You are here: UNE Home / UNE Blogs / Klaus Rohde: Science, Politics and Art

Archive for the 'Iran/Iraq' Category

Der Charakter des Islam.

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Zwei Auszüge aus einem Artikel von Henryk M. Broder in Spiegel online 15.3.08. Vollständiger Artikel hier.

“HOLLÄNDISCHER POPULIST WILDERS
Wie ein Filmprojekt weltweit Panik auslöst

Ein Filmprojekt, das Schlimmstes befürchten lässt: Der holländische Rechtspopulist Wilders will einen Streifen über den Islam drehen – und noch bevor die erste Szene zu sehen ist, versuchen Politiker weltweit, ihn zu verhindern. Andernfalls könne es in vielen Ländern zu Blutvergiessen kommen.”

“Ende November 2007 erklärte Wilders, er arbeite an einem Film, der “den intoleranten und faschistischen Charakter des Koran” zeigen werde. Sprecher des Innen- und des Justizministeriums äusserten sich daraufhin besorgt, betonten aber zugleich, sie hätten keine Mittel, den Abgeordneten von seinem Plan abzubringen oder die Ausstrahlung des Films zu verhindern.”

Im folgenden ein paar Worte über den Charakter des Islam.

“Glauben und Unglauben teilen sich in Oberes und Unteres; Himmel und Höllle sind den Bekennern und Leugnern zugedacht. Nähere Bestimmung des Gebotenen und Verbotenen, fabelhafte Geschichten jüdischer und christlicher Religion, Amplifikationen aller Art, grenzenlose Tautologien und Wiederholungen bilden den Körper dieses heiligen Buches, das uns, so oft wir auch darangehen, immer von neuem anwidert, dann aber anzieht, in Erstaunen setzt und am Ende Verehrung abnötigt.”
(Goethe, Noten und Abhandlungen zum West-östlichen Divan; zitiert in Annemarie Schimmels Einleitung zur deutschen Uebersetzung des Koran von Max Henning, Reclam 1960).

Wie der Koran, so ist auch die Bibel, vor allem das Alte Testament, voller blutrünstiger Aussagen, die im historischen Zusammenhang verstanden werden müssen. Vielleicht kann mir jemand helfen, der bibelfester ist als ich: gibt es Bibelstellen, die zur Toleranz anderer Religionen aufrufen, wie zum Beispiel die Sure 109 des Koran?

“Im Namen Allahs, des Erbarmers, des Barmherzigen!
Sprich: O ihr Ungläubigen,
Ich diene nicht dem, dem ihr dienet,
Und ihr seid nicht Diener dessen, dem ich diene.
Und ich bin nicht Diener dessen, dem ihr dienet,
Und ihr seid nicht Diener dessen, dem ich diene.
Euch euer Glaube und mir mein Glaube.”

Ueber viele Jahrhunderte, als die christlichen Länder Muslime und Juden unterdrückten und oft ausrotteten, man denke nur an die spanische Inquisition, waren muslimische Länder Zufluchtsorte der Vertriebenen, bezeugt durch die grossen jüdischen Kolonien und Synagogen in diesen Ländern. Aus politischen Gründen änderte sich diese Haltung vor nicht allzulanger Zeit. Viele der gegenwärtigen Kontroversen sind nicht primär religiös sondern eindeutig politisch. Der Islam ist keine einheitliche Religion, sondern ist stark durch stammes- und historisch- bedingte Vorurteile in den verschiedenen Ländern geprägt. Um nur ein Beispiel zu nennen: Bangladesh hatte zwei weibliche Präsidentinnen oder Premierministerinnen, die Türkei eine, Pakistan eine, kaum denkbar zum Beispiel in Afghanistan.

Für einige weitere Informationen über Sex und Islam siehe
http://blog.une.edu.au/klausrohde/2007/06/03/sex-and-islam/

An Ominous Sign? Admiral Fallon resigns.

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

According to CNN News 11.3.08, Adm. William Fallon has resigned as chief of U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia after more than a year in the post, citing what he called an inaccurate perception that he is at odds with the Bush administration over Iran. Full Article here.

“The perception that Fallon has opposed a drive toward military action against Iran from within the Bush administration dates to his confirmation hearings in January 2007, when he told the Senate that the United States needed to exhaust all diplomatic options in its disputes with the Islamic republic.
But he also has said that the United States would be able to take steps if Tehran were to attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz, the outlet of the Persian Gulf and a choke point for much of the world’s oil.
And he recently told CNN that the United States is looking for a peaceful settlement to disputes “in every case.”"

See also http://blog.une.edu.au/klausrohde/2008/01/08/iran-and-the-military-pr-industrial-complex/

The Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz on the Costs of the Iraq War

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Professor Stiglitz was interviewed yesterday on SBS Dateline about his views on the American and world economies and the costs of the Iraq war.

From Wikipedia:

“Joseph Eugene “Joe” Stiglitz (born February 9, 1943) is an American economist and a member of the Columbia University faculty. He is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal (1979) and the Nobel Prize in Economics (2001). Former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, he is known for his critical view of globalization, free-market economists (whom he calls “free market fundamentalists”) and some international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In 2000 Stiglitz founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD), a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. Since 2001 he has been a member of the Columbia faculty, and has held the rank of University Professor since 2003. He also chairs the University of Manchester’s Brooks World Poverty Institute and is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Stiglitz is among ten most cited economists.”

Here are extracts from an article in Vanity Fair about a new book by J.E. Stiglitz and L.J.Bilmes, which discusses some of the same problems as those in the Dateline interview. The present disastrous condition of the American and global economies is largely due to the Iraq war.

The $3 Trillion War
After wildly lowballing the cost of the Iraq conflict at a mere $50 to $60 billion, the Bush administration has been concealing the full economic toll. The spending on military operations is merely the tip of a vast fiscal iceberg. In an excerpt from their new book, the authors calculate the grim bottom line.
by JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ and LINDA J. BILMES
April 2008

The Bush administration was wrong about the need for the Iraq war and about the benefits the war would bring to Iraq, to the region, and to America. It has also been wrong about the full cost of the war, and it continues to take steps to conceal that cost.”

“In the run-up to the war there were few public discussions of the likely price tag. When Lawrence Lindsey, President Bush’s economic adviser, suggested that it might reach $200 billion all told, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the estimate as ‘baloney.’ Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz went as far as to suggest that Iraq’s postwar reconstruction would pay for itself through increased oil revenues.”

“By the administration’s own reckoning, then, the cost of the Iraq war, counting only the money officially appropriated, will soon be some $600 billion, or more than 10 times Rumsfeld’s original number.”

“But even the $600 billion number is disingenuous” which is to say false. The true cost of the war in Iraq, according to our calculations, will, by the time America has extricated itself, exceed $3 trillion. And this is a deliberately conservative estimate. The ultimate cost may well be much higher.”

“To understand why the true costs of the war are so much higher than the official estimates, we can start by looking at America’s veterans. No one has suffered more from the administration’s blindness and stinginess. To date, more than 1.6 million American troops have been deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. More than 4,000 have been killed. More than 65,000 have been wounded or injured, or have contracted a disease. Of the 750,000 troops who have been discharged so far, some 260,000 have been treated at veterans” medical facilities. Nearly 100,000 have been diagnosed as having mental-health conditions. Another 200,000 have sought counseling and re-adjustment services at walk-in vet centers.”

“The least fortunate among the veterans have suffered unimaginable horrors: brain trauma, amputations, burns, blindness, and spinal damage. Because a greater number of the injured are surviving today, the relative costs of long-term care will be greater than for any previous war. This is the surge the administration doesn’t talk about.”

For further information about Professor Stiglitz and this and other books click here.

Neues aus dem Nahen Osten: Wer brachte die Hamas an die Macht? (News from the Middle East: The Gaza Bombshell)

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Here is an extract of a recent article in Vanity Fair. Full article here.

The Gaza Bombshell
After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.”

“But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.”

“Within the Bush administration, the Palestinian policy set off a furious debate. One of its critics is David Wurmser, the avowed neoconservative, who resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief Middle East adviser in July 2007, a month after the Gaza coup.
Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand. “

Und hier sind Auszüge aus

BERICHT ÜBER UMSTURZPLÄNE (Der Spiegel 6.3.08, der sich auf den Artikel in Vanity Fair beruft)

USA sollen Fatah mit Waffen ausgerüstet haben

“Schwere Vorwürfe gegen US-Präsident Bush und Aussenministerin Rice: Recherchen von “Vanity Fair” zufolge sollen sie heimlich die Entmachtung der palästinensischen Hamas betrieben und die Fatah mit Waffen ausgestattet haben. Ein Sprecher des US-Regierung nannte den Bericht absurd.”

“Ein Bericht des US-Magazins “Vanity Fair” hat hektische Betriebsamkeit in Washington ausgelöst. Hintergrund: Angebliche Geheimpläne der US-Regierung sind laut “Vanity Fair” für den blutigen Bürgerkrieg Mitte 2007 zwischen den beiden Palästinensergruppen Hamas und Fatah verantwortlich. Die US-Regierung habe 2006 aus den Reihen der Fatah von Palästinenserpräsident Mahmud Abbas eine palästinensische Truppe aufbauen und bewaffnen wollen, die die Hamas entmachten sollte, berichtete das Magazin in seiner Aprilausgabe. Protagonisten seien US-Präsident George W. Bush und Aussenministerin Condoleezza Rice gewesen. Das Blatt beruft sich auf Geheimdokumente, deren Inhalt von US- und Palästinenserkreisen bestätigt worden sei.”

Die Hamas habe ursprünglich gar nicht die Absicht gehabt, die Kontrolle im Gaza-Streifen im Juni 2007 zu übernehmen. “Was passiert ist, sah für mich nicht nach einem Putsch der Hamas aus, sondern nach einem versuchten Staatsstreich der Fatah, dem zuvorgekommen wurde”, sagte Wurmser” (ein ehemaliger Berater des Vizepräsidenten Dick Cheney)

Helmut Schmidt über Amerika und Russland, usw.

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

In einem Interview mit dem Spiegel (29.10.07), das unter dem Titel “Das ist Grossmannssucht” veröffentlicht wurde, äusserte sich der ehemalige Bundeskanzler über einige aktuelle politische Fragen. Auszüge sind hier zu finden.

Zusätzlich zu diesen Auszügen:

In Bezug auf Iran, und ob weitere Sanktionen wegen seines Atomprogrammes gerechtfertigt seien:

Schmidt: “Oekonomische Sanktionen sollen dazu führen, dass das gesteigerte Elend der kleinen Leute deren Regierung zum Umdenken bringt – für mich ist das kein guter Weg.

Spiegel: US-Präsident George W. Bush spricht indessen sogar von einem möglichen dritten Weltkrieg. Teilen Sie diese dramatische Einschätzung?

Schmidt: Ich halte sie erstens für unzutreffend und zweitens für überflüssig, weil drittens für gefährlich. Sie impliziert eine Drohung, die sich gegen den Iran zu richten scheint.

………

Schmidt:……Es (die deutsche Regierung) sollte ein Interesse daran haben, dass auch alle übrigen Partner ihren Teil der Verpflichtungen einhalten, denn das tun sie ja nicht: Statt vertragsgemäss ihre Atomwaffen abzurüsten, entwickeln sie neue Waffen, modernisieren ihre Arsenale, ihre Trägersysteme, Raketen, Flugzeuge und U-Boote…..”

Schmidt (als Antwort einer Frage über den deutsche Einsatz in Afghanistan): ” Der Grund für die Intervention war ausschliesllich al-Quaida; und inzwischen is al-Quaida nach Pakistan abgezogen. Sollen wir demnächst auch dort einmarschieren?”

Schmidt (in Bezug auf Kanzler Merkels “Ratschläge” an Putin und die chinesische Regierung Tibet betreffend)…”was die inneren Angelegenheiten anderer Staaten betrifft, so hat unsere Regierung weder den Russen noch den Amerikanern und schon gar nicht den Chinesen öffentliche Ratschläge zu geben”.

Weiteres dazu in meinen Posts unter Iran/Iraq und in meinem Post

http://blog.une.edu.au/klausrohde/2008/02/09/the-worlds-future-at-stake-the-us-elections/

The World’s Future at stake. The U.S. Elections

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Sydney Morning Herald 8.2.08. Extracts from:

America’s choice, our future“(full article here).

“But surely the disastrous misadventure in Iraq will deter future American commanders-in-chief from launching any new wars? Not at all. There are three points here.

First, America is a country that is comfortable with war. In the 230 years since the Declaration of Independence, the US has invaded other countries on more than 200 occasions, according to the Congressional Research Service. That is an average of one foreign incursion every 14 months in the nation’s history.
Second, the end of the Cold War was supposed to mean a standing-down of the US military machine. The opposite has happened. The Pentagon’s budget today, after adjusting for inflation, exceeds its Cold War average by one-eighth, though there is no longer any nation that could be called a peer competitor.
“The truth is that there no longer exists any meaningful context within which Americans might consider the question, ‘How much is enough?’ ” writes Professor Andrew Bacevich, a historian at Boston University and former US Army colonel in his book The New American Militarism.
The total defence budget is bigger than that of all other nations combined.
“During the entire Cold War era, from 1945 through 1988, large-scale US military actions abroad totalled a scant six. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, they have become almost annual events.” ”
Bacevich calls it “the normalisation of war“. He goes on: “Policymakers have increasingly come to see coercion as a sort of all-purpose tool.”

The article compares the one Republican and the two Democratic candidates: McCain is a hero of the Vietnam war who has consistently supported the Iraq war, Clinton is an opportunist doing whatever seems popular at the time, and only Obama has consistently opposed the Iraq war and stated that he wants to change America’s attitudes away from militarism, which routinely sees the military option as the option of first choice.

Past wars were bad and killed many millions, wars may be far worse in the more crowded world of the future with its more destructive weapons. The United States, with its scientific, technological and economic power, could change the world for the better, and for the far worse, since it becomes more likely that the use of nuclear weapons will not be anathema in future wars (see here).

The report in the Sydney Morning Herald does not mention the numbers of casualties in the various military excursions. Are they of concern to McCain? Here are the latest figures for Iraq (higher figures have been given, and I don’t think that they include the casualties indirectly caused by the invasion, for example due to the almost complete breakdown of the medical system, such as baby mortality):
Although the most dangerous regions of Iraq could not be sampled, new estimates arrive at a death toll of 1 million Iraqis since the beginning of the invasion.

Deutsche Weisheit, Deutsche Dummheit IV. Immer noch so dumm? Afghanistan!!

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Dies ergänzt meinen letzten Post über Deutsche Weisheit, Deutsche Dummheit (für frühere siehe hier und hier).

Ich stelle hier die Frage, ob das, was einige berühmte Deutsche in der Vergangenheit von uns (und damit sich selbst) dachten, immer noch stimmt. So dachten Grillparzer, Hebbel und Benn (Fettdruck von mir):

Franz Grillparzer 1841. “Gespräch im Elysium zwischen Friedrich dem Grossen und Lessing” (aus “Tintenfass”, Diogenes Zürich 1981):
“Friedrich: Lessing, komm herab!
Lessing: Seid Ihr es, Sire?
Friedrich: Ich ennyuiere mich und habe Lust zu plaudern.
Lessing: Und wenn ich meinesteils nun keine Lust dazu hätte?
Friedrich: Du musst dich eben fügen. Denk, ich war ein König.
Lessing: Und ich ein deutscher Gelehrter. Ich füge mich.
…………………

Friedrich Hebbel (etwa Mitte des 19.Jahrhunderts) (aus Jürg Drews: “Neu im Zynischen Wörterbuch”,”Tintenfass”, Diogenes Zürich 1981)
“Selbst im Fall einer Revolution würden die Deutschen sich nur Steuerfreiheit, nie Gedankenfreiheit zu erkämpfen suchen

Gottfried Benn (Briefe an F.W.Oelze, 1932-1956, aus Gottfried Bennn Porträts,”Tintenfass”, Diogenes Zürich 1981).
Über E. Jünger “…..Er hat ja offenbar viel Zulauf u. viele Bewunderer, gilt als unterdrücktes u. verkanntes Genie, aber das ist hierzulande, wo immer auf das falsche Pferd gesetzt wird, nichts Besonderes….”

Also, der Deutsche hat anscheinend den Ruf, nicht gerne selbst zu denken, sich zu “fügen”, wenn eine Autorität das verlangt, und gewohnheitsmässig “auf’s falsche Pferd zu setzen”. Hier ist die Gelegenheit, das Gegenteil zu beweisen. Gemäss dem Spiegel online, 31.1.08:

“Der Brief hat acht Seiten, die Sprache ist unverblümt: US-Verteidigungsminister Gates verlangt nach SPIEGEL-Informationen vom deutschen Kollegen Jung Kampftruppen für Süd-Afghanistan. Im Ministerium findet man das drastische Schreiben unverschämt - beim anstehenden Nato-Gipfel kommt es zum Schwur.” (der vollständige Spiegel-Artikel ist hier zu finden).

Sollte man jemandem, der sich anscheinend für einen Kenner der deutschen Charakterschwächen hät (anders ist die Unverschämtheit des Briefes kaum zu interpretieren), eine Abfuhr erteilen? Die Invasian Afghanistans war genau so unethisch wie die des Iraq; warum soll Deutschland sich an der Fortsetzung der angelsächsischen Kolonialpolitik im Nahen Osten beteiligen? Afghanistan ist noch nie auf die Dauer von Kolonialmächten besetzt worden. Ganz offensichtlich setzen die USA auf das falsche Pferd. Schröder und Fischer hatten Recht mit ihrer Iraq-Politik, wollen wir hoffen, dass Merkel und Steinmeier das richtige in Afghanistan tun. Vielleicht kann Ihnen der afghanische Präsident den Rücken stärken, der öffentlich erklärt hat, Afghanistan brauche nicht mehr ausländische Soldaten, sondern eine stärkere afghanische Armee.

Iraq and the Military – PR Industrial Complex

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

I have discussed the power of the Military – PR Industrial Complex in two previous posts. Relevant here is a recent article on the website of the Center of Public Integrity (full article there).

False Pretenses
FOLLOWING 9/11, PRESIDENT BUSH AND SEVEN TOP OFFICIALS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION WAGED A CAREFULLY ORCHESTRATED CAMPAIGN OF MISINFORMATION ABOUT THE THREAT POSED BY SADDAM HUSSEIN’S IRAQ.

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.
On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration’s case for war.
It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda.
This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose “Duelfer Report” established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq’s nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.
……….
President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).
The massive database at the heart of this project juxtaposes what President Bush and these seven top officials were saying for public consumption against what was known, or should have been known, on a day-to-day basis. This fully searchable database includes the public statements, drawn from both primary sources (such as official transcripts) and secondary sources (chiefly major news organizations) over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001. It also interlaces relevant information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches, and interviews………
……. . In July 2002, Rumsfeld had a one-word answer for reporters who asked whether Iraq had relationships with Al Qaeda terrorists: “Sure.” In fact, an assessment issued that same month by the Defense Intelligence Agency (and confirmed weeks later by CIA Director Tenet) found an absence of “compelling evidence demonstrating direct cooperation between the government of Iraq and Al Qaeda.” What’s more, an earlier DIA assessment said that “the nature of the regime’s relationship with Al Qaeda is unclear.”…….

. On January 28, 2003, in his annual State of the Union address, Bush asserted: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.” Two weeks earlier, an analyst with the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research sent an email to colleagues in the intelligence community laying out why he believed the uranium-purchase agreement “probably is a hoax.”
………

……., a growing number of critics, including a parade of former government officials, have publicly ” and in some cases vociferously” accused the president and his inner circle of ignoring or distorting the available intelligence. In the end, these critics say, it was the calculated drumbeat of false information and public pronouncements that ultimately misled the American people and this nation’s allies on their way to war.
…….. Congressional oversight has focused almost entirely on the quality of the U.S. government’s pre-war intelligence ” not the judgment, public statements, or public accountability of its highest officials. ……… Clearly, it calls into question the repeated assertions of Bush administration officials that they were the unwitting victims of bad intelligence.”

Much of this has been known for a long time, the importance of the report lies in the presentation of detailed quantitative data. What did the PR industry do all the time? Dissemination of false information would have been impossible without its compliance.

The Military- PR industrial Complex: Past and Present

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

The Sydney Morning Herald (9.1.2008) contains three interesting articles which illuminate the power of the PR industry.

1) The Gulf of Tonkin incidence, according to which North Vietnam attacked US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, was used by President Lyndon Johnson as a pretext to dramatically escalate US involvement in Vietnam. The then US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara declared to Congress that the evidence for the attack was “unimpeachable”. A new report shows that these claims were fabricated. The report was released by the National Security Agency responsible for much of the codebreaking by the US and eavesdropping work, in response to a “mandatory declassification” request, the Federation of American Scientists said yesterday. Review of classified documents clearly shows that “no attack” happened that night. But who cares, 45 years ago everybody believed in the attack as claimed by the US government, ably fed to the gullible public by the PR machine, without scrutiny of the evidence.

2) Widely reported in the press, five Iranian speedboats charged at three US Navy ships entering the Persian Gulf. The US President, now in the Near East (or on the way to the Near East) claimed this to be “provocative”, the Iranians, in contrast, said similar incidents in the narrow straits had happened before and had always been resolved when the two sides had identified themselves. Why should Iran, at this moment in time, want to provoke the US?

3) “Israel hiding settlement facts to protect image

The Israeli Government has told a court that it does not want to reveal the true extent of Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories because the information would damage its image abroad, a local newspaper has reported.” According to the International Court of Justice and accepted by most countries, such settlements are illegal, and the Israeli government is indeed correct in believing that revealing the extent of settlements would damage its image. It seems obvious that the international community is widely unaware of what is happening, largely due to the failure of the PR machine to provide the relevant information.

Iran and the Military-PR industrial complex

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

In a recent interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel, the former US representative at the UN, John Bolton, declared that the publication of a report by the US secret service agencies, according to which Iran had discontinued any atomic weapons program in 2003, amounted to a “coup” of the secret service against the American president. Indeed, he is right if one assumes that the president had and has plans to attack Iran, because the report removed any pretext justifying such an attack. Likewise, it even removed the basis for sanctions imposed on that country.

But who believes that it will have a significant impact on US policy in the Near East, except perhaps for putting a greater burden on the vast PR industry, which has very effectively prepared the war against Iraq and has convinced many that Iran is a dangerous country because it is close to possessing atomic weapons. The former US president Dwight D. Eisenhower was quite right, when he stated in his farewell address in 1961 with regard to the military-industrial complex: “A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence ” economic, political, even spiritual ” is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

In those days it was the military-industrial complex which was the potential danger, although propaganda always played a significant role. Today, as the result of immense advances in communication technology and an ever increasing control of the PR industry by fewer and fewer interest groups, emphasis should shift to the military-PR industrial complex. It is obvious that the oil and other industries pumped vast sums into the campaigns of Bush, but it was used to influence public opinion through the PR industry.

Relevant here is a comparison of what is happening about Iran now with what happened to Iraq.

According to WHO estimates, the Gulf war followed by sanctions against Iraq prior to the invasion which included many pharmaceuticals, cost the lives of approximately half a million children, and two inspectors of the sanctions program resigned over what they thought was the illegality of the sanctions. But public opinion was hardly aware of it. What was reported were cases of some cases of corruption related to the sanctions. Accordingly, no changes in politics occurred (as far as I am aware). Highly unlikely that humanitarian considerations will have any effect this time, but let us wait and see. After all, what is said to count is American lives and not Iraqi or Iranian lives. In this context: According to the Sydney Morning Herald, January 8, 2008, ” Iraq is not a dirty word…in McCain campaign. ….But John McCain clearly believes the significant drop in US casualties has altered political dynamics….. As one of the points he spotlights is his longstanding support for increased US military involvement in Iraq…. at one point saying the changed policy has “saved America’s most precious resource”- the lives of soldiers.” Not a word about Iraqi lives in his campaign to win the nomination for president.

Also in this context: was the recent flight of a US bomber across the US loaded with atomic weapons really an “accident”? Click here. I hope it was and all this is sheer scare mongering.