Tuesday, March 08, 2011

126 Peter Myers en Jeffrey Blankfort over Libië.

Bradley Manning "catatonic". US asks Saudis to arm Libya's rebels

(1) US did not play any significant role in Arab uprisings - Jeffrey Blankfort
(2) Reply to Jeff Blankfort - Peter Myers
(3) Gaddafi admits to using force against rebels
(4) We need not support either side (local dictator or NGO-funded "people power" coups)
(5) CIA backed National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) - part of National Conference of Libyan Opposition (NCLO)
(6) Libya Opposition groups attempted coups & assassinations Gaddafi in the 1980s
(7) Fisk: US asks Saudi Arabia to arm Libya's rebels
(8) Bradley Manning "catatonic" - because of solitary confinement? or brain-altering drugs?
(9) Bradley Manning in isolation 23 out of 24 hours every day - Dennis Kucinich
(10) Manning treated worse than punishment administered to those who committ War Crimes
(11) US accepts Israeli advice that ElBaradei, when head of IAEA, was soft on Iran
(12) IAEA (under new leadership, after ElBaradei) says Iran developing nuclear weapons
(13) Zimbabwe will sell Uranium to Iran, in exchange for Petroleum
(14) Desktop Archaeologist finds Saudi archaeological sites with Google Earth

(1) US did not play any significant role in Arab uprisings - Jeffrey Blankfort

From: Jeffrey Blankfort <jblankfort@earthlink.net> Date: 08.03.2011 02:14 PM

Here is Khadafi comparing his response to that of Israel's in Gaza!


I totally reject the idea that the US played any significant role in anything that has been happening across North Africa and in Bahrain and very soon,  Saudi Arabia. or even desired it. Given the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan about to blow apart, Iraq increasingly in Iran's sway, the last thing the US and the West needed was a destabilized No. Africa and Middle East as well as another war in Libya. The rise in oil prices is going to be disastrous to all the West's economies.

This is conspiracy theory run wild and I am sorry that some friends of mine have adopted it. Khadafi is a dictator and sadly, there are those in the West who are ready to accept any dictator as long as he "appears" to be opposed by the US (which Khadafi no longer was). This is particularly true of much of the Left which has no problem ignoring the fact that people in the states that have risen up have never enjoyed the rights to speak, to politically organize, etc. that they and we in the West take for granted.

Best, Jeff

(2) Reply to Jeff Blankfort - Peter Myers, March 8, 2011

Gaddafi has an attractive bravado about him, like Yasser Arafat, Castro and Chavez.

I did not approve of the hit squards he sent abroard, to assassinate opponents. On the other hand, they were trying to assassinate him too (see item 6).

In my own area, Gaddafi funded the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, which mounted a bitter struggle to separate from the newly independent (and struggling) country of Papua New Guinea. I thought the whole thing most unfortunate. Wise heads eventually got all to agree to a cooling off period followed by a referendum.

So I agree with Eric Pottenger in item 4 below, that we need not support either side.

Remember Solidarity? It emerged, years after the fall of Communism in Poland, that Solidarity had been receiving money from the CIA. Not that most Solidarity members knew; it was hidden from them.

The State Dept didn't organize a School for Revolutionaries just to idle the time away. There's a serious effort to help dissidents network among themselves, with Regime Change the goal.

I spent three weeks in China's Yunnan Province in January 1987, during which time I went to the "English Corner" in Kunming one evening.

Every city had an "English Corner", where young Chinese gathered to practise their English.

In Kunming, it was on the footpath (pavement) outside the Greenlake Hotel, 2 nights a week (at 7.30, I recall). The third secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Port Moresby had told me about it.

Kunming was one of seven cities in China where demonstrations had been held (about 2 years before Tiananmen 1989). As a result, the security forces were touchy, and monitored contact with foreigners.

About 40 Chinese in their 20s & 30s were there, and soon I had about 10 around me.

I was amazed that a number of the young Chinese had American accents, even though they had never been outside China. "It's from listening to Voice of America", they explained.

That is the real source of the Tiananmen uprising. Those young people were courageous, but misled.

I sympathise with the students. But, although they were courageous, they were unaware of the New World Order & Trotskyist forces in the West, which would have destroyed China as they destroyed Russia after 1991, if the government had fallen.

(3) Gaddafi admits to using force against rebels


March 13, 2011

Gadhafi: Crackdown on Libya revolt is like Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza

Speaking to France 24, long-time Libyan Leader says estimated figures of rebel, civilian casualties are exaggerated, adding that at most '150 to 200 people were killed.'

By Haaretz Service

Long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi said Monday in an interview with TV network France 24 that his violent crackdown on opposition protesters is akin to Israel's efforts to defend itself from extremism during its 2009 Gaza war against Hamas.

Libya has come under international scrutiny in recent weeks, in response to violent clashes between the Libyan military and anti-Gadhafi rebels, confrontations which caused what are estimated to be hundreds of deaths.

On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dispatched a team to Tripoli to assess the humanitarian situation in the wake of the Libyan crisis, criticizing the Libya military's "disproportionate use of force."

Speaking with France 24 later Monday, however, Gadhafi defended his military's right to oppress rebel activity, comparing his crackdown to Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2009, saying that "even the Israelis in Gaza, when they moved into the Gaza strip, they moved in with tanks to fight such extremists."

"It’s the same thing here! We have small armed groups who are fighting us. We did not use force from the outset … Armed units of the Libyan army have had to fight small armed al Qaida bands. That is what’s happened,” Gadhafi said.

Referring to the purported number of casualties in wake of fighting in Libya, the long-time leader claimed "there have been at most 150 to 200 people killed."

(4) We need not support either side (local dictator or NGO-funded "people power" coups)

From: Eric Pottenger <epotteng@gmail.com> Date: 08.03.2011 11:35 AM

I'm delighted that you are disseminating information about the NGO regime change complex, an area that, as you indicated, is under-examined in the world of alternative media.  In reference to Jeffrey Blankfort's two published comments, it is my position that this issue cannot be so black-and-white as to suggest that researchers must either support the local dictator or support the NGO-funded "people power" coups; our job is to discover the truth, disseminate it, try to make sense of it, and not avoid strands of it we don't like. 

For example, Engdahl's article you forwarded has plenty of relevant information about how the RAND corp./military strategy complex financed a study to help understand (and plan around) the forces of political change in Egypt since around 2004.  For me Engdahl's article was a huge help in developing research ideas, one of many articles which I've built my current understanding around.  As for Blankfort, instead of calling Engdahl a "nutcase," perhaps it would be more productive to refute Engdahl's (geopolitical and creative/speculative) perspective by addressing the facts, which Blankfort chose not to do. 

Undoubtedly this is a highly-complex, highly sensitive political issue, and it requires a delicate touch--as well as quality time--to understand the interrelationships and to assign blame wherever necessary.  I am still ironing these issues out myself, and hope to be able to publish a comprehensive report when I feel confident that my opinions are thorough, factual, and structured enough to make sense.

As for you and your readers, one researcher I suggest you checking out is Tony Cartolucci, a (new-to-me) blogger that has covered the most up-to-date information regarding the Arab uprisings with the NGO complex in mind.  His blog can be found at: http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/

Another good geopolitical perspective is that offered by Webster Tarpley.  He has a weekend radio show which can be found online (youtube page) at: http://www.youtube.com/user/WebsterTarpleyDotNet   his personal webpage is http://tarpley.net

When I have time, I will forward more articles to you, help you fill in the blanks (based around what you've already published in your emails).

Thanks again!

Eric Pottenger

Comment (Peter M.):

Tarpley writes out any Mossad link with 9/11.

(5) CIA backed National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) - part of National Conference of Libyan Opposition (NCLO)



Middle East: Revolutions & Propaganda

by Tony Cartalucci

Once again, it is necessary to review a timeline to definitively establish the premeditated, Western-backed nature of the current "revolutionary" conflagration consuming the Middle East and Northern Africa.


2000: US-funded and trained Otpor in Serbia overthrows Slobodan Milosevic.
2002: Otpor starts hosting Georgian and Ukranian protesters for preparation of "Rose Revolution" and "Orange Revolution."
2003: Otpor travels to Zimbabwe to train protesters. Srdja Popovic decides to found CANVAS
2008: Egyptian April 6 Movement leaders attend US State Department summit in NYC.
2009: April 6 Movement attends training in Serbia under CANVAS. CANVAS also trains Tunisian protesters.
2010: February, April 6 Movement meets US International Crisis Group trustee Mohamed ElBaradei at Cario's airport. With Google exec Wael Ghonim, they begin conducting ElBaradei's presidential campaign and organizing protests on behalf of ElBaradei's "National Front for Change" for the next year.
2011: January-February April 6, Mohamed ElBaradei, the National Front for Change, assist in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
2011: February, George Soros funded NGOs begin submitting draft constitutions for Egypt's new government.


1980's: US-CIA backed National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) made multiple attempts to assassinate Qaddafi and initiate armed rebellion throughout Libya.
2005: NFSL's Ibrahim Sahad founds the National Conference of Libyan Opposition (NCLO) in London England.
2011: Early February, the London based NCLO calls for a Libyan "Day of Rage," beginning the "February 17th revolution."
2011: Late February NFSL/NCLO's Ibrahim Sahad is leading opposition rhetoric, literally in front of the White House in Washington D.C. Calls for no-fly zone in reaction to unsubstantiated accusations Qaddafi is strafing "unarmed protesters" with warplanes.
2011: Late February Senators Lieberman and McCain and UK PM David Cameron call for providing air cover for Libyan rebels as well as providing them additional arms.
2011: Early March; it is revealed UK SAS special forces are already operating inside Libya.

In retrospect, the orchestrated Western-backed nature of the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan unrest is clear. However, as the events played out, especially in the early stages, the corporate-owned mainstream media committed itself to breathtaking propagandizing. In Egypt, crowds of 50,000 were translated into "crowds of 2 million" through boldfaced lies, tight camera angles and disingenuous propagandists like BBC's Jon Leyne. In Libya, the initial armed nature of the rebellion was omitted and the unrest was portrayed as "peaceful unarmed protests."

Perhaps most diabolical of all is the manner in which the mainstream media portrayed Egypt's opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei. Indeed, ElBaradei was at the very center of the protests, having returned to Egypt a year earlier in February 2010 to assemble his "National Front for Change" with the help of Egypt's "youth movements" led by the US State Department trained April 6 Movement and Google's Wael Ghonim. But we were all told he "just flew in," and that he was viewed with "suspicion" by the West. We were also told that Hosni Mubarak was still our "chosen man" and reports even went as far as claiming (unsubstantiated claims) that Mubarak was preparing to flee to Tel Aviv, Israel of all places, and that Israel was airlifting in weapons to bolster his faltering regime.

Obviously those "attempts" to save Mubarak's regime failed, if they ever even took place. And on the eve of Mubarak's fall, the US eventually turned a full 180 degrees around from defending him, to demanding he step down. As George Soros and the Neo-Con packed National Endowment for Democracy fund the drafting of the new Egyptian constitution and the US prepares funding to back Egypt's opposition ahead of elections, it is quite clear that US-Israeli "support" in this case was designed to tarnish Mubarak and play on anti-Israeli/American hatred the globalists have been cultivating for decades.

With amazing "foresight," the Council on Foreign Relations' magazine Foreign Affairs reported in March 2010 the following:

"Further, Egypt’s close relationship with the United States has become a critical and negative factor in Egyptian politics. The opposition has used these ties to delegitimize the regime, while the government has engaged in its own displays of anti-Americanism to insulate itself from such charges. If ElBaradei actually has a reasonable chance of fostering political reform in Egypt, then U.S. policymakers would best serve his cause by not acting strongly. Somewhat paradoxically, ElBaradei’s chilly relationship with the United States as IAEA chief only advances U.S. interests now. "

Fully realizing US or Israeli support for ElBaradei would destroy any chance for the "revolution's" success, it appears that the cartoonish act of overtly, even oafishly supporting Mubarak in the early stages of the unrest was a deliberate attempt to shift the ire of the Egyptian people toward him, and their suspicions away from globalist stooge ElBaradei.

We now see a similar campaign unfolding in Libya against Qaddafi, with rumors once again circulating that Israel is trying to save the embattled regime by hiring mercenaries, and even claims being made that Qaddafi is Jewish. Mirroring the cartoonish propaganda aimed at galvanizing Mubarak's opposition, we should be careful while interpreting these ambiguous and perfectly timed "revelations" regarding Libya's Qaddafi.

Libya's opposition has been backed by the West for over two decades with their NFSL/NCLO leadership currently divided between Washington, London, and the globalist-hideout of Dubai. It is hard to believe that Israel, a creation and tool of the London and Wall Street banking oligarchs, would somehow be working to save Qaddafi while Joe Lieberman and John McCain work to arm rebels, provide them air support, and recognize them as the legitimate government of Libya.

It is often said, the first causality of war is the truth. There certainly is a war raging in Libya and one of the many weapons being deployed is deception, as it has been even as Sun Tzu first wrote "all war is based on deception," over 2,500 years ago.

Posted by Land Destroyer at 3:05 PM   

(6) Libya Opposition groups attempted coups & assassinations Gaddafi in the 1980s


Libya’s major opposition forces united beneath tricolour rebel flag


BEN GARDANE, TUNISIA— From Monday's Globe and Mail

Published Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011

Until the 1930s, the three major Libyan provinces of Tripolitania in the northwest, Fezzan in the southwest and Cyrenaica in the east were independent kingdoms, and Cyrenaica has always had a distinct culture and politics.

They appear to have abandoned or postponed this goal. But they may have been joined by other opposition groups that have threatened the Libyan state during the 42 years since Col. Gadhafi seized power in a military coup.

One of these is the Libyan Constitutional Union, which represents those still loyal to the monarchy, who ruled the country from its independence from Italy in 1951 until Col. Gadhafi’s coup. It is led by the last King’s son, Crown Prince Muhammad as-Senussi, who has been speaking out against Col. Gadhafi from the United States.

Another is the National Conference of Libyan Opposition, which unites the groups who opposed the 1969 coup; most of its members are Libyan expatriates living in exile. While it has had a prominent voice from the United States and its leader Ibrahim Sahad has made angry statements calling for the dictator’s ouster this week, it has little visible presence within Libya.

Opposition groups that include anti-regime fighters exiled in Africa include the National Front for the Salvation of Libya and the Libyan National Army, both of which attempted coups and assassinations against Col. Gadhafi in the 1980s. To the extent that these groups are still viable, they likely are contributing forces to the opposition.

Finally, there are the Islamist groups that have repeatedly tried to challenge Col. Gadhafi, whose rule has wavered between socialist secularism and Gadhafi-led Islam, neither of which have pleased fundamentalists. A Libyan branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was subject to a bloody purge by Col. Gadhafi in 1987 and sibling groups have suffered severe repression.

Islamic politics have been absent from any of the statements or leadership lists of the revolutionary group, but they could end up taking a role in a future opposition. Their politics could put them at odds with a number of the other groups, whose goals are purely secular.

For the moment, though, there is a moment of unity: In Benghazi, and in strings of rebel-controlled cities stretching to the east and west of the capital, the tricolour flag is uniting a wildly disparate group of people in a common desire to be rid of the man whose portrait has hung on every Libyan wall for four decades.

(7) Fisk: US asks Saudi Arabia to arm Libya's rebels

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: 08.03.2011 01:11 PM
Subject: Fisk: US asks Saudi Arabia to arm Libya's rebels

America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels, The Independent


Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi

By Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent, Monday, 7 March 2011

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later - to America's chagrin - also funded and armed the Taliban.

But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain - even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis. The Saudis have been told that opponents of Gaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Gaddafi's armour, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers.

Supplies could reach Benghazi within 48 hours but they would need to be delivered to air bases in Libya or to Benghazi airport. If the guerrillas can then go on to the offensive and assault Gaddafi's strongholds in western Libya, the political pressure on America and Nato - not least from Republican members of Congress - to establish a no-fly zone would be reduced.

US military planners have already made it clear that a zone of this kind would necessitate US air attacks on Libya's functioning, if seriously depleted, anti-aircraft missile bases, thus bringing Washington directly into the war on the side of Gaddafi's opponents.

For several days now, US Awacs surveillance aircraft have been flying around Libya, making constant contact with Malta air traffic control and requesting details of Libyan flight patterns, including journeys made in the past 48 hours by Gaddafi's private jet which flew to Jordan and back to Libya just before the weekend.

Officially, Nato will only describe the presence of American Awacs planes as part of its post-9/11 Operation Active Endeavour, which has broad reach to undertake aerial counter-terrorism measures in the Middle East region. The data from the Awacs is streamed to all Nato countries under the mission's existing mandate. Now that Gaddafi has been reinstated as a super-terrorist in the West's lexicon, however, the Nato mission can easily be used to search for targets of opportunity in Libya if active military operations are undertaken....

But Saudi Arabia is already facing dangers from a co-ordinated day of protest by its own Shia Muslim citizens who, emboldened by the Shia uprising in the neighbouring island of Bahrain, have called for street protests against the ruling family of al-Saud on Friday. After pouring troops and security police into the province of Qatif last week, the Saudis announced a nationwide ban on all public demonstrations. Shia organisers claim that up to 20,000 protesters plan to demonstrate with women in the front rows to prevent the Saudi army from opening fire.

If the Saudi government accedes to America's request to send guns and missiles to Libyan rebels, however, it would be almost impossible for President Barack Obama to condemn the kingdom for any violence against the Shias of the north-east provinces.

Thus has the Arab awakening, the demand for democracy in North Africa, the Shia revolt and the rising against Gaddafi become entangled in the space of just a few hours with US military priorities in the region.

(8) Bradley Manning "catatonic" - because of solitary confinement? or brain-altering drugs?

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: 08.03.2011 07:22 PM

The US condemns human rights abuses abroad yet appears to be allowing the psychological torture of Bradley Manning

Ryan Gallagher , guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 March 2011

Bradley Manning was forced to sleep naked in his cell, according to his lawyers.

Earlier this week, the soldier accused of leaking thousands of confidential documents to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, was handed an additional 22 charges as part of his ongoing court martial process. The 23-year-old, who has been in solitary confinement for more than seven months, stands accused of computer fraud, theft of public records and willfully communicating classified information to a person not entitled to receive it. He now also finds himself faced with a rare charge known as "aiding the enemy" – a capital offence for which he could face the death penalty.

The revelation will no doubt have come as a blow to Manning, although given his ongoing treatment it is likely he already feared the worst. Made to endure strict conditions under a prevention of injury order against the advice of military psychiatrists, he is treated like no other prisoner at the 250-capacity Quantico Brig detention facility in Virginia. Despite that he is yet to be convicted of any crime, for the past 218 consecutive days he has been made to live in a cell 6ft wide and 12ft long, without contact with any other detainees. He is not allowed to exercise or have personal effects in his cell, and for the one hour each day he is allowed free from his windowless cell he is taken to an empty room where he is allowed to walk, but not run.

One of the few people to have visited Manning, David House, spoke yesterday of how he had witnessed his friend go from a "bright-eyed intelligent young man" to someone who at times has appeared "catatonic" with "very high difficulty carrying on day to day conversation". House drew similarities with the case of Bobby Dellelo, an American prisoner who developed psychosis after a lengthy period in solitary confinement conditions similar to Manning's. "For me this has been like watching a really good friend succumb to an illness or something," he said. "I think that Bradley Manning is being punished this way because the US government wants him to crack ahead of his trial."

While there has been widespread and well publicised condemnation of issues surrounding Manning's detainment, his conditions have failed to improve. In fact, things may have got worse, not better, for the Oklahoma-born soldier who is incidentally entitled to UK citizenship through his Welsh mother. Just two days ago, for instance, only 24 hours after having been told he now faces a capital charge, Manning was made to strip naked in his cell for no apparent reason. According to David Coombs, Manning's lawyer, the soldier was then left without clothes for seven hours. When the wake-up call sounded for the detainees at 5am, in an act of forced humiliation, Manning was made to stand naked at the front of his cell.

The incident, described as "inexcusable and without justification" by Coombs, is symbolic of the entire twisted saga: a gross injustice on a nauseating scale. We must bear in mind, of course, that Manning allegedly leaked military files because he, according to unverified internet chat logs, saw wrongdoing and had no other course of action because his superiors told him they "didn't want to hear any of it". He did not want to be complicit in war crimes, and felt that by leaking the files he could prompt "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms".
In recent days and weeks the US government has condemned human rights abuses and repression in almost every country across the Middle East – yet at a prison within its own borders it sanctions the persecution, alleged psychological torture and debasement of a young soldier who appears to have made a principled choice in the name of progress.

"Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal," said Barack Obama in 2008. But the stench of his hypocrisy is no longer bearable. It is time, now more than ever, that Bradley Manning received the justice he so clearly deserves.

(9) Bradley Manning in isolation 23 out of 24 hours every day - Dennis Kucinich

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: 08.03.2011 07:22 PM

Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Is This Quantico or Abu Ghraib?

Reader Supported News, 05 March 11

After initial allegations of mistreatment, I requested a visit with Private First Class Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, to see for myself the conditions of his treatment.

Despite the fact that Manning has not been found guilty of any crime, his lawyer reports that he is in isolation 23 out of 24 hours every day, conditions which may violate his 8th Amendment protection from 'cruel and unusual' punishment. This treatment is in stark contrast to a presumption of innocence and raises questions of whether Pfc. Manning can be fit for trial.

My request to visit with Pfc. Manning must not be delayed further. Today we have new reports that Manning was stripped naked and left in his cell for seven hours. While refusing to explain the justification for the treatment, a marine spokesman confirmed the actions but claimed they were "not punitive."

Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib? Officials have confirmed the "non-punitive" stripping of an American soldier who has not been found guilty of any crime. This "non-punitive" action would be considered a violation of the Army Field Manual if used in an interrogation overseas. The justification for and purpose of this action certainly raises questions of "cruel and unusual punishment," and could constitute a potential violation of international law.

The Army Field Manual, 2-22.3 (FM 34-52): Human Intelligence Collector Operations, Page 5-21, section 5-75 clearly states that: "If used in conjunction with intelligence interrogations, prohibited actions include, but are not limited to -- Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner."

(10) Manning treated worse than punishment administered to those who committ War Crimes

Published on Monday, March 7, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Under Obama, Better to Commit a War Crime Than Expose One

by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis

Bradley Manning is accused of humiliating the political establishment by revealing the complicity of top U.S. officials in carrying out and covering up war crimes. In return for his act of conscience, the U.S. government is holding him in abusive solitary confinement, humiliating him and trying to keep him behind bars for life.

The lesson is clear, and soldiers take note: You're better off committing a war crime than exposing one.

An Army intelligence officer stationed in Kuwait, the 23-year-old Manning – outraged at what he saw – allegedly leaked tens of thousands of State Department cables to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. These cables show U.S. officials covering up everything from U.S. tax dollars funding child rape in Afghanistan to illegal, unauthorized bombings in Yemen. Manning is also accused of leaking video evidence of U.S. pilots gunning down more than a dozen Iraqis in Baghdad, including two journalists for Reuters, and then killing a father of two who stopped to help them. The father's two young children were also severely wounded.

“Well, it's their fault for bringing kids into a battle,” a not-terribly-remorseful U.S. pilot can be heard remarking in the July 2007 “Collateral Murder” video.

None of the soldiers who carried out that war crime have been punished, nor have any of the high-ranking officials who authorized it. Indeed, committing war crimes is more likely to get a solider a medal than a prison term. And authorizing them? Well, that'll get you a book deal and a six-digit speaking fee. Just ask George W. Bush. Or Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice. Or the inexplicably “respectable” Colin Powell.

In fact, the record indicates Manning would be far better off today – possibly on the lecture circuit rather than in solitary confinement – if he'd killed those men in Baghdad himself.

Hyperbole? Consider what happened to the U.S. soldiers who, over a period of hours – not minutes – went house to house in the Iraqi town of Haditha and executed 24 men, women and children in retaliation for a roadside bombing.

“I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head,” said one of the two surviving eyewitnesses to the massacre, nine-year-old Eman Waleed. “Then they killed my granny." Almost five years later, not one of the men involved in the incident is behind bars. And despite an Army investigation revealing that statements made by the chain of command “suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives,” with the murder of brown-skinned innocents considered “just the cost of doing business,” none of their superiors are behind bars either.

Now consider the treatment of Bradley Manning. On March 1, the military charged Manning with 22 additional offenses – on top of the original charges of improperly leaking classified information, disobeying an order and general misconduct. One of the new charges, “aiding the enemy,” is punishable by death. That means Manning faces the prospect of being executed or spending his life in prison for exposing the ugly truth about the U.S. empire.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has decided to make Manning's pre-trial existence as torturous as possible, holding him in solitary confinement 23 hours a day since his arrest 10 months ago – treatment that the group Psychologists for Social Responsibility notes is, “at the very least, a form of cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment in violation of U.S. law.

In addition to the horror of long-term solitary confinement, Manning is barred from exercising in his cell and is denied bed sheets and a pillow. And every five minutes, he must respond in the affirmative when asked by a guard if he's “okay.”

And it gets worse. On his blog, Manning's military lawyer, Lt. Col. David Coombs, reveals that his client is now being stripped of his clothing at night, left naked under careful surveillance for seven hours. When the 5:00 am wake-up call comes, he's then “forced to stand naked at the front of the cell.”

If you point out that the emperor has no clothes, it seems the empire will make sure you have none either.

Officials at the Quantico Marine Base where Manning is being held claim the move is “not punitive” but rather a “precautionary measure” intended to prevent him from harming himself. Do they really think Manning is going to strangle himself with his underwear – and that he could do so while under 24-hour surveillance?

“Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib?” asked Rep. Dennis Kucinich in a press release. Good question, congressman. Like the men imprisoned in former President Bush's Iraqi torture chamber, Manning is being abused and humiliated despite having not so much as been tried in a military tribunal, much less convicted of an actual crime.

So much for the constitutional lawyer who ran as the candidate of hope and change.

Remember back when Obama campaigned against such Bush-league torture tactics? Recall when candidate Obama said “government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal”? It appears his opposition to torture and support for whistleblowers was only so much rhetoric. And then he took office.

Indeed, despite the grand promises and soaring rhetoric, Obama’s treatment of Manning is starkly reminiscent of none other than Richard Nixon. Like Obama – who has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any president in history – Nixon had no sympathy for “snitches,” and no interest in the American public learning the truth about their government. And he likewise argued that Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, had given “aid and comfort to the enemy” for revealing the facts about the war in Vietnam.

But there's a difference: Richard Nixon never had the heroic whistleblower of his day thrown in solitary confinement and tortured. If only the same could be said for Barack Obama.

Medea Benjamin (medea@globalexchange.org) is cofounder of Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org) and CODEPINK: Women for Peace (www.codepinkalert.org). She is author of Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart.

Charles Davis has covered Congress for NPR and Pacifica stations across the country, and freelanced for the international news wire Inter Press Service, primarily covering U.S. policy toward Latin America and the war on drugs in particular. He has also worked as a researcher for Michael Moore on his movie Capitalism: A Love Story.

(11) US accepts Israeli advice that ElBaradei, when head of IAEA, was soft on Iran


WikiLeaks: Mohamed ElBaradei was 'too soft on Tehran’

The United States and Israel warned that Mohamed ElBaradei, a key leader of the Egyptian opposition, was soft on Iran and was becoming “part of the problem” in the Middle East, according to leaked diplomatic cables.

By Steven Swinford, and Christopher Hope  9:00PM GMT 09 Feb 2011

Officials feared that Mr ElBaradei, who at the time was head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was “just going through the motions” with Iran and was failing to investigate fully its suspected nuclear programme.

In October, 2007, US diplomats were briefed by officers from Israeli Defence Intelligence that Mr ElBaradei saw himself as a “peacemaker” who was surrounded by staff who “do not wish to challenge him”. The cable states: “ElBaradei sees himself as a peacemaker akin to the Dalai Lama. He urged the US to take measures to 'chip away’ at the staff bolstering his 'supreme confidence’.

“He [the Israeli official] stressed that it would help if the US and other countries explained to ElBaradei that he might embarrass the IAEA and undercut his legacy in the long run.”

US officials harboured similar concerns. In January, 2009, Mr ElBaradei admitted that, without a wider political agreement, the agency would be unable to inspect Iran and Syria’s nuclear capabilities. The cable states: “ElBaradei repeated his view that, while the IAEA will 'do its job’ and 'go through the motions’ in Iran and Syria, he did not believe either issue would progress except as part of a wider political package.”

The US was unimpressed. The cable states: “Our diplomacy should remain geared to ensuring that others remain similarly engaged and that Board members make clear to the DG that he [ElBaradei] must do more than 'go through the motions’. On both files, Syria in particular, we need to keep pounding the theme that the IAEA’s institutional credibility is at stake.

“Unfortunately, ElBaradei is likely to remain part of the problem, rather than solution, if he becomes increasingly unwilling toward the end of his term to hold in check his proclivity to take a NAM-like view on key issues like the Middle East and fuel assurances.”

During his tenure at the IAEA, Mr ElBaradei, was seen as playing down fears that Iran was using the cover of civilian nuclear development to conceal more dangerous goals. He was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

(12) IAEA (under new leadership, after ElBaradei) says Iran developing nuclear weapons

From: Michael <RePorterNoteBook@Gmail.com> Date: 08.03.2011 09:53 AM


UN nuclear watchdog says Iran developing nuclear weapons

The UN nuclear watchdog has said it new information that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon capable of being carried by its ballistic missiles.

8:19PM GMT 25 Feb 2011

In a classified report the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said "new information" it had received had prompted "further concern" about Iran's nuclear programme.

"Iran is not engaging with the agency in substance on issues concerning the allegation that Iran is developing a nuclear payload for its missile programme."

Tehran insists its atomic programme is entirely peaceful.

But Western countries believe it is a guise to a covert nuclear weapons programme and have compiled evidence that it was involved in weaponisation studies – work which included uranium conversion, high explosives testing and the adaptation of a ballistic missile cone to carry a nuclear warhead – at least until 2003.

Iran has dismissed the evidence as "fabricated" and refused to discuss the so-called "alleged studies" any further.

The report comes amid mounting concerns about a possible nuclear arms race in the Middle East, fuelled by Syria's rejection on an IAEA request to inspect a possible nuclear facility.

(13) Zimbabwe will sell Uranium to Iran, in exchange for Petroleum


Zimbabwe to sell uranium to Iran

Zimbabwe is to defy United Nations sanctions in a deal to sell uranium to Iran

By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg  3:03PM GMT 06 Mar 2011

Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, said the sanctions – which prohibit member states from providing Iran with raw materials that it could use to make a nuclear weapon – were unfair and hypocritical.

He said that Zimbabwe, which is also the subject of sanctions over human rights abuses perpetrated by President Robert Mugabe's supporters, would benefit economically from the agreement.

A leaked intelligence report suggests Iran will be awarded with exclusive access to Zimbabwe's uranium in return for providing the country with fuel.

The report – compiled by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog – said Iran's Foreign and Co-operative Ministers had visited Zimbabwe to strike a deal, and sent engineers to assess uranium deposits.

Experts say the move contradicts Iran's claim that it now has enough domestic uranium supplies to sustain its nuclear energy ambitions. They say Zimbabwe's defiance of sanctions and its support for the pariah state will scare those considering investing in its economy, which is only just starting to recover after years of hyperinflation.

Uranium ore, or yellow cake, can be converted to a uranium gas which is then processed into nuclear fuel or enriched to make nuclear weapons. The UN imposed fresh sanctions on Iran last year after it refused to halt uranium enrichment.

Zimbabwe's uranium stocks consist of an estimated 455,000 tons at Kanyemba, north of Harare. One metallurgist with knowledge of the deposit said it would take two to three years of development before it produced uranium and it would be exhausted in about five years. Mr Mumbengegwi said: "Zimbabwe has rich uranium reserves, but is faced with shortage of funds and does not possess the technical knowledge and equipment needed for extracting [them] ... Any country has the right to use peaceful nuclear energy based on international rules."

Mr Mugabe has previously dismissed as "illegal" the US and EU sanctions that target him and members of his regime.

"Western states follow the approach of sanctions towards countries which do not yield to their domination and act against their interests," Mr Mumbengegwi, a member of Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party, said.

People close to the UN confirmed that Zimbabwe would be in direct contravention of sanctions if it sold uranium to Iran, but admitted the international body could do little to punish it.

Ben Rhode, a Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said there would be concern about the deal internationally. "Iran already has a guaranteed fuel supply from Russia for the lifetime of its Bushehr power reactor," he said. "It is therefore difficult to understand the peaceful, commercial nature of such a procurement."

Judy Smith-Hohn, of South Africa's Institute for Security Studies, said Mr Mugabe's Movement for Democratic Change partners in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition, could veto the deal. "Because the world is looking the other way, towards events in North Africa, the Zimbabwean authorities are testing the boundaries and this is most likely part of it," she said.

(14) Desktop Archaeologist finds Saudi archaeological sites with Google Earth

From: Bhaskar Jain <kalpvraksha@gmail.com> Date: 08.03.2011 03:01 AM


Aussie desktop archaeologist's major Saudi sighting

Asher Moses

February 7, 2011

An Australian archaeologist working from his armchair in Perth has unearthed almost two thousand potential archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia.

Far and away from the Indiana Jones-style imagery archaeologists inspire, high resolution photography is allowing researchers to unearth world-changing discoveries using little more than Google Maps.

Professor David Kennedy, from the University of Western Australia, has never visited Saudi Arabia but scanned 1240 square kilometres of the country using Google Earth and found 1977 potential archaeological sites. This included 1082 ancient tombs shaped like tear drops.

Kennedy was able to confirm the legitimacy of two of the finds by asking a friend in Saudi Arabia to drive out to the sites and photograph them. He believes they may be up to 9000 years old.

In a similar instance in 2008, a PhD student at La Trobe University in Melbourne uncovered hundreds of previously unknown sites in Afghanistan using Google Earth. Like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan can present hostile challenges to researchers and the online mapping service provides a safe way to explore the country.

"Saudi Arabia has a rich archaeological heritage but it is relatively poorly recorded and understood," said Kennedy in an email interview.

"The extensive remains of great prehistoric cemeteries in such places as Yabrin in the interior have been known for many years but little-explored. More widely, extensive and numerous ruins are known in many areas but seldom recorded even superficially."

Kennedy told New Scientist that Saudi Arabia was "not the easiest country to break into" and it was difficult to even fly over the nation - but he said Google Earth "can outflank them".

In his paper on the find, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Kennedy writes: "It is readily apparent that the use of GE [Google Earth] for the prospection and identification of sites has great potential when dealing with a huge area that is otherwise largely inaccessible on the ground."

However, further ground verification is needed to confirm the significance of the sites.

"Just from Google Earth it's impossible to know whether we have found a Bedouin structure that was made 150 years ago, or 10,000 years ago," Kennedy told New Scientist.

In the journal paper Kennedy said initial investigations revealed most of the discoveries were "pre-Islamic". It is thought that the Islamic regime in Saudi Arabia is hostile to archaeology because it may focus attention on pre-Islamic civilisations there.

Kennedy did not express a view on this but said Saudi Arabia was one of the least explored countries archaeologically.

"Saudi Arabia covers 2.15 million sq km - twice the size of the UK, France and Germany together," Kennedy writes in the paper. "On the other hand, it is one of the least explored countries archaeologically."

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that 90 per cent of the archaeological treasures in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina had been destroyed to make way for hotels, apartment blocks and parking facilities. Last year, Saudi clerics reportedly renewed long-standing calls for the demolition of several historic Islamic sites.

In 2008 and 2009 other Google Maps researchers discovered rare meteorite impact craters in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

In 2008, a Western Australia man said he felt like Charles Darwin after discovering - via Google Earth - an extensive formation of fringing coral reefs just west of the Kimberley.

In 2007 Google Maps revealed an aerial image of a US nuclear-powered submarine and, separately, evidence of China's nuclear submarine capability.

In 2006 an Australian granny living in a small Canadian prairie town discovered an intriguing rock formation that looks like an iPod-wearing native American.

But while Google Maps has been a boon for academics, it's also caused international conflicts with Nicaraguan troops blaming a Google Maps error for them invading Costa Rica in November last year. Other errors have created tensions between Morocco and Spain.

In December last year the Iranian government was reportedly furious after Google Maps satellite images revealed a Star of David painted on he roof of the Iran Air headquarters.

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