Saturday, September 02, 2006

Reviews of "Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission" in the NYT and the Independent Institute.

SCANDAL: 9/11 Commissioners Bowed to Pressure to Suppress Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks.
A look at reviews of "Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission" in the NYT and the Independent Institute plus a look at the book.

From James Bamford's review, Intelligence Test, in the NYT:
"the commission was charged with explaining not only what happened, but also why it happened. In looking into the background of the hijackers, the staff found that religious orthodoxy was not a common denominator since some of the members "reportedly even consumed alcohol and abused drugs." Others engaged in casual sex. Instead, hatred of American foreign policy in the Middle East seemed to be the key factor. Speaking to the F.B.I. agents who investigated the attacks, Hamilton asked: "You’ve looked [at] and examined the lives of these people as closely as anybody. . . . What have you found out about why these men did what they did? What motivated them to do it?"

These questions fell to Supervisory Special Agent James Fitzgerald. "I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States," he said. "They identify with the Palestinian problem, they identify with people who oppose repressive regimes and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States." As if to reinforce the point, the commission discovered that the original plan for 9/11 envisioned an even larger attack. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the strategist of the 9/11 plot, "was going to fly the final plane, land it and make 'a speech denouncing U.S. policies in the Middle East,'" Kean and Hamilton say, quoting a staff statement. And they continue: "Lee felt that there had to be an acknowledgment that a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was vital to America's long-term relationship with the Islamic world, and that the presence of American forces in the Middle East was a major motivating factor in Al Qaeda's actions."

Given the Bush administration's current policies in the region, another 9/11-style attack is less a matter of if than when."
This review in the NYT overlooks the fact that there were no recommendations in the 9/11 commission's report addressing US support for Israel. Bamford's review in the NYT does not reveal the fact that there was "some disagreement over foreign policy issues. Much of it revolved around the question of al Qaeda's motivation." and that "this was sensitive ground." The review doesn't reveal the ugly fact that some commissioners were able to pressure the group into not putting any recommendations in the report addressing US support for Israel. It is a scandal that commissioners bowed to pressure to suppress what was the main motive for the 9/11 attacks. Their compromise was to write in their report that "America's policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong," They were too worried about playing politics to admit that biased US government policy in the Middle East in favor of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict motivates the terrorists. They coped out and wrote that "American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary." These "American actions" or more accurately, the actions dictated by the policies of special interests, are resulting in much more than "commentary!"














Ivan Eland's review, "9/11 Commission Chairmen Admit Whitewashing the Cause of the Attacks" is the review that clued me in on the fact that the "book by the chairmen of the 9/11 commission admits that the commission whitewashed the root cause of the 9/11 attacks." Eland makes these critical points in his review:
"The book usefully details the administration's willful misrepresentation of its incompetent actions that day, but makes the shocking admission that some commission members deliberately wanted to distort an even more important issue. Apparently, unidentified commissioners wanted to cover up the fact that U.S. support for Israel was one of the motivating factors behind al Qaeda's 9/11 attack. Although Hamilton, to his credit, argued for saying that the reasons al Qaeda committed the heinous strike were the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and American support for Israel, the panel watered down that frank conclusion to state that U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. policy on Iraq are "dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world."

Some commissioners wanted to cover up the link between the 9/11 attack and U.S. support for Israel because this might imply that the United States should alter policy and lessen its support for Israeli actions. How right they were. The question is simple: if the vast bulk of Americans would be safer if U.S. politicians moderated their slavish support of Israel, designed to win the support of key pressure groups at home, wouldn't it be a good idea to make this change in course? Average U.S. citizens might attenuate their support for Israel if the link between the 9/11 attacks and unquestioning U.S. favoritism for Israeli excesses were more widely known."

The book, "Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission" does reveal what those studying this issue have suspected, that some commissioners on the 9/11 Commission argued against and stopped the Commission from making a recommendation about the main motive for the 9/11 attacks: US support of Israel.

From Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission pp. 284-285:
"We did however, have some disagreement over foreign policy issues. Much of it revolved around the question of al Qaeda's motivation. For instance, Lee felt that there had to be an acknowledgment that a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was vital to America's long-term relationship with the Islamic world, and that the presence of American forces in the Middle East was a major motivating factor in al Qaeda's actions. Similarly, several commissioners pointed out that we had to acknowledge that the American presence in Iraq had become the dominant issue in the way the world's Muslims viewed the United States.
--- This was sensitive ground. Commissioners who argued that al Qaeda was motivated primarily by a religious ideology - and not by opposition to American policies - rejected mentioning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the report. In their view, listing U.S. support for Israel as a root cause of al Qaeda's opposition to the United States indicated that the United States should reassess that policy. To Lee, though, it was not a question of altering support for Israel but merely stating a fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was central to the relations between the Islamic world and the United States - and to Bin Laden's ideology and the support he gained throughout the Islamic world for his jihad against America. ... We ended up agreeing on language that acknowledged the importance of the two issues without passing judgment:
America's policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world. That does not mean U.S. choices have been wrong. It means those choices must be integrated with America's message of opportunity to the Arab and Muslim world. Neither Israel nor the new Iraq will be safer if worldwide Islamist terrorism grows stronger.
This book lets this flawed argument stand as the excuse for why they ended up agreeing on what they put in the 9/11 Commission's Report. Commissioners who argued that al Qaeda was motivated primarily by a religious ideology and against mentioning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the report ignored the findings of the Commission's own staff!:
  • "The staff found that religious orthodoxy was not a common denominator since some of the members "reportedly even consumed alcohol and abused drugs." Others engaged in casual sex."
  • By 1992, Bin Ladin was focused on attacking the United States. He argued that other extremists, aimed at local rulers or Israel, had not gone far enough; they had not attacked what he called 'the head of the snake,' the United States. He charged that the United States, in addition to backing Israel, kept in power repressive Arab regimes not true to Islam. He also excoriated the continued presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War as a defilement of holy Muslim land.
These Commissioners ignored testimony from the Commission's own hearings!:
MR. SNELL: Atta was chosen as the emir, or leader of the mission. He met with Bin Ladin to discuss the targets, the World Trade Center, which represented the United States economy, the Pentagon, a symbol of the U.S. military, and the U.S. Capitol, the perceived source of U.S. policy in support of Israel....
MR. HAMILTON: But what have you found out about why these men did what they did? What motivated them to do it?

MR. FITZGERALD: I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem, they identify with people who oppose repressive regimes, and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States
These Commissioners ignored what made it into the 9/11 Comission's own report!:
The report showed that the two terrorist pilots shared the same motivation. Both Mohammed Atta, the leader of the mission and terrorist pilot who crashed into World Trade Center 1, and Marwan al Shehhi, the terrorist pilot who crashed into WTC 2, were angry about what Israel was doing to the Palestinians:
  • "when someone asked why he and Atta never laughed, Shehhi retorted, 'How can you laugh when people are dying in Palestine?'" p 162
The report showed that the architect of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, shared the same motivation.
  • "By his own account, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel." Chapter 5
My own research has turned up even more evidence which the Commission had access to as well:
  • Abdulaziz Alomari, one of the hijackers aboard Flight 11 with Mohammed Atta, said in his video will, "My work is a message those who heard me and to all those who saw me at the same time it is a message to the infidels that you should leave the Arabian peninsula defeated and stop giving a hand of help to the coward Jews in Palestine."
  • Ahmed Al Haznawi, a hijacker aboard Flight 93, said in his video will, "Here is Palestine for more than a half-century, its wound has continued to bleed."
In March of 2002, MSNBC aired "The Making of the Death Pilots." In that documentary, German friend Ralph Bodenstein who traveled, worked and talked a lot with Mohammed Atta. Ralph said, "He (Atta) was most imbued actually about Israeli politics in the region and about US protection of these Israeli politics in the region. And he was to a degree personally suffering from that."

"We swore that America wouldn't live in security until we live it truly in Palestine. This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America won't get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula, and until it stops its support of Israel." -Osama bin Laden, October 2001"... the Mujahideen saw the black gang of thugs in the White House hiding the Truth, and their stupid and foolish leader, who is elected and supported by his people, denying reality and proclaiming that we (the Mujahideen) were striking them because we were jealous of them (the Americans), whereas the reality is that we are striking them because of their evil and injustice in the whole of the Islamic World, especially in Iraq and Palestine and their occupation of the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries." -Osama Bin Laden , February 14 , 2003

These facts point to a motive for attacking the WTC in 2001 that is consistent with the motive expressed by terrorists in a letter sent to the New York Times after the 1993 bombing attack of the WTC, "We declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region."
It is also the same motive that Mir Aimal Kasi had for killing CIA employees Frank Darling and Lansing Bennett outside CIA headquarters in Langley,Virginia in 1993 . Mir Aimal Kasi said, "What I did was a retaliation against the US government for American policy in the Middle East and its support of Israel ." Mir Aimal Kasi once professed a love for this country, his uncle testified. "He always say that 'I like America, I love America and I want to go there,'" Amanullah Kasi said at a sentencing hearing for his nephew, Mir Aimal Kasi . Kasi's roommate, who had reported him missing after the shootings, told police that Kasi would get incensed watching CNN when he heard how Muslims were being treated. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Kasi said he did not approve of the attack on the World Trade Center because innocent were killed. He understood, however, the attack on the Pentagon, the symbol of government might. - Motives for 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Also see these blog posts:

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

August 31, 2006
In Pro-Israel Circles, Doubts Grow Over US Policy

by Jim Lobe
A growing debate within Israel over whether United States President George W. Bush's Middle East policies really serve the interests of the Jewish state has spread to Washington, where influential voices within the U.S. Jewish community are questioning the administration's hard-line positions in the region.

Coming in the wake of the month-long war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, during which Washington provided virtually unconditional support and encouragement to Tel Aviv, the debate has focused initially on the wisdom of Bush's efforts to isolate rather than engage Syria, the indispensable link in the military supply chain between Iran and the Shia militia.

But the debate over Syria policy may mark the launch of a broader challenge among Israel's supporters here to the administration's reliance on unilateralism, military power, and "regime change" in the Middle East – whose most fervent champions have been neoconservatives and the right-wing leadership of the so-called "Israel lobby."

"Bush has been convinced by self-appointed spokesmen for Israel and the Jewish community that endless war is in Israel's interest," asserted the lead editorial in the U.S.' most important Jewish newspaper, the Forward, immediately after the cease-fire took effect.

"[Bush] needs to hear in no uncertain terms that Israel is ready for dialogue, that the alternative – endless jihad – is unthinkable," declared the paper, which argued for Israel's participation in a regional dialogue with its Arab neighbors, including Syria, for a comprehensive peace settlement. "Now is time to change the tune," the Forward concluded.

While such a regional negotiation is unlikely to be accepted either by Washington or Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the short term, the question of engaging Syria is rapidly moving up the agenda both in Israel, where several Cabinet ministers have endorsed the idea, and in Washington, where the traditional foreign policy elite – from Republican realists like former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Democratic internationalists such as former Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright – publicly criticized Bush for rejecting talks with Damascus, at the very least to probe its willingness to rein in Hezbollah, if not loosen its alliance with Iran, during the past month's fighting.

"I can't for the life of me understand why we don't [talk with] Syria," said James Dobbins, an analyst at the RAND Corporation who, as a senior State Department official, coordinated the Bush administration's diplomacy during and immediately after the war in Afghanistan.

"I think this idea that we don't talk to our enemies simply has to be jettisoned," he told a forum at the New America Foundation (NAF) in Washington last week.

Dobbins' critique echoes those raised by a number of prominent Jewish figures, such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Dennis Ross, the main U.S. negotiator on Israeli-Palestinian issues under Bush's father and former President Bill Clinton, and organizations in recent weeks.

The most direct challenge surfaced here Tuesday when the Zionist group Americans for Peace Now (APN) sent a letter to Bush calling on him to clarify whether his administration opposes renewed peace negotiations between Israel and Syria.

"Unfortunately, many in Israel and the U.S. believe that your administration is standing in the way of renewed Israel-Syria contacts. We urge you to clarify, publicly and expeditiously, that this is not the case" said the letter, which also called on Bush to "reject the thinking of those who view the Syrian regime as irredeemable."

While the administration is likely to dodge the question, its commitment to isolating Syria, particularly since the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has never been in doubt.

Indeed, in the opening days of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, the White House not only reportedly rebuffed an appeal by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert himself for Washington to quietly approach Damascus about pressing Hezbollah to release two Israeli soldiers whose capture touched off the crisis, but also urged Olmert, according to one account in the Jerusalem Post, to attack Syria directly.

"In a meeting with a very senior Israeli official, [Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot] Abrams indicated that Washington would have no objection if Israel chose to extend the war beyond to its other northern neighbor, leaving the interlocutor in no doubt that the intended target was Syria," a well-informed source, who received an account of the meeting from one of its participants, told IPS this week.

While Abrams was discreetly urging Israel to expand the war to Syria, his neoconservative allies, some of whom, like former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, are regarded as close to Vice President Dick Cheney, were more explicit, to the extent even of expressing disappointment over Israel's lack of aggressiveness or success in "getting the job done."

Cheney's own Middle East advisers, John Hannah and David Wurmser, have long favored "regime change" in Damascus, and, according to the New York Times, argued forcefully – and successfully with help from Abrams and pressure from the Israel lobby's leadership – against efforts by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to persuade Bush to open a channel to Syria in an effort to stop the recent fighting.

But Bush's adamant refusal to engage Damascus is precisely what has raised doubts in Israel about whether his policies are in the long-term or even in the immediate interests of the Jewish state.

Since the cease-fire, a growing number of former and current senior Israeli officials, including Olmert's defense, interior, and foreign ministers, have called for talks with Damascus. And, while Olmert himself has rejected the idea for now, he has also abandoned his previous precondition for such talks – that Washington remove Syria from its terrorism list.

Of the officials, the two most important are both former Likud Party members – Interior Minister Avi Dichter, the former head of Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who reportedly enjoys a strong relationship with Rice and has appointed her former chief of staff, Yaakov Dayan, to explore possible ways to engage Syria.

Meanwhile, other prominent Israelis are asking even more basic questions about the regional strategy pursued by Bush and its consequences for Israel.

In a column published by the Ha'aretz newspaper last week, former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami argued that, in the aftermath of the Lebanon war, which, in his view, had "proven the limits of [Israeli] power," a peace accord with Syria and the Palestinians had become "essential" for Israel, particularly in light of "the worrisome decline of the status of Israel's ally in this part of the world and beyond."

"U.S. deterrence, and respect for the superpower have been eroded unrecognizably," he wrote. "An exclusive Pax Americana in the Middle East is no longer possible because not only is the U.S. not an inspiration today, it does not instill fear."

Indeed, the widespread perception that Washington's influence in the region has fallen sharply as a result of both the war in Iraq and the administration's stubborn refusal to engage its foes diplomatically has raised new questions about whether Bush and his neoconservative advisers have actually made Israel less rather than more secure.

"[The] Bush administration at first avoided and then was unable to deliver the diplomatic agility that was called for, and that is bad news for Israel," wrote former Israeli peace negotiator Daniel Levy in this week's Forward. "The United States had no direct channels to or leverage with key actors, and could not commit troops to any cease-fire implementation force."

"The idea that current American policy advances Israeli security and national interests is thoroughly discredited – something that is now openly aired in the Israeli media, and raised, albeit in more discreet circles, by Israeli Cabinet ministers," according to Levy, who currently directs the NAF's and Century Foundation's Middle East Initiative.

(Inter Press Service)








Find this article at:
http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=9630

Anonymous said...

This is another whitewash. 9/11 was an inside job. The purpose of 9/11 was to clamp down on rights by fencing in peaceful protestors away from events, conducting improper wire-taps, banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and starting illegal wars based on lies. Soon, another 9/11 will occur (with nukes) and the scared masses will beg for the 'safety' of One World Gov't. That is the reason for 9/11.
Final link (before Google Books caves and drops the title):
America Deceived - Book

Anonymous said...

"The Inside Story ..." seems credible as to the 9/11 Commission, yet appears layers distant from the core of 9/11.

Most alleged hijackers were identified to be Saudis... US counterattacked Afghanistan and invaded Iraq, the long-sanctioned and indefensible center of sub-Caspian Oil&Gas reserves and the only unfriendly remaining geographic link between allies Turkey and the Med and Kuwait and the Persian Gulf.

Citing the Qur'an (the particularly inflammatory Saudi-approved version), US.Gov simultaneously defined an emergent context for intranational and international control, namely fear of "terror" and "fascism" (see http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/fascism) and tied it all to "national security".

Most US.Gov Congress signed off on the NSS and PA I/II after receiving staff briefs on the Executive Summaries-both works in the works before 9/11.

The result: protracted war and carnage, a strategic wedge in the Middle East which, if it succeeds, affords proximal US.Gov reaction forces to intervene in both the Saudi and Iranian oilfields and in "defense" of Israel.

US.Gov Military uses or sells off expiring munitions while Congress finances RDT&E, production and support at outrageous levels and prices. Oil prices skyrocket to levels which render "affordable" (profitable!)exploration and production of alleged and estimated $trillions in oil and oil shale reserves in the US and makes anyone in any other country involved in oil/gas production wealthy beyond their wildest dreams (e.g. B&H Clinton and their alleged 1992 Caspian interest holdings and 1998 executive agreement to connect delivery to/thru Turkey).

Fear-based relativism, uncertainty, and violence are institutionalized control factors bombarding an already numbed American society via entertainment, news, and sporadic local and world events.

Who benefits from the aftermath of 9/11? Certainly global corporations, banks, and the governments they have financed into position. Certain ideologies seem also to benefit from this carnage. Perhaps we should know about more than $70/brl oil and Zionist Jews dancing on a rooftop as planes torch off the global war OF terror - we need something which would make better contextual sense than the compromised findings and opinions of a few members of a Committee selected by the very officials, under duress, who, themselves, should have been investigated in a truly comprehensive search for the truth.

george said...

911 tradgedy orchestrated by the secret government that runs the planet folks. There is only one police force, one military. The job of politicians is to make fabricated war for profit and population culling look real so we humans don't figure out were are being systematically killed or enslaved by the super elite globalist's. The Crown in forclosing on America Corporation. 911 is really treason, committed by our own leaders.

Anonymous said...

"It is time for the unbelievers to discard these incoherent and illogical beliefs," he said. "Isn't it the time for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists to cast off the cloak of the spiritual darkness which enshrouds them and emerge into the light of Islam?"

Chevalier désireé said...

If you REALLY want to know what is behind 911 which kicked off Israel's War Plans and its use of the U.S. Neocons, read THIS.

Anonymous said...

Subject: Khatami

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvXEXKg8nas

Anonymous said...

http://www.ft.com

Iran ‘accepts two-state answer’ in Mideast
By Guy Dinmore and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Chicago

Published: September 4 2006 22:38 | Last updated: September 4 2006 22:38

Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s former president, says Iran would accept a Palestinian state “ready to live alongside Israel” if the elected Hamas government freely adopted such an outcome.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Khatami, a reformist, distanced himself from the hardline statements expressed by Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, his fundamentalist successor, who has called the Holocaust a myth and said Israel should be removed from the map by the Palestinians.

Mr Khatami, a cleric and the most senior Iranian politician to visit the US since the 1979 Islamic revolution, is on a 12-day, private speaking tour. At the weekend he addressed the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America near Chicago, where 13,000 mostly American Muslims greeted him with a standing ovation.

Criticising the Bush administration’s approach to the “war on terror”, Mr Khatami said the US was fanning conflicts and inflaming sentiments. On the nuclear issue, he reiterated Iran’s rejection of US demands for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment as a precondition for talks.

But asked if Iran could accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr Khatami appeared more conciliatory. Although now a private citizen, he stressed his words represented Iran’s policy.

“I think Hamas itself, which has come to power today in a democratic process, is ready to live alongside Israel if its rights are met and it is dealt with like a democratic state and as the Palestinian government, and pressures are removed from Hamas,” he said.

“Of course whatever Palestinians think is respected by us,” he said.

Iran’s officially stated policy is that all Palestinians must decide their future through a referendum. Mr Khatami is the most senior Iranian politician to accept the possibility of a two-state solution.

Iran’s policy toward Israel had not fundamentally changed since Mr Ahmadi-Nejad was elected, Mr Khatami said. Referring to the role of the Supreme Leader, he noted that Iranian presidents in general were “not deciding about fundamental and general policies at all” although their interpretation, tactics and words might be different.

Mr Khatami spoke of the Holocaust as fact and said Iran wanted “sustainable peace” in the Middle East for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

In his eight years as president, Mr Khatami ultimately failed to overcome opposition by regime hardliners to his domestic political reforms. Now, on the international stage, his main mission is to avert what many Iranians fear is a looming military confrontation with the US, and promote dialogue and reconciliation among the major religions.

How his message will be digested by the Bush administration remains unclear. The State Department ignored the protests of neoconservatives and hardline pro-Israel lobbyists by granting him a visa, but US officials are under instruction not to meet him and walked out of the Islamic Society’s Chicago convention before he spoke.

Nonetheless, the State Department impressed the Iranian delegation by providing elaborate security. Mr Khatami says the “wall of mistrust” between the US and Iran has grown under the Bush administration, warning of the dangers of another Middle East war. “As miscalculations about Iraq have created problems for the US, the Iraqi nation and the region, if the same miscalculation is repeated about Iran, the damages for everyone will definitely be much more than Iraq,” he said.

Mr Khatami – who will also address an Alliance of Civilisations conference at the UN this week – denounces President George W. Bush’s description of the enemy as Islamic fascists. He then turns the table on the western powers, accusing them of uprooting fascism from the national level but transferring it to the international arena.

“Today at the international level we see a kind of fascism, apartheid, unilateralism and a kind of totalitarianism [by the west] according to which nations are distributed, their interests are distributed and wars are created.”

Asked if the moment was right to apologise to the US diplomats held hostage in Tehran for 444 days in the aftermath of the revolution, Mr Khatami repeated that he “regretted” what happened.

He said he appreciated an invitation by Jimmy Carter – president during that crisis – to meet in Atlanta, but said his schedule was already full. He said he hoped they might work together later on international peace and reconciliation issues “if the grounds are prepared”.

Read the interview transcript

Najmeh Bozorgmehr, the FT’s Tehran correspondent, is currently a visiting fellow at the Saban Center, Brookings Institution, in Washington.

Anonymous said...

FT interview: Mohammad Khatami
Published: September 5 2006 00:43 | Last updated: September 5 2006 00:43

Mohammad Khatami, former Iranian president, interview by Guy Dinmore and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Chicago, Sunday, September 3, 2006 (partial transcript as translated by the FT)


Financial Times: What are you hoping to achieve from your visit to the US? Nine years ago, you talked about “the wall of mistrust”. Is this wall bigger now? Do you see the danger of a military confrontation between the two countries?


Mohammad Khatami: I said that the mistrust between Iran and the US had a historical background and that we had to deal with it thoughtfully. The US is an important and influential country in the world, and Iran is also an important and influential country in the Middle East. This mistrust can create problems for both sides and the whole region.

I think some effective steps were taken [by Iran], and the [Bill] Clinton administration reciprocated some steps. But these steps [by the US] were little. If they were continued, they could lead to a more appropriate situation for both sides, which regrettably did not happen.

In the post-Clinton time, for various reasons, misunderstandings increased, while some US policies on Iran and the Middle East fuelled suspicions in Iran and created more problems in the Middle East.

I hope this situation would not lead to any violent confrontation, which would not benefit Iran, the world and the region. I still believe the problems should be resolved thoughtfully and wisely, with reliance on common interests and goals, which can be found. The best solution is talks. I got happy when the recent proposal was made to Iran for multilateral talks to include both Europe and the US. The fact that both Iran and the US accepted to hold talks opened a window of hope. But unfortunately a big mistake was made by putting a condition for starting the talks. This fuelled suspicions about the very willingness to hold talks. I still believe that if the same proposal is put forward without precondition, it can prevent probable problems in the future.

I don’t think conditions are ready for any attack against Iran. It would be a miscalculation by the US to think attacking Iran would resolve any problems. Any attack will cause trouble for Iran, the region and the world. I hope wisdom and thought will dominate emotions and not to see miscalculations and mistakes. As miscalculations about Iraq have created problems for the US, the Iraqi nation and the region, if the same miscalculation is repeated about Iran, the damages for everyone will definitely be much more than Iraq.

I don’t think public opinion in the US will allow the US to get involved in more troubles, which would cost American tax-payers and those who want to have a safe and secure life in the US.


FT: Going back to the time your government had some kind of engagement with Mr Clinton’s administration, how much do you see yourself responsible for missing opportunities and preventing the current crisis?


MK: No one can say all his work has been 100% correct, or better work couldn’t be done. However, the complication of the issue was so much that the mutual problems couldn’t be expected to be resolved overnight. I think even if we made any mistake in tactics, we certainly had the right strategy. It paved the ground for more direct relations in different fields like sports and art and more people exchanges. Some comments and confrontations between the officials were also moderated. However, I think time was not sufficient. Regrettably, appropriate policies were not adopted after Mr Clinton. This not only damaged all the grounds prepared before, but it worsened the suspicions between the two countries, which have continued till now. But one should not lose hope.


FT: You had some responsibility on the nuclear issue for eight years. Are you absolutely sure some elements would not want to a develop nuclear weapons programme?


MK: Definitely! I am familiar with the issue and I know the supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] who determines policies and strategies is definitely against it and has called any efforts to produce and maintain atomic weapons haram [forbidden in Islam]. I strongly say that no official individuals and organisations, with determining roles and responsibilities, think of producing atomic weapons.


FT: As a critic of the Iranian government, do you think it should suspend enrichment and start talks?


MK: Voluntary suspension was carried out during my term, we had good talks [with the EU-3 of UK, France and Germany]. Naturally a lot of time was needed to reach a conclusion. I believed that if we achieve our rights later, it is better than facing a crisis… The whole system was convinced to carry it out until the end of my term, but I think Europe could have taken quicker steps and more confidence building after our showing of good will. But because of European hesitations and regrettably due to pressure on Europe from outside, Europe failed to use that chance and created this suspicion in the whole Iranian leadership that our voluntary suspension would not only not resolve any problem but would be a pretext for those who want Iran to give up its rights completely to carry out their policies. For this reason that relative confidence building was damaged. Now I believe nothing has really changed. There is nothing of utmost concern. Having a cascade of 164 centrifuges cannot provide sufficient enriched material for anything, let alone a bomb. It will only help complete the experiments of our engineers. Now all the problems and concerns that we have and they have can be dealt with, and talks with patience without preconditions are accessible. Europe, the IAEA and the US should not miss this chance of trying talks… I still believe the problem can be resolved through fair talks and based on good will.


FT: What have been the consequences of President Bush’s policies on the “war on terror” and what do you think about his use of the term Islamo-fascism? Not to link this with the term you used in Iran, but you also warned against the danger of fascism coming out of populism.


MK: I don’t like to repeat inappropriate, impolite terms used against Islam. I do respect the status of words. Islamic fascism is as wrong as if we talk about Christian or Buddhist fascism. The spirit of Islam, Christianity and other religions is in no way compatible with what represents fascism and Nazism. I am really sorry to say that fascism was created in Europe and the modern world as anti-semitism was created in the west and modern world. You see a coexistence of Jews and Muslims for centuries when hatred never dominated their relations. You see today Muslims and Arabs are extremely furious with Israeli suppressive policies. However this anger has never created hostility between Arabs and Jews and Muslims and Jews… the Holocaust was one of the Nazis’ crimes in the world. As I have said before, Europe is proud and the US is proud in its help to Europe to eliminate fascism from the national level, but unfortunately I have to admit that fascism was not uprooted and was transferred from the West’s national level to the international stage. Today at the international level we see a kind of fascism, apartheid, unilateralism and a kind of totalitarianism according to which nations are distributed, their interests are distributed and wars are created… It is true that there might be radicalism as has existed in the West. There have not been few wars among Christians. The terrors committed by non-Muslim factions are not few. If anyone under the name of Islam resorts to violence and terrorist acts, I condemn it for the very act of terrorism, and also for it to be done under the name of Islam, which is a religion of kindness and compassion. What is dangerous today is inappropriate unilateralist policies and having double standards at the international level and this wrong mentality that all problems can be resolved by force. Some high sacred and humane values like human rights are also exploited to secure unilateral policies. I regret the use of this term [Islamo-fascism]. I am sure the spirit of the American nation is far from such terms. Once before a similar mistake was made and there was talk of new crusade wars, which thanks to wise advisors, was withdrawn. I hope this mistake will be corrected too, which would have no result but creating hatred and problems for countries and nations. I hope this is a misquote.


FT: The US has issued you a visa and facilitated your visit – are these hopeful signs that something will come out of your visit? Will you meet Jimmy Carter and make some kind of gesture to make amends over the hostage crisis, just as Madeleine Albright did regarding the 1953 coup?


MK: … In my interview with CNN [in 1998] for the first time I expressed regret over the hostage taking, although I also said that in the revolutionary atmosphere and because of inappropriate US policies, an over-reaction happened. And I am also saddened and can understand the feelings of the relatives of the hostages. But that incident will not be repeated because the Islamic republic has been consolidated. What needs to be done is to look into the roots and condemn the policies that led to the sad act. As the American nation was saddened to see the dead bodies coming back from Vietnam but they managed to condemn the policies that led to the war. What Albright did was in response to my message to the American nation and my paying respect to the American nation and understanding their bitterness over the hostage crisis. I asserted that as a responsible government that incident would not be repeated. I thank the response by the Clinton administration but believed that bigger steps should have been taken by the US to remove misunderstandings. Regarding my visa, I have come at the invitation of Kofi Annan and invitations by some religious and academic organisations in the US. I am happy to be in the US and be in touch with the learned and the intellectual elite, as well as the American nation. I received Carter’s invitation late. It was at a time when all my plans were sorted out. I fully understand Carter’s plans and believe that he is a figure who has put his background and dignity to fight against poverty and reducing tension whether through criticising pro-violence policies or through preparing grounds for peace and more understanding. Many of their plans at the Carter Center can be close to the plans I have in my center for dialogue of civilisations. In this short time and with intense schedule I did not have a chance to go to Atlanta but I respect Mr Carter and wish him success. Maybe if conditions are prepared we can work together for peace and decreasing international tensions, also to create understanding among nations. I don’t think there would be any problem to do this.


FT: There have been harsh comments by Mr Ahmadi-Nejad about Israel. Do you see this as a change of Iran’s policy towards the Israel-Palestine issue, compared to your time in office? Do you see a day when Iran can recognize Israel?


MK: I don’t think Iran’s policies have changed fundamentally. In fact in the system that works in Iran the president is not deciding about fundamental and general policies at all. Of course the interpretations, tactics and words might be different but the policy I know has been my interpretation of it, that morally speaking we condemn considering occupation as a source of legitimacy… for this reason our policy has always been sustainable peace in the Middle East where Jews, Muslims and Christians are determining their faith and the refugees, who live in camps and die there, will have the right to come back… Naturally whatever Palestinian people accept should be abided by the others as well. I believe sustainable peace would benefit all sides involved, including Iran. This insecurity and grounds for tension are dangerous for everyone. But there is one problem. There have been lots of peace plans, but they have been unsuccessful. The reason is because they were not just. If the rights of Palestinian people, including their right to return to their land, is recognised and if they feel those who advocate peace are neutral toward the two sides, and treat them equally and fairly, I think then the ground for establishment for sustainable peace will be provided. I don’t think there has been any basic change in Iran’s fundamental policies, including non-interference in the domestic affairs of that land. The problem should be resolved through observing the rights of both sides within that land.


FT: Are you saying that a two-state solution is possible?


MK: I think Hamas itself, which has come to power today in a democratic process, is ready to live alongside Israel if its rights are met and it is dealt with like a democratic state and as the Palestinian government, and pressures are removed from Hamas. Of course, whatever Palestinians think is respected by us. Before Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas has said the same thing.


FT: During your two terms in office, you complained a lot about crises created by your opponents to stop reforms. Your close allies also talked about the threat of a military coup against your government. Do you think instead of a direct military coup your reforms lost to a creeping coup?


MK: I finished my terms and did not step down as a result of pressures. Maybe, many anticipated my government would not be able to survive and carry out its slogans following the line-up against my government. But I don’t believe at all there was any coup involved. Differences of opinion are natural. But we have to learn to have differences of opinion in a democratic atmosphere with equal chances for all sides. There should be justice for all sides to express their views, not some to face restrictions and the others to have immunity and enormous chances to express their views…. We could have done more and better work, if we had had better planning and if there were not explicit and implicit obstacles against reforms. We have not been unsuccessful. Our practice of democracy is new, and we have to learn not to change rivalry into hostility… The ground should be prepared for people to judge…. People’s views should be respected in a free and fair atmosphere, as a necessity to establish democracy… Different aspect of democracy should be strengthened. I never felt any coup attempt. Such comments were mostly imaginations… If we believe in democracy, we should also accept opposition.


FT: Apart from being blocked by opponents of reforms, you have admitted that you also made mistakes. Could you possibly give us one or two examples of your own mistakes?


MK: Real reforms should do two things. One is to make people’s expectations realistic, because people who want freedom and progress are in a rush. This can put expectations beyond realities. We were not really successful in bringing down the level of people’s expectations. We came short of convincing the intellectual elites in a way to gain their understanding on one hand, and came short of communicating with the masses on the other hand.

We could not even inform people of the achievements we had. The problem was also because we didn’t have broad-based media to talk to the people.

Second issue is for reforms to increase the tolerance level of the state. If these two are materialized, the democracy process will go on better and more smoothly. A more realistic view by the people would put the government under less pressure and a freer atmosphere can be created. As for the first issue, we could not establish a logical relation with the intellectual elite and the masses, but as for the tolerance my government had a record amount of pressure it went under compared to both before and after the revolution. No government had ever been so much criticized and under so much pressure. One of the most magnificent memories I had was the student day in 1383 [2004] in Tehran University. That was what I wanted for people to stand in front of the number one executive figure and not to have any concerns about expressing their views, even though sometimes it was mixed with injustice.

That was the success of my government. I expected that tolerance to be expanded to all the levels of the state, which naturally were not under my influence…. One of the works I am doing now is to extensively evaluate [those eight years] and provide the Iranian nation and future generations with historical documents about the weak and strong points of those years… We did have some weak points, as we had some strong points.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

Anonymous said...

Israel plans for war with Iran and Syria:

http://www.itszone.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=59426

Anonymous said...

Robert Fisk on His Interview with Former Iranian President Khatami, Why "The IDF Could Not Protect the People of Israel" and More

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/05/1311248

Anonymous said...

From: BGJDAVID

Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 15:25:11 EDT

Subject: Over U.S. Objections, Israel Approves West Bank Homes

Wouldn't it be nice if someone in Congress would introduce a bill and vote on it the same day that would freeze any future aid to Israel until they stopped building more illegal settlements? After all, when the Palestinians or the Lebanese do something that the U.S. objects to, the first thing we have are Jewish Congress members such as Ilena Ros-Lehtinen and Tom lantos rushing to the podium to introduce bills supporting Israel's slaughter of innocent Arabs or suspension of U.S. aid for Lebanon's reconstruction, or immediate halt in aid to the newly elected Palestinian democratic government. But when Israel continues to violate U.S. peace initiatives all we have is U.S. objections without any constructive acts. Is it any wonder why the violence will never end? If we want peace in the Middle East the first thing that must be done is a major overhaul of our complete government, starting with the White House, Secretary of State, and the U.S. Congress. In other words, don't look for peace anytime soon.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/05/world/middleeast/05mideast.html
Over U.S. Objections, Israel Approves West Bank Homes - New York Times

Over U.S. Objections, Israel Approves West Bank Homes
By STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: September 5, 2006
JERUSALEM, Sept. 4 — The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, authorized construction bids on Monday for another 690 homes in the occupied West Bank in the face of pro forma American criticism.

Skip to next paragraph
Related
U.N. Expects to Mediate Talks on Captured Israelis (September 5, 2006)
Hostilities in the Mideast
Go to Complete Coverage »


The houses will be built in Maale Adumim and Betar Illit, two settlements near Jerusalem that the Israeli government says it intends to keep in any agreement with the Palestinians.

Mr. Olmert, whose Kadima Party was elected earlier this year on a promise to pull thousands of Israeli settlers out of the West Bank, beyond the route of Israel’s separation barrier, has been clear about keeping and expanding settlements inside the barrier, even though they are on land occupied since the 1967 war.

The Construction and Housing Ministry published advertisements on Monday seeking construction proposals for the largest settlement activity undertaken by this government. Israel has also promised President Bush that it will pull down more than 20 illegal outposts created since March 2001, but has not done so.

The Bush administration’s position is that Israel should not expand settlements in the West Bank, because it makes the process of a final agreement harder. In general, much of the world considers Israeli settlements in territory seized in the 1967 war, including East Jerusalem, to be illegal, which Israel disputes.

Stewart Tuttle, the spokesman for the American Embassy in Israel, said Monday that “in general it’s a principle of the road map — a foundation to reach peace in the region — that Israel not only remove illegal outposts, but also not expand settlements in the West Bank.�

The road map is the multistage peace plan supported by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations and agreed to in principle by the Palestinians and Israel. The Palestinians, in the first stage, are supposed to begin the disarming and dismantling of armed militias and terrorist groups.

The United States, Mr. Tuttle said, opposes “any actions that would prejudice final status negotiations, which would include the final borders of Israel and Palestine.�

But such criticism has had little effect on Israeli policy in the past, and is not expected to matter in this case. In general, Israel says it is not “expanding� settlements, but “thickening� them within existing built-up areas.

A former United States ambassador here, Daniel C. Kurtzer, tried to get Israel to agree with the United States on mapping the existing built-up areas of settlements in order to make it clear when settlements were being expanded. But Israel — which has detailed satellite maps of nearly every building in the West Bank — regularly refused.

The mayor of Maale Adumim, Benny Kashriel, said Monday that many units were under construction. “In short, it is just a matter of completing construction within a town,� he said. Maale Adumim has a population of 31,615 and looks like a Jerusalem suburb. The construction in Betar Illit is intended to house haredim, or ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The government’s move was criticized in Israel as well. “Instead of dismantling outposts and freezing construction in the settlements, the Olmert government is constructing further units and plans to authorize tens of illegal outposts,� said Yariv Oppenheimer, the director of the leftist lobby Peace Now. “All these actions are in contradiction of the Israeli commitment to the road map, and the commitment of the Labor and Kadima Parties to their voters.�

Mr. Olmert is also facing tough budget pressures. He has supported more military spending after the recent war in Lebanon and his coalition partner, Labor, supports more social spending and opposes cuts proposed by the Finance Ministry. Because of the sharp criticism of tuition increases and cuts in child support, publication of the budget was delayed Monday.

Labor’s leader, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, is being widely criticized for his performance, and aides to Mr. Olmert believe that Labor is creating a crisis over the budget to try to restore some of its credibility as a left-leaning party.

Mr. Olmert appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense on Monday for the first time since the war in Lebanon. He said that a war with Syria would be handled with full force.

He also confirmed that his plan for another unilateral withdrawal from part of the occupied West Bank was being shelved for now as the government concentrates on rebuilding the north.

“What I saw as right several months ago has changed now,� Mr. Olmert said, according to an aide and Israel Radio. “At this moment, the issue of the realignment is not in the order of priorities as it was two months ago.�

The capture of three Israeli soldiers on raids into Israel from Gaza and Lebanon and the heavy use of rockets by Hezbollah have brought many Israelis around to the thinking of the Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. He argues that it would be unsafe for Israel to hand over large areas of the West Bank to a Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, even though it says it is prepared to negotiate a long-term “truce� with Israel in its pre-1967 borders.

In Lebanon, a Qatari airliner landed at the Beirut airport on Monday afternoon with 142 passengers, piercing an Israeli air and sea blockade that was imposed July 12, at the start of the war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. The Israeli Army said it had given its permission.

Like almost everything in Lebanon now, the blockade is murky. Israel has recently allowed relief flights and a limited shuttle service to Amman, Jordan, where passengers can board flights for other destinations.

But the flight on Monday was the first to arrive directly from a distant country, and it was greeted by local and Arab television crews as a mild triumph.

The maritime blockade continues, however, and is viewed as much more serious by many Lebanese merchants, who complain that their supplies are running short.

More Articles in International »

Anonymous said...

What motivated the 9/11 Hijackers? The Hidden Truth:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14898.htm


Next Phase of the Middle East War:

http://www.warwithoutend.co.uk/zone0/viewtopic.php?t=59593

Anonymous said...

God & Oil- this is all about God and Oil.

Whose God? Exactley.

Whose oil? Not America's or anyone elses except those who sit on top of it- or are powerful enough to take it.

Secure a domestic supply of oil and energy...and there's no need for the middle east...let them all go back to picking dates and cutting eachother's heads off.

Secure a domestic supply of oil...and we've secured our God.

I must say, this blog and your main webpage are more right than wrong. Congratulations. Keep launching in-your-face-assaults for the truth.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

US Support (in the BILLIONS of US taxpayer dollars as US states go broke as conveyed via http://www.wrmea.com) for Israel was the PRIMARY MOTIVATION for the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and on September 11th, 2001 (9/11):
The Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel

Anonymous said...

The Lobby and the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon:
Their Facts and Ours

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Aug06/Petras29.htm

audio/video link for excellent interview with James Petras about the power/influence of the pro-Israel lobby in the USA :

easylink

Israel's attack on Lebanon resulted in 9/11

Tom said...

New Book: The Power of Israel in the United States:

Anonymous said...

The Lobby and the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon:
Their Facts and Ours

The Lobby and the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon:
Their Facts and Ours

Anonymous said...

The Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel

Anonymous said...

Interview with Former Malaysian PM Mahathis Mohammad:

Anonymous said...



Why Do They Hate Us?

by Jacob G. Hornberger, August 9, 2006

You’ll recall that immediately after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials declared that the attacks had been motivated by the terrorists’ hatred for America’s “freedom and values.” That refrain produced the “war on terrorism” and, more recently, the “war on radical Islamo-fascism.”

Anonymous said...


ROSA BROOKS Rosa Brooks: Criticize Israel? You're an Anti-Semite!


How can we have a real discussion about Mideast peace if speaking honestly about Israel is out of bounds?
Rosa Brooks

September 1, 2006

EVER WONDER what it's like to be a pariah?

Publish something sharply critical of Israeli government policies and you'll find out. If you're lucky, you'll merely discover that you've been uninvited to some dinner parties. If you're less lucky, you'll be the subject of an all-out attack by neoconservative pundits and accused of rabid anti-Semitism.

This, at least, is what happened to Ken Roth. Roth — whose father fled Nazi Germany — is executive director of Human Rights Watch, America's largest and most respected human rights organization. (Disclosure: I have worked in the past as a paid consultant for the group.) In July, after the Israeli offensive in Lebanon began, Human Rights Watch did the same thing it has done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Congo, Uganda and countless other conflict zones around the globe: It sent researchers to monitor the conflict and report on any abuses committed by either side.

It found plenty. On July 18, Human Rights Watch condemned Hezbollah rocket strikes on civilian areas within Israel, calling the strikes "serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes." So far, so good. You can't lose when you criticize a terrorist organization.

But Roth and Human Rights Watch didn't stop there. As the conflict's death toll spiraled — with most of the casualties Lebanese civilians — Human Rights Watch also criticized Israel for indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Roth noted that the Israeli military appeared to be "treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone," and he observed that the failure to take appropriate measures to distinguish between civilians and combatants constitutes a war crime.

The backlash was prompt. Roth and Human Rights Watch soon found themselves accused of unethical behavior, giving aid and comfort to terrorists and anti-Semitism. The conservative New York Sun attacked Roth (who is Jewish) for having a "clear pro-Hezbollah and anti-Israel bias" and accused him of engaging in "the de-legitimization of Judaism, the basis of much anti-Semitism." Neocon commentator David Horowitz called Roth a "reflexive Israel-basher … who, in his zest to pillory Israel at every turn, is little more than an ally of the barbarians." The New Republic piled on, as did Alan Dershowitz, who claimed Human Rights Watch "cooks the books" to make Israel look bad. And writing in the Jewish Exponent, Jonathan Rosenblum accused Roth of resorting to a "slur about primitive Jewish bloodlust."

Anyone familiar with Human Rights Watch — or with Roth — knows this to be lunacy. Human Rights Watch is nonpartisan — it doesn't "take sides" in conflicts. And the notion that Roth is anti-Semitic verges on the insane.

But what's most troubling about the vitriol directed at Roth and his organization isn't that it's savage, unfounded and fantastical. What's most troubling is that it's typical. Typical, that is, of what anyone rash enough to criticize Israel can expect to encounter. In the United States today, it just isn't possible to have a civil debate about Israel, because any serious criticism of its policies is instantly countered with charges of anti-Semitism. Think Israel's tactics against Hezbollah were too heavy-handed, or that Israel hasn't always been wholly fair to the Palestinians, or that the United States should reconsider its unquestioning financial and military support for Israel? Shhh: Don't voice those sentiments unless you want to be called an anti-Semite — and probably a terrorist sympathizer to boot.

How did adopting a reflexively pro-Israel stance come to be a mandatory aspect of American Jewish identity? Skepticism — a willingness to ask tough questions, a refusal to embrace dogma — has always been central to the Jewish intellectual tradition. Ironically, this tradition remains alive in Israel, where respected public figures routinely criticize the government in far harsher terms than those used by Human Rights Watch.

In a climate in which good-faith criticism of Israel is automatically denounced as anti-Semitic, everyone loses. Israeli policies are a major source of discord in the Islamic world, and anger at Israel usually spills over into anger at the U.S., Israel's biggest backer.

With resentment of Israeli policies fueling terrorism and instability both in the Middle East and around the globe, it's past time for Americans to have a serious national debate about how to bring a just peace to the Middle East. But if criticism of Israel is out of bounds, that debate can't occur — and we'll all pay the price.

Back to Human Rights Watch's critics. Why waste time denouncing imaginary anti-Semitism when there's no shortage of the real thing? From politically motivated arrests of Jews in Iran to assaults on Jewish children in Ukraine, there's plenty of genuine anti-Semitism out there — and Human Rights Watch is usually taking the lead in condemning it. So if you're bothered by anti-Semitism — if you're bothered by ideologies that insist that some human lives have less value than others — you could do a whole lot worse than send a check to Human Rights Watch.


rbrooks@latimescolumnists.com

Anonymous said...

Ex-Iranian leader blames Bush policies for terrorism


Ex-Iranian leader blames Bush policies for terrorism

Anonymous said...

How They Let the Guilty Parties of 9/11 Slip Off the Hook - The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts



How They Let the Guilty Parties of 9/11 Slip Off the Hook - The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts

Anonymous said...

Israel's attack on Lebanon resulted in 9/11:

Israel's attack on Lebanon resulted in 9/11:

ubject: Khatami

Khatami

What motivated the 9/11 Hijackers? The Hidden Truth:

link


Next Phase of the Middle East War:

link

4:18 AM

Anonymous said...

link

9/11 conspiracy theories come under fire

Two separate reports combat belief by some that U.S. government had role in terror attacks

By JIM DWYER, New York Times
First published: Saturday, September 2, 2006
Faced with an angry minority of people who believe the Sept. 11 attacks were part of a plot run by Americans, separate reports were published this week by the State Department and a federal science agency insisting that the catastrophes were caused by hijackers who used commercial airliners as weapons.

The official narrative of the attacks has been attacked as little more than a cover story by conspiracy theorists, including those who say the Bush administration wanted to use the attacks to justify military action in the Middle East. Some propose that the collapse of the World Trade Center was actually caused by explosive charges secretly planted in the buildings.
The government reports and officials say the demolition argument is utterly implausible on a number of grounds.
On Wednesday, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a seven-page study based on its earlier 10,000-page report on how and why the trade center collapsed. The full report, released a year ago, and the synopsis are available online at http://wtc.nist.gov.
The State Department report is titled, "The Top Sept. 11 Conspiracy Theories" and says, "Numerous unfounded conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks continue to circulate, especially on the Internet." The report is dated Aug. 28 and appears as a special feature on the department's web site, at http://usinfo.state.gov/media/ misinformation.html.
The report brought to light one little-known detail about the morning: a private demolition monitoring firm, Protec Documentation Services, had seismographs at several construction sites in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Those machines documented the tremors of the falling towers, but captured no ground vibrations before the collapses from demolition charges or bombs, according to a separate report by Brent Blanchard, the director of field operations for Protec.


Anonymous said...

Mearsheimer/Walt at CAIR in Washington, D.C. last Monday (August 28th, 2006):



link

Anonymous said...

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Diane said...

To Tom:

Very interesting post. I agree that it's important to understand the real motives of Al Qaeda members and to know what the stated goals of Al Qaeda itself are.

I also agree with you that there has been a lot of pressure to downplay the role of U.S. support for Israel in official U.S. government statements about the goals of Al Qaeda and its members.

Nevertheless, whereas U.S. goverment officials have downplayed the role of U.S. support for Israel, it seems that you, on the other hand, may be over-emphasizing it, relative to other U.S. imperialist policies in the Muslim world, all of which are opposed by Al Qaeda.

As you yourself quoted Osama bin Laden as saying: "... the Mujahideen saw the black gang of thugs in the White House hiding the Truth, and their stupid and foolish leader, who is elected and supported by his people, denying reality and proclaiming that we (the Mujahideen) were striking them because we were jealous of them (the Americans), whereas the reality is that we are striking them because of their evil and injustice in the whole of the Islamic World, especially in Iraq and Palestine and their occupation of the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries." - Osama Bin Laden, February 14, 2003.

Note that "Palestine" is sandwiched in between "Iraq" and "the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries" (Saudi Arabia). Thus, "Palestine" is indeed important to Al Qaeda, but not singled out as the one most important issue.

Individual Al Qaeda members would likely vary in their motives. Some of them might well be motivated primarily by opposition to Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Others might have other primary motives. But the official goals of Al Qaeda itself revolve around opposition to U.S. imperialism in the Muslim world in general, without singling out "Palestine" as top priority.

Anyhow, while I agree with you that it's important to understand both the official goals of Al Qaeda and the actual motives of its members, I think you should also be open to the possibility that high officials within the U.S. government may have had a role in at least allowing the attacks to happen. See my blog post titled My main reasons for being suspicious about 9/11, especially the section on The war in Afghanistan.