— The Erimtan Angle —

Archive for June, 2012

The Holocaust Industry in Top Gear: The Miss Holocaust Pageant

Israel hosted the first Miss Holocaust Pageant. The contestants were primarily judged on personal stories of survival (29 June 2012).

The Second World War ended in 1945, but the State of Israel is still taking full advantage of the events for propaganda and other questionable P.R. purposes nearly seventy years later . . . Israel claims that 200,000 Holocaust survivors are currently living in Occupied Palestine, referred to by some as the Promised Land or the State of Israel . . . 300 contestants and 14 finalists between the ages of 74 and 97, and the winner is Hava Hershkovitz, a mere spring chicken in Holocaust terms at a sprightly 79 . . . The newly-crowned Miss Holocaust 2012 did not mince her words either: “It’s not easy at this age to be in a beauty contest, but we’re all doing it to show that we’re still alive”.[1]

[1] “Beauty pageant crowns ‘Miss Holocaust Survivor’” The Sun (30 June 2012). http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4401571/Beauty-pageant-crowns-Miss-Holocaust-Survivor.html.

Brussels EU Summit: A Final End to the Euro-Crisis???

The European Union Summit ended with a final plan to address the eurozone debt crisis. It aims to help struggling banks and control borrowing costs (29 June 2012).

The Los Angeles Times reports that ‘European Union leaders surprised and impressed markets worldwide Friday [, 29 June 2012] by taking unexpectedly decisive action to boost confidence in the struggling euro common currency at a summit where little had been expected except impasse and discord. At the urging of heavily indebted Spain and Italy, the presidents and prime ministers of the 27 EU nations agreed to let the European Central Bank use its surplus cash to recapitalize insolvent Spanish banks and to buy Spanish and Italian government bonds at interest rates vastly more affordable for those two nations, officials told reporters in Brussels after their two-day meeting. The moves were expected to spare Italy and Spain from paying such high costs to borrow money that they would have to seek bailouts for their national treasuries, a prospect that would likely overwhelm the EU’s emergency rescue funds. They are the third- and fourth-largest economies in the 17-nation Eurozone, which shares the euro currency’.[1]

APM’s Marketplace presenter Kai Ryssdal says it like this: “When you get right down to it, this has been a pretty good week for the economy — risk-wise — both here and over in Europe. That’s actually saying something, given the peril Europe could possibly hold”.[2]  In a somewhat grim voice, CNBC’s senior editor John Carney adds that “We are done for a few days, but by Monday, what people are going to see is that there’s a promise, but the promise to bail out the banks is based on a lot of contingencies, a lot of things that have to be agreed upon that are not yet agreed upon — like a bank supervisor. They’re going to create an entirely new regulatory apparatus before they will do the bank bailout. I mean, we’ve seen how long it’s taken to implement Dodd-Frank here, and we already had the regulators. They want to create entire new ones — it’s not going to happen quickly, and it might not happen quick enough”.[3]

[1] “EU summit produces surprise moves to bolster struggling euro” The Los Angeles Times (29 June 2012). http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/06/eu-summit-produces-surprise-action-to-bolster-the-struggling-euro.html.

[2] Kai Ryssdal, “Weekly Wrap: On risk and Europe” Marketplace Business (29 June 2012). http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/weekly-wrap-risk-and-europe.

[3] Kai Ryssdal, “Weekly Wrap: On risk andEurope”.

Geneva: A Syrious Solution???

Nine countries are meeting in Geneva to discuss U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s new proposal for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis (29 June 2012).

CrossTalk: Syrious Turk

Is NATO’s backing of Ankara another step towards regime change inSyria? Did the Turkish jet stray into Syria’s air space unintentionally? Or was it an attempt to provoke Assad? And how will the international community react to further escalation of the ongoing civil war? CrossTalking with Patrick Hayes, Ryan Mauro and Joseph Kechichian on June 27.


Ever since the jet was shot down last Friday, some voices have sprung up inTurkey wondering what the Turkish Air Force was doing in that volatile area . . .

Bob Dylan Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

This happened some time ago, but would appear to deserve some commentary, as I am a big fan of the singer and his songs: ‘President Barack Obama awarded the great Bob Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award at a ceremony at the White House’.

On the White House website this explanation can be read: ‘The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors’.[i]  And this year, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barrack Obama awarded these prestigious tokens of appreciation to many outstanding individuals, including the protest singer of protest singers, Bob Dylan or Mister Robert Zimmermann. In addition, ‘President Obama honored . . . former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Israeli President Shimon Peres, author Toni Morrison, civil rights campaigner and National Farm Workers Association co-founder Dolores Huerta and astronaut John Glenn’.[2]

President Obama said that “There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music”, [and that Dylan with the] “unique gravel-y power” of his voice helped redefine “not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel”.[3]  Never a truer word was spoken . . .

[1] “2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients” The White House. http://www.whitehouse.gov/medal-of-freedom.

[2] Bob Dylan Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom” Rolling Stone (29 May 2012). http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-awarded-presidential-medal-of-freedom-20120529

[3] “Bob Dylan Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom”.

The Big Picture (Full Show), 26 June 2012

Thom talks with Congressman Adam Schiff about yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on Citizens United. Also discussed: the Republicans’ real motive behind the Obama impeachment talk, the new report out discussing how sea-levels are rising faster on the east coast than they are globally and the latest from theFloridavoter purge campaign. In tonight’s “Daily Take” Thom asks the most important question not being asked in the presidential campaign—what is the purpose of an economy? (26 June 2012).

The New Cold War: The CIA Prepares Battleground Syria???

Turkey and the U.S. have been supporting the Syrian opposition since April 2011, and the U.S. Air Force Base at İncirlik plays a pivotal role in that scheme. That is the claim made by the notorious whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds. And now, the news agency United Press International cavalierly announces that the ‘CIA officers’ have joined ‘[a]llies in southern Turkey helping Syrian opposition fighters’.[1]

In fact, the report refers to a New York Times article. Eric Schmitt’s piece, appropriately entitled “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition”, purports to spill the beans on the U.S. support for Syrian opponents of President Assad. He writes that a “small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers”.[2]  Is this another one of those strategically leaked Obama administration secrets supposed to bolster the Democrat’s standing among his gun-toting electorate???

Now that their activities have been touted in the New York Times, the C.I.A. operatives in Turkeyare probably no longer “operating secretly”. Schmitt even adds detail to his scoop: these “C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkeyfor several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said. The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so”.[3]  Even though the article does not set out to prove thatAmerica and Turkey have been secretly fueling the unrest in Syria, the above-quoted admissions nevertheless show that a lot of footwork has been done behind the scenes of Syria’s ‘uprising’. The administration’s disclosure that “neighbors” are arming Syria’s opposition reads like an admission of Turkish, Saudi, Qatari, and Libyan involvement in concocting the violent brew that isSyria’s internal armed struggle. Of course, the concept of neighbourhood has to be taken in a very broad sense.

The UPI report prophetically adds that the “struggle inside Syria has the potential to intensify in coming months as powerful new weapons are flowing to both the Syrian government and opposition fighters”.[4]  The news agency takes the long view that could lead one to consider that the whole Arab Awakening has also been long in the making. I pointed out last year that the Egyptian revolution appeared to have been planned in 2008, that the U.S. State Department was scheming to shake up the Middle East in order to replace no longer useful regimes with new and more amenable systems.[5]  The failure of the recent nuclear negotiations in Moscow seems to indicate that Iran could still be still a viable target . . .

An anonymous Arab intelligence official who appears to be in the know said that “C.I.A. officers are there and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people”.[6]  It seems that the Obama administration is taking no chances when it comes to Syria . . . perhaps that lessons were learned in Libya after all. Schmitt does make it clear that “[s]pokesmen for the White House, State Department and C.I.A. would not comment on any intelligence operations supporting the Syrian rebels”.[7]

Prior to the full-scale invasion of Afghanistan, a C.I.A. team in the Hindu Kushprepared the ground as well, making contacts, establishing alliances and recruiting fighters. Last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Nour Malas already reported that “U.S. intelligence operatives and diplomats have stepped up their contacts with Syrian rebels in part to help organize their burgeoning military operations against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, according to senior U.S. officials. As part of the efforts, the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department—working with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other allies—are helping the opposition Free Syrian Army develop logistical routes for moving supplies into Syria and providing communications training”.[viii]  It seems that President Obama’s best-laid plan for dealing with Syria and possibly Iran too is slowly falling into place . . .  As explained by , the Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Nour Malas the “U.S. in many ways is acting in Syria through proxies, primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, say U.S. and Arab officials. Saudi Arabia is particularly fixated on overthrowing Mr. Assad, said Arab officials, viewing it as a way to settle scores with an arch foe and weaken its chief regional rival Iran. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing the funds for arms, Arab officials and Syrian opposition leaders say. The Obama administration hasn’t agreed to arm the FSA [the so-called Free Syrian Army], the U.S. officials stressed. Mrs. Clinton on Wednesday [, 13 June] denied charges by Syria and others that the U.S. has armed the rebels. The U.S.’s stepped-up links with the FSA are also part of an effort to gain a better understanding of the rebels’ capabilities and of the identities and allegiances of fighters spread in disparate groups across the country, the U.S. officials said. The U.S. officials remain wary of some rebels’ suspected ties to hard-line Islamists, including elements of al Qaeda. They acknowledged the FSA doesn’t represent all parts of the insurgency against the Assad regime”.[9]

The armed conflict in Syria is very much a proxy-war, pitting the U.S. and NATO against Russia, China, and their junior partner Iran. In this context, Russia’s naval base in Tartus recently gave President Putin the pretext to dispatch some armed comrades into the Mediterraneanand back again. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has now said that “The ship was carrying air defense systems, which can only be used to repel foreign aggression, and not against peaceful demonstrators, and yes — it was carrying three refurbished helicopters”.[10]  On the one hand, the Obama administration strategically leaked its not-so covert support for the Syrian opposition, and on the other, the Russians freely admitted their unwavering backing for Bashar al-Assad. Syria is the first battle-ground in the as-yet undeclared New Cold War.[11]

[2] Eric Schmitt, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition” The New York Times (21 June 2012). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?pagewanted=all.

[3] Eric Schmitt, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition”.

[4] “CIA joins allies helping Syrian opposition”.

[5] C. Erimtan, “Behind the scenes of Egypt’s revolution” Hürriyet Daily News (27 February 2011). http://tiny.cc/fz7tf.

[6] Eric Schmitt, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition”.

[7] Eric Schmitt, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition”.

[8] Jay Solomon and Nour Malas, “U.S. Bolsters Ties to Fighters in Syria” The Wall Street Journal (13 June 2012). http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577464763551149048.html?mod=googlenews_wsj.

[9] Jay Solomon and Nour Malas, “U.S. Bolsters Ties to Fighters inSyria”.

[10] Kirit Radia, “Russia Admits Attack Choppers Aboard Syria-Bound Ship” ABC News (21 June 2012). http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/russia-admits-attack-choppers-aboard-syria-bound-ship/story?id=16620312.

[11] C. Erimtan, “The Arab Awakening and the never-ending Cold War” Hürriyet Daily News (22 June 2011). http://tiny.cc/p7q3b.

Assange Seeks asylum in Ecuador

‘On Tuesday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sought political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy inLondon,UK. At a press conference today inQuito, the foreign minister said to the media that the government is evaluating the request and looking into the rules of international law. Back in 2010 the country offered the whistleblower citizenship, but why is Assange seeking to depart toEcuadornow? RT America’s Web Producer Andrew Blake helps us answer some of these pressing questions. (19 June 2012)’.

The Ecuadorian Embassy released this statement: ‘The decision to consider Mr. Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuadorinterfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdomor Sweden’.[1]

[1] “Ecuador says WikiLeaks founder Assange is seeking asylum” CNN (19 June 2012). http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/19/world/europe/ecuador-assange-asylum/index.html.

Tentative Syria Intervention: The Iraq Syndrome???

Now that the sponsored insurrection has been officially termed a civil war by the UN, and attention has shifted to Egypt’s constitutional coup and Greece’s electoral decision regarding the Euro and the Eurozone, I would like to publicise an item posted on RT’s website some days ago: ‘Officials with the US Department of Defense have confirmed that the Pentagon has finalized procedures that outline how American forces could soon combat the government of war-torn Syria and officially involve itself in that state’s bloody uprising. After months of rumors suggesting that the US has unofficially made efforts to weaponize rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, officials with the Defense Department tell CNN that the Pentagon has finished drafting blueprints that lay-out just how the US military could aid in ousting the leader with America’s own troops. In their report, CNN cites Defense Department officials speaking on condition of anonymity; in a separate sit-down however, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey confirms to the outlet that intensifying violence overseas in recent months has prompted the Pentagon to expedite establishing a role for US forces’.[1]

At the end of February, CNN’s Barbara Starr reported on the CNN blog Security Clearance that the “Pentagon has drawn up “detailed plans” developed to carry out military action against the Syrian regime, if ordered by President Obama, according to a senior U.S. official. The crucial progress in military planning comes after several weeks of initial analysis by the Pentagon of what the official says are a “full range of options.” The detailed plans for each option include more precise concepts of how a variety of operations could be carried out, as well as estimates of the numbers of personnel, types of units and military equipment and weapons that could potentially be needed. The planning behind the scenes comes as the United States continues to pursue diplomatic and political solutions, including trying to pressure Syria’s President Basher al-Assad to step aside. Pentagon officials across the board say the use of U.S. troops remains highly problematic in any scenario as long as the violence continues unchecked. But the phrase ‘full range of options’ means just that, all scenarios are being thought through”.[2]  President Obama has Terror Tuesday meetings when he decides whom to kill or let live,[3] and now it turns out, he is one step away from signing a Presidential Finding authorizing covert or over action in Syria.

(13 February 2012)

‘A shocking email leaked as part of the Wikileaks Stratfor data dump reveals that the Pentagon is planning to direct terror attacks and assassinations inside Syria in a bid to topple President President Bashar al-Assad. The email, written by Reva Bhalla, Stratfor’s Director of Analysis, contains details of a [2011,] December 6 Pentagon meeting attended by members of the USAF strategic studies group along with four military officers at the Lieutenant Colonel level, “including one French and one British representative.” Bhalla was told by the military officials that, despite official claims to the contrary, foreign troops from NATO powers were already on the ground in Syria. “After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce [reconnaissance] missions and training opposition forces,” states the email. Bhalla goes on to describe how the mission of the undercover commandoes is hypothetically to “commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces [Assad’s support base], elicit collapse from within.” In other words, the Pentagon, along with other NATO powers, have already directed Special Forces troops stationed inside Syria to carry out terrorist attacks and assassinations in an effort to topple President President Bashar al-Assad. The email states that such actions should be ready within a 2-3 month time period. Bhalla describes how a destabilization campaign was favorable to air strikes because unlike Libya, “Syrian air defenses are a lot more robust and are much denser.” Some would argue that far from merely planning such attacks, the United States and other NATO powers are already using the Al-Qaeda- affiliated terrorists airlifted out of Libya into Syria to do the job for them. These terrorists have been blamed for bloody attacks that have killed both Syrian regime officials and innocent civilians, including a bombing last month in Syria’s second city of Aleppo which killed 28 people’.[4]

The senior U.S.official quoted by Starr explains that “There are lots of ideas floating around. But all of them require heavy lifting. People are teeing up options. We want to understand what is the art of the possible”.[5]  Do we need to understand the recent massacres at Houla and Qubair as ways to force the hand of chance in an effort to master the “art of the possible”???  Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey remarked significantly that the violence in Syria “gives us all pause that have been in Iraq and seen how these issues become sectarian and then they become civil wars and then they become very difficult to resolve. There is a sense that if the sectarian violence in Syria grows, it could be worse than what we saw in Iraq”.[6]  Dempsey’s words seem to indicate that inAmerica theVietnam syndrome has now been replaced by theIraq syndrome . . . one of the lasting legacies that George W. Bush has bequeathed theUnited States, and one of the possible reasons why theU.S. might be more than a tad unwilling to commit American boots on the Syrian ground.

[1] “Pentagon finishes contingency plans for Syria invasion” RT (15 June 2012). http://rt.com/usa/news/pentagon-syria-us-forces-923/.

[2] Barbara Starr, “Pentagon has “detailed plans” on Syria options” Security Clearance (28 February 2012). http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/28/pentagon-has-detailed-plans-on-syria-options/.

[3] “The White House Kill List” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (02 June 2012). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/the-white-house-kill-list/.

[4] Paul Joseph Watson, “US is preparing to “commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns” to topple Assad.” InfoWars (11 March 2012). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVnv7r1yar8.

[5] Barbara Starr, “Pentagon has “detailed plans” onSyria options”.

[6] “Pentagon finishes contingency plans forSyria invasion”.

American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein is a 2009 documentary film about the life of the American academic Norman Finkelstein, directed and produced by David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier. The documentary features Finkelstein and several of his supporters and opponents, including Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz. The film made its world premiere in Chicago as part of the 2009 IFP Chicago Underground Film Festival and won the audience choice award for best documentary. It was a part of the Sheffield Doc/Fest, IDFA in Amsterdam and Hot Docs in Toronto. It won the Cinema Politica Audience Award in 2010. Jerusalem Film Festival describes the work of the filmmakers as: “the most talked-about documentary films of the last months, a fascinating portrait that confidently walks that tightrope known as balance” The film had its television premiere on Yes Television in Israel in May 2010. In April 2011 the film aired on Al Jazeera English worldwide and in the US on Link TV and selected PBS stations.