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The Race for Iran

“The Middle East Doesn’t Want the Leadership Obama Offered Them,” Leveretts in Foreign Policy

ForeignPolicy.com published our analysis below of President Obama’s speech yesterday.  The link to our piece at ForeignPolicy is here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/05/20/the_dispensable_nation, and we encourage readers to comment on the piece directly on the ForeignPolicy.com site.  Below is our analysis:

President Barack Obama’s State Department address on the Middle East was a desperate attempt to define a new narrative about the Arab awakening and America’s role in this critical region. But the speech only confirmed that Obama has no alternative strategic vision to replace the neoconservative fantasies of his predecessor. In the process, the president demonstrated that the United States has little to offer the region and its people.

Obama spoke at what is, in fact, a moment of crisis for America’s position in the Middle East. In her introductory remarks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “America’s leadership is more essential than ever” in the Middle East. The president himself claimed that America’s pursuit of its interests was not at odds with the aspirations of the region’s people, but rather essential to the fulfillment of those aspirations.

Sorry, but the people of the region disagree. Earlier this week, Pew Research released a poll of key Middle Eastern populations conducted in late March and early April — a period that includes many of the major elements of the Arab Awakening to date (the changes of regime in Tunisia and Egypt, the U.S./NATO military intervention in Libya, Saudi intervention in Bahrain, and the outbreak of unrest in Syria). The poll shows continued anger and resentment over U.S. policy and toward Obama, himself. The results are in keeping with the most recent running of the annual Arab Public Opinion Survey, which showed that Obama is now even less popular than President George W. Bush at the end of his tenure. Today, it is not even clear that Obama would be able to give a speech about America’s approach to the Middle East in a major regional capital, as he did with his 2009 speeches in Istanbul and Cairo.

Beyond public opinion, the region’s major strategic actors — the Islamic Republic of Iran, of course, but also post-Saddam Iraq, Turkey, post-Mubarak Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel — are increasingly charting their own strategic courses. More and more, they see the United States as poorly intentioned, incompetent, and less relevant to their interests; as a result, they are ever more prepared to take major decisions and initiatives without deference to American preferences.

This was manifested recently in Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Bahrain — Manama’s “invitation” notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia’s military intervention was clearly against the preferences of a majority of Bahrainis — and Egypt’s decisions to upgrade relations with Iran and cease its cooperation with Israel in keeping Gaza under siege. Immediately after Obama spoke, the trend was extended when Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected as “indefensible” the president’s proposal that Israeli-Palestinian borders be negotiated on the basis of the 1967 map.    

Obama’s wan rhetoric about the Palestinian issue — recycling a formula on final borders that was first introduced into presidential rhetoric 10 years ago by Bill Clinton, while ostentatiously punting on Jerusalem and refugees — highlights the utter lack of strategic vision and creativity in the administration’s approach. The same can be said of his rhetoric about Hamas and other Islamist groups. It is now absolutely imperative for the United States to revamp its posture toward Islamist movements in the Middle East, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah, as well as Hamas. By continuing the same dysfunctional approach as his predecessors — demanding, up front, that these groups recognize Israel’s right to exist and disarm before negotiations and surrender everything else that makes them distinctive as political actors — Obama is not isolating the Islamists. He is only deepening America’s isolation from some of the most vital political forces in the Middle East today, whose leaders have precisely the kind of democratic legitimacy the president claims to want to encourage.

The president’s rejection of serious engagement was even more stark with regard to the Islamic Republic. We have argued, from early in Obama’s presidential tenure, that he was never serious about productive engagement, much less “Nixon to China” rapprochement, with Tehran. But in his speech, Obama dropped even a façade of interest in negotiations with Iran.

Obama depicts the Islamic Republic as the antithesis of the Arab Awakening. It is certainly the case that there is no significant constituency outside the Islamic Republic for replicating precisely its form of government. But, however much the U.S. president and his administration try to deny it, the Islamic Republic is, in broad terms, a prototype of the sort of political order that other Middle Eastern populations want to create for themselves — orders that may be imperfect, but which will be indigenously authentic, highly competitive, and not subordinated to an overbearing American hegemon (as with Mubarak’s Egypt) or any other external power.

The fact is that any political order in the Middle East which becomes at all more representative of its people’s values, beliefs, and positions will, by definition, become less enthusiastic about strategic cooperation with America. (That’s why Tehran thinks it is “winning” relative to the United States as the Arab Awakening unfolds.) But, rather than face this reality and take on the real challenge of thinking through how the United States pursues its interests in the Middle East in ways that don’t offend most of the people who live there, Obama resorts to rhetoric and policies that have already manifestly failed.

In this context, few in the region are likely to be fooled by Obama’s promotion of U.S.-sponsored economic development as the solution to many of the Middle East’s most pressing problems. This tactic has been deployed, futilely, for years to assuage Palestinian despair over life under open-ended, U.S.-facilitated occupation and “explain away” the fundamentally political roots of anti-Israeli and anti-U.S. violence in the region. To add to the disingenuousness of this part of the president’s speech, most of the money ostensibly allocated as economic support to fledgling democracies in the Middle East is not new funding. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has become the single largest source of economic assistance and investment for Egypt — but the kingdom warranted hardly a mention in the president’s speech.

The Middle East is changing, and American policy toward the region needs to change, too. Unfortunately, Obama hasn’t fulfilled his repeated promises to improve on George W. Bush’s disastrous foreign policy. Instead, he may end up presiding over an even more precipitous decline in America’s regional standing and influence than his predecessor. 

**Hillary also appeared on al Jazeera’s Inside Story yesterday. The panel discussion can be viewed here: http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/insidestory/2011/05/201152075358752691.html

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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105 Responses to ““The Middle East Doesn’t Want the Leadership Obama Offered Them,” Leveretts in Foreign Policy”

  1. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    “What am I, your CLOWN?”

    See you on the next thread!

    S.

  2. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    True, the Israelis are expelling Palestinians from the West Bank, and especially from East Jerusalem. But that does not mean Israel will be able to keep these areas permanently. And most Christians have left the West Bank, due in large part to the Israeli occupation. But perhaps some of the families that left, will return once Palestine is independent and self-governing.

    I am not aware of any country where an effort is underway to change the religion by means of violence. That said, the Christians clearly suffered a catastrophe in Iraq, but Iraq was heavily Muslim and remains heavily Muslim and would not have become significantly Christian in any event.

  3. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    May 23, 2011 at 4:03 am
    UU, As always, you never fail to amuse. Thank you.

    *

    Funny? Funny HOW?
    Like I aMUSE you? Like I fuckin’ aMUSE you?
    What am I, your CLOWN?

  4. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    As always, you never fail to amuse. Thank you.

    S.

  5. Photi says:

    James,

    Jews are using Zionism to displace Christians and Muslims. In the context of a firm and genuine religious peace, the political chaos we see today could never get so bad. The radical ideologues will not be around forever, we owe it to posterity to ensure those radicals are replaced with more tolerant folk. Subhanallah, old age and death make room for new ways of thinking. Istanbul needs to host a peace conference and invite the religious leadership from around the world. Let the Rabbis scold Israel.

  6. James Canning says:

    Mort Zuckerman says that the advance copy of Obama’s Thursday speech sent to Netanyahu did not have the reference to 1967 borders in it, and that this was added without the knowledge of the Israelis. Hope this is true. Zuckerman is ardent promoter of the Zionist cause.

  7. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Religious differences are just a means of mobilising tribal unity of one group to confront another. Is there any country where one religion is actually trying to displace altogether another religion, by violence?

  8. James Canning says:

    Kil,

    My understanding is that the Israeli government and Aipac are very deeply concerned about UN recognition of Palestine, and ensuing further efforts to delegitimise Israel.
    They will do what the can to have the US block it.

  9. Photi says:

    fyi,

    whatever the cause of the war in Palestine, any viable solution will have to be framed within the context of peace between the Abrahamic faiths. The World Religions will last until Judgment Day, the political orders are subject to change. Therefore a lasting peace must be based on religion. Political accommodations will be layered above the religious peace.

  10. Kil says:

    James: I dont think neither US or israel fear the UN vote, it wont make any difference just put some unharmful pressure on israel.

  11. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Looks like we are gonna be in for a treat. Weasels be up to some nashty shtuff and got their weaseling paws caught in the cookie jar.

    IRAN: Alleged CIA spies included government officials
    May 22, 2011 | 9:33 am
    – Los Angeles Times

    Government officials were among those netted in an Iranian counterespionage operation that Tehran’s intelligence ministry touted this weekend, a news website reported Sunday.

    The semi-official Fars news agency (link in Persian) reported “a number of Iranian government managers” were among the 30 arrested on suspicion of having ties with the CIA.

    Fars quoted “an informed source” as saying a manager of one of Iran’s ministries and a number of other officials employed by government bodies were arrested.

    One official had worked at one of Iran’s ministries for 25 years and was allegedly gathering information for U.S. intelligence with the aim of immigrating to the West and keeping his son out of military service, the source told Fars.

    The man allegedly had prepared “a very important package about the activities of this body, which included information on ways to sabotage it.” But he was foiled by intelligence officers “minutes” before he sent it off, the source claimed to Fars.

    Another official gathered information about “how to blow up and conduct espionage activities” at his employer but was arrested before dispatching the information, Fars said.

    Of particular interest to the spy network was information about how Iran was dealing with international economic sanctions and how it was obtaining X-ray machines, the report said.

  12. Unknown Unknowns says:

    “Oh, I got your reference.”

    Yeah, in your weaseling-out wet dream. But then you wake up to the reality that you and your ilk just can’t keep your sticky hands off other countries’s resources, and no amount of rhetorical acrobatics is going to change the fact that Scholars for Dollars academics like you are nothing but sleazy pimps and chamber maids for the Fortune 500 Third World sexual tourism trade.

  13. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Iranian Cure for U.S. Delta Blues
    Rural healthcare solutions imported from Iran to Mississippi

    http://www.iranian.com/main/2011/may/iranian-cure-u-s-delta-blues

  14. paul says:

    One of the weird things about ‘soft power’ claims to economic leadership by the US is that the US elites, who have mismanaged our own economy so badly, continue to claim some kind of divinely ordained destiny to tell every other country in the world how to manage its economy.

  15. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Whenever the phrase “international Community” is invoked, what ie meant by it are Axis Powers; almost without exception.

    US, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, France, Holland, Denmark are solidly on the side of Israel in this religious war in Palestine.

    Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece are powerless to make any changes.

    Sweden and Norway are neutral.

    Nothing positive will come out of the so-called International Community – a “Whites-only Club”.

    Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims are on their own; they must devise their own strategy and tactics for the war in Palestine.

    US does not know how to end it even though she has the latent power to do so.

  16. James Canning says:

    William Beeman does a good job of debunking the anti-Iran propaganda put out by the ISRAEL LOBBY.

    http://truthout.org/debunking-top-7-myths-irans-middle-east-policies/1305944848

  17. James Canning says:

    Kil,

    I would add that most observers of American politics would agree that it is all about the money, and the Jews have the money and are willing to put it into political campaigns. This is the sad truth that the international community must accept, and try to work around.

  18. James Canning says:

    Steve Walt makes the same point I have been making, which is that the international community has to take the lead in resolving the Israel/Palestine problem. Walt notes that Obama made the same argument, then turned around and condemned the Palestinian effort to obtain UN recognition!

  19. James Canning says:

    Kil,

    The pressure on Obama comes from within his own party. Obama is trying to head off UN recognition of independent Palestine, party because this is the course so many of his fellow Democrats demand, and they are unable to resist the demands of Aipac.

  20. Kil says:

    James, he must tell aipac what they want to hear to get money pouring down his pocket…what kind of sick world is this?
    In italy the mobs bribe politicians to carry out their wishes. In the US the aipac bribe politicians to carry out their wishes.

  21. James Canning says:

    Kil,

    Aipac and other elements of the ISRAEL LOBBY, plus individual Jews, provide more than half the compaign finance for Democrats in the Senate and House. So Obama is shackled.

  22. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    It seems clear the US is incapable of providing effective leadership in resoloving the Israel/Palestine problem and that other countries will have to fill the gap. I hope the US will be unable to derail the UN’s recognition of independent Palestine with 1967 borders later this year.

  23. Kil says:

    obama have spoken, the usual anti-Iran rant, the usual glorifying of israeli policies, the usual hatred for the resistance camp.
    http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2011/05/obama_at_aipac_clarifies_israe.html

    US havent griped the new reality of the mideast, hes telling the jews what they want to hear.

  24. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    We all know what you’ve been writing on Iran, Egypt,… That’s the problem. You haven’t been honest.

  25. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: May 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Regrettably, the Spanish Civil War was not a war between adherents of Progressive idelas and those of reaction. It was a war between Anarchy on the one side and Law & Order on the other side. The late Gen. Franco was forced into action against the Republic because of numerous provocations against the Spanish Armed Forces by the so-called and self-styled adherents of progressive ideas, which went unpunished by the Republic.

    To that must be added the squalid fantasy project of the Catalan intellectuals for an independent Catalonia – a 300-year old dream/nightmare.

  26. fyi says:

    Photi says: May 21, 2011 at 10:21 am & James Canning says: May 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I beleive that Mr. Canning has given an adequate rebuttal to Photi’s reasoning.

    I certainly have met American Jews who had darker complexion, kinckier hair, and larger noses than I. And I also hae met American Jews who, any day in Iran, would be considered to be Nordic by any Iranian you cared to query.

    Race is not the defining character of Zionism; a species of religious national socialism; another misguided intellectual offspring of the breakdown of the Enlightenmnet Project in Europe.

    Photi: In Israel, being against Zionism is like an American being against Democracy and Freedom. It is now part of the religious-ethnic identity of the population there.

    Furtheremore, if you travel in any state of the Southern Persian Gulf the Arab racism towards non-Arabs will be very clear indeed to you. No doubt.

    I know that very many people are very uncomfortable with the religious war conceptualization: they come up with alternative conceptualizations such as (neo-)colonialism, military-settler state, racist state, etc. to avoid facing the abyss of the religious war that now obtains in Palestine.

    At some point in the past, some or all of these other formulations may have had explanatory and analytic content but we have entered, in my opinion, in a world in which those alternative formulations to a religious war are no longer true.

    With a lot of effort and money by the United States, EU, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey, the war in Palestine may be reduced to something less than a religious war. However since US has lost control of the dynamics there and Iran will not help US there, I expect the situation to get worse.

  27. pirouz_2 says:

    My dear pro-pahlavi monarchist (pahlavitalab) PAK;
    As usual, in the lack of any argument that you could offer, you resort to name-calling. Calling my proposition as “stupid” without offering any counter-argument at all, does not make your propositon any more logical, nor does it make your non-existent argument any stronger. Nor will it make my argument actually “stupid”. If you have any actual argument against what I said, please bring it up and we will talk about it next week.
    In the mean time I am glad that you and FYI have found your common ground.
    By the way, is there any specific part of that article that you find relevant to our argument? or did you just find the article interesting and you would like to share it with me? If it is the latter then I am truly touched!! lol

  28. Scott Lucas says:

    BiBiJon,

    Bless you — UU’s empty polemic got the response it deserved.

    With the best of snark,

    S.

    P.S. — Steak and kidney pie is awful.

  29. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    Oh, I got your reference. It’s just that — in addition to being historically empty, void of contemporary relevance, and ignorance of what I have written about the Spanish Civil War — it’s not “irony”.

    S.

  30. Kil says:

    Soon are obama to speak at the group who funds him, aipac, prepare for the words: Iran, Nuclear, Hizbollah, Terrorism, Sanctions, “threat to world peace”, Hamas, “recognize israel”, “jewish state” etc hes so predictable, aipac have prolly written his speech.

  31. Unknown Unknowns says:

    And then there’s the inimitable Ali G on Science and “Techmology”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB5VXJXxnNU

  32. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDGju21LPUs

    Hewow?!

  33. BiBiJon says:

    Memo to President Obama:

    Dear sir,

    I may be one of the few who understood the significance of your Arab spring/MidEast peace speech at the state department. Folks who think you did not cut muster with Arabs, or Israelis, don’t realize your intended audience were the folks at the state department. Well done for asserting the executive branch’s privileges in foreign policy matters. The symbolism of your choice of Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room as the venue struck me as the whole point of your address.

    I hope you have a great time in Europe, but, if I were you, I would not try and get European backing for your sense of reality in the mideast, as upset as you understandably are with Mr. Netanyahu’s behavior in the White House.

    You should assume that Likhud is well ahead of you. Europe has been poisoned against you. Please be careful.

    Sir, the quickest/cheapest/most effective way to influence Israel is to send Hillary Clinton to Tehran. A believable prospect of warming Iran-US relations will have Likhud dance a jig to any tune the US wishes to whistle.

    Wishing you every success in representing ordinary Americans’ interests,

    B.

  34. Unknown Unknowns says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 22, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Anyone who goes to see a psychologist ought to have his head examined.
    Anyone who goes to live in Birmingham, well… What can I say? I pity the soul.

  35. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    May 22, 2011 at 2:58 am

    ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI on wikileaks:

    It’s, rather, a question of whether WikiLeaks are being manipulated by interested parties that want to either complicate our relationship with other governments or want to undermine some governments, because some of these items that are being emphasized and have surfaced are very pointed.

    And I wonder whether, in fact, there aren’t some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to WikiLeaks, because it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position, but also to undermine our relations with particular governments.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government_programs/july-dec10/weakileaks2_11-29.html

    For example, leaving aside the personal gossip about Sarkozy or Berlusconi or Putin, the business about the Turks is clearly calculated in terms of its potential impact on disrupting the American-Turkish relationship.

  36. BiBiJon says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    May 22, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”, described creatures “that have feathers, and bite, and those that have whiskers, and scratch”.

    A modest degree of self-respect behooves a person to respond with ‘touche’ or ‘fair point’, or a logical rebuttal, and/or silence. You, Scott, have assimilated a taste for warm beer, steak & kidney pudding, and snark. Had you taken in
    the Brits’ sharp wit, you might have become interesting to read, at least.

  37. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I have no way of knowing whether Wikileaks is “a Mossad Operation” as the vast majority of the 32 commenters on the sire this AFP article was posted on seem to believe (and would be interested to know if anyone here is not agnostic as I am on this issue), but here it is:

    Russia Sabotaged Iran Nuclear Programme: Report

    By AFP

    May 20, 2011 “AFP” — -JERUSALEM (AFP) – Then Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the sabotage of Iran’s nuclear programme in 2006, according to WikiLeaks documents published by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot on Thursday.

    The leaked documents, which were not immediately available on either the Yediot or Wikileaks websites, purportedly detail talks between the head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission and then-US ambassador to Israel Richard Jones.

    During a February 2006 meeting, Gideon Frank told Jones “at length about the results of his secret meetings with top figures in the Russian security establishment and intelligence community,” Yediot reported.

    Among the officials he met were then defence minister Sergei Ivanov, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and the chairman of the Russian Atomic Energy Commission, Sergei Kiriyenko.

    He told Jones Putin had personally ordered measures to delay progress at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant. Under a 1995 deal, Russia agreed to complete the plant and provide the fuel, with Iran committing to return the spent fuel.

    “Frank said that Kiriyenko had told him that he intended to delay the process of sending the nuclear rods to the reactor in Bushehr for an extended period of time and that he had no intention of supplying the reactor with ‘fresh fuel’ at the current stage,” Yediot reported.

    Kiriyenko told the Israelis “the Russians intended to explain the deliberate delay by means of ‘technical problems,’” adding that “Putin had personally ordered that deliberate delay in delivery,” the newspaper said.

    Frank also said the Russians had told him “they had made changes to the hardware that they were supposed to send to the Bushehr reactor so as to slow down the Iranian nuclear program even further.”

    Russia, which has been a long-standing nuclear partner of Iran, voted in favour of UN sanctions against the Islamic republic last June.

    Israel and much of the international community fear that Iran’s nuclear programme masks a push to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, saying the programme is for civilian energy purposes only.

    *

    Here is one comment that is pretty representative of the 32 posted so far at Information Clearning HOuse under this article:

    How convenient, that when Israel is being fingered for contributing to the Fukishima disaster by infecting the Siemens controllers with Stuxnet – which was also responsible for the destruction of centrifuges in the Busher facility – Wikileaks, a known Zio psy-op, comes out with this utter nonsense against Russia, who recently said it will block any UN efforts against Syria.

    And here’s another:

    There is actually TONS of proof Zio/US Are the wankers who did this.
    Its another attempt to force Russia/China/Iran and now Pakistan to join forces against the Terror-Empire we STILL lives under!

  38. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scott:

    Not a bad recovery. But it still doesn’t cover up the fact that you failed miserably to see the ironic reference. As if anyone making a reference to Franco in 2011 wouldn’t know he’s been dead for more than a generation.

    I’m sorry, but just because his spirit is alive in you does not mean that he is not dead to everyone else.

  39. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Continuing the “US Top Ten” theme inaugurated by our esteemed VoT:

    Here’s the link for those who want to see some really good pics to go along with the narrative: http://www.activistpost.com/2011/05/10-indications-united-states-is.html

    10 Indications The United States Is A Dictatorship
    “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” — Lord Acton

    For a people to be free, they must first be honest with themselves, their government, and the world at large. History is filled with stories of free nations that fell under the spell cast by their governments who exploited the threat of terror.

    In fact, numerous presidents in American history already have used various specific threats to sidestep their Constitutional restraints. Today we are entering a nebulous world where our “enemy” cannot be defined, has no particular allegiance to one country, and is able to adopt new leaders at will. Rather than encourage a sense of resilience and independence in its citizens, America has chosen to amplify the terror threat in order to concentrate power in the hands of the State. The very first signpost on this historically familiar road to tyranny is an atmosphere of hate, suspicion, and vindictiveness. It first begins as an outwardly directed aggression and then rather abruptly turns inward upon itself.

    The good news is that freedom is won and lost in our hearts and minds. It is for this reason that we must state the obvious: we have clearly passed through the first “atmospheric” stage of approaching dictatorship, and have now entered the second — the open behavior of a dictatorship in the United States.

    It will never be announced on the evening news, and it is not likely to continue under an authoritarian leader in the mold of a Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. Likewise, it is not to say that Barack Obama is the first dictator of The United States, but rather is part of a continued expansion of executive power that is now so great that by all measures America can no longer be called a Land of the Free ruled by We the People. We stand no chance of reversing this forced march by false democracy until we understand where we are headed, who is leading us there, and for what purpose.

    1. Rule by force, not by law: This is where it all begins; when the legal framework that serves to define a country and its behavior is dismantled and intimidation tactics take over. In the most extreme case, drone bombings and assassinations have begun of non-citizens, as well as U.S. citizens, leading only to a debate over whether U.S. citizens should be stripped of citizenship before assassination. Governmental assassinations are in complete opposition to the laws of America and all international laws and agreements. In the last week we have also seen the official elimination of the 4th Amendment in Indiana, which is a clear precedent-setting ruling to say that the State now believes that it owns the property and person of its citizens. As a result, the militarized police have been granted unlimited access, which will only cause an escalation in cases of police brutality and misconduct. This is yet another addition to the precedent set by TSA groping and sexual harassment in airports, Child Protective Services kidnapping children of activists in pro-liberty causes, public school surveillance, and the lawless detention of activists who videotape the police. All areas of society are now ruled top-down through state legislation adopted to justify federal grants that have installed a police state apparatus in America. And these federal agencies such as the TSA actually believe they rule supreme over the states. We now live in a country where CIA abductions, overseas detention, torture and assassinations can be carried out against anyone without due process and without recourse if later cleared; in fact, the Supreme Court has just ended the legal debate by refusing to even consider appeals. Consequently, an atmosphere has been created where the government is permitted to break countless laws, like warrantless GPS tracking of activists by the FBI, while average citizens are guilty of pre-crimes. The increase in executive power under the aegis of National Security is our greatest threat and has led to all that follows.

    2. Crushing peaceful protest: Despite the current mission to defend protesters living in dictatorships overseas, when George Bush brought “free speech zones” to America it effectively spelled the end of peaceful, lawful street protest. Now the full force of brutality and surveillance has been unleashed upon the very people intent in stopping it through peaceful means. It is as sure a sign as any about totalitarian intentions, when anti-war activists have become one of the targets. The activist is beginning to equal terrorist in the all-seeing eye of the State, and any street gathering is a sure sign to let loose all of the riot weapons that were formerly used against insurgents on foreign battlefields. One look at the G20 protest in Pittsburgh, a recent Illinois University event, and the ongoing travesty of the torture and incarceration of Bradley Manning, and we can begin to see through the propaganda of White House officials when they talk about terrible dictators in other nations crushing dissent.

    3. Checkpoints: The slow acclimation of the populace to military-style checkpoints began first as border control operations up to 100 miles inland in what the ACLU calls the Constitution Free Zone. However, this has rather quickly morphed into local traffic stops across the country for “unsavory” characters such as those targeted by the Amber Alert system and DUI checkpoints. Though apparently well meaning, we are now far beyond even loosely suspected criminal activity, as VIPR teams have been introduced to take over public transportation and events. The TSA tyranny has hit the streets of America, now forming a de facto internal passport system straight out of the totalitarian playbook. The expanding checkpoint system dovetails with new initiatives such as the No Ride List proposal of Chuck Shumer, building upon the No Fly List already in place. These no-travel lists are extrajudicial, secret, and form a guilty-until-proven innocent framework that subverts freedom instead of protecting it. Incidentally, this element of constant suspicion is exactly what leads to a citizen spy network.

    4. Citizen spy network: Dictatorships know how difficult it is to rule over large populations with only the relatively small numbers of military and police. Despite the lessons of terror created by citizen surveillance that the East German Stasi files left us to examine, just such a network has been openly introduced to present-day America — and now it’s even more high-tech and populated. Secret black budget projects organized through the NSA like Perfect Citizen is just one among many. Our head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano — in partnership with retailer Wal-Mart — kicked off the See Something, Say Something program, which goes beyond the already high-tech surveillance apparatus of the NSA and turns each of us into an unpaid employee of the police state. Similarly, the web of cameras and data mining is far too massive for even the well-funded NSA, but with gadgets at our disposal we can now download apps to enable spying on our neighbors. Most dangerous of all, though, is new legislation introduced by Peter King that enshrines Janet Napolitano’s program and would provide immunity for accusers “acting in good faith” while reporting suspicious activities. This is guaranteed to lead to false arrests and disappearances, just as it has on every occasion throughout history when a society’s fear becomes self-directed.

    5. Executive Orders: This is means by which a dictator can come to power in the United States, despite a framework of checks and balances. Any time a country has centralized its power to the executive branch by erasing the checks and balances of separate legislative and judicial bodies, the result has been dictatorship. And this normally happens when national security is “threatened.” The Constitution is clear, however: only the legislature (Congress) can make laws. Yet, the use of Executive Orders has increased, beginning with President Clinton who came under fire for his abuse of this power, becoming one of only two presidents (the other was Truman’s E.O. 12954) to have an Executive Order struck down by the courts. His successors seem only to have been encouraged. Clinton issued 14, George W. issued over 60, and Obama is at 26 with many more to be expected if he wins a second term. Among the most egregious of Obama’s orders is the ability to hold detainees indefinitely even after a court has found them not guilty. Executive Orders also form the basis for control over regulatory agencies, which then impose the directives. While it seems multi-layered with potential checks and balances, all directives can now be issued top-down in dictatorial fashion.

    6. Control of regulatory agencies: This is the more insidious and, ultimately, dangerous tactic used by dictatorships. Dictatorship through regulation invades every facet of society without relying only upon overt violence. As mentioned above, only the legislature can make laws. However, the legislature has created “regulatory bodies” which make de facto laws through “violations” that rob us of freedom. There is no clearer example at the moment than the FDA, which has brought in near-total food control. The FDA is working in concert with a global agenda being foisted upon us through the Codex Alimentarius commission in Europe which essentially renders anything healthy as toxic, and all that is toxic as healthy. Regulatory agencies in the United States have engendered a system where the corporate-government revolving door leads to corruption and consolidation — not free markets. The current regulations are opposed to the principles of freedom and independence, and favor only those in positions to make money from more control; so more control and less freedom is what we can expect under these federal directives controlling the states.

    7. President declares war unilaterally: Despite the parade of lies that led to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it pales in comparison with the new war in Libya and other interventions and sanctions throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Through Executive Orders, outlined above, the President can declare war so long as there is a resolution passed by Congress. This has been dispensed with through Obama’s illegal wars, and it appears that Congress could go even further by ceding its power completely to the president. The disregard for Congressional approval is already dictatorial, but if this last step is taken we will effectively be living in a permanent state of war tantamount to WWIII that will be controlled at the sole discretion of the current and future presidents. This unilateral power to drag nations into war without checks and balances is a hallmark of dictatorships where entire countries are swept along purely by the ideology of their leader. As Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell have stated, “We have a dictatorship when it comes to foreign policy.” With the latest development, it is actually a dictatorship when it comes to domestic policy as well, since America’s espionage network has turned inward, and this new presidential power would not be limited to overseas actions.

    8. Torture: Torture has long been a tactic used by America. In fact it runs the leading school on its methods. The School of the Americas (now called WHINSEC) has been responsible for training Latin American dictators and their thugs on how to intimidate the local population and rule with an iron fist. However, the torture debate has hit mainstream media in a serious discussion about its effectiveness, especially following the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Aside from the despicable morals involved, torture doesn’t work for intelligence gathering, according to experts. Furthermore, the legalization of torture was what really brought the dreaded Russian secret police out into the open. When such a declaration is made, it is literally a recruiting strategy to find the criminals and sadists who would love to be part of such a system. Torture is not normal work for normal people; it is the work of psychopaths such as Dick Cheney who loves the tactic of waterboarding so much that he has stated it should be brought back and used more widely. No nation that uses torture to obtain confessions can be called legitimate. It is only used as a tool of intimidation and oppression by totalitarian regimes.

    9. Forced labor camps (gulags): This is when we know that a totalitarian society has arrived in full and our society is run completely by coercion. As Naomi Wolf has illustrated, “With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now.” Additionally, a silent gulag has already been created inside America, starting with the nation’s prisoners who are increasingly locked up within a for-profit prison-industrial system that makes money both on the construction of prisons as well as the cheap labor force. The Defense Department itself pays prisoners 23 cents per hour to build its weapons systems, which is clearly a type of slave labor. One might immediately argue that there is a huge difference between real prisoners and innocent people swept off the streets as they were in Stalinist Russia, for example, or in modern day North Korea and China. That is to presume, however, that everyone in prison is guilty; and, if they are, that the crimes which have sent them there really constitute offenses worthy of prison sentences. America has the world’s largest prison population and the highest incarceration rate precisely because nearly everything is a jail-time crime, and there is money to be made by the growing corporate prison system. The War on Drugs alone has led to a disproportionate number of inmates for non-violent offenses among the already 2.4 million in jail and the 5 million on probation. With the economy imploding, even debtors prisons have made a comeback. Although FEMA camps are still relegated to fringe conspiracy theory, we should be wary of the potential endgame for such a proven system of oppression. Through Continuity of Government, national emergency directives would openly suspend the Constitution and could possibly lead once again to internment camps in America.

    10. Control over all communications (propaganda): Once the physical framework of dictatorial control has been set up, then the justification for its continued presence can commence. The type of high-tech control grid now put into place in The United States to this point has only been explored in works of fiction such as 1984, which has led Paul Craig Roberts to draw a correct parallel. A public emergency announcement system has in fact been in place since the ’50s, whereby the president can interrupt television and radio to deliver critical messages. However, this has been recently expanded even beyond the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as the FCC voted to mandate (PDF) “the first-ever Presidential alert to be aired across the United States on the Nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS).” Now, with the arrival of the trackable smartphone that can be hijacked to bring government messages (emergency or not) we find ourselves “willing” participants in a scenario reaching far beyond 1984. Using the bin Laden assassination and the threat of guaranteed reprisal, the government has announced that the president will break into these private networks to carry PLAN government messages and warnings; and there is no opt-out. This is slated to go even further, as Infowars has reported: “All smart devices have federally-mandated control and kill switches added. This will give the government total control over incoming information to all smart phones regardless of manufacturer. These policies dovetail with the roll out of Smart Meters and the new Google controlled smart homes which will send messages over the power-lines to your appliances to control power consumption or simply cut the power. In addition, new ‘green’ lighting systems are being installed in government buildings which send and receive data through controlled pulses of light. And now the Pentagon wants the authority to run it all.” At the same time, we have seen the buildup in rhetoric leading toward Internet control. As always, an unsavory element of society (pirating) has been used as one of the pretexts to introduce government control over private industry, while cybersecurity lays claim to total control over the infrastructure for national emergencies. Ideologically, Obama advisor, Cass Sunstein, has proposed a fairness doctrine for the Internet that would enable a government overlay on private websites that would offer counter opinions to anti-establishment content. We are approaching a situation worse than China, where both mental intrusion via propaganda and physical intrusion via systems control are merging. It is not comforting to know, also, that the president made a shocking claim recently that he can censor unclassified documents. There is clearly a concerted effort to take over all forms of information, permitting the government to alter it or censor it before consumption by its citizens. In any other country we would call this a dictatorship.

    It would appear that the United States should be a called a dictatorship based on the above criteria. Once the atmosphere is established, average participants need not be part of a conspiracy, as they tend to unquestioningly go with the flow. However, we must acknowledge that the U.S. is in a vastly different position than totalitarian regimes of the past, as well as her contemporaries. America has a history that is built upon the foundation of resistance to dictators. This memory needs to be invoked by following the protections outlined in our founding documents, particularly the power of the states to resist Federal tyranny. The protections therein can be restored once we have the courage to admit how much freedom we have lost, then refuse to succumb to a fear-based perception of reality. Only then will Liberty, Love and Peace prevail!

  40. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    “Clueless as usual”.

    No need to be so hard on yourself! It is quite an achievement — especially for the rare brevity in your work — to post a one-paragraph comment that comprehensively mis-represents “progressive”, “radical”, Spanish history, contemporary events, and my position on both historical and current developments.

    Best,

    S.

  41. Castellio says:

    Pak at 10:16.

    Great!

  42. Fara says:

    $4 billion Saudi aid for Egypt

    RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has pledged $4 billion in aid to Egypt, the chief of Egypt’s ruling military council said Saturday. The aid will be in the form of soft loans, deposits and grants, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the council, was quoted by Egypt’s MENA news agency as saying. The agency did not provide a time frame or other details.

    The Saudi Press Agency said Tantawi called Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Saturday and thanked him for providing the financial assistance to his cash-strapped country.

    The Egyptian leader highlighted the historic ties between the two Arab countries and commended the Kingdom for standing by his country during “these trying times,” the SPA said. The two leaders also discussed major regional developments and ways of strengthening bilateral relations.

    Cairo has been asking donors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help bridge a funding gap through mid-2012 estimated at between $10 billion and $12 billion in the wake of the mass protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11.

    The month-long anti-government protest has caused tourism and investor revenue to dry up at a time when high popular expectations have increased the pressure on the budget.

    The mass circulation Al-Ahram daily quoted financial sources in Cairo as saying the Saudi package would support Egypt’s general budget, the central bank, development and other projects and bond purchases. Egypt’s economy contracted by an estimated 7 percent in the January-to-March quarter.

    http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article420017.ece

  43. Fara says:

    Pakistan wants China to build naval base

    http://arabnews.com/world/article420118.ece

  44. Persian Gulf says:

    a guy that thinks he is expert in everything. with a controversial Ph.d degree, of course.

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/D9_CXajglXQ

  45. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Each system of governance has ways of filtering candidates for its presidency to ensure that whomever is finally elected holds views that fall within the acceptable range of the norms that undergird and perpetuate the status quo. It is inconceivable that a candidate with a radically different vision would be allowed to be viewed as a serious contender in any of the “democracies” of the West.

    Iran, being a sensible country, is no different (with that little proviso that it does not carry on the farcical pretense to “democracy” and insists on being fully transparent in its policy of candidature screening).

    Thus, when Ahmadinejad served our country well in his former capacities, he was promoted to Mayor of Tehran. And when he performed well there, he was given a chance at the presidency. The same applies to Qalibaf who served his country well in NAJA (the armed forces) and has done a brilliant job as mayor of Tehran. No doubt, he will be given a shot at the presidency.

    The point is that there is a screening process that is in place to prevent chaos and revolutionary upheaval and radical, unpredictable change. And a good thing it is, too, when the government serves the interests of the people and is not some runaway Fraankenshteen on steroids. And it does not make a difference to the system, once those candidates are selected, which one the people ultimately choose.

    Rafsanjani was a neo-liberal bazaari capitalist; Khatami a flaming liberal teenage groupie with a crush on Uncle Sam. The regime was large enough and stable enough to tolerate them for not 4 but 8 years each. The problem with the Green analysis of the elections of 1388, having swallowed the West’s “democracy” meme hook line and sinker, is that it is based on the false premise that it would make a difference to the established order of the Islamic Republic of Iran whether Ahmadinejad was re-elected or whether his tenure was truncted by Mousavi. It would not make an iota of difference to the system as a whole. Mousavi’s foreign policy and nuclear energy policy would have been identical to that of the present one, and his domestic policy would have been more statist (i.e., less neo-liberal than Ahmadinejad’s, who, for good reason, has pushed a sensible privitization agenda). And as far as social norms, Iranian youth never enjoyed the Glasnost that obtains now in the streets and parks and malls of Iran in the 16 years of the last two administrations.

    The (for the Greens sad) truth is that the regime is alive and thriving and does not need to resort to cheating in elections. Had Mousavi won, he would still be giving Uncle Sam the finger and telling him he would be better off pounding salt than waiting for Iran to shoulder the yoke of yanqui imperialism.

    So, if there is no motive, the “person of interest” must be eliminated from the list of suspects. Which leaves… Uncle Sam and his bag of trick, who, as usual, was up to no good.

  46. Pak says:

    By the way, comrade Pirouz 2.0, your declaration that Iran is a liberal democracy is, as always, stupid.

  47. Pak says:

    Dear my Marxist comrade Pirouz 2.0,

    I came across an academic that you might find interesting. His name is Benno Teschke, and he teaches at the University of Sussex, UK. I just read his article, ‘Theorizing the Westphalian System of States: International Relations from Absolutism to Capitalism’, and it provides a really useful Marxist-orientated perspective of the evolution of modern international relations.

    He covers many topics, including the concepts of sovereignty, political accumulation, and capitalism, and basically concludes that England was a massive game-changer due to its early adoption of capitalist parliamentary sovereignty.

  48. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior:
    “Of course, Billary could not resist a bit of snidery –
    “as long as Iranian government continues to stifle your voice, we will stand with you.”
    *
    She forgot to add the necessary corollary that as long as the voices of US students remains stifled by stupefaction, or as long as what little voices are heard remain marginalized to irrelevancy, we’re sittin’ pretty, but as soon as there is even a hint of things starting to go south for the government of the Fortune 500 by the lackeys of the Fortune 500 and for pitifully short-term interests of the Fortune 500, we’ll go medieval on their ass like we did in Kent State back in ’68.

    ON a cheerier note: “like a Barbie doll that exploded”?? Laughed out loud on that one!

  49. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm
    I think, with a bit of research, you’ll find that Franco is dead.

    *

    No shit. Clueless as usual. Here, I’ll spell it out for you: it was a reference to a time when progressives from all over the world flocked to Spain to fight on the side of progressive ideals against the forces of reaction as headed by Franco (but that if you were alive at the time, given your reactionary mindset with its blind obedience to your neo-Fascist paymasters, you would be flocking there to cheer Franco on.)

  50. Fara says:

    Voice of Tehran says:
    May 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    This doesn’t make much of a difference. So, Iranian students are given a multiple-entry visa which is valid only for two years. How about after two years? Are they likely to get another visa to enter the US? International students rarely leave the country during their first few years at school. I have seen students who just had a few months left to complete their programs. But, they had to abandon the program, after more than 3-4 years in the program, simply because they were denied visa to enter back to their schools in the US.

  51. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Yes, I heartily agree Hillary Clinton should encourage Americans to visit Iran, and to observe Iranian laws while in the country!

  52. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    The “race” element in the Zionist narrative is unsound, to say the least. And if 100,000 black Africans from Ethiopia are “Jewish”, as are scores of thousands of blue-eyed blonds from Germany are “Jewish” what is the racial element? It is cultural, and has a great deal to do with wealth and power these days – - all over the world.

  53. Photi says:

    fyi,

    i understand the cause of this perpetual war to be 100% the fault of the Zionists and their lapdogs. I understand Zionism to be a racist ideology, not a religious ideology. Therefore the war in Palestine is a racist war conducted by a bunch of racist scumbags. Are you saying here that you equate Zionism with Judaism?

  54. Fiorangela says:

    NIAC pressed for the change in Iranian student visas; overall, it’s a good thing, and interesting that Clinton announced it in the midst of the Bibi and AIPAC do DC gig — maybe Billary is sending a message to Israel that US will reach out to Iran if it wants to, and does not feel compelled to ask AIPAC’s permission?

    Of course, Billary could not resist a bit of snidery –

    “as long as Iranian government continues to stifle your voice, we will stand with you.”

    does that mean that US will re-invoke the visa restrictions on Iranian students if the Iranian government does — does what, exactly: licks Clinton’s toes? Tells her (discreetly) that her ruffled collar makes her look like a Barbie doll that exploded?

    Maybe Clinton ought to visit Iran.

  55. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning, it would be a far better thing if Hillary Clinton urged more Americans — especially American decision makers — to visit Iran, WITHOUT SPYING or attempting to subvert the country in which they would be guests.

  56. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Many British security experts said ten years ago that a “war” on “terror” was idiotic and counter-productive. A number of American experts agreed.

    The Taliban of course are Muslims, and only too happy to blow other Muslims to pieces, even if those Muslims are women and children. But if the victims are Muslims, the “religious war” character of the violence is limited, and it is not part of a war between Christians and Muslims.

  57. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    I think, with a bit of research, you’ll find that Franco is dead.

    S.

  58. James Canning says:

    Voice of Tehran,

    Would it not be a good thing for more Iranians to visit the US? For that matter, wouldn’t the direct New York-Tehran air connection sought by Iran for years now, be a good thing?

  59. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think if Gaddafi had handled his PR better, after the outbreak of the rebellion in Libya, changes were good there would have been no “western” intervention in that civil war. William Hague was opposed to intervention, and David Cameron appraently accepted as genuine Gaddafi’s ranting statements about slaughtering civilians in Benghazi.

    I think all European countries would like to see a prosperous, independent Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  60. Voice of Tehran says:

    Sorry for the glitch.

    Spain Unrest May 2011 :

    //http://www.soltv.tv/soltv2/index.html
    //http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s91YSMq3XEI&NR=1
    //http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40hLz19C-0A&feature=youtu.be
    //http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaRYo71oyqc&feature=youtu.be

  61. Voice of Tehran says:

    Billary , you nasty bit…
    Now she is begging for Iranians to come to visit the US and is easing the visa restrictions. I am unable to comment this farce.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlmeewemk2g

  62. Voice of Tehran says:

    Timo says:
    May 21, 2011 at 7:51 am
    “voice of Teheran: While there is demonstrations in Spain, that link was footage from last year.”

    Sorry , here the correct links from a German Blog , some of them very disturbing:

    http://www.soltv.tv/soltv
    //http://www.youtube.com/wa…
    //http://www.youtube.com/wa…
    //http://www.youtube.com/wa…

  63. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    May 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm
    VoT,
    “Riots in Spain: WHERE IS SCOTT LUCAS?”
    Don’t blame me. I haven’t been anywhere near the place this week.

    *

    Why not? I hear they are giving out free Sangria to pro-Franco agent provocateurs.

  64. fyi says:

    James Canning says: May 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    If I am correct in my conceptualization of the war in Palestine as a religious war between Judaism and Islam, then it follows that both the Western Champions of Israel (and Jews) and the Muslim World are marching towards a generalized religious war. Such a war, by definition, will be global.

    In fact, the Great War on Terror is the War That Dares not Speak Its Name: from Hindu Kush to New York City battle is raging between Muslims and Christians; 3 hot wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya with Syria and Iran on the list. With scattered military actions in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

    In WWII, the Allied Powers published a manifesto stating their war aims.

    What are the war aims here and now? It seems to be changing every day.

  65. fyi says:

    Photi says: May 21, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I disagree with your conceptualization of the war in Palestine as a race-war.

    I do not see any evidence for it.

    But may be I am being selective in my search for evidence that only supported my pre-concieved opinion.

    If you could please supply your evidence I will be much obliged to you.

  66. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    I agree with you the Israel/Palestine problem has much less to do with religion than people seem to assume. And the Arab countries have made clear they accept Israel within its 1967 borders. Or are willing to accept Israel within those borders, to be more precise. I see little element of “religious war” as claimed by FYI, apart from a portion of the truly fanatical illegal Jewish colonists in the West Bank.

  67. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Bravo. I might add that FYI is well aware of the decline of “mainstream” US Protestant denominations, and the growth of “low church” Evangelical sects that stress emotion and have little regard for intellectual rigour.

  68. Scott Lucas says:

    VoT,

    “Riots in Spain: WHERE IS SCOTT LUCAS?”

    Don’t blame me. I haven’t been anywhere near the place this week.

    S.

  69. Rehmat says:

    “It is the duty of the political leaders to systematically refuse statements that are outrageous or hateful. The anti-Semitic views expressed by the Iranian President are totally unacceptable. I condemn those vigorously,” Yves Leterme, prime minister of Belgian, address at European Jewish Congress, November 10, 2008.

    Now the Israeli Mafia is after Yves Leterme’s government for denying Holocaust.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/belgian-storm-in-zionist-eyes/

  70. Timo says:

    Turkey warn Israel not to create a bloodbath again, if, Turkey will generate a “response”..

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110521/wl_mideast_afp/turkeyisraeldiplomacyflotilla

  71. hans says:

    You think this man is the President of the world super power
    watch :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlVPV560RZU&feature=player_embedded and make your own mind.

  72. Photi says:

    in fact fyi, framing a Peace to Last a Thousand Years in the context of a general peace between the Jews, Christians, and Muslims just might bring some vision to the whole process. This is exactly where Turkey, Egypt, and Iran need to give the world that vision of peace between the faiths. The Jews are schizo atm.

  73. Photi says:

    FYI,

    the war in Palestine is a racist war began and perpetuated by the Zionists. The Muslims have already recognized Israel’s June 1967 borders. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with human decency. Zionists have turned America into a nation of hypocrites. See Norm Finkelstein shred that J-street weasel on Democracy now.

  74. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 21, 2011 at 12:39 am

    The war in Palestine is a religious war between Judaism and Islam.

  75. Photi says:

    Panel on Democracy Now! discussing the President’s latest speech:

    Guests:

    Norman Finkelstein, author of several books on the Israel-Palestine conflict, including This Time We Went Too Far: Truth & Consequences of the Gaza Invasion.

    Noura Erakat, Palestinian human rights attorney, activist and adjunct professor of international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University. She is also the legal advocacy coordinator for the Badil Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights and co-founder of Jadaliyya Ezine.

    Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a nonprofit advocacy group based in the United States that lobbies for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/5/20/did_obamas_mideast_speech_signal_us

  76. Photi says:

    Timo,

    From the article you linked regarding the spies:

    “Spying in Iran can carry the death penalty.”

    Another way of saying that is ‘Being a traitor in Iran can carry the death penalty.’ Maybe the law itself says something about spying, but reading ‘spying’ instead of ‘treason’ in that article makes it sound cleansed.

  77. Timo says:

    voice of Teheran: While there is demonstrations in Spain, that link was footage from last year.

  78. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Here’s a 2-minute ad spot for Ron Paul for President:

    http://dailybail.com/home/ron-paul-vs-obama-2012.html

    I’m just curious to know how many of us think that a man with such a platform (right, wrong or indifferent, but a platform that is truly different, a real alternative to the republocrats) has ANY chance whatever of surviving the meat grinder that is American politics. Let us assume that money is no object and that his message has widespread resonance at teh grassroots level, that he can get his name on teh ballot on all 50 states, that he can (somehow, miraculously) get to be included in the nationally televised debates, get teh Diebold voteing machines actually to tell the truth this time for a change, etc., etc. Given that, how many people here believe that he would actually be sworn in, and once that happens, what his chances of actually implementing some of the reforms mentioned in the ad?

    I personally think that he has a snowball’s chance in hell, which, if our “scientists” are to be believed, is getting even warmer due to “climate change”, because I believe the US to be a plutocracy or oligopoly which uses the worn thin “democracy” veneer to manufacture the consent of the sheebol, as that Zionist left gatekeeper would say. And needless to say, I am not (as usual) interested in the opinions of teh Paks, Balas, adn Scotty-Boys of the world, who’s all too predictable mental migetry would have then spew that adolescent bilge that of course, if we the BEEBOL elect someone, then of COURSE he will carry out his platform promises and all the people with the real power will step aside and bow to the will of teh beebol.

    Will he be shot? Will the party with two right wings coopt some of his policies and marginalize the rest of him and his movement? And if the answer is that nothing will change, then the logical question to follow would be, so then How exactly can change be brought about in a system that has become so closed as to be on a par in practice with a regime which bludgeons and shoots its oposition to death, except that this one does not have to go there thanks to the skullduggery of teh oligarcy’s PR machine.

    Just askin’.

  79. Photi says:

    more from the same place as the previous comment:

    “The irony of the alliance between Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists is that the one ideology promotes the ultimate destruction of the other. As Smith pointed out, the “Christians United for Israel” is all about Israel, not about the Israelis, and only a little surface digging into Christian Zionism shows how anti-Semitic it really is. So much so that Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the ceaseless champions of Zionism in this country, has called the Christian right one of the direst threats to American Jews. This has not prevented top Israeli officials from paying homage to the Christian right, including Ariel Sharon (before he descended into a comatose state brought on by the withdrawal of the settlers from Gaza, Pat Robertson opined), the Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, and a host of others. The ability of CUFI and other far right Christian religious leaders like Jerry Farwell and Pat Robertson to raise money for Israel, including Israeli settlements, is well documented.

    Christian Zionism, Smith concluded, has a fundamental lack of earthly concerns, is divorced from reality, and undermines the work of politics. Its practical impact is the killing of people in the Holy Land. The recent statement by the Christian religious leaders of Jerusalem that warned against Christian Zionism’s policies of racist intolerance and perpetual war was much needed, but it should have come from America’s religious leaders.”

  80. Photi says:

    Castellio,

    To add to your request of fyi to stop with all the Protestant bashing, here is an excerpt of a Lutheran Reverend’s viewpoint on Zionism:

    from: http://www.elcjhl.org/palestine/zionism/zionism.asp

    Christian Zionism: An Egregious Threat to U.S. – Middle East Understanding
    October 26, 2005 Council for the National Interest press release

    Christian Zionism, a belief that paradise for Christians can only be achieved once Jews are in control of the Holy Land, is gathering strength in the United States and forging alliances that are giving increasingly weird shape to American policy toward the Middle East. The nature of the movement and its detrimental impact on policy was the subject of the 22nd Capitol Hill public hearing presented by the Council for the National Interest yesterday.
    A new Zogby International poll commissioned by the CNI Foundation shows that 31 percent of those surveyed in the national poll strongly believe or somewhat believe in the ideas behind Christian Zionism, defined as “the belief that Jews must have all of the promised land, including all of Jerusalem, to facilitate the second coming of the messiah.” Other polls bear similar messages, that 53% of Americans believe that Israel was given by God to the Jews (Pew), and that 59% of the American public believes the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelations will come true (CNN/Time.)
    The international implications of such beliefs are profound, as an increasing number of Americans believe that God sets foreign policy goals. Rev. Robert O. Smith, Lutheran pastor at the University of Chicago, one of the speakers at the hearing, discussed the development of this belief that dates to the 19th century and how it has received a powerful new impetus with the founding this year of a new group of the Christian right called Christians United for Israel (CUFI). And yet while it works closely with Jewish Zionist organizations in the US, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to promote the continued occupation of Palestine by the Israel (land God has given the Jews), it works just as effectively in dehumanizing the original inhabitants of the Holy Land, both Muslims and Christians.

  81. Castellio says:

    Arnold… where is Lenny Bruce when you need him?

    Obama’s routine: “we believe in what is right, except for now, when we can’t. Now we have to do what’s wrong, but really, it’s right to do what’s wrong when you can’t do what’s right.” Then a pause. “Let’s be clear about that.” Then another pause. “So we’re doing the right thing, because we know it’s wrong.”

  82. Castellio says:

    FYI writes “If you think the war in Palestine is about geopolitics you are dreaming.”

    Are you contrasting geopolitics to religious affiliation, or are you suggesting something else?

    I’m missing what you mean.

  83. Bala says:

    I’m still waiting for your admission that you were wrong on Syria. You have no credibility left – perhaps admitting to being wrong on Syria would be a step in the right direction for you.

  84. Arnold Evans says:

    For me the key line of the speech was where Obama said “sometimes our short-term actions will conflict with our long term vision.”

    That was so typical of US presidents and Obama in particular.

    Everyone has noticed this already. But nobody believes the US has a realistic long term vision.

  85. Rehmat says:

    On May 14-15, 2011, Tehran housted the International Conference on Global Alliance Against Terrorism for a Just Peace. The conference attracted over 100 scientists, scholars, writers and peace activists from 60 countries.

    A number of posters and cartoons on the theme of just peace as well as photos of the families of the victims of terrorism in Iran and the Middle East were put on display at exhibitions held at the Summit Conference Hall in one of the preliminary programs of the conference.

    The speakers included Dr. Chandra Mozaffar (Malaysia), Kamal al-Halbawi (leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood), Omar Hazrat Orsiov (Russian Grand Mufti), Dr. Sa’idA Reaza Ameli (Islamic Republic), Professor Fazlollah Mousavi (Head of Tehran University), Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri (Islamic Republic), Davoud Ameri (Islamic Republic), Imam Mohammad Al-Asi (USA), Sa’eed Al-Shahabi (Bahrain), Rabbi Yisroel David Weiss (USA), Rabbi Yeshaye Rosenberg (USA) and many others. Former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney could not attend the conference but sent a message entiled “US Policy is Rooted in Lies, Injustice, and War“.

    “The United States has never earnestly worked for world peace, but, quite the contrary, it has always made every effort to promote terrorism throughout the world. The US is also exerting pressure on Iran to prevent this country from achieving the goals of its campaign against terrorism,” said Kamal al-Halbawi.

    “How wonderful to be at a Conference where the word “love” is used; we are here because we love humankind. We are here from all corners of the earth; we are against terrorism; we want peace. However, the US is coming apart as it terrorizes the world and applies the death penalty to whole countries. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that we are a country of guided missiles and misguided men. Today, that is still true. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also said that the U.S. was the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet and sadly, that is still true, too. But, there is some good news, too. And that is, despite the tightly controlled U.S. media, despite the deceptive political structure that is not now–if it ever was–democratic, the core American people who are the true peace people, are beginning to see the truth. We cannot bring our country to peace and respect for human dignity without the solid foundation of the truth. Those in the service of hatred, war, Zionism are being seen for what they are,” wrote Cynthia McKinney.

    “If we analyze terrorism in a deeper way, we will find out that the biggest terrorists are accusing others of terrorism. The US in the year1945 committed the biggest crime by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan and killed 250 thousand people in Vietnam. As long as this particular nation wants to dominate humanity, terrorism can not be eliminated,” said Dr. Chandra Mozaffar, a human-rights activist, writer and author from Malaysia.

    “Islam is a great relevance to preserve and emphasize on the principle of justice. Islam is the founder of this theory and has founded the most important bases for opposition to terrorism,” said Russian Grand Mufti.

    “Stability and resistance of the Iranian nation against challenges has not only resulted grace and blessings for Iran, but for other Islamic countries as well. The “Allah O Akbar” slogan that the Iranian nation used in the years before the overthrowing of the Shah of Iran, we can see that this slogan is used by other Muslim nations in the world,” said Mohammad Al-Asi, The Imam of the Friday Prayers in Washington.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/tehran-conference-against-terrorism/

  86. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Protestant Christians: Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodists, and assorted others are so enamored of Ancient Israel that they are willing to fight Islam to the last Jew.

    The Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church, learnt 800 years ago that there are no margins in a religious war with Islam.

    If you think the war in Palestine is about geopolitics you are dreaming.

  87. Rehmat says:

    Before someone give ‘high-five’ to Barack Obama for his support for a Palestine state – he should know that Benji Netanyahu has already rejected Obama’s vision of a demilitarized Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. He should also keep in mind the fact that it’s not the politician at the Capitol Hill who rule America but the ones in Knesset.

    Obama’s latest deception

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/obamas-latest-deception/

  88. RAshid says:

    netanyahu looks like a giant baby,a spoiled kid that urged obama to speak on Iran instead of the israeli refusal to accept 1967 borders.

  89. James Canning says:

    Taki Theodoacopulos has some good comments, “Pre ’67 Borders or Bust”.

    http://takimag.com/article/pre_67_borders_or_bust

    Quote: “Netanyahu and his Likud gangsters rely on the American Jewish community to pressure Obama…”

  90. James Canning says:

    Tas,

    Obama has to romance Bibi Netanyahu because the Democrats in the US Congress include numerous stooges of the ISRAEL LOBBY. Which is but one reason the US will be unable to offer the “leadership” Hillary Clinton spouted off about, prior to Obama’s speech.

  91. Tas says:

    netanyahu and obama speak http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l28xJitnP78

    same old desperate way to smear Iran, but we all know who the hypocrite are.
    no peace in sight with such demagogues in the US and israel.

  92. Castellio says:

    In the world in which I live, the Protestants have taken the lead in anti-Zionist action, and it’s for that reason I find your characterization not accurate. Would that the Catholics would truly get on board. It wouldn’t be remiss to point out that Tony Blair found more welcome and relief as a Catholic, and converted to it.

    The evangelical Christians (which is a branch of Protestantism) are another matter. Saying the evangelical Christians are the primary reason for the metamorphoses rings more true to my experience (but still an exageration), and speaks more directly to the cultural influences on the Conservative party in Canada.

    The evangelical Christians privilege the mystery cult or miracle cult aspects of Christianity, the mainstream (old, if you like) Protestant denominations tend to favour a more benign rationalist approach.

    There is no reconciliation between Islam and the Christian miracle cults… one is the path to damnation for the other. The reconciliation between Islam and the more rationalist elements of Protestant Christianity is very real, and was acknowledged even in the 1700′s.

    The term you’re looking for is evangelical… or so I think.

    Are they the

  93. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Yes, my mistake in lumping France with the Protestants.

    But I cannot let the Protestants off the hook; their romance with ancient Israel has been the principal cause of the metamorphosis of the communal war between European Jews and the Arab (Catholic) Christians and Muslims in Palestine into religious war.

  94. Castellio says:

    I wish that Harper didn’t have a clue. I think he’s made a choice. It is a racist choice, and given his active membership in his church in Alberta, structured much like the Presbyterian churches in South Korea, but a bit of an anomoly in Canada… perhaps I should concede FYI’s point.

  95. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Yes, France takes a more reasonable line than the US or Canada, on Israel/Palestine. Harper does not seem to have a clue on this issue.

  96. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    At least France, the UK and Germany voted in the UNSC to condemn continuing growth of the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank. France may well vote in favor of UN recognition of independent Palestine, with 1967 borders, later this year.

  97. James Canning says:

    I continue to think that foolish “supporters” of Israel in the US, think that being hostile toward Iran is away of facilitating continuing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israelis. And that many of these foolish “supporters” of Israel see Iran as interfering with Netanyahu’s goal of keeping much of the West Bank permanently.

    Obama should endorse the 2002 Saudi peace plan, with changes re: right of return.

  98. Castellio says:

    FYI… I wish you’d quit with the Protestant bashing. I do sincerely. It might also have occured to you that France is on your list and is Catholic, but then again, it might not have occured to you. If you look into the ISM and other committed organizations, not just the armchair support organizations, you might be surprised.

    I do agree that Canada, UK, France, Australia and Germany will be (are) backing Israel in it expansionist policies.

  99. fyi says:

    Castellio says: May 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Canada, UK, France, Germany will all be in the same corner – for Israel in the religious war in Palestine.

    Australia will most likely be there as well.

    Protestants and Jews against Muslims; splendid exercise of statesmanship.

  100. Castellio says:

    Ah, apologies to James, I have that wrong in terms of France, or at least I’m premature in my statements. I do apologize.

    But Canada is, unfortunately, now committed to the Bantu solution…

  101. Castellio says:

    Canada and France side with Israel against US:

    “The Harper government is refusing to join the United States in calling for a return to 1967 borders as a starting point for Mideast peace, a position that has drawn sharp criticism from Canada’s staunch ally Israel.

    At a briefing ahead of the upcoming G8 summit in France, federal officials said the basis for the negotiations must be mutually agreed upon.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-wont-back-obamas-mideast-peace-proposal/article2030146/

    James has been saying for some time, wrongly, that France would side against Israel on this.

    Given the American de facto support for the expansion of the colonial settlements, we have to ask ourselves how much this current posturing is, at all, real.