Friday, June 11, 2010

Abiotic oil: Gulf Oil Spill ‘Could Go Years’ If Not Dealt With

by F. William Engdahl
10 June 2010

The Obama Administration and senior BP officials are frantically working not to stop the world’s worst oil disaster, but to hide the true extent of the actual ecological catastrophe. Senior researchers tell us that the BP drilling hit one of the oil migration channels and that the leakage could continue for years unless decisive steps are undertaken, something that seems far from the present strategy.

In a recent discussion, Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas, predicted that the present oil spill flooding the Gulf Coast shores of the United States “could go on for years and years … many years.” [1]

According to Kutcherov, a leading specialist in the theory of abiogenic deep origin of petroleum, “What BP drilled into was what we call a ‘migration channel,’ a deep fault on which hydrocarbons generated in the depth of our planet migrate to the crust and are accumulated in rocks, something like Ghawar in Saudi Arabia.” [2] Ghawar, the world’s most prolific oilfield has been producing millions of barrels daily for almost 70 years with no end in sight. According to the abiotic science, Ghawar like all elephant and giant oil and gas deposits all over the world, is located on a migration channel similar to that in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico.

As I wrote at the time of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster, [3] Haiti had been identified as having potentially huge hydrocarbon reserves, as has neighboring Cuba. Kutcherov estimates that the entire Gulf of Mexico is one of the planet’s most abundant accessible locations to extract oil and gas, at least before the Deepwater Horizon event this April.

“In my view the heads of BP reacted with panic at the scale of the oil spewing out of the well,” Kutcherov adds. “What is inexplicable at this point is why they are trying one thing, failing, then trying a second, failing, then a third. Given the scale of the disaster they should try every conceivable option, even if it is ten, all at once in hope one works. Otherwise, this oil source could spew oil for years given the volumes coming to the surface already.” [4]

He stresses, “It is difficult to estimate how big this leakage is. There is no objective information available.” But taking into consideration information about the last BP ‘giant’ discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, the Tiber field, some six miles deep, Kutcherov agrees with Ira Leifer a researcher in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara who says the oil may be gushing out at a rate of more than 100,000 barrels a day. (>4 million gallons/day) [5]

What the enormity of the oil spill does is to also further discredit clearly the oil companies’ myth of “peak oil” which claims that the world is at or near the “peak” of economical oil extraction. That myth, which has been propagated in recent years by circles close to former oilman and Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney, has been effectively used by the giant oil majors to justify far higher oil prices than would be politically possible otherwise, by claiming a non-existent petroleum scarcity crisis.

Obama & BP Try to Hide

According to a report from Washington investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, “the Obama White House and British Petroleum are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP’s liability for damage caused by what can be called a ‘mega-disaster.’” [6] Madsen cites sources within the US Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection for his assertion.

Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Salazar, are working with BP’s chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. According to informed estimates cited by Madsen, however, the disaster has a real potential cost of at least $1,000 billion ($1 trillion). That estimate would support the pessimistic assessment of Kutcherov that the spill, if not rapidly controlled, “will destroy the entire coastline of the United States."

According to Madsen’s Washington report, BP statements that one of the leaks has been contained, are “pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration, according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources.” [7]

The White House has been resisting releasing any “damaging information” about the oil disaster. Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers experts estimate that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. [8]

Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano to declare the oil disaster a “national security issue.” Although the Coast Guard and FEMA are part of her department, Napolitano’s actual reasoning for invoking national security, according to Madsen, was merely to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.

The Obama administration also conspired with BP to hide the extent of the oil leak, according to the cited federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day were gushing from the seabed chasm. Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day. However, submersibles monitoring the escaping oil from the Gulf seabed are viewing television pictures of what they describe as a “volcanic-like” eruption of oil.

When the Army Corps of Engineers first attempted to obtain NASA imagery of the Gulf oil slick, which is larger than is being reported by the media, it was reportedly denied the access. By chance, National Geographic managed to obtain satellite imagery shots of the extent of the disaster and posted them on their web site. Other satellite imagery reportedly being withheld by the Obama administration, shows that what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to Madsen’s sources.

The Corps of Engineers and FEMA are reported to be highly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only now has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. Under the loose regulatory measures implemented by the Bush-Cheney Administration, the US Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service became a simple “rubber stamp,” approving whatever the oil companies wanted in terms of safety precautions that could have averted such a disaster. Madsen describes a state of “criminal collusion” between Cheney’s former firm, Halliburton, and the Interior Department’s MMS, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves. [9]

Silence from Eco groups?... Follow the money

Without doubt at this point we are in the midst of what could be the greatest ecological catastrophe in history. The oil platform explosion took place almost within the current loop where the Gulf Stream originates. This has huge ecological and climatological consequences.

A cursory look at a map of the Gulf Stream shows that the oil is not just going to cover the beaches in the Gulf, it will spread to the Atlantic coasts up through North Carolina then on to the North Sea and Iceland. And beyond the damage to the beaches, sea life and water supplies, the Gulf stream has a very distinct chemistry, composition (marine organisms), density, temperature. What happens if the oil and the dispersants and all the toxic compounds they create actually change the nature of the Gulf Stream? No one can rule out potential changes including changes in the path of the Gulf Stream, and even small changes could have huge impacts. Europe, including England, is not an icy wasteland due to the warming from the Gulf Stream. (Editor's emphasis throughout) Yet there is a deafening silence from the very environmental organizations which ought to be at the barricades demanding that BP, the US Government and others act decisively.

That deafening silence of leading green or ecology organizations such as Greenpeace, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and others may well be tied to a money trail that leads right back to the oil industry, notably to BP. Leading environmental organizations have gotten significant financial payoffs in recent years from BP in order that the oil company could remake itself with an “environment-friendly face,” as in “beyond petroleum” the company’s new branding.

The Nature Conservancy, described as “the world’s most powerful environmental group,” [10] has awarded BP a seat on its International Leadership Council after the oil company gave the organization more than $10 million in recent years. [11]

Until recently, the Conservancy and other environmental groups worked with BP in a coalition that lobbied Congress on climate-change issues. An employee of BP Exploration serves as an unpaid Conservancy trustee in Alaska. In addition, according to a recent report published by the Washington Post, Conservation International, another environmental group, has accepted $2 million in donations from BP and worked with the company on a number of projects, including one examining oil-extraction methods. From 2000 to 2006, John Browne, then BP’s chief executive, sat on the CI board.

Further, The Environmental Defense Fund, another influential ecologist organization, joined with BP, Shell and other major corporations to form a Partnership for Climate Action, to promote ‘market-based mechanisms’ (sic) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental non-profit groups that have accepted donations from or joined in projects with BP include Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and Audubon. That could explain why the political outcry to date for decisive action in the Gulf has been so muted. [12]

Of course those organizations are not going to be the ones to solve this catastrophe. The central point at this point is who is prepared to put the urgently demanded federal and international scientific resources into solving this crisis. Further actions of the likes of that from the Obama White House to date or from BP can only lead to the conclusion that some very powerful people want this debacle to continue. The next weeks will be critical to that assessment.


[1] Vladimir Kutcherov, telephone discussion with the author, June 9, 2010.

[2] Ibid.

[3] The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti, F. William Engdahl, Voltaire Network, 3 February 2010.

[4] Vladimir Kutcherov, op. cit.

[5] Ira Leifer, Scientist: BP Well Could Be Leaking 100,000 Barrels of Oil a Day, Democracy Now, 9 June 2010.

[6] The Coverup: BPs Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega Disaster, Wayne Madsen, 6 May 2010.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Tim Findley, Natures’ Landlord, Range Magazine, Spring 2003.

[11] Joe Stephens, Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP, Washington Post, 24 May 2010.

[12] Ibid.


Readers should endeavor to check personally into the claims of Mr. Engdahl regarding the opinions of Professor Vladimir Kutcherov. It is unclear to me whether Professor Kutcherov made the claims presented herein and whether independent corroboration from the scientific community exists in support of the Professor's alleged assertions. If so, the situation is clearly dire.

For more information on Professor Kutcherov's claims see THIS...and THIS...

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Devastation As Toxic Filth Spreads

You Can Smell The Oil From A Helicopter And Birds Are Frying!

MSNBC Video Report

Posted June 08, 2010

More than 1 million gallons likely spewing from BP leak, study says

Washington Post News Alert:
04:21 PM EDT Thursday, June 10, 2010

New estimate suggests that, if the flow has been more or less consistent since the April 20 blowout, approximately 53.6 million to 64.3 million gallons of oil have emerged from the well. That is roughly five to six times the amount spilled in Alaskan waters in 1989 by the Exxon Valdez.

The new figures, obtained Thursday by The Washington Post and soon to be officially announced by the U.S. Geological Survey, indicate that early estimates of the flow rate by the federal government and oil giant BP were not even close to the mark.

Israeli War Crimes: From the U.S. Liberty to the Humanitarian Flotilla

by James Petras
5 June 2010

It is unthinkable that Israel’s premeditated deadly assault on the humanitarian flotilla could have gone ahead without a nod from Washington. James Petras lambastes Barack Obama and the U.S. Government for their refusal to condemn Israel and their outrageous political cover-up of a deliberate criminal act. In the face of such State complicity, the only way to put pressure on Israel is for civil society to sustain the world-wide boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) against all Israeli products, cultural activities and professional exchanges.

Introduction: Israel Crimes on the High Seas

On June 8, 1967, two squadrons of Israeli warplanes bombed, napalmed and machine-gunned the US intelligence-gathering ship, USS Liberty, in international waters, killing 34 US sailors and wounding another 172. The assault took place on a sunny afternoon, with the US flag and identifying markers clearly visible. The Israelis targeted the antennae to prevent the crew from broadcasting for help and shot up the lifeboats to ensure no survivors. There were, however, survivors who rigged up an antenna and radioed their distress, a call for help that reached Washington D.C. In an unprecedented act of betrayal, President Johnson, in close liaison with powerful American Jewish Zionist political backers, covered up the mass murder on the high seas by issuing orders first to recall Mediterranean-based warplanes from rushing to assist their besieged comrades, then threatening to court-martial the survivors who might expose the deliberate nature of the Israeli assault and finally by repeating the Israeli line that the attack was a matter of mistaken identity, a lie which numerous military leaders later rejected.

Almost to the day, 43 years later, on May 31, 2010, Israeli warships, helicopter gun ships and commandos assaulted a convoy of humanitarian ships carrying ten thousand tons of aid to Gaza in international waters. Prior to the aid mission Turkish authorities had examined the passengers and the ship to ensure no weapons were on board. The Israelis never the less came on board shooting and clubbing the unarmed passengers, killing up to19 and wounding dozens. Despite subsequent Israeli and Zionist claims to the contrary no weapons were found, apart from sticks used by some of the victims attempting to fend off the murderous premeditated assault planned, directed and defended by top Israeli leaders and the entire leadership of the major Zionist organizations in the US and elsewhere. The invading Israeli storm troopers systematically destroyed all cameras, videos and tape recorders that had documented their savage assault, in order to subsequently spread their brazen lies about their being subject to armed resistance.

The World Response

Within hours of Israel’s bloody act of piracy, nations, political leaders, human rights organizations and the vast majority of the international community condemned the Israeli state for its violation of international law. Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Austria summoned their Israeli Ambassadors to protest the deadly assault. The Financial Times, (June 1, 2010) referred to the Israeli assault as a “brazen act of piracy … hurtling into lawlessness” rooted in its “illegal blockage of Gaza”. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called the Israeli assault an act of “state terrorism” which would have “serious consequences”. Israel’s attacks on ships flying Turkish, Greek and Irish flags on the high seas were described by legal experts as an “act of war”. The UN Security Council, NATO and the Secretary General of the UN demanded Israel cease its aggression, while tens of thousands of demonstrators marched denouncing Israel’s blatant act of state murder and wounding of pacifists, humanitarians and protestors from 60 countries. UN experts demanded that Israeli leaders “must be held criminally responsible”. Only the Obama regime refused to condemn the Israeli act of state terror, merely expressing “concern and regret”. The Israeli state defended its murderous assault, promised more in the future and insisted on maintaining its blockade of Gaza, even after the US suggested it might be loosened.

The Israeli Defense of Piracy and State Terror

As news of the Israeli massacre slipped out and the international community reacted with horror and anger, the Israeli government “sought to flood the airwaves with their versions of events … more importantly, the authorities ensured that their narrative gained early dominance by largely silencing the hundreds of activists who were on board during the attack” (Financial Times, June 2, 2010, p2.). The Jewish state held all the prisoners alive, wounded and dead incommunicado, seized their mobile phones and prohibited any interviews, barring all journalists. Like most terrorist states, the Jewish state wanted to monopolize the propaganda media. The Israeli propaganda machine via its state sponsored journalists and news media employed several ploys typical of totalitarian regimes.

- 1. Israeli storm troopers invading the ship were turned into victims and the humanitarian pacifists were turned into aggressors. “Israeli Soldiers Met by Well-Planned Lynch Mob” (Jerusalem Post, March 31, 2010); “Israeli Soldiers Attacked” (IDF, March 31, 2010).

- 2. Israel’s act of piracy in international waters was declared legal by a Professor Sabel of the Hebrew University.

- 3. The humanitarian organizers were accused of having ties to terrorists according to Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon, though no evidence was presented (Ha’aretz, May 30, 2010). The organizers including the Turkish human rights group accused by Ayalon were cleared by the Turkish intelligence agency, the military and the Erdogan government, a member of NATO and for many years (in the past) a collaborator with the Israeli Mossad. The other 600 plus human rights volunteers, included pacifists, parliamentarians, former diplomats, as well as current members of the Israeli parliament.

- 4. While dozens of human rights people were shot, killed and maimed, Israeli propagandists doctored video releases portraying one of the Israeli assailants on the deck, cutting out the preceding sequence of attack (Financial Times, June 2, 2010, p. 2).

- 5. The Israeli sea and airborne assailants were described as the victims of a “Brutal Ambush at Sea” (Ynet News, June 1, 2010).

- 6. The terrorized human rights workers were accused of being a “lynch mob”, attacking the Jewish commandos who were firing automatic rifles wildly across the deck and at cornered victims. The few courageous individuals who fought back to stop the murderous attack were slandered by the Zion-prop, which itself is as monstrous as the crimes they perpetrated.

Once the Israeli propaganda machine started spewing out its gutter lies, the entire leadership of the Zionist Fifth column swung into action … first and foremost in the United States.

The US Zionist Power Configuration: In Defense of the Massacre

Just as the entire leadership of the 51 principle American Jewish organizations defended every Israeli war crime in the past, from the bombing of the US Liberty, to the Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza so too did these most honorable apologists repeat verbatim the lies of the Israeli state regarding the assault of the humanitarian flotilla.

The Daily Alert (May 31 – June 2, 2010), the official public propaganda organ of the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, published every scurrilous Israeli state lie, about the Israeli commandos being ‘lynched’, ‘attacked’ and the human rights victims being responsible for the death of their comrades … at the hands of Israeli commandos. Not a single deviation, not a single word of criticism. Not even a single mention of even the superficial Israeli critics who faulted the execution, the use of deadly weapons, the assault in international waters, and the public relations fiasco.

The vast majority of Israeli Jews and organized Zionists in the US supported the bloody massacre and were opposed by a small minority who has no access to the mass media. Zionist control over the mass media was once again demonstrated by the reporting through “Israel’s eyes” (FAIR, June 1, 2010). Essentially the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS, NBC presented the Israeli commandos attacking the humanitarian boat as being … “assaulted and beaten” (Washington Post, June 1, 2010). The New York Times gave credence to the Israeli claim that its act of piracy on the high seas was legal (NY Times, June 1, 2010). For the US mass media the problem is not Israeli state terror, but how to manipulate and disarm the outrage of the international community. To that end the entire Zionist Power configuration has a reliable ally in the Zionized Obama White House and US Congress.

The Obama Response to Israeli State Terror

There is only one basic reason why Israel repeatedly commits crimes against humanity, including the latest assault on the humanitarian flotilla: because it knows that the Zionist Power Configuration, embedded in the US power structure, will ensure government support, in this case the Obama White House.

In the face of the world-wide condemnation of Israel’s crime on the high seas, and calls from the international community for legal action, the Obama regime absolutely refused to criticize Israel. A White House spokesman said “The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy” (AFP May 31, 2010). An act of state terrorism does not evoke “regrets” – it normally provokes condemnation and punishment. The power which caused “loss of life and injuries” has a name – Israel; the persons who suffered death and injuries during the Israeli assault – have a name – humanitarian volunteers. It was not simply a “loss of life” but a well planned premeditated murder which is openly defended by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his entire Cabinet. The “circumstances” of the murders are clear: Israel assaulted an unarmed ship in international waters, opening fire as they boarded the ship. The Obama regime’s obscene political cover-up of a deliberate criminal act in violation of international law is evident in his description of a serial homicide as a ‘tragedy’. Premeditated state terror has no resemblance to a tragic noble ruler forced by circumstances into a criminal act against their closest allies.

Washington, pressed to participate at a UN Security Council meeting, spent 10 hours eliminating all references to Israel’s illegal criminal act, ending in a resolution which merely calls for an “impartial” investigation, with Washington pushing for an Israeli investigatory committee. To the world at large, including the Turkish government, the Obama regime and the US government, by refusing to condemn Israel, are “accomplices to a mass murder”.

To understand why the Obama regime brought shame and infamy to itself in the eyes of the world, one need look at the Zionist composition of the Obama White House and, equally important, the direct power and access that the principle Jewish-Zionist organizations have over the US political system. In the week preceding Israel’s announced assault on the humanitarian flotilla, (pro-Israel) Jewish leaders met with over a third of US senators to pressure them to pass harsher sanctions on Iran by June. Among the key operatives attending were the Jewish Federation of North America, AIPAC and the rest of the Israeli Fifth Column (Jewish Telegraph Agency, May 26, 2010). The following day a squadron of leaders from the Jewish Federations flew into Washington to meet with top Obama administration officials, to ensure that the White House and Congress did not in any way or form publicly express any criticism of Israel’s settlement policy. No doubt the Zionist apologists for Israeli war crimes extended their agenda to include no public criticism of the Israeli assault on the flotilla. Rahm Emmanuel, top US Presidential aide, was in Tel Aviv as a guest of top officials of the Israel Defense Force a few days before the IDF launched the assault, no doubt having filled Rahm in on the details. The Israeli-American aide to Obama no doubt assured the war criminals of Washington’s unconditional political and military support for Israel’s acts of aggression.

From within the Obama Administration and without, the aggressive pressure from the 51 principle organizations of the American Zionists have guaranteed Israeli war criminals immunity from any War Crimes Tribunal, or even serious political condemnation by the UN Security Council. The Zionized White House’s tactic is to deflect attention from immediate consequential condemnation let alone sanctions, hoping that over time, aided by the blanket mass media apology in the US, the mass indignation and protest overseas will gradually wither away. Obama and his Zionist cohort are already in a belly crawl mode with Israel. Part of Rahm’s mission to Israel was to hand Netanyahu an invitation to the White House, during the week of the slaughter at sea. The only reason Netanyahu did not come to Washington was because he rushed back to Israel to buttress the Foreign Office’s defense of the slaughter in the face of world-wide outrage. But in a phone conversation, Obama promised Netanyahu a prompt new invitation – assuring the Jewish statesman that violating international laws and bloodying dozens of humanitarian activists is of no consequence, especially since it insures continued financial support by Obama’s Zionist backers.

Like Lyndon Johnson with the cover-up of the USS Liberty, Obama’s apology of Israel’s war crimes, is the price for ensuring the backing of billionaire Zionist financiers and media moguls, the tens of thousands of pro-Israel Jews and the 51 President of the Major American Jewish Organizations.

In the face of Washington’s complicity with Israeli war crimes, the only road is to intensify the world-wide boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against all Israeli products, cultural activities and professional exchanges.

Hopefully, the Islamic led mass protests will find echo in the wider anti-Zionist Christian and Jewish communities – especially, when Israeli apologists for state terror make public appearances. Even more important each and every Israeli involved in the mass assault should be subject to criminal prosecution wherever they visit. Only by making the Israelis understand that they will pay a high price for their serial homicides and violations of international law will reason possibly enter their political narrative. Only by moving beyond symbolic protests, like recalling diplomats, and taking substantive actions, like breaking relations, will the international community isolate the perpetrator of state terrorism.

All Americans should send loud and clear to President Obama –NEVER AGAIN. Otherwise, with the Zionist Power Configuration active 7/24, the Obama regime, true to the Zionist agenda, will once again focus attention on attacking Iran. Israel’s action today with US complicity is a prelude of the kind of deadly force it has in store for sabotaging the recent Turkey-Brazil-Iran diplomatic agreement.

This is dedicated to the brave Turkish martyrs on the Mavi Marmara, May 31, 2010, and to the 34 murdered American sailors on the USS Liberty, June 8, 1967 – all victims of an unrepentant criminal state - Israel.

A Warning From Noam Chomsky on the Threat of Elites

By Fred Branfman

It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. ... [Doublethink is] to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it. ... [Continuous] war involves very small numbers of people, mostly highly trained specialists. … The fighting … takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at. … —George Orwell, “1984”

[The treatment of the] hapless race of native Americans, which we are exterminating with such merciless and perfidious cruelty, [is] among the heinous sins of this nation, for which I believe God will one day bring [it] to judgment. --- John Quincy Adams, cited in Noam Chomsky’s new book, “Hopes and Prospects”

June 08, 2010 "Truthdig" -- Noam Chomsky’s description of the dangers posed by U.S. elites’ “Imperial Mentality” was recently given a boost in credibility by a surprising source—Bill Clinton. As America’s economy, foreign policy and politics continue to unravel, it is clear that this mentality and the system it has created will produce an increasing number of victims in the years to come. Clinton startlingly testified to that effect on March 10 to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"Since 1981 the United States has followed a policy until the last year or so, when we started rethinking it, that we rich countries that produce a lot of food should sell it to poor countries and relieve them of the burden of producing their own food so thank goodness they can lead directly into the industrial era. It has not worked. It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to. I am not pointing the finger at anybody. I did that. I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did, nobody else."

Clinton is to be praised for being the first U.S. president to take personal responsibility for impoverishing an entire nation rather than ignoring his misdeeds or falsely blaming local U.S.-imposed regimes. But his confession also means that his embrace of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and NAFTA “neo-liberalization” destroyed the lives of many more millions well beyond Haiti, as U.S. support for heavily subsidized U.S. agribusiness damaged local agricultural economies throughout Latin America and beyond. This led to mass migration into urban slums and destitution, as well as increased emigration to the U.S.—which then led Clinton to militarize the border in 1994—and thus accelerated the “illegal immigration” issue that so poisons U.S. politics today.

Clinton might also have added that he and other U.S. leaders imposed such policies by force, installing military dictators and vicious police and paramilitary forces. Chomsky reports in “Hopes and Prospects” that in Haiti, semiofficial thugs empowered by a U.S.-supported coup murdered 8,000 people and raped 35,000 women in 2004 and 2005 alone, while a tiny local elite reaps most of the benefits from U.S. policies.

Clinton’s testimony reminded me of one of my visits with Chomsky, back in 1988, when, after talking for an hour or so, he smiled and said he had to stop to get back to writing about the children of Haiti.

I was struck both by his concern for forgotten Haitians and because his comment so recalled my experience with him in 1970 as he spent a week researching U.S. war-making in Laos. I had taken dozens of journalists, peace activists, diplomats, experts and others out to camps of refugees who had fled U.S. saturation bombing. Chomsky was one of only two who wept openly upon learning how these innocent villagers had seen their beloved grandmothers burned alive, their children slowly suffocated, their spouses cut to ribbons, during five years of merciless, pitiless and illegal U.S. bombing for which U.S. leaders would have been executed had international law protecting civilians in wartime been applied to their actions. It was obvious that he was above all driven by a deep feeling for the world’s victims, those he calls the “unpeople” in his new book. No U.S. policymakers I knew in Laos, nor the many I have met since, have shared such concerns.

Bill Clinton’s testimony also reminded me of the accuracy of Chomsky writings on Haiti—before, during and after Clinton’s reign—as summed up in “Hopes and Prospects”:

The Clinton doctrine, presented to Congress, was that the US is entitled to resort to “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources.” In Haiti, Clinton [imposed] harsh neoliberal rules that were guaranteed to crush what remained of the economy, as they did.

Clinton would have a cleaner conscience today had he listened to Chomsky then. Many more Americans may also benefit by heeding Chomsky today, as U.S. elites’ callousness toward unpeople abroad is now affecting increasing numbers of their fellow citizens back home. Nothing symbolizes this more than investment bankers tricking countless Americans out of their life savings by luring them into buying homes they could not afford that were then foreclosed on.

In doing so, Wall Streeters exhibited what Chomsky describes as a Western elite imperial mentality, dating back to 1491 (his first chapter is entitled “Year 514: Globalization for Whom?”). Only this time instead of impoverishing Haitians or Chileans, it was Americans who were afflicted by a “system” of “fuck the poor” (in the words of successful Wall Street trader Steve Eisman). [See Branfman’s review of “The Big Short” in Truthdig.]

The many Americans whose lives have been damaged by financiers’ single-minded focus on short-term profits at the expense of everyone else are only a harbinger of what is to come. Financial elites remain in charge, as evidenced by recent “financial reform” legislation that does not even reinstate the Glass-Steagall law separating investment and commercial banking. New York magazine has described how Obama officials blocked even inadequate reforms, let alone the stronger proposals from Nouriel Roubini, one of the few major economists to foresee the economic crash. Former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson tells us “our banking structure remains—and the incentive and belief system that lies behind reckless risk-taking has only become more dangerous,” thus setting the stage for an even worse crash than that of 2008. And, as U.S. competitiveness continues to decline and it cannot afford its endless wars without drastically cutting social spending, countless more Americans will find themselves paying the price for U.S. elites’ imperial mentality.

This mentality described by Chomsky includes the following elements: (1) a single-minded focus on maximizing short-term elite economic and military interests; (2) a refusal to let other societies follow their own paths if perceived to conflict with these interests; (3) continual and massive violations of international law; (4) indifference to human life, particularly in the Third World; (5) massive violation of the U.S. Constitution, especially through the executive branch’s seizure of the power to wage unilateral and unaccountable war in every corner of the globe; (6) indifference to U.S. and international public opinion, which is often more progressive and humane than that of the elites; (7) a remarkable ability to “manufacture consent,” aided by the mass media and intellectuals, that has blinded most Americans to the truth of what their leaders actually do in their names.

To pick but one example of the dozens Chomsky provides: U.S. elite opinion unanimously celebrated the 1990 Nicaraguan election defeating the Sandinistas as a “victory for fair play,” to quote a March 10 New York Times Op-Ed article. But Chomsky reminds us of Time Magazine’s March 12 report on just what this “fair play” meant:

In Nicaragua, Washington stumbled on an arm’s-length policy: wreck the economy and prosecute a long and deadly proxy war until the exhausted natives overthrow the unwanted government themselves. The past ten years have savaged the country’s civilians, not its comandantes. The impoverishment of the people of Nicaragua was a harrowing way to give the National Opposition Union (U.N.O.) a winning issue.

Wrecking a Third World country’s economy and savaging its civilians are such standard U.S. elite behavior that it is barely noticed, let alone criticized in the mass media or halls of Congress. Perhaps the most dramatic example of America’s imperial mentality, however, is the answer to the following question: Which nation’s leaders since 1945 have murdered, maimed, made homeless, tortured, assassinated and impoverished the largest number of civilians who were not its own citizens?

I have asked this question of Americans in every walk of life since I discovered the bombing of Laos in 1969. It’s a simple matter of fact, not involving judgments of right and wrong, and I remain astonished at how most answer “the Russians,” “the Chinese,” or just have no idea that their leaders have killed more noncitizen civilians than the rest of the world’s leaders combined since 1945.

The bodies of Indochinese and Iraqi civilians for which U.S. leaders bear responsibility would, if laid end to end, stretch from New York to California. These would include the huge proportion of civilians among the 3.4 million Vietnamese that Robert McNamara estimated were killed in Vietnam (over 90 percent by U.S. firepower), Laotian and Cambodian civilians felled by the largest per capita and most indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets in history, the 1 million to 1.5 million Iraqis estimated by the U.N.‘s Denis Halliday to have died from Clinton’s sanctions “designed,” in Halliday’s words, “to kill civilians, particularly children,” and the hundreds of thousands killed as a result of the Bush invasion. The total number of civilians killed, wounded, made homeless and impoverished by U.S. leaders or local regimes owing their power to U.S. guns and aid—in not only Indochina and Iraq but Mexico, El Salvador, Israel/Palestine, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Egypt, Iran, South Africa, Chile, East Timor, Haiti, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Jamaica, the Philippines and Indonesia—is in the tens of millions.

One can debate whether U.S. military action against Vietnamese communists, Nicaraguan Sandinistas, Saddam Hussein or the Taliban were or are warranted. But there can be no possible justification for waging war that winds up killing and impoverishing much of the civilian population, on whose behalf U.S. leaders claim to fight, in violation of the laws of war and elemental human decency. Nor can anyone who truly believes in democracy support allowing a handful of U.S. leaders to savage civilians abroad without even informing, let alone seeking permission of, Congress and the American people.

The incredible fact that U.S. leaders could inflict such carnage without their citizenry knowing is the single most dramatic example of another of Chomsky’s major themes: “manufactured consent,” produced by (1) constant iterations of U.S leaders’ idealism and desire to promote freedom, supported by the mass media (e.g. when Washington Post columnist David Ignatius called Paul Wolfowitz Bush’s “idealist-in-chief,” even as their invasion was laying waste to Iraq), (2) massive media coverage of the misdeeds of the latest U.S. opponents, and (3) ignoring our own, often far greater, crimes.

Most Americans were fully and appropriately made aware of Taliban assassinations of their opponents, for example. But there was no public discussion of guilt, let alone punishment for those responsible, when Gen. Stanley McChrystal implicitly admitted in the summer of 2009 that the U.S. military had been killing countless Afghan civilians for the previous eight years as a result of air and artillery fire aimed at population centers. Nor are most Americans aware that McChrystal was rewarded with his present post, being in charge of the Afghanistan war, for conducting five years of assassination and torture as head of the top-secret Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq.

Chomsky is especially concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general, and U.S.-Israel treatment of the people of Gaza in particular. He notes that Hamas is regularly attacked in the U.S. press, but there has not been comparable attention given to the U.S./Israeli decision to inflict daily collective punishment on the people of Gaza since they democratically elected Hamas in January 2006. He quotes Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1950, which states that “no protected person may be punished for an offence he or she had not personally committed” and reports how Israel, fully supported by U.S. leaders, continues to inflict precisely such punishment on the people of Gaza by destroying their economy, limiting their access to food and water, denying them health care, restricting their movement, and engaging in kidnapping, assassination and bombing—a program he calls “imposing massive suffering on the animals in the Gaza prison.”

Perhaps the most basic reason Americans should read Chomsky’s work today, therefore, is simply to understand the real world in which they live, that which is obscured by their leaders and the U.S. mass media. The purpose of “Newspeak” in the novel “1984” was to eliminate whole categories of thought. In our time, one such category is the fact that “U.S. leaders regularly and illegally kill enormous numbers of foreign innocent civilians.” The elimination of this thought-category in our cognitive framework understandably led President George W. Bush to explain 9/11 by saying “they hate our freedom”—a logical conclusion to someone ignorant of the trail of blood left by his predecessors. As Chomsky notes, however, “historical amnesia is a dangerous phenomenon ... because it lays the groundwork for crimes ahead” and, it should be noted, increased dangers of terrorism against Americans.

This increased threat of terrorism, which, Chomsky reports, citing the New American Foundation, has increased sevenfold because of the invasion of Iraq, is a second area in which Americans are today increasingly threatened by their leaders’ imperial mentality. As many experts noted in the wake of the Times Square bombing attempt, Barack Obama’s vast increase in drone strikes in Pakistan—and relaxing targeting rules to include “low-level fighters whose identities may not be known”—has further increased the danger of terrorist attacks in the U.S.

As the elites’ imperial mentality comes home, Americans are also increasingly threatened by climate change—produced by a system that statutorily requires elites to pursue short-term profit for their firms, even at the cost of destroying the biosphere their own children and grandchildren will depend on for life itself.

In today’s system, Chomsky explains, to “stay in the game,” CEOs must maximize their own short-term profits while treating the costs of doing so as “externalities” to be paid by the taxpayer. In the case of climate change, however, “externalities happen to be the fate of the species.” An imperial mentality which has primarily threatened the Third World in the past, in other words, has now become a threat to the survival of not only America but all civilization as we know it.

Chomsky thus argues that human survival requires changing the system, not merely periodically replacing those running it. His “Hopes and Prospects” covers President Obama’s first year in office and the many “hopes” that he has so profoundly disappointed because of a system that virtually requires “doublethink” of its leaders. Obama was undoubtedly as sincere when he spoke of “our fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution” at West Point on May 22 as he was six months earlier when he secretly approved Gen. David Petraeus’ proposal for a “broad expansion of clandestine military activity” worldwide that “does not require the president’s approval or regular reports to Congress.”

Obama also presumably holds two contradictory opinions when, as Chomsky reports, he continues Bush policies he so recently criticized and promised to change: extending executive power to indefinitely imprison people without trial, torture (though by allied rather than U.S. torturers), indiscriminate killing (particularly by escalating in northern Pakistan, as described in Truthdig, “Unintended Consequences in Nuclear Pakistan”), and supporting Israeli policies precluding a two-state solution. Chomsky also observes that Obama could not have been elected in the first place, given his greater need for campaign funds from above than fidelity to his voters below, had he not been prepared to continue these imperial policies.

Chomsky’s explanation of the American system’s imperial mentality also illuminates a seeming mystery: How could decent people like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama commit so much evil? Our concept of evil is shaped by such paranoid psychotics as Hitler, Stalin and Mao, who all hated their victims and openly lusted for power. We do not yet understand that in today’s American system the problem we face is not so much inhumanity from the mad and evil as “ahumanity” from the sane and decent.

U.S. leaders have nothing against those they regularly kill and impoverish. On the contrary, they often exhibit compassion for them, as when Jimmy Carter supported human rights. But they are products of a system that is indifferent to the fate of the unpeople, whether in the shah’s Iran, Somoza’s Nicaragua, Suharto’s Indonesia or the many other dictatorial regimes that enjoyed President Carter’s support.

Chomsky denies the oft-heard charge that he is “anti-American,” noting his criticism of the crimes of many other nations’ leaders, and saying he focuses on U.S. leaders because, as a U.S. citizen, it is the government he can most affect; because it is the government that has done more harm than any other since 1945; and because the United States’ behavior today poses so much danger to human survival. He might also add that there are so many others eager to catalog the crimes of America’s enemies, yet relatively few Americans willing to document their own leaders’ misdeeds.

At the moment, Chomsky’s proposed solutions are politically unthinkable. As the American economy and polity continues to unravel and suffering mounts at home and abroad, however, a mass movement may arise that is capable of saving America and the world. If so, such a movement is likely to attempt solutions of the sort Chomsky proposes. Here are two out of a far larger number:

State capitalism for the many: The American Enterprise Institute’s chief declared in a May 23 Washington Post Op-Ed that “America faces a new culture war,” between “free enterprise” offering “rewards determined by market forces” and “European-style statism.” “Hopes and Prospects” explains at some length, however, why this formulation is absurd. America’s “free enterprise” system has always been based on massive government aid, from the Army building 19th century railroads, to the Pentagon’s post-World War II role in building the Internet and Silicon Valley, to today’s “rewards” to Wall Street and oil companies determined not by market forces, but those companies’ political clout. America has been practicing “state capitalism” since the founding of the Republic, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future no matter which party is in office.

The real choice, Chomsky makes clear, is not free enterprise versus statism, but state capitalism for (A) the few or (B) the many. The latter would include breaking up the banks, a focus on job creation and safety net expansion where needed, single-payer health insurance, higher taxes on the wealthy, far lower military spending, public members on corporate boards, greater employee workplace control and, above all, a new public-private partnership to see America become a leader in a clean energy economic revolution.

A Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone and Two-State Solution in the Middle East: Chomsky proposes that rather than continuing to engage in senseless fighting and confronting Iran over nuclear weapons, U.S., Israeli, Arab and Iranian interests would be far better served by the U.S. using its enormous military and economic clout to create a Mideast nuclear weapons-free zone that Iran says it is willing to accept, and a comprehensive and fair Israeli-Palestinian settlement including Hamas’ promised recognition of Israel and cessation of rocket attacks. A major benefit to the U.S. would be to reduce the threat of domestic terrorism. For only a comprehensive new policy that addresses the source of anti-U.S. hatred—U.S. war-making on civilians and support of corrupt and vicious local regimes—can reduce it.

Fifty years ago, Americans were told that the North Vietnamese communists were so evil that 55,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese had to die, and much of Vietnam had to be destroyed, in order to keep it “free.” But for 20 years now, despite the triumph of the communists, Vietnam has been a normal trading partner of the United States and poses no threat to its neighbors. Could the Middle East also be normalized were U.S. leaders to use their enormous power to promote peace rather than war? Maybe, maybe not. But it is obvious that the risks of trying to do so are far less than the present dangers of nuclear proliferation, chaos in nuclear-armed Pakistan, Israel-Iran military confrontation and increasing support for anti-American terrorism within the 1.2 billion-strong Muslim world.

That Chomsky’s sensible proposals are not seriously discussed is a measure of the ubiquity of U.S. elites’ imperial mentality in mid-2010. Chomsky suggests that John Quincy Adams’ fear of divine retribution to America for its cruelty to Native Americans is unfounded, and that “earthly judgment is nowhere in sight.” Much of his work, however, suggests otherwise. A U.S. elite imperial mentality that once threatened mainly unpeople is today threatening America itself.

The fundamental tension throughout Chomsky’s work is between his belief that organizing and popular movements offer hope of change and the overwhelming evidence he presents of elite power precluding such change. On the one hand, he writes that “Latin America, today, is the scene of some of the most exciting developments in the endless struggle for freedom and justice” as its nations improve their citizens’ lives by extricating themselves from the neoliberal regime and elect leaders responsible to mass movements from below rather than financing from wealthy minorities above.

But on the other hand, his description of the stranglehold elites hold over both domestic and foreign policy offers little near-term hope for the kind of systemic changes he believes are needed to save the species. It is true that postwar America has not before faced the kind of economic and imperial decline that now awaits it, and this may produce possibilities for systemic change. But they are nowhere yet in sight. (Editor's emphasis throughout)

I recently sat with Chomsky, an intellectually uncompromising but personally kind, gentle and mild-mannered man, in his kitchen discussing such new U.S. elite horrors as the trend toward “1984”-like automated warfare, when it suddenly hit me.

What is it like, I found myself thinking, to know more than any other human being on Earth about the state-sponsored lies to which Americans are so constantly subjected? What is it like to so feel in your bones, hour after hour, day after day, the pain of millions of “unpeople” suffering hunger, poverty and death caused by U.S. elites who today also threaten both their own nation and all humanity? And what is it like, even though your writings are published, to have their lessons ignored by society at large, as the killing continues and U.S. war-making “on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at” has now become permanent?

“Noam,” I said, “I’ve just realized who you really represent to me. Do you remember how Winston Smith [the “1984” character] realized that his highest obligation to humanity and himself was just to try and remain sane, to somehow commit the truth to paper, and to hope against rational hope that somewhere, some time, future humans might come to understand and act on it? To me, at this point in time, you’re Winston Smith.”

I will never forget his reaction.

He just looked back at me.

And smiled sadly.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Our Enemies, the Israelis

When will we wake up to the threat?

By Justin Raimondo

June 07, 2010 "Antiwar" -- One of my readers, in the comments section below, wrote the following in response to my last column on Israel’s hijacking of the Gaza flotilla:

“Again I ask the question: What do the Israelis have on our politicians that makes them such whores? Dirty pictures? Threats of withholding campaign contributions? It’s really embarrassing as well as infuriating to see congress with its collective pants down around their legislative ankles just waiting for Israel to do it again.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that …

Well, actually, there is a lot wrong with that, but, in any case, what’s the answer to this question? Again and again Israel has outraged the world, and even many of its most dedicated supporters, by its actions: multiple invasions of Lebanon, “incursions” into Gaza and the West Bank, the ever-expanding settlements, the vicious racism and tribalism that characterizes the present ultra-rightist government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which includes the openly racist and fascist party of the thuggish Avigdor Lieberman – the list of Israel’s sins is a long one, and that’s going back but a few years.

Even when the Israelis blew up a US Navy ship, the USS Liberty, a military reconnaissance vessel that was monitoring Israeli troops movements prior to the Six Day War, Washington went along – in public – with Tel Aviv’s fairy tale claiming it was an “accident.” This disgrace is repeated, today, as the beaten and battered Americans who lived to tell the tale of what happened aboard the flotilla return to bear witness to Israeli brutality. An American citizen is killed, and Washington looks the other way. The ghost of Rachel Corrie is not surprised. Nor am I. Because the Israelis, after all, are our enemies.

Forget the fact that without aid from the US the Israeli settler colony would sink like a stone. Ignore the ritualistic paeans to the “special relationship,” regularly mouthed by politicians in both countries who know their lines by heart. And pay no attention to the propaganda that regularly depicts US-Israeli relations as a mutual admiration society founded on “shared values” and the love of liberal democracy.

Established in the wake of the Holocaust, and created by survivors of that horrific orgy of mass murder, the basis of Israel’s founding was and is the idea that Jews are not safe in this world. Not anywhere: no, not even in the United States. The premise behind this view is that everyone is a potential enemy, to be kept at arm’s length, at best, and to be crushed underfoot, at worst.

The lawlessness and brutality that we saw in the attack on the flotilla is inherent in the nature of Zionism, which, after all, came to birth at a time when the world was rife with nationalism of the most virulent sort. Liberal friends of Israel look on in horror as the Jewish state evolves into a combination of South Africa under apartheid and the new North Korea. Yet ideology has its own inexorable logic: it’s hardly an anomaly that the early followers of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the leading figure in what is today the ruling party in Israel, were attracted to and full of praise for the “blood and iron” doctrine of Mussolini – and the feeling was mutual. Not for nothing did Il Duce allow Jabotinsky’s “revisionist” faction to set up a training camp in Italy for its naval fighters in the Irgun, the forerunner of today’s IDF.

We’re shocked when survivors of the flotilla attack testify to what happened, and the autopsy reports are coming in: one shot four times in the head, others shot and killed at very close range, execution-style. Yet Israel has shown what it is capable of many times: the hijacking of the Gaza flotilla was just the most recent occurrence in a string of incidents stretching back years: the kidnapping of Mordecai Vanunu, the assassination squads that roam the world in search of Israel’s enemies, the bombing of Western diplomatic and cultural facilities in Egypt to make it look as though the Arabs were responsible (the Lavon incident), not to mention the long history of Israeli aggression against its neighbors and its indigenous Arab population.

These are not the actions of a Western liberal democracy, but of a frenetic and fanatic regime that resembles nothing so much as the legendary Order of Assassins, the 12th century adherents of the Nizari Ismaili Shiite sect whose leaders sent out their murderous minions to dispose of enemies with such deadly effectiveness that their name became synonymous with violent death. Netanyahu is the modern day Old Man of the Mountain.

This role increasingly puts the Israelis at odds with their chief benefactors, the US government, and the political elites of Western Europe. While generally kept under wraps, this mutual antipathy has been on the increase, lately, as the Israelis drop their “Western” mask. The result has been a series of confrontations: the Israeli insistence on building new settlements in defiance of an American-sponsored peace plan, the ambushing of an American Vice President as he visited the Jewish state, the very real hatred for President Obama exhibited by the growing far-right in Israeli politics, and a series of high-profile attempts to penetrate America’s security firewall. To say nothing of the Israeli “art students” who flooded the US in the months prior to 9/11, and the post-9/11 revelation by Fox News – hardly the American al-Jazeera – that, as Carl Cameron put it:

“Since September 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States."

“There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins.’ But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.’”

If the Israelis are capable of this – standing pat while information they held could have prevented the worst terrorist attack in American history – then they’re capable of anything. And the US government knows it, which is one good reason why we don’t dare cross them, at least openly, unless it can’t be avoided. They can kill Americans, steal our biggest secrets, and laugh in our faces without fear of retaliation – because we’ve nurtured a Frankenstein monster that is perfectly capable of turning on its creator, and doing considerable damage in the process.

Another good reason why we literally let them get away with murder is their political power in this country: the soft underbelly of America’s defenses against foreign incursions is the ability of foreign-backed lobbyists to undermine – and shape – US policy. A long and dedicated state-sponsored campaign to embed their agents of influence at the center of American political and social life has paid off quite handsomely. On the left as well as the right, their partisans tirelessly promote the Israeli government line – and don’t hesitate to rebuke their own political leaders whenever they show signs of straying from the narrow path of righteousness.

And who can blame them? After all, their physical existence, as well as their political independence as a nation-state, depends wholly on the lifeline of American subsidies (a little detail fake “libertarian” Rand Paul seems to have left out of his statement on Israel.)

The martial spirit that infuses Israel’s myrmidons with such passion is born of a sense of embattled isolation pulsing at the heart of the Zionist project. Surrounded by enemies, perpetually in “existential” danger, the Jewish state exists simultaneously as a consummate bully and a helpless victim: thus the odd argument coming out of Tel Aviv that their commandos were brutalized by those nasty, stick-wielding Turkish “terrorists,” who had the temerity to fight back. The Israelis released a video, which dominated the Western media coverage, of those awful Turkish “terrorists” beating commandos, omitting what happened in the moments before – live fire coming from helicopters – and after (nine execution-style deaths, and many injuries.)

To the hard line Israeli nationalist – a disagreeable species firmly in control of the government in Tel Aviv, now and for the foreseeable future – everyone is an enemy, but especially the Americans, who, to be sure, hold the fate of the Jewish state in their unreliable hands. What if, some day, we elect a President with some balls, one unafraid of the Lobby and willing to stand up for America? What if we elect a Congress that isn’t nearly as eager as this one is to kowtow to AIPAC and apologize for Israeli state terrorism? What if, one day, the aid spigot is turned off?

Israel’s national paranoia is not limited to the Israelis, per se, but also afflicts their American amen corner to such an extent that every criticism of Israel is portrayed as an anti-Semitic plot. For example, the above-cited Fox News story is never disputed, or even quoted: it is simply dismissed as vile “anti-Semitism.” Is Carl Cameron – a Fox News reporter once considered friendly to the Bush White House – an anti-Semite? Is Fox News “anti-Israel”? And what about the rest of Cameron’s fascinating and detailed four-part report, which not only avers the Israelis were watching and aware of the 9/11 hijackers, but also exposes an extensive spy operation and systematic industrial espionage in the US?

Disguised as ill feelings toward Barack Obama, the rabid anti-Americanism on the rise in Israel may seem bizarre, on the surface: why hate your best friend? Yet this development is perfectly understandable. How would you like it if your “best friend” supported you, protected you, succored you, and gave you everything you needed and wanted, so that eventually you were lost in his all-encompassing embrace? At some point, if you had any kind of character, you’d come to resent it – and even hate it, whilst hating yourself for allowing it.

The “special relationship” is a poisonous and deeply dysfunctional relationship, which benefits one party at the growing expense of the other. Sooner or later it will end, but how? With an open break, perhaps even a violent conflict – remember how Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen refused to rule out shooting down an Israeli jet crossing Iraqi airspace en route to Iran? Or, more probably, with a covert Israeli action of some sinister sort? In any event, you can be sure that Washington greatly fears the answer to that question.

Poll: 49% of Americans Blame Pro-Palestinian Activists for Flotilla Deaths

By Haaretz

June 08, 2010 "Haaretz" -- Ramussen poll: Only 19% of Americans believe Israel is to blame for clash aboard Gaza-bound aid ship Mavi Marmara last week.

Nearly half - 49 percent - of likely U.S. voters believe that pro-Palestinian activists were to blame for the deaths that occurred when the Israel Defense Forces raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last week, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Only 19 percent believe that Israel was to blame. Another 32 percent said they were not sure.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed on May 31 when the IDF intercepted six Gaza-bound aid ships. All the deaths occurred on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara vessel. The IDF said its soldiers opened fire in self-defense after being attacked by activists with knives and other weapons.

51 percent of those surveyed said Israel should allow an international investigation of the incident. 25 percent rejected the idea of an international probe and another 24 percent were undecided.

49 percent of U.S. voters agreed that, generally speaking, most countries are too critical of Israel. 21 percent said countries are not critical enough and 17 percent said neither.

Israel is one of only five countries that a majority of Americans are willing to defend militarily.

70 percent of voters said they have been following news reports about the Gaza flotilla incident at least somewhat closely. 28 percent have not been following closely, if at all.

73 percent of voters think it is unlikely that a lasting peace agreement will be reached between Israel and the Palestinians in the next ten years.

58 percent view Israel as a U.S. ally and two percent as an enemy, with 32 percent saying the country is somewhere in between the two.

By comparison, just 30 percent see the United Nations as an ally of the United States. 16 percent see the UN as America’s enemy, and 49% put it somewhere in between.

The survey was based on interviews with 1,000 likely U.S. voters and had a +/-3 percent sampling error margin.

Israel Owns the USA - Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Pro-Israel PAC Contributions to 2010 Congressional Candidates, see THIS for details...

Israel's Political Occupation of Obama's Press Corps

By Yvonne Ridley

June 08, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- Hold the front page!

The docile White House Press Corp has got steamed up about something and finally taken a scalp as a result. It seems the Capitol Hill cocktail set who usually sit and preen themselves like pampered Pomeranians while asking pre-screened, pre-approved, Obama-friendly questions have forced a resignation.

So what provoked them and who were they gunning for? Was it one of Obama's aids caught lying - may be some political sleaze or even another Watergate in the making? Could they have been making a final stand for journalistic integrity and freedom over the Administration's plans to prosecute and imprison investigative reporters who refuse to reveal their sources?

Well sorry to disappoint - it was none of the above.

It seems the most famous gaggle of journalists in the world finally got steamed up about a comment made by one of their own ... against Israel.

And their target just happens to be an 89-year-old columnist who has nailed more US Presidents with her hammer-blow questions than any other member of the White House Press Corps.

The formidable grand dame of the WHPC has now been forced to quit her much coveted front row seat - from where she made no less than 10 US Presidents sweat with her probing questions.

Helen Thomas resigned just before the White House Correspondents Association announced it was considering stripping her of her prime position.

No doubt some of these are the same gutless scribes who gave President George W Bush such an easy ride over Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, torture, waterboarding etc.

Now had Helen Thomas blasted: "Palestinians should get the hell out of Israel," she would have been feted.

Instead, what the redoubtable Ms Thomas, a lifelong critic of Zionism said, was that Israeli Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Germany and Poland “or wherever they came from.” See this video...

Ms. Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers apologized almost immediately for her off-the-cuff comments she made to a rabbi who was conducting a video interview with her outside the White House during a recent celebration of Jewish heritage.

Now the decision to retire her, with immediate effect, was announced by Hearst Newspapers, which syndicates her column. The announcement was made just weeks ahead of her 90th birthday on August 4.

The board of the correspondents association which recently gathered to consider how to respond to her controversial remarks, issued this very wordy statement: ”Helen Thomas’ comments were indefensible and the White House Correspondents Association board firmly dissociates itself from them. Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat. While Helen has not been a member of the WHCA for many years, her special status in the briefing room has helped solidify her as the dean of the White House press corps so we feel the need to speak out strongly on this matter."

"We want to emphasize that the role of the WHCA is to represent the White House press corps in its dealings with the White House on coverage-related issues. We do not police the speech of our members or colleagues. We are not involved at all in issuing White House credentials, that is the purview of the White House itself. But the incident does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room. That is an issue under the jurisdiction of this board. We are actively seeking input from our association members on this important matter, and we have scheduled a special meeting of the WHCA board on Thursday to decide on the seating issue".

What a gutless, feckless collective of cabestros.

Just a few days ago no less than 60 journalists on board the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla were shot at, abused, beaten up and robbed by the military representing the Zionist State of Israel.

Was there one word of anger, one word of recrimination, or a statement released about the treatment of fellow journalists who were on board a series of ships which were attacked in international waters?

Israeli soldiers destroyed and stole their cell phones, confiscating video footage and photographic equipment. The later unauthorized use of journalists' footage shows the contempt that the Israeli authorities have for journalism. By showing old photographs and edited footage there was a clear violation of journalist ethics.

Such blatant attempts at control of news coverage are nothing new. The same strategy was carried out during Israel's last invasion of Gaza.

But what do these Washington scribes know?

However, what they have proved by their swift action against Heln Thomas is that while Israel conducts a military occupation in Palestine it is conducting a political occupation of The White House Corps.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The flotilla delivered truths about the ‘Pax Americana’

Tony Karon
The National, Abu Dhabi
June 06. 2010 7:46PM UAE / June 6. 2010 3:46PM GMT

‘We’re the only ones who believe them,” a US official was quoted as complaining last week in response to Israel’s account of its attack on the Gaza aid flotilla.

The bloodshed on the high seas and the resulting diplomatic fallout is a reminder of just how far US influence has fallen in the region, and the grim prospects for the US president Barack Obama reversing that trend as long as the US continues to accord Israel special status.

Indeed, in a statement that would have evoked howls of protest had it been made on Capitol Hill, the Mossad chief Meir Dagan last week told a Knesset sub-committee that Israel is turning “from an asset to the United States to a burden”.

The drama of last week has forced the US and its European partners to concede that the Israeli blockade on Gaza is untenable, as is its underlying policy – shared by Washington and the Europeans – of refusing to engage with Hamas as an intractable fact of Palestinian political life.

The fact that a group of defiant civil society activists – backed by the Turkish government – has forced that acknowledgement is a sign of how far the balance of power in the Middle East has shifted.

It is a change that will also have implications for how the Iranian nuclear standoff is resolved.

Even before the flotilla debacle forced the US to postpone its attempt to bring a new sanctions resolution to the UN Security Council, the effort to isolate Tehran over its nuclear programme was in trouble.

Sure, the American administration claims to have Russia and China signed on to a new sanctions resolution. But both countries have demanded that any new measures be gutted of the ability to seriously hurt Iran. They insist that Tehran satisfy the transparency concerns reiterated last week by the IAEA, but also maintain that a solution can be achieved only through dialogue.

On the negotiation front, the only game in town right now is the fuel-swap agreement brokered with Iran by Turkey and Brazil. Those countries, both of which are currently on the Security Council, were outraged that the US simply ignored the proposal despite the fact that it largely resembled the deal offered to Iran by Washington last October and that Mr Obama himself had encouraged his Brazilian and Turkish counterparts to pursue the deal.

Sure, the agreement doesn’t halt Iran’s ongoing enrichment of uranium, but the same was true for the deal offered by the US last year.

The former IAEA chief and potential Egyptian presidential candidate Mohammed ElBaradei urged the US and its allies to reconsider. “I was surprised at the reaction that some countries would continue to say that they want to apply sanctions, because if you remove over half of the material that Iran has to Turkey, that is clearly a confidence-building measure. To say that we are going to apply sanctions nonetheless despite this deal, I think would be completely counterproductive.” He added that while “there is a fear about Iran’s future intentions, [it] can only be resolved through negotiations and trust”, for which there’s plenty of time because “nobody is suggesting that Iran is on the brink of developing nuclear weapons.”

There was more bad news for Iran at the conclusion of the month-long Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, which Washington had naively hoped would build support for sanctions.

Instead, the conference called for action on achieving a nuclear-free Middle East, and for Israel to sign the NPT and subject its own nuclear capacity to international scrutiny. The Arab states led that initiative, making clear that while they supported efforts to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, they rejected the principle of Israel maintaining a regional monopoly on nuclear force. The Obama administration had little choice but to back the nuclear-free Middle East principle, but warned that it would not support a process that “singled out” Israel or put its security in question.

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu instantly vowed not to sign the NPT, and to boycott a regional summit on the issue two years from now. Far from being “singled out” by others, Israel in fact singles itself out by being the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East – the trump card of its sense of security – and by refusing to sign the NPT. The American nod and wink to Israel’s nuclear status was also a diplomatic victory for Iran, which accuses Washington of applying a double standard.

Pax Americana, it seems, is slowly in decline. Mr Obama’s promising words in his Cairo speech a year ago have delivered no substantial change in US policy in the region, and Ankara seems no longer willing to tolerate the suffering being imposed on Gazans with Washington’s tacit consent. In taking this position, Turkey is channeling regional public opinion, and doing so in a way far more credible and effective than the hollow antics of the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And the challenge to the blockade may have succeeded: the blockade’s stated purpose, after all, was to throttle the Gazan economy in the hope that collective punishment would turn the civilian population against Hamas. That’s a policy now being deemed untenable even by the United States – something that would not have happened without the flotilla.

Exposing the failed Gaza policy has also reignited calls for the US and its allies to recognize the futility of trying to conduct an Israeli-Palestinian peace process as if Hamas simply didn’t exist. Pressure is mounting for the West to find ways to try and integrate Hamas into more stable political arrangements.

None of this lets Iran off the hook in terms of its NPT obligations, of course. But the consensus among the key players is that the Iran standoff will be resolved through a negotiated compromise. What the events of last week have taught us is that the global and regional balance of power here is shifting in ways that make it unlikely for conflicts in the Middle East to be resolved on terms set by the US and Israel. (Editor's bold emphasis throughout)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lift the Siege of Gaza

by Patrick J. Buchanan,
June 04, 2010

In June 1948, our wartime ally imposed a blockade on Berlin, cutting off and condemning to death or Stalinist domination 2 million Germans, most of whom, not long before, had cheered Adolf Hitler.

Harry Truman responded with the Berlin airlift, in perhaps the most magnanimous act of the Cold War.

For nine months, U.S. pilots flew into Tempelhof, carrying everything from candy to coal, saving a city and earning the eternal gratitude of the people of Berlin, and admiration everywhere that moral courage is admired.

That was an America that lived its values.

And today, President Obama should end his and his country’s shameful silence over the inhumane blockade of Gaza that is denying 1.5 million beleaguered people the basic necessities of a decent life.

Time to start acting like America again.

That bloody debacle in the Eastern Mediterranean last Sunday was an inevitable result of Israel doing what it always seems to do: going beyond what is essential to her security, to impose collective punishment upon any and all it regards as hostile to Israel.

Israel claims, and film confirms, that its commandos rappelling down onto the Turkish ship were attacked with sticks and metal rods. One was tossed off a deck, another tossed overboard into a lifeboat.

But that 2 a.m. boarding of an unarmed ship with an unarmed crew, carrying no munitions or weapons, 65 miles at sea, was an act of piracy. What the Israeli commandos got is what any armed hijacker should expect who tries to steal a car from a driver who keeps a tire iron under the front seat.

And the response of these highly trained naval commandos to the resistance they encountered? They shot and killed nine passengers, and wounded many more.

But we have a blockade of Gaza, say the Israelis, and this flotilla was a provocation. Indeed, it was. And Selma was a provocation. The marchers at Edmund Pettus Bridge were disobeying orders of the governor of Alabama and state police not to march.

Yet, today, liberal Democrats who regard Martin Luther King as a moral hero for championing nonviolent civil disobedience to protest injustice are cheering not the unarmed passengers trying to break the Gaza blockade, but the Israelis enforcing the blockade.

Where were these fellows when "Bull" Connor really needed them?

Comes the retort: Israel is a friend and ally, and we stand with our friends.

But is not Turkey a friend and ally of 50 years, whose soldiers died alongside ours in Korea and who accepted Jupiter missiles targeted on Russia, even before the Cuban missile crisis? Was it not Turkey whose citizens were wounded and killed in the bloody debacle?

Why are we not at least even-handed between our friends?

On the trip to Israel where he was blindsided by news that Israel would build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, Joe Biden told Shimon Peres, "There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security."

And that is the problem.

America is a superpower with interests in an Arab world of 300 million and an Islamic world of 1.5 billion — interests Israel treats with indifference if not contempt when it comes to doing what she regards as necessary for her security.

While Israel had a right to build a wall to protect her people from terror attack, did she have a right to build it on Palestinian land?

While Israel had a right to go after Hezbollah when her soldiers were shot on the border and several kidnapped, did Israel have a right to conduct a five-week bombing campaign that smashed Lebanon, killing hundreds of civilians and creating upward of a million refugees?

While Israel had a right to go into Gaza to stop the firing of crude rockets on Sderot, did she have a right to smash utilities and public buildings and kill 1,400 people, most of them civilians?

Is whatever Israel decides to do in the name of her security fine with us, because there is "absolutely no space" between our interests and hers, our values and Israel’s values?

Even with Winston Churchill’s Britain, there was "space" between us on strategic goals and national policies.

Israel has a right to secure Gaza to deny Hamas access to weapons, especially rockets that could reach Israel. But that does not justify denying 1.5 million people what they need to live in decency.

According to The Washington Post, "80 percent of the population (of Gaza) depends on charity. Hospitals, schools, electricity systems and sewage treatment facilities are all in deep disrepair."

With our silence, we support this. And we wonder why they hate us.

Obama should tell the Israelis that Joe got it wrong. There is space between us. The Gaza siege must end. (Editor's bold emphasis throughout) And America will herself be sending aid, but will also support Israel’s right to inspect trucks and ships to see to it no weapons get through to Gaza.

Let’s start behaving like who we once were.

Government Impotence and Corporate Rule

by Jim Hightower
June 2, 2010,
Common Dreams

Many news reports about the Gulf oil catastrophe refer to it as a "spill." Wrong. A spill is a minor "oops" — one accidentally spills milks, for example, and from childhood, we're taught the old aphorism: "Don't cry over spilt milk." What's in the Gulf isn't milk and it wasn't spilt. The explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well was the inevitable result of deliberate decisions made by avaricious corporate executives, laissez faire politicians and obsequious regulators.

As the ruinous gulf oil blowout spreads onto land, over wildlife, across the ocean floor and into people's lives, it raises a fundamental question for all of us Americans: Who the hell's in charge here? What we're witnessing is not merely a human and environmental horror, but also an appalling deterioration in our nation's governance. Just as we saw in Wall Street's devastating economic disaster and in Massey Energy's murderous explosion inside its Upper Big Branch coal mine, the nastiness in the gulf is baring an ugly truth that We the People must finally face: We are living under de facto corporate rule that has rendered our government impotent. (Editor's bold emphasis throughout)

Thirty years of laissez-faire, ideological nonsense (pushed upon us with a vengeance in the past decade) has transformed government into a subsidiary of corporate power. Wall Street, Massey, BP and its partners — all were allowed to become their own "regulators" and officially encouraged to put their short-term profit interests over the public interest.

Let's not forget that on April 2, barely two weeks before Deepwater Horizon blew and 11 people perished on the spot, the public's No. 1 official, Barack Obama, trumpeted his support for more deepwater oil drilling, blithely regurgitating Big Oil's big lie: "Oil rigs today generally don't cause spills." He and his advisors had not bothered to check the truth of that — they simply took the industry's word. That's not governing, it's aiding and abetting profiteers, and it's a pathetic performance.

But that was only the start of Washington's oily confession that it has surrendered control to corporate arrogance and avarice.

With an unprecedented volume of crude gushing from the well and the magnitude of the disaster multiplying geometrically by the day, who was in charge of coping with that? Not the White House, not the interior secretary, not the EPA. As we saw when Wall Street's greed exploded our economy, the polluting scoundrels were left in charge!

While BP's dapper CEO issued patently ridiculous statements (such as, "Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact of this will be very, very modest."), our government blindly went along with BP's false assertion that only some 5,000 barrels a day were pouring from the well, when independent experts were shouting at the White House that the correct volume was up to 19 times that much.

Finally, almost a month after the blowout, Obama ordered a moratorium on drilling new offshore wells and on granting environmental waivers to the oil giants. Bravo, Mr. President! But ... his moratorium was simply ignored. Days after his order, oil companies were handed at least seven more drilling permits and five waivers.

Last week, with 63 percent of the public disapproving of his meek deference to BP, the president of the United States of America was reduced to convening a press conference to insist that he was "engaged" and, behind the scenes, was "monitoring" BP's efforts.

Wow, monitoring! Excuse me, but who's the president here? Obama should personally take charge —-cancel all of his social and political events, convene an emergency response team of the best scientific minds in the world, announce a clear plan of clean-up actions, install all relevant Cabinet officials in a Gulf Coast command center to direct the actions, make daily reports on progress to the public, fire a mess of failed regulators and go to Congress with sweeping legislation to replace America's oil dependency with a crash program of conservation and renewable energy sources.

Oh, he should also wring a few corporate necks. Instead of monitoring these criminals, prosecute them — and put the public back in charge of our government.

This Says It All, Israelis kill American – Joe Biden says: "What's the big deal?"

by Justin Raimondo,
June 04, 2010

What is US foreign policy in the Middle East all about – and for whose benefit is it being conducted? In two short paragraphs, this news story says it all:

"The U.S. confirmed that an American citizen, identified as 19-year-old Furkan Dogan, was killed by multiple gunshots during the Israeli raid on a flotilla carrying activists attempting to run a blockade of the Gaza Strip."

"State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said the U.S. has made no decision on a response to Dogan’s death."

Apparently official Washington is torn between issuing a mild protest, and thanking them.

"Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government," Hillary Clinton assured the media, "and one that we take very seriously" – but not seriously enough to issue an official protest. "We are in constant contact with the Israeli government attempting to obtain more information about our citizens." Do they want to know how many holes the IDF put in Furkan Dogan’s head before they make a decision on a response?

In reality, the US already made a response in the form of Vice President Joe "Loose Cannon" Biden, who, when asked about the attack on the flotilla, said: "So what’s the big deal here?"

At the time he said it, the odds were fair that an American citizen – out of nine with the flotilla — was among the dead. Now that it’s been confirmed, I wonder if it’s dawned on our dim-witted Vice President that it is indeed a very big deal.

In a brazen act of international piracy, the Israelis boarded a ship in international waters and killed an American citizen – so what is the American government going to do about it?

The answer is: nothing, zero, nada, zilch. Israel refuses to let an international investigation look into the matter, and Biden is cool with that, as he told Charlie Rose:

"Biden: We passed a resolution in the UN saying we need a transparent and open investigation of what happened. It looks like things are…"

"Rose: International investigation?"

"Biden: Well, an investigation run by the Israelis, but we’re open to international participation."

That’s certainly impartial, fair, and transparent – let the Israelis investigate themselves! No, Biden isn’t stupid: he’s smart enough to know the Israelis will never be held accountable by our government, and that any attempt to do so would be aborted before it ever became known.

The reason for this peculiar passivity is because, contra Hillary, protecting the welfare of American citizens is not considered a fundamental responsibility of our government insofar as it means protecting their welfare against the government of Israel. In any conflict between American and Israeli interests, Washington’s instinctive response is to uphold the latter and ignore the former. Under the Bush administration, such a conflict of interests was considered impossible: the very idea that there could be daylight between Washington and Tel Aviv on any given issue was considered heretical. Even under the Bushies, however, there was still some vague stirrings of American independence, especially toward the end of the second term. And they never had to face a situation like this, in which an American citizen in transit was murdered by our faithful "allies." That kind of thing hasn’t happened since the sinking of the USS Liberty – and it may be a sign of what’s to come that a survivor of that heinous assault was traveling with the flotilla, too.

In the case of the USS Liberty, the whole thing was covered up in a shameful act of official suppression: against the testimony of the sailors on that ship, 34 of whom were killed, the US government ruled that the savage Israeli assault was a tragic "accident." Yet US government officials knew the truth. As then secretary of state Dean Rusk later put it:

"I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous."

So is this attack outrageous, but if the US government can whitewash the Israeli murder of 34 American sailors, it can overlook the murder of a single American in nearly identical circumstances.

Of course, this is not 1967: the news of an American’s death at the hands of the IDF is being transmitted around the world, even as I write this, and all the details are coming out: the pitilessness of the Israelis, young Furkan’s idealism, and the horrific circumstances of his death.

What is being transmitted, above all, is the braying arrogance of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his media shills, as they deride the dead as "terrorists looking for trouble." Bizarrely, the Vice President of the United States is joining right in, declaring that Israel had a "right" to board the ships and detain the passengers because it has a "right" to ensure its own "security" – yet the ships were inspected by the Turkish government in Cyprus before they left, and found to contain only items such as building material and children’s toys. The Israelis, as part of their serio-comic propaganda offensive, are triumphantly showing off a cache of "weapons" found on the ship – which looks like nothing more than a collection of old kitchen knives and a couple of metal poles.

An American is killed as heavily armed soldiers of a foreign nation board a ship in international waters, firing live ammunition at the passengers as they rappel onto the deck. Among those passengers: a former US ambassador, a former US colonel and Pentagon official, several members of the European parliament, a member of the Israeli Knesset, and members of parliament from several Arab countries.

Imagine if Iran had done this. Washington would have reverberated with the sound of thunder emanating from the White House, and the attack fleet would already be steaming toward the Gulf, taking up position. That the culprit was Israel, however, puts a whole different face on the matter, at least as far as our government is concerned: they’re content to let the Israelis "investigate," and let the matter drop.

For years, some of us have been saying that the government of Israel and its partisans in this country exercise a decisive – and unhealthy – influence on the making and execution of US foreign policy. We’ve been accused of everything from anti-Semitism to pushing "conspiracy theories," and yet the Mediterranean Massacre – and our government’s non-response – underscores that, if anything, we’ve been underestimating the extent to which the US takes its orders directly from Tel Aviv.

The Israel Lobby controls official Washington: Congress is, as Pat Buchanan trenchantly observed, "Israeli-occupied territory." Yet one would think that, in spite of these circumtances, the wanton murder of an American on the high seas by Israeli commandos would provoke an angry response from Washington. Unfortunately, one would be wrong.

Instead, what we have is the grotesque spectacle of our Vice President commending the Israelis, and the US and Israel scrambling to come up with a "joint response." What more proof do we need that the US government is the political equivalent of occupied Palestine, where truth and justice are under blockade?

For years, they’ve been spying on us, collaborating with our enemies, stealing our secrets, manipulating our politicians, and now they’ve gone so far as to murder one of our citizens on neutral ground – and still our government cannot manage even a peep of protest. A more disgusting display of cowardice would be hard to imagine.

We attacked Iraq in large part due to the influence of the Lobby, and we are gearing up for an armed conflict with Iran in response to the same sort of pressure: will we now countenance the execution of one of our own citizens in order to appease Tel Aviv?

This was no "accident." The Israeli government knew precisely what it was doing, it knew there were Americans on those ships, and chose to go in guns blazing: it was the equivalent of spitting in Uncle Sam’s face.

After all, how dare those Americans try to freeze the building of settlements in what is "Greater Israel"? How dare Obama tell us what we can and cannot do?! We’ll show them! Let’s kill a few. Don’t worry – they won’t retaliate. We own them: and they know it. (Editor's bold emphasis throughout)

In view of the Obama administration’s shameful crawling, one can hardly disagree. Which raises a question: how many American lives are to be sacrificed on the altar of the "special relationship"? It’s a question to which one doesn’t really want to know the answer.