Aletho News


A Dangerous Precedent

By Ron Paul | October 10, 2011

According to the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, Americans are never to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The Constitution is not some aspirational statement of values, allowing exceptions when convenient, but rather, it is the law of the land. It is the basis of our Republic and our principal bulwark against tyranny.

Last week’s assassination of two American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, is an outrage and a criminal act carried out by the President and his administration. If the law protecting us against government-sanctioned assassination can be voided when there is a “really bad American”, is there any meaning left to the rule of law in the United States? If, as we learned last week, a secret government committee, not subject to congressional oversight or judicial review, can now target certain Americans for assassination, under what moral authority do we presume to lecture the rest of the world about protecting human rights? Didn’t we just bomb Libya into oblivion under the auspices of protecting the civilians from being targeted by their government? Timothy McVeigh was certainly a threat, as were Nidal Hassan and Jared Lee Loughner. They killed people in front of many witnesses. They took up arms against their government in a literal way, yet were still afforded trials. These constitutional protections are in place because our Founders realized it is a very serious matter to deprive any individual of life or liberty. Our outrage against even the obviously guilty is not worth the sacrifice of the rule of law. Al-Awlaki has been outspoken against the United States and we are told he encouraged violence against Americans. We do not know that he actually committed any acts of violence. Ironically, he was once invited to the Pentagon as part of an outreach to moderate Muslims after 9/11. As the US attacks against Muslims in the Middle East and Central Asia expanded, it is said that he became more fervent and radical in his opposition to US foreign policy.

Many cheer this killing because they believe that in a time of war, due process is not necessary – not even for citizens, and especially not for those overseas. However, there has been no formal declaration of war and certainly not one against Yemen. The post-9/11 authorization for force would not have covered these two Americans because no one is claiming they had any connection to that attack. Al-Awlaki was on a kill list compiled by a secret panel within President Obama’s National Security Council and Justice Department. How many more Americans citizens are on that list? They won’t tell us. What are the criteria? They won’t tell us. Where is the evidence? They won’t tell us.

Al-Awlaki’s father tried desperately to get the administration to at least allow his son to have legal representation to challenge the “kill” order. He was denied. Rather than give him his day in court, the administration, behind closed doors, served as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.The most worrisome aspect of this is that any new powers this administration accrues will serve as precedents for future administrations. Even those who completely trust this administration must understand that if this usurpation of power and denial of due process is allowed to stand, these powers will remain to be expanded on by the next administration and then the next. Will you trust them? History shows that once a population gives up its rights, they are not easily won back. Beware.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | 6 Comments

Israel lobby hypes a new Cold War with Russia

By Maidhc Ó Cathail |The Passionate Attachment | October 10, 2011

Ken Silverstein has a very interesting piece in Salon magazine on the lobbyists for Georgia who “wine and dine eager Washington journalists in a campaign to undo Obama’s ‘reset’ on Russia.” Silverstein, a contributing editor for Harper’s magazine, explains how Randy Scheunemann’s Orion Strategies creates a media echo chamber on Georgia and Russia:

Essentially it works like this: Tbilisi’s lobbyists generate contacts and information that they feed to sympathetic journalists. Orion frequently arranges interviews with Georgian officials and, not infrequently, stories centering on their charges magically appear soon afterward. Orion has wined and dined some reporters on its tab or picked up their travel expenses. There’s certainly nothing illegal about that but it’s worth noting that lobbyists are barred from maintaining these sorts of relationships with members of Congress because it so clearly presents, as we say in Washington, at least the appearance of impropriety.

Orion is friendly to and works with government officials and politicians who its reporter friends regularly cite (especially [John] McCain). Orion also works very closely with experts and organizations cited by these reporters, like the Foreign Policy Initiative, whose board of directors includes William Kristol, Robert Kagan and other neocons from the PNAC and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

The journalists pick up on and spread each other’s work and [Orion’s Michael] Goldfarb, naturally, hawks their stories at his Twitter feed. Just last week, he called a new [Eli] Lake story a “must read.” The piece at the Newsweek/Daily Beast, featured an exclusive interview with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who alleged that the bombing at the U.S. Embassy was “ordered at the most senior levels of the Russian government.” He was quoted as saying that Putin “is crazy about planning the individual details of special operations … I cannot imagine somebody touching a topic as sensitive as Georgia is for Russia, especially for Putin, without Putin having firsthand knowledge or command of it.”

Orion helps create a collective media reality that policymakers have to respond to. Other foreign governments also play this game, as do liberal and conservative interest groups, but rarely as well or so brazenly.

Silverstein notes that when Eli Lake alleged on the front page of the Washington Times on July 22 that a bomb blast near the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, the previous September had been “traced to a plot run by a Russian military intelligence officer, according to an investigation by the Georgian Interior Ministry,” Senators Mark Kirk, Jon Kyl, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman and John McCain — the latter duo he aptly dubs “Senators Echo and Echo” — sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding intelligence briefings on the incident. As observers of the Israel lobby know only too well, the famous five are among AIPAC’s most reliable mouthpieces on Capitol Hill.

Among Orion’s other friends in the media, Silverstein names the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, formerly of Commentary magazine; the Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper and Matthew Continetti; James Kirchick, an assistant editor at the New Republic; and Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin. Like Orion’s friendly senators, these pro-Georgian journalists are also well known for their staunch pro-Israeli views. While Silverstein doesn’t mention this, he does note that Rubin’s attendance at this year’s Herzliya Conference was paid for by the Emergency Committee for Israel with which Kristol and Goldfarb are associated.

To his credit, Silverstein admits that he “found it unpleasant to write this story” because he knows and likes some of the people involved. Moreover, he acknowledges that Orion also represents an organisation affiliated with George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, which funds some of his current research — “though not this article.” Silverstein doesn’t say anything, however, about the key role that Soros’s “philanthropy” played in fomenting the “Rose Revolution” that brought the billionaire financier’s not-so-democratic protégé to power. Or about how Saakashvili’s subsequent provocations of Moscow are hardly unconnected to Soros’s and the neocons’ grievance against Putin over his opposition to the looting of Russia by the predominantly Jewish oligarchs, some of whom have since fled to Israel.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia, Jordan behind Syria unrest

Hassan Hanizadeh | Press TV | April 10, 2011

Syrian opposition leader Abdul Halim Khaddam at his home in Paris

The rise in anti-government protests and mounting political tension in Syria brings to mind the question about who is behind these deadly incidents.

A probe into the root causes of the latest events in Syria shows that the revolt is mainly supported by Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The revolt began in the city of Daraa, 120 kilometers south of the capital Damascus and near the border with Jordan.

Daraa is the birthplace of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has close ties to the people in the Syrian city.

Undoubtedly, the Syrians, like other nations in the region, have some legitimate demands which have prompted the government to plan fundamental reforms. However, the protests have come with unjustifiable violence by some suspicious elements.

Similar protests were seen in 1982 against the government of late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad in the cities of Hama and Daraa.

Hafez al-Assad — the late father of current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — was president between 1970 and 2000 and was considered one of the powerful leaders in the Arab world.

Former Jordan King Hussein, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the then Saudi King Khalid incited Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood against Syria, when Hafez al-Assad backed Iran during the eight-year Iraqi-imposed war on Iran in the 1980s.

The fighting, which took place from 1982 to 1984, left more than 30,000 people dead, but the late Syrian president finally managed to end the crisis.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan continued their attempts to cause unrest in Syria after the death of Hafez al-Assad and his succession by his son.

Saudi Arabia, which often bows to US and Israel’s policies in the region, tried to destabilize Bashar al-Assad’s government by undermining his rule.

To this end, Saudi Arabia paid 30 million dollars to former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam to quit Assad’s government.

Khaddam sought asylum in France in 2005 with the aid of Saudi Arabia and began to plot against the Syrian government with the exiled leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Khaddam, who is a relative of Saudi King Abdullah and former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, used his great wealth to form a political group with the aim of toppling Bashar al-Assad.

The triangle of Khaddam-Abdullah-Hariri is well-known in the region as their wives are sisters.

Khaddam’s entire family enjoys Saudi citizenship and the value investment by his sons, Jamal and Jihad, in Saudi Arabia is estimated at more than USD 3 billion.

Therefore, with the start of popular protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, the Saudi regime saw an opportunity to drive a wedge between Tehran, Damascus and Beirut axis.

Due to the direct influence of the Saudi Wahhabis on Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, the people of the cities of Daraa and Homs, following Saudi incitement and using popular demands as an excuse began resorting to violence.

It is reported that the United States, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia formed joint operational headquarters in the Saudi Embassy in Belgium to direct the riots in southern Syria. Abdul Halim Khaddam, who held the highest political, executive and information posts in the Syrian government for more than 30 years, is said to have been transferred from Paris to Belgium to direct the unrest.

The reason for this was that based on French law, political asylum seekers cannot work against their countries of origin in France and therefore Khaddam was transferred to Brussels to guide the riots.

Jordan equipped the Muslim Brotherhood in the two cities with logistical facilities and personal weapons.

Although, Bashar al-Assad promised implementation of fundamental changes and reforms after the bloody riot in the country, the Brotherhood continued to incite protesters against him.

The Syrian state television recently broadcast footage of armed activity in the border city of Daraa by a guerilla group, which opened fire on the people and government forces. It is said that the group, which is affiliated to Salafi movements, obtained its weapons from Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Because Syria’s ruling party is from the Alevi tribes associated with the Shias, the Brotherhood, due to its anti-Shia ideas, has tried for three decades to topple the Alevi establishment of the country.

Hence, the recent riots in Syria are not just rooted in popular demands but harbor a tribal aspect and Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the US are directing the unrest for their future purposes.

In the eyes of these three, the removal of Syria’s Alevi government would cause the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut axis to collapse and would be followed by the gradual weakening and elimination of Lebanon’s resistance.

Therefore suadi and US efforts to topple Assad’s government are taking place with the aim of eliminating the last anti-Zionism resistance front.

This is while, considering the Syrian government’s experience in resolving difficult crises, it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia and Jordan will succeed in weakening or toppling the Syrian ruling system.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Honoring Israel for What?

By Mahmoud El-Yousseph | Palestine Chronicle | October 9, 2011

Van Buren Board of Education near Findlay, Ohio is holding ‘A Night to Honor Israel’ at its High School on October 27th. The sponsor of the event is nothing other than Christians United for Israel (CUFI). This is an odd thing. A Night of Honoring Israel for what? Honoring someone, or a group, should be reserved for those whose work and contributions help positively impact the quality of life for others and enhance the image of their country. Not Israel!

That said, there are however several noted and noble Israelis that are worthy of honor for their efforts end the occupation and help bring peace to the region. Here is my short list: Jeff Halper, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Rami Elhanan and Uri Avnery.

The first thing I did after reading about this so-called “Honor Night,” was draft a letter and send it to the School Superintendent and to all Board of Education members urging them to pull the plug on this unpatriotic and anti-Muslim hate group.

This event is in direct violation of the board policy 9700 on special interest groups which states that:

“All materials or activities proposed by outside political sources for student or staff use or participation shall be reviewed by the Superintendent on the basis of their educational contribution to part or all of the school program, benefit to students, and no such approval shall have the primary purpose of advancing the special interest of the proposing group.”

If the primary purpose isn’t for fundraising (they are charging $15 per adult/$10 per student), then what educational benefit does this event provide?

Secondly, honoring a foreign nation that engages in spying, stealing America’s top [secrets], and murder its citizen is a betrayal in itself, and a shameless act to say the least. Van Buren School district should honor instead the victims of the USS Liberty, a US Navy intelligence ship that was suddenly and brutally attacked in international waters on June 8, 1967 by the air and naval forces of Israel. Thirty-four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded.

Why would CUFI honor the foreign country that killed Rachel Corrie? This group does not know her. Rachel was a 23-year old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003, while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect a Palestinian family from demolition.

CUFI is also honoring the same foreign nation that murdered the 19 year-old American peace activist, Furkan Dogan. Eight other Turkish citizens were also killed on Gaza bound aid Flotilla. Hey, John Hagee, founder of CUFI, a foreign navy boarded an unarmed ship flying the flag of a NATO member in international waters! Where were you hiding on Memorial Day of 2010?

Speaking of pastor John Heage, this man has repeatedly argued that the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West. According to this “man of God,” CUFI is a lobby intended, he says, to be a Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC.) In other words, CUFI is acting as an unregistered foreign agent group, better yet, a mouthpiece for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

A quick check into the CUFI website, I ran into a link from a 2006 NPR interview should suffice… it’s tempting to write this guy off as a nut job, but he has hundreds of thousands of followers and this is the kind of indoctrination that will be coming to a public school if it’s not canceled (see here). It’s about 25 minutes long, but it’s really necessary to listen to all of it for someone that’s rather new to this theology to understand how deadly this venomous hate speech is. He also says in this interview that “Israel gave up Jordan” …and they’re considering letting him pass out “educational” material??!?

Beginning at the 14:00 minute mark, Hagee (founder of CUFI) says that Muslims have a mandate in the Qur’an that they must kill Christians and Jews. He also compares Islamic nations to Hitler and Imperial Japan.

I also fail to understand the logic in renting the school to an extremist organization that is notorious for its anti-Muslim and anti-Arab views. I mean, if a public school is nothing more than a facility and a meeting place, regardless to what it is, then would they rent out schools to show adult movies on the weekend?

I don’t believe Van Buren School District would be thrilled, or even allow any other speaker, to spew similar anti-Christian, or anti-Jewish rhetoric, at any of its schools. Muslims and Islam should not be fair game.

Truth is, Israel is wolf in a sheep’s clothing yet CUFI will depict it as an innocent lamb during their scheduled event. CUFI is among several groups that are behind most of the anti-Muslim hysteria that swept across our country. They create fear and hate mongering against ALL Muslims and other minority groups.

Let’s set the record straight: Muslims respect and revere Jesus [peace be upon him]. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. The Quran confirms his virgin birth and a chapter of the Quran is entitled “Mariam” (Mary). Muslims also believe he was born miraculously, by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam, [pbuh] into being with neither a father nor a mother.

Neither this group, nor their invited guests, will tell you that the name of Jesus Christ, [pbuh], is mentioned 33 times in the Holy Quran, whereas the Prophet Mohammad’s name is mentioned only 5 times. That is called respect! What this group and their guest are promoting is hate, fear, and deception.

Every red-blooded American should take a stand against bigotry and fear mongering against Muslims by helping to pull the plug on this event or any other event in the future that defames, degrades, or insults any ethnic or religious group in America.

Every one in America is entitled to free speech, even if it is bigoted. However, doing it on school grounds will give the impression, that the School District endorses and promotes hate speech. School facilities, that are supported by taxpayers, should not be used as a platform, to defame and bash Islam, or any other faith. Such was the recent decision of the School Board when a Columbus-area high school canceled the appearance of an anti-Muslim Tea Party speaker.

Make no mistake about it, CUFI does not speak for Muslims, Jews or God-fearing Christians that I know.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular | 5 Comments

Jewish settlers attack olive harvesters in Nablus district

Palestine Information Center – 10/10/2011

NABLUS — Jewish settlers attacked Palestinians harvesting olives in the village of Azmout to the east of Nablus on Monday morning while Palestinian farmers in Nablus district have appealed for protection from settler attacks.

Local sources reported that dozens of settlers from the nearby settlement of Elon Moreh which built on land confiscated from Palestinians east of Nablus, attacked Palestinian families harvesting their olive crop from their olive groves and tried to stop them from continuing with the harvesting.

The sources added that fist fights between the Palestinian farmers and the settlers ensued and farmers refused to leave their fields and insisted on continuing with their harvesting.

The settlers have recently launched a campaign of attacks on Palestinian villages and olive groves, especially in the Nablus area, on the eve of the olive harvesting season which starts early October.

Meanwhile, Palestinian villagers to the south of Nablus have appealed for protection during the season so that they can harvest their olive crop without being attacked by Jewish settlers or the wild hogs the settlers release into Palestinian farms.

A Palestinian woman was injured in the village of Awarta to the south of Nablus when she was suddenly attacked by a wild hog while harvesting olives.

A number of settler attacks have taken place lately on those villages to the south of Nablus in the form of burning and breaking trees, attacking farmers and stealing their harvest.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on Jewish settlers attack olive harvesters in Nablus district