A curious glance at the current crop of presidential candidates makes it clear that Ron Paul stands alone when it comes to the issue of US engagement in foreign wars. He stands with George Washington against foreign entanglements while the rest of the candidates stand with Teddy Roosevelt and the attempted creation of America’s first empire one hundred and twelve years ago.
Mark Twain responded to that effort by creating the Anti-imperialist society while he caustically satirized the effort in his depiction of the massacre of the Moros in the Philippines. Now we have more massacres, using drones instead of canons, on equally hapless civilians who are caught unawares or hiding from the wrath of America’s righteousness as we drive to bring virtue to a primitive world.
Today America has an estimated 700 military installations in about 140 nations around the world; its bases surround Iran as does its nuclear capability, and it is engaged in executive “wars” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Palestine. All of this while carrying a debt that exceeds thirteen trillion dollars, cutting budgets in education, medical care and social security, and retaining a Pentagon budget that exceeds that of the 16 declared developed nations combined. And to top it all off, we are considering armed aggression against Iran that could plunge America into the biggest war since WW II. Why?
Why add Iran to the list of wars when we have succeeded in losing the “wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq? Let’s admit the truth, we do not control Afghanistan and, while we have ostensibly left Iraq, we have left it in chaos and disarray.
The question persists, why?
Why invade Iran? Ask first, why did we invade Iraq? Why did we not object to Israel’s bombing in Syria? Why didn’t we object to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon or Gaza? The world’s nations objected in UN Resolution after Resolution. But America voted to support Israel’s illegal aggression. Why? It is America’s reputation that has been placed in the gutter; it is America that is ranked with Israel as the most dangerous nations on the planet; it is America’s democracy that has been diluted, nay emaciated, as our liberties have been eroded with ever increasing draconian delusions that they are purportedly designed to protect while they make the citizen fodder for the few in control. So the question persists, why?
Not long ago, the answer may have been provided when Netanyahu was interviewed by Piers Morgan about the Iranian threat. Relative to this discussion is a comment made by Netanyahu in his interview with Morgan, a comment that I have not seen mentioned in America’s press.
When pressed by Morgan about the Iranian threat constantly broached by Israel and its U.S. supporters and what Israel intends to do about it, the repartee always returns to Iran as not only a threat to Israel, it is a threat to “Europe and the United States.” Morgan asks again, “What is the answer, Prime Minister?” Having successfully avoided saying that Israel would attack Iran to rid it of this danger, Netanyahu resorts to “I’m talking about a credible military action.” “Lead by who,” asks Morgan. “Lead preferably by the United States,” replies Netanyahu. “Could you contemplate some kind of land invasion,” asks Morgan. “Well, I think the United States has proven great effectiveness and I’m going to divulge a secret to you about their capabilities. They’re greater than ours.”
So says the Prime Minister of Israel as he talks about using America’s military to take out the Iranian threat to Israel. Why not use American boys and girls to kill your enemy and save your own sons and daughters? Why not indeed. Mark the tone. It’s almost as though he is saying to this imported talk show host, “Why do you ask, Stupid, it’s so obvious.”
According to recent polls, Americans have fallen out of favor with our numerous wars in countries we neither know nor can spell: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Palestine and Syria. This fact seems to be of little interest to the candidates who appear committed to the military-industrial complex that funds their respective campaigns. Indeed all seem committed to the addition of Iran since it appears to threaten, existentially, our aborted child, Israel. In short, if an American believes that he or she should vote to end America’s foreign entanglements, he or she has only Ron Paul to vote for. All the others have stated unequivocally their support for the state of Israel and its drive to stop Iran from gaining nuclear power. A vote for Romney, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, or Huntsman means a vote for Netanyahu and his expressed desire to have American boys and girls serve Israel in this cause, or so he says.
Consider these statements by our candidates:
* Romney on Israel: “I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. I want the world to know that the bonds between Israel and the United States are unshakable… If I’m president of the United States, my first trip, my first foreign trip will be to Israel to show the world we care about that country and that region.” Mark that Romney makes no reference to Palestine or Palestinians; how does one resolve a conflict if one does not recognize the second party?
* Now consider Perry’s comment: “We are going to be there to support you. And we are going to be unwavering in that. So I hope you will tell the people of Israel: Help is on the way.” Perry makes no reference to Obama’s unequivocal support for Israel having outspent all previous administrations in dollars and military hardware.
* Not to be outdone, Santorum offered the following: He said more or less what Newt Gingrich stated last month, “All the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis. They’re not Palestinian. There [are] no Palestinians. This is Israeli land.” What can one say, Santorum needs to read some history before opening his mouth.
* “Gingrich has all but declared that under his presidency, the American position would be that of Netanyahu’s,” Andrew Sullivan recently wrote, and with his recent multi-million dollar support from Adelson, who is linked to Netanyahu by an umbilical cord, he is chained to Israel’s dictates should he be elected.
* And, finally, Jon Huntsman presented his views: “The United States should not pressure Israel to negotiate with terrorists, nor to enter into any negotiated deals that threaten Israel’s security. This is a particularly delicate moment. We are inspired by the “Arab Spring,” in which the Arab people are calling for an end to decades of dictatorial and corrupt leadership. These events also give the lie to the notion Israel is somehow the source of all problems in the Middle East.”
Note that Huntsman does not mention that Israel has occupied Palestine for 63 years, illegally according to international law and the charter of the UN that the US has agreed to. Moreover, the constantly reiterated cause of unrest in the mid-east is the occupation of Palestine by the Israelis. To say it is not so, is, to borrow Gingrich’s eloquent phrase, “baloney.”
* Since we know that our current president has bragged that his administration has outspent all previous administrations in support of Israel, there is no need to argue that he would change course now. Since we also know that Israel can count on close to 400 supporters in the House and virtually all 100 Senators, as votes in support these past twelve years attest, the choice for Americans who desire a return to George Washington’s admonition that American democracy can be destroyed by foreign entanglements have only Ron Paul as an option.
Here is what Ron Paul says about American imperialism, a voice crying in the wilderness:
· Islamists attacked us for US bases on Arab lands. (Sep 2011)
· Neither Dems nor GOP will cut one nickel from militarism. (Aug 2011)
· American Empire is big government war & militarism. (Apr 2011)
· We can’t keep troops in 135 countries & 900 bases forever. (Feb 2011)
· We’re broke and we just can’t continue to police the world. (Feb 2008)
· Stop policing the world and we can get rid of income tax. (Dec 2007)
· Bring all troops home from abroad & save $100B’s every year. (Dec 2007)
· 9/11 resulted from blasphemy of our bases in Saudi Arabia. (Dec 2007)
· Pre-emptive war policy is a grave mistake. (Jun 2007)
· Pre-emptive war is not part of the American tradition. (Jun 2007)
· Military aggressiveness weakens our national defense. (May 2007)
· Jihadists attack because we have bases in their countries. (Jan 2006)
· Costs of war always higher than expected & go on for decades. (Jun 2005)
· Conscription is a trait of totalitarian government. (Dec 1987)
This is the choice presented to the American voter.
What we know clearly is that America has set out on a course of world domination that mocks the very concept of democracy where people are free to choose their government, not be told who will govern them by a foreign power. What we know tragically is that the American government is content to support and sometimes to create dictators that oppress their own people, if they obey America’s dictates, as the fall of Mubarak in Egypt attests.
What we also know is that our government has been bought by a foreign power to secure its own ends regardless of the consequences to the people of the United States. What we know unfortunately is that any citizen wishing to run for the office of President must kowtow to the desires of the state of Israel by declaring his or her allegiance to that state or be declared a nut case.. What we know truly is that America is no longer the nation of the free citizen, since we are now subject to the fear that resides in the gut when threatened by unsubstantiated allegations of suspicion as a terrorist that can result in indefinite detention without trial or due process.
Such is the decline of the once proud and free experiment that was the United States of America.
US Department of Education throws out Zionist group’s “civil rights” complaint against Barnard College
The US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has dismissed a complaint against Barnard College – which is a partner of Columbia University – that a student was “steered” away from taking a class by Professor Joseph Massad because the student is Jewish.
The decision strikes a blow at a key strategy being utilized by Zionist organizations to use US civil rights legislation to smear and harass faculty who teach about Palestine or are critical of Israeli policies, and to censor Palestine solidarity activism on campuses.
The complaint alleged that Professor Rachel McDermott, Chair of the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department at Barnard College, which is in New York City, had told an unnamed student not to take a class by Massad because she would be “uncomfortable” and to take another class instead.
The complaint was instigated by Kenneth L. Marcus, himself a former head of the OCR, who now leads a Zionist group called Institute for Jewish Community Research, and is a board member and legal adviser to the pro-Israel group Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
OCR finds no evidence to back complaint
An 11 January letter from OCR official Emily Frangos to Barnard College President Debora L. Spar reviewed the facts of the case and concluded:
Neither the complainant nor the Student provided, and OCR did not find, any evidence other than the Student’s assertions to contradict the Chair’s [Rachel McDermott] statements. Further, neither the complainant nor the Student provided, and OCR did not find, any other evidence to indicate that the Chair advised any other students of Jewish ancestry/ethnicity not to take a course with the Professor [Massad].
The letter also points out that the student was not even eligible to take Massad’s class – a senior seminar – because she was a first-year. The letter adds that based on “insufficient evidence to support the complainant’s allegation” the case is deemed closed and “OCR will take no further action with respect to this allegation.”
Due to his intellectual work, Massad has been a frequent target of smears by Zionist groups who tried unsuccessfully to sabotage his tenure process at Columbia University. The University had earlier emphasized publicly that the complaint against Barnard “in no way involves Professor Joseph Massad.”
A set up? Student herself instigated conversation about possibly being “uncomfortable”
Barnard College had defended itself vigorously against the allegation, including a multi-page submission to the OCR, which contains Professor McDermott’s account of her meeting with the student:
According to Professor McDermott, the Student dropped in one day during her open office hours in January 2011. No prior appointment had been made. This was the usual procedure for Professor McDermott, as she does not schedule her office hours in advance. Professor McDermott recalls that the Student initiated a conversation about her interest in taking a course taught by Professor Massad at Columbia but expressed concern that she would feel uncomfortable in the class. Professor McDermott does not recall the name of the specific class being discussed or whether the Student provided the name. Professor McDermott recalls listening to the Student express her concerns and acknowledging that it was possible she might feel uncomfortable at times in the class. However, Professor McDermott is certain that she did not discourage the student from taking the course with Professor Massad.
McDermott’s account raises the question whether the student – who has not been named – had been coached to seek an encounter that could then be spun as the basis of a complaint, or had been encouraged to make the complaint afterwards.
While we can only speculate in this instance, The Electronic Intifada found evidence of the involvement of a student in a similar effort by the pro-Israel group StandWithUs which has been colluding with Israeli officials to lodge a complaint with OCR against Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington to suppress Palestine solidarity activism by students there.
Part of a well-organized strategy by Zionist groups to silence campuses
It is crucial to understand that the complaint against Barnard College is not an isolated incident, but rather part of a carefully laid out strategy masterminded by Kenneth Marcus to use US civil rights laws to allege that speech critical of Israel violates the civil rights of Jewish students by making them feel uncomfortable, unsafe or harassed.
It is also important to note that this strategy has not been universally embraced even among Jewish community and Zionist groups in the United States – indeed it has been condemned as an effort to “censor” free speech.
Last October, The Forward reported:
Simmering divisions within the Jewish community are expected to come to a head this month over efforts to use federal civil rights laws to sanction some forms of alleged anti-Israel activity on campus. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, American Jewry’s primary umbrella group for addressing domestic issues, will vote at its upcoming board meeting on a resolution that, in its current draft, cautions Jewish groups to guard against suppressing free speech and to invoke civil rights laws only after exhausting other measures.
“Lawsuits and threats of legal action should not be used to censor anti-Israel events, statements, and speakers in order to ‘protect’ Jewish students,” the draft resolution warns, “but rather for cases which evidence a systematic climate of fear and intimidation coupled with a failure of the university administration to respond with reasonable corrective measures.”
It is doubtful such objections or the OCR decision in the Barnard case will discourage Marcus from further abuse of US civil rights laws for blatantly political, anti-Palestinian and anti-free-speech purposes. Reacting to the OCR ruling, Marcus told The Columbia Spectator, “This is just the initial determination, so it is subject to appeal.”
Even with the loss of not one, but two multi-million-dollar drones in recent weeks, the head of the US Defense Department says that America will “absolutely” continue stealth jets missions over Iran.
Despite these losses, the US Department of Defense is showing no signs of retreat, even if Tehran has insisted that they are well on their well to decoding the top-secret technologies under the hood of the recovered Sentinel. Speaking to Fox News this week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that stealth missions into Iran will continue “absolutely,” despite ongoing opposition from overseas.
The first in a new fleet of drones departing air bases to patrol the international skies is the Avenger, a state-of-the-art stealth craft that serves as an updated edition to the arsenal of Predators and Reapers currently in America’s repertoire. With the ability to elude radar detection and bomb enemy targets with the help of internal weapons bays on each wing, the Pentagon will be sending the first new Avenger over to Afghanistan.
Given that the Taliban’s technology does not necessitate America to put in its skies an aircraft with the technologies as advanced as the Avenger, the decision to deploy the United States’ newest toy over Afghanistan is raising questions about the exact intentions of the craft.
America recently put a Sentinel drone over the skies of Afghanistan — or at least said they did — as part of a reconnaissance mission. The US lost contact with the craft, however, only later to deny its existence, eventually prompting the government of Iran to release footage of the craft they recovered after it was seen over its own skies. The US would later say that the drone must have wavered outside of its intended [path] and into Iranian territory by mistake, though officials out of Tehran said the craft was intercepted around 140 miles from their border with Afghanistan.
Less than two weeks after Iran managed to hijack the craft and bring it down unscathed, the United States lost a second drone, as RT reported on Tuesday this week. Both attacks befell advanced machinery that are valued in the tens-of-millions of dollars apiece.
Under the pouring rain, Palestinians for the first time took part in a protest right in front of the Palestinian Authority compound Al-Muqata’a, which has become to symbolize, as one of the more lavish foreign funded state-building projects, an illusion of authority under the Israeli occupation. In her article describing the PA’s spatial organization of state structures, Linda Tabar quotes an official who describes the Muqata’a as an image “of grandeur that creates the impression we have a state.”
The protest, organized by a group of young Palestinians who called themselves Palestinians for Dignity, was against the farcical “negotiations about negotiations” currently taking place in Amman, Jordan between the PA represented by unelected chief negotiator Sa’eb Erekat (who incidentally, resigned his post after it was revealed that the Palestine Papers were leaked from his office in 2011) and the Israeli delegation, headed by Yitzhak Molcho. A third meeting is expected to run today between the two sides, after the first two were conducted last week on January 3rd and January 10th respectively.
From the statement released by the youth, the ongoing negotiations have once again commenced without any pre-conditions:
Counting on the same fruitless and failing process of the past two decades, the negotiations contradict past PLO statements that have explicitly rejected negotiations until settlement expansion is frozen, borders are clearly referenced and defined, and the fulfillment of the release of all political prisoners.
It has become increasingly obvious that the PA and its leadership have stopped pretending to sugarcoat their salient acts with their occupier, which do not reflect the interests of the Palestinians. In fact, twenty years of failed negotiations have only made the life of the average Palestinian more miserable as a result of the enhanced state of occupation they live in, as the rapid land grabs and construction of settlements are implemented with the full knowledge and even blessing of the PA negotiating team.
The statement continues,
Palestinian youth are fed up with illegitimate representation, a national consensus that does not unite them, and of a future state that does not guarantee the rights of the majority of the Palestinian people, in specific, Palestinian refugees in exile.
We demand a strategy that is supported by political, economic, academic and cultural boycott of the Zionist entity, the strengthening of the steadfastness of the people, and preparation for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC) representative of Palestinians across the world.
The protest didn’t say silent for long. In my opinion, Palestinian silent protests are an oxymoron. Pretty soon, abetted by the expressive posters, vigorous chants were shouted by those in attendance who numbered around one hundred. Plainclothes police once again “infiltrated” the protest, but their faces were familiar to many who were involved in the now obsolete March 15th youth movement.
Chants called for Saeb Erekat to go home, and asserted that the right of return was not for sale. One variation was that the blood of the martyrs was not going to be sold out. Negotiations and normalization were used interchangeably in the chants— such as “The people demand an end to negotiatons/normalization”— as in this context they were really synonymous after all. One popular chant was “Right of Return, Freedom, National Dignity/ عودة, حرية, كرامة وطنية”
The plainclothes police moved to the other side of the street, the side of the Muqata’a. They watched us from inside their cars and a couple even took pictures, which forcibly reminded me of the Israeli army during the weekly protests in the village of Nabi Saleh who carry out the same act. After an hour and a half, the protest was over, but not before the youth shouted that if the message today wasn’t heard by the PA leadership, then there will be more protests to follow.
Shortly afterwards, one young man from Tulkarem who participated in the protest (and who prefers to remain anonymous) was attacked and arrested by the PA security forces. His arrest lasted for two hours, including an hour of interrogation about the names of the people who were chanting against the PA.
There is no longer a psychological barrier of fear against the Palestinian Authority and its security forces. Their interests are to consolidate their elitist status while the majority of the Palestinians continue to suffer from a two-tiered tyranny: The Israeli occupation and its bestial policies, and the suppression and stifling rule of the main Palestinian parties, Fateh in the shape of the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We will not stand by anymore on the sidelines, as outdated so-called representatives negotiate our rights away with the same side that is continuously oppressing us. It is simply ludicrous, shameful, and outright embarrassing that these negotiations still occupy a space in the Palestinian political spectrum. Only free men and women negotiate, and for all their money, expensive cars and villas, and security coordinated travel permits, the Palestinian leadership is still at the end of the day occupied by Israel and its caprices.
We are excited to announce that plans for OCCUPY AIPAC are under way and we hope you will join us March 2-6 in Washington DC.
With the Occupy movement that has swept the country demanding social and economic justice, many have concluded that AIPAC—the powerful pro-Israeli government lobby that distorts U.S. policy in the Middle East— is a mandatory “occupy target”. Adbusters, the magazine that issued the initial visionary call for the takeover of Wall St. on September 17th, has declared: “The time has come for the Occupy Movement to demand an end to the Occupation of Palestine… We need a hashtag, #occupyAIPAC” (Kalle Lasn).
Timed to coincide with the annual AIPAC policy conference in March 2012, the Occupy AIPAC summit will be a long weekend of teach-ins, cultural performances, protests and creative direct actions, and a sneak preview of the forthcoming film Roadmap to Apartheid. Our Saturday conference will feature educational panels on Iran, Palestine, the Arab Uprisings and the Occupy Movement (see the list of speakers). Sponsors and endorsers include the Institute of Policy Studies, Just Foreign Policy, Interfaith Peace Builders (IFPB), the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine chapters, and over 120 other groups.
Right now AIPAC is trying to drag us into a disastrous war with Iran, just as they pushed the Iraq war. We must show our opposition by exposing AIPAC and standing against a war with Iran. AIPAC’s underhanded tactics and their manipulation of our political process destroys the possibility of a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis. Recent public criticisms of the Israel lobby make the call to Occupy AIPAC all the more relevant.
Now is the time to make a large, people-powered push to show our opposition to the stranglehold the Israel lobby continues to hold over our government.
Medea, Rae, Alli and Sasha
The Occupy AIPAC team
In addition to peace and justice groups around the country, we are reaching out to Occupy communities for support and participation (see the Occupy AIPAC GA resolution).
If your group would like to endorse or join this effort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beirut -The International Executive Committee of the Global March to Jerusalem announces the completion of the preparations for the Second International Conference where the representatives of the International Committees involved in the organization of the Global March to Jerusalem will meet. The conference will be held in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon on Tuesday and Wednesday 17th-18th January, 2012.
This meeting will be held to implement the decisions of the previous meeting, held in Amman last month, in which there was a consensus to form an International Central Committee representing all regions of the world and an International Advisory Board of eminent international figures for the march. The date for the onset of the March was agreed to be on the 30th of March, 2012, which marks the 36th anniversary of Palestinian Land Day, when peaceful protest against massive expropriation of Palestinian land was brutally met with deadly force by Zionist troops. About 40 delegates representing the International Committees throughout the seven continents of the world will be attending the meeting in Beirut.
The conference will adopt a structural process for the March, and its committee structure will be filled with appointees. The general policies for the international actions will be mandated in Beirut to ensure their success. The conference will also discuss the national events and actions that will be launched in all countries starting from mid January, 2012 and until the date of the march towards Jerusalem or the nearest possible point to it, from inside Palestine and the neighbouring Arab countries, as well as the convoys from Asia, Africa and Europe that will converge on the march date. In addition to that it will coordinate international activities that will coincide with the March in different countries.
The committee would like to confirm that the Global March to Jerusalem and all the accompanying local events and actions aim to shed light on the issue of Jerusalem (the City of Peace) as the key to peace and war in the region and the world. The racist Judaisation policies of the occupation and its ethnic cleansing practices against Jerusalem, its people and holy sites threaten this peace. Such practices are internationally recognized not only as crimes against Palestinians but as crimes against the whole of humanity.
The International Executive Committee also emphasized that through this peaceful march they envisage to mobilize Arab and Muslim nations alongside all freedom loving peoples of the world to put an end to Israeli violations of international law through its continuous occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestinian Land. Israel’s persistence in continuing its racist and ethnic cleansing practices through the construction of the Apartheid wall, the expansion of settlements and the escalation of killing, destruction, displacement and Judaisation reveals the extent of its crime. This kind of behaviour demands an international rally to support the right of Palestinians to freedom, independence, self-determination and the right of return. This peaceful march is inspired by our belief and the belief of those who support our cause throughout the world that the massive participation of the people of the world is a practical, nonviolent way to achieve justice and preserve peace by ending the Israeli occupation in Palestine and its capital Jerusalem.