Why Iran Should Get the Bomb

In Foreign Affairs, Kenneth Waltz, the towering international relations theorist, argues that nuclear balancing will bring stability to the Middle East. He writes:

Most U.S., European, and Israeli commentators and policymakers warn that a nuclear-armed Iran would be the worst possible outcome of the current standoff. In fact, it would probably be the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East.

He adds:

Diplomacy between Iran and the major powers should continue, because open lines of communication will make the Western countries feel better able to live with a nuclear Iran. But the current sanctions on Iran can be dropped: they primarily harm ordinary Iranians, with little purpose.

Most important, policymakers and citizens in the Arab world, Europe, Israel, and the United States should take comfort from the fact that history has shown that where nuclear capabilities emerge, so, too, does stability. When it comes to nuclear weapons, now as ever, more may be better.

You can read the rest here.

Life through Medialens – but not as we know it

by Martin Rowson

This week I thought I’d describe my adventures with a website called Medialens over a cartoon I recently drew for The Guardian. It featured Bashar al-Assad, in the immediate aftermath of the Houla massacre, smeared in blood and pointing an equally blood-stained finger at his own chest. Also depicted were Vladimir Putin, Wen Jiabao, Ban Ki Moon, Kofi Annan, several cowled figures of Death, Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde lashing a pile of human bones with euro-laden cats-o’-nine-tails and the sleeping form of David Cameron, snuggled up to an enormous cat dressed in a blue pin-striped suit. The thing was captioned “Who? Me?!?”, although it’s by no means clear who’s saying these words, just as it’s not clear whose blood besmirches Assad, whether it’s his latest alleged victims’, from his earlier ones or, for that matter, whether the blood might be his own.

Anyway, I was asked by Medialens via Twitter (in 140 characters or less, even if a picture is, they say, worth a thousand words) what clear evidence I had for President Assad’s personal involvement in the Houla massacre. So far as I can tell, Medialens turn out to be a couple of blokes called David whose mission is to expose the lies, misrepresentation and manipulation in the “mainstream media”. Continue reading “Life through Medialens – but not as we know it”

Amnesty shills for the US war machine

After the infamous babies-in-incubators fiasco, in which Amnesty International helped sell an unpopular war with false claims about specific Iraqi atrocities, one would expect that it would show greater concern for its reputation which in recent year had been rehabilitated somewhat. But as Ann Wright and Coleen Rowley show,  Amnesty International’s hiring of a highly dubious Washington insider to head its US operation and its blatantly propagandistic public diplomacy campaigns on Afghanistan suggest cooperation with the CIA to perpetuate a deeply unpopular war. 

The new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA – Suzanne Nossel – is a recent U.S. government insider. So it’s a safe bet that AI’s decision to seize upon a topic that dovetailed with American foreign policy interests, “women’s rights in Afghanistan,” at the NATO Conference last month in Chicago came directly from her.

Nossel was hired by AI in January 2012. In her early career, Nossel worked for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke under the Clinton Administration at the United Nations. Most recently, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and congressional relations.

Amnesty International’s “NATO: Keep the Progress Going” poster at a Chicago bus stop.

She also played a leading role in U.S. engagement at the U.N. Human Rights Council (where her views about the original Goldstone Report on behalf of Palestinian women did not quite rise to the same level of concerns for the women in countries that U.S.-NATO has attacked militarily).[…]

Continue reading “Amnesty shills for the US war machine”

Blumenthal vs al-Akhbar’s Pro-Asad Propaganda

The great anti-Zionist Max Blumenthal explains why he has resigned from al-Akhbar, previously a Lebanese leftist newspaper, now a propaganda rag for the sectarian gangster regime in Syria. He examines the disgusting rubbish al-Akhbar has recently published by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Shermine Narwani and Ibrahim Amin. The whitewashing, misrepresentation, plain hallucination and outright Islamophobia resorted to by these writers would be comical if the Syrian people were not being slaughtered and if so many idiot ‘leftists’ in the West were not being influenced by them. — R.Y-K.

A farewell to Al Akhbar and Assad’s apologists

by Max Blumenthal

“Syrian weapons are being used – most unfortunately – against our camp, while the rulers of Damascus continue to repeat that they are here in Lebanon in order to defend our camp. This is a murderous lie, a lie which pains us more than anyone else… But we wish to inform you that we will fight in defense of this camp with our bare hands if all our ammunition is spent and all our weapons are gone, and that we will tighten our belts so that hunger will not kill us. For we have taken a decision not to surrender and we shall not surrender…”

–open letter from the residents of Tal al Zataar refugee camp to the world, July 13, 1976

I recently learned of a major exodus of key staffers at Al Akhbar caused at least in part by disagreements with the newspaper leadership’s pro-Assad tendency. The revelation helps explain why Al Akhbar English now prominently features the malevolent propaganda of Amal Saad Ghorayeb and the dillentantish quasi-analysis of Sharmine Narwani alongside editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin’s friendly advice for Bashar Assad, whom he attempts to depict as an earnest reformer overwhelmed by events.

When I joined the fledgling Al Akhbar English website last fall, I was excited to contribute my writing on the Israel-Palestine situation and US foreign policy to a paper that I considered one of the most courageous publications in the Arab world. At the time, the Syrian uprising had just begun, and apparently, so had the debates inside Al Akhbar, which reflected the discussions within the wider Lebanese Left. Almost a year later, the results of the debate have become clear on the pages of the paper, where despite the presence of a few dissident voices, the apologia for Assad and his crimes has reached unbearable levels.

I considered responding on my blog to some of the more outlandish ravings published at Al Akhbar, but eventually decided my energy would be better spent on covering the topics I knew best — and which I could discuss with the authority of journalistic experience. Meanwhile, my frustration and embarrassment mounted as one Ghorayeb screed after another appeared on the site, each one more risible than the next.

Following her vehement defense of the Syrian dictator’s use of surgery metaphors to refer to his security forces’ brutal crackdowns, Al Akhbar English featured Ghorayeb’s daftest work to date: an attack on Arab Third Wayers (supporters of the anti-imperialist, anti-authoritarian political tendency) in which she asserted that “the real litmus of Arab intellectuals’ and activists’ commitment to the Palestinian cause is no longer their support for Palestinian rights, but rather, their support for the Assad leadership’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis’ onslaught against it.”

Continue reading “Blumenthal vs al-Akhbar’s Pro-Asad Propaganda”

Julian Assange interviews Imran Khan

No country has ever been bombed by its own ally, like Pakistan has been bombed by the US, Pakistani politician Imran Khan tells Julian Assange. He says it is time to put an end to the US-Pakistani ‘client-master’ relationship. ­In the ninth episode of his show, Julian Assange talks to Imran Khan, whose political party was ignored for years and which US State Department cables called “Pakistan’s one-man party.”

The President ‘Must Be Defeated’, says Roberto Unger, Obama’s former law professor

Roberto Unger, a longtime professor at Harvard Law School who taught Obama, says that “President Obama must be defeated in the coming election.” Obama’s method, he says, has been to: “Give the bond markets what they want, bail out the reckless so long as they are also rich, use fiscal and monetary stimulus to make up for the absence of any consequential broadening of economic and educational opportunity, sweeten the pill of disempowerment with a touch of tax fairness, even though the effect of any such tax reform is sure to be modest.”  “This”, he says, “is less a project than it is an abdication.”

Unger acknowledges that some things might be worse under the Republicans, but “the risk of military adventurism however under the rule of his opponents will be no greater than it would be under him.”

Unger’s specific charges include:

  • “His policy is financial confidence and food stamps.”
  • “He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices.”
  • “He has delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money.”
  • “He has disguised his surrender with an empty appeal to tax justice.”
  • “He has reduced justice to charity.”
  • “He has subordinated the broadening of economic and educational opportunity to the important but secondary issue of access to health care in the mistaken belief that he would be spared a fight.”
  • “He has evoked a politics of handholding, but no one changes the world without a struggle.”

Ziad Jilani Vs. Israel: Another Case of Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Execution of a Palestinian

Within a couple of days, Israel State Attorney, Yehuda Weinstein, will have to decide whether to press charges against the Israeli Border Patrol officers, who shot and killed Palestinian Ziad Jilani, on his way back from prayer, who’s truck swerved off the road and hit 2 soldiers walking on the opposite lane. In the official investigation following the killing on 11th of June 2010, conducted that same day by the Police Internal Investigations (Machash), neither Machash interrogators nor the police saw fit to take testimony from the many eyewitnesses on the street at the time. Only soldiers and police personnel were interrogated.

The case was closed last year, citing “lack of evidence” and the incident reported in Israeli media as a “hit-and-run terror attack”. But Jilani’s widow, Moira Jilani, and her three daughters, with the help of the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, conducted an independent investigation (including an autopsy, which the Israeli authorities refused to do, and the Israeli media dubbed “body snatching”). The investigation pointed the way to the killers; Maxim Vinogrodov, a Border Patrol officer, and his commander, Shadi Kherraldin.

Confirmation of Killing: Standard Procedure

Continue reading “Ziad Jilani Vs. Israel: Another Case of Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Execution of a Palestinian”