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Former Insiders Criticize Iran Policy as U.S. Hegemony

By GARETH PORTER | CounterPunch | February 27, 2013

Going to Tehran” arguably represents the most important work on the subject of U.S.-Iran relations to be published thus far.

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett tackle not only U.S. policy toward Iran but the broader context of Middle East policy with a systematic analytical perspective informed by personal experience, as well as very extensive documentation.

More importantly, however, their exposé required a degree of courage that may be unparalleled in the writing of former U.S. national security officials about issues on which they worked. They have chosen not just to criticise U.S. policy toward Iran but to analyse that policy as a problem of U.S. hegemony.

Their national security state credentials are impeccable. They both served at different times as senior coordinators dealing with Iran on the National Security Council Staff, and Hillary Mann Leverett was one of the few U.S. officials who have been authorised to negotiate with Iranian officials.

Both wrote memoranda in 2003 urging the George W. Bush administration to take the Iranian “roadmap” proposal for bilateral negotiations seriously but found policymakers either uninterested or powerless to influence the decision. Hillary Mann Leverett even has a connection with the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), having interned with that lobby group as a youth.

After leaving the U.S. government in disagreement with U.S. policy toward Iran, the Leveretts did not follow the normal pattern of settling into the jobs where they would support the broad outlines of the U.S. role in world politics in return for comfortable incomes and continued access to power.

Instead, they have chosen to take a firm stand in opposition to U.S. policy toward Iran, criticising the policy of the Barack Obama administration as far more aggressive than is generally recognised. They went even farther, however, contesting the consensus view in Washington among policy wonks, news media and Iran human rights activists that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election in June 2009 was fraudulent.

The Leveretts’ uncompromising posture toward the policymaking system and those outside the government who support U.S. policy has made them extremely unpopular in Washington foreign policy elite circles. After talking to some of their antagonists, The New Republic even passed on the rumor that the Leveretts had become shills for oil companies and others who wanted to do business with Iran.

The problem for the establishment, however, is that they turned out to be immune to the blandishments that normally keep former officials either safely supportive or quiet on national security issues that call for heated debate.

In “Going to Tehran”, the Leveretts elaborate on the contrarian analysis they have been making on their blog (formerly “The Race for Iran” and now “Going to Tehran”) They take to task those supporting U.S. systematic pressures on Iran for substituting wishful thinking that most Iranians long for secular democracy, and offer a hard analysis of the history of the Iranian revolution.

In an analysis of the roots of the legitimacy of the Islamic regime, they point to evidence that the single most important factor that swept the Khomeini movement into power in 1979 was “the Shah’s indifference to the religious sensibilities of Iranians”. That point, which conflicts with just about everything that has appeared in the mass media on Iran for decades, certainly has far-reaching analytical significance.

The Leveretts’ 56-page review of the evidence regarding the legitimacy of the 2009 election emphasises polls done by U.S.-based Terror Free Tomorrow and World Public Opinon and Canadian-based Globe Scan and 10 surveys by the University of Tehran. All of the polls were consistent with one another and with official election data on both a wide margin of victory by Ahmadinejad and turnout rates.

The Leveretts also point out that the leading opposition candidate, Hossein Mir Mousavi, did not produce “a single one of his 40,676 observers to claim that the count at his or her station had been incorrect, and none came forward independently”.

“Going to Tehran” has chapters analysing Iran’s “Grand Strategy” and on the role of negotiating with the United States that debunk much of which passes for expert opinion in Washington’s think tank world. They view Iran’s nuclear programme as aimed at achieving the same status as Japan, Canada and other “threshold nuclear states” which have the capability to become nuclear powers but forego that option.

The Leveretts also point out that it is a status that is not forbidden by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty – much to the chagrin of the United States and its anti-Iran allies.

In a later chapter, they allude briefly to what is surely the best-kept secret about the Iranian nuclear programme and Iranian foreign policy: the Iranian leadership’s calculation that the enrichment programme is the only incentive the United States has to reach a strategic accommodation with Tehran. That one fact helps to explain most of the twists and turns in Iran’s nuclear programme and its nuclear diplomacy over the past decade.

One of the propaganda themes most popular inside the Washington beltway is that the Islamic regime in Iran cannot negotiate seriously with the United States because the survival of the regime depends on hostility toward the United States.

The Leveretts debunk that notion by detailing a series of episodes beginning with President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s effort to improve relations in 1991 and again in 1995 and Iran’s offer to cooperate against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and, more generally after 9/11, about which Hillary Mann Leverett had personal experience.

Finally, they provide the most detailed analysis available on the 2003 Iranian proposal for a “roadmap” for negotiations with the United States, which the Bush administration gave the back of its hand.

The central message of “Going to Tehran” is that the United States has been unwilling to let go of the demand for Iran’s subordination to dominant U.S. power in the region. The Leveretts identify the decisive turning point in the U.S. “quest for dominance in the Middle East” as the collapse of the Soviet Union, which they say “liberated the United States from balance of power constraints”.

They cite the recollection of senior advisers to Secretary of State James Baker that the George H. W. Bush administration considered engagement with Iran as part of a post-Gulf War strategy but decided in the aftermath of the Soviet adversary’s disappearance that “it didn’t need to”.

Subsequent U.S. policy in the region, including what former national security adviser Bent Scowcroft called “the nutty idea” of “dual containment” of Iraq and Iran, they argue, has flowed from the new incentive for Washington to maintain and enhance its dominance in the Middle East.

The authors offer a succinct analysis of the Clinton administration’s regional and Iran policies as precursors to Bush’s Iraq War and Iran regime change policy. Their account suggests that the role of Republican neoconservatives in those policies should not be exaggerated, and that more fundamental political-institutional interests were already pushing the U.S. national security state in that direction before 2001.

They analyse the Bush administration’s flirtation with regime change and the Obama administration’s less-than-half-hearted diplomatic engagement with Iran as both motivated by a refusal to budge from a stance of maintaining the status quo of U.S.-Israeli hegemony.

Consistent with but going beyond the Leveretts’ analysis is the Bush conviction that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq had shaken the Iranians, and that there was no need to make the slightest concession to the regime. The Obama administration has apparently fallen into the same conceptual trap, believing that the United States and its allies have Iran by the throat because of its “crippling sanctions”.

Thanks to the Leveretts, opponents of U.S. policies of domination and intervention in the Middle East have a new and rich source of analysis to argue against those policies more effectively.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Comments Off on Former Insiders Criticize Iran Policy as U.S. Hegemony

US Congressman demands referendum in Balochistan

ANI | February 28, 2013

Islamabad – US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has requested a referendum to be held in Balochistan on the question of independence, which would challenge the claims by Islamabad that the Baloch want to be part of Pakistan.

Rohrabacher said this while addressing a gathering at a conference entitled “Global and Regional Security Challenges in South Asia: What Future for Balochistan”, reports The Dawn.

Rohrabacher, who was a key speaker at the conference, gave a poignant speech urging the right to self-determination for the Baloch people.

He also called for Pakistani officials to be tried for war crimes.

He further said that America has to quit giving any military aid to Pakistan who uses the money to murder and suppress the Baloch people.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel detained over 300 Palestinians in February alone

MEMO | February 28, 2013

Israel detained 382 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in February including deceased Arafat Jaradat, three parliamentarians and ten women, a report has said.

The report issued by AHRAR for Prisoners Studies showed that 376 detainees from the West Bank and six from the Gaza Strip.

According to the report, the largest number of Palestinians arrested was from the West Bank city of Nablus followed by Jerusalem, Hebron, Jenin and Bethlehem. Many were arrested from other cities.

While most of the Palestinians were arrested from their homes at night, the report said that 38 of them were arrested at Israeli checkpoints. There are more than 500 of these spread around the West Bank which divide the cities and “make people feel like they are living in hell.”

What made the February detentions distinctive is that large numbers of the detainees are Hamas leaders or activists. The three parliamentarians detained were members of Change and Reform Bloc which is affiliated to Hamas.

Foad al-Khafash, a former prisoner and the head of AHRAR, affirmed that Israeli detention campaigns occur on a daily basis. He also said that the current numbers of those detained are not final as some detentions might not have been reported.

Al-Khafash called for international organisations to shed light on the issue of the Palestinian prisoners and how they are being “violently” kidnapped from their houses.

“The Israeli soldiers ignore all humanitarian norms and laws when they break into the houses of the Palestinians and kidnap them,” Al-Khafash said.

He also said, “the Israeli forces carry out barbaric assaults against prisoners who are not charged and put them into administrative detention.”

It is worth mentioning that, according to AHRAR’s report, the number of detentions has increased this month. “This shows an increasingly aggressive policy in dealing with the Palestinians,” Al-Khafash said.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Israel detained over 300 Palestinians in February alone

British activists being detained in UK airports under anti-terrorism legislation on return home from Palestine

International Solidarity Movement, and Corporate Watch | February 28, 2013

14-600x463Two British peace activists have been detained in recent weeks after arriving home from the West Bank, occupied Palestine. They have been detained and taken in for questioning, over suspected links with the International Solidarity Movement.

“We are concerned about the British police using anti-terrorist legislation to target non-violent pro-Palestinian activists. We are a transparent group, trying to uphold the principles of international law; even inside Israel the International Solidarity Movement is not considered illegal. We would encourage the British Police to ask any questions they wish to do so, directly, and not by detaining affiliated activists at the airport”

The Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which the two activists have been held on, allows the police, under certain specified circumstances, to arrest individuals without a warrant who are reasonably suspected of being terrorists. These laws are draconian measures which give the British police powers to detain suspects for up to 28 days without charge.

Schedule 7 is clearly being used as a tool to find out more about activists involved in a wide variety of types of political dissent and to provide profiles of activists for the police to use in trying to undermine political movements. None of the questions about movements in the UK were designed to root out terrorism or uncover the preparation for terrorism. In fact, the movements concerned have never even been accused of terrorism (with the exception of completely false accusations made against the ISM, see here).

Britain abstained at the last vote at the United Nations deciding whether Palestine should be accepted as a non-member observer state. But in the last two weeks the double standards of the British government in relation to Palestine and Israel have again been laid bare; Saeed Amireh, has been refused a visa to visit the UK. Amireh is a peaceful campaigner against Israel’s occupation and the theft of Nilin’s land. He was told he hadn’t provided “enough supporting documents”, even though he had supplied everything that was asked for, including a letter of invitation and guarantee from the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign of his costs being paid.

The use of these powers as a way to clamp down on non violent activists from Palestine and Britain is not acceptable, what is the British government afraid of? Maybe the fact the activists, returning home from Palestine, work with Corporate Watch and have helped reveal the continued supply of weaponry from Britain to the Israeli army has made them a target. This is despite the current British arms export policy stating it won’t deliver weapons to any countries breaking UN treaties. British companies are still complicit in Israeli war crimes in Gaza, as was proved in the EDO Decommisioners case of 2011.

Read more about the misuse of these powers and much more at corporateoccupation.org

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on British activists being detained in UK airports under anti-terrorism legislation on return home from Palestine

Argo Apostasy

By GARY CORSERI | CounterPunch | February 28, 2013

A friend sends me a PressTV posting by Dr. Kevin Barrett  As is usually the case at that site, it’s a well-written, well-thought-out piece by someone with creds who has something to say.  And, as with the best journalism, poetry, drama, fiction, conversation, etc., good thinking should inspire more of the same… and even consummate in focused action!  Let’s have a go!

Dr. Barrett’s first paragraph: “The only award the makers of Argo deserve is a criminal conviction for crimes against humanity. Instead, Hollywood’s Zionist mafia has handed them an Oscar for best film of the year. The members of the academy should themselves be in the docket, facing war crimes charges, right alongside Ben Affleck.

Argo is a propaganda film. Like the films of Nazi publicist Leni Riefenstahl, it is well-made. Like those of Riefenstahl, it glorifies a murderous criminal organization. And like those of Riefenstahl, its ultimate purpose is to elicit hatred and turn its audience into mass murderers.”

There’s meat to chew on there (or organic, free-range chickens, if one prefers) but, as I wrote my friend, “The biggest problem with Barrett’s analysis is the usual specious analogy; i.e., Naziism/Riefenstahl/WWII and CIA/Hollywood/WWIII.  Best go a little further back in history to get a better sense of how dangerous and insidious ARGO really is.”

Here’s what I mean: We’ve been living in a media-driven world since Edward Bernays applied his uncle’s– Sigmund Freud’s—psychological insights to mass-consumer-marketing and public relations… and then to matters of State propaganda (which often correlates to matters of war!).  Born in Austria in 1891, Bernays was a baby when his family moved to the US a year later.  (Snapshot Wikipedia intro: “[Bernays] combined the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of … Sigmund Freud.”  Here’s the key point: Bernays “felt… manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the ‘herd instinct.’”)

Now, let’s get back to the historical record and why Afleck’s film is far more egregious than the work of Leni Riefenstahl.

Of all the major powers in WWI, Germany had tried hardest to avoid that cataclysmic conflict. Following Gavrilo Princip’s assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote imploring letters to his royal cousins (really!) in Britain and Russia imploring them to settle the matter of the Serbian insurrection diplomatically, to disentangle themselves from the disastrous network of alliances that had split Europe into armed camps. Nothing happened for about a month during the “July crisis” of 1914.  Austria-Hungary made demands on Serbia to repress the rebellion, but the Serbs were encouraged to press on by “outsiders” (chiefly their Slavic cousins in Russia who wanted to re-establish their power base in the Balkans, but also by Britain and France–determined to crush the rising power of Germany and ensure their control of their Middle Eastern empires!  And if these entanglements and hidden agendas sound a lot like our contemporary situation in Israel, Syria, Libya, Egypt and the whole shebang of the Middle East today, well, Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose!)

Needless to say, the Kaiser was barking up the wrong family tree! His letters and diplomatic missions came to kaput!  The toll on Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire was unimaginable (only Russia would suffer comparable damages among the Allies!). Following the Armistice, there was the sell-out of the Versailles Treaty, the Balfour Declaration, and so forth–with much input by Zionist Jews (especially in Britain and the US) determined to seize the moment to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.

Were there “good guys” and “bad guys”… or were politicians, industrialists, armaments manufacturers looking out for their own best interests, figuring how to advance themselves—and the devil be damned?  And the common man or woman or child—what did they understand of those interests?  They were “herded” together to die in filthy trenches, to slaughter, and be slaughtered by, strangers. (Poets like Thomas Hardy in “The Man He Killed” and Wilfred Owen in most of his poems, and a poet-novelist like Remarque best captured the horrific ironies.)

Following the grotesque war (as all wars are!), Germany suffered a further dozen years of hyper-inflation (wheelbarrows of deutchmarks, etc.), starvation, kids dying in the street, etc.  Meantime, kids were dancing the Charleston, etc. during America’s triumphalist Roaring Twenties. So, is it any wonder that German voters turned to Hitler and the Nazis in 1932, and, any more wondrous that by the Berlin Olympics of 1936, artists like Riefenstahl were celebrating a resurrected Germany?  (And, notably, German artists were not alone in their adjulation.  There are old Life magazines from the 1930s showing Herr Hitler as amiable host in Berchtesgaden, and one can find quotes by bulldog British imperialist Churchill praising Hitler’s accomplishments!) Notwithstanding the accomplishments, Germany remained threatened on every side by its former enemies.

No doubt there were injustices in Germany/Austria/Hungary, etc.–as there were in all the major powers of that time. Have we forgotten what it was like to be a black man in the US South back then—the public lynchings with grinning white men, women and children watching the “niggers” swing?  Should we forget that long before there was any kind of “holocaust” engineered by German fanatics, there was at least as terrible a holocaust—in terms of numbers killed, 5-7 million–engineered by our future ally Stalin in Ukraine?

And this is the essence of our problem now—a problem badly exaccerbated by a movie like “Argo.” Since Bernays, we live in an often baffling, multi-layered, complex world with simplistic historical frames of reference; with simplistic solutions, pitting “good guys” against “bad guys.”  (Aside: incredible to me that adults can take a phrase like “bad guys” seriously to justify drone warfare, torture, renditions, sanctions against a non-belligerent like Iran!)  Fact is, Leni Riefenstahl had valid reasons to celebrate the accomplishments of Naziism between 1932 and 1939, and Germany had every reason to be wary of the empires—British, French, Russian and American—that had already devastated it two decades before.

Making Hitler and Naziism the locus of all evil in the world at that time, we have forgiven ourselves the barbarous acts we ourselves committed before and after the holocaustic Second World War!  And, transferring that locus of evil to another opponent—the Soviet Union for over 40 years, or Iran for the past dozen years—we forgive ourselves in advance of committing horrors in the name of peace, security, our “freedom,” our “democracy,” our “way of life,” etc.

The situation in America today is far different from that of Germany in the 30’s! Our country has not been attacked and devastated by Iran. We have, rather, been bringing about our own ruin by the aggressive policies we have pursued since the end of WWII. There never was a “smoking gun” (in Exxon’s Condoleeza Rice’s preposterous phrase), nor yellow-cake uranium (as touted by “military hero” Colin Powell)—nor any of the other charades acted out on the world stage in order to justify the US holocaust against the people of Iraq during the last dozen years.  Our CIA and Hollywood have helped to build the shaky scaffold of Middle Eastern ruin and our own.  It is scaffolding that could come crashing down if the “herded” masses will awaken from their sleep–their dreams and their nightmares–and not only reclaim, but demand, their humanity.

Movies like “Argo” should be boycotted!  Academy Award ceremonies should be picketed in the name of the First Amendment! Such movies have nothing to do with “freedom of speech” and everything to do with suppressing free speech and the truth for the sake of profits, promoting wars and hatred and slaughter.  They are worthy of nothing but the fullest condemnation.

Let the Occupy Movement emerge from its long winter hibernation and focus its admirable energy on our spurious media—this “entertainment industry” that has cast a vail over common sense and decency for the sake of promoting Zionists, billionaires and corporatists (and let’s throw in the decadent, pederast Catholic Church Establishment, too!). That is the real story that needs to be told!

Gary Corseri has taught in US public schools and prisons, and at US and Japanese universities. He has published books of poetry, the Manifestations literary anthology (edited), and the novels,  A Fine Excess and Holy Grail, Holy Grail. He can be contacted at Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Argo Apostasy

Iraq: No Agreement with US on Imposing Sanctions against Iran

Fars News Agency | February 28, 2013

TEHRAN – The Iraqi foreign ministry in a statement underlined the importance of bilateral relations with Iran for the country, and announced that Baghdad will not impose the US-sponsored sanctions against Tehran.

Iraq opposed Washington’s request to comply with the US-led sanctions imposed against Iran over its nuclear energy program.

“Our relations with Iran are more important than all other issues or benefits,” the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Referring to the meetings held between the Iraqi government and US Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, the statement said that the two sides had not reached any agreements on enforcing sanctions against Iran.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry added that Baghdad has requested an exemption from the US-led sanctions imposed against Iran.

“Our economic relations with Iran will continue and are not in conflict with international resolutions,” an Iraqi official said. … Full article

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Comments Off on Iraq: No Agreement with US on Imposing Sanctions against Iran

Israeli kids dressed as burning Twin Towers for Purim

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | February 28, 2013

On the annual Jewish celebration of the Biblical slaying “of their foes seventy and five thousand,” at least one Israeli family seems to think it’s funny to reenact the murder of 3,000 in New York on September 11, 2001. Angrily reacting to the story, 6 Degrees no Bacon, a Jewish entertainment blog, appears to be unaware that these are not the first Israelis to be so provocatively indifferent to American suffering on 9/11:

People all over Israel are celebrating Purim this weekend, and much like Halloween, the dress-up holiday is a perfect opportunity for parents to show off their creativity and then display it on their poor kids.

The winners of the contest for Costume of Poorest Taste are definitely 7-year-old twins Ilay and Nehoray, who dressed up as the burning World Trade Center towers with the planes still in them on 9/11. At least they spared us the jumpers.

Publication of the picture on the Israeli news website Ynet prompted widespread condemnation. How would Israelis feel if Americans dressed up as a burning Tel Aviv bus, or Europeans wore a “train to Auschwitz” costume? some asked.

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Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | Comments Off on Israeli kids dressed as burning Twin Towers for Purim

U.S.-EU Trade Deal is the Foundation For a New Global Economic Order

By Dana Gabriel | Be Your Own Leader | February 25, 2013

The U.S. and EU have agreed to launch negotiations on what would be the world’s largest free trade deal. Such an agreement would be the basis for the creation of an economic NATO and would include trade in goods, services and investment, as well as cover intellectual property rights. There are concerns that the U.S. could use these talks to push the EU to loosen its restrictions on genetically modified crops and foods. In addition, the deal might serve as a backdoor means to implement ACTA which was rejected by the European Parliament last year. A U.S.-EU Transatlantic trade agreement is seen as a way of countering China’s growing power and is the foundation for a new global economic order.

In his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama officially announced that the U.S. would launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union (EU). A joint statement issued by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and U.S. President Obama explained that, “Through this negotiation, the United States and the European Union will have the opportunity not only to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic, but also to contribute to the development of global rules that can strengthen the multilateral trading system.” In a separate speech, European Commission President Barroso also emphasized that, “A future deal between the world’s two most important economic powers will be a game-changer. Together, we will form the largest free trade zone in the world. So this negotiation will set the standard – not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules.”

The decision to pursue a free trade deal was based on the recommendations put forth by the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth which was created to deepen U.S.-EU economic integration. In their final report, they called on leaders from both sides to, “initiate as soon as possible the formal domestic procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment agreement.” According to U.S. and EU officials, talks could start in June with the hopes of completing a deal by the end of 2014. The proposed trade pact would include removing import tariffs, dismantling hurdles to trade in goods, services, and investment, as well as harmonizing regulations and standards. It would also cover intellectual property protection and enforcement. This could be used as an opportunity for a backdoor implementation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It was a result of public pressure associated with risks to internet freedom and privacy which lead to ACTA being rejected by the European Parliament in July of 2012. There have already been attempts to use Canada-EU trade negotiations to sneak in parts of ACTA.

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director, Lori Wallach cautioned how U.S.-EU talks, “are aimed at eliminating a list of what multinational corporations call ‘trade irritants’ but the rest of us know as strong food safety, environmental and health safeguards.” She went on to say, “European firms are targeting aspects of the U.S. financial reregulation regime, our stronger drug and medical device safety and testing standards and more.” Wallach further added, “U.S. firms want Europe to gut their superior chemical regulation regime, their tougher food safety rules and labeling of genetically modified foods.” In a press release, Earth Open Source warned that, “An EU-U.S. free trade deal would obliterate EU safeguards for health and the environment with regard to genetically modified (GM) crops and foods.” Research Director Claire Robinson pointed out, “If the new trade agreement goes through, it will be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules for the EU to have a stronger regulatory system for GMOs than the U.S. system.” This is disturbing considering that in many cases, GM foods in the U.S. do not require any special regulatory oversight or safety tests.

Overshadowed by the proposed U.S.-EU trade deal are ongoing Canada-EU negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Despite talks being in their final stages, both sides still have some important gaps to be bridged before a deal can be reached. Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star acknowledged that, “Europe’s real interest in negotiating a trade deal with Ottawa was to demonstrate to the Americans that a trans-Atlantic free trade pact was possible.” He noted, “EU negotiators will be even more reluctant to make concessions to Canada for fear of weakening their bargaining hand with the Americans.” Walkom argued that, “Canada is under more pressure to make a deal while Europe is under less.” He concluded that. “A Canada-EU deal seems inevitable. But now, with America in the mix, the terms for Canada may be even less favorable than expected.” The Globe and Mail recently reported that the EU is demanding additional concessions from Canada before any agreement can be signed. In order to wrap things up, a desperate Canada may be willing to give up even more. This was a bad deal from the start and it would be in their best interest to just walk away from CETA.

In the coming months, you can expect the anti-corporate globalization movement on both sides of the Atlantic to mobilize against the U.S.-EU trade agreement. It is big business and financial institutions who are pushing this deregulation agenda which threatens health, environmental and food safety standards. Just like NAFTA, the proposed U.S.-EU trade deal is also likely to include an investor-state dispute process which would give corporations the right to challenge government policies that restrict their profits. A trade agreement between the U.S. and EU is a building block for a new global trading system. If you combine NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a U.S,-EU Transatlantic trade deal, you have the makings for a global free trade area.

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Related articles by Dana Gabriel:
Deepening the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade Partnership
Growing Opposition to the Canada-EU Trade Agreement
Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda
From NAFTA to CETA: Canada-EU Deep Economic Integration

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: beyourownleader@hotmail.com Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , | Comments Off on U.S.-EU Trade Deal is the Foundation For a New Global Economic Order

Are the Government’s Dietary Guidelines Making Us Obese?

By Margie King | GreenMedInfo | February 25th 2013

Since the early 1980’s the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans have urged trusting Americans to eat a low-fat high-carbohydrate diet for their health and weight control. Since then, there has been an alarming increase in chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. In addition, obesity rates have shot up to 30%, and more than 70% of Americans are overweight.

Can the dietary guidelines be to blame?

Many experts believe that the USDA and other government agencies have stubbornly disregarded the science and continued a 30-year long nutrition experiment on Americans that has had disastrous results.

Nutrition experts from The Healthy Nation Coalition, which includes the Weston A. Price Foundation, the Salt Institute, and the Nutrition and Metabolism Society, have voiced concerns about the current USDA Dietary Guidelines issued in 2010.  They criticize the guidelines for perpetuating the wrong-headed advice to eat a low-fat diet, high in processed grains and cereals, which has contributed to the current obesity and health crisis.

What’s wrong with the government’s nutrition advice?

Dietary guidelines are a creation of politics and not science. Critics claim that the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee ignored scientific research that validates low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss and improved health. Low-carb diets generally recommend 60 to 120 grams of unprocessed carbohydrates per day, although some provide more, and some as little as 20 grams.

Besides encouraging people to eat processed carbohydrates such as cereal, rice, pasta and bread, the guidelines have made Americans fearful of eating real natural whole foods such as whole milk, cheese, red meat, eggs, salt, butter and full-fat yogurt. As a result, Americans have stocked their pantries with processed fake soy meats, vegetable oils, margarine and skimmed dairy products, all of which are depleted or completely devoid of key nutrients, such as vitamins D, A, K and choline.

The Campaign Against Saturated Fats

Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, faults the guidelines for continuing to demonize saturated fats based on unsound science.  The most recent guidelines reduce the recommended intake of saturated fats from 10% of calories to less than 7%.

The proposed 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking. The current obesity epidemic emerged as vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates replaced these healthy, nutrient-dense traditional fats. Animal fats supply many essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources,” explained Ms. Morell in a press conference sponsored by the Healthy Nation Coalition.

Ms. Morell noted that for the past 60 or 70 years, saturated fats have been blamed for clogging arteries, and for causing heart disease, diabetes and even multiple sclerosis. None of these accusations is based on sound science she says.

Health Benefits of Saturated Fats

On the other hand, Ms. Morell points out the critical roles that saturated fats play in the body, including:

  • Make up 50% of cell membranes
  • Help the body put calcium in the bones
  • Lower Lp(a), a marker for heart disease
  • Protect the liver from alcohol and other poisons
  • Are required for lung and kidney function
  • Enhance the immune system
  • Work together with essential fatty acids
  • Support the body’s detoxification mechanisms

The government’s rationale for promoting a low-fat diet is the belief that fat makes us fat. Ms. Morell cites, however, the famous Framingham Heart Study which demonstrated that those eating more saturated fat, more cholesterol and more calories actually had lower blood serum cholesterol levels, weighed less and were more physically active.

In addition, a 1965 British heart study showed that heart attack survivors eating a saturated fat diet lived longer than those eating a diet of polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated vegetable oils.

Finally, she cites a study of European countries which found that countries in which the population ate a diet high in saturated fats had lower rates of heart disease and those eating a low saturated fat diet had higher rates of heart disease.

The government and nutrition experts often lump saturated fats in with trans fats. Even worse, the fear of saturated fats has led many to replace the butter in their diets with trans fat laden margarine. Since 1926, Ms. Morell points out, use of butter in the U.S. has plummeted and at the same time rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease have skyrocketed.

Other “grave concerns” with the guidelines include

  1. Restriction of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day (less than 2 eggs);
  2. Restriction of sodium to 1,500 mg per day (2/3 of a teaspoon of salt);
  3. Promotion of low-fat milk and lean meats;
  4. Use of meat substitutes in federally funded school lunches; and
  5. Absence of any restrictions on refined carbohydrates and sweeteners in school meals.

Ms. Morell warned that the harm resulting from these misguided recommendations fall disproportionately on the nation’s children who will be fed these nutrient poor, fat inducing diets every day at school.  And that is a tragedy.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cameron ‘regrets’ Amritsar massacre but quiet about testing poison gas on Indians before WWII

Press TV – February 28, 2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron stood on the Indian soil recently, expressing condolences on the Amritsar massacre, the bloodbath of unarmed civilians in 1919. But Britain had committed far more shameful crimes against this former colony which no condolence could ever cleanse.

Britain’s testing poisonous gas on Indian soldiers before WWII is among the most notorious atrocities in Britain’s colonial history, leaving hundreds of Indians dead and the surviving victims severely injured.

According to the discovered National Archive documents, British military scientists from the Porton Down chemical warfare establishment in Wiltshir sent Indian soldiers into gas chambers to test mustard gas during more than a decade of experiments that began in the early 1930s before the Second World War.

The experiments, which took place in Rawalpindi military site, now in Pakistan, aimed at determining the amount of poison gas needed to produce a casualty on the battlefield.

According to the revealed document, these tests were part of a much larger program intended to test the effects of chemical weapons on human beings.

Being exposed to mustard gas, many Indian soldiers suffered severe burns on their skin, including their genitals, leaving them in pain for days and even weeks. Some had to be treated in hospital but British military did not even check up on the victims to see if any illnesses were developed.

“Severely burned patients are often very miserable and depressed and in considerable discomfort, which must be experienced to be properly realized,” the scientists wrote.

It is now recognized that mustard gas can cause cancer and severe damage to health.

But this is not the end of the story. More than 20,000 British soldiers were also subjected to nerve gas and mustard gas trials at Porton between 1916 and 1989, many of whom say they were deceived to take part in the experiments.

This question comes to one’s mind, how can Britain be an advocate of human rights in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and many other countries around the world, while the country has the poorest record of human rights violations all through its disgraceful history?!

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Six Underground Tanks Leaking Nuclear Waste in Washington State

By Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman | AllGov | February 27, 2013

The nation’s most daunting environmental cleanup project has a new toxic problem on its hands.

Within the Hanford Nuclear Reservation along the Columbia River in Washington State, six underground storage tanks are leaking radioactive waste. Some of the tanks hold as much as 500,000-750,000 gallons of dangerous fluid that is slowing seeping into the soil.

State and federal officials said the leaks don’t pose an immediate threat to human health, since the tanks are located more than five miles from the Columbia River.

The newly discovered problem only adds to the soil contamination at Hanford, which was used for five decades to produce plutonium for the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.

There are nearly 150 tanks, similar in size and design, to the six spilling radioactive liquid and sludge at the site. Four of the six tanks have leaked in the past. The news led the state’s governor, Jay Inslee, to wonder about the “integrity” of the other tanks.

“It points to the age of the tanks and how there’s going to be an increased probability of this happening in the future,” Suzanne Dahl, tank waste treatment manager for the state’s Department of Ecology, told Reuters. “Once [the waste is] out of the tanks and in the soil, it’s much harder to manage it, remove it, and down the road you’re adding to contamination in the groundwater that already exists.”

The U.S. Department of Energy reported that the tanks are leaking at a rate of up to 300 gallons per year.

With a total area comparable to the size of Los Angeles, Hanford is considered by experts to be the most challenging environmental remediation in North America. The nuclear site was built near the city of Hanford in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, the secret U.S. government research program that produced the first atomic bombs. Federal environmental regulators estimate the site now contains more than 130 million cubic yards of radioactive soil, thanks in large part to the dumping of 475 billion gallons of contaminated wastewater into the ground during the Cold War.

A multi-billion-dollar plan to secure all the waste within a glass-like material and house it in subterranean stainless steel canisters is years away, according to Dahl. But Americans don’t have to wait that long to get a first-hand look at the infamous nuclear site; the U.S. government offers regular public tours, at no cost.

To Learn More:

At the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a Steady Drip of Toxic Trouble (by Eric Nusbaum, Daily Beast)

Radioactive Waste Leaking from Six Tanks at Washington State Nuclear Site (by Eric Johnson, Reuters)

Energy Dept. Accuses Bechtel of Botching Nuclear Cleanup in Washington (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Plutonium Cleanup in Washington State Could Take Millennia (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Contractor Approved Funding for Own Government Contract (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

February 27, 2013 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why Isn’t Closing 129 Chicago Public Schools National News?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon | February 27, 2013

If you don’t live in Chicago you might not know that the CEO and the dozens of other six figure a year mayoral cronies who run the Chicago Public Schools want to close 129 public schools this year, more than a third of the city’s total. It’s not national news for the same reason that closing 40 public schools in Philadelphia last year wasn’t national news, and massive school closings in the poorer neighborhoods of cities across the country is not news either.

It’s not news because school closings and school privatization, the end game of the bipartisan policies the Obama administration, Wall Street, the US Chamber of Commerce, a host of right wing foundations and deep pockets and hordes of politicians in both parties from the president down are pushing down the throats of communities across the country, are deeply unpopular. The American people, and especially the parents, teachers, grandparents, and other residents of poorer neighborhoods where closings and privatization are happening emphatically don’t want these things.

Even the word describing their policy, “privatization” is so vastly unpopular that they’ve taken it out of circulation altogether. The best way, our leaders imagine, to contain and curtail resistance to their deeply unpopular policies is to avoid naming them for what they are, to keep them on the down low, to not report on their implementation, and certainly to not cover any civic resistance to them.

Local elites in each city and school district concoct real or imaginary “crises” to which the solution is always firing more experienced teachers, hiring more temps in their place, instituting more high-stakes testing, closing more public schools and substituting more unaccountable (and often profitable) charter schools, frequently in the same buildings that once housed public schools. In Chicago the “crisis” is precipitated every year when the CPS (that’s Chicago Public Schools – Chicago’s never had an elected school board, they’re all mayoral appointees) honchos announce the schools are in a billion dollar hole. The Chicago Teachers Union of course, took a look over the same books and revealed that despite the host of top $100,000 a year officials whose jobs never seem to be cut, the system was nine figures in the black, not ten in the red. Naturally, local and national media didn’t report that either.

Chicago’s teachers have done what those in New York, Houston, Dallas, L.A. and others have not, and spent their union dues funding outreach and collaboration with parents across the city, so neighborhood hearings on the school closings are packed to overflowing with outraged parents, indignant local business people, angry teachers and concerned students. If CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News gave the school closings and privatization story a fraction of the coverage they gave deceptive and dishonest pro-privatization movies like Waiting For Superman and Won’t Back Down, the outrage against the move to privatize education would be unstoppable. The most coverage the wave of school closings have received lately was a misleading segment on Melissa Harris-Perry’s weekly TV show on whether school closings were “racist” or not, with no examination of the how or why they happen or the growing resistance to them.

Oceans of ink and hot air have been expended claiming that “social media” would somehow take up the slack created by the disappearance of local news gathering organizations, and how these things can somehow fuel and sustain a wave of public outrage that can topple unjust authority and make the will of the people felt. But when it comes to the war of our elite waged to privatize public education, we haven’t seen it yet.

Contact Bruce A. Dixon at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

February 27, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Isn’t Closing 129 Chicago Public Schools National News?