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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

17 June - Antinews

Desert view in Saudi Arabia. The reddish color...Image via Wikipedia

Report: Saudis to help raid on Iran

Discussing the Times report, Hussein Shobokshi, a columnist for Al-Sharq al-Awsat, a pan-Arab newspaper, rejected the possibility of Saudi acquiescence in any Israeli plan to attack Iran's nuclear installations.

"I can deny with full force that there is no such thing as 'Saudi circles'. Any Saudi official will deny this," he told Al Jazeera.

Red Cross: Gaza blockade illegal
In a statement released on Monday, the organisation called the blockade "collective punishment", a crime under international law. It described Gaza as a territory plagued by frequent power cuts, a ruined economy, and a collapsed health care system.
"The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is about to enter its fourth year, choking off any real possibility of economic development," the ICRC said.
"Gazans continue to suffer from unemployment, poverty and warfare, while the quality of Gaza's health care system has reached an all-time low."

Iran sanctions cripple the UN
The only feasible rationale for imposing further sanctions in the face of Iran's obvious willingness to negotiate must be found not in any wish to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons, but instead in the geopolitical interests of a few power-hungry countries - and their allies and client states - who possess an undemocratic veto power in the UN.

The UN, it appears, does not desire a nuclear-free Middle East.

After the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles, such actions by the UN Security Council only serve to further delegitimise the UN and to undermine its charter.

While the first round of sanctions against Iran were unanimously adopted, this latest round - the fourth in as many years - was called "a mistake" by Turkey and Brazil, who voted against the motion, while Lebanon abstained - pointing to the clear lack of consensus within the council.

The senseless nature of the situation was immediately obvious as statements emerged from various quarters.
Ahmadinejad is the most willing partner for rapprochement with the US [GALLO/GETTY]
On the one hand there were the Chinese who argued for negotiations as the best way forward both before and after voting in favour of further sanctions.
This stance may have been intended as a clever public relations exercise, but its inherent contradiction is glaring.
China has gained a far greater share of Iran's trade and investment opportunities over the past decade and has managed to further boost her opportunities by taking the West for a "voluntary sanctions" ride that is destined to further isolate the latter from Iran's market.
There are several emerging markets and technological alternatives in the new post-financial crisis world economic order.
While Iran certainly does not need greater economic cooperation with the West, the latter's insistence on limiting their own trade opportunities with one of the world's largest economies - and one that owns vast amounts of natural gas and oil - is quite baffling.
It does, however, make good sense to Chinese strategists.
Russia too has played its geopolitical game shrewdly. Iran's huge gas reserves threaten Russia's dominance in supplying Europe and others. Further "voluntary sanctions" by the latter help to maintain Russia's improving position.
in depth
  Who's afraid of Iran?
  Video: Mystery over Iranian scientist deepens
  Inside Story: Reassessing the world nuclear order
  Inside Story: A world without atomic weapons
  Riz Khan: Global nuclear disarmament
  Empire: Iran - influence or threat?
  Countdown: The Iran/Israel arms race
Furthermore, closer collaboration between Iran and the US would reduce the Americans' losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reduce Russia's influence. Russia would much rather keep Iran and the US at each other's throats.
It is for this reason that Russia can vote for sanctions ostensibly designed to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities, while at the same time planning to open a new nuclear power station in Iran in August.

After decades of aimless talks, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently managed to put Israel's known illegal nuclear weapons on the agenda.

But what hope can the world really have for a serious debate when it is only Iran – which has no nuclear weapons and which has endured more than 4,000 invasive IAEA inspections to date – that faces sanctions?

Bloody Sunday victims all innocent
 David Cameron, the British prime minister, has said he is deeply sorry for the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" massacre, telling politicians that an investigation into Northern Ireland's biggest mass killing by British soldiers showed the attack was "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Cameron said the report, released on Tuesday, showed that the 13 people killed were innocent and that British soldiers had fired first and even killed injured protesters trying to flee.

FLASHBACK: During Exxon Valdez disaster, President Bush got a free pass from the press
Even Republicans acknowledge Fox News isn't real news
Sen. John Cornyn explained yesterday that Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in Nevada wouldn't be talking to the press for "a few weeks":
Angle is apparently not ready for actual journalists, but she's ready for Fox News, so her June 14 interview with Fox News' Fox & Friends makes total sense. It featured Steve Doocy attempting to hide Angle's position in favor of "transition[ing] out" social security, and was soundly panned by the local Fox affiliate in Las Vegas (they called it "an interview rife with inaccuracies, softball questions and poor research"). Later that day, Angle appeared on Fox News' Hannity, where she took more softball questions from Sean Hannity, and promoted her website and asked Hannity's audience for donations.

Can a Free Press mark the End of Industocracy?
The fact that 'WikiLeaks' exists, proves that something is darn wrong in society. For journalists in many countries it still is running the gauntlet to write about high placed fraudsters, lies from a kleptocracy or similar displeasing revelations that expose entrenched power-structures in our societies, acting only to their own benefit. For them a free press is felt as a real existential threat. Iceland -after its bank collapse, trying to suppress that news- learned and seems to be paving the way for the coordination of a 'new' free world press...
It is difficult for old institutions to understand that spreading fears, half-lies, biased exaggerations no longer work to mislead and control masses. Masses no longer exist. The Internet marked the end of both. Everybody with access to the Internet can find out about drones over Afghanistan, the life of the stormbird, world cooling, or even the balance-sheet from British Petroleum. In days of lobbies in favor of the industocracy, where policies are defined and dictated by industries and pressure-groups (f.ex. related to banking, healthcare, energy, military, environment, science etc.), we seem to be arriving at the last frontier for a truly free and decent press that -when able to overcome this last frontier- could return a sense of realism and democracy to people like you and me. My 'decent' doesn't mean 'politically correct', but allowing rights to privacy, maintaining decent behavioral and professional standards. Times are changing. Even for some types of journalism still believing that most of us are interested in waiting-room gossips, soccer and political propaganda only.

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