Israel ‘does not intend to bomb Iran’: Lieberman

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Israel “does not intend to bomb” Iran, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday, after repeated warnings from the Jewish state that Tehran is courting danger over its nuclear drive.

“We are not intending to bomb Iran,” Lieberman told reporters in Moscow. “It is not a problem for Israel, it is a problem for the Middle East.”

“No one is going to get their problems solved through our hands. We do not have claims on Iranian territory, we do not have a common border with Iran,” he added.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jdWp0FFkaWOomrqs8_eBhMMZs9yQ

Iran Test-Fires Missile With 1,200-Mile Range

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WASHINGTON — Iran test-fired a sophisticated missile on Wednesday that was capable of striking Israel and parts of Western Europe, adding to concerns that Iran’s weapons-development program is fast outpacing the American-led diplomacy that President Obama has said he will let play out through the end of the year.

The solid-fuel Sejil-2 missile used a technology that Iran appeared to have tested at least once before, but the Obama administration nonetheless described the event as “significant,” largely because missiles of its kind can be relatively easily moved or hidden.

The Pentagon confirmed that the test of the missile had been a success, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, said that the missile “landed exactly on target,” according to Iran’s official news agency.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/world/middleeast/21iran.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast

Peace Activists Arrested After Protesting US Drones in Nevada

This where I spent my Easter!!!

US drone bombings have reportedly killed 687 Pakistani civilians since 2006. During that time, US Predator drones carried out sixty strikes inside Pakistan, but hit just ten of their actual targets. Last week, a group of peace activists last week staged the first major act of civil disobedience against the drone attacks in the United States. Fourteen people were arrested outside the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where Air Force personnel pilot the unmanned drones used in Pakistan. We speak with longtime California peace activist Father Louis Vitale, who was among those arrested, and with Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist.

More with Amy Goodman

CLOSER LOOK AT THE KILLER DRONES

CLOSER LOOK AT THE KILLER DRONES

By Kathy Kelly and Brian Terrall

It’s one thing to study online articles describing the MQ-9 Reapers and MQ-1 Predators. It’s quite another to identify these drones as they take off from runways at Nevada’s Creech Air Force base, where our “Ground the Drones…Lest We Reap the Whirlwind” campaign is holding a ten-day vigil.

This morning, during a one hour walk from Cactus Springs, Nevada, where we are housed, to the gates of Creech Air Force base, we saw the Predator and Reaper drones glide into the skies, once every two minutes.

We could easily distinguish the Predator from the Reaper, – if the tailfins are up, it’s a Predator, tail fins down, a Reaper.

The MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones both function to collect information through surveillance; both can carry weapons. The MQ9 Reaper drone, which the USAF refers to as a “hunter-killer” vehicle, can carry two 500 pound bombs as well as several Hellfire missiles. Creech Air Force Base is headquarters for coordinating the latest high tech weapons that use unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for surveillance and increasingly lethal attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, (UAVs), take off from runways in the country of origin, controlled by a pilot, nearby, “on the ground.” But once many of the UAVs are airborne, teams inside trailers at Creech Air Force base and other U. S. sites begin to control them.

We’ve become more skilled in spotting and hearing the vehicles.

But, we want to acknowledge that Creech Air Force base pilots guiding surveillance missions over areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they are ordered to hunt down Taliban fighters, are absorbing and processing information which we wish they could disclose to us. Trainers at the base have arranged for a contractor to hire “extras” to pose as insurgents, walking about the range inside the base, so that pilots training for combat can practice shooting them. This is all done by simulation. Sometimes flares are set up to simulate plumes of smoke representing pretended battle scenes. But when the pilots fly drones over actual land in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they can see faces; they can gain a sense for the terrain and study the infrastructure. A drone’s camera can show them pictures of everyday life in a region most of us never think much about. We should be thinking about the cares and concerns of people who have been enduring steady attacks, displacement, economic stress, and, amongst the most impoverished, insufficient supplies of food, water and medicine. The Pentagon stated, today, that the situation in Pakistan is dire. We agree. Pakistanis have faced dire shortages of goods needed to sustain basic human rights. Security issues such as food security, provision of health care, and development of education can’t be addressed by sending more and more troops into a region, or by firing missiles and dropping bombs. In the past few days, the Taliban have responded to U.S. drone attacks with attacks of their own and with threats of further retaliation which have provoked renewed drone attacks by the United States. Are we to believe that the predictable spiral of violence is the only way forward? Antagonisms against the US in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq will be reduced when we actively respond to the reality revealed to us by the drones’ own surveillance cameras: severe poverty and a crumbling or nonexistent infrastructure. Human interaction, negotiation, diplomacy and dialogue, not surveillance and bombing by robots, will ensure a more peaceful future at home and abroad. We can’t see what the drones’ “pilots” can see through the camera-eye of the surveillance vehicle. But, we can see a pattern in the way that the U.S. government sells or markets yet another war strategy in an area of the world where the U.S. wants to dominate other people’s precious resources and control or develop transportation routes. We’ve heard before that the U.S. must go to war to protect human rights of people in the war zone and to enhance security of U.S. people. Certainly, the U.S. is nervous because Pakistan possesses a “nuclear asset,” that is to say, nuclear bombs. But so do other states that have been reckless and dangerous in the conduct of their foreign policy, particularly the United States and Israel.

At the gates of Creech Air Force Base, our signs read: “Ground the Drones…Lest You Reap the Whirlwind,” and “Ending War: Our Collective Responsibility.” Our statement says: “Proponents of the use of UASs insist that there is a great advantage to fighting wars in ‘real-time’ by ‘pilots’ sitting at consoles in offices on air bases far from the dangerous front line of military activity. With less risk to the lives of U.S. soldiers and hence to the popularity and careers of politicians, the deaths of ‘enemy’ noncombatants by the thousands are counted acceptable. The illusion that war can be waged with no domestic cost dehumanizes both us and our enemies. It fosters a callous disregard for human life that can lead to even more recklessness on the part of politicians.

” We hope that U.S. people will take a closer look at our belief that peace will come through generous love and through human interaction, negotiation, dialogue and diplomacy, and not through robots armed with missiles.

Kathy Kelly is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the author of Other Lands Have Dreams (published by CounterPunch/AK Press). Her email is kathy@vcnv.org

Brian Terrell (terrellcpm@yahoo.com) lives and works at the Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, IA.

Via gmail.com

Hill Tapped as Ambassador to Iraq

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You have to watch an ad prior to article :-{

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill, a career diplomat who since 2005 was chief negotiator in the often difficult effort to try to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear programs, will be nominated as ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said.

He is an unexpected choice to succeed the highly regarded Ryan C. Crocker, who retired last month after a career spent largely in the Arab world.

Hill is a consummate dealmaker, but he does not speak Arabic, and his expertise lies in Europe and Northeast Asia. He was ambassador to Poland, Macedonia and South Korea and also was a top negotiator to the Dayton peace accords that ended the Bosnian war in the mid-1990s.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/02/AR2009020203055.html?hpid=topnews

US denies funding coup in Iran

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The US State Department denies reports that group of Iranians arrested in Tehran on charges of planning a coup have links to Washington.

“Any charge against an Iranian that he or she is working with the United States to overthrow the Iranian government is baseless,” the US State Department said in a Tuesday statement.

“In the past, Iran has used similar charges to falsely accuse and detain civil society activists and Iranians working to enhance understanding between our two countries,” the statement added.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=82237&sectionid=351020101

Shoe-thrower asks for leniency

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Asked if al-Maliki would consider exonerating him, al-Majeed said it is too early to talk about that because the case remains with the judicial authorities.

Al-Zaidi is hailed as a hero by many Iraqis protesting his detention after he threw both of his shoes at Bush while the U.S. president and al-Maliki were holding a news conference Sunday during Bush’s unannounced visit to Baghdad. Video Watch Muntadhar al-Zaidi throw his shoes at Bush »

Neither shoe hit Bush, and the journalist was knocked to the ground, hustled out of the room and arrested by security officials.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/18/shoe.thrower.letter/index.html