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Canadian Aid to Palestinians Serves Israel

By Yves Engler | Palestine Chronicle |July 19, 2013

A recently uncovered government document confirms that Ottawa has delivered millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority in a bid to advance Israel’s interests. The internal memorandum also sheds light on Canada’s efforts to build a security apparatus to protect the Palestinian Authority from popular disgust over its compliance in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement building.

Last week Postmedia’s Lee Berthiaume reported on a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) note outlining Israel’s desire for Canada to continue its $300 million five-year “aid” program to the Palestinians, which the Conservatives threatened to sever after the PA pursued UN statehood last fall.

“There have been increasing references in the past months during high-level bilateral meetings with the Israelis about the importance and value they place on Canada’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority, most notably in security/justice reform,” reads the November 2nd 2012 note signed by CIDA president Margaret Biggs. “The Israelis have noted the importance of Canada’s contribution to the relative stability achieved through extensive security co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

The heavily censored note suggests the goal of the Canadian “aid” is to protect a corrupt PA from popular backlash. Biggs explains that “the emergence of popular protests on the Palestinian street against the Palestinian Authority is worrying and the Israelis have been imploring the international donor community to continue to support the Palestinian Authority.”

These recent revelations from CIDA confirm the highly politicized nature of Canadian aid to the Palestinians. After Hamas won legislative elections in January 2006 the Conservatives made Canada the first country (after Israel) to cut off funding to the PA.

When Hamas officials were ousted from the Palestinian unity government in June 2007, the Conservatives immediately contributed $8 million “in direct support to the new government.” Then in December 2007 the Conservatives announced a five-year $300 million aid program to the Palestinians, which was largely designed to serve Israel’s interests.

As a Saint John Telegraph-Journal headline explained at the time: “Canada’s aid to Palestine benefits Israel, foreign affairs minister says.”

In January 2008 Maxime Bernier, then Canada’s foreign minister, said: “We are doing that [providing aid to the PA] because we want Israel to be able to live in peace and security with its neighbors.”

Most of the Canadian aid money has gone to building up a Palestinian security force overseen by a US general. The immediate impetus of the Canadian aid was to create a Palestinian security force “to ensure that the PA maintains control of the West Bank against Hamas,” as Canadian Ambassador to Israel Jon Allen was quoted as saying by the Canadian Jewish News.

American General Keith Dayton, in charge of organizing a 10,000-member Palestinian security force, even admitted that he was strengthening Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah against Hamas, telling a US audience in May 2009 his force was “working against illegal Hamas activities.” According to Al Jazeera, between 2007 and early 2011 PA security forces arrested some 10,000 suspected Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

The broader aim of the US-Canada-Britain initiated Palestinian security reform was to build a force to patrol the West Bank and Gaza. In a 2011 profile of Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Allison, “Dayton’s chief of liaison in the West Bank” for a year, Allison’s hometown newspaper the Times & Transcript reported: “The Dayton team was concerned with enhancing security on the West Bank of Palestine and was all geared towards looking after and ensuring the security of Israel.”

“We don’t provide anything to the Palestinians,” Dayton told the Associated Press in June 2009, “unless it has been thoroughly coordinated with the State of Israel and they agree to it.” For instance, Israel’s notorious internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, vets all of the Palestinian recruits, according to US government reports.

The Israelis supported Dayton’s force as a way to keep the West Bank population under control. Like all colonial authorities throughout history, Israel looked to compliant locals to take up the occupation’s security burden.

Writing in the July 2011 London Review of Books, Adam Shatz detailed how “The PA already uses the American-trained National Security Force to undermine efforts by Palestinians to challenge the occupation.”

He continued: “It is an extraordinary arrangement: the security forces of a country under occupation are being subcontracted by third parties outside the region to prevent resistance to the occupying power, even as that power continues to grab more land. “This is, not surprisingly, a source of considerable anger and shame in the West Bank.”

The Palestinian security force is largely trained in Jordan at the U.S.-built International Police Training Center (established to train Iraqi security after the 2003 invasion). In October 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported: “[Palestinian] recruits are trained in Jordan by Jordanian police, under the supervision of American, Canadian and British officers. The number of military trainers in the West Bank varied slightly but in mid-2010, eighteen Canadian troops worked with six British and ten US soldiers under Dayton’s command.”

The Canadian contribution is invaluable,” explained Dayton to The Maple Leaf, the monthly publication of the Canadian army. Canadians are particularly useful because, Dayton said, “US personnel have travel restrictions when operating in the West Bank. But, our British and Canadian members do not.”

Calling them his “eyes and ears” Dayton added: “The Canadians … are organized in teams we call road warriors, and they move around the West Bank daily visiting Palestinian security leaders, gauging local conditions.”

Part of the U.S. Security Coordinator office in Jerusalem, the Canadian military mission in the West Bank (dubbed Operation PROTEUS) includes Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers as well as officials from the foreign ministry, Justice Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency.

In a September 2010 interview with The Jerusalem Post, Peter Kent, then Canada’s deputy foreign minister, said Operation PROTEUS was Canada’s “second largest deployment after Afghanistan” and it receives “most of the money” from the five-year $300 million Canadian “aid” program to the PA.

During a visit to the Middle East in January 2012, foreign minister John Baird told The Globe and Mail he was “incredibly thrilled” by the West Bank security situation, which he said benefited Israel.

In effect, Canada has helped to build a security apparatus to protect a corrupt PA led by Mahmoud Abbas, whose electoral mandate expired in January 2009, but whom the Israeli government prefers over Hamas.

– Yves Engler’s latest book is The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s foreign policy. He’s also the author of Canada and Israel: building apartheid.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Barrett Brown Prosecution Threatens Right to Link, Could Criminalize Routine Journalism Practices

By Hanni Fakhoury and Trevor Timm | EFF | July 19, 2013

Twitter was abuzz yesterday when an unknown person published what were alleged to be a group of passwords for the email accounts of Congressional staffers. Multiple journalists, including reporters from the Daily Beast and Buzzfeed, commented on the list while linking to it.

While one would assume linking to the list is a First Amendment-protected activity—given the journalists had nothing to do with stealing the passwords—Barrett Brown is currently under indictment, in part, for remarkably similar behavior. And if he is convicted, it could have dire consequences for press freedom.

Brown, who has written for Vanity Fair and the Guardian among other publications, started a website called “Project PM” in 2009, which crowdsourced public information about security contractors who worked with government agencies like the NSA. Part of what Brown and other Project PM users investigated were leaked emails from security contractors like HB Gary and Stratfor.

Now, it’s important to note that, despite his fascination with Anonymous, Brown has never been accused of participating in any hacking. In fact, he lacks the expertise to even do so. Northwestern professor Peter Ludlow described what happened after Stratfor emails were leaked online by Anonymous: “When the contents of the Stratfor leak became available, Brown decided to put ProjectPM on it. A link to the Stratfor dump appeared in an Anonymous chat channel; Brown copied it and pasted it into the private chat channel for ProjectPM, bringing the dump to the attention of the editors.”

The link, it turned out, contained credit card numbers, among the wealth of information on the company itself. But by merely transferring the link from one chat room to another, Brown was indicted for trafficking in stolen authentication features (specifically the credit card verification values (“CVV”), or the three-digit number on the back of a credit card), access device (i.e., credit card) fraud and aggravated identity theft. (He is also indicted in two separate criminal cases with making online threats to an FBI agent and obstruction of justice, but those have no bearing on the charges being discussed here.)

The government’s prosecution theory isn’t limited to credit card numbers. The same theory could potentially be used against the Daily Beast or Buzzfeed journalists yesterday, or against any journalist that has linked to stolen material of a similar nature. That’s because the federal identity theft statute, 18 USC § 1028, is remarkably broad.

The statute criminalizes knowingly transferring an “authentication feature” known to be stolen or taken without lawful authority. “Authentication feature” means any “symbol,” “code” or “sequence of numbers or letters” used to authenticate a means of identification. And “means of identification” is defined as “any name or number that may be used alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual” including a “unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code.” The government has argued before—specifically in its prosecution of Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer—that this definition covers email addresses.

Under the government’s theory in Barrett Brown’s case, all journalists (and anyone else for that matter) tweeting out the link to the list of Congressional staffer email addresses and passwords were trafficking in authentication features and are guilty of a felony. While it turns out that many of the passwords in this case may not have been accurate, this lesson holds true anytime someone links to groups of stolen passwords posted online, which seems to happen fairly frequently.

And in this situation, under the Justice Department’s theory, those linking to the list violated the aggravated identity theft statute too because during that crime, they knowingly transferred “without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person”—the email addresses. These are serious charges; aggravated identity theft alone carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence that must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

It bears repeating: the government does not allege Brown participated in the hacking of Stratfor at all. Here, Brown didn’t even publish anything, he merely directed other people to where information was already published via a standard hyperlink. The right of journalists—or anyone for that matter—to link to already-public information, including sensitive information, is in serious jeopardy if Brown is convicted.

We’ll have more on the dangers of the Barrett Brown prosecution to both the press and public soon. In the meantime Brown’s case and the massive linking to the Congressional e-mail addresses and passwords that occurred yesterday emphasize why journalists should be worried when the right to link is threatened.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Court rules journalists can’t keep their sources secret

RT | July 19, 2013

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that New York Times journalist James Risen must testify in the trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency officer accused of leaking classified national defense information to the media.

A lower court ruled previously that Risen could protect the source responsible for sharing intelligence about a CIA operation discussed in his writing, but the US Court of Appeals from the Fourth Circuit reversed that decision Friday morning with a 2-1 vote.

“The reporter must appear and give testimony just as every other citizen must. We are not at liberty to conclude otherwise,” Chief Judge William Traxler Jr. wrote for the majority opinion.

The appeal panel’s decision came just days after United States Attorney General Eric Holder presented President Barack Obama with a proposal that would re-shape current law as it applies to journalists in order to more greatly ensure that reporters aren’t targeted during investigations unless other routes are exhausted first. That maneuver came on the heels of two highly public recent Justice Department scandals in which the White House was revealed to have subpoenaed the phones records for several Associated Press offices and also the email history of Fox News reporter James Rosen.

“Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law,” Obama said during a May 23 address after those scandals first surfaced.

With Friday’s ruling, the appeals court weighed whether or not an established precedent would prevent Risen from being asked to disclose the source of his information, but Traxler said, “so long as the subpoena is issued in good faith and is based on a legitimate need of law enforcement, the government need not make any special showing to obtain evidence of criminal conduct from a reporter in a criminal proceeding.”

Next Risen will be expected to testify in the Espionage Act-case against Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official accused of disclosing details about a Clinton administration plan to put faulty nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran in an effort to slow down their race to acquiring a nuke. He previously said he’d refuse to speak of his source, however, which would now open up the possibility of being held in contempt of court.

Sterling is one of seven persons accused by President Barack Obama of spying under the Espionage Act, a World War One-era legislation that has previously been used only three times before this administration began targeting leakers.

Judge Roger Gregory, the only justice to vote in the minority, said compelling Risen to testify was a “sad” decision that posed a serious threat to investigative journalism, the Times reported.

“Under the majority’s articulation of the reporter’s privilege, or lack thereof, absent a showing of bad faith by the government, a reporter can always be compelled against her will to reveal her confidential sources in a criminal trial,” Gregory wrote. “The majority exalts the interests of the government while unduly trampling those of the press, and in doing so, severely impinges on the press and the free flow of information in our society.”

Judge Traxler disagreed, however, and along with Judge Roger Gregory wrote that even the US Constitution can’t keep Risen from being asked to take the witness stand.

“There is no First Amendment testimonial privilege, absolute or qualified, that protects a reporter from being compelled to testify by the prosecution or the defense in criminal proceedings about criminal conduct that the reporter personally witnessed or participated in, absent a showing of bad faith, harassment, or other such non-legitimate motive, even though the reporter promised confidentiality to his source,” Traxler wrote.

Gregg Leslie, the legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told the Times he viewed the verdict as “disappointing,” and even suggested it was a step-backwards only so few days after Holder’s alleged effort to ensure the privacy of sources and reporters.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Panama refuses to extradite CIA’s Lady to Italy

Press TV – July 20, 2013

Panama has refused to extradite the former CIA chief of Milan station to Italy where he has been sentenced to nine years in prison for the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian Muslim cleric on suspicion of terrorist activities.

Italian justice ministry’s press office on Thursday announced that Robert Seldon Lady, also known as “Mister Bob,” has been arrested in Panama. However, it is not clear when and where he has been arrested.

On Friday, the US State Department confirmed Lady was on his way back to the United States. Italy had asked Panama to hold Lady while an extradition request was being made.

Panama foreign ministry sources have said the documents submitted by Italy for the extradition were “insufficient,” according to Italian media.

Italy’s Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said Friday that she was “deeply disappointed” by Panama’s decision not to return Lady to Italy.

The former Milan CIA station chief was sentenced to nine years in jail for the abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Twenty-two other Americans involved in the kidnapping were each sentenced to five years in prison.

The court ordered each of the 23 convicts, none of whom appeared for the trial, to pay one million euros (about $1.3 million) to Abu Omar, plus 500,000 euros to his wife.

The Muslim cleric was transferred to US military bases in Italy and later in Germany before being flown to Egypt. He was later set free in Egypt.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela ends normalization of US relations

Press TV – July 20, 2013

Venezuela says it has ended the process of normalizing relations with the United States over remarks by Washington’s ambassador-designate to the UN.

During her confirmation hearing before a US Senate committee on July 17, Samantha Power claimed Venezuela, along with several other countries, was conducting a “crackdown on civil society.”

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hereby ends the process … of finally normalizing our diplomatic relations” that started in early June, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a Friday statement.

The statement added that Caracas is opposed to the “interventionist agenda” presented by Power.

On Thursday, the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced Power’s remarks as “outrageous,” and demanded “an immediate correction by the US government.”

“Power says she’ll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression? There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth,” he added, referring to the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Venezuela has offered asylum to Snowden, an American former technical contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA), who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of Washington’s secret surveillance programs.

Maduro was the first foreign leader to state openly that he was offering sanctuary to Snowden.

Venezuela and the US have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010. However, in June US Secretary of State John Kerry and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua agreed on the sidelines of a regional summit in Guatemala that officials would “soon” meet for talks that could lead to an exchange of envoys.

In March, Caracas expelled two US military attaches over allegations of trying to foment instability in Venezuela.

Washington also angered Caracas by supporting Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who disputed the results of the April presidential election, in which Maduro won the race with 50.7 percent of the vote against 49.1 percent for Capriles.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela’s Maduro Responds to Obama’s Nominee for UN Envoy

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuelanalysis | July 19, 2013

Mérida – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described comments made by US President Barack Obama’s nominee for envoy to the United Nations as “despicable”, and demanded an apology.

Yesterday Maduro criticised the nominee Samantha Power’s testimony to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. During the speech, Power called for a “contesting” of what she described as a “crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.”

“Power says she’ll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression?” Maduro responded on Venezuelan television.

“There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth,” he stated. His comments come in the wake of a Florida jury acquitting George Zimmerman on 13 July for the killing of Trayvon Martin.

He also called for an “immediate correction by the US government”.

“And the U.S. government says they want to have good relations? What tremendous relations they want,” Maduro stated.

Following his victory in the 14 April presidential elections, Maduro called for closer relations with the US. In June, his foreign minister Elias Jaua met US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry described the meeting as the “beginning of a good, respectful relationship”.

After the talks, Jaua told Telesur that the Maduro administration is open to a more positive relationship “based on the premise of mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs and the proper treatment of disagreements”.

“If this is respected then we can move forward in relations with US,” Jaua stated. Today, Jaua announced that the government had issued a letter of protest to the US embassy in Caracas. According to Jaua, the letter asked if there is still “willingness” in Washington to improve relations, “as expressed by the Secretary of State John Kerry”.

Since then, Maduro has criticised the US for its pursuit of whistleblower Edward Snowden, to whom he has offered asylum.

Yesterday, he stated that Power’s comments were being applauded by the “fascist right” in Venezuela. Power’s speech also received positive feedback from a number of committee members, including some Republicans.

Along with calling for more “efficiency and a greater focus on promoting freedom”, Power stated that the UN needs US “leadership” and fairness.

“There cannot be one standard for one country and another standard for all others,” she stated, before criticising the General Assembly and Human Rights Council for passing “one-sided resolutions” against Israel.

“Just as I have done the last four years as President Obama’s UN adviser at the White House, I will stand up for Israel and work tirelessly to defend it,” she said.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 2 Comments