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How Many Times Will Kerry Let Netanyahu Kick Him in the Nuts?

10:48 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

We don’t know yet.

Kerry & Netanyahu

“Netanyahu’s doing it because over the years he and most high-ranking Israeli officials have come to loath Americans.”

I.  Upon his return to do whatever he does in Israel and Palestine to push for some sort of a deal that both the Israelis and Palestinians can accommodate (an utterly impossible task), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was treated to this tirade by the Israeli Prime Minister:

Welcome back to Jerusalem, John. I want to use this opportunity to express once again my personal appreciation and the appreciation of the people of Israel for your unremitting personal efforts to advance peace between us and the Palestinians. I know that you’re committed to peace, I know that I’m committed to peace, but unfortunately, given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace.

A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says – how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I’m wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women – axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets – what’s a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What’s he supposed to think about what he should do vis-a-vis Israelis and vis-a-vis the state of Israel? So it’s not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks, even after we learned that at least in one case – I stress, at least in one case – those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.

Netanyahu is referring, in part, to the record of some of the imprisoned Palestinians whose release is being celebrated in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. What he was doing, in the statement, was paying Kerry back for his moment of candor, when, back in early November, he warned:

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, warned Israel on Friday that it faced a third intifada if peace talks with the Palestinians failed.

During a visit to Israel aimed at putting the faltering peace process back on track, Mr Kerry told Israeli and Palestinian television that the alternative to success was a potential eruption of Palestinian violence.

‘The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos,” he said. “I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?’

It was strong language from America’s top diplomat, clearly frustrated at the lack of progress in a process in which he has personally invested considerable effort.

Using the Arabic word for uprising, it recalled the first and second Palestinian intifadas which ran from 1987 to 1993 and from 2000 to 2005. Each period of escalated violence claimed thousands of lives, with the toll particularly heavy on the Palestinian side.

The so-called “Peace Process” talks seem to be entering new levels of absurdity:

‘We’re not expecting a breakthrough on this trip,’ Martin Indyk, the State Department’s mediator on the conflict, said today in a supposedly-anonymous briefing on this week’s urgent round of peace talks in Ramallah and Jerusalem.

Indyk said there is no ‘agreement’ between the parties, but Secretary of State John Kerry is seeking an agreement on a ‘framework’ for continued talks, not so different from the Clinton parameters of 2000. Indyk, a longtime advocate for Israel, said part of the framework is a possible announcement of final borders of a Palestinian state:

We’re trying to reach an understanding on what the final borders will be.

The briefing was supposedly anonymous– ‘with a Senior State Department Official who will be previewing the Secretary’s trip to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week’– but the first clue to Indyk’s identity came when the anonymous official mentioned his ’35-year experience on this particular conflict.” Then the briefing’s unnamed moderator outed him: “It’s an agreement on the terms, as Martin said– right– which has not been achieved in the past, at least in recent history.’

The talks will never get past Israeli demands that Palestine recognize the land stolen from the latter as “the Jewish State,” and Palestinian demands for a level of autonomy that would give them the same degree of statehood as Belize, Andorra, Singapore or Bermuda, to name similarly sized countries.

II.  Netanyahu isn’t kicking Kerry in the nuts because Kerry deserves it. He’s doing it because over the years he and most high-ranking Israeli officials have come to loath Americans. Even though the Obama administration’s record of supporting Israeli policies is perhaps the most disgustingly pro-Israeli in our country’s history, that matters less to the Israelis than that Obama is black and that they can sow seeds of distrust toward him in our country through Republican politicians, and through Democrats up for close elections in red states.  Is that cynical, or what?

The most disgustingly anti-American, anti-Obama interview I’ve read this week comes from The Times of Israel, in an interview of former U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren with the Times‘ David Horovitz. Justin Raimondo, in his first 2014 essay, got to the heart of the anti-Americanism in the interview:

Read the rest of this entry →

“We have reached agreement between E3+3 and Iran” – EU High Rep. Hugh Ashton

6:08 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Editor’s Note: President Obama to speak on the deal shortly

Watch here.

This is breaking:

@ Laura Rozen:

Wow

Ministers will sign Iran nuclear deal at the Palais and then Ashton, Zarif, Kerry and others will brief

@AP:

BREAKING: French foreign minister: Iran, 6 world powers reach deal on Iranian nuclear program

No news stories yet.

Sheldon Adelson Wants Obama To Nuke Tehran

1:54 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

After watching the crowd react to Sheldon Adelson’s proposal Tuesday evening to nuke Tehran, I started to visibly shake.  I haven’t been this upset in a while.  Maybe it is because one of the books I’m reading right now is Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser, about how close to accidental thermonuclear war we’ve sometimes come.

As appalling as Adelson’s statement was, what got me shaking was the incontestable fact that the audience applauded the following utterance, as the President of Yeshiva University, Richard M. Joel, JD, sat there mutely.  Here’s what Adelson was applauded for saying (emphasis added):

Boteach: So you would support negotiations with Iran so long as they first cease all enrichment

Adelson: No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called?

Boteach: roaming charges.

Adelson: Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

[Applause]

I was upset enough to call the office of President Joel.  I was told he had not responded to Adelson’s call for thermonuclear genocide.  So I wrote him the following open letter:

Mr. Richard M. Joel, JD
President, Yeshiva University
500 West 185th Street, Belfer Hall 1200
New York, NY 10033

Dear President Joel,

I have just finished watching a video segment posted on Youtube of part of a seminar in which you participated Tuesday evening, at Yeshiva University. One moment bothered me to the point I find myself distressed.

One of the participants in the event was Sheldon Adelson. He made the following statement (emphasis added):

Boteach: So you would support negotiations with Iran so long as they first cease all enrichment

Adelson: No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your cell phone, and– what are they called?

Boteach: roaming charges.

Adelson: Roaming charges. You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever.

And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.

[Applause]

+++++++

I am appalled that you so willingly sat there mutely as Mr. Adelson’s horrific statement and proposal, which would kill millions of people, was applauded so enthusiastically by students and guests at your institution.

I called your office today, Wednesday, October 23, to ask whether you had issued any sort of statement distancing yourself from Mr. Adelson’s suggestion of a horrific act of war against a sovereign nation with which we are currently negotiating. I was told you have not issued any such statement.

I am asking you to make such a statement soon, sir.

Very Truly Yours,

Philip Munger

I’ll let you know if the distinguished university administrator responds. Here is the video of the exchange, initially posted by Phil Weiss, at the blog Mondoweiss.  The troubling statement and response begins just after 5:15:

What would the media response have been had a prominent American Muslim been able to draw such applause from a university audience for recommending using a thermonuclear weapon on Tel Aviv?  The University would be castigated, the president who failed to condemn such a threat then and there, fired or forced to resign in disgrace.

If you want to write to President Joel, here is a link to his office email.

All Things Considered Promotes Baldfaced Lie About New Iranian Foreign Minister

11:07 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

When I first heard this story start on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, I thought it was fair to incoming Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’, regarding his “Happy New Year!” tweet to the global Jewish community.

Here is what the foreign minister initially tweeted:

Happy Rosh Hashanah

Among the responders was Nancy Pelosi’s daughter. She replied:

Thanks. The New Year would be even sweeter if you would end Iran’s Holocaust denial, sir.

Zarif replied:

Iran never denied it. The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone. Happy New Year.

In the NPR story, what got me piqued was when the expert being interviewed – Robin Wright truly is an Iran expert — in what seemed like something she was representing as a tweet quote, changed the nature of what the foreign minister had written in his reply to Pelosi.

Wright said in the NPR interview:

Iran never denied it.  The man who did is now gone.

That’s not what he tweeted.  Changing the phrase “The man who was perceived to be denying it” to “The man who did” is one thing.  For NPR to let this go by as they edited the segment is another.

Didn’t anyone realize the importance of Zarif’s perception of what Iranians have undergone because of the probably inaccurate portrayal of a recently term-limited bogeyman?

That such a formidable Iran expert as Robin Wright did this was probably intentional. If so, it shows well how much pressure media programs, pundits, anchors, stringers, editors and producers are under, as they seem to relentlessly push the violent action meme.

Neither Wright nor the interviewer, Melissa Block wants to be the next Judith Miller. But did Miller realize how fake the stuff she was putting on Team USA’s paper of record was from the beginning?

That’s history. What our media is doing now is reality, as fictional as their narrative is.

What’s the most bullshit example of media distortion or baldfaced lying you’ve witnessed so far?

“So far,” because things will ratchet up next week.

Obama’s Israeli Statement on Syrian Chemical Weapon Use Makes Me Want to Puke

6:51 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I don’t watch much television and don’t trust any TV news outlet on the subjects of war, peace, economic justice or the environment.  But I turned the TV on early this morning, to watch how the media dealt with Obama’s visit to Israel.

I grazed NBC, CBS and ABC early news.  I was annoyed by FOX News coverage, which continues to portray Obama as not nearly loyal enough to Israel to qualify as an American president.  I turned to CNN, where live reports were coming in to the American News Desk from their senior reporter and former key employee of the Israel America Public Affairs Committee, Wolf Blitzer, who is traveling with the presidential entourage.

I watched, during the joint press conference held by Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem (not the seat of the Israeli government recognized by the government of the USA), as Obama was asked about reported use by the Syrian government, or by the rebels, of chemical weapons, within the past few days.  Obama addressed the reports:

With respect to chemical weapons, we intend to investigate thoroughly exactly what happened.

So I’ve instructed my teams to work closely with all other countries in the region and international organizations and institutions to find out precisely whether this red line was crossed.

The broader point is that once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer and I won’t make an announcement today about next steps because I think we have to gather the facts. But I do think that when you start seeing weapons that can cause potential devastation and mass causalities and you let that genie out of the bottle, then you are looking potentially at even more horrific scenes than we’ve already seen in Syria, and the international community has to act on that additional information.

I wanted to puke.  Especially as it was being despicably uttered on the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our huge war crime in Iraq – shoved down the throats of Americans by the post-9/11 GWOT cabal, so directly related to the Project for the New American Century and A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, and by a media and political establishment stock full of people who intensely believed our criminal Iraqi expedition would help Israel, no matter what it did to America, let alone Iraq.

Iraq is where we’ve been shown more horrific scenes than in Syria, time and time again, in spite of the firings, censorship and threats of retribution that have kept the media acquiescent, right up to the present.  Dahr Jamail, on Democracy Now this morning, described our use of what have to be regarded as “red-line”-crossing chemical weapons – depleted uranium and white phosphorus – in Iraq, particularly in the battles of Fallujah (emphasis added):

And going on to Fallujah, because I wrote about this a year ago, and then I returned to the city again this trip, we are seeing an absolute crisis of congenital malformations of newborn. There is one doctor, a pediatrician named Dr. Samira Alani, working on this crisis in the city. She’s the only person there registering cases. And she’s seeing horrific birth defects. I mean, these are extremely hard to look at. They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to, because of the amount of depleted uranium used by the U.S. military during both of their brutal attacks on the city of 2004, as well as other toxic munitions like white phosphorus, among other things.

And so, what this has generated is, from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the aftermath of—in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were—that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II. So, Dr. Samira Alani actually visited with doctors in Japan, comparing statistics, and found that the amount of congenital malformations in Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings.

These types of birth defects, she said—there are types of congenital malformations that she said they don’t even have medical terms for, that some of the things they’re seeing, they’ve never seen before. They’re not in any of the books or any of the scientific literature that they have access to. She said it’s common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, baby’s being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye—really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects.

And it is ongoing.

It is ongoing.  14 times greater malformation rate than experienced by the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

Israel’s illegal use of chemical weapons against its neighbors is longstanding. Its recent use of coerced sterilizations against its own citizens who don’t look white enough – Ethiopian Jews – has finally been brought to light.

And the same scoundrels who prepped us to go into an insane and criminal war against Iraq, are going to force us into what will end up being a nuclear war against Iran.  In the same press conference Wednesday where Obama threatened some warlike response against Syria, he refused to confront Netanyahu about Iran’s nuclear intentions.  Instead, he asked to be brought to the nearest donkey that needed servicing.

Here’s Obama on the Syrian chemical weapon report:

Here’s Dahr Jamail on our use of  illegal chemical weapons in Iraq:

 

Personal note:  The combination of the second anniversary of the Fukushima reactor explosions and subsequent meltdowns, the tenth anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie and the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our Iraq War depressed me so much, I found it hard to write about politics, public affairs or the environment for almost a week.  Maybe I’ll bounce back.

Just How Good Are U.S. Naval Skippers in the Straits of Hormuz? Apparently, Not Very

5:08 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The damaged U.S.S. Porter

The Damaged U.S.S. Porter (Photo: U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet / Flickr)

The U.S.S. Porter, DDG-78, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, on duty in the vicinity of the Straits of Hormuz, collided with a Japanese tanker last night:

The Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet said the Panamanian-flagged, Japanese-owned bulk oil tanker M/V Otowasan collided with the USS Porter, a guided-missile destroyer, in the early hours of Sunday.

The navy vessel remained able to operate under its own power after the collision, which was not combat-related, the statement added without elaborating on how the accident happened. An investigation was underway.

Photographs released by the U.S. Navy showed a large dent, several meters (yards) high, in the starboard side of the USS Porter just in front of the ship’s superstructure and above the waterline. Personnel hung over the side inspecting the damage.

As noted by blogger, NaCly Dog, at XBRADTC:

Did they have a copy of COLREGs on the bridge?
Ref for the non-OOD qualified: Section II (for vessels in sight of one another)

15. Crossing situations
When two power-driven vessels are crossing, the vessel which has the other on the starboard side must give way and avoid crossing ahead of her. The saying is “If to starboard red appear, ’tis your duty to keep clear”.

108,000 shaft horsepower, controllable pitch propellers, International traffic separation scheme, and CIC to back you up, and you let a tanker French-kiss your starboard side right in front of the bridge?

This is the most volatile shipping congestion point in the world.  Busy as it is, there is no excuse for a collision like this.  Ensuing confusion, combined with some random unknown involving Iranian naval units, might have launched an awful error.  Awful errors have happened before:

Iran Air Flight 655 was a civilian jet airliner shot down by U.S. missiles on 3 July 1988 as it flew over theStrait of Hormuz at the end of the Iran–Iraq War. The aircraft, an Airbus A300B2-203 operated by Iran Air, was flying from Bandar AbbasIran to DubaiUnited Arab Emirates. While flying in Iranian airspace over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf on its usual flight path, it was destroyed by the United States Navyguided missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG-49). All 290 onboard including 66 children and 16 crew perished.  The incident is ranked ninth among the deadliest disasters in aviation history. It was the highest death toll of any aviation incident in the Indian Ocean and the highest death toll of any incident involving an Airbus A300 anywhere in the world.   The Vincennes had entered Iranian territorial waters after one of its helicopters drew warning fire from Iranian speedboats operating within Iranian territorial limits.

We need the highest level of competence in the Gulf and the Straits.

 

2012 Olympics Over – USSR Gets 163 Medals

9:25 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The last Olympics at which the republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics competed under that name was the XXIV Olympiad of 1988, in Seoul, South Korea.  That was also the last Olympics at which the East and West German teams competed separately.

In 1992, 12 of the 15 republics of what was by then the former USSR, competed as the Unified Team of the Commonwealth of Independent States.  The three Baltic Republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia did not join those unified states then, but competed by themselves.

Had the Soviet Union somehow held together until 2012, they would have been the dominant sports power in this competition.  Here is the final medal count for the top three countries, weighted toward favoring gold medals:

USA:    45 Gold – 29 Silver – 29 Bronze — 103 medals
PRC:    38 Gold – 27 Silver – 22 Bronze —   87 medals
UK:      29 Gold – 16 Silver – 19 Bronze —   64 medals

Former republics of the USSR:    47 Gold – 43 Silver – 73 Bronze — 163 medals

Those of us old enough to remember Olympiads back into the 1950s may also remember the intense rivalry between the USA and the USSR, and between East and West Germany, perhaps best exemplified by the hockey semi-final of the 1980 Winter Games, between the USA and USSR, sometimes called “The Miracle on Ice.”

That winter games was the first at which the Peoples Republic of China competed without prejudice in relationship to Taiwan, in terms of full recognition of the PRC as being the real China.

The 1980s saw an intensification of rivalry between the USA and USSR, as the Soviet-Afghan War and deployment of a new generation of medium range ballistic missiles in Europe brought Cold War confrontation to the fore.  The confrontations, especially the instability brought on by mobile IRBMs such as the Pershing II Missile, were very troubling, and nuclear war fears escalated to their highest since the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, 20 years earlier.

The Soviet-Afghan War spawned – with U.S. money and weapons - the Mujahideen.  This, in turn, supposedly led to Al Qaeda, and many current problems for the USA.

And now, 20 years after the Seoul Olympics, the most dangerous confrontation which could easily lead to war is the push by the Israelis to attack Iran, so as to keep the latter from obtaining a “nuclear weapon capability,” an ambiguous term at best.  Interesting that in the Olympiad that concludes today, The Islamic Republic of Iran had four Gold, five Silver and three Bronze medals; the Jewish State of Israel – for the first time since 1988, had no medals at all.  But there were Jewish athletes on the teams of many Western nations, including that of the USA.  And there were Muslim athletes on the teams of many Western nations.

Perhaps some day in the future we will see an Olympiad at which the Iranian national team contains Jewish athletes from their vibrant Jewish population, and the Israeli team contains many Palestinian Israelis, from their non-Jewish Christian and Muslim population.

Hopefully, we can avoid an insane war between Israel and Iran, just as in the 1980s we avoided an insane war between the USSR and the USA.

Weasel Zippers Responds to the Execution of Majid Jamali Fashi in Iran

9:35 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Andy Greenberg, editorializing at Forbes, sums it:

Since WikiLeaks first released its flood of classified State Department memos in December of 2010, the secret-spilling site’s critics have been searching for evidence that Julian Assange’s disregard for official secrecy would directly hurt some innocent bystander. On Wednesday, those critics seemed to have found their best evidence yet of that harm. Nevermind that the facts didn’t agree with them.

In a story Wednesday morning, The Daily Mail headlined a story“WikiLeaks cable ‘led Iran to hang kick-boxer it claims was Israeli spy who assassinated nuclear scientist,’” a story that was soon picked up by other sites in Israel and around the world, finally ending up on the Drudge Report with the headline “REPORT: ‘Mossad spy’ hanged by Iran was doomed by WIKILEAKS…” linking to a story at the Times of Israel.

Those stories point to the execution of Majid Jamali Fashi, a kick-boxer who was hanged in Iran Tuesday for allegedly assassinating Iranian nuclear scientist Masoud Ali-Mohammadi in January of 2010. The Daily Mail story cited a redacted cable released by Der Spiegel and WikiLeaks in December 2010 described a briefing between a State Department official in the Iranian town of Baku and an unnamed ‘licensed martial arts coach and trainer’ who opposed the Iranian government’s attempts to recruit local militiamen. Though the cable doesn’t mention Israel or any assassinations, Fashi, a martial artist who had been in the town of Baku days before the cable was released, was soon arrested.

But here’s where the Mail’s story falls apart: The unredacted State Department memo, released after WikiLeaks’ and the Guardian’s notorious snafu last summer that led to the accidental publication of its entire database, names that martial arts trainer and State Department informant. His name, though I won’t cite it here, is not Majid Jamali Fashi. And his branch of martial arts, which was also redacted in the initial release, is not kick boxing.

Listening to midweek coverage of the story of why Fashi was hanged, there has been a noticeable absence of denial from the Israeli government of any relationship to Fashi.  Take it for what it is worth.

The Drudge Report coverage of this inspired commenters at blogs hooked on Ziocane to go nuts.

One commenter at Weasel Zippers seems to want Manning’s and Assange’s flayed skins, uh, available to be crafted into something that has been made lampshade by others:

Would love to remove his skin with a pair of pliers, then let him bleed to death. The Mossad should take him out as an enemy of the people.

Another commenter was more detailed in his loathing:

I hope bridget Manning and Ass-flang both get put down for dirtnaps. Lil fag boy was pissed off he couldn’t be openly flaming, so he’ll have hundreds or thousands of other people killed, indirectly to soothe his ego. As I said before, most faggots are narcissists. Please, let’s put this chocolate cha cha dancer in general population in leavenworth. I’m trying to figure out how the guys in his unit didn’t deal with him “indirectly” before it got to this point. I know some of the stories I”ve been told by my brother of things that happened during his 2 tours in Iraq and 2 in Afghan, NCOs have been known to be creative in their NJP. Now, all that said.. Manning should have been room temperature a long time ago and the morons in his chain of command who enabled him and toleratd him sitting in prison.

Too bad they ddn’t leave him at the Marine disciplinary barracks. I knew 2 guys when I was in the military who were busted in Turkey. We didn’t have a Correcional Custody Facility and the one in Germany was too far away, so they were sent to the one in Spain… run by the Marines. They came back “changed men” in more ways than one.

As for Assange, I’m sure he’s one of Oblowhole’s secret campaign contributors. It’s the only reason he hasn’t been extraordinarly renditioned. Nothing would make me happier to see him in an orange jumpsuit on trial in Cuba.

The comments at the post lack charity, let alone common sense.  It is appalling how many consecutive remarks propose illegal responses to the premise that Assange or Manning might have had a role in how this has played out.

Lack of interest in the illegal war the United States and Israel are actually carrying out against Iran in news reports and blog posts on this from the Right isn’t surprising.  Nor is incuriosity by the legacy corporate media.

More progressive outlets need to beat back against the meme that Assange or Manning are responsible for the execution of Majid Jamali Fashi.

Saturday Art: Thoughts on the Günter Grass Poem ”what must be said,” and Increasingly Assertive Criticism by Artists of Israeli Policies

11:36 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I. Günter Grass, Germany’s most honored living novelist, disseminated a new poem this week.  What Must Be Said has brought the 84-year-old antiwar icon into the crosshairs of militant Zionist expansionists and those seeking to vilify Iran.

The author wrote the poem in German.  There have been numerous translations into English and several other languages.  Here is what I consider to be the most resonant English language translation yet, by Heather Horn, for The Atlantic:

What Must Be Said

Why do I stay silent, conceal for too long
What clearly is and has been
Practiced in war games, at the end of which we as survivors
Are at best footnotes.

It is the alleged right to first strike
That could annihilate the Iranian people–
Enslaved by a loud-mouth
And guided to organized jubilation–
Because in their territory,
It is suspected, a bomb is being built.

Yet why do I forbid myself
To name that other country
In which, for years, even if secretly,
There has been a growing nuclear potential at hand
But beyond control, because no testing is available?

The universal concealment of these facts,
To which my silence subordinated itself,
I sense as incriminating lies
And force–the punishment is promised
As soon as it is ignored;
The verdict of “anti-Semitism” is familiar.

Now, though, because in my country
Which from time to time has sought and confronted
The very crime
That is without compare
In turn on a purely commercial basis, if also
With nimble lips calling it a reparation, declares
A further U-boat should be delivered to Israel,
Whose specialty consists of guiding all-destroying warheads to where the existence
Of a single atomic bomb is unproven,
But through fear of what may be conclusive,
I say what must be said.

Why though have I stayed silent until now?
Because I think my origin,
Which has never been affected by this obliterating flaw,
Forbids this fact to be expected as pronounced truth
Of the country of Israel, to which I am bound
And wish to stay bound.

Why do I say only now,
Aged and with my last ink,
That the nuclear power of Israel endangers
The already fragile world peace?
Because it must be said
What even tomorrow may be too late to say;
Also because we–as Germans burdened enough–
Could be the suppliers to a crime
That is foreseeable, wherefore our complicity
Could not be redeemed through any of the usual excuses.

And granted: I am silent no longer
Because I am tired of the hypocrisy
Of the West; in addition to which it is to be hoped
That this will free many from silence,
Prompt the perpetrator of the recognized danger
To renounce violence and
Likewise insist
That an unhindered and permanent control
Of the Israeli nuclear potential
And the Iranian nuclear sites
Be authorized through an international agency
Of the governments of both countries.

Only this way are all, the Israelis and Palestinians,
Even more, all people, that in this
Region occupied by mania
Live cheek by jowl among enemies,
In the end also to help us.

It is being quickly spread, along the lines of multi-lingual, global, 21st century Samidzat.  And, like a piece of 1960s Samidzat that went viral, the authorities, knowing it is impossible to stop the word, seek to either belittle the author or claim he is something of an anti-Semitic ex-Nazi.  Here’s the first approach:

There is a man-child who never grew up
Who wants to warn the world that it might blow up
He is known as The Tin Ear
And lives in fear
that the world will go kablooie
Or as George Bush would say, nukleer

He is old but was always somewhat confused
For many years the truth to tell he refused
He wrote a book that told a tale
Of a German war of massive scale
When the world went berzerk with war
Because the Nazis did assail

The fact he omitted as he lectured others
Is that he himself was one of the brothers….

and:

Unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently confided in him, [Grass'] opinion is vacuous. Grass criticizes the German government for selling Israel another submarine. This is a legitimate view on a matter that should be decided democratically by the German people.

But Grass’ comparison of Israel and Iran is unfair, because unlike Iran, Israel has never threatened to wipe another country off the map.

Grass is critical of Israeli governments, more than of the Israeli people, it seems to me.  His critics, in many articles, including that above, are more careless,  claiming “Iran,” rather than its very lame-duck President, wants to erase Israel from the map.

Several articles have claimed Grass’ acquiescence, through his three-month-long action at the age of 17, on the rapidly crumbling eastern borders of Germany in the last months of World War II, after being forcibly inducted from anti-aircraft defense into the Waffen SS, as having constituted his being a member of the Nazi Party or of his having been some sort of war criminal:

Grass, who revealed in 2006 that he had been a member of the Nazi Waffen SS, a group committed to eliminating European Jewry during World War II….

and:

Ultimately, Grass demonstrates in his poem that the meaning of the pledge “never again” is very different for the historic perpetrators and their victims: for the former Waffen SS recruit, the most important thing is to be never again seen as a perpetrator….

and, the inevitable label of anti-Semitism:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What do you think of Günter Grass’s poem, “What Must Be Said,” which was published in Germany’s center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday?

Wolffsohn: It would have fit well in the (German far-right weekly) National Zeitung – and I mean that with no ifs or buts. In the poem, Grass makes the victims into perpetrators, and otherwise it contains pretty much every other anti-Semitic stereotype that we know from the far-right scene. And, on top of that, the language is completely lacking in sophistication.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In a statement on Wednesday, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin pointed out that the poem was published just before the feast of Passover.

Wolffsohn: I noticed that, too. In doing so, Grass is following an ignoble tradition. The time around Passover has always been the time of pogroms and a time when the blood-libel myth about Jews is disseminated.

One should read Grass’ own account of his wartime service, published in The New Yorker on June 4, 2007, titled How I Spent the War.

Author Grass has his many detractors.  What is more interesting in this 21st century climate of growing resistance to Israeli government bellicosity, are the views of his defenders.  His poem has been parsed more thoroughly than any in recent memory.  It has been paraphrased and mocked.  Perhaps the best line-by-line defense of the content of Grass’ unmetered verses has been that of Israeli blogger Yossi Gurvitz, at his niche at + 972, Wish You Orwell. Here’s Yossi:

So, basically everything said by Grass is plausible, at least within the frame of the psychological warfare waged by Israel. The truth is never anti-Semitic. There was no blood libel here, no anti-Semitism, no claim of children’s blood used for ritual purposes. Furthermore, criticism of Israel’s intended policy has nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism or Jews. The claim (often made by Israeli officials) that Israel represents world Jewry, and that hence any attack on it is an attack on them, is a claim that Jews everywhere owe allegiance to a country of which they are not citizens and to which they never made any formal vow of loyalty, and thus can credibly be considered to be itself anti-Semitic.

Had the Israeli Foreign Ministry any shame left, it would not use the phrases it did against Grass. But, unsurprisingly, it did. The good thing which may come out of this affair is that people may learn to discount screeches of anti-Semitism from Israel with a sigh of “there they go again.”

II. Indeed.  I’m coming up, on April 8th, the eighth anniversary of my “there they go again” moment.  Since then I’ve seen hundreds of good people and dozens of artists slandered with the anti-Semitism label.  This cynical use of the term has gone beyond “The boy who cried ‘Wolf!’” territory, though.

More importantly, artists, especially young ones – in spite of Grass’ octogenarian creds – are ratcheting up their creative work denouncing Zionist expansionism, and instead supporting Palestinian rights, self determination and cultural aspirations.  They are continuing to either denounce ties between Israeli cultural institutions and the illegal West Bank settlements, or passing up on performance opportunities in Israel.

For instance, just this past week the debate in the UK about whether or not the Israeli theater organization, Habima, should be able to participate in the upcoming Globe Theater Shakespeare Festival, with its production of The Merchant of Venice, is heating up.

At the heart of the issue for proponents of the ban is Habima’s support for settlement activities in the West Bank, through performances there.  This is direct support of illegal, apartheid policy, pure and simple.

Writers supporting Habima generally fail to mention this aspect of the theater company’s activities.  No articles supportive of Habima dare to quote their artistic director, Ilan Ronen:

As a national theater company, Habima will perform for all residents of Israel. Residents of Ariel are residents of Israel and Habima will stage shows for them.

Ariel is a very large illegal town, erected on Palestinian land in violation of international law.  To support Habima, especially in view of this recent statement, is to become complicit in a view that accepts violation of such laws as routine, even acceptable.

On top of that, Habima co-manager, Odelia Friedman, has declared, regarding the troupe:

We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between propaganda and culture.

Stalin would be proud.

Günter Grass, delving into the junction between propaganda and culture, is dismissed as a cranky old man, previously caught skulking from his secret, hideous past.  Yet Israeli cultural institutions and their apparatchiks and favored artists practice this lack of differentiation day in and day out.

Fortunately, those of us who write about this are growing in numbers and venues at which we express ourselves.

Every day.

Obama to Give Presidential Medal of Freedom to Guy Who Wanted to Sell Nuclear-tipped Missiles to Apartheid South Africa

3:41 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Shimon Perez Meeting with Barack Obama - March 4, 2012

Back in 1975, at the height of the White South African Apartheid regime’s period of hubris, they were getting a lot of help in their attempts to become a nuclear power:

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.

The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.

It didn’t.  The news came out in 2010, which disturbed the Israelis:

The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa‘s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.

They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.

A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were “never any negotiations” between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents.

South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.

The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975.

Earlier this month, American President Obama met with Israeli President Peres, the guy who wanted to sell Botha nukes for “potential strikes against neighbouring states”:

Israeli President Shimon Peres will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this spring, President Obama announced at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington.

“Shimon once described the story of the Jewish people by saying it proved that, ‘slings, arrows and gas chambers can annihilate man, but cannot destroy human values, dignity and freedom,’” Obama said as he announced the award. “He has lived those values. He has taught us to ask more of ourselves and to empathize more with our fellow human beings.”

I’m sure that your average Iranian knows about the Peres-Botha link, and being the most likely future targets of Israeli “empathy,”  I’m sure they feel Peres deserves the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president of the U.S.

Perhaps Obama can fit in a mention of the failed South African deal in his adulatory remarks during the ceremony, when he highlights the “values” Peres has lived .

Hat Tip:  Grant Smith, whose article at Antwar.com that tipped me off about the Medal of Freedom, is really about another troubling story about Israeli duplicity and espionage:

FBI files detailing Israel’s stealth acquisition of U.S. nuclear triggers were declassified and released on Dec. 28, 2011. The FBI’s secret Portland and Los Angeles inter-office communications were originally scheduled for release in the year 2036. Their availability today reveals how Israel’s elite spy networks acquire U.S. nuclear technologies while evading criminal and diplomatic consequences. [emphasis added]

A kryton is a gas-filled tube used as a high-speed switch. U.S. State Department munitions licenses are needed to export krytons because they can be used as triggers for nuclear weapons. California-based MILCO International Inc. shipped 15 orders totaling 800 krytons through an intermediary to the Israeli Ministry of Defense between 1979 and 1983. MILCO obtained the krytons from EG&G Inc. After the U.S. government rejected several requests for kryton export licenses to Israel, Arnon Milchan’s Heli Trading Company brokered the transactions with MILCO. Milchan is an Israeli movie producer who became successful in Hollywood for such movies asBrazilJFK, and Pretty Woman.

The FBI file reveals that after the illicit kryton exports were discovered, a U.S. attorney tried to flip MILCO President Richard Kelly Smyth to implicate Milchan during intense plea bargaining. The gambit failed, and in May 1984 Smyth was indicted on 30 counts of smuggling and making false statements. Smyth and his wife promptly fled to Israel and remained at large until captured in Malaga, Spain, in July 2001 after Richard Smyth applied for Social Security benefits. INTERPOL arrested Smyth and extradited him to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to violating the U.S. Arms Export Control Act. In November 2001, Smyth was sentenced to 40 years in prison and fined $20,000, though he was freed within four years because of his advancing age.