|Southwest Asia News Digest
LaRouche Denounces Israeli Threat To Kill Palestinian Prime Minister
In a move described by Lyndon LaRouche as "pure Hell," Israel threatened on June 30 to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh, if a captured Israeli soldier is not returned unharmed. The threat was delivered in a letter to Palestinian President Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and follows by a day Israel's mass arrests of 64 Hamas officials in the West Bank, including several Cabinet ministers and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The detainees are to be tried under Israel's anti-terror laws.
According to the Lebanese daily As-Safir, negotiations are proceeding whereby Israel would release a significant number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the kidnapped soldier, but only after his release. Publicly, Israel is rejecting demands to free prisoners, but Hamas representative Osama Hamdan is quoted by the Norwegian paper Aftenposten saying, "Israel has never freed Palestinian prisoners for any other reason," than to swap them for captured Israelis.
Israeli sources have told EIR that the prisoner release has both support and precedents in Israel.
Abu Mazen: Israeli Attack Is a Crime Against Humanity
Palestinian President Abu Mazen, in an official statement reported by Ha'aretz June 28, denounced the Israeli attack against the Gaza Strip. "The President considers the aggression that targetted civilian infrastructure as collective punishment and crimes against humanity" (see this week's InDepth: "Cheney and Netanyahu in New War Lunge," by Dean Andromidas, for full story).
Ha'aretz: 'The Government Has Lost Its Reason'
"The Government Has Lost Its Reason," headlined the lead editorial of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz June 30. It writes that the attacks on Gaza, the arrest of Hamas parliamentarians, etc. are the same tactics Israel used in Lebanonwhich were ultimately defeated.
The influential daily notes that slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin learned, when he expelled 400 Palestinian prisoners into Southern Lebanon, that they all eventually returned to the West Bank and Gaza, as leaders. "Olmert should know that arresting leaders only strengthens them and their supporters." Moreover, arresting people as bargaining chips "is the act of a gang, not a state."
Ha'aretz concludes that Israel "must return to its senses at once, be satisfied with the threats it has made, free the detained Hamas politicians, and open negotiations. The issue is a soldier who must be brought home, not changing the face of the Middle East."
Bolton Blocks Security Council Action To Save Palestinian Civilians
On June 30, the Palestinian representative at the UN called on the Security Council to pressure Israel to withdraw from its incursion into Gaza. Palestinian UN Observer Riyad Mansour presented a picture of the dire conditions inside Gaza, where Israel has bombed water pipelines and the area's only power plant. "The Council cannot continue to remain passive in the face of such a military aggression against a defenseless civilian population," he said, calling for the approval of a resolution condemning the incursion and urging prompt withdrawal of Israeli forces as well as the release of detained Palestinian officials. Daniel Carmon, Israel's deputy UN ambassador, claimed, in response, that Israel was doing all it can to minimize harm to the civilian population of Gaza, and was planning immediate steps to ease the humanitarian situation there.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton fully endorsed Israel's policy of collective punishment of the civilian population. Bolton said that a debate on the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli attacks on Gaza would "undermine the limited credibility of the council (emphasis added)." Then, advancing the Dick Cheney/neo-con policy of redrawing the map of Southwest Asia, Bolton added that, "a prerequisite for ending the conflict is that the governments of Syria and Iran cease their role as state sponsors of terrorism, and unequivocally condemn the actions of Hamas." He called on Syria to arrest Hamas leader and "known international terrorist" Khaled Meshaal and to close Hamas offices in Damascus.
None of these policies has been articulatedyetby the White House or by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but they are known to be the views of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Feingold: Senate Democrats Are Listening to Consultants, Not The People
The White House has done a terrible job of running the war in Iraq, but "they've done a brilliant job of intimidating Democrats," said Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc) on NBC's "Meet the Press" June 25. "I cannot understand why the structure of the Democratic Party, the consultants that are here in Washington, constantly advise Democrats not to take a strong stand," he said, adding that the 2006 elections and even the 2008 elections, could turn on the Iraq issue, and that the party that has a plan to bring the troops home, will win.
Asked if the majority of Senate Democrats are out of touch with the American people, Feingold answered, "Yes, it is at this point. Those who vote against bringing the troops home don't get it. They're not out there enough. They're not listening to the people."
"The Democratic Party of this country is the people of this country," Feingold said, pointing out that he's been travelling all over Wisconsin, and 12 other states. "I can tell you, the one thing I'm sure of, is the American people have had it with this intervention. They do want a timetable for bringing home the troops...."
Feingold also talked about his motion to censure the President, saying that Bush admits that his wiretapping program is against the FISA law, but he says he can do it anyway; he says that he can make up the law under Article II of the Constitution. That's unacceptable, Feingold declared, saying that he fears that, when the history is written, it will show a blank page, that in the face of an outrageous power grab by this President, we, in the Congress, did nothing.
Bush has committed a more clearly impeachable offense than even Richard Nixon, Feingold asserted. But even so, Feingold doesn't think that it's in the best interest of the country to actually impeach Bush and remove him from office, which would be disruptive to the country. That's why he is proposing censure.
Former CIA Analyst Says Cheney Would Be Found Guilty
"The evidence now on the public record is overwhelming, and, if we could have a jury, Vice President Dick Cheney would be found guilty of cooking the intelligence and lying us into war," wrote former CIA and State Department intelligence officer Larry Johnson, in a June 26 piece published on truthout.com. Johnson cites "three remarkable and compelling pieces of evidence" that have surfaced in the past two weeks. The first is the testimony of retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson at the June 26 hearing of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee; the second is the PBS Frontline program aired June 20, called "The Dark Side"; and the third is from Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine, in which, Johnson says, Suskind provides an account of the hoked-up intelligence on al-Qaeda in Iraq, consistent with Wilkerson's view.
Here is the excerpt quoted directly from Suskind's book:
"Cheney's office claimed to have sources. And Rumsfeld's too. They kept throwing them at [Deputy Director for Intelligence Jami Miscik] and CIA. The same information, five different ways. They'd omit that a key piece that had been discounted, that the source had recanted. Sorry, our mistake. Then it would reappear, again, in a memo the next week. The CIA held firm: the meeting in Prague between Atta and the Iraqi agent didn't occur.
"Miscik was no fool. She understood what was going on. It wasn't about what was true, or verifiable. It was about a defensible position, or at least one that would hold up until the troops were marching through Baghdad, welcomed as liberators.
"A few days before, when she had sent the final draft [of a report about connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda] over to Libby and Hadley, she told them, emphatically, This is it. There would be no more drafts, no more meetings where her analysts sat across from Hadley, or Feith, or the guys in Feith's office, while the opposing team tried to slip something by them. The report was not what they wanted. She knew that. No evidence meant no evidence.
"I'm not going back there, again, George [Tenet]," Miscik said. "If I have to go back to hear their crap and rewrite this [expletive] report I'm resigning, right now."
Tenet cancelled the further meetings, but Dick Cheney is still quoting the Feith/Libby neo-con report of Iraqi meetings with 9/11 conspirators as valid.