Google+ Studio 25: April 2013


The Fog of Fear

The Telegraph in an article from Tuesday, 23 April 2013, warns everybody that Britain and US 'risk repeating Iraq invasion mistake with Iran'. Some would say it is a fair warning. But, is it?

"The same sort of lies and falsehoods are being uttered about Iran as were told about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction ten years ago, and in some cases by the same people."
Manipulation of some kind? Let us take a look at what they are saying.
I would expect a respectable news deliverer as "The Telegraph" to have a clearer picture of the recent past and of the present. The facts are that the Baathist regime in Baghdad had a history of hiding a nuclear program (maybe not at the time of the invasion, but they clearly had a history); attach that history to an almost continuous state of war, repeated obstructions to the IAEA inspection teams, violent suppression of  any political opposition (or, does anybody doubt that?) and a belligerent rhetoric, and you have a loose cannon. Up until now it is not complicated; the complications arise in interpreting all these facts, in developing policies to minimize, eliminate or quarantine the potential "time-bomb". Yes, they chose muscle over diplomacy, they fabricated, manipulated or misinterpreted "evidence" and they pictured everything in the color of "do or die". Divergent reports on WMD programs or connections to terrorist organizations, some of which were really far-fetched, were sidelined or disregarded. There was a huge media offensive in support of a "muscular" course of action. The psychedelic atmosphere was fueled daily, and we were fed tons of assumptions painted as facts. Some of us were able to see behind the smoke screen, but the vast majority bought the story and when majority was won, the ball started to roll downhill.
 Connecting Iraq with Al-Qaeda was a huge blunder; the very idea that a repressive dictator would support an organization that undermined his very own authority is ridiculous.
In the midst of comparisons with those times and those decisions, some are simply not capable of seeing through a new smokescreen, but this time covering the other side. Maybe out of fear of repeating past mistakes, maybe out of an incapacity to see the differences between Baathist Iraq and Iran of now, there is tendency of generalizing instead of analyzing. A generalizing attitude that would induce a a tendency to either put Iran under the same assumption that led to military initiative in Iraq or, on the other extreme, start from a set of opposing assumptions.
"Nobody can say with certainty that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons in secret. But it would be very hard for them to do so. This is because the country is a fully signed up member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has for the most part obediently respected its provisions, and continues to do so today.
This means that Iran's enrichment facilities are open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), as are its other nuclear facilities. Over many years the IAEA has verified that no nuclear material has been diverted from these facilities for possible military purposes.
Most experts consider that it would be impossible for Iran to produce weapons-grade uranium for a bomb without being spotted by IAEA inspectors.
It is certainly true that the IAEA is currently in dispute with Iran over some of its nuclear activities. But it is not in breach of its NPT commitments, and here the contrast with India and Israel, both allies of the west, is so very striking. Their nuclear facilities are almost entirely closed to international inspections, and Israel is in open defiance of UN security council demands to make them available for inspection.
The unfairness (grotesque from an Iranian point of view) is glaring.
Iran, which has no nuclear weapons, is the object of ferocious economic sanctions and threats of military action. By contrast Israel (with perhaps 400 nuclear bombs and the capacity to deliver them anywhere in the Middle East) is the object of more than $3 billion a year of US military aid."
Indeed, nobody can say with certainty that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons in secret. Well, they (Iranian government) can tell us all if they do, and even more, they can prove it. Instead, they chose to point fingers at Israel (not that I agree with their nuclear program). Apart from that, Israel is not a party to the NPT, neither are India or Pakistan, so they are not obliged to report to it. DPRK has left the treaty too. Iran didn't.


The Point of No Return?

"Pyongyang, April 18 (KCNA) -- The Policy Department of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of the DPRK released the following statement Thursday:
An acute situation that has persisted on the Korean Peninsula since the end of last year is now putting the peninsula on the verge of war.
Much upset by the development, U.S. President Obama on April 11 reportedly stated in public of his intention to seek a negotiated and diplomatic settlement of the situation, saying that he does not want a war on the Korean Peninsula.
The chief of Chongwadae of south Korea, who is accustomed to currying favor with her master, let the "minister of Unification" make public a "statement". She even loudly spoke of "the authorities' proposal for dialogue to tide over the situation", a U-turn from her previous attitude of stoking confrontation. She used to say that there can be neither dialogue nor dispatch of a special envoy at present.
The rhetoric about dialogue raised by the master and the stooge almost at the same time is a political decision made by them out of their calculation that they can never bring the DPRK into submission with military threats and "sanctions".


Thought of the day 04.17.2013

"You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns."
A Few Good Men, Director Rob Reiner 1992

China has revealed the structure of its military units, in what state-run media describe as a first.
The army has a total of 850,000 soldiers, while the navy and air force have a strength of 235,000 and 398,000, China said in its defence white paper.
The paper also criticised the US's expanded military presence in the Asia Pacific, saying it had exacerbated regional tensions.
China's defence budget rose by 11.2% in 2012, exceeding $100bn (£65bn).

The defence white paper, which state media describe as China's 8th since 1998, emphasised China's "unshakable national commitment... to take the road of peaceful development".


Thought of the day 04.16.2013

"Whenever anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball."

George Orwell, Animal farm

(Reuters) - Two bombs packed with ball bearings tore through crowds near the finish of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and triggering a massive hunt for those behind an attack the White House said would be treated as "an act of terror".

Officials said more than 100 people were wounded by the devices, which were packed with gunpowder and shrapnel to maximize injuries, according a senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation who declined to be named.


Thought of the day 04.15.2013

"Because he makes me laugh. Because, fuck knows why, he adores me. Because he needs somebody to look after him and nobody else knows how. Because everything about us is wrong and I never ever want to be right. Because I wake up in the morning and see him sleeping next to me with his stupid dyed hair and his stupid painted nails and his stupid toy monkey and I remember I love him so much I don't know what to do, I love him I love him I LOVE HIM."
Richard Rider, Stockholm Syndrome

(Reuters) - Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez's chosen successor Nicolas Maduro won Venezuela's presidential election by a whisker but now faces opposition protests plus a host of economic and political challenges in the OPEC nation.
The 50-year-old former bus driver, whom Chavez named as his preferred heir before dying from cancer, edged out opposition challenger Henrique Capriles with 50.7 percent of the votes in Sunday's election, according to election board returns. Capriles took 49.1 percent, a difference of just 235,000 ballots.
Capriles, whose strong showing beat most forecasts, refused to recognize the result and said his team had a list of more than 3,000 irregularities ranging from gunshots to the illegal re-opening of polling centers.


Thought of the day 04.10.2013

"The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less."
 Howard Tayler

LONDON — On the eve of a meeting with the Syrian opposition, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the Obama administration was weighing “stepped-up” efforts to support the rebel fighters, and that such proposals had been “front and center” in administration discussions over the past week.

More: Kerry Says U.S. Is Weighing New Aid to Syria Rebels -


Thought of the day: 04.09.2013

I cannot help but remember the famous Aesop fable, the one with the boy who cried wolf...

North Korea intensified threats of an imminent conflict against the United States and the South on Tuesday, warning foreigners to evacuateSouth Korea to avoid being dragged into a "merciless, sacred, retaliatory war".

More, here: North Korea warns foreigners to leave South | Reuters


Jesus: The First Secular Politician?

"Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

Pretty powerful words, aren't they? And they are even more remarkable when coming from a Jew living in a rebellious province in Middle East, under Roman occupation, 2 millenniums before.
His existence (as recorded by the Bible) is arguable, his teachings subject to alterations, but his legacy permeates our times. And, although his legacy created a system of beliefs that continues to this day to dominate aspects of politics, I cannot help but ask myself: "Was he a philosopher, prophet or a politician? Or, was he all of that together?". It is a question that dated way back, (and in my opinion) even before the first gospel was written. The answer I found for myself was just as ambiguous as his (alleged) actions and statements were. Was that deliberate? No one knows!

And it is not the only sign that points to a separation of powers; driving out sellers and money changers from the temple only piles up on this, and its relevance lies in the anger towards such activities.
And we come to our days, when we have states that do not allow you to hold public office if you are not christian (or muslim). They say that they follow the word of their savior, Jesus Christ, and I say bullshit. I say that they are mixing Caesar with God. I say they are mixing money changing with religion, and sometimes confusing between the two of them: hoping for spiritual redemption from money, and buying their way with God.