Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | August 26, 2011
Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | August 26, 2011
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IN THIS ISSUE
Empire expands in Libya?
Yemen and Pakistan, on the periphery
Assad warns against intervention
WikiLeaks releases new cables
Assorted news from the empire
What’s new at the blog?
Rebels Seize Tripoli, Empire Expands
As Libyan rebels battled their way into central Tripoli and seized Muammar Gadhafi’s compound, fears mounted of a power vacuum that could descend into widespread violence. Pockets of pro-Gadhafi resistance are still resulting in ongoing fighting and Gadhafi is reportedly on the run, with a million-dollar bounty on his head. The U.S. has denied any NATO involvement in the hunt for the deposed yet defiant Libyan leader, despite other reports confirming that intelligence and reconnaissance is being provided to the rebels. Despite widespread concerns that the rebel Transitional Nation Council lacks legitimacy and the competence to rule Libya, the Obama administration has been pushing hard at the United Nations to unfreeze billions of dollars in Libyan assets for the rebels and is expected to do so in a few days.
Various international oil corporations are scrambling to get a piece of Libyan oil, and many of them are rushing to restart business deals they had under Gadhafi on more favorable terms under the rebels. There are mixed signals on a possible military occupation of Libya, although some elites in the foreign policy community are openly urging sending forces to “maintain order.” But the rebels on behalf of whom NATO has been fighting and may now supply troops have reportedly been continuing acts of extrajudicial executions and mass arrests, among other things. Congressman Dennis Kucinich this week issued a statement urging that Western leaders be held accountable for their crimes during the Libya intervention. At the blog, John Glaser noted the problem of legitimacy in the Libyan intervention and the potential for it to come back to bite America, and soon.
Yemen and Pakistan, On the Periphery
On either side of America’s imperial domain in the Middle East, both Yemen and Pakistan have seen continuing violence. Two suicide attacks attributed to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were carried out in southern Yemen, killing 13 people, including a number of pro-government tribesmen. Militants killed 10 Yemeni troops in an attack on a military base in the contested region of Abyan province, which has come under attack at least six times in the past two weeks. The Yemeni government claimed responsibility for killing 36 people, whom they called al-Qaeda militants, in coordinated airstrikes.
In Pakistan, at least 11 people were killed in a bombing at a hotel in Nowshera. A pair of U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan destroyed a vehicle and a home, killing at least four people, none of whom have been identified by officials but all of whom were termed “suspects.” An additional drone strike the following day killed at least five people who witnesses described as local tribesmen. And after 19 NATO fuel tankers were destroyed in an attack in Balochistan, U.S. envoy Cameron Munter rushed back to Pakistan amid concerns that the U.S.-Pakistani relationship was on the brink of collapse.
Violence Continues as Assad Warns Against Intervention
Syrian troops continued killing anti-government protesters as part of a new crackdown, despite President Bashar al-Assad’s previous promises to stop attacking civilians and hold elections. Violence continued even as a United Nations humanitarian team arrived in the country to monitor the situation on the ground. Early in the week, Assad appeared in a television interview warning against any outside intervention in Syria, saying that “the consequences of any military action against Syria will be unbearable.”
WikiLeaks released tens of thousands more State Department diplomatic cables this week, many of which are still classified. As per usual, the documents revealed various pieces of information vital to the public interest. One set of cables covered Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) friendly visit to Libya in 2009, which detailed a plan to send the Libyan regime lethal weapons; another described previous meetings with current chairman of the Transitional National Council. Yet another set of cables detailed a number of propaganda efforts undertaken by the U.S. government.
The Department of Homeland Security has recently used the PATRIOT Act to demand a California domain-name registrar, Dynadot, provide the government with information on WikiLeaks, in the latest attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
Assorted News From the Empire
Afghanistan: Continued violence in Afghanistan followed further confirmation that the war is far from over, as the U.S. and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow at least 25,000 United States troops to remain in the country at least until 2024. John Glaser blogged about the neocons’ continued misunderstanding of the war, after 10 long years.
Israel-Palestine: After a recent spate of violence between Israel and Gaza, a tentative cease-fire appeared to take hold early in the week. But days later it was put into doubt as Israeli warplanes pounded the Gaza Strip, killing at least two additional people. John Glaser blogged about the underlying beliefs in the Israel Knesset about Palestinian land. Jeremy Sapienza explained how Israel opportunistically steals more of Palestine.
Iran: A retired U.S. general advocated removing the Mujahedin-e Khalq, an anti-Iranian terrorist group, from the State Department list of terrorist organizations as a provocation against Iran. Meanwhile, Iran allowed an IAEA team, including the top inspector, full access to its nuclear sites.
Bahrain: Continuing repression of pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain fails to put active U.S. support in question.
What’s New at the Blog?
Coleen Rowley documented another Come Home America rally, this time at the John Boehner-Minnesota Golfing Fundraiser in Minnesota. David Henderson described his recent exchange with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and how his answer hinted at forever war. Jeremy Sapienza rebutted supposed progressive Juan Cole’s pro-war arguments, lamented the left’s suspicion and misunderstanding of libertarian-anarchist antiwar stances, and highlighted Jeremy Scahill’s response to Howard Dean’s pro-war arguments. John Glaser noted WikiLeaks revelations about U.S. policy toward Guatemala, slammed the media whitewashing of U.S. crimes in Colombia and Chile, and put U.S. regime-change in Libya in context and wondered who will be next. Brian Beyer dug deep into diplomatic cables from decades past to reveal a tangled web of intervention that is constantly collapsing on itself.
Justin Raimondo meticulously detailed the FBI’s unconstitutional investigation of Antiwar.com.
Philip Giraldi wrote about Congress and the State Department giving undue deference to Israel and its lobby.
Kelley B. Vlahos went over what she called Ron Paul’s best week and the curious media response to it.
Ivan Eland urged caution in the wake of the triumphant celebrations of NATO’s victory in Libya.
Nick Turse was on to speak about the global scale of U.S. special operations forces in the imperial scheme. Eric Margolis and John Glaser discussed the ragtag Libyan rebels entering Tripoli and the looming outbreak of violence in post-Gadhafi Libya. Francis Boyle reminisced about CIA dirty tricks and the unconstitutional police state we live in. Marcy Wheeler reviewed the FBI’s illegitimate investigation into Antiwar.com, and Eric Garris gave the background to the story. Investigative reporter Trevor Aaronson was on to explain the FBI’s bad habits in prosecuting terrorism cases in the U.S. Reza Marashi discussed the eight-year prison sentence for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the American hikers accused of crossing the Iranian border and spying. Adam Morrow analyzed the troubles in Israel-Palestine in the context of the recent spat with Egypt.
Antiwar Radio’s Scott Horton speak at Liberty Fest II in New York City on Saturday, Sept. 10. He will also speak at an October event in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., which is expected to be the biggest antiwar protest demonstration since Obama’s election.
Antiwar.com Development Director Angela Keaton will speak at L.A. vs. War: Art for Peace in the Hope Era, Sept. 9-11. Other participating organizations include Code Pink and Iraq Veterans Against the War. She will have a booth at the 2011 Liberty Political Action Conference in Reno, Nev., Sept. 15-18 and will speak about Come Home America from 3:40-4:05 p.m. on the 16th. Antiwar.com Columnist Philip Giraldi will speak on foreign policy from 1:00-1:45 p.m.
Keaton will also discuss ComeHomeAmerica.us and the new peace movement in a breakout event at this year’s Libertopia in San Diego, Oct. 21-23. Libertopia is an annual festival of peace, freedom, music, community, and ideas that will change the world. Keaton will give a 30-minute speech and a 15-minute Q&A at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21.