Many years ago I read a fascinating discussion of the “tactics of mistake.” This essentially entailed using a target’s prejudices and preconceptions to mislead them as to the origin and intent of the attack, entrapping them in a tactical situation that later worked to the attacker’s strategic advantage.
This is what unfolded in the 9/11 attacks that led us into the matrix of wars and conflicts, present (Afghanistan and Iraq), planned (Iran and Syria) and projected (Jordan and Egypt), that benefit Israel and no other country — although I concede that many private contractors and politicians are doing very well for themselves out of the death and misery of others.
I am also absolutely certain as a strategic analyst that 9/11 itself, from which all else flows, was a classic Mossad-orchestrated operation. But Mossad did not do it alone. They needed local help within America (and perhaps elsewhere) and they had it, principally from some alumni of PNAC (the misnamed Project for a New American Century) and their affiliates within and outside of the US Government (USG), who in the 9/11 attacks got the “catalytic event” they needed and craved to take the US to war on Israel’s behalf, only eight months after coming into office.
Genesis of the Deception
That was not how it seemed at first, of course. Lists of names and associations of the alleged hijackers quickly surfaced in official US accounts and mainstream media (MSM) reports, pointing to Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda group, then largely in Afghanistan. Bin Laden denied responsibility, saying in effect that while he thanked Allah that the attacks had occurred, he had not done it, but the US demanded that the Taliban governing Afghanistan turn him over to the US. The Taliban response was reasonable: “Show us the evidence he did it and we’ll give him to you.” But the US brushed it off and attacked. Why? Because it had no convincing evidence, and never would — even on the eve of his public death in 2011, the FBI did not include 9/11 on his internet-based “Most Wanted” charge sheet.
As the war in Afghanistan for very dubious reasons extended into a war in Iraq for even more specious ones, the essential USG view of 9/11 became embedded in the public ethos. The 9/11 Commission Report, despite being handicapped when it was prepared and later revealed to have been deeply flawed, still appeared as the basic reference work on the attacks. Details may have been compromised, but the prevailing view was that 19 Arab hijackers had flown four planes into three buildings and one crash site, and that was the end of it. This was the position taken by the Bush Administration in 2001, and reaffirmed a decade later by the Obama Administration. Politicians of every stripe, most pundits and rafts of mainly Protestant pastors and evangelists added their endorsements.
Neither I nor most Americans had any particular reason to doubt the veracity of these claims, then or later. Nonetheless, I had strong suspicions that something was very wrong with the official US account of the tragedy only weeks after the incident, while responding to a request from a local journalist for background information. Too much made no sense whatsoever: warnings after the fact when there should have been no warnings, bizarre misbehavior by the alleged hijackers that ran counter to both the mission and their faith, skills required that far exceeded any skills the named hijackers themselves could ever have possessed for the mission, and especially the total absence of any recognition for what they had done from anyone except their supposed victims – something without precedent for actions of the sort that supposedly happened on 9/11. These and similar discontinuities reinforced my suspicion that something in the entire exercise was rotten to the core.
Potentially far more significant than individual musings was the gradual appearance of dissent that eventually crystallized in the so-called “9/11 Truth” movement, which rapidly proliferated into scores of major and many minor organizations and websites dissecting the attacks, the Commission report, the motivations and agendas of assorted elected and appointed officials, and alternatives to the orthodox view. But “9/11 Truthers” have been doing their version of the Maoist “Hundred Flowers” Campaign, throwing out so many different assessments of so many different aspects of so many different issues that the core message has been lost. Nor is it a matter of too little evidence invalidating the USG position on 9/11 being available, but too much to permit a clear focus on what happened (so many trees no one can really see the forest).
Mind you, it isn’t that what has been presented is irrelevant or even necessarily wrong, although some pretty bizarre theses have been tossed around along with a good deal of thoughtful and balanced work. A substantial segment also have resisted closure under any circumstances – especially when Israel came into the equation in any way – thus keeping the rhetorical pot boiling inconclusively, more than a few for reasons that could not withstand close scrutiny as to their affiliation and motivation.
Critiquing the 9/11 Critique
The real difficulty with much, but not all, of the effort to critique and question the official US position on 9/11 is that the “9/11 Truth” proponents have been unable to communicate their concerns – much less any conclusions – to the general public in any significant way. So much of the discussion is only partially comprehensible to some within the movement, largely unknown to the general US public, and so complicated in all its dimensions to those who do become aware of it that they fail to follow up on the arguments. It is as if critics of the official position on 9/11 have been attempting to try the case in court before they have even gotten an indictment – the analytical equivalent of putting the argumentative cart before the public horse of the need to rethink the issue, thereby creating an evidentiary Gordian Knot of sorts.
This analogy has long struck me as an appropriate way of rethinking our approach to the 9/11 controversy. It is not that the issue isn’t complex – it is, in ever so many ways, and that complexity would have to be addressed at some point, but there is no need to confuse the public with its complexity at the very beginning.
Remember that at least in the US, the evidence and voting requirements are very different in a grand jury which can issue an indictment, than they are in a petit jury that actually tries the case. The latter needs proof of guilt; but the former only needs sufficient indication that a specific crime may have been committed, and that the accused may have done it. That is where we need to go, and where I will take this argument: to focus on those essentials necessary for an indictment in a way that will be understandable and credible to a reasonably intelligent person without requiring them to have the skills of (e.g.) a civil engineer or an aviator.
Peeling Away the Layered Details
There are so many flaws in the official US Government’s position on 9/11 that it is sometimes difficult to know just where to start. For example, the miraculous survival of a passport, used to identify one of the hijackers, which somehow worked its way through the aircraft’s impact, explosion, fire, and an 800-plus foot free-fall to be found by a well-dressed man and given to a New York City police detective at the base of the twin towers is a standout. The superstar-like ability of named pilots to go from the controls of a single-engine propeller-driven light plane to the cockpit of a passenger airliner and do anything except put it into the ground within a minute of turning off the autopilot is another – who would ever have thought that the Microsoft Flight Simulator program was so superlative? And the explanations given for the multiple failures of NORAD (the North American Air Defense Command) to have fighters on all four planes within minutes of their straying off course are individually dubious and collectively preposterous – only in Hollywood would they have any credence, perhaps because that is where they originated.
The debate on these and many other points, and the implications thereof, has been extensive and sometimes ferocious, even if not particularly effective. What is not open to debate, however, is that WTC-7 — the third tower to collapse that day, and the only one not hit by a plane — absolutely was brought down by a controlled demolition, as anyone not trying to shield the attackers knows from a real-time video of its collapse. That is, WTC-7 went straight down into its own footprint in seconds without any visible catastrophic external trauma, which means only some catastrophic internal trauma could have brought it down. And if it had been wired for a controlled demolition, then so were the other towers (WTC-1 and WTC-2) that collapsed. That gives the plane impacts a gruesome cosmetic role, designed explicitly to conceal the true cause of the collapse of the buildings, while shocking the public into something akin to numbness.
The case of WTC-7 has long been known to critics of the US government position on 9/11. What does not seem to have been fully appreciated, at least at first (this is changing somewhat now), is that it is not merely “an” issue, but the single issue that can be used simply, directly to the American public, and effectively to discredit the US Government’s case, and thus its rationale for so many fallacies and misdeeds: not only needless foreign wars (Afghanistan being a “pump-priming” conflict to get the US into war in the region, and to lay the groundwork for later wars), but a substantial infringement of American civil liberties under the misbegotten “Patriot Act,” the unbelievably widespread acceptance of torture (including a technique openly named “Palestinian Hanging,” which assuredly did not originate in Boston and says something about Israeli habits), and the creation of known and secret prisons and detention centers in various countries.
Second only to the actual controlled demolition of WTC-7, and supplementing the thesis that with or without impacting aircraft the buildings were brought down by other means, is extensive audio-visual evidence on 9/11 while the Twin Towers were still standing from what became “Ground Zero.” This evidence includes real-time clips of secondary explosions at ground level in both WTC-1 and WTC-2 (you can hear the detonations and see smoke and debris billowing out), reports on many networks of those explosions and of strange vans inside and around those buildings prior to the secondary explosions, reports from EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) of the same thing and of people inside and around the lobbies of those buildings who were not emergency personal and were not fleeing the disaster – all of this on 9/11 and widely reported as it happened that same day.
And a third element, building on the above and adding its own dimension, is the presence of a number of (mostly white) vans owned – as far as can be determined, given the extent to which information on them and the people with them has disappeared from the public record – by an Israeli company (or rather a company owned by an Israeli, to be precise) in New Jersey. Some of these vans were regularly around the World Trade Center itself. But two stand out, and need to be examined in some detail for their significance to be appreciated.
First, Bergen, NJ residents saw five people on a white van filming the attacks and visibly celebrating. They had set up their cameras before the first plane hit. Police arrested them. All were Israelis (now referred to as the “dancing Israelis”). Bomb-sniffing dogs reacted as if they had detected explosives, although officers were unable to find anything. The FBI seized the van for further testing. All five were later released at the instigation of Israeli & American Jewish leaders, some in the US Government. Details are still classified. This incident quickly disappeared from the mainstream media, following a brief mention in the New York Times three days after the attacks, that was not followed up.
A second van was stopped on the approaches to the George Washington Bridge. As CBS’s Dan Rather said in his live report:
Two suspects are in FBI custody after a truckload of explosives were discovered around the George Washington Bridge. That bridge links New York to New Jersey over the Hudson River. Whether the discovery of those explosives had anything to do with other events today is unclear, but the FBI, has two suspects in hand, said the truckload of explosives, enough explosives were in the truck to do great damage to the George Washington Bridge…
[The final police report differs from the initial media account] Those suspects –also Israelis — and the incident then seem to have disappeared from the public record and mainstream media “examinations” of 9/11, just like discussions of the first van, the secondary explosions at ground level within WTC-1 and WTC-2, and the precipitous collapse into its own footprint of WTC-7.
The combined impact of these and many other factors is both chilling and compelling. Think of it: Secondary explosions at ground level where there should be no secondary explosions. The catastrophic collapse of the 47-story WTC-7 into its own footprint in seconds, without any significant external trauma, where by rights there should have been no collapse. Vans with targeting maps, explosives or traces thereof, cameras pre-positioned to film the World Trade Center, and especially Israelis with those vans where there should have been no Israelis present with any of those things in those places at that time.
Any of these matters ought to have been sufficient to stimulate a searching re-examination of the official USG interpretation of 9/11, and especially of the actual or putative role of Al-Qaeda in it. The vans alone pointed away from Al-Qaeda, unless one assumed that Al-Qaeda was an Israeli front, or that Mossad at a minimum had run a parallel and more murderous operation to whatever Al-Qaeda may have done. What is fascinating is how little impact it has had on public awareness of the details of 9/11, much less official US policy based on it. A “cloak of silence” had descended over any official or mainstream media discussions of 9/11 that did not conform to the official interpretation, thereby keeping such dissonance from the general public.
The Cloak of Silence Over 9/11
There have been three elements to the “cloak of silence” covering efforts to expose the failings of the official US position on 9/11 to the public. One is within the Executive Branch. Another is within the Congress. And the third is the mainstream media (MSM).
The first is not at all surprising, as so many of its key members (and especially its so-called “neo-conservatives”) were the authors of the “19 named Arabs in 4 planes” thesis, and its de facto apologists on the professional staff of the 9/11 Commission. Indeed, many of them had a vested personal and professional interest in maintaining the validity of the official position.
A surprising number had been on the strongly pro-Israel Project for a New American Century (PNAC) when it published a report asserting that some “catalytic event” akin to the Pearl Harbor would be needed to move the US in the direction they desired (and which would be of enormous benefit to Israel). The 9/11 attacks gave them their catalytic event, and they visibly capitalized on that opportunity. Many were Jewish, often with dual US-Israeli citizenship and a controlling commitment to Israel. All were Israeli partisans. And it took no great inferential leap to understand that a US consumed with anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rage would inevitably and inexorably do things that would directly or indirectly benefit Israel – which, of course, is precisely what has happened over the past decade.
Overtly more surprising was Congressional acceptance of the official explanation, or rather the lack of searching inquiries into it and the events of 9/11, at least by the Democrats. But, in reality, that wasn’t at all surprising. It was not just that Administration officials were essentially “speaking with one voice” on this issue, or that the Republicans in the Senate at least could have kept Democrats from holding hearings, at least in the beginning. It is that while many (especially Democrats) came to question later the war in Iraq, and some more belatedly the war in Afghanistan, there was, and remains, no discernable legislative effort to delve into the details of 9/11 – and especially the numerous contradictions, inconsistencies and unbelievable aspects in the official explanation. This is a predictable outcome of a substantial lobbying effort by AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) here, “encouraging” Senators and Representatives of both parties to do in this matter what they do best – nothing – and punishing the handful who balked by marginalizing their efforts while in office, and working successfully for their electoral defeat later.
Overlapping these two branches, and a critical element in the Zionist control of the US Government that is sometimes overlooked, is their domination of the political appointment and confirmation process. The White House Personnel Office has been largely dominated by them at least since 1980, and perhaps before, thereby reducing the likelihood that people unfriendly to Israel or unsupportive of its “ways and means” will be nominated in the first place. The vetting of nominees by key organized Jewish groups in the US before they go before the US Senate for their confirmation hearings has also been a fixture of this process for decades, as Ha’aretz (an Israeli newspaper) among many others has pointed out, and forces otherwise excellent nominees to withdraw if said Jewish groups find them to be unsuitable. And the leverage of AIPAC in the US Senate is in this respect crucial: anyone AIPAC wants confirmed will be confirmed, and anyone who manages to reach that point and is not acceptable to AIPAC doesn’t stand a chance.
This is why under both Republicans and Democrats, the staffs in and around the President and the Vice-President, the National Security Council, the State Department and the Defense Department (among others) look the way they do. Many are Jewish and actively Zionist, often with dual US-Israeli citizenship (not that the absence of an Israeli passport matters all that much to the others). Some are Christian Zionists who need no persuading to take the pro-Israel positions they do – I can only shudder to think of the type of a staff and appointments that would come from a president like Michele Bachmann or Mike Huckabee. Others are what the communists used to call “useful idiots,” frequently intelligent people like Condoleeza Rice or John Bolton who have made their own Faustian bargain in the furtherance of their own careers. And the rest of us live with the consequences of all of them, not least of which was 9/11 and the ensuing wars.
But it is the role of the largely Zionist-owned mainstream media (MSM) in allowing the official US government view of 9/11 to go virtually unchallenged that is most fascinating, and has been most effective in letting any possible public debate on 9/11 largely lie fallow. This was contrary to its entire post-Vietnam (and especially post-Pentagon Papers/post-Watergate) ethos, which put investigative journalism on a pedestal and made a fetish of investigating and exposing corporate and government wrong-doing, both for profits and for professional advancement. Remember, that at least since the publication of the so-called “Pentagon Papers” during the Vietnam War, the normal instinct of the MSM is to investigate and to reveal, unless that discloses Israeli misconduct or reflects negatively on Israel, in which case its virtually primeval instinct is to conceal and to protect.
The MSM’s normal inquisitorial impulse was not in evidence in the case of 9/11. This is because critical inquiries into 9/11 have been largely ignored or repressed by the MSM — which would not do that if its largely Zionist ownership did not know, suspect or fear that an exposed evidentiary trail would lead, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly to Israel. Indeed, if the evidentiary trail had seemed to lead to (e.g.) Iran instead of Israel, or if its provenance was even moderately uncertain, the MSM would have vociferously shredded the USG case long ago, and the “9/11 Truth” movement would find its views presented on the front pages of major newspapers and highlighted in favorable TV/radio broadcasts.
That this did not happen quickly becomes clear as one examines the MSM’s approach to 9/11. Its role has been threefold: : (a) disinformation – to affirm, or at least not openly question, the USG case; (b) distraction – to direct attention away from Israel and the PNAC/neo-cons; and (c) doubt – to ignore or ridicule those who question the official US case. What people choose to conceal speaks volumes about the dynamics of the situation, and the end result of MSM actions has been the fabrication of an aura of disbelief and doubt where there should be none.
This process began almost immediately. Dramatic and revealing real-time reports about the details of the attacks appeared on 9/11, including many that did not directly involve the hijacked airliners. Over the next few days, some local papers and stations in the area still were reporting dissonant events (e.g., the van with the “dancing Israelis”). But within a week, most dissonance was gone or relegated to inside pages and their electronic equivalents, especially anything pertaining to WTC-7, whose collapse became a non-event, or the presence of Israelis in the vans and elsewhere, as the US Government’s propaganda machine – aided actively by most of the MSM – went into high gear first against Al-Qaeda and then in support of the invasion of Afghanistan.
The Path to 9/11
The provenance of the 9/11 attacks becomes even clearer once they are examined as a classic exercise in covert operations. Generally speaking, there are three requirements for evaluating the origin and prospects for success of all covert intelligence operations: (a) motivation, (b) expertise, and (c) local support for access to the target and post-attack evasion and escape.
Let us look first at motivation. It is a bitter commentary on how far the US has gone from its strategic requirements and its own principles that so many movements and governments around the world not only dislike and distrust the US, but hate it with a passion and with better cause than I care to think about. I recently came across a remark by a Jesuit priest to the effect that “Every time I hear that Israel is America’s only friend in the Middle East, I remember that before Israel, America had no enemies in the Middle East” – a point well worth remembering.
But the interesting thing about the assorted movements and governments that might have an actual or perceived reason to do harm to the US, is that all but one has had a negative incentive to do that: to punish the US for some actual or assumed failings or misdeeds. The one exception is Israel. It has no negative incentives at all (I exclude some real fringe fanatics), simply because without US aid and diplomatic support, it would find itself in even worse straits than did apartheid-era South Africa, and with better cause. But it is the one state with a positive incentive, if it believed it could get away with it, which is to enrage the American public against Muslims generally and Arabs in particular, and to make the US an active belligerent in the region – spending American lives and treasure in the service of Israel’s interests.
Expertise is different and more diffuse. There are many intelligence and special operations forces in the world with the expertise to wire large urban structures for a controlled demolition. There are many combat engineer units in many countries that could do the same thing. And there are many private firms that specialize in them as well. Yet neither Al-Qaeda as an organization, nor any of its known affiliates – much less the 19 named Arabs supposedly on those four planes – possessed that expertise, or anything even remotely close to it; had they done so, the Green Zone in Baghdad would have been a pile of rubble.
But it is local support that is the crucial determinant. All well-crafted covert operations require some measure of local support, official or unofficial, unless the target area is so irredeemably hostile that none is available. Any domestic or foreign intelligence agency targeting the WTC would absolutely have required it, and Mossad would be better placed than any other to access such support for entry, access, execution and escape.
This is especially true, given the security company overseeing the WTC. CIA and/or Defense Department personnel (which is not the same as the CIA or the Defense Department as organizations) could have had access, but only if that had Israeli endorsement – one does not casually cut open walls, implant explosives, run cables and wire everything together in buildings with state-of-the-art electronic surveillance and 24/7 on-site security. Mossad would have no such need for those niceties, given the ownership of the WTC and the management of the company overseeing its security. Remember that we are not talking about large numbers of people in any case: given time to prepare the three buildings and protection from detection, as few as a dozen could have sufficed, a number small enough to be effectively unnoticed in a large organization.
Retrospect and Prospect
So let us recapitulate the basic conclusions of this analysis. First, the core official US Government position on 9/11 is that any and all aspects of it are directly attributable to 19 named Arabs on 4 planes, conducting a terrorist operation planned and executed by Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda. This position is at best incomplete, and at worst a complete fabrication engineered by those directly or indirectly responsible for what happened on 9/11, and the wars afterward.
Second, Al-Qaeda and many different countries and groups had negative reasons, real or contrived, to want to harm the US. But only Israel and its neoconservative wing in the US had a positive incentive to do so, which was to enrage Americans and make the US an active belligerent against Muslim countries, thereby cementing its bonding to Israel and Israel’s interests.
Third, there is no doubt that fully-loaded civilian airliners, especially with nearly-full fuel loads, impacting the Twin Towers (WTC-1 and WTC-2) would do great damage to those buildings, and might under a chain of extraordinary circumstances precipitate a chain of events leading to their collapse. But there is absolutely no way that those airliners impacting 800-1000 feet above the ground could have produced visible and audible secondary explosions in those buildings at ground level, nor precipitated the collapse of a third building (WTC-7)which was not hit by any aircraft and had no massive external trauma from debris produced by the Twin Towers.
Fourth, Al-Qaeda – and perhaps other groups as well – had the theoretical capability to carry out a simultaneous four-plane hijacking, perhaps flying the aircraft to Cuba (the four 9/11 aircraft should have been able to make a one-way flight there at the beginning of their operational day without difficulty, depending on their actual loads), which would have been spectacular in itself. But neither Al-Qaeda nor any of their affiliates had the expertise and local support necessary to allow them the needed access to any of the buildings at the World Trade Center, cut open the walls and wire them for controlled demolition, and then to escape and evade afterward.
Fifth and finally, in addition to being unique in having a positive incentive to make the 9/11 attacks, only Israel had the essential expertise and local support required to bring down the three World Trade Center buildings with controlled demolitions, and the leverage within and around the US Government to let their operatives evade detection, to be released without fanfare if apprehended unexpectedly, and to cloak their actions from public scrutiny – all of which happened on and after 9/11.
People often ask about some new evidence or proof tying 9/11, in whole or in part, to Israel. Now I understand that there can never be absolute proof for some people barring a public confession from one of the Israeli planners or their American supporters, and that, I suspect, we will never obtain – although some of the statements made later in Israel by three of the Israelis arrested in Bergen, NJ filming the burning Twin Towers comes very close to that: One stated categorically that “our purpose was to document the event,” which should leave little doubt that they knew in advance of the attacks, whether or not they themselves personally had any further role in them.
But it is not necessary to have such a confession, any more than it is necessary to have a confession in a criminal court to convict a person of murder, if the other evidence is sufficiently compelling. Here there is a mountain of physical, technical, analytical and circumstantial evidence, far more than any unprejudiced person needs to understand far beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever, that (1) the USG case is fatally flawed, and (2) this was a Mossad-directed operation orchestrated at the highest levels of the Israeli government (because of the target) with local support within the US and elements of the US Government itself.
Given the pervasiveness of Zionist influence in the US government and its intelligence and security agencies (including, of course, the Defense Department), two broad scenarios are possible. One is that the neo-cons and their cohorts were in the driver’s seat with Israel in the passenger seat with a map and the baggage. The second sees Israel driving with the neo-cons and others handling the map and baggage. But they were both in the same car on the road to and from 9/11. Both were embedded in aspects of the planning and execution of the catastrophe, the wars it spawned and the wars its architects now want us to wage in Israel’s name, linking treason and treachery in tandem no matter where the emphasis is placed.
Unraveling that issue is something to be left for a future investigation, interrogations and trials, followed by punishments appropriate to the magnitude of the crimes for all of the participants. Bringing an awareness of these events to the American public and others abroad in a practical and actionable way is the subject of the final piece in this series: Riposte Against Zionism: Go Tell It To The People.
Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a writer and consultant specializing in national and international security affairs. In December 1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after more than five years of service at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The year 2011 will go down for the nuclear industry worldwide as an annus horribilis.
First came the March Fukushima nuclear disaster, with operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) belatedly acknowledging that three of the facility’s six reactors did, in fact, suffer core meltdowns.
On 20 June Moody’s Investors Service obligingly cut its credit rating on TEPCO to junk status and kept the operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant on review for possible further downgrade, citing uncertainty over the fate of its bailout plan. TEPCO is Japan’s largest corporate bond issuer and its shares are widely held by financial institutions. TEPCO shares have plummeted 80 percent since March, dragging its market capitalization below $9 billion. Following the Fukushima crisis, including a round of emergency loans from lenders and $64 billion in outstanding bonds, TEPCO now has around $115 billion in debt versus equity of about $35 billion. It’s enough to make any self-respecting Japanese salaryman commit hara-kiri.
Farther to the west, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is closely monitoring conditions along the Missouri River, where floodwaters were rising at Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station and Omaha Public Power District’s Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant. Flooding could complicate the restart of the Fort Calhoun plant, shut in April for refueling, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects record water release from the federal dams along the Missouri River to continue until mid-August. The failure on Friday of a Missouri River levee in northwest Missouri offered the imperiled plants a brief reprieve from possible flooding, although Nebraska officials nervously expect the river’s waters to rise again.
Completing the trifecta and adding to the perfect storm is news of a work stoppage at Israel’s secretive Dimona nuclear power station. The only thing that Dimona officials fear more than publicity is bad publicity and Israel’s Channel 10 is reporting that Dimona employees have decided to enact work sanctions after ongoing negotiations have failed to bring an end to a dispute over their work conditions. Beginning Sunday, external workers will not be allowed to work in Dimona, and the union may shut down the core completely in the coming weeks if their demands are not met. The labor dispute is between the Treasury and the reactor’s managers, who are demanding salary reimbursement comparable to that of nuclear researchers.
And the hits just keep on coming.
The Israeli Atomic Energy Commission is preparing to make a presentation to a special session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna to outline new steps to supervise Israel’s two nuclear reactors, the 24-megawatt Dimona reactor and a 5-megawatt Center for Nuclear Research reactor at Nahal Sorek and the handling of their nuclear waste. Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission head is leading the Israeli delegation.
It is likely to be a contentious meeting. The United States provided the Nahal Sorek reactor to Israel in the 1960s as part of the Atoms for Peace Program. The reactor is under IAEA supervision and is visited by international inspectors twice a year.
Dimona, on the other hand, was supplied to Israel by France in 1958 and is widely believed to provide fissile material for Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Buttressing these concerns is the fact that Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to allow IAEA inspectors to supervise or even visit Dimona. Israel’s protestations over the benign nature of Dimona’s activities received a worldwide blow in 1986 when a technician at Dimona, Mordechai Vanunu, revealed an account of Israeli covert nuclear weapons production there, complete with photographs, to London’s Sunday Times. An infuriated Israeli government subsequently kidnapped him in Rome, returning him to Israel for trial on charges of treason and espionage in a closed court, where he received and served a 18-year sentence, 11 of them in solitary, for having the temerity to reveal Israel’s covert nuclear military program to the world.
According to an Arab diplomatic source speaking to Kuwait’s KUNA news agency, Arab nations are demanding that the IAEA inspect Israel’s nuclear facilities at an international nuclear security conference, which opened at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on Monday. Arab nations maintain that Israel’s unmonitored nuclear program, led by Dimona’s aging reactor, pose an unacceptable risk to Middle Eastern nations without proper IAEA supervision. Further upping the ante, the diplomatic source stated that the participating Arab delegations are renewing calls for Israel to sign to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well opening its nuclear facilities to regular IAEA supervision. In the wake of Fukushima such calls are certain to receive a more sympathetic hearing.
Between Vienna and labor woes, its enough to make an Israeli nuclear official wish for something more manageable, like a plague of locusts.
In a speech to the UK parliament yesterday British Foreign Secretary William Hague joined the US and Israel in rhetoric designed specifically to induce fear over Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’.
Hague told parliament that the Iranians had tested missiles during their recent military exercises that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He also told parliament that Iran was enriching uranium beyond that which was required for electricity generation. Hague reportedly told parliament that Iran “has announced that it intends to triple its capacity to produce 20% enriched uranium. And that “these are enrichment levels far greater than is needed for peaceful nuclear energy”.William Hague is deliberately practicing deceit with these statements. He has ignored telling the parliament that having medium range missiles does not mean that nuclear warheads are available for them. All medium range missiles are capable of being adapted to carrying a nuclear warhead. Modern nuclear weapons are now so small that they can be fitted to most missiles. The US has even tested nuclear weapons in artillery shells.
Hague also attempts to deceive with his statement about Iran’s desire to enrich uranium to 20%. The fact is, Iran has been quite open about its enrichment of uranium to 20%; they’re not doing it covertly as Hague has tried to infer. Uranium enriched to 20% is required in order to manufacture medical isotopes for the treatment of cancer. Iran announced their intention to do this a long time ago yet Hague tells the British people about as though it has just been announced. Iran announced ages ago that it had an urgent need for isotopes and that it would be expediting enrichment to 20%.
Hague has joined with the US and Israel in their fear mongering just as both are upping the propaganda and rhetoric over Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’.
Yesterday by a unanimous vote the Senate said that the Palestinians should not seek a state in the United Nations. This as the world moves to recognize just such a move.
The following note was sent out by AIPAC yesterday.
Following up on today’s news about the passage of the Cardin-Collins resolution, I wanted to pass along this statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid…Kind regards, Ari [Goldberg, director of media relations]
REID: PASSAGE OF CARDIN-COLLINS RESOLUTION REAFFIRMS U.S. DEDICATION TO ISRAEL
Washington, D.C.– Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement today following passage of the Cardin-Collins resolution:
“I am pleased that the Senate unanimously passed Senators Cardin and Collins’ resolution, supported by 88 bipartisan cosponsors, which says a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should come through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. If peace talks are to be fruitful, the Palestinians cannot bring to the negotiating table a terrorist organization that rejects Israel’s right to exist. A fair beginning to good-faith talks also means the Palestinians cannot simply stop by the negotiating table on their way to the United Nations to seek recognition as a state.
“The United States of America will not give money to terrorists bent on the destruction of the State of Israel. America’s willingness to continue our current aid program will depend on the Palestinian government’s insistence that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist, that it renounce violence and that it honor the commitments made by prior Palestinian Authority governments.”
It is difficult to imagine what might produce a longing for the good old days of George W. Bush, but the Obama Administration is certainly approaching that tip point. First there was National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair spelling out a policy of assassination of American citizens overseas based on suspicion and secret evidence and then there was last week’s revelation that the Justice Department guidelines for the FBI now permit relatively free searches of all sorts of personal information that once was regarded as private. The searches are without judicial oversight and there does not have to be any evidence that the suspect has committed a crime.
Now we have Hillary Clinton and company opening up the latest free fire zone against other American citizens who have done nothing wrong. The State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who is married to one of the ubiquitous Kagans, announced that “Groups that seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers.” Please note: per Nuland/Clinton the passengers on the unarmed vessels in international waters, all of whom have signed a pledge of non-violence, are risking their own safety if they get shot by the Israeli military.
Nuland added that Gaza is governed by Hamas, “a designated foreign terrorist organization,” and that aiding such a group “could violate U.S. civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration.” This means that giving a loaf of bread to a child in Gaza is indictable as support of a terrorist organization, since the government is run by Hamas.
Once upon a time the Secretary of State was supposed to protect Americans overseas, particularly when the Americans are not doing anything illegal. But that was before Israel and its Lobby decided what American citizens can and cannot do. A good friend of mine Ray McGovern, who is on the American vessel, is a deeply religious former CIA senior analyst. He has friends on the National Security Council who informed him last week that the US government would let the Israelis do whatever they want to the flotilla and would, in fact, approve of any action taken. In the aftermath, the State Department would do nothing to help any US citizen killed, injured, or arrested. Except possibly have them arrested a second time.
However one feels about the Israel-imposed blockade of Gaza, it is important to remember that the Americans and others involved in the flotilla are doing nothing illegal under international law. Their ships have been inspected and have only relief supplies on board. No one is armed. Their objection is to the Israeli, and American, assumption that Tel Aviv somehow has the right to punish the Gazans in perpetuity and thereby create a continuous humanitarian crisis for the local people because they elected the “wrong” party back in 2006. The Americans and other foreigners on the flotilla have a perfect right to express that view peacefully without being excoriated by Hillary before being executed by an IDF goon.
The German prosecutor conducting the United Nations investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon said today that fresh evidence reinforced his earlier judgment that Syria’s intelligence services were behind the killing and that Syrian officials were obstructing his investigation.
Four army generals held in Lebanon over the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri could be handed over within weeks to the special tribunal in The Hague that will put them on trial, the court registrar said today.
Lebanon’s senior prosecutor has received criminal indictments for four members of the Shia militant group Hezbollah, who are accused of assassinating the country’s former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in a car bomb attack six years ago.
Obviously they can’t make up their mind on who killed Hariri – Syria, some Lebanese generals, Hizbullah or whoever it will be convenient to indict during the next decade. The purpose of the UN kangaroo court is not to find the Hariri murder or to do justice. It is a political instrument in the hands of the USrael-Saudi alliance.
But let’s step back and take today’s indictment of Hizbullah members as an opportunity to again look at the person of Rafik Hariri. He was not the “good guy” the “western” media constructed but a neoliberal robber baron who defrauded the people of Lebanon.
From the 2005 BBC economic obituary of Hariri:
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri used his business empire to rebuild Beirut after years of civil war.To do it, he deployed his own construction industry fortune, and a huge network of rich and powerful friends.
He was his country’s richest man, reckoned to be worth roughly $4bn (£2.1bn). But it is his corporate brain-child, Solidere, that best illustrates his central role in regenerating Lebanon’s economy.
Solidere bought up large chunks of central Beirut and turned the business district from a bullet-marked, rubble-strewn mess into a glitzy banking and tourist centre. Mr Hariri was its most influential shareholder.
As prime minister, Mr Hariri’s public works and rebuilding programmes ran up debts that threatened to overwhelm the public finances.
The budget deficit climbed to 17% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2002, and debt repayments were costing the government 80% of revenue.
[F]or many Lebanese, the redevelopment of central Beirut meant dispossession of homes or property without adequate compensation, and the enrichment of Mr Hariri.
Mr Hariri’s vision for wealth creation of Lebanon was definitely of the trickle-down variety. In power, he cut social services, public sector wages and company taxes.
While Hariri ruled a law was implemented that essentially dispossessed all the property owners in central Beirut. Their land was put into Solidere, a joint stock company under Hariri’s control. Then huge amounts of public money was spent to build the new central Beirut owned by Hariri’s Solidere. Additionally to that fraud all the rebuilding was done at much too high costs by Hariri’s construction companies. It was a huge racket that made Hariri immensely rich and the Lebanese state very poor.
To indict Hariri and to get the stolen money back to the people of Lebanon and the defrauded property owners of central Beirut would be a worthy court case.
When Hariri got killed there were millions of Lebanese who had good reasons to wish the guy to be dead. Besides them many political entities, including Israel and the U.S., had plausible motives to kill Hariri if only to stick the murder to someone else. The current court case against Hizbullah is nonsense. Hariri’s real murderers will likely never be found.
Hundreds of acres of olive orchards in Al Mazra’a al Gharbiya village were taken over by Israeli troops on Tuesday, who claimed that the area was a ‘closed military zone’ and that the land was being confiscated for military use.
Representatives of the Palestine Information Center stated that Israeli forces provided them with a map showing the area of confiscation, which consists of hundreds of acres of Palestinian farmland.
Under Israeli law, Palestinian land can be expropriated by the Israeli government in a variety of circumstances: if the owner of the land is considered ‘absentee’ (not currently living on the land), if the land is zoned by Israel for settlement, or if the Israeli military wants the land for ‘military purposes’.
Already, the Israeli government has expropriated almost half of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and has constructed a Wall to cement the confiscation – despite the fact that such land confiscation is considered illegal under international law and signed peace agreements with the Palestinians.
According to the local military commander overseeing Tuesday’s confiscation, Palestinian landowners have 45 days to contest the takeover by filing a complaint with the Ofer military court, which is located inside an Israeli settlement and thus inaccessible to most Palestinians.
Complaints against the Israeli military have a poor record of success – less than 5% of such complaints result in the return of confiscated land, according to human rights groups. The court is also carried out in Hebrew, a language which few Palestinians know, and with Israeli lawyers, which are difficult for Palestinians to access, since they are not allowed to enter Israel.
The troops that arrived in the village on Tuesday hammered signs into the ground and painted demarcation lines to indicate the area of confiscation, according to eyewitnesses.
Olive orchards are key to the Palestinian economy, with many Palestinian families depending on the sale of olives and olive oil for their livelihood.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s top “counterterrorism” official John Brennan indicated that the U.S. is aware that there are various nations and groups that support “terrorism” in order to oppose US interests.
He regarded Iran and Syria as the “state sponsors of terrorism”, emphasizing that “Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organizations that threaten Israel and our interests in the Middle East.”
In a statement he delivered Wednesday at Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. “counterterrorism” official noted that “we will continue to use the full range of our foreign policy tools to prevent these regimes and terrorist organizations from endangering our national security.”
Street declared a “closed military zone”
70 cyclists from Hebron and surrounding areas, as well as 15 international cyclists, pedaled through Hebron on Tuesday in an attempt to challenge restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement. The group set off from near the centre of the city and cycled in unison through the streets of Hebron, waving Palestinians flags. Bikes were decorated with signs saying “We have the right to move”, “The wheels of change are in motion”, and “Bikes against borders” in English and Arabic.
The demonstration was guided by the Palestinian National Cycling Team and included both children and adults who demanded the right to move freely, cycle, and play in their city without the threat of violence and intimidation from the Israeli occupation forces. As the bikers moved through the streets, people waved, shouted and honked in support.
As the cyclists tried to cycle towards the Old City they found that the demonstration’s route had been blocked by 30 border police and soldiers, as well as two barbed wire fences stretched across the street. The group peacefully asked the border police to let them pass and continue their journey as soldiers pointed guns at them from the roofs of a nearby house. The police and the soldiers informed the cyclists that the street had been declared “a closed military zone,” but refused to show a document proving it. The cyclists were ordered to turn back and leave the area, without being given any explanation for the street closure other than usual ambiguous “security reasons”. The group stayed at the road blockade for 20 minutes, peacefully negotiating with the soldiers and stating their opposition to violation of their right to freedom of movement. Finally, the cyclists moved away from the barbed wire and the Israeli occupation forces and continued their demonstration on an alternative route for another 30 minutes.
According to activists on the Freedom Flotilla of aid ships to Gaza, a second boat has been severely damaged by unknown saboteurs who dove under the boat to damage the propeller shaft. The boat’s captain said that the way the boat was sabotaged was extremely dangerous, as it would have caused the propeller to cut through the boat’s hull and make the engine room to fill with water, thus sinking the boat while en route to Gaza.
Earlier this week, another of the Flotilla’s boats – a joint Norwegian-Swedish-Greek effort named ‘Juliano’ after assassinated Israeli peace activist Juliano Mer-Khamis – was sabotaged in the same way while preparing for departure from a Greek port.
The sabotage of the two boats follows a complaint filed by the Israel Law Center against the US Boat to Gaza claiming that the boat ‘lacked seaworthiness’ and needed additional inspection before departing, despite the fact that the boat had already been inspected and approved for travel.
The ‘Freedom Flotilla’ aims to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, who remain under an Israeli-imposed siege that began in 2007. Malnutrition rates are extremely high in Gaza due to the siege, and over 300 patients have died due to the lack of medical care, and the refusal of Israeli authorities to allow them to travel outside of Gaza for medical care.
According to the coordinator of the Irish ship, Fintan Lane, “This was the type of sabotage that endangered human life”. Some activists on the Freedom Flotilla say they suspect Israeli agents of involvement in the sabotage, although no one has yet been charged in the attacks.
As the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex continued to unfold, the nuclear gang—principals of the nuclear industry and pro-nuclear members of the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration—held a two-day “summit” in Washington, D.C. last week on pushing for new nuclear plant construction.
The conclusion about the impacts of Fukushima on their drive for a “renaissance” of nuclear power: it will be only a “speed bump,” as participants put it at the Special Summit on New Nuclear Energy.
“The momentum of the renaissance has hit a speed bump,” Ganpat Mani, president and CEO of ConverDyn which produces uranium hexafluoride which is used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants. ConverDyn is a partnership between Honeywell and General Atomics.
Llewelyn King, who hosts “White House Chronicle” on PBS television, and was the summit’s moderator, asked a panel titled “Lessons from Fukushima” whether its four members considered “Fukushima a speed bump, Armageddon or something in between” for the nuclear industry.
The consensus was that it is a speed bump. William Tucker, author of Terrestrial Energy stressed that nuclear power is needed to provide carbon-free energy to counter global warming, and thus despite the Fukushima situation will do well.
A featured speaker at the event held June 21 and 22 was William D. Magwood IV, a member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Although the commission is supposed to regulate the industry without a pro-nuclear bias, Magwood is a staunch advocate of nuclear power. Indeed, at a similar but pre-Fukushima nuclear summit at Idaho National Laboratory in December, Magwood, then head of the Office of Nuclear Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy, bemoaned that “we in the United States have not seen… a new successful nuclear power plant project, since 1973 and our research, industrial and educational bases have eroded dramatically in the last decade.”
He praised the “new general nuclear technology”—much of which is being developed at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory—at that December 7 meeting called the New Millennium Nuclear Energy Summit.
At last week’s Washington affair, Magwood spoke of the reaction at the NRC as “we watched” the television images of Fukishima coming out of Japan. It was hoped that “this would only be an incident” and it would be gotten “under control,” he said.
“We knew the Japanese were prepared for earthquakes,” he said.
But as it became clear that this was going to be “more” in terms of the gravity of the situation: “At the NRC it was like a friend had died,” said Magwood.
The Special Summit on New Nuclear Energy was organized by the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council. Council members include General Electric, the manufacturer of the Fukushima nuclear power plants and, since 2006, in partnership in its nuclear plant business with the Japanese corporation Hitachi.
Other members of the council include the nuclear industry trade group Nuclear Energy Institute; Babcock & Wilcox, manufacturer of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant that underwent a partial meltdown in 1979; Duke Energy, a U.S. utility long a booster of nuclear power; the Tennessee Valley Authority, a U.S. government-created public power company heavily committed to nuclear power; Uranium Producers of America; and AREVA, the French government-financed nuclear power company that has been moving to expand into the U.S. and worldwide.
A running point at the summit was the need to “educate the public” about the benefits of nuclear power despite Fukushima.
There was also much complaining about a series of Associated Press articles on nuclear power by investigative reporter Jeff Dunn that started running a day before the summit began. On June 20, the AP series of expose’s launched with an article about how “federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them.” On June 21, the article was on how “the number and severity of the leaks” of radioactive tritium from U.S. nuclear plants “has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.”
Other speakers at the summit included: John Kelly, an Obama administration Department of Energy deputy assistant for nuclear reactor technologies; Matthew Milazzo representing an entity called the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future set up by the Obama administration; and Congressman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, chairman of the House Energy & Power Subcommittee, a leading nuclear power backer in Congress.
In addition to “Lessons from Fukushima,” there were panels on “China, India & Emerging Global Nuclear Markets,” “Advancing Nuclear Technology” and “State of the Renaissance.”
The gathering was held at the National Guard Association Hall of States.
Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, is the author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power and the host of the nationally-aired TV program Enviro Close-Up (www.envirovideo.com).
“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up” Vitorrio Arigoni. A winner.
Al-Jazeera English on June 29, 2011
A documentary about Vittorio Arrigoni, the Italian peace activist whose passion for helping the Palestinian people, lead to his death.