Escalating an Asian Arms Race

Stephen Lendman

Together with South Korea, America's military plans expanding its Asian footprint on Jeju Island with a strategic naval base for Aegis class attack ships. They're equipped with sophisticated SM-3 interceptor missiles intended mainly for offense, as well as powerful computers and tracking radar for first-strike capability against enemy targets.

In 2002, Seoul announced construction plans to accommodate Pentagon planners despite strong local opposition. Located south of Korea proper, Jeju Island is its only special autonomous province, situated in the Korea Strait, Southwest of Jeollanam-do Province it separated from in 1946.

Japan lies Northeast, China due West. Jeju is in central Northeast Asia, important for reasons other than military.

Strategically located Southwest of Japan, East of China between the East China Sea and Korea Strait shipping lanes, UNESCO declared Jeju a World Natural Heritage Site in 2007 under the name Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. Korea has nine others chosen for their cultural or natural importance to humanity's common heritage, vital to preserve and protect, not used as launch pads for belligerence and destruction.

In fact, former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun designated Jeju a "peace island." It's also a popular tourist spot and home to rare sea life, a site calling it a "Volcanic Island full of Allure."

A War Fit for a King

Steve Chapman

Obama's "kinetic military action" in Libya violates the Constitution

Remember back in your high school civics class, when you were taught about the constitutional division of authority in matters of war? When you learned that the president has all the powers of an emperor, and Congress has all the powers of a potted plant?

Neither do I. But the people occupying high office in Washington went to a different school. They have done their best to prove that when it comes to using military force, neither the law nor the Constitution means a thing.

More than two months ago, President Obama abruptly took the nation to war against Libya, a country that had not attacked us or threatened us. His ostensible purpose was to protect Libyan civilians from the government of Moammar Gadhafi, which is at war with insurgents.

Obama acted after getting authorization from the United Nations, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, rather than Congress, which is. Specifically, the framers stipulated that Congress has the power to "declare war," giving it the chief responsibility except when the president needed to act quickly to repel an attack.

But in the ensuing centuries, presidents of both parties have often trampled over their original limits, and Congress has usually let them. This has not gone over well with all lawmakers—like the senator who said in 2007 that the president has no right to go to war on his own, barring an actual or potential attack.

His name was Barack Obama. But President Obama has thoroughly repudiated the naive and simplistic notions voiced by Sen. Obama. In some ways, he has also been even more aggressive than his predecessors in doing whatever he pleases.

A rare attempt by Congress to reassert its authority came in 1973, when it passed a law called the War Powers Resolution. It places mild restrictions on the president, requiring him to report to Congress when he puts American forces "into hostilities." If Congress doesn't give approval of the operation within 60 days, the law says, he has to bring it to a swift conclusion.

But the 60th day came and went last month without the slightest recognition by Obama. Meanwhile, the administration claims it is abiding by the law while declining to bother explaining how on earth this can be.

NATO extends authorisation for Libya bombardment to September

Patrick O’Connor

The mounting death toll exposes NATO claims about “protecting the people of Libya.”

NATO announced yesterday it is continuing its military intervention into Libya for another 90 days, extending the initial 90-day period that would have expired on June 27. The criminal bombardment of the oil-rich North African country has now been formally authorised until the end of September. Washington and its European allies are clearly readying an intensified campaign aimed at ousting the government led by Muammar Gaddafi and installing a client administration in Tripoli.

The 90-day extension was unanimously agreed to in a meeting held in Brussels involving ambassadors from all 28 NATO states as well as diplomats from Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sweden. The US and its allies afterwards stressed that the extended authorisation did not constitute a deadline. Pentagon Spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan declared that ending the campaign “depends on conditions on the ground”, and that Washington will remain part of the mission “until the objectives are complete.”

NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued a statement on the 90-day extension: “This decision sends a clear message to the Gaddafi regime—we are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya. We will sustain our efforts to fulfill the United Nations mandate.”

These pretexts for NATO’s war have been utterly discredited. The US, Britain, and France have spearheaded the drive for regime change in Libya in order to reassert their regional geo-strategic interests following the uprisings in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt and to install a regime more compliant with the demands of the transnational oil companies seeking to exploit the country’s lucrative oil reserves.

NATO leaders now make little effort to conceal the reality that military operations are centrally aimed at removing Gaddafi from power—a goal that is not authorised under the “mandate” supposedly provided by UN. The military campaign has involved repeated assassination attempts against Gaddafi and his family. For the Obama administration and its partners, UN Security Council Resolution 1973 was never intended to do anything other than provide some diplomatic and pseudo-legal cover for imperialist intervention.

Bad News From The BBC - Part 2: The ‘John Motson Approach To Analysing News’


[Part 1] Between 17-19 May, we had a lengthy exchange of emails with BBC Middle East Bureau Chief, Paul Danahar. It began innocuously enough, but Danahar gradually revealed that he had little intention of sincerely addressing the issues put to him, and the exchange ended with increasingly odd burblings from the BBC's senior Jerusalem-based journalist (the full exchange is archived here in our forum).

We started by presenting Danahar with the same points we had put to the other BBC journalists mentioned in Part 1: namely, that the careful studies by Greg Philo and Mike Berry, published in More Bad News From Israel, demonstrated that BBC News tends to reflect the Israeli perspective. We gave a summary of the detailed statistical findings for BBC News coverage of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. Quoting Philo and Berry, we noted that the BBC perpetuated ‘a one-sided view of the causes of the conflict by highlighting the issue of the rockets without reporting the Hamas offer’ and by burying rational views on the purpose of the attack: namely, the Israeli desire to inflict collective punishment on the Palestinian people.

Bad News From The BBC - Part 1: 'Replete With Imbalance And Distortion'


[Part 2] One of the main headlines on the BBC news homepage earlier this month read, 'Violence erupts at Israel borders'. Israeli soldiers had shot dead at least 12 protesters and injured dozens more. BBC 'impartiality' decreed that the brutal killings were presented almost as an act of nature, a volcanic eruption that simply happened.

Clicking on the link did at least bring up a more accurate headline: 'Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian protesters'. But the brutality was sanitised, with no details of the many victims. The Israeli viewpoint was prominent with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he 'hoped' that 'calm and quiet will quickly return, but let nobody be mistaken, we are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty'.

Somehow a 'neutral' BBC perspective dictated that the lead image illustrating the story was of young Palestinian men throwing rocks in 'clashes' with fully armed soldiers from the Israeli Defence Forces.

The Palestinians had been taking part in annual protests on Nakba ('Catastrophe') day which, as the BBC put it, 'marks the moment when 100,000s of Palestinians lost their homes' on the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Again, the BBC's sanitised version of 'lost their homes' buries awkward history, as though homes had simply been repossessed when families fell behind on their mortgage payments. In reality, more than half of Palestine's native population, close to 800,000 people, had been uprooted and 531 villages destroyed (Ilan Pappe, 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine', Oneworld, 2006).

After complaints from us, and perhaps realising the newspeak was just too much to swallow, the BBC tweaked the sentence the following day to read:

'Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in fighting after its creation.'

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