Author and blogger As’ad AbuKhalil discusses the role of the US in supporting dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and North Africa both before and after the uprisings that swept the region in the spring of 2011. This presentation was part of the Building Solidarity with the Arab Spring Teach-In held on November 12, 2011 in Berkeley, CA.
Davutoglu said, “Syrian regime’s duty is not to accuse others but to listen and pay attention to its own people and meet its own responsibilities. The regime cannot survive by putting pressure on the people. Their not meeting the demands of the people increasingly shakes the confidence of the people. Syrian regime should understand that they cannot continue with status quo, the same system, one party regime, an order which pressurizes its own citizens.
Syrian regime should listen to its people instead of massacring them. As far as they do not stop massacring, they cannot get the support of the people by making epic speeches in every 3-4 months. They constantly make new promises and then postpone the reform dates they gave before.”
It is clear the Bush Administration was committed to bringing about regime change. Under President Barack Obama, it appears the US has not fully committed to the same of kind of destabilization efforts. The Obama Administration appears to have instead adopted a policy that is indicative of the sort of American exceptionalism rife within the Washington establishment.
“The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange denied what was recently circulated about a secret deal that he might have made with israel in return for not publishing anything about it in the series of the leaked American diplomatic documents that his website publishes.
Assange said Wednesday evening in “Without Limits” on Al-Jazeera that he didn’t make any deal with israel and revealed that his site would publish hundreds of documents relating to israel in the coming months. He stated that he has 3700 documents and 2700 of these documents originated from israel alone.
He added, “we did not have direct or indirect contact with the israelis, but the israeli intelligence (mossad) and other intelligence agencies are following us and attempt to predict what we will do. And I’m sure that the israeli intelligence is interested in us, but it did not contact us. It might have contacted individuals that used to work for our organization, but at the moment, there are no communications between them [israeli intelligence] and us.
He added that what was published about israel represents 1% or 2% of the documents concerning israel. But he stated that international newspapers that he made a deal with to publish the documents chose what they wanted to publish based on their interest in them. He said that that reflects the “bias” of some of these newspaper and that his site would publish all the documents it has and are related to israel.
Assange revealed that there are sensitive and classified documents that deal with israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006. Others deal with the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai and the diplomatic telegrams regarding the passports used by the mossad in the operation.
He said that there is an important telegram about Hizb Allah’s telecommunications’ network that mentions fiber lines and that one of these lines passed by the French embassy in Beirut. He added that this matter “worries Washington because control of telecommunications is important.”
He stated that the secret classified documents include mention of the mossad, and high ranking communications regarding the assassination of a Syrian official by a sniper. He said that the publication of the documents relating to israel and some Arab states will continue for six months.”
“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel. In the next six months we intend to publish more files depending on our sources,” said Assange in the nearly one-hour interview telecast live from the UK.
Q: An Arabic newspaper called Al Haqeeqa [“the Truth”] conducted an interview with one of your former colleagues who said you have a deal with Israel not to publish these secret files.
A: This is not true. We have been accused as agents of Iran and CIA by this former colleague who was working for Germany in the past and was dismissed from his job after we published American military documents related to Germany.
We were the biggest institution receiving official funding from the US but after we released a video tape about killing people in cold blood in Iraq in 2007, the funding stopped and we had to depend on individuals for finance.
Q: When will you publish the files related to Israel on your website?
A: We will publish 3700 files and the source is the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Netanyahu was traveling to Paris to talk to the US ambassador there. You will see more information about that in six months.
Q: Do these Israeli files speak about the July 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon?
A: Yes there is some information about that and these files were classified as top secret.
Q: Is there any relation with these files and the assassination of Hamas military leader Al Mabhoh in Dubai?
A: Yes there are some indication to this and may be some special reports published by newspapers. Mossad agents used Australian, British and European passports to travel to Dubai and there are diplomatic files about that.
Q: Are there any security service companies providing information to international airports and monitoring passengers even in the Arab countries?
A: There are some files about American and Israeli security companies that tried to intervene in certain areas. For example, in Brazil, the American embassy put some Israeli security companies during the Olympic Games.
Q: Are there any files about agencies providing intelligence information about famous personalities in the Arab world?
A: I am not sure about that but there are files about Hezbollah in Lebanon. In one of these files Lebanon government complained against cables passing near the French embassy. American are always very much worried about the telecommunications network.
Q: Are there any files about Israeli agents in the Arab world including some Arab royal palaces.
A: Most of the files related to Mossad are classified as top secret but there may be some files related to the role of Mossad in killing Lebanese military leader in Damascus by sniper bullets.
There 2,500 files related to Mossad and I have read only 1000. So I don’t know about everythiong, I need more journalists including Arabs to read and analyse and put everything in the context for the benefit of the readers.
We have 17,000 files where the word Qatar has been mentioned, the source of 3,000 of these files is the American embassy in Doha.
Q: What is the most interesting file about Qatar that was not published?
A: There is a lot to be read. The name of Waddah Khanfar has been mentioned in 504 files. Some of these files have been published by The Guardian.
Q: How do the Americans view Al Jazeera in these files?
A: There were some meetings between people from Al Jazeera and the US embassy where the latter suggested coverage of certain things in a certain way.
There are files about a TV channel in Dubai which the Americans said can be used against Al Jazeera and when this channel tried to move in the American direction, people stopped watching it.
The Americans despite having a base here were angry about the presence of an Iranian bank in Qatar but Qatar said it would not close it but would not open new banks. Despite that this bank established many more branches in Doha. Qatar is trying to create a balance between the Arab world and the America.
The Americans appreciate having their largest base in Doha but Qatar does not agree with all American requirements and Al Jazeera is a good example for that.
I have been notified about the general rumour a few weeks ago, and shortly after about the appearance of me as involved in those allegations. I have never spoken to anyone at syriatruth or that reporter that is making these claims, nor do I know anything about any deals JA has allegedly made with Israelis.
Given what is appearing in the Scandinavian area with the involvement of Shamir and Wahlstrom I wouldn’t actually expect that to happen either. In any case, this latter statement is just my personal judgement.
I once received a test mail from a , and then a followup regarding OpenLeaks questions. A contact request to him after hearing of the allegations was not replied to.
In the last week or so I have been contacted by Israeli TV about this, as well as French Le Point today. Those are the only media outfits so far that seem to have taken interest. Other than that it seems to be mainly spreading via weird Russian and religious forums, at least from as much as I am aware of.
As I read somewhere that this alleged reporter I allegedly talked to works for Hareetz, I have asked the folks from Israeli TV if they could help find out who that is, and how to contact her. They replied that there doesn’t seem to be anyone by that name. So obviously, which was my gut feeling also, that person does not exist. Why that rumour is circulated, I dont know. I have my feelings about that and think we should give it some more time to uncover itself.
More disturbingly, the cables reveal that behind closed doors our political leaders deal incautiously with representatives of the United States and Israel. They seem to forget that they are dealing with the representatives of a foreign country, in a game that is definitely reserved for grown-ups, the world of navigating our country through the shoals of major international events. They make such forthright and absolute declarations of support that they leave hostages to fortune, giving themselves little room to negotiate on issues arising in the future on the basis of a hard-nosed assessment of where Australia’s national interest lies. Indeed, at times they give the impression they would struggle to see the difference between Australia’s national interests and those of the United States or Israel.
Despite vehement protestations by Netanyahu to the contrary, Wikileaks cables (and Netanyahu’s public admonitions), have shown Israel consistently conflates peace with Palestinians with its existential fear of Iran as number one threat, emphasising an interminable, nebulous and largely self-created security problem which inflates a deliberately marketed victimhood which the US is expected to ease and pander to at all times. In turn, this mechanism provides US military industrial plutocrats, Middle Eastern dictators and other ruling class mavens with plausible deniability for exploitation of the world’s richest sources of energy, at the expense of ordinary people of the region, negating an equitable outcome for rightsless Palestinians that would truly be in the interests of everyone’s security except those who profit from their oppression.
WikiLeaks now plans to begin sharing the cables with a wider group of regional news organisations. Julian Assange says all future cables released by WikiLeaks will either be redacted by other partner news organisations, or by WikiLeaks itself. The Guardian and its partners in the project, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais and Le Monde, will continue to share redactions with WikiLeaks for any cables they publish in future.
Assange defended one of WikiLeaks’ collaborators, Israel Shamir, following claims Shamir passed sensitive cables to Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko has arrested 600 opposition supporters and journalists since Sunday’s presidential election. The whereabouts and fate of several of the president’s high-profile opponents are unknown.
Of Shamir, Assange said: “WikiLeaks works with hundreds of journalists from different regions of the world. All are required to sign non-disclosure agreements and are generally only given limited review access to material relating to their region. We have no reason to believe these rumours in relation to Belarus are true.”
Over the past month the Guardian has published more than 200 articles based on the trove of US diplomatic dispatches obtained by WikiLeaks, and 739 of the cables themselves. All cables published by the Guardian and the four other international news organisations who had exclusive early access to the material have been carefully redacted to protect sources who could be placed in danger, and the redacted versions have been passed to WikiLeaks.
It’s annoying that the Guardian didn’t ask Assange how the Norwegian paper Aftenposten received the entire trove of documents, because I would like to know whether my suspicions are correct.
Swedish Radio, Medierna, discovered last week that Shamir’s son, Johannes Wahlström ‘is the gatekeeper of the cables in Scandinavia, and “has the power to decide” which newspapers are provided access and what leaks they are allowed to see’.
Benny Morris’s tilt at Iran is almost comical. Hanan Ashrawi and Juan Cole debunk his hysteria soundly.
Still, now that Hezbollah will not form government in Lebanon, Iran has to be firmly in Nutanyahoo’s sights when he needs the usual convenient obsfucation to divert the US administration’s attention from freezing settlements and resolving the plight of the Palestinian people.
Even at Easter, following Ahmadinejad’s generous theatrical gesture releasing the Brit sailors, the United Stupids remain fixed in a characteristically un-Christian mind frame. They continue to refuse Iran access to their 5 officials abducted by the United Stupids.
“I think there’s no inclination right now to let them go,” Mr Gates said in Washington when asked about the fate of the five Iranians captured by US forces in Iraq and held since January.
“Iraqi government officials and US officials are discussing if there’s some way, perhaps, that there could be some kind of Iranian access to them,” he said. “But as far as I know, there’s no requirement for that.”
“I don’t think that consular access is being considered. I think the issue is whether there’s some other means by which some other access might be given,” he said.
Mr Gates’s comments appeared to fall short of a statement by US military spokesman Major General William Caldwell, who told reporters in Baghdad that a consular request to visit the five Iranians was “being assessed”.
The United Stupids’ hostage taking may blow up their faces, as Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has agreed with Tehran that
the men were operating with the knowledge of the Iraqi government and were not involved in any sort of “clandestine operation”.
“They were known by us. They were under surveillance by regional security. They operated with the approval of the regional government and with the knowledge of the Iraqi government.
“We were in the process of formalising that liaison office into a consulate. Then they would have diplomatic immunity,” he said.
Bush’s assertion that “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job” brings to mind God as a dull-witted, cognitively-impaired nationalist unable to utter a simple declarative sentence who spends his time preaching “blessed are the warmongers and profit-makers.”
Last Wednesday, the British produced Global Positioning System coordinates to support their claim, even though the coordinates were from a helicopter that London says hovered over the Indian ship that the sailors had inspected, and not the GPS coordinates of the sailors themselves.
Iran was quick to produce its own evidence. The GPS unit of one of the British sailors, confiscated by the Iranian authorities, showed that the British were not only in Iranian waters at the time of the incident, but that they had crossed over into Iranian waters on five earlier occasions as well, according to Tehran.
What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
On December 24, US troops arrested several Iranian officials in Iraq – of whom at least two were diplomats. A few weeks later, an office the Iranians say was a consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan was raided. Another five Iranians were detained there. They are still held by the US, and Tehran has had no access to them.
In addition, Ali Reza Asgari, a senior Iranian official who served in the cabinet of former president Mohammad Khatami, went missing in Turkey in February. His family and authorities in Tehran say he was kidnapped by the Israelis. The US says he defected.
Whether the arrested Iranians were diplomats or not and whether Asgari defected or was kidnapped, in two short months the detentions of the Iranians, the imposition of financial sanctions on Iran, and the passing of two United Nations Security Council Resolutions have seemingly provided the US with the leverage it was seeking. Washington is suddenly feeling confident and is hinting a vague willingness to talk to Tehran from its perceived position of strength.
It could be that the United Stupids are so irritated about Iran’s increased trading of oil in non USD currencies despite expanded sanctions, that releasing *their* hostages or even allowing the Iranians any form of contact with them is the last thing on their minds.
Iran’s efforts to switch from U.S. dollar to other currencies in crude oil deals appear to be progressing.
An official with Iran’s oil ministry says 60% of payments are now made in non-dollar currencies.
The U.S. has been trying to prevent overseas banks doing dollar deals with Iran, a move which Washington leaders think could undermine the Iranian economy.
However, Tehran has proved those efforts ineffective by introducing a currency shift in crude deals.
Iran has succeeded in ensuring that almost all European and some Asian clients have agreed to pay in currencies other than U.S. dollars, a senior oil official said on Thursday.
UPDATE 5/4:In releasing the 15 Brits, Ahmadinejad seizes the opportunity to appear magnanimous. 10 cookies to Iran – Amaddy has stage-managed a spectacular media event which has capably drawn attention away from Iran’s enrichment program.
On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet (Muhammad) … and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people – with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial – forgave those 15.
One has to wonder what strings the Brits pulled behind the scenes – did they make an offer too good to refuse? Bliar accepts the release of the sailors graciously.
Will the United Stupids now release their Iranian hostages? If they don’t, we can expect more ominous grunts from Iran.