Press TV – January 3, 2010 – 17:51:55 GMT
A retired US general and member of Iran Policy Committee (IPC) says all 18 to 28 years old Muslim men should be strip searched at airports as “one of these bombers” will explode an airliner in the coming days.
Thomas McInerney, a retired Lt. Genera with the US Air Force, told Fox News television on Saturday that within the next 30 to 120 days, “there is a danger of high probability” awaiting US airliners.
“If you are an 18 to 28-year-old Muslim man then you should be strip searched. And if we don’t do that there’s a very high probability we’re going to lose an airline,” he said.
The retired general went on to say that US officials should profile all Muslims. “We have to use profiling. And I mean be very serious and harsh about the profiling.”
Asked if such a racial approach would not “generate more hatred and violence towards the West,” McInerney said he did not want “a racial profile.”
“I want to profile on that group that we have enough evidence from 9/11, and other [high-profile] cases that we know what we are looking at,” he said.
The suggestions made by the US retied general comes on the heels of a purported bomb attack on a US transatlantic airliner on Christmas Day by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who allegedly received al-Qaeda training in Yemen.
Lawmakers and congressional leaders in the US have echoed similar sentiments by urging President Obama abandon or suspend his plan to shutter the Guantanamo Bay Prison.
Around half of the remaining Gitmo detainees are from Yemen, and of those, about 40 have been cleared for release.
Just days into Israel’s war on Gaza, in early January, the extended Al Samouni family, some 48 men, women and children, was attacked in the homes they occupied together in the south of Gaza – and almost all of them were killed. Thirteen-year-old Almaza – ‘jewel’ – is one of the very few who survived the attack in which 30 members of her family died, many before her own eyes. A Girl Called Jewel is Almaza’s story, a heart-breaking eye-witness account of the war in Gaza.
By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – January 01, 2010
The Belgian-French Group, Dexia, refused to finance grants meant for the construction of property in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The decision came after a Palestinian and a Belgium groups filed a petition against financing settlement constructions.
Moayyad Affana, coordinator of the twin-project of the Intellectuals Forum in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and the Artists Against the Wall in Belgium, said that the two groups sent several letters to Dexia group urging them to reject financing constructions in Jewish settlements.
Affana thanked the Artists Against the Wall for defending the rights of the Palestinian people and for highlighting the suffering of the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
He also thanked the Dexia group for its decision as Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are illegal and violate the international law.
Khaled Jaber, head of the Intellectual Forum in Qalqilia, also thanked the Dexia group for its decision and called on European institutions to practice pressure on Israel to stop the construction of settlements in the occupied territories.
It is worth mentioning that the partnership between the Intellectuals Group and the Artists Against the Wall started five years ago.
Several summer camps were held in the West Bank as part of this partnership in addition to conducting several other projects for children, short documentaries, and training programs for in Qalqilia and in Brussels.
Yet, Israeli sources claimed that officials of the Bank in Israel rejected the claims that the decision was made due to pressure from what the Israeli National News described as “pro-Arab groups”.
The campaign against construction in Jewish settlements forced the shareholders to discuss this issue in Brussels last March.
The Israeli National News reported that the Dexia group rejected a demand to stop lending money to the Jerusalem Municipality for the construction of settlements in and around the city.
Shmuel Rifman, head of the illegal Ramat Ha-Negev council, urged all regional councils in Israel to boycott the Dexia group for its decision.t
Member of Knesset, Uri Ariel of the National Union Party, demanded the Israeli Finance Minister to act against the Dexia Bank in Israel for its decision.
He also called for revoking the license of the Bank and the agreement signed between it and Israel to finance “local authorities” such as municipalities and settlement councils.
Even the so-called “local authorities” in Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal and violate the International Law.
All Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and in occupied West Jerusalem violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitute a war crime.
EU Times | January 2, 2010
The US Post Office could play a key role in distributing medical aid in the event of a biological attack, according to an executive order released by the White House.
The order signed by President Barack Obama directs government agencies, local law enforcement and the US Post Office to work on a model for distribution of medical countermeasures in the wake of a biological attack.
“This policy would seek to: (1) mitigate illness and prevent death; (2) sustain critical infrastructure; and (3) complement and supplement State, local, territorial, and tribal government medical countermeasure distribution capacity,” the order said.
“The US Postal Service has the capacity for rapid residential delivery of medical countermeasures for self administration across all communities in the United States,” the order added.
The US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were instructed to work with the post office to develop a “dispensing model for US cities to respond to a large-scale biological attack, with anthrax as the primary threat consideration.”
The order calls for the model to be drawn up within 180 days, but gives no details as to whether the idea of using the US postal system to assist Americans in the wake of a biological attack is a new one.
The United States has sought to bolster its capacity to respond to biological attacks since 2001, when anthrax-laced letters mailed to people across the United States led to five deaths.
The order came amid heightened security concerns here following an attempt to bring down a US-bound jetliner on Christmas Day. A 23-year-old Nigerian has been charged in the case.
December 28, 2009
Asian capitalism, notably China and South Korea are competing with the US for global power. Asian global power is driven by dynamic economic growth, while the US pursues a strategy of military-driven empire building.
James Petras | January 3, 2010
One Day’s Read of the Financial Times
Even a cursory read of a single issue of the Financial Times (December 28, 2009) illustrates the divergent strategies toward empire building. On page one, the lead article on the US is on its expanding military conflicts and its ‘war on terror’, entitled “Obama Demands Review of Terror List”. In contrast, there are two page-one articles on China, which describe China’s launching of the world’s fastest long-distance passenger train service and China’s decision to maintain its currency pegged to the US dollar as a mechanism to promote its robust export sector. While Obama turns the US focus on a fourth battle front (Yemen) in the ‘war on terror’ (after Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan), the Financial Times reports on the same page that a South Korean consortium has won a $20.4 billion dollar contract to develop civilian nuclear power plants for the United Arab Emirates, beating its US and European competitors.
On page two of the FT there is a longer article elaborating on the new Chinese rail system, highlighting its superiority over the US rail service: The Chinese ultra-modern train takes passengers between two major cities, 1,100 kilometers, in less than 3 hours whereas the US Amtrack ‘Express’ takes 3 ½ hours to cover 300 kilometers between Boston and New York. While the US passenger rail system deteriorates from lack of investment and maintenance, China has spent $17 billion dollars constructing its express line. China plans to construct 18,000 kilometers of new track for its ultra-modern system by 2012, while the US will spend an equivalent amount in financing its ‘military surge’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as opening a new war front in Yemen.
China builds a transport system linking producers and labor markets from the interior provinces with the manufacturing centers and ports on the coast, while on page 4 the Financial Times describes how the US is welded to its policy of confronting the ‘Islamist threat’ with an endless ‘war on terror’. The decades-long wars and occupations of Moslem countries have diverted hundreds of billions of dollars of public funds to a militarist policy with no benefit to the US, while China modernizes its civilian economy. While the White House and Congress subsidize and pander to the militarist-colonial state of Israel with its insignificant resource base and market, alienating 1.5 billion Moslems (Financial Times – page 7), China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10 fold over the past 26 years (FT – page 9). While the US allocated over $1.4 trillion dollars to Wall Street and the military, increasing the fiscal and current account deficits, doubling unemployment and perpetuating the recession (FT – page 12), the Chinese government releases a stimulus package directed at its domestic manufacturing and construction sectors, leading to an 8% growth in GDP, a significant reduction of unemployment and ‘re-igniting linked economies’ in Asia, Latin America and Africa (also on page 12).
While the US was spending time, resources and personnel in running ‘elections’ for its corrupt clients in Afghanistan and Iraq, and participating in pointless mediations between its intransigent Israeli partner and its impotent Palestinian client, the South Korean government backed a consortium headed by the Korea Electric Power Corporation in its successful bid on the $20.4 billion dollar nuclear power deal, opening the way for other billion-dollar contracts in the region (FT – page 13).
While the US was spending over $60 billion dollars on internal policing and multiplying the number and size of its ‘homeland’ security agencies in pursuit of potential ‘terrorists’, China was investing $25 billion dollars in ‘cementing its energy trading relations’ with Russia (FT – page 3).
The story told by the articles and headlines in a single day’s issue of the Financial Times reflects a deeper reality, one that illustrates the great divide in the world today. The Asian countries, led by China, are reaching world power status on the basis of their massive domestic and foreign investments in manufacturing, transportation, technology and mining and mineral processing. In contrast, the US is a declining world power with a deteriorating society resulting from its military-driven empire building and its financial-speculative centered economy:
Washington pursues minor military clients in Asia; while China expands its trading and investment agreements with major economic partners – Russia, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere.Washington drains the domestic economy to finance overseas wars.
China extracts minerals and energy resources to create its domestic job market in manufacturing.
The US invests in military technology to target local insurgents challenging US client regimes; China invests in civilian technology to create competitive exports.
China begins to restructure its economy toward developing the country’s interior and allocates greater social spending to redress its gross imbalances and inequalities while the US rescues and reinforces the parasitical financial sector, which plundered industries (strips assets via mergers and acquisitions) and speculates on financial objectives with no impact on employment, productivity or competitiveness.
The US multiplies wars and troop build-ups in the Middle East, South Asia, the Horn of Africa and Caribbean; China provides investments and loans of over $25 billion dollars in building infrastructure, mineral extraction, energy production and assembly plants in Africa.
China signs multi-billion dollar trade and investment agreements with Iran, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia, securing access to strategic energy, mineral and agricultural resources; Washington provides $6 billion in military aid to Colombia, secures seven military bases from President Uribe (to threaten Venezuela), backs a military coup in tiny Honduras and denounces Brazil and Bolivia for diversifying its economic ties with Iran.
China increases economic relations with dynamic Latin American economies, incorporating over 80% of the continent’s population; the US partners with the failed state of Mexico, which has the worst economic performance in the hemisphere and where powerful drug cartels control wide regions and penetrate deep into the state apparatus.
China is not an exceptional capitalist country. Under Chinese capitalism, labor is exploited; inequalities in wealth and access to services are rampant; peasant-farmers are displaced by mega-dam projects and Chinese companies recklessly extract minerals and other natural resources in the Third World. However, China has created scores of millions of manufacturing jobs, reduced poverty faster and for more people in the shortest time span in history. Its banks mostly finance production. China doesn’t bomb, invade or ravage other countries. In contrast, US capitalism has been harnessed to a monstrous global military machine that drains the domestic economy and lowers the domestic standard of living in order to fund its never-ending foreign wars. Finance, real estate and commercial capital undermine the manufacturing sector, drawing profits from speculation and cheap imports.
China invests in petroleum-rich countries; the US attacks them. China sells plates and bowls for Afghan wedding feasts; US drone aircraft bomb the celebrations. China invests in extractive industries, but, unlike European colonialists, it builds railroads, ports, airfields and provides easy credit. China does not finance and arm ethnic wars and ‘color rebellions’ like the US CIA. China self-finances its own growth, trade and transportation system; the US sinks under a multi trillion dollar debt to finance its endless wars, bail out its Wall Street banks and prop up other non-productive sectors while many millions remain without jobs.
China will grow and exercise power through the market; the US will engage in endless wars on its road to bankruptcy and internal decay. China’s diversified growth is linked to dynamic economic partners; US militarism has tied itself to narco-states, warlord regimes, the overseers of banana republics and the last and worst bona fide racist colonial regime, Israel.
China entices the world’s consumers. US global wars provoke terrorists here and abroad. China may encounter crises and even workers rebellions, but it has the economic resources to accommodate them. The US is in crisis and may face domestic rebellion, but it has depleted its credit and its factories are all abroad and its overseas bases and military installations are liabilities, not assets. There are fewer factories in the US to re-employ its desperate workers: A social upheaval could see the American workers occupying the empty shells of its former factories.
To become a ‘normal state’ we have to start all over: Close all investment banks and military bases abroad and return to America. We have to begin the long march toward rebuilding industry to serve our domestic needs, to living within our own natural environment and forsake empire building in favor of constructing a democratic socialist republic.
When will we pick up the Financial Times or any other daily and read about our own high-speed rail line carrying American passengers from New York to Boston in less than one hour? When will our own factories supply our hardware stores? When will we build wind, solar and ocean-based energy generators? When will we abandon our military bases and let the world’s warlords, drug traffickers and terrorists face the justice of their own people?
Will we ever read about these in the Financial Times?
In China, it all started with a revolution…
James Petras is the author of over 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried out in the Internet. James Petras is a former professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, has a 50-year membership in the class struggle, the author is an advisor to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina and is co – of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books) and Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of U.S. Power (Clarity Press, 2008). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is: http://www.lahaine.org/petras/index.php?p=1795&c=1
Jerusalem – Ma’an – The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage reported another street collapse on the main road in the area of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday.
“The collapse created a hole, two meters long and one and a half meters deep,” according to a statement from the foundation, which oversees the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
According to the foundation, the collapse was related to ongoing excavations by Israeli authorities in the vicinity, apparently on tunnels extending underneath the neighborhood about 700 meters from the mosque compound. Authorities recently removed quantities of dirt and rocks from under Silwan to undisclosed locations, the statement said.
Press TV – January 3, 2010
The British premier’s office says that Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US President Barack Obama have agreed to fight what they call terrorism in Yemen and Somalia.
The UK and the US have agreed to fund a counter-terrorism police unit in Yemen to tackle what they deem the rising threat from the country.
The US has been involved in war in Yemen by sending its special forces to train the Yemeni military and conducting air raids in both northern and southern parts of the Middle Eastern country.
On December 18, ABC News quoted anonymous administration officials as saying that US Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Barack Obama ordered the US military to launch air strikes on Yemen.
Upon Obama’s orders, the military warplanes on December 17 blanketed two camps north of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, claiming that “an imminent attack against a US asset was being planned.” The attacks killed scores of civilians, according to Yemeni opposition groups.
Fighting in the north
US military intervention in Yemen comes at a time that the country’s army with full support from Saudi Arabia has been fighting with Shia Houthi fighters in northern parts of the country.
Houthi fighters say both Saudi and US fighter jets have been involved in bombing Shia villages, inflicting heavy civilian casualties. Earlier, the fighters had expressed full readiness for dialogue with the Yemeni government.
The Houthis say they will turn to talks if the Yemeni and Saudi military halt their attacks against them.
The conflict in northern Yemen began in 2004 between Sana’a and Houthi fighters. Relative peace had returned to the region for a period before August 11, when the Yemeni army launched a major offensive, dubbed Operation Scorched Earth, against Sa’ada Province.
The government claims that the fighters, who are named after their leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, seek to restore the Shia imamate system, which was overthrown in a 1962 military coup.
The Houthis, however, say they are defending their people’s civil rights, which the government has undermined under pressure from Saudi-backed Wahhabi extremists. Shias, who form the clear majority in the north, make up approximately half of Yemen’s overall population.
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.
US war on terror
The latest alleged front against al-Qaeda in Yemen is opened more than eight years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan which was said to be aimed at eradicating militancy and the arrest of main militant leaders including Osama Bin Laden.
According to UN figures, Afghan civilians have been the main victims of the controversial war.