for his peace activism. Contact Nick at

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

Israel Cannot Be Its Own Judge & Jury

By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 16, 2010, 00:24
Courtesy Of "The Online Journal"

Once again, the White House has set aside right in favor of Israel’s self-interest.

The United Nations and the majority of its member countries seek an international inquiry into the killing of eight Turkish activists and one American of Turkish origin who tried to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza. Turkey is adamant that an independent, transparent process should take place and demands that the siege be lifted.

But Israel rejects calls to end its blockade and says it would not cooperate with any such investigation. Instead, it plans to investigate itself. Nothing surprising there! But it is certainly galling for those who care that justice is seen to be done that the United States has apparently blessed Israel’s plan, which is akin to allowing an individual accused of murder to set up his own court of law and try himself. No other country on the planet would be given a similar green light.

Moreover, the White House has endorsed Israel’s rejection of an international inquiry with a statement that reads, “Israel has a military justice system that meets international standards and is capable of conducting a serious and credible investigation.” This is simply laughable. When has anyone in the Israeli Defense Forces been held accountable for anything apart from minor infractions during past decades? Even the few declared to have done wrong get away with a rap on the knuckles.

It’s particularly telling that although Ariel Sharon was found by an Israeli commission to have been “indirectly” responsible for the massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon’s Sabra and Shatilla camps, he was eventually rewarded with the post of prime minister. Since then, dozens of soldiers who would be declared war criminals by any other nation have been awarded medals.

A striking example of this is the drunken IDF bulldozer driver Moshe Nissim, nicknamed “Kurdi Bear,” who, in 2002, demolished homes in the Jenin refugee camp without caring whether anyone was inside them. “If I am sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp down,” he said, before launching into how much he enjoyed his work. For that, he became a national hero and received a medal of honor from the Israeli Army. The UN actually set up a team to investigate Jenin while the evidence was still in place but as soon as Israel said, “We’re not playing ball,” they all went home.

Likewise, Israel has heaped honors on Jewish terrorists involved in what came to be known as “the Lavon Affair” in the 1950s — people who placed bombs inside American and British installations within Egypt as part of a false-flag operation endorsed by Israel’s current president, Shimon Peres. After decades of denying any connection with the terrorists, in 2005, Israel showered the surviving operatives with medals. The then US President George W. Bush didn’t care about the admission that Israel had authorized the bombing of American buildings in the same way that no US leader has cared to punish Israel for its attack on America’s research ship, the USS Liberty, in 1967.

President Barack Obama is either incredibly naïve and misinformed or is being willfully blind for fear of upsetting America’s pro-Israel Congress and lobby. How on earth can he believe that Israel will conduct an honest and fair inquiry when it has torn up the Goldstone report on Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza suggesting that Israelis may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity?

Even more to the point in this particular instance is the fact that Israel’s hard-line, right-wing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his propaganda machine have been spewing lies since the flotilla incident took place. They’ve called the peace activists terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda and have suggested they were armed and ready to murder Israeli commandoes.

Yet, Israel not only released those “terrorists” to their home countries, the only weapons on display from the Mavi Marmara were chair legs, slingshots, marbles and metal bars. Let’s face it, could you honestly imagine that Al-Qaeda guys would board that ship with marbles to face off against the full might of the Israeli military? And, secondly, if it was their pre-planned intention to kill Israelis, why did they leave alive the three Israelis who were captured and deprived of their guns?

It’s interesting that the US Defense Minister Robert Gates blames the European Union’s reluctance to embrace Turkey’s membership for Ankara’s drift away from the EU and Israel toward new partnerships in the Middle East. In this case, is he also prepared to blame President Obama for throwing Turkey to the wolves in an effort to appease Tel Aviv and its rah-rah crowd in Washington?

The signs are clear. Israel’s murderous attack on the flotilla will be pushed under the carpet like every other nefarious thing it has perpetrated. And even though the blockade of Gaza has been deemed illegal by the UN, it’s not about to be lifted. The International Committee of the Red Cross has described it as “collective punishment” which violates the Geneva Conventions and is a “crime under international law” but who’s listening? I suspect that Israel will ease the flow of goods into Gaza for awhile to take some heat off itself and then everything will return to the status quo, which is an insult to those courageous Turks who sacrificed their lives.

Now, there’s another storm brewing. Uri Brodsky, an Israeli wanted by Germany in connection with illegally obtaining the German passport that was used by an alleged Mossad agent to assassinate a Hamas commander in Dubai has been arrested in Poland.

Germany seeks his extradition but Israel insists he should be flown to Tel Aviv for investigation there. Here we go again! Israel admits that the accused is an Israeli citizen and is demanding his return so an Israeli probe can be launched. I know. Feel free to laugh out loud. All eyes are now on Warsaw to see which way this dedicated friend to Israel will jump.

In the meantime, Dubai is mulling whether or not to request extradition itself which will largely depend on whether Brodsky is directly linked to the assassination. Dubai’s police chief, Dahi Khalfan Tamim, says Israel is not a country governed by laws but one that settles its scores “in a gang-like manner.” At least there’s one person in the world who says it like it is!

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

The New Propaganda

Fighting Talk

Journalism has become a linguistic battleground – and when reporters use terms such ‘spike in violence’ or ‘surge’ or ‘settler’, they are playing along with a pernicious game

By Robert Fisk
Monday, 21 June 2010
Courtesy Of "The Independent"

Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It's Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror...

But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon, and that of the White House – most of the time – and our reporters' lexicon, is the same. Yes, let's be fair to the Israelis. Their lexicon goes like this: Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

How many times did I just use the word "terror"? Twenty. But it might as well be 60, or 100, or 1,000, or a million. We are in love with the word, seduced by it, fixated by it, attacked by it, assaulted by it, raped by it, committed to it. It is love and sadism and death in one double syllable, the prime time-theme song, the opening of every television symphony, the headline of every page, a punctuation mark in our journalism, a semicolon, a comma, our most powerful full stop. "Terror, terror, terror, terror". Each repetition justifies its predecessor.

Most of all, it's about the terror of power and the power of terror. Power and terror have become interchangeable. We journalists have let this happen. Our language has become not just a debased ally, but a full verbal partner in the language of governments and armies and generals and weapons. Remember the "bunker buster" and the "Scud buster" and the "target-rich environment" in the Gulf War (Part One)? Forget about "weapons of mass destruction". Too obviously silly. But "WMD" in the Gulf War (Part Two) had a power of its own, a secret code – genetic, perhaps, like DNA – for something that would reap terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. "45 Minutes to Terror".

Power and the media are not just about cosy relationships between journalists and political leaders, between editors and presidents. They are not just about the parasitic-osmotic relationship between supposedly honourable reporters and the nexus of power that runs between White House and State Department and Pentagon, between Downing Street and the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, between America and Israel.

In the Western context, power and the media is about words – and the use of words. It is about semantics. It is about the employment of phrases and their origins. And it is about the misuse of history, and about our ignorance of history. More and more today, we journalists have become prisoners of the language of power. Is this because we no longer care about linguistics or semantics? Is this because laptops "correct" our spelling, "trim" our grammar so that our sentences so often turn out to be identical to those of our rulers? Is this why newspaper editorials today often sound like political speeches?

For two decades now, the US and British – and Israeli and Palestinian – leaderships have used the words "peace process" to define the hopeless, inadequate, dishonourable agreement that allowed the US and Israel to dominate whatever slivers of land would be given to an occupied people. I first queried this expression, and its provenance, at the time of Oslo – although how easily we forget that the secret surrenders at Oslo were themselves a conspiracy without any legal basis.

Poor old Oslo, I always think. What did Oslo ever do to deserve this? It was the White House agreement that sealed this preposterous and dubious treaty – in which refugees, borders, Israeli colonies, even timetables – were to be delayed until they could no longer be negotiated.

And how easily we forget the White House lawn – though, yes, we remember the images – upon which it was Clinton who quoted from the Koran, and Arafat who chose to say: "Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr President." And what did we call this nonsense afterwards? Yes, it was "a moment of history"! Was it? Was it so?

Do you remember what Arafat called it? "The peace of the brave". But I don't remember any of us pointing out that "the peace of the brave" was used by General de Gaulle about the end of the Algerian war. The French lost the war in Algeria. We did not spot this extraordinary irony.

Same again today. We Western journalists – used yet again by our masters – have been reporting our jolly generals in Afghanistan, as saying their war can only be won with a "hearts and minds" campaign. No one asked them the obvious question: Wasn't this the very same phrase used about Vietnamese civilians in the Vietnam War? And didn't we – didn't the West – lose the war in Vietnam? Yet now we Western journalists are using – about Afghanistan – the phrase "hearts and minds" in our reports as if it is a new dictionary definition, rather than a symbol of defeat for the second time in four decades.

Just look at the individual words we have recently co-opted from the US military. When we Westerners find that "our" enemies – al-Qa'ida, for example, or the Taliban – have set off more bombs and staged more attacks than usual, we call it "a spike in violence".

Ah yes, a "spike"! A "spike" is a word first used in this context, according to my files, by a brigadier general in the Baghdad Green Zone in 2004. Yet now we use that phrase, we extemporise on it, we relay it on the air as our phrase, our journalistic invention. We are using, quite literally, an expression created for us by the Pentagon. A spike, of course, goes sharply up then sharply downwards. A "spike in violence" therefore avoids the ominous use of the words "increase in violence" – for an increase, of course, might not go down again afterwards.

Now again, when US generals refer to a sudden increase in their forces for an assault on Fallujah or central Baghdad or Kandahar – a mass movement of soldiers brought into Muslim countries by the tens of thousands – they call this a "surge". And a surge, like a tsunami, or any other natural phenomena, can be devastating in its effects. What these "surges" really are – to use the real words of serious journalism – are reinforcements. And reinforcements are sent to conflicts when armies are losing those wars. But our television and newspaper boys and girls are still talking about "surges" without any attribution at all. The Pentagon wins again.

Meanwhile the "peace process" collapsed. Therefore our leaders – or "key players" as we like to call them – tried to make it work again. The process had to be put "back on track". It was a train, you see. The carriages had come off the line. The Clinton administration first used this phrase, then the Israelis, then the BBC. But there was a problem when the "peace process" had repeatedly been put "back on track" – but still came off the line. So we produced a "road map" – run by a Quartet and led by our old Friend of God, Tony Blair, who – in an obscenity of history – we now refer to as a "peace envoy". But the "road map" isn't working. And now, I notice, the old "peace process" is back in our newspapers and on our television screens. And earlier this month, on CNN, one of those boring old fogies whom the TV boys and girls call "experts" told us again that the "peace process" was being put "back on track" because of the opening of "indirect talks" between Israelis and Palestinians. This isn't just about clichés – this is preposterous journalism. There is no battle between the media and power; through language, we, the media, have become them.

Here's another piece of media cowardice that makes my 63-year-old teeth grind together after 34 years of eating humus and tahina in the Middle East. We are told, in many analysis features, that what we have to deal with in the Middle East are "competing narratives". How very cosy. There's no justice, no injustice, just a couple of people who tell different history stories. "Competing narratives" now regularly pop up in the British press.

The phrase, from the false language of anthropology, deletes the possibility that one group of people – in the Middle East, for example – is occupied, while another is doing the occupying. Again, no justice, no injustice, no oppression or oppressing, just some friendly "competing narratives", a football match, if you like, a level playing field because the two sides are – are they not? – "in competition". And two sides have to be given equal time in every story.

So an "occupation" becomes a "dispute". Thus a "wall" becomes a "fence" or "security barrier". Thus Israeli acts of colonisation of Arab land, contrary to all international law, become "settlements" or "outposts" or "Jewish neighbourhoods". It was Colin Powell, in his starring, powerless appearance as Secretary of State to George W Bush, who told US diplomats to refer to occupied Palestinian land as "disputed land" – and that was good enough for most of the US media. There are no "competing narratives", of course, between the US military and the Taliban. When there are, you'll know the West has lost.

But I'll give you an example of how "competing narratives" come undone. In April, I gave a lecture in Toronto to mark the 95th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian genocide, the deliberate mass murder of 1.5 million Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turkish army and militia. Before my talk, I was interviewed on Canadian Television, CTV, which also owns Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper. And from the start, I could see that the interviewer had a problem. Canada has a large Armenian community. But Toronto also has a large Turkish community. And the Turks, as the Globe and Mail always tell us, "hotly dispute" that this was a genocide.

So the interviewer called the genocide "deadly massacres". Of course, I spotted her specific problem straight away. She couldn't call the massacres a "genocide", because the Turkish community would be outraged. But she sensed that "massacres" on its own – especially with the gruesome studio background photographs of dead Armenians – was not quite up to defining a million and a half murdered human beings. Hence the "deadly massacres". How odd! If there are "deadly" massacres, are there some massacres which are not "deadly", from which the victims walk away alive? It was a ludicrous tautology.

Yet the use of the language of power – of its beacon words and its beacon phrases – goes on among us still. How many times have I heard Western reporters talking about "foreign fighters" in Afghanistan? They are referring, of course, to the various Arab groups supposedly helping the Taliban. We heard the same story from Iraq. Saudis, Jordanians, Palestinian, Chechen fighters, of course. The generals called them "foreign fighters". Immediately, we Western reporters did the same. Calling them "foreign fighters" meant they were an invading force. But not once – ever – have I heard a mainstream Western television station refer to the fact that there are at least 150,000 "foreign fighters" in Afghanistan, and that all of them happen to be wearing American, British and other NATO uniforms. It is "we" who are the real "foreign fighters".

Similarly, the pernicious phrase "Af-Pak" – as racist as it is politically dishonest – is now used by reporters, although it was originally a creation of the US State Department on the day Richard Holbrooke was appointed special US representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the phrase avoids the use of the word "India" – whose influence in Afghanistan and whose presence in Afghanistan, is a vital part of the story. Furthermore, "Af-Pak" – by deleting India – effectively deleted the whole Kashmir crisis from the conflict in south-east Asia. It thus deprived Pakistan of any say in US local policy on Kashmir – after all, Holbrooke was made the "Af-Pak" envoy, specifically forbidden from discussing Kashmir. Thus the phrase "Af-Pak", which completely avoids the tragedy of Kashmir – too many "competing narratives", perhaps? – means that when we journalists use the same phrase, "Af-Pak", which was surely created for us journalists, we are doing the State Department's work.

Now let's look at history. Our leaders love history. Most of all, they love the Second World War. In 2003, George W Bush thought he was Churchill. True, Bush had spent the Vietnam War protecting the skies of Texas from the Vietcong. But now, in 2003, he was standing up to the "appeasers" who did not want a war with Saddam who was, of course, "the Hitler of the Tigris". The appeasers were the British who didn't want to fight Nazi Germany in 1938. Blair, of course, also tried on Churchill's waistcoat and jacket for size. No "appeaser" he. America was Britain's oldest ally, he proclaimed – and both Bush and Blair reminded journalists that the US had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Britain in her hour of need in 1940.

But none of this was true. Britain's oldest ally was not the United States. It was Portugal, a neutral fascist state during the Second World War, which flew its national flags at half-mast when Hitler died (even the Irish didn't do that).

Nor did America fight alongside Britain in her hour of need in 1940, when Hitler threatened invasion and the Luftwaffe blitzed London. No, in 1940 America was enjoying a very profitable period of neutrality, and did not join Britain in the war until Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbour in December 1941. Similarly, back in 1956, Eden called Nasser the "Mussolini of the Nile". A bad mistake. Nasser was loved by the Arabs, not hated as Mussolini was by the majority of Africans, especially the Arab Libyans. The Mussolini parallel was not challenged or questioned by the British press. And we all know what happened at Suez in 1956. When it comes to history, we journalists let the presidents and prime ministers take us for a ride.

Yet the most dangerous side of our new semantic war, our use of the words of power – though it is not a war, since we have largely surrendered – is that it isolates us from our viewers and readers. They are not stupid. They understand words in many cases – I fear – better than we do. History, too. They know that we are drawing our vocabulary from the language of generals and presidents, from the so-called elites, from the arrogance of the Brookings Institute experts, or those of those of the Rand Corporation. Thus we have become part of this language.

Over the past two weeks, as foreigners – humanitarians or "activist terrorists" – tried to take food and medicines by sea to the hungry Palestinians of Gaza, we journalists should have been reminding our viewers and listeners of a long-ago day when America and Britain went to the aid of a surrounded people, bringing food and fuel – our own servicemen dying as they did so – to help a starving population. That population had been surrounded by a fence erected by a brutal army which wished to starve the people into submission. The army was Russian. The city was Berlin. The wall was to come later. The people had been our enemies only three years earlier. Yet we flew the Berlin airlift to save them. Now look at Gaza today: which Western journalist – since we love historical parallels – has even mentioned 1948 Berlin in the context of Gaza?

Instead, what did we get? "Activists" who turned into "armed activists" the moment they opposed the Israeli army's boarding parties. How dare these men upset the lexicon? Their punishment was obvious. They became "terrorists". And the Israeli raids – in which "activists" were killed (another proof of their "terrorism") – then became "deadly" raids. In this case, "deadly" was more excusable than it had been on CTV – nine dead men of Turkish origin being slightly fewer than a million and a half murdered Armenians in 1915. But it was interesting that the Israelis – who for their own political reasons had hitherto shamefully gone along with the Turkish denial – now suddenly wanted to inform the world of the 1915 Armenian genocide. This provoked an understandable frisson among many of our colleagues. Journalists who have regularly ducked all mention of the 20th century's first Holocaust – unless they could also refer to the way in which the Turks "hotly dispute" the genocide label (ergo the Toronto Globe and Mail) – could suddenly refer to it. Israel's new-found historical interest made the subject legitimate, though almost all reports managed to avoid any explanation of what actually happened in 1915.

And what did the Israeli seaborne raid become? It became a "botched" raid. Botched is a lovely word. It began as a German-origin Middle English word, "bocchen", which meant to "repair badly". And we more or less kept to that definition until our journalistic lexicon advisors changed its meaning. Schoolchildren "botch" an exam. We could "botch" a piece of sewing, an attempt to repair a piece of material. We could even botch an attempt to persuade our boss to give us a raise. But now we "botch" a military operation. It wasn't a disaster. It wasn't a catastrophe. It just killed some Turks.

So, given the bad publicity, the Israelis just "botched" the raid. Weirdly, the last time reporters and governments utilised this particular word followed Israel's attempt to kill the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, in the streets of Amman. In this case, Israel's professional assassins were caught after trying to poison Meshaal, and King Hussain forced the then Israeli prime minister (a certain B Netanyahu) to provide the antidote (and to let a lot of Hamas "terrorists" out of jail). Meshaal's life was saved.

But for Israel and its obedient Western journalists this became a "botched attempt" on Meshaal's life. Not because he wasn't meant to die, but because Israel failed to kill him. You can thus "botch" an operation by killing Turks – or you can "botch" an operation by not killing a Palestinian.

How do we break with the language of power? It is certainly killing us. That, I suspect, is one reason why readers have turned away from the "mainstream" press to the internet. Not because the net is free, but because readers know they have been lied to and conned; they know that what they watch and what they read in newspapers is an extension of what they hear from the Pentagon or the Israeli government, that our words have become synonymous with the language of a government-approved, careful middle ground, which obscures the truth as surely as it makes us political – and military – allies of all major Western governments.

Many of my colleagues on various Western newspapers would ultimately risk their jobs if they were constantly to challenge the false reality of news journalism, the nexus of media-government power. How many news organisations thought to run footage, at the time of the Gaza disaster, of the airlift to break the blockade of Berlin? Did the BBC?

The hell they did! We prefer "competing narratives". Politicians didn't want – I told the Doha meeting on 11 May – the Gaza voyage to reach its destination, "be its end successful, farcical or tragic". We believe in the "peace process", the "road map". Keep the "fence" around the Palestinians. Let the "key players" sort it out. And remember what this is all about: "Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror."

More from Robert Fisk

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Collapse Of Israel's 'Periphery Doctrine'

By Leon T. Hadar
Journalist and foreign affairs analyst
Posted: June 18, 2010 03:24 PM
Courtesy Of "The Huffington Post"

Reports that Turkey would halt military cooperation with Israel and not send back the ambassador it withdrew after the deadly Israeli commando operation to stop a Gaza aid convoy make it apparent that the partnership between Ankara and Jerusalem are coming to an end. Moreover, the rupture in the relationship between these two governments indicates that one of the major components in Israeli national security -- the so-called Periphery Doctrine of forming alliance with non-Arab states in the periphery of the Middle East, with which Israel had not direct conflict, including Turkey, Iran and Ethiopia, as well with ethnic and religious minorities, like the Maronites in Lebanon and the Kurds in Iraq -- has been tossed into the dustbin of history.

The Periphery Doctrine, aka the Alliance of the Periphery, advanced by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion and by Eliahu Sassoon, one of Israel's leading Middle East experts and the first Israeli diplomatic representative in Ankara, was regarded as a way of offsetting the diplomatic and economic boycott of the Arab World and as a traditional balance-of-power strategy aimed at countering Pan-Arabism.

The fact that, like Israel, Turkey, a member of NATO, as well as the Shah of Iran and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, maintained friendly ties with Washington and the West and had long-standing conflict with Arab states (Turkey with Syria; Iran with Iraq; Ethiopia with Sudan) helped strengthen Israel's partnerships with these pro-American and non-Arab countries.

But Ben-Gurion and other Israeli leaders regarded the Periphery Doctrine as a temporary strategy that needed to be sustained as long as the Arab nations refused to recognize Israel and make peace with it. It was not seen as a substitute for the central tenet in Israeli policy -- achieving peace with Israel's Arab neighbors. Nor could it serve as an alternative to a strategic relationship with an outside military power, such as the Soviet Union in the 1940s, France in the 1950s, and the United States since 1967.

Overall, the Periphery Doctrine proved to be at best a cost-effective but short-term Realpolitik-based strategy, and at worst a long-term strategic illusion. Israel's close relationship with Ethiopia and Iran foundered after the fall of their ancient regimes and the ensuing political turmoil that engulfed those countries. And it could not sustain a long-term and steady relationship with ethnic and religious minorities in the region, such as the Maronites and the Kurds.

In fact, it was obvious to Israeli policymakers that, as long as Israel remained in a state of war with the major Arab countries, economic considerations, military interests and religious affinity would place clear limits on the willingness and the ability of Turkey and other periphery nations and minorities to expand ties with Israel. From that perspective, the relationship between Israel and Turkey -- or for that matter, Iran or Lebanon's Maronites -- never amounted to a "strategic alliance." The Turks, like other targets of the Periphery Doctrine, regarded their ties with Israel as a way of hedging their bets by providing them with additional diplomatic and military resources to resist pressure from aggressive Arab nationalist governments and movements.

From that perspective, the notion advanced by neoconservative foreign policy types since the First Gulf War, that a stronger Israel-Turkey "strategic" alliance would transform the post-Cold War Middle East and help form a U.S-oriented condominium in the region, forcing pro-American Arab governments like Jordan and Egypt to join the new bloc, while isolating more radical actors like Saddam's Iraq and the Ayatollahs' Iran, was just one more example of the fantasies concocted by those who had brought us the "liberation" of Iraq.

Daniel Pipes, who was a staunch proponent of the Israel-Turkey alliance along these lines, wrote in 1998 in Commentary magazine that the post-Cold War "New Middle East" was "rapidly sorting itself into two new regional power blocs." At the center of one bloc "stand Turkey and Israel, two countries that in many ways are natural partners." Both countries are non-Arab, democratic, and Western oriented, and "each maintains a large military and faces a major threat of terrorism." Both put great store in their relationship with the United States, and each "has problems with both Syria and Iran, the two countries that happen to stand in the center of the opposing bloc." Pipes even suggested that, unlike the "superficiality" of the relations between Syria and Iran, which according to him, were reminiscent of those between Germany and Japan during World War II, the relationship between Israel and Turkey "resembles that between the United States and Great Britain in that war."

It was the high level of expectations produced by Pipes and other champions of the Turkish-Israeli "strategic" alliance that may have ended up having helped produce the kind of shock waves in Washington and elsewhere in face of the breakdown of that imaginary "special relationship" between Ankara and Jerusalem and the conventional wisdom that seems to see a direct relationship between the Islamist ideology of the current Turkish government and the deterioration in the relationship with the Jewish State.

But in general, the peaks and dips in the Israeli-Turkish relationship, even during the rule of secular governments in Ankara, were reflected inversely by developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the waves of strain and rapprochement in the relationship between Turkey and the Arab states. In 1947, Turkey voted against the United Nations partition plan and the creation of Israel; but in 1949, after Egypt and Jordan signed armistice agreements with Israel, Turkey became the first Muslim state to recognize Israel. Diplomatic missions were opened in December 1950 at the legation level in Ankara and Tel Aviv, although from 1956, following the attack by Israel against Egypt, the legation in Tel Aviv was reduced to the lowest diplomatic level of charge d'affaires until December 1991 -- six weeks after the start of the Arab-Israeli peace conference in Madrid -- when the Turks decided to upgrade the diplomatic representation of Israel -- and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) -- to the ambassadorial level. Earlier on during the First Intifadah, Turkey had signaled its support for the Palestinian cause by becoming the fourth country -- and the only government then maintaining a diplomatic relationship with Israel -- to recognize Palestine as an independent state.

Indeed, while much has been made of the recent Turkish strategy of improving ties with the Arab states, Turkey's long-term interests have always been based on the understanding that geographical proximity, economic interests and civilizational considerations require that it normalize the relationship with its neighbors, the same factors that were making it unlikely that Ankara would establish a full-fledged alliance with a Jewish State as long as Israel remained at war with the Arab World.

Short-term political and military considerations -- the two countries' problems with Syria and tensions with Iran -- as well as the need to contain the pressure from Arab nationalist led by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and backed by the Soviet Union -- created a regional environment more conductive to Israeli-Turkish cooperation. At the same time, the relationship between the two countries soured in response to Israeli policies and to Israeli policies.

Hence, Turkey downgraded its relationship with Israeli after forming the Baghdad Pact with Iraq in 1955 (joined by Britain, Pakistan and Iran) and pledged to come to the support of Jordan if attacked by Israel. Moreover, Turkey joined most of the Arab and Muslim governments in denouncing Israel in response to its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories, reflecting the reality in which Turkey regarded Israel not as an ally, but as just another important regional player with which it shares on some level a few common interests.

But not even the members of Turkish secular elites, including the military, bought into the strategic fantasy advanced by Pipes and others of joining Israel in becoming the American hegemon's twin sheriffs in the Middle East. Indeed, the Turkish opposition to the American invasion of Iraq and the isolation of Iran as well as to Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, were opposed by the majority of the Turks, while the end of the Cold War, the downfall of the radical Pan Arabist project as well as the Arab peace agreements with Israel, provided new opportunities to improve their ties with the Arab states.

Interestingly enough, some Israeli policymakers, like former Israeli foreign minister and Labor Party leader Shlomo Ben Ami were mirror imaging this new Turkish orientation by stressing that long-term Israeli interests lied in improving relationship with Egypt and the rest of the Arab World, including the Palestinians, and in abandoning the illusion that an alliance with Turkey would be a substitute for a strategy to integrate Israel into the Middle East.

Israel's periphery alliance with Turkey, Iran and Ethiopia "was created in the 1950s as a tool for avoiding peace with the Arabs," explained Ben-Ami in a recent interview with the Israeli daily Ha'aretz: "A return to this alliance goes through reconciliation with the Arab world," he stressed, concluding that "Turkey is telling us in effect: In order to reach us, the second circle, you have to make peace in the first circle, and we want to be the mediator."