Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Tunisia: Al-Nahda’s Failures Lead Sidi Bouzid to Rise Again

By Christopher Barrie | Al Akhbar | August 17, 2012

On Tuesday August 14, the central Tunisian governorate of Sidi Bouzid held a general strike to call for the release of several protesters detained during the demonstrations held over the preceding weeks and to demand concrete plans for development in the region.

Tuesday’s events come after a series of city-wide general strikes which, from the month of May, have swept through Tataouine, Monastir, Kasserine and Kairouan. The recent events in Sidi Bouzid, cradle of the Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, should be considered the culmination of an extended standoff, not only between the al-Nahda-led ruling coalition and Tunisia’s main trade union federation, the UGTT, but also between those in power and those who are yet to see the revolutionary demands of “work, freedom, and national dignity” realized.

Tensions in Sidi Bouzid have been mounting over a period of months. However, the origins of this most recent wave of unrest can be linked to July 26 when a large number of day workers in the region attacked the al-Nahda party offices in protest at a two-month delay in their wages being paid. The Interior Ministry estimated the numbers involved at 150 while union officials claimed more than 1,000 took part.

The response of al-Nahda to these events was typical. Refusing to recognise the genuine demands of the chronically unemployed and disenfranchised in the southern regions of Tunisia, party officials claimed that those demonstrating had been manipulated by rival political parties, seeking to sow instability and dissent for their own ends. The police fired warning shots and tear gas canisters to disperse the protest.

Tensions have been further exacerbated in recent months by ongoing water shortages in the region. Over the past six months, drinking water has commonly only been available in the evenings and has occasionally been cut off for the entire day. Mohamed Najib Mansouri, the governor of Sidi Bouzid, claimed that one of the reasons for these shortages was the failure of residents to pay their bills. It is more likely that the local infrastructure has been unable to sustain the increased consumption of water during an especially hot and dry summer.

On Thursday August 9, a protest was organised by the December 17th Progressive Forces Front in conjunction with the December 17th Committee for the Protection of the Revolution, the UGTT and a number of opposition parties.

As well as demands for a guaranteed supply of water to the region, the protesters’ demands included the settlement of the status of workers, the resignation of the regional commander of the National Guard, the resignation of Governor Mohamed Najib Mansouri and the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, in view of its failure to respond to the legitimate demands of the residents of Sidi Bouzid.

In response to the protests, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds. One man was hospitalised having been struck in the stomach by a rubber bullet and four others were taken to hospital after inhaling tear gas.

Following these events, al-Nahda once again ignored the grievances of those protesting, this time claiming that rival party Nidaa Tunis was behind the protests. Indeed, a spokesperson from the ruling Islamist movement went so far as to claim that Nidaa Tunis, created in June of this year by former interim prime minister Beji Essebsi, represented the political arm of Ben Ali’s defunct Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party and that they had “proof that some figures within the region known to be close to Nidaa Tunis sided with criminals, thieves and alcohol vendors to spread anarchy in Sidi Bouzid”.

Despite President Moncef Marzouki’s efforts to quell the the growing tension in the region, the general strike went ahead on Tuesday with over 1,000 protesters assembling outside the court house.

The events of recent weeks mark a significant development in the mounting levels of anger at the failures of the majority Islamist party. More than the ruling coalition as a whole, it is now al-Nahda which is perceived to be behind the lack of real progress in Tunisia. What’s more, one should not be surprised at the police’s violent handling of these protests. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Interior Minister Ali Larayedh have previously made it clear that they are willing to use force in order to maintain order in the country. Sadok Chourou, a prominent figure within the al-Nahda ranks claimed in January that strikers were “enemies of God” and that they should suffer the same fate as apostates.

It is the protesters themselves who are blamed for the ongoing instability within Tunisia and not the failures of the ruling coalition and, specifically, al-Nahda. And yet, one need only look at actions of the ruling parties in order to see the falsity of such a claim. Negotiations up until now have been dogged by political outbidding and brinkmanship which has severely hindered the transitional process, as seen in al-Nahda’s attempts to prevent the transition to an independent judiciary, its decision to level a sentence of up to two years for attacks on “sacred values” or its recent rewording of the draft constitution to define the status of women as “complementary to men.”

Furthermore, the economic alternatives being proposed will likely do little to alleviate the situation of many in the southern regions of Tunisia which have traditionally suffered from high levels of unemployment and a lack of investment. Relying principally on foreign and private investment, the government aims to to provide 100,000 more jobs in Tunisia and predicts a level of 3.5 percent GDP growth for 2012. The latter of these two predictions seems increasingly unlikely considering that Tunisia has, to date, experienced four consecutive quarters of negative growth. With levels of unemployment at 18.1 percent, the aim to create 100,000 jobs will also do little to abate social unrest in a country which counts over 709,000 (of an active workforce of 3.9 million) unemployed.

With Minister for Investment Riadh Bettaib announcing last Friday that Tunisia can expect to receive a further $1 billion in World Bank loans alongside his continued insistence on boosting foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism revenues, it is clear that the proposed model for economic development differs very little from the neoliberal agenda of the former regime.

Of course, alongside the social context of these protests, one must also take into account the political dimension of what is occurring. Tuesday’s general strike was called by the UGTT and the protests of the past week have found support among a broad range of opposition political parties, including the centrist Republican Party, al-Watan (The Nation), and several leftist parties, including the Workers’ Party. While it is important not to discount the role played by opposition political forces in these mobilisations, it remains the case that the principal drivers of this spell of popular contestation have been the young and unemployed in the region whose demands, as has commonly been the case, are channeled through the UGTT. Malek Khadraoui, a writer and activist who has been present throughout the latest wave of strikes and protests in Sidi Bouzid, further comments that, while some opposition parties may be seeking to capitalize on recent events, “the youth in the region harbour a deep distrust towards political parties” and the real cause of these events is the inability of the ruling coalition, and particularly al-Nahda, to respond to their demands.

It is difficult to predict where this latest spell of social upheaval is headed. An International Crisis Group report published this June remarked that it would be an exaggeration to “raise the spectre of a second insurrection,” but that the continued political instability within Tunisia alongside sustained levels of socioeconomic insecurity could “negatively feed on each other and risk snowballing into a legitimacy crisis for the newly elected government.”

In the same report, economist Lotfi Bouzaiane comments that one of the principal demands of the revolution was “the right to work.” Prior to the revolution, he says, it was Ben Ali who insisted that “to find work you just had to wait for the economy to grow!”

Following this latest wave of strikes and demonstrations, it is becoming ever more difficult to distinguish between the rhetoric of the former regime and Tunisia’s new ruling coalition, so committed is it to denouncing any expression of popular dissent in the name of national stability and economic growth. In the absence of any real answers to the demands of those in Sidi Bouzid and elsewhere, the government is increasingly having recourse to violent means of repression. It appears that Tunisia’s uncommonly hot summer may precede an even hotter Autumn.

Christopher Barrie is a student and journalist currently working in Tunisia at Nawaat.

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Tunisia: Al-Nahda’s Failures Lead Sidi Bouzid to Rise Again

American Jihadists and Israel’s Lone Soldiers: Come for the Perks, Stay for the War Crimes


(Margarita Korol)
By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | August 15, 2012

In his 2011 book entitled Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, author J.M Berger (purportedly in his own words) “uncovers the secret history of American jihadists.”  Berger, who refers to himself as a “specialist on homegrown extremism,” tells us that these traitorous terrorists are “Muslims [who] have traveled abroad to fight in wars because of their religious beliefs.”

Please read that definition again. OK, just one more time.

Now read this from Tuesday’s New York Times:

On Tuesday, with talk rampant about the possibility of an imminent Israeli attack on Iran, Mr. [Josh] Warhit became a citizen of Israel to enlist in its army.

“Our parents were freaking out,” Mr. Warhit, now 22, recalled of that first trip [to Israel] during the war against Hezbollah. “It only made us more thirsty. I love the Jewish people. Love involves commitment. Right now we need people to commit.

“Of course it’s scary,” he added, regarding Iran, “but if you feel a commitment, that’s the thing to do.”

Warhit explains his decision to leave the country of his birth in order to join the massively Americansubsidized military of a foreign state this way: “I love my family, I love my friends and I love the Jewish people. The Jewish people don’t need another Jew in suburban New York.”

Apparently, according to Warhit, what the “Jewish people” do need are more Israeli soldiers using American-bought weapons to maintain a brutal 45-year-old occupation and apartheid legal system, facilitate ethnic cleansing, impose collective punishment upon millions of civilians by way of walls, checkpoints, blockade and siege, bulldoze homes, orchards and olive groves, protect colonists in violation of international law, oppress and dominate an already devastated and dehumanized indigenous population, conduct night raids, abductdetain, and abuse children, use sonic booms to deliberately terrorize people, wage more aggressive wars and commit more crimes against humanity with total impunity.

If that’s not terrorism then nothing is.

The article, headlined “Enlisting From Afar for the Love of Israel” and written by the Times‘ new Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren, states that “Warhit, who grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from the University of Rochester after spending several summers in Israel, was one of 127 soldiers-to-be who landed Tuesday morning at Ben-Gurion International Airport.”  The enlistees, referred to as “lone soldiers,” were given “a hero’s welcome that included a live band, balloon hats and a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” who praised them for deciding “to defend the Jewish future.

In Jihad Joe, Berger writes, “Since 1979, American citizens have repeatedly packed their bags, left their wives and children behind, and traveled to distant lands in the name of military jihad, the armed struggle of Islam.”

Compare that to what Rudoren’s Times report tells us of the young IDF cadets who “left behind parents, girlfriends, cars and stuffed animals to become infantrymen, intelligence officers, paratroopers and pilots in a formerly foreign land.”

Their motivation is often way higher than the average Israeli,” Colonel Shuli Ayal, who oversees the lone-soldier program, told Rudoren. “They want to make their service as meaningful as possible.”

With such zealous fervor and passionate commitment to his co-religionists and the ethnocentric, exclusivist nationalist ideology of Zionism, it is no wonder that Warhit desperately hopes to join the Givati Brigade, an IDF military unit which Rudoren innocuously writes “has been active around the Gaza Strip” over the past ten years.  What she should have told her readership is that the commander of the Givati Brigade, Colonel Ilan Malka, was directly responsible for authorizing the airstrike that murdered 21 members of the Samouni family in Gaza on January 5, 2009 for which no one has been held accountable.

Soldiers in the Givati Brigade are also known to have custom t-shirts designed and printed for their units at end of training or field duty that bear such images as dead Palestinian babies, mothers weeping at their children’s graves, guns aimed at kids and destroyed mosques.  These shirts glorify, celebrate, and mock the rape of Palestinian girls, the murder of Palestinian men, women (especially if they’re pregnant) and children.

An anonymous Givati soldier was recently sentenced to a mere 45 days in prison for “illegal use of a firearm,” a charge reduced from manslaughter through a plea bargain.  He had willfully murdered 65 year old Ria Abu Hajaj and her 37 year old daughter Majda Hajaj, after they were ordered to evacuate their home in Juhr ad-Dik with their families during the Gaza massacre in early January 2009.  They were waving white flags and moving slowly in an area in which there was no combat whatsoever when the Israeli soldier opened fire on the group of 28 Hajaj family members, which included at least 17 children.  Apparently, the use of his firearm was illegal, not the execution of civilians.

Clearly, for Warhit, it’s all about the love.

The article continues, “[A]ccording to a military spokeswoman, Israel has enlisted 8,217 men and women from other countries since 2009, 1,661 of them from the United States, second only to Russia’s 1,685,” adding, “They receive a host of special benefits: three times the typical soldier’s salary, a personal day off each month, a free flight home and vouchers for holiday meals.”

How’s that for incentive? Come for the perks, stay for the war crimes.

A March 2012 article in the Jewish online journal Tablet chronicles “Aluf Stone, an organization for Diaspora-born soldiers who have served in the Israel Defense Forces” that was formed in 2008 and is affiliated with the American Veterans of Israel (which is something that apparently exists).  The report quotes Aluf Stone co-founder Marc Leibowitz describing service in the Israeli military as “a specific and meaningful shared experience.  Deeper than an alumni group or a fraternity, which people are fanatical about.”

Fanatical.

Leibowitz explained that most Jewish groups are wary of associating with Aluf Stone since “[n]o organization wants to be seen as if they are encouraging Americans to fight in a foreign army.”  Still, the article’s writer Adam Chandler reveals, in 2011 “the group was invited by the Friends of the IDF to speak at a synagogue in New York and share their stories with an audience composed of family members of IDF soldiers from the States.”

One member of Aluf Stone told Chandler that American-born former IDF soldiers “don’t belong in U.S. veterans’ groups and networks, as they didn’t [all] serve in the American military.”  Consequently, “Aluf Stone occupies an interesting middle ground in the U.S.”  More accurately, perhaps, the members of Aluf Stone were actually occupying Palestine.

While it’s clear that these Jewish foreigners who join the Israeli military do so out of some sort of fervent compulsion and perceived obligation to their own religious tribe, so much so that they leave their own nation to bear arms on behalf of another, it should be noted that numerous studies have found religious ideology not to be a prime motivating factor in terrorist attacks credited to Muslims.

An unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004 determined that:

Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.

Professor Richard Jackson of The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in New Zealand concurs that “terrorism is most often caused by military intervention overseas, and not religion, radicalization, insanity, ideology, poverty or such like.”

Political Science professor at the University of Chicago and founder of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, Robert Pape, who has conducted some of the most comprehensive research and written the most respected analysis of terrorist motivation, concluded in a 2010 study that “suicide terrorism such as that of 9/11 is particularly sensitive to foreign military occupation, and not Islamic fundamentalism or any ideology independent of this crucial circumstance.”   His data reveals that “[m]ore than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation.”

That U.S. and Israeli policies of invasion and occupation rather than religious extremism are the guiding forces behind acts of terrorist violence is evidenced in a letter allegedly written by those responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and published in The New York Times. It stated, “This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel, the state of terrorism, and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region.”

The letter adds, “The American people are responsible for the actions of their government” and “all of the crimes that their government is committing against other people.”

Tragically, those American lone soldiers, that zealous minority of homegrown ideologues who – in J.M. Berger’s words – “travel abroad to fight in wars because of their religious beliefs,” will now be personally responsible for the actions and crimes of the Israeli government and military as well.

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Comments Off on American Jihadists and Israel’s Lone Soldiers: Come for the Perks, Stay for the War Crimes

Syrian Australians Demand an End to Foreign Intervention

By CHRIS RAY | CounterPunch | August 17, 2012

SydneyAround 1500 people, mostly Australians of Syrian descent marched in Sydney on August 5, calling for an end to foreign intervention aimed at destroying the government of President Bashar al-Assad.  The Australian media gave the march almost no coverage, unlike well-publicised though much smaller protests against the Syrian government.

It should surprise no one that large numbers of Syrians support the al-Assad government, with its promise of peaceful reform in a direction indicated by the May 2012 parliamentary elections (when, incidentally, the communists won additional seats), rather than the civil war on religious lines now in progress. One does not have to be an al-Assad supporter to suspect that his government’s immediate departure, as demanded by the rebels and their foreign backers, would create a power vacuum, fragment the country and result in far greater bloodshed.

For its Syria project the US has put together a powerful alliance embracing NATO through its Turkish spearhead, and Israel and its Gulf Arab de facto allies, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Intervention has ranged from sanctions and economic sabotage to funding and equipping foreign mercenaries and “boots on the ground” in the form of Western military advisers and trainers.  The current goal appears to be regime change by promoting civil war rather than foreign invasion. But calls for a “No Fly Zone” along Libyan lines can now be heard – no doubt a precursor to another “humanitarian” bombing campaign.

Foreign forces are playing a substantial role in the campaign to topple the government.  According to some assessments, foreign jihadis including Al Qaeda units from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya and Jordan are more effective, and engaged in more significant combat than the so-called Free Syrian Army. Al Qaeda is once again enjoying the backing of the ‘Great Satan’ patterned on their 1980s relationship in Afghanistan.

Foreign jihadis have admitted that they formed brigades to infiltrate Syria well before the first protests in early 2011.

Also instructive is the testimony of two Western photographers captured and tormented by a rebel group comprising fighters from Bangladesh, Britain, Chechnya and Pakistan – but no Syrians. Viewers of the ABC’s 7.30 Report on 7.8.12 would have seen a Chechen combatant in Syria threaten an ABC reporter.

We are not only talking foreign jihadi cannon fodder: “It is highly likely that some western special forces and intelligence resources have been in Syria for a considerable time,” says Colonel Richard Kemp, of the Royal United Services Institute which has strong connections to British intelligence services.

Some on the Left argue that the Syrian regime is unworthy of support because it is a dictatorship. Should the political form of the Syrian state absolve the Left of any responsibility to defend it against imperialist aggression? The al-Assad  government is under attack by NATO, Israel and the Arab Gulf monarchies not for its denial of democracy, or harsh treatment of dissent, but because of its positive features: support for Palestinian and Lebanese resistance to Zionist expansion; refusal to join the US in isolating and impoverishing Iran; upholding a unique (in the Middle East) degree of religious tolerance and pluralism. For a visitor to Syria this commitment to freedom of religion – and rights for women – comes as a revelation in comparison to the reactionary US/British protectorates of the Arab Gulf. Such freedoms enrage the poisonously sectarian Sunni fundamentalists now sponsored in Syria by the West. Bin Laden always hated Shia Islam more than Zionists or the CIA.

For much of the anti-government opposition, regime change is about establishing Sunni dominance not democratic freedoms. They hate the regime because it is a heretical government responsible for a secular state with constitutionally guaranteed freedom of worship. The popular rebel slogan “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to their graves” raises the spectre of widespread ethnic cleansing – already underway with the expulsion of tens of thousands of Christians by the NATO-backed ‘Free Syrian Army’.

The fall of the al-Assad government is probably inevitable given the forces ranged against it. Some have predicted an Egypt-like power-sharing arrangement between the Muslim Brotherhood and secular nationalist ‘democrats’ will follow. However Syria’s religious and ethnic make-up is far more complicated than almost anywhere else in the region: a Sunni majority with numerous Muslim minorities (Shia, Alawite, Sufi, Ismailis) as well as Druse and several strands of Christianity  – altogether about one third of the population. There are significant ethnic minorities such as the Muslim Kurds and Christian Armenians – descendants of refugees from Turkish genocide – as well as hundreds of thousands of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, many of them Christians. These minorities do not share the cheerful assessment that the outcome of this war is likely to approximate post-Mubarak Egypt – itself now a more dangerous home for minorities.

The Syrian government is widely blamed for starting the war with unprovoked attacks on peaceful demonstrators. Western media spent most of 2011 denying the very existence of armed opposition, until the media narrative was recast to that of peaceful protests gradually morphing into armed revolt as a consequence of regime brutality.

The authorities’ initial response to opposition protests in March 2011 was brutal and inflammatory. But it is not contradictory to also acknowledge that government forces were under armed attack from the outset. Syrian TV was broadcasting footage of the funerals of military and police personnel killed by protestors in March 2011. My son who was living in Damascus viewed these reports and discussed them with locals.  I saw similar Syrian TV coverage while in Jordan in April-May 2011.

Reporter Robert Fisk identified the murder of a boy by police as the spark for the initial March 2011 protest in Deraa. Fisk, no supporter of the regime, also pointed to the existence of video footage of gunmen on the streets of Deraa that same month and al-Jazeera footage of armed men fighting Syrian troops near the Lebanon border in April 2011.  Fisk noted that Al-Jazeera television, cheerleader for the rebels, chose not to broadcast it. The station is of course owned by the emir of Qatar, a principal financier of the war against the Syrian government.

On 21 March 2011 Israel National News reported that seven policemen were killed in Deraa in mid-March.

As early as August 2011 the anti-regime, UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that soldiers and police accounted for about one quarter of Syria’s death toll since the start of the uprising – a casualty proportion not likely to be suffered by an army ranged against unarmed protestors.  SOHR, in a rare moment of candour conceded that some of the dead civilians were tortured and killed by regime opponents. This was before Al-Qaeda bombers began their work in co-ordination with the ‘Free Syrian Army’.

Most Syrians would possibly prefer a ceasefire and negotiations in order to avoid the catastrophic fate of Iraq and Libya.  Yet the rebel leaderships and their foreign backers have sought only to prolong the fighting. Four weeks into Kofi Annan’s attempted ceasefire, the Washington Post reported: “Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials.” CounterPunch’s Patrick Cockburn was one of the few western correspondents to report the UN monitoring team’s observation that during the ceasefire “the level of offensive military operations by the government significantly decreased” while there has been “an increase in militant attacks and targeted killings”.

In Libya, war sold to the gullible as a humanitarian necessity has reduced North Africa’s only welfare state to an ungovernable ruin: where rival tribal militias fight perpetual turf wars, blacks are ethnically cleansed, ancient archaeological treasures plundered and the social gains of the revolution systematically erased. All this mostly goes unreported – a non-story now that Libya’s oil contracts are in safer hands (China and Russia need not apply) and Western weapons sales rejected by the murdered Gaddafi are back on the table.

Only the terminally naïve would recommend the Syrian people risk a repeat of the Libyan triumph.

Chris Ray is a Sydney-based Asia business analyst and journalist.

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Comments Off on Syrian Australians Demand an End to Foreign Intervention

New Documents: Big Sis Lied About Canceling Mobile Body Scanner Program

Homeland Security claimed it had “dropped the plans at an early stage”

By Steve Watson | Prisonplanet | August 17, 2012

New Documents: Big Sis Lied About Canceling Mobile Body Scanner Program 250810top

Newly released documents clearly show that the The Homeland Security Department continued to pursue a mobile surveillance program, moving radiation firing body scanners out of airports and into streets and shopping malls, despite claiming it has dropped the plans altogether.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) yesterday released the documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showing that the DHS was still operating the program in March 2011, just two days prior to claiming it had “dropped the projects in a very early phase after testing showed flaws”.

Previous EPIC FOIA work produced records showing that the DHS is actively moving to install radiation firing scanners in all manner of public places.

The technologies include “intelligent video,” backscatter x-ray, Millimeter Wave Radar, and Terahertz Wave, and could be deployed at subway platforms, sidewalks, sports arenas, and shopping malls.

EPIC filed a specific lawsuit against the DHS for attempting to keep the program secret.

EPIC’s suit asked a federal court to order disclosure of nearly 1,000 pages of additional records detailing the controversial program – records the agency repeatedly refused to make public, despite freedom of information requests and appeals over the course of several months.

The lawsuit points to an agency under the DHS umbrella, the Science and Technology Directorate, which has released only 15 full pages of documents on the mobile scanners, whilst heavily redacting another 158 pages and withholding 983 pages of documents.

In February 2011, EPIC discovered (PDF) that the DHS had paid contractors “millions of dollars on mobile body scanner technology that could be used at railways, stadiums, and elsewhere” on crowds of moving people.

According to the documents obtained by EPIC, the Transport Security Agency plans to expand the use of these systems to peer under clothes and inside bags away from airports.

The documents included a “Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment” [PDF] which revealed details of conducting risk assessments and possible implementation of body scanners in “Mass transit, commuter and long-distance passenger rail, freight rail, commercial vehicles (including intercity buses), and pipelines, and related infrastructure (including roads and highways), that are within the territory of the United States.”

The DHS maintained that it had discontinued the program, but refused to provide the proof, invoking several FOIA exemption clauses, ironically including one that cited “invasion of personal privacy”.

EPIC also noted that the DHS has actively deployed “mobile body scanner technology in vans that are able to scan other vehicles while driving down public roadways.”

“These vans, known as ‘Z Backscatter Vans,’ are capable of seeing through vehicles and clothing and routinely store the images that they generate.” EPIC’s lawsuit notes.

As we previously reported, while the focus remained on the TSA’s use of naked body scanners at airports, the feds had already purchased hundreds of x-ray scanners mounted in vans that were being used to randomly scan vehicles, passengers and homes in complete violation of the 4th amendment and with wanton disregard for any health consequences.

WSBTV reported on one instance of the mobile scanners being used to check trucks for explosive devices at an internal checkpoint set up by Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the TSA. Officials admitted there was no specific threat that justified the checkpoint, and although it was labeled a “counter-terror operation,” the scans were also being conducted in the name of “safety”.

EPIC will continue to pursue the case in an attempt to discover whether the DHS still plans to roll out mobile body scanners across America.

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Deception over Lockerbie

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | September 24, 2009

By way of deception, shalt thou wage war. – motto of Mossad, Israel’s Intelligence Service

The scenes of flag-waving Libyans welcoming home Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the man known as the Lockerbie bomber, further discredited Muslims in the minds of many. For those whose knowledge of the story is derived mainly from TV news, it appeared to be a callous celebration of mass murder, lending credence to the belief that “Islam” and “terrorism” are virtually synonymous. A closer look at the facts surrounding the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, however, reveals a pattern of deception by those who have most to gain from making Muslims look bad.

While the news reports dutifully recorded the protestations of outrage by Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and others at what appeared to be an unseemly hero’s welcome for a convicted terrorist, they neglected to mention that Libyans were celebrating the release of a countryman whom they believe had been wrongfully imprisoned for eight years. Also omitted from the reports was any indication that informed observers of Megrahi’s case in Britain and elsewhere are likewise convinced of his innocence.

Robert Black, the University of Edinburgh law professor who was the architect of the trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, says that “no reasonable tribunal could have convicted Megrahi on the evidence led,” and calls his 2001 conviction “an absolute and utter outrage.” Prof. Black likens the Scottish trial judges to the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass who “believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Hans Köchler, a UN-appointed observer at the trial, states that “there is not one single piece of material evidence linking the two accused to the crime,” and condemns the court’s verdict as a “spectacular miscarriage of justice.” And Dr. Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of the 270 killed on December 21, 1988, dismisses the prosecution’s case against Megrahi and fellow Libyan Lamin Khalifa F’hima as “a cock and bull story.”

According to that “cock and bull story,” Megrahi, the head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), conspired with Lamin Khalifa F’hima, the station manager for LAA in Malta (who was acquitted), to put a suitcase bomb on a flight from Malta to Frankfurt. At Frankfurt, the lethal suitcase had to be transferred to another flight bound for London Heathrow. Then in Heathrow Airport, it would have to be transferred for a second time onto the ill-fated Flight 103 destined for New York.

But for that rather implausible scenario to be true, the Libyans would have to have had an inordinate faith in the reliability of baggage handlers in two of Europe’s busiest airports at one of the busiest times of the year. Less optimistic would-be bombers would surely have slipped the bomb-laden suitcase on board in London. Fueling suspicions that this is indeed what happened, investigating police were told by a security guard at Heathrow that the Pan Am baggage storage area had been broken into on the night of the bombing.

The reported break-in at Heathrow was part of 600 pages of new and deliberately suppressed evidence that Megrahi’s defense could present at an appeal, which in 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, after a three-year investigation, recommended he be granted.

But before that appeal could be heard, the compassionate release of Megrahi, suffering from terminal prostate cancer, conveniently spared the potential embarrassment of all those involved in his dubious conviction. More significantly, it also averted awkward questions being raised, in the likely event of the Libyan being acquitted, about who actually planted the bomb, and why.

Reel Bad Muslims

Many of those who doubt Libya’s responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, perhaps not surprisingly in the current climate, tend to suspect other Muslim countries of involvement. The most popular theory is that Iran hired the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) led by Ahmed Gibril to avenge the “accidental” shooting down by the USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988 of Iran Air Flight 655, which killed all 288 civilians on board.

Others believe that Abu Nidal, the founder of the infamous Black September terrorist group, may have been involved. If they’re right, it raises disturbing questions about who was ultimately responsible for the Lockerbie atrocity. In his fine biography of Nidal, A Gun for Hire, British journalist Patrick Seale confirms long-held suspicions that many in the Middle East have had about the “Palestinian terrorist” who did more than anyone to discredit the Palestinian cause. “Abu Nidal was undoubtedly a Mossad agent,” Seale asserts. “Practically every job he did benefited Israel.”

Interestingly, one theory which has the PFLP-GC collaborating with Abu Nidal on behalf of Iran, has been espoused by a former Mossad staffer, Yuval Aviv, whose New York-based investigative agency, Interfor, prepared a report for Pan Am’s insurers on the Lockerbie bombing.

Writing under the pen name Sam Green, Aviv also authored Flight 103, a fictional account of the Lockerbie tragedy he claims is “based solidly on real-life facts,” in which the vengeful Iranians enlist a Palestinian terrorist, Ahmed ‘The Falcon’ Shabaan, to do their dirty work. Aviv, who inspired Steven Spielberg’s Munich, hopes his director friend will convert his Lockerbie tale into another Hollywood blockbuster.

Hardly any mainstream commentators, however, have questioned the trustworthiness of a former Mossad agent, who retains close ties with the intelligence service, fingering Palestinians and Iran for a terrorist attack which killed 189 Americans, thereby blackening the reputation of two of Israel’s greatest foes in the minds of those it wishes to convince that the U.S. and Israel face a common enemy.

Dirty Tricks

Not everyone in the media has been as naive about Israeli machinations though. Writing in the Guardian just before the trial of the two Libyans, veteran American journalist Russell Warren Howe, in an excellent article titled “What if they are innocent?” analyses whether the Iranian government, Palestinian terrorists or Israeli intelligence were more likely perpetrators. Howe concludes, “Even if Megrahi and F’hima are found guilty of the most serious charges, there would still be a need for a new investigation: to decide what was Israel’s possibly major role in mass murder and deception of its main benefactor, the US.” Howe is suggesting that even if the Libyans, or other Arabs, had actually planted the bomb, they may still have been duped into doing so by Israeli agents.

Intriguingly, Howe cites a reference in Gordon Thomas’ book on Mossad, Gideon’s Spies,to a Mossad officer stationed in London who showed up in Lockerbie the morning after the crash to arrange for the removal of a suitcase from the crime scene. The suitcase, said to belong to Captain Charles McKee, a DIA officer who was killed on the flight, was later returned “empty and undamaged.”

Moreover, the idea of Libyan responsibility, Howe notes, seems to have originated in Israel. Again, he quotes Thomas, who says that a source at LAP, Mossad’s psychological warfare unit, informed him that “within hours of the crash, staff at LAP were working the phones to their media contacts urging them to publicise that here was ‘incontrovertible proof’ that Libya, through its intelligence service, Jamahirya, was culpable.”

It may also have been Mossad disinformation, Howe suspects, that induced the U.S. government to believe the Libyans were guilty. The day after the Lockerbie bombing, U.S. intelligence intercepted a radio message from Tripoli to a Libyan government office in Berlin that effectively said, “mission accomplished.”

Two years earlier, a similar message intercept had induced Ronald Reagan to order air strikes against Libya, killing over a hundred people, including Qaddafi’s two-year-old adopted daughter. But the message had been faked by Israel, according to Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad case officer, who described the operation in The Other Side of Deception, the second of two exposés he wrote about the Mossad after leaving the service.

Operation Trojan began in February 1986 when the Mossad secretly installed a communications device known as a “Trojan” in an apartment in Tripoli. The Trojan received messages broadcast by Mossad’s LAP on one frequency and automatically transmitted them on a different frequency used by the Libyan government. “Using the Trojan,” Ostrovsky writes, “the Mossad tried to make it appear that a long series of terrorist orders were being transmitted to various Libyan embassies around the world.” U.S. intelligence, as anticipated by the Israelis, intercepted the bogus messages, and believed them to be authentic — especially after receiving confirmation from the Mossad.

Within weeks of the Trojan being installed, two American soldiers were killed in an explosion at La Belle Discothèque, a nightclub in West Berlin frequented by U.S. servicemen. Assuming that Libya was responsible, nine days later the U.S. dropped 60 tons of bombs on Tripoli and Benghazi. Few suspected that the Americans had been tricked into the “retaliation” by Israel, whose subterfuge had punished Qaddafi for his support of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and further alienated the U.S from the Arab world.

Not all Americans are oblivious to Israeli wiles, however. Commenting on the Israeli intelligence service’s penchant for deception, Andrew Killgore, a former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, wrote in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, “Mossad’s specialty was dirty tricks… Its modus operandi had always been the same: pull off a dirty trick but make it appear somebody else had done it.”

As part of any new investigation to establish whether or not the Lockerbie bombing was another one of the Mossad’s “dirty tricks,” detectives might want to interview Issac Yeffet, the former chief of security for the Israeli airline, El Al, who in 1986 was commissioned by Pan Am to survey its security at a number of airports worldwide. As Killgore, in a separate article for the Washington Report, suggestively noted: “Yeffet may have been successful in maintaining perfect security for El Al at Ben-Gurion Airport. But his efforts at Heathrow Airport in London, one of the airports he surveyed for Pan Am, and to which he and his employees had full rein, failed to save Pan Am Flight 103.”

Still protesting his innocence, the dying Megrahi told reporters on his release, “The truth never dies.” That may be so. But as long as the Western media continue to believe that only Israel’s enemies would blow up a civilian airliner, the truth about Lockerbie is unlikely to ever reach a very wide audience.

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Lockerbie Bombing Seen as an Expression of a “Strenuous Disagreement”

Aletho News | September 1, 2009

In light of compelling information available on the Internet about the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 as well as the destruction of three World Trade Center buildings with micro-thermite during the course of a well-planned Israeli linked false flag operation in 2001, the issue of Zionist false flag terrorism against the American people to achieve militarist aims is now widely understood. Less well known and further in the past the Lavon affair is another documented case of Israel framing Arabs in an attempt to generate Western reaction. The planned attack of the Lavon affair was foiled by Egyptian security, more recent attacks have been outside of Arab jurisdictions. Revelations about the details of these particular acts of terror, notwithstanding subsequent efforts by the US government to cover them up by preventing public inquiries, along with ongoing mass media disinformation regarding the facts, have confirmed a disturbing pattern of control that is leading toward mass revulsion amidst the population.

Recently, newspapers reported that a Libyan, Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, accused of being the “Lockerbie bomber”, was released from imprisonment in Scotland. It is truly remarkable that his incarceration dragged on for so long, for it was already evident during the course of the trial, that no credible evidence linking him to the crime existed. In the meantime, mainstream media in Britain have reported that he was framed, through false testimony and the intentional withholding of exculpatory information by the court. His appeal was likely to be granted, and attention would inevitably have focused on the question of who actually did carry out the bombing. The calculation appears to have been, that one might circumvent such a situation by releasing him on “humanitarian” grounds, in exchange for dropping the appeal. No later than two years ago, it must have become clear to anyone following the case, that al Megrahi would have to be released, because the head of a Swiss company Mebo, Edwin Bollier, admitted, after the statute of limitations for such a crime had expired, that key evidence used in the trial had actually been faked. Also, in June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, upon a three year investigation, reported that there may have been a miscarriage of justice.

Fingering the perpetrators of this act of terror that occurred more than two decades ago is inconvenient because the plausible outcome of an analysis of the situation, back then, while taking into account motive, means, and opportunity, could surely point to a group of known terrorists, enjoying strong support in the United States among influential supporters of Israel, as the primary suspects. These Zionist terrorists and their Jewish supremacist supporters have become so successful through their campaigns of mass murder that they have actually formed and developed a state with a huge military and propaganda apparatus. Indeed, as people have begun to realize, they have effectively taken over the United States government through corruption, coercion and blackmail. Some of their staunchest supporters are in control of financial, media, and academic institutions, thus wielding undue power. Though many have been aware of the facts for a long time, controllers need to present a different story for public consumption, hoping to induce a distorted perception among the masses.

The time elapsed since that fateful bombing over Scotland is half of the time elapsed since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. With the benefit of hindsight and an improved realization of the nature of Zionist inspired terrorism, both historically and currently, a review of the political circumstances during the two final months in 1988 sheds light on what could have been a primary motive for the bombing. On November 1, 1988, elections for the twelfth Knesset took place in Israel, with an outcome that made the formation of a stable government difficult. Exactly one week later, American elections took place, in which Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush beat Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. During the transition phase of the ensuing weeks, certain political developments could take place that might have seemed too risky to push through if Congress had been in session.

One week after the American elections, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), operating from Tunis, attempted to regain control of events in Palestine, where a popular uprising, the Intifada, had been going on for months. Thus, on November 15, in Algiers, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) formally proclaimed a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, and Yasser Arafat as its president. Additionally, the PNC voted to revise the PLO charter and recognized the UN resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis of an international peace conference. This announcement was an important milestone in the Palestinian struggle against the ongoing, forceful, and illegal occupation of their land by an oppressive Israeli regime, and the lame-duck administration of Ronald Reagan would have to address the issue somehow.

According to a 1975 memorandum agreement with Israel, arranged by Henry Kissinger, the United States agreed to not recognize or negotiate with the PLO unless the organization formally recognized Israel and accepted UN resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis for peace in the Middle East. Even engaging in curt small talk with a PLO representative at a party in Amman during the summer of 1979 was taboo. One may recall that Ambassador Andrew Young was forced into resignation from his position as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Carter Administration. Zionist leaders had somehow convinced themselves, that these conditions were too onerous for the PLO to adhere to, and were thus complacent in believing that the US government would continue to refuse any dealings with the PLO. They felt much assured when Secretary of State George Schultz refused a visa to PLO Chairman Arafat a day after he had requested one at the American Embassy in Tunis, so that he could address the UN General Assembly in New York in December. This decision, by Schultz, based on the PLO’s alleged association with terrorism, surprised the diplomatic community.

In early December of 1988, at the invitation of the Swedish government, Arafat met in Stockholm with a group of five American Jews, including Stanley Sheinbaum, one of the Regents of the University of California at the time, to discuss the Middle East situation. After a couple of days of talks, on December 7 Arafat announced the existence of Israel and denounced all forms of terrorism. However, George Schultz proclaimed that the PLO “still has a considerable distance to go” before the United States would deal with it. Israel’s expectations were thus upheld again. During this time, Israel had still not formed a government. However, a week later, on December 14, Arafat gave a press conference in Geneva and clarified the points he had given in a speech at the UN there the previous day. Though the language he used was barely different from that of previous statements rejected by Schultz as being insufficient, this time Schultz accepted the formula and promptly announced that the US State Department would begin discussions with the PLO.

News of this development was greeted with great shock and dismay at the time by Israeli politicians and the public. The PLO was their archenemy, regarded as a group of terrorists bent on destroying them. Extremist Zionists in particular perceived the announcement to recognize the PLO as the end of their dreams for a greater Israel, a genuine existential threat to their future survival. They had just been publicly stabbed in the back by the American administration. This decision could not stand, a strong message, would have to be sent, in response. The Americans could not get away with this, how “dare they” act independently.

With this pace of development, what might the new American regime do upon Bush’s inauguration? This was indeed a most serious development, and Israeli politicians gathered to engage in crisis discussions and expedited negotiating sessions in order to form a new government and deal with this unexpected threat. The possibility of events occurring beyond their control seemed real, and it became an imperative to forestall the U.S. engaging with the PLO.

Exactly one week after the formal American recognition of the PLO, Pan Am Flight 103, exploded in the air on its journey from London to New York on December 21, 1988. Only a few hours after news of this event became public, the reporter for a local television station in California interviewed an “expert on terrorism” live from his location at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. Interestingly, when asked which group might have engaged in such an act of terrorism, the expert from RAND, upon citing the usual Arab suspects, cautioned that one should not exclude the possibility that a rogue group inside the Israeli military might have felt compelled to carry this out. This was truly unfiltered commentary, as the initial news came trickling in. Afterward, once the mainstream television media had regained their grip, explicit suggestions like this were presumably not heard again. (In contrast, with the benefit of months of operative planning, on September 11, 2001, the media worked from a prepared script; Osama bin Laden was declared the suspect within minutes of the demolition of the second World Trade Center tower, and the collapse of WTC Building 7 was announced at least twenty minutes before it actually occurred.)

Initially, one angle of speculation had been, that the attack was meant to target South Africa because a high level delegation of officials from its government, most notably foreign minister Pik Botha, were said to have been on that flight. Yet later the media reported that Botha had changed his scheduled flight to an earlier one that day and was indeed to arrive in New York. Ad hoc, raw news items like this, with the connotation of a possible advance tip-off, naturally arouses suspicion, especially since the South African government had few close political allies at the time, and so the media did not dwell on this message either. As it turned out, the South African government officials had been booked for Flight 103 but wound up flying to New York on an earlier plane. The next day they were present at UN headquarters to sign the Tripartite Agreement with representatives from Cuba and Angola. Years later, it was revealed that other people mysteriously chose not to take that flight at the last moment. Students from Syracuse University consequently got last minute seats which earlier were said to have been full. Which group of possible perpetrators could have had the technical means to both access the passenger list of a future flight and forewarn selected people? One cannot but help recall what seems to have been an analogous situation, many years later on September 11, 2001, when a select group of individuals received advance warning about the impending operation through an Israeli-based text messaging service, Odigo.

According to a former American ambassador to Qatar, Andrew I. Killgore, who has written articles about the Lockerbie bombing in the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs, there are other interesting facts surrounding the Lockerbie bombing that are not widely known. For instance, in 2002 (but presumably also earlier during investigations) a retired security guard, Ray Manly, revealed that the Pan Am baggage area at Heathrow Airport had been broken into 17 hours before Flight 103 took off. Certainly, planting a bomb directly onto an intended plane is a surer method of targeting that flight than sending an unattended piece of luggage laden with a bomb from Malta to Frankfurt, and then from there to London, which is the narrative that prosecutors concocted to frame al Megrahi. In the case of the latter method, there is no way of being sure that the suitcase will actually be on the target flight, but alternatively there is a slight chance, due to general sloppiness, that it could wind up on a flight one definitely would not want to target.

Killgore refers to reports that Pan Am had commissioned a team to handle the baggage security at 25 branches around the world. One member of that team was Isaac Yeffet, who headed a company by the name of Alert Management Inc. Employees of Yeffet’s company had full access to the Pan Am facility at Heathrow Airport and thus might have been expected to detect an unattended bag coming from Malta, or prevent the introduction of a bomb at Heathrow.

According to media reports, Isaac Yeffet is the former chief of security for El Al and an ex-director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, and now runs a security company based in New Jersey. In this context, the reader might recall, that responsibility for security at all three airports of alleged hijackings on September 11, 2001 also lay with an Israeli owned company.

One feature of grand scale terrorist events, such as airplane bombings, is that perpetrators tend not to reveal themselves to the public, so the question of culpability becomes a mystery. One method of following up is for the perpetrators to attempt to make it appear as if though an enemy was actually responsible. Israeli operatives have repeatedly deployed this trick for at least half a century, at least since the incident in Cairo that led to the Lavon Affair. However, it is impossible to fool the entire population. After the Lockerbie bombing, the predominately Jewish controlled media in America planted several accusations against various groups or governments, Ahmed Jabril of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Nidal, Syria, Iran, and of course Libya. Yet none of these groups really had the means or opportunity to carry out such an operation. Palestinians certainly didn’t have a motive in light of the breakthrough for their cause a week earlier, which didn’t preclude hypotheses of some rival Palestinian group committing the act out of sheer jealousy or disagreement from being presented.

As if these accusations and hypotheses in the media were not enough to distract and saturate the public with psychological propaganda, the New York Times Magazine, on Sunday March 18, 1990 (which coincided with the date of the only parliamentary elections in East Germany) proffered yet another malicious insinuation. Appearing as a bold headline on its cover, above a photo of the front of the jumbo jet lying on its side in Lockerbie, one could read the following words: “The German Connection”. This was likely part of the New York Times’ conspicuous “hate campaign” against Germany in general, but also against the impending German reunification in particular, which during early 1990, during the time of the negotiations leading to the so-called “Two Plus Four Agreement”, had reached a feverish pitch, spearheaded by former executive editor A. M. Rosenthal in various vitriolic editorials.

Another noteworthy piece of information relates to the disappointment of some British family members of persons who had been on that flight, with the way the case was developing. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was said to have blocked a full judicial inquiry into the issue. This raises the question, which group in Britain would have had sufficient influence to prevail upon the highest governmental official? An alternate explanation is, that President George H. W. Bush had prevailed upon her to tone down the investigation, which merely shifts the same question of complicity or cover-up toward power circumstances in the United States.

However, it was reported in 1993 that according to Minister of Parliament Tam Dalyell, Thatcher, who also had the role of being the head of intelligence services, stated unequivocally, that Libya did not carry out the bombing. It would seem that there was pressure to hide certain facts.

The violent destruction of an airplane with innocent people is also a highly political statement directed toward an élite group of decision makers in order to affect a particular policy. Therefore, it is fair to surmise that the perpetrators, who had to have had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the heinous crime, intended to signal their involvement, without stating it explicitly. If the intended recipients of such hints of involvement were themselves top-level criminals or terrorists, with blood on their hands, they would tend to acknowledge the hints in a different manner than the public inevitably would and, unlike the public, not get emotional about the situation. This can be viewed as part of a political game engaged in by psychopaths. Therefore, one should monitor official statements or communiqués for clues. During the Cold War there were American specialists called Kremlinologists, who would notice subtle and innocuous messages or announcements with important meaning. This is the diplomatic language of polite understatement.

On December 23, 1988, within two days after the Lockerbie bombing Israeli politicians agreed to form a coalition or unity government, headed by Yitzhak Shamir, who had gone to high school in Bialystok and became a terrorist in Palestine before World War II, after Hebraizing his surname from Jeziernicky. On that day, Shamir addressed the newly formed twelfth Knesset, in which he made multiple references to the PLO and the implications of its international recognition (which on the following day, Christmas Eve, included a meeting between Chairman Arafat and Pope John Paul in the Vatican). Below are key passages, translated into English by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

It is regrettable that we were forced to strenuously disagree with the recent U.S. decision regarding a dialogue with the PLO which, as far as we see and know, has not changed its character or ways, its malicious covenant and the terrorism that it perpetrates. We know this from the statements of its central figures, and from its actions in the field, and the government of Israel, in accordance with its guidelines, will not negotiate with it. We still hope that the U.S. will reconsider its decision vis-a-vis the PLO. We have paid close attention to the statements made by administration spokesmen regarding their approach to the issue of terrorism; we hope that after due consideration, they will draw the necessary conclusions regarding the PLO. The developments in the international arena and the challenges that we will face oblige us to overcome our differences in order to confront the problems together, and to overcome the obstacles and dangers that have been placed in our way. I am referring chiefly to the large-scale propaganda and diplomatic offensive being conducted now against Israel in the international diplomatic arena by the terrorist organizations and their friends and supporters, an offensive which is based on deception and on misleading. Its obvious objective is to gain international support for the establishment of a PLO-Palestinian state within Eretz Israel. In addition, we see special preparations being made to exert great pressure on us to cause us to make a complete withdrawal to the suffocating borders of 1967.

At that time there was no Internet, so only a few of the people who do not understand Hebrew were actually privy to the text at the time. Adopting a Talmudic perspective and the aggressive mindset that prevails among militant Zionists in Israel, one could certainly rationalize the Lockerbie bombing as an act of self-defense, a means to prevent suffocation and encirclement before such efforts can attain momentum. Shamir’s violent life had been filled with acts of terror. In this light the Lockerbie bombing can be viewed as an irate expression of “strenuous disagreement”.

– by reader submission

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on The Lockerbie Bombing Seen as an Expression of a “Strenuous Disagreement”

Top 10 Myths of the Jobs Argument Against Military Cuts

By Miriam Pemberton | IPS | August 14, 2012

Members of Congress, led by the team of Senators McCain, Graham and Ayotte, are touring military contracting plants, bases and defense-dependent communities this summer raising the alarm about “sequestration.” This is the part of the current budget deal that will force $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts to federal spending, unless Congress comes up with the same amount of money some other way. Half is supposed to come from the military, half from domestic programs, beginning January 2.

It is true: cutting everything indiscriminately is no way to run a government. But this alarm-raising campaign, buttressed by defense industry spending to buy and promote “independent”studies, and mount lobbying campaigns, is focused not on federal spending in general, but on military cuts in particular. And the centerpiece of their pitch against these cuts is not the standard line that we need to spend ever more on the Pentagon because it needs every penny to keep us safe. Instead the focus is: jobs.

MilitaryWe’re in the process of ending two wars. Since 9-11, spending on the Pentagon has nearly doubled. Clearly we’re due for a military budget downsizing.

And the urgent need for job creation is on everyone’s mind.

That’s why the military contractors and their congressional allies are departing from the usual script to argue for more military spending. Instead of saying, as usual, that the Pentagon needs every penny to keep us safe, they’re saying it needs every penny to preserve jobs.

From the crowd that wants to shrink government because this will create jobs, we are now hearing that we can’t shrink the Pentagon because that would cost jobs.

Here are main points of their case, rebutted one by one.

Myth # 1: The military cuts will cost a million (or, according to the Pentagon, a million and a half) jobs.

You don’t need to get into the details of the many reasons to question these figures to recognize the big flaw: Cutting military spending will only cost jobs if nothing else is done with the money. As economists from the University of Massachusetts have shown, (findings recently corroborated by economists at the University of Vienna [i]) military spending is an exceptionally poor job creator.  Taking those cuts and investing them in other things—clean energy, education, health care, transportation—will all result in a net gain in jobs. Even cutting taxes creates more employment than spending on the military.[ii]

Myth # 2:  More Pentagon spending will create more jobs.

A researcher at the Project on Government Oversight recently exposed the shaky foundation of this argument. He found that since 2006 the largest military contractor, Lockheed Martin, has increased its revenues from military contracts, even as it was cutting jobs.[iii]

Myth # 3: Defense sequestration will gut our military industrial base.

Hardly. The Pentagon cuts contained in the budget deal will bring the military budget, adjusted for inflation, to where it was in 2006. Close to its highest level since World War II. More than the next 17 countries (most of them our allies) put together.[iv]

These cuts are easily doable, with no sacrifice in security, because they are being made to a budget that has nearly doubled since 2001.

Myth # 4:  The public is buying the myth.

President Obama is actually running an ad criticizing his opponent for advocating military spending increases. The clear pattern in recent polling shows that this is a smart move. Majorities agree military spending is too high.[v]

Myth # 5:  The military economy is part of the bedrock of our jobs base.

A researcher at the Project on Defense Alternatives looked at this one. He cited a Congressional Research Service study of aerospace employment. More than 500,000 Americans are employed in aerospace manufacturing. About two-thirds of this is commercial, however. Though the defense industry has worked hard to spread itself around for maximum political effect, more than half (61%) of the nation’s aerospace industry jobs are concentrated in six states.[vi]

By contrast, more than 8 million Americans are employed in education, law enforcement, fire fighting, and other emergency and protective services — working in every community in America.

The effects on the jobs base from cuts on the domestic side of the budget, in other words, will be much larger and more widespread than the effects of military cuts.

Myth # 6:  The military economy is part of the bedrock of our overall economic health.

Alan Greenspan, among many others, has contrasted spending on infrastructure, education, and health care with military spending. The former, he noted, strengthens the productivity—the performance—of the economy as a whole; the latter does not.

Military spending is like a family’s insurance policies, he said. The family should spend enough to insure against disaster, but not a penny more, because that family should put as much as possible toward increasing its well-being through education and other enhancements to its quality of life.

Myth # 7:  Military workers have already taken their share of the hits.

No. The global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas tracks layoffs month by month. For the past three years, while military spending has absorbed more than half of the discretionary budget (the part Congress votes on every year), the private sector contractors it supports have absorbed an average of only 4% of the nation’s job loss. See this spreadsheet (docx).

During those three years, the defense industry laid off a total of 106,000 workers. During the same period, state and local governments laid off more than 500,000 workers.

Myth # 8:   The political campaign against sequestration is consistent with the dominant economic philosophy of the politicians doing the campaigning.

No again. The free marketeers who think shrinking government will create jobs are preaching that the Pentagon budget can’t be shrunk because this will cost jobs.

Congressman Barney Frank has summed up nicely what they are asking us to believe: “that the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.”

Myth # 9:  The contractors have their workers’ interests at heart.

If they did, they might narrow the gap a bit between the CEO’s and the average worker’s salary.  For Lockheed Martin (CEO: $25 million[vii]; average worker: $58,000[viii]) this gap is more than 400 to 1.

Myth # 10:  Sequestration will force contractors to warn most of their workers of an impending layoff. 

Lockheed is threatening to send these notices a few days before the November election.  The argument for this bit of political blackmail is that since the cuts aren’t specified, all workers are at risk.  While Lockheed claims these notices are required by law, the Labor Department, i.e. the controlling legal authority, says they are not.

In fact, as researchers from Win Without War and the Center for International Policy recently pointed out,[ix] the defense and aerospace industry is sitting on a pile of cash from yet another year of record revenue and profits in 2011.[x] Lockheed alone has $81 billion in backlogged orders, and more coming in.[xi] They have it a lot better than most companies.

And this cushion gives them time to plan for the downsizing, and keep the workers they profess to care about employed, by developing new work in other areas. See Fact Sheet: Replacing Defense Industry Jobs for some ideas on how.

Footnotes

[i] https://www.dropbox.com/s/6s4ix8muj2kmhhx/a%20non%20linear%20defense%20growth%20nexus.pdf

[ii] http://www.peri.umass.edu/236/hash/0b0ce6af7ff999b11745825d80aca0b8/publication/489/

[iii] http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/08/defense-contractor-time-machine-less-spending-more-jobs-analysis-reveals.html#more.

[iv] http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-congress-repeal-the-scheduled-cuts-to-defense-spending/7-reasons-to-keep-the-defense-budget-sequestration-cuts

[v] http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2012/08/obama_s_ad_against_military_spending_have_polls_shifted_on_the_defense_budget_.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

[vi] “US Aerospace Manufacturing: Industry Overview and Prospects,” Congressional Research Service, December 3, 2009. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40967.pdf.

[vii] http://www.businessinsider.com/the-highest-paid-ceos-at-the-largest-us-based-financial-companies-2012-6#2-george-roberts-kkr-49

[viii] http://www.peri.umass.edu/236/hash/0b0ce6af7ff999b11745825d80aca0b8/publication/489/

[ix] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-hartung/lockheed-martin_b_1625183.html

[x] http://www.pwc.com/en_US/us/industrial-products/assets/pwc-aerospace-defense-review-and-forecast.pdf

[xi] http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120620-709424.html

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on Top 10 Myths of the Jobs Argument Against Military Cuts