“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Lyin” Bibi

Benjamin Netanyahu Has Been Lying to Americans For 20 Years

It's a record that members of Congress should ponder on before they leap to applaud for his upcoming address.

Next week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present his case against President Obama’s talks with Iran; he is expected to portray Iran as an untrustworthy actor and Obama's diplomacy as naive and a distraction from more sanctions or even military action.

This case suffered a major setback this week as a major intelligence leak showed that Israel's own intelligence service, the Mossad, privately contradicted Netanyahu's public statements on Iran. The leaked secret cables show that as Netanyahu was presenting at the United Nations in 2012 a narrative that Iran that was just “weeks” away from producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, Israel's own intelligence service found a very different conclusion. From The Guardian:
Mossad took a different view. In a report shared with South African spies on 22 October 2012 – but likely written earlier – it conceded that Iran was “working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate, such as enrichment reactors, which will reduce the time required to produce weapons from the time the instruction is actually given”.
But the report also states that Iran “does not appear to be ready” to enrich uranium to the higher levels necessary for nuclear weapons. To build a bomb requires enrichment to 90%. Mossad estimated that Iran then had “about 100kg of material enriched to 20%” (which was later diluted or converted under the terms of the 2013 Geneva agreement). Iran has always said it is developing a nuclear programme for civilian energy purposes.

But Netanyahu's politicization of the Iran situation is nothing new. For decades, he has misled if not outright lied to Western allies about Iran's nuclear program as well as Iraq's. It’s a record that Members of Congress should ponder on before they leap to applaud for his upcoming address.

Netanyahu’s Tall Tales On Iran And Iraq

In 1992, Benjamin Netanyahu wasn't yet Prime Minister; he was a Likud member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. He told his fellow lawmakers that Iran was 3 to 5 years away from a nuclear bomb, and that the only way to stop them was for them to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”

By 1996, Netanyahu rode a right-wing wave in Israel and was elected Prime Minister; in July he was given his first opportunity to address the U.S. Congress. In his speech, he said Iran was the “most dangerous” of Middle East regimes and warned about the consequences of it acquiring nuclear weapons, saying that it would create “catastrophic consequences...for all of mankind.” He drew on many of the same themes he first introduced in his book Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists. In that book he warned that “hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions” would perish if Iran were to possess nuclear weapons.

In both his speech to Congress and his book published a year earlier, he dedicated a significant amount of words to the supposed Iraq WMD threat as well. In 2002, he appeared before Congress as a private citizen to join a Congressional panel looking into the alleged threat from Iraq.

Here's a snippet from his testimony at that time:
There’s no question that [Saddam] has not given upon on his nuclear program, not [sic] whatsoever. There is also no question that he was not satisfied with the arsenal of chemical and biological weapons that he had and was trying to perfect them constantly…So I think, frankly, it is not serious to assume that this man, who 20 years ago was very close to producing an atomic bomb, spent the last 20 years sitting on his hands. He has not. And every indication we have is that he is pursuing, pursuing with abandon, pursuing with every ounce of effort, the establishment of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. If anyone makes an opposite assumption or cannot draw the lines connecting the dots, that is simply not an objective assessment of what has happened. Saddam is hell-bent on achieving atomic bombs, atomic capabilities, as soon as he can
Netanyahu went on to tell Congress that he believes “that even free and unfettered inspections will not uncover these portable manufacturing sites of death” – referring to centrifuges Iraq was supposedly using to produce nuclear weapons. In other words: nothing short of war was going to stop this Iraqi threat.
Watch his an excerpt of his speech below:

Thirteen years later, Netanyahu has yet to offer any sort of mea culpa for his remarks before the Congress about Iraq, but he did return his sights to his original target: Iran. In September of 2012, he appeared on Meet The Press to claim that Iran was “very close, they are six months away from being about 90 percent of having the enriched uranium for an atom bomb.” And it was that year where he gave his infamous cartoon-bomb-chart-assisted U.N. speech, which the recent leaks of Mossad intelligence severely undercut.

Calling His Bluff?

In 2001, a private video was filmed of Netanyahu at a campaign supporter’s house shows him boasting that “America is a thing you can move very easily” – noting that he purposely dragged on the process with the Palestinians in order to prevent any resolution.

And indeed during his 2011 speech to Congress, he seemed to be proved correct. At that time, Members of Congress gave him 29 standing ovations, more than they gave their own president.

But things appear to have changed as he may have finally overplayed his hand. His upcoming address to Congress is being boycotted by nearly 30 Members of Congress; the White House won't be meeting with him, and neither will Secretary of State John Kerry. Additional sanctions on Iran, more or less designed to kill talks with that country, appear to be stalled, and a historic Iran deal appears imminent.

After 20 years of telling tall tales about Iran, Iraq, and the Palestinians, Netanyahu may finally be learning that you can't bluff forever. Eventually, people wise up to the act.

Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.


  1. Exaggerator won the Preakness.

    No Triple Crown this year.

  2. Zaid Jilani isn't worth reading. He's just another anti-Israel hack.

    1. Civil Rights Leader Accuses ‘Israel Bashers’ of Racism

      April 13, 2014 1:52 pm

      Shiryn Ghermezian

      Anthony H. Williams Post article Anthony Hardy Williams BDS Anthony Hardy Williams Israel anti-Israel movement BDS movement Israel BDS supports racist Chloé Simone Valdary BDS Chloé Simone Valdary New Orleans civil rights activist Anthony H. Williams Israel racism Uncle Tom racist

      Civil Rights activist Anthony H. Williams. Photo: Twitter.

      A civil rights activist tagged supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as racist in an article published by the New York Post on Friday.

      “To these haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel,” Pennsylvania State Senator and African-American community leader Anthony Hardy Williams said.

      Williams, whose father worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr., wrote The Racism of the Israel-Bashers in defense of Chloé Simone Valdary, a non-Jewish undergraduate at the University of New Orleans and founder of the Allies of Israel Association.

      Valdary was attacked by BDS supporters after criticizing New York’s Jewish Museum for inviting Judith Butler, a University of California, Berkeley professor and outspoken BDS supporter, to speak.

      Activist Zaid Jilani tweeted, “Non-jew [Chloé Valdary] smears famous Jewish academic as ally of Hitler,” then mocked her, while Max Blumenthal, a former writer for the pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper, tweeted that Valdary is “beyond sickening,” “irrationally hateful” — and a “non-Jew” who represents “the future of Zionism.” Richard Silverstein of the blog Tikun Olam said, “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!”....

  3. Doesn't have the same ring as "Lyin Ted"

    1. How about "Lyin Zaid Jihadi" Jilani ?

    2. After Hillary loses to The Donald her speeches will be worth zero dollars and zero cents.

      We'll be done with the Clintons forever !

      WhooooooPIE !!!


  4. JOHANNESBURG, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The United States, in a very real sense, has been the invisible hand behind the rising tension in the South China Sea, a well-known South African commentator said in a commentary published in The Star newspaper on Friday.

    It becomes tiresome to continue unravelling stories of the United States meddling in regions far away from its shores, trying to weaken other countries in order to maintain its global dominance, said Shannon Ebrahim.

    "Why does the U.S. feel it has the right to endanger Chinese national security interests in the South China Sea?" she asked in the article titled "Islands that could lead to war."

    The more one delves into the reality of the South China Sea issue, it becomes clearer that the United States actually thinks it has a right to manipulate regional dynamics in China's backyard so as to encircle it as a rising superpower, Ebrahim said.

    "What is more incredible is that the U.S. believes it has the right to send 60 percent of its naval fleet and 60 percent of its overseas air force into the South China Sea by 2030. If this is not the ultimate display of arrogance then I don't know what is," she said.

    Referring to the U.S. concern of freedom of navigation, Ebrahim said, "But China is equally committed to this principle, and has never attempted to hinder trade navigation in any way."

    "In this case, China has international law on its side," she said.

    "Despite attempts by neighboring countries to encroach onto the islands and take them over, China has proof of its sovereignty over them, going back centuries," Ebrahim wrote.

    The history of Chinese people living and working on the South China Sea islands dates back to China's Han Dynasty some 2,000 years ago.

    China has been seeking dialogue with its neighbors and advocating joint development of the South China Sea. But the U.S. Asia-Pacific re-balancing strategy that President Barack Obama introduced in 2009 has escalated tension, Ebrahim noted.

    "In a very real sense the U.S. has been the invisible hand behind the rising tension, conducting joint naval exercises with claimants, orchestrating confrontational incidents with Chinese naval vessels, and even giving partial recognition to the Philippines' unilateral renaming of the South China Sea to the West Philippines Sea," Ebrahim wrote.

  5. Replies
    1. Reads like Chinese propaganda to me.

      The Vietnamese may be asking for port calls from US ships one of these days.

  6. .

    How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS

    Extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudis and others
    have transformed a once-tolerant Muslim society into a font of extremism.

    PRISTINA, Kosovo — Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

    The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

    Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

    Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.

    They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries...

    Long articles but it details the amount of money Saudi Arabia has been putting into mosques and madrassas pushing their wahhabism and a radical form of Salafist jihadism. This has been going on for decades.

  7. The stage of food riots has arrived in Venezuela -

    'We are like a bomb': food riots show Venezuela crisis has gone beyond politics

    Three years of shortages have left Venezuelans desperate and angry for change, posing the most serious threat yet to President Nicolás Maduro

    ‘Food is what moves people’: people stand in line to buy bread in San Cristóbal in 2014. Photograph: Carlos García Rawlins/Reuters

    Sibylla Brodzinsky in Guarenas, Venezuela

    Friday 20 May 2016 12.07 EDT Last modified on Saturday 21 May 2016 10.30 EDT

    The rumour was there would be chicken.

    Word had spread that a delivery of poultry meat was due at the Central Madeirense supermarket, and long before dawn a queue of shoppers was snaking around the block.

    Kattya Alonzo was one of them. The 48-year-old mother of three was already planning to make the traditional chicken and rice dish arroz con pollo – if she could also find some rice.

    “I haven’t been able to buy chicken in more than a month, so I was there early at about 4am,” she said.

    At about 6.30, two trucks finally drew up outside the store, but before the drivers could start to unload, national guardsmen told them to drive on.

    Venezuelans on the food and economic crisis blighting their daily lives

    Venezuela is rich in oil, but dogged by chronic shortages of basic goods and essential medicines, electricity and water rationing, spiraling inflation and rampant crime.

    Perhaps it was not surprising that the mood outside the supermarket quickly turned ugly: frustration turned to despair, anger to violence. Before long, the incident on Tuesday had escalated.

    Mobs tried to loot several bakeries and delis and another food delivery truck.

    The unrest soon spread throughout this city of 200,000 just outside the capital, Caracas. Protesters shouted “We want food” as they blocked intersections with burning tyres and clashed with security forces....