Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Are Police in America Now a Military, Occupying Force?

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | August 5, 2013

Despite the steady hue and cry by government agencies about the need for more police, more sophisticated weaponry, and the difficulties of preserving the peace and maintaining security in our modern age, the reality is far different. Indeed, violent crime in America has been on a steady decline, and if current trends continue, Americans will finish the year 2013 experiencing the lowest murder rate in over a century.

Despite this clear referendum on the fact that communities would be better served by smaller, demilitarized police forces, police agencies throughout the country are dramatically increasing in size and scope. Some of the nation’s larger cities boast police forces the size of small armies. (New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg actually likes to brag that the NYPD is his personal army.) For example, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has reached a total of 10,000 officers. It takes its place alongside other cities boasting increasingly large police forces, including New York (36,000 officers) and Chicago (13,400 officers). When considered in terms of cops per square mile, Los Angeles assigns a whopping 469 officers per square mile, followed by New York with 303 officers per square mile, and Chicago with 227 cops per square mile.

Of course, such heavy police presence comes at a price. Los Angeles spends over $2 billion per year on the police force, a 36% increase within the last eight years. The LAPD currently consumes over 55% of Los Angeles’ discretionary budget, a 9% increase over the past nine years. Meanwhile, street repair and maintenance spending has declined by 36%, and in 2011, one-fifth of the city’s fire stations lost units, increasing response times for 911 medical emergencies.

For those who want to credit hefty police forces for declining crime rates, the data just doesn’t show a direct correlation. In fact, many cities across the country actually saw decreases in crime rates during the 1990s in the wake of increasing prison sentences and the waning crack-cocaine epidemic. Cities such as Seattle and Dallas actually cut their police forces during this time and still saw crime rates drop.

As I point out in my new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, there was a time in our nation’s history when Americans would have revolted against the prospect of city police forces the size of small armies, or rampaging SWAT teams tearing through doors and terrorizing families. Today, the SWAT team is largely sold to the American public by way of the media, through reality TV shows such as Cops, Armed and Famous, and Police Women of Broward County, and by politicians well-versed in promising greater security in exchange for the government being given greater freedom to operate as it sees fit outside the framework of the Constitution.

Having watered down the Fourth Amendment’s strong prohibitions intended to keep police in check and functioning as peacekeepers, we now find ourselves in the unenviable position of having militarized standing armies enforcing the law. Likewise, whereas the police once operated as public servants (i.e., in service to the public), today that master-servant relationship has been turned on its head to such an extent that if we fail to obey anyone who wears a badge, we risk dire consequences.

Consider that in 1980, there were roughly 3,000 SWAT team-style raids in the US. By 2001, that number had grown to 45,000 and has since swelled to more than 80,000 SWAT team raids per year. On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams. In fact, there are few communities without a SWAT team on their police force today. In 1984, 25.6 percent of towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team. That number rose to 80 percent by 2005.

The problem, of course, is that as SWAT teams and SWAT-style tactics are used more frequently to carry out routine law enforcement activities, Americans find themselves in increasingly dangerous and absurd situations. For example, in late July 2013, a no-kill animal shelter in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was raided by nine Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agents and four deputy sheriffs. The raid was prompted by tips that the shelter was home to a baby deer that had been separated from its mother. The shelter officials had planned to send the deer to a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Illinois, but the agents, who stormed the property unannounced, demanded that the deer be handed over because citizens are not allowed to possess wildlife. When the 13 LEOs entered the property “armed to the teeth,” they corralled the employees around a picnic table while they searched for the deer. When they returned, one agent had the deer slung over his shoulder in a body bag, ready to be euthanized.

When asked why they didn’t simply ask shelter personnel to hand the deer over instead of conducting an unannounced raid, DNR Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer compared their actions to drug raids, saying “If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up.”

If these raids are becoming increasingly common and widespread, you can chalk it up to the “make-work” philosophy, in which you assign at-times unnecessary jobs to individuals to keep them busy or employed. In this case, however, the make-work principle is being used to justify the use of sophisticated military equipment and, in the process, qualify for federal funding.

It all started back in the 1980s, when Congress launched the 1033 Program to allow the Department of Defense to transfer surplus military goods to state and local police agencies. The 1033 program has grown dramatically, with some 13,000 police agencies in all 50 states and four US territories currently participating. In 2012, the federal government transferred $546 million worth of property to state and local police agencies. This 1033 program allows small towns like Rising Star, Texas, with a population of 835 and only one full-time police officer, to acquire $3.2 million worth of goods and military gear from the federal government over the course of fourteen months.

Military equipment sent to small towns has included high-powered weapons, assault vehicles and tactical gear. However, after it was discovered that local police agencies were failing to keep inventories of their acquired firearms and in some cases, selling the equipment for a profit, the transfer of firearms was temporarily suspended until October 2013. In the meantime, police agencies can still receive a variety of other toys and gizmos, including “aircraft, boats, Humvees, body armor, weapon scopes, infrared imaging systems and night-vision goggles,” not to mention more general items such as “bookcases, hedge trimmers, telescopes, brassieres, golf carts, coffee makers and television sets.”

In addition to equipping police with militarized weapons and equipment, the government has also instituted an incentive program of sorts, the Byrne Formula Grant Program, which awards federal grants based upon “the number of overall arrests, the number of warrants served or the number of drug seizures.” A sizable chunk of taxpayer money has kept the program in full swing over the years. Through the Clinton administration, the program was funded with about $500 million. By 2008, the Bush administration had reduced the budget to about $170 million, less out of concern for the militarization of police forces and more to reduce federal influence on law enforcement matters. However, Barack Obama boosted the program again at the beginning of his term, using the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to inject $2 billion into the program.

When it comes to SWAT-style tactics being used in routine policing, the federal government is one of the largest offenders, with multiple agencies touting their own SWAT teams, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Consumer Product Safety Commission, NASA, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the US National Park Service, and the FDA.

Clearly, the government has all but asphyxiated the Fourth Amendment, but what about the Third Amendment, which has been interpreted to not only prohibit the quartering of soldiers in one’s home and martial law but standing armies? While most Americans—and the courts—largely overlook this amendment, which at a minimum bars the government from stationing soldiers in civilian homes during times of peace, it is far from irrelevant to our age. Indeed, with some police units equivalent in size, weaponry and tactics to military forces, a case could well be made that the Third Amendment is routinely being violated every time a SWAT team crashes through a door.

A vivid example of this took place on July 10, 2011, in Henderson, Nevada, when local police informed homeowner Anthony Mitchell that they wanted to occupy his home in order to gain a “tactical advantage” in dealing with a domestic abuse case in an adjacent home. Mitchell refused the request, but this didn’t deter the police, who broke down Mitchell’s front door using a battering ram. Five officers pointed weapons at him, ordering him to the ground, where they shot him with pepper-ball projectiles.

The point is this: America today is not much different from the America of the early colonists, who had to contend with British soldiers who were allowed to “enter private homes, confiscate what they found, and often keep the bounty for themselves.” This practice is echoed today through SWAT team raids and the execution of so-called asset forfeiture laws, “which allow police to seize and keep for their departments cash, cars, luxury goods and even homes, often under only the thinnest allegation of criminality.”

It is this intersection of law enforcement and military capability which so worried the founding fathers and which should worry us today. What Americans must decide is what they’re going to do about this occupation of our cities and towns by standing armies operating under the guise of keeping the peace.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Judge: NYPD stop-and-frisk tactic violates rights

Press TV – August 12, 2013

In a blow to New York City mayor’s claims regarding the effectiveness of stop-and-frisk practices by the NYC police, a federal judge ruled that the so-called crime-stopping tactic violates the constitutional rights of minorities.

eua-stopandfriskU.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled Monday that by targeting racially targeted groups of citizens, the police had adopted an “indirect racial profiling” policy, that resulted in discriminatory stopping of tens of thousands of blacks and Hispanics, according to Reuters.

The judge ruled that the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, police commissioner and other city officials had “turned a blind eye” toward the injustice on city’s minorities.

“No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life,” Scheindlin wrote in her opinion.

The judge wrote in her 105-page decision that police personnel were under pressure to raise the number of stops by Mayor Bloomberg since he took office in 2002 and designated Raymond Kelly to be NYPD Commissioner.

As a result, officers stopped and searched young minority men without any reasons in violation of their constitutional Fourth Amendment rights that protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The New York Civil Liberties Union demonstrated in a 2012 report that there had been a sharp increase in number of police stops over the period of Bloomberg’s three terms in office.

The number of searches rose from 160,851 stops in 2003 to 685,724 in 2011, while half of the 2011 searches included physical searches.

Scheindlin ordered the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance with other remedies she ordered, including adopting written policy guideline specifying circumstances where stops are authorized. She also authorized to adopt a trial program requiring the use of body-worn cameras in one precinct in each of the city’s five boroughs; and to set up a community-based remedial process under a court-appointed facilitator.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi prince defects: ‘Brutality, oppression as government scared of Arab revolts’

RT | August 12, 2013

Saudi Arabia, a major supporter of opposition forces in Syria, has increased crackdown on its own dissenters, with 30,000 activists reportedly in jail. In an exclusive interview to RT a Saudi prince defector explained what the monarchy fears most.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up arrests and trials of peaceful dissidents, and responded with force to demonstrations by citizens,” Human Rights Watch begins the country’s profile on its website.

Political parties are banned in Saudi Arabia and human rights groups willing to function legally have to go no further than investigating things like corruption or inadequate services. Campaigning for political freedoms is outlawed.

One of such groups, which failed to get its license from the government, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was cited by AFP as saying the kingdom was holding around 30,000 political prisoners.

Saudi Prince Khaled Bin Farhan Al-Saud, who spoke to RT from Dusseldorf, Germany, confirmed reports of increased prosecution of anti-government activists and said that it’s exactly what forced him to defect from his family. He accused the monarchy of corruption and silencing all voices of dissent and explained how the Saudi mechanism for suppression functioned.

There is no independent judiciary, as both police and the prosecutor’s office are accountable to the Interior Ministry. This ministry’s officials investigate ‘crimes’ (they call them crimes), related to freedom of speech. So they fabricate evidence, don’t allow people to have attorneys”, the prince told RT Arabic. “Even if a court rules to release such a ‘criminal’, the Ministry of Interior keeps him in prison, even though there is a court order to release him. There have even been killings! Killings! And as for the external opposition, Saudi intelligence forces find these people abroad! There is no safety inside or outside the country.”

The strong wave of oppression is in response to the anti-government forces having grown ever more active. A new opposition group called Saudi Million and claiming independence from any political party was founded in late July. The Saudi youths which mostly constitute the movement say they demand the release of political prisoners and vow to hold regular demonstrations, announcing their dates and locations via Facebook and electronic newspapers.

Human rights violations are driving people on to the streets despite the fear of arrest, according to activist Hala Al-Dosari, who spoke to RT from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

We have issues related to political and civil rights, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. These are the main issues that cause a lot of people to be at risk for just voicing out their opinions or trying to form associations, demonstrate or protest, which is banned by the government.”

The loudest voice of the Saudi opposition at the moment is a person called ‘Saudi Assange’. His Twitter name is @Mujtahidd, he keeps his identity and whereabouts secret and is prolific in online criticism of the ruling family, which has gained him over a million followers.

The regime can destroy your credibility easily and deter people from dealing with you if your identity is public,” Mujtahid wrote to RT’s Lindsay France in an email.

The Twitter activist’s anonymity is understandable. The most recent example of what can happen to activists is the case of Raif Badawi, the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, who was found guilty of insulting Islam through his online forum and sentenced the activist to 600 lashes and seven years in prison.

In June, seven people were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for ‘inciting protests’ via Facebook. The indicted denied charges and said they were tortured into confession.

The government is obviously scared of the Arab revolutions. And they’ve responded as they usually do: by resorting to oppression, violence, arbitrary law, and arrest,” Prince Khaled says, adding that so far the tougher the measures the government took to suppress the dissent, the louder that dissent’s voice was.

The opposition used to demand wider people’s representation in governing bodies, more rights and freedoms. But the authorities reacted with violence and persecution, instead of a dialogue. So the opposition raised the bar. It demanded constitutional monarchy, similar to what they have in the UK, for example. And the Saudi regime responded with more violence. So now the bar is even higher. Now the opposition wants this regime gone.”

There was a time, at the beginning of the Arab Spring movement in the region in 2011, when the government tried to appease opposition activists by a $60 billion handout program by King Abdullah, according to Pepe Escobar, a correspondent for the Asia Times. He calls that move an attempt to “bribe” the population. However there was also a stick with this carrot.

The stick is against the Shiite minority – roughly 10 percent of Saudi Arabia – who live in the Eastern province where most of the oil is, by the way. They don’t want to bring down the House of Saud essentially. They want more participation, judiciary not answering to religious powers and basically more democratic freedoms. This is not going to happen in Saudi Arabia. Period. Nor in the other Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] petro-monarchies”.

Escobar points out the hypocrisy of the Saudi Arabian rulers, who feel free to advise other regional powers on how to move towards democracy, despite their poor human rights record.

They say to the Americans that they are intervening in Syria for a more democratic post-Assad Syria and inside Saudi Arabia it’s the Sunni-Shiite divide. They go against 10 percent of their own population.”

‘Buying favors from West’

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on opposition has been strongly condemned by human rights organizations, but not by Western governments, which usually claim sensitivity to such issues.

The White House certainly does maintain a long-standing alliance with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, cemented by common political, economic and military interests in the Middle East,” said Prince Khaled.

Germany came under fierce criticism last week over its arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which have almost tripled in just two years, from 570 million euro in 2011 to almost one-and-a-half billion in 2012.

And Angela Merkel’s government has approved weapons exports of more than 800 million euro in the first half of this year – suggesting the level will continue to grow.

With arms they [Gulf States] are also buying favors from the West. They are insuring the maintenance of their legitimacy on spending massive amounts of money that are pouring into Western economies,” Dr. Ahmed Badawi, co-executive director of Transform, which studies conflicts and political developments, told RT.

In 2012, Amnesty International claimed that German-made small firearms, ammunition and military vehicles were commonly used by Middle Eastern and North African regimes to suppress peaceful demonstrations.

Small arms are becoming real weapons of mass destruction in the world now. There is absolutely no way to guarantee that the weapons that are being sold legally to countries like Saudi Arabia, even Egypt, do not fall into the hands of terrorists. The two important examples are German assault rifles found in the regions in Mexico and also in Libya. And there’s absolutely no way of knowing how these weapons ended up there,” Badawi said.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Former Israeli PM calls for US to support Egyptian coup leaders

MEMO | August 12, 2013

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has called for the “free world” to support Egyptian Defence Minister General Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi and liberal leaders such as Mohamed ElBaradie, he told CNN on Monday. Barak alleged that President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by his people after he had attempted to change Egypt into a religious-communist state.

Asked whether Israel is silently happy about the coup, he said: “We do not consider ourselves among the main players in these incidents, through which we see a dramatic development for the Egyptians.”

Although Israel’s support may well “embarrass” Al-Sisi, Barak insisted that he and “other” liberal leaders such as Al-Baradei deserve the support of the free world. “There were free elections but they were tools that were used to change the democratic elections into an extremist communist regime based on the Islamic Sharia,” he claimed. “This led to the popular rejection of Morsi.”

Calling for the US to deal with Morsi as it dealt with other autocratic Sunni leaders in the region, the former Israeli prime minister pointed out that America “neglected them when their people moved against them”.

In closing, Barak said that in return for external support the people of Egypt should hold free, democratic elections within a year.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neocons, Selective Democracy, and the Egyptian Military Coup

By Stephen Sniegoski | Opinion Maker | August 2, 2013

“If one thing has become clear in the wake of last week’s military coup d’état against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, it’s that democracy promotion is not a core principle of neoconservatism,”  writes the astute commentator Jim Lobe.  Lobe points out that a few neocons (he cites only Robert Kagan) did stick with the pro-democracy position but “[a]n apparent preponderance of neocons, such as Daniel Pipes, the contributors to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and Commentary’s Contentions’ blog,” tended to sympathize with the coup.

Even Kagan’s support for democracy was far less than an endorsement of Morsi’s right to govern, which he labeled “majoritarian” rather than democratic.  Kagan wrote: “He ruled not so much as a dictator but as a majoritarian, which often amounted to the same thing.  With a majority in parliament and a large national following, and with no experience whatsoever in the give-and-take of democratic governance, Morsi failed in the elementary task of creating a system of compromise, inclusiveness, and checks and balances.” (“Time to break out of a rut in Egypt,” “Washington Post,” July 5, 2013

It should be pointed out that if democracy required compromise, inclusiveness, and checks and balances, it is hard to believe that many countries conventionally regarded as democracies would pass the test.  Certainly, Israel, as a self-styled Jewish State, would not. (The Founding Fathers of the United States in creating the Constitution took steps to try to prevent the liberty of individuals from being oppressed by a “tyranny of the majority” —democracy itself being negative term—but this has not been the case in all modern democracies.)

Instead of a military coup, Kagan held that a better approach would have been to leave Morsi in office but to rely on international pressure to compel his government to change its policies. Kagan contended that Morsi “deserved to be placed under sustained domestic and international pressure, especially by the United States, the leading provider of aid to Egypt.  He deserved to have the United States not only suspend its bilateral aid to Egypt but also block any IMF agreement until he entered into a meaningful, substantive dialogue with his political opponents, including on amending the flawed constitution he rammed through in December as well as electoral law.  He ought to have been ostracized and isolated by the international democratic community.”  In short, Kagan advocated the use of international pressure to essentially prevent the democratically-elected Morsi government from enacting measures in line with its election mandate–and the fact of the matter is that in all of the elections Islamist parties won a significant majority of the overall vote–and force it to attune its actions to the demands of the “international democratic community,” that is, the Western nations aligned with the United States.  (None of the previous statements should be considered an endorsement of Morsi’s policies but only a  recognition that his government was far more attuned to the democratic process than has been the military junta, with its dissolution of a democratically-elected parliament, arbitrary rule, mass arrests, and killing of protestors against which the neocons would react with scathing moral outrage if committed by Assad or the Islamic Republic of Iran.)

It should be pointed out that while few, if any, neocons actually sought a restoration of the democratically-elected Morsi government, there were different degrees of sympathy for the coup.  Max Boot, for example, viewed the coup largely in pragmatic terms, as opposed to democratic ideals.  The danger was that the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood might cause them to turn to violence.  “On the other hand,” Boot wrote, “if the military didn’t step in, there would have been a danger that the Brotherhood would never be dislodged from power,” which would seem to have been in his mind the greater danger even if the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties commanded the great majority of votes. (“America’s Egypt Policy After Morsi,” Contentions, Commentary, July 5, 2013,

More affirmative on the coup was Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute: “I never thought I would celebrate a coup, but the Egyptian military’s move against President Muhammad Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood regime is something the White House, State Department, and all Western liberals should celebrate.”  Rubin put something of a positive spin on the military’s goals: “The military isn’t seizing power for itself — but rather seeking a technocratic body to ensure that all Egyptian communities have input in the new constitution, a consultative process that Morsi rhetorically embraced but upon which he subsequently turned his back.” (“What Obama should learn from Egypt’s coup,” July 3, 2013, http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/07/what-obama-should-learn-from-egypts-coup/)

A similar interpretation was offered by Jonathan S. Tobin in his Contentions Blog for “Commentary Magazine”  (July 7, 2013, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/07/07/obamas-second-chance-on-egypt-coup/):  “[T]he coup wasn’t so much a putsch as it was a last ditch effort to save the country from drifting into a Brotherhood dictatorship that could not be undone by democratic means.”  Tobin continues:  “[R]ather than setting deadlines or delivering ultimatums to the interim government that has replaced Morsi and his crew, the United States should be demonstrating that it will do whatever it can to help the military snuff out the threat of Islamist violence and then to proceed to replace Morsi with a more competent government.”  This “more competent government,” however, did not mean democracy.  “In the absence of a consensus about democratic values,” Tobin wrote, “democracy is impossible and that is the case in Egypt right now.”

David Brooks likewise wrote on July 4 in his piece “Defense of the Coup” in the “New York Times”: “Promoting elections is generally a good thing . . . .  But elections are not a good thing when they lead to the elevation of people whose substantive beliefs fall outside the democratic orbit. It’s necessary to investigate the core of a party’s beliefs, not just accept anybody who happens to emerge from a democratic process.”  But Brooks shows little optimism about democracy in Egypt, holding that the “military coup may merely bring Egypt back to where it was: a bloated and dysfunctional superstate controlled by a self-serving military elite.  But at least radical Islam, the main threat to global peace, has been partially discredited and removed from office.”  And contrary to the neocons’ nation-building: “It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.”http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/opinion/brooks-defending-the-coup.html?_r=0)

While many commentators have portrayed the neocons as naïve adherents of universal democracy, which would make it appear that their positive presentation of the Egyptian coup, or at least failure to strongly criticize it, constituted a complete reversal in their thinking, in actuality, they never adhered to the fundamental tenets of democracy without significant qualifications.  As I pointed out in “The Transparent Cabal” (which devotes an entire chapter specifically to this issue), the idea of instant democracy would seem to have been simply a propaganda ploy to generate public support for war.  When writing at length on exporting democracy to the Middle East, the neocons generally argued that it was first necessary for the United States to “educate” the inhabitants of the Middle Eastern states in the principles of democracy before actually implementing it.  For instance, in September 2002, Norman Podhoretz, one of the godfathers of neoconservatism, acknowledged that the people of the Middle East might, if given a free democratic choice, pick anti-American, anti-Israeli leaders and policies.  But he held that “there is a policy that can head it off,” provided “that we then have the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated parties.  This is what we did directly and unapologetically in Germany and Japan after winning World War II.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 215).  Similarly, in the book, “An End to Evil: How to Win the War” (2004), David Frum and Richard Perle asserted that establishing democracy must take a back seat when it conflicted with fighting Islamic radicals: “In the Middle East, democratization does not mean calling immediate elections and then living with whatever happens next.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 216)

Max Boot, in the “Weekly Standard” in October 2001, argued “The Case for Empire.” “Afghanistan and other troubled lands today,” Boot intoned, “cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” pp. 216-217)  David Wurmser supported the restoration of the Hashemites and the traditional ruling families in Iraq as a bulwark against modern totalitarianism “I’m not a big fan of democracy per se,” exclaimed Wurmser in an October 2007 interview.  “I’m a fan of freedom and one has to remember the difference.  Freedom must precede democracy by a long, long time.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 218)  Paul Wolfowitz was enraged by the Turkish military’s failure to sufficiently pressure the Turkish government to participate in the war on Iraq.  “I think for whatever reason, they did not play the strong leadership role that we would have expected,” Wolfowitz complained.  Presumably, Wolfowitz would have preferred a Turkish military coup over the democratic repudiation of American policy goals. (“Transparent Cabal,” p. 219)

Regarding Israel itself, it would seem that if democracy were the neoconservatives’ watchword, they would work to eliminate Israel’s undemocratic control over the Palestinians on the West Bank and try to make the country itself more inclusive—and not a state explicitly privileging Jews over non-Jews.  The neoconservatives would either promote a one-state democratic solution for what had once been the British Palestine Mandate (Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank) or else demand that Israel allow the Palestinians to have a fully sovereign, viable state on all of the West Bank and Gaza.  Instead of taking anything approaching such a pro-democracy stance, however, the neoconservatives have done just the opposite, backing the Israeli Likudnik Right, which takes an especially hostile position toward the Palestinians with its fundamental goal being the maintenance of the exclusivist Jewish nature of the state of Israel and its control of the occupied territories.

As Jim Lobe correctly points out, it is not democracy but rather “protecting Israeli security and preserving its military superiority over any and all possible regional challenges” that is “a core neoconservative tenet.”  Thus, the neocons used democracy as an argument to justify the elimination of the anti-Israel Saddam regime.  And the neocons saw the elimination of Saddam as the key to the elimination of Israel’s other Middle Eastern enemies. They currently support democracy as an ideological weapon in the effort to bring down the Assad regime and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  To repeat, the obvious common denominator among these three targeted countries is that they have been enemies of Israel.

The Egyptian military, in contrast, has been quite close to Israel (about as close as possible given the views of the Egyptian populace), whereas the Muslim Brotherhood, like other Islamic groups, has expressed hostility toward Israel, even though Morsi had not taken a hostile position toward the Jewish state.  The fact of the matter is that neocons took a tepid approach to the 2011 revolution against Mubarak, though most retained their pro-democracy credentials at that time by expressing the hope that he would be replaced by liberal democratic secularists, and expressed the fear of a possible Muslim Brotherhood takeover.  (See Sniegoski, “Neocons’ Tepid Reaction to the Egyptian Democratic Revolution,” February 4, 2011, http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/02/neocons%E2%80%99-tepid-reaction-to-the-egyptian-democratic-revolution/)  Since that fear actually materialized, it was not really out of character for the neocons to support the military coup.

While there were definite harbingers for the current neocon support for the overthrow of a democratic government, however, what does seem to be novel is the tendency on the part of some neocons to openly express the view that democracy was not possible at the present time, at least when applied to Egypt.  This was hardly a new idea among the Israeli Right where, as pointed out in “The Transparent Cabal,” it was held that most Middle Eastern countries were too divided to be held together by anything other than the force of authoritarian and dictatorial rulers.  Oded Yinon in his 1982 article, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” (translated and edited by Israel Shahak in a booklet entitled, “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East”) recommended that Israel exploit this internal divisiveness by military measures in order to enhance its national security.  War that would topple an existing authoritarian regime would render a country fragmented into a mosaic of diverse ethnic and sectarian groupings warring among each other. If applied on a broad scale, the strategy would lead to a Middle East of powerless mini-statelets totally incapable of confronting Israeli power. (“Transparent Cabal,” p. 50)

Lebanon, then facing divisive chaos, was Yinon’s model for the entire Middle East. He wrote: “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track.  The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short-term target.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 51)

The eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis, who is a right-wing Zionist and one of the foremost intellectual gurus for the neoconservatives, echoed Yinon in an article in the September 1992 issue of “Foreign Affairs” titled “Rethinking the Middle East.”  He wrote of a development he called “Lebanonization.” “Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process,” he contended.  “If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common identity. . . . The state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions, and parties.”  (Note that Lewis held that Egypt, which some neocons have emphasized lacks any domestic consensus, was an “obvious exception” to this problem.)

David Wurmser, in a much longer follow-up document to the noted “A Clean Break” study, entitled “Coping with Crumbling States:  A Western and Israeli Balance of Power Strategy for the Levant,” emphasized the fragile nature of the Middle Eastern Baathist dictatorships in Iraq and Syria, and how the West and Israel should act in such an environment.  (“A Clean Break,” which included Wurmser and other neocons among its authors, described how Israel could enhance its regional security by toppling enemy regimes.) (“Transparent Cabal,” pp. 94-95)

While some neocons now maintain that Egypt lacked the necessary national consensus for viable democracy, they still take a pro-democracy stance toward Syria and Iran, as they had earlier taken toward Saddam’s Iraq.  But as the neocons’ own expert on the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, indicated, these countries would tend to be less hospitable to democracy than Egypt.  Why would neocons take a position contrary to that of their own expert?  One can only repeat what was said earlier:  an obvious difference would be that these countries are enemies of Israel—the fragmentation of these enemies would advance the security interests of Israel.  In contrast, the replacement of the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood with military rule would improve Israeli-Egyptian relations; therefore, it is necessary to portray the role of democratic voting in Egypt in a negative light—that is, it would lead to chaos.  Thus, it is not so much that the neocons are naïve democratic ideologues, but rather that they use ideas as weapons to advance the interests of Israel, as those interests are perceived through the lens of the Likudnik viewpoint.  In summary, the current positions taken by the neocons confirm what I, Jim Lobe, and a few others have pointed out in the past.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neocons Seek ‘Control’ in Egypt

By Chris Rossini | Neocon Watch | August 9, 2013 

Neocons swindle their constituents into believing that they want to spread American values throughout the world. They talk about things like “bringing stability,” yet only chaos has followed neocon-prescribed international interventions.

The cold hard truth is that what neocons really want is control. Everything else is just commentary.Let’s take recent events in Egypt for example. The unelected Hosni Mubarak, who the U.S. propped up financially for 30 years, was finally removed from power. The so-called “Arab Spring” ushered in Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

This should all sound good to the neocons, right? You would think that if a step backwards were to be taken (say a military coup), the neocons would throw a fit.

Ahh…but you would be wrong.

Jonathan Tobin tells us that, “There is more to democracy than voting.” If the military didn’t take over, he writes, “… there is little doubt that Morsi and the Brotherhood would never have peacefully relinquished power or stopped until they had remade Egypt in their own image.”

Tobin must have a crystal ball to see the future so clearly.

Tobin believes that it’s not only imperative for the Muslim Brotherhood to be ousted militarily, but they must never return to power again!

He writes that “any solution that risks giving Morsi another chance to consolidate power would be a disaster for Egypt and the United States.”

Americans might be asking themselves at this point: “Why is the U.S. involved in this at all?”

Tobin then gives his prescription: “Washington must be prepared to stick with the military no matter what happens in the streets of Cairo.”

No matter what happens? Is Tobin encouraging that the military use violence against peaceful protestors? Already dozens of protestors have been killed – does he condone this?

Why would Tobin be so comfortable making such an outlandish statement in the first place? Why is he so comfortable with the Egyptian military?

Well, Foreign Policy‘s John Reed gives an important clue. He points out that the U.S.:

“…largely built the modern Egyptian armed forces. In fact, the Egyptian Army — as the entire military is colloquially known there — may be one of the U.S. government’s best friends in the entire Arab world. American presidents have been encouraging stability in the region for more than 30 years by making the Egyptian military the muscle behind a regional superpower — one built and trained by Washington.

Whatever the U.S. builds (and continually funds) it effectively controls.

Control is the aim of neoconservatism, and what the whole disgusting endeavor in Egypt is all about.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

A raid on Sinai

By Fahmi Huwaidi | MEMO | August 12, 2013

The bad news is that an Israeli drone strike killed five Egyptians in Sinai last week; they were, it is alleged, “jihadists” who intended to launch a rocket against Israel. Even worse news is that the operation was coordinated with the Egyptian army. More disturbing still was the fact that both sides of the current polarised political situation tried to use the incident to their favour. The pro-Morsi camp gloated while the pro-coup supporters were sceptical about the whole thing as official statements flitted between denial and confirmation.

This confusion was evident in the statement from the Egyptian military spokesman. The borders, he claimed, are a “red line” which nobody can touch; the authorities, he added, are combing the area of the explosion.

The army’s confusing and confused statement came out when international news agencies were broadcasting confirmation that Israel had carried out a cross-border strike in Egypt. Israel’s Channel 1, Channel 2 and Channel 10 were unequivocal in their bulletins: an Israeli aircraft had launched a raid in Sinai. Channel 1’s primetime “Yoman” programme is presented by Ayala Hasson. Her conversation with guests Oded Granot, the Arab affairs commentator, and Amir Bar-Shalom, the military affairs commentator, went like this:

Ayala Hasson: “Mubarak’s regime cooperated with us [Israel] greatly and deeply. His chief of intelligence Omar Suleiman served as the channel of communication for coordination and cooperation in all fields. However, both Mubarak and Suleiman kept security cooperation a secret. On the other hand, General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi cooperates with us openly and explicitly. How do you explain this?”

Amir Bar-Shalom: “If you ask any of the army leaders and the security establishment (in Israel), they will all answer that the security cooperation shown by the leadership of the Egyptian army at the moment is unprecedented and sudden. Egypt considers the cooperation as part of its relentless war on terror in Sinai. Further, the security cooperation keen with the Egyptian army is considered a message to the American officials who had been critical of the coup led by General Al-Sisi. It is an attempt to persuade supporters of Israel in the United States of the importance of moving and encircling the votes in Congress calling to criticise the coup led by the army, as Senator John McCain did during his recent visit to Egypt. On this occasion, it should be known to all that the Israeli government is very disturbed by the campaign waged by some Republicans against the new situation in Egypt. Israel believes it is important to continue to support the Egyptian army because it is the guarantor of stability in Egypt and the entire region”.

Oded Granot: “The raid carried out by Israel is considered an investment and employment of what is happening in the Arab world, especially the defections that have occurred to the waves of the Arab Spring. What is happening in Egypt and Syria represents an opportunity for Israel to ensure a large and influential margin of manoeuvre.”

At that point, Amir Bar-Shalom interrupted: “We must not forget that the Egyptian army is the one which provided Israel with the information that led to the temporary shutdown of Eilat Airport the day before the raid.”

Of course, any analysis and information emanating from Israel should be treated with caution, including praises and admiration for the military commanders in Egypt. However, what I do not understand is the Egyptian authorities’ reluctance to announce the raid in Sinai. I do not find anything wrong in admitting that this is an unacceptable assault on the sovereignty of Egyptian territory, even if it happens under the guise of combating terrorism. I believe that the Egyptian position would be more transparent and respectful when it demands of Israel an apology for what happened. It might also be an opportunity to demand the reconsideration of the security arrangements in Sinai.

Israel apologised to Egypt in August 2011, while the military were ruling the country, after it bombed a security facility in Alqontilla, killing and wounding 5 security personnel, including an officer. Israel explained then that it had been chasing jihadist groups but had to apologise because the Egyptian revolution was in its infancy and Egyptian demonstrators had attacked the Israeli embassy and forced its ambassador to flee under cover of darkness. If the latest raid was dealt with transparently it would be over and done with. Rallying behind the army against external threats is a public duty.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas deplores Egyptian army for unfounded accusations against it

Palestine Information Center – 12/08/2013

GAZA — The Hamas Movement strongly denounced a senior Egyptian army commander for claiming that the investigations revealed the involvement of Hamas individuals in the Sinai events.

DataFiles-Cache-TempImgs-2013-2-images_News_2013_08_12_Abu-Zuhri_300_0This came in response to recent remarks made by the commander of Egypt’s second field army in Sinai Ahmed Wasif, in which he accused Hamas, without stating any evidence, of what had happened in Sinai.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stressed that such accusations are blatant lies that include no numbers or names as usual.

“The Movement categorically denies that its members are involved in the Sinai events, and expresses its regret that such remarks were made in an attempt to reverse the equation and falsely convince the Egyptian people that the enemy is Hamas and not Israel,” Abu Zuhri underlined.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Israeli List Of Detainees To Be Free, Disappointing”

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC News | August 12, 2013

Fuad Al-Khoffash, head of the Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights, stated that not a single detainee from the Jerusalem and historic Palestine is included in the list of detained to be released by Israel, and that not all old detainees are included.

His statements came after Israel announced the names of 26 Palestinian detainees to be released as part of an American mediated agreement to ensure the resumption of direct peace talks between Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

“This list is very disappointing to the detainees, their families and the Palestinian people”, he said, “Israel was supposed to release old detainees who spent many years in prison”.

He also stated that the Palestinians are happy for the release of any detainee, and added that the release should have been based on real standards, instead of illusions, especially since Israel chose the names of the detainees without any coordination with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

“The worst part of this list is that detainees from Jerusalem from Jerusalem and historic Palestine have been excluded”, Al-Khoffash said, “The list was concentrated on detainees from Gaza”.

He said that there are 57 old detainees from the West Bank and 23 from Gaza, and that Israel was supposed to release 15 detainees from Gaza and 11 from the West Bank.

Al-Khoffash also said that two detainees, members of Hamas, are slated to be release in a month.

“Detainee Samir Hussein Mortaji from Gaza, was kidnapped on October 29 1993, and was sentenced to twenty ears, he served his term and is supposed to be released next month anyways”, he stated, “Detainee Jamal Ambdul-Wahab Natsha was kidnapped on December 12 1992 and was sentenced to 21 years, he served his term, and was scheduled to be released in three months”.

Also on the list are four detainees who were supposed to be released anyways in less than a year, including three, from Gaza, who have been sentenced to 25 years, and one from the West Bank who was sentenced to 21 years and is supposed to be released anyway in six months.

“Nihad Yousef Jondiyya, from Gaza, was kidnapped on July 14 1989, Mohammad Mahmoud Hamdiyya, from Gaza, was taken prisoner on the same day, Mohammad Jaber Nabshat, from Gaza, was kidnapped on September 20 1990”, he said, “Also resident Taher Mahmoud Zyoud, from Jenin, was taken prisoner on February 6 1993, he was sentenced to 21 years, and was supposed to be released in six months”.

He also stated that detainee Ismael Abdul-Hafeeth Mansour, was kidnapped on October 26 1993; he was sentenced to 22 years and was scheduled to be released in two years.

In addition, detainee Atef Izzat Sha’ath, from Gaza, was kidnapped on March 13 1993, and spent 21 years of his 25-year term. Detainee Yousef Sa’id Abdul-‘Aal, from Gaza, was kidnapped on February 22 1994, and spent 20 years of his 22-year term.

Al- Khoffash further said detainee Borhan Sbeih will also be released despite the fact that he is not one of the long serving detainees as he was kidnapped on February 18 2001. He used to work as an officer of the Palestinian Preventative Security Forces.

He added that Israel will be releasing five detainees from Nablus, who were sentenced to life-terms, one from Bethlehem, three from Jenin, one from Ramallah and one from Hebron, and that the rest (15 detainees) are from Gaza, and 17 of the detainees who will be released are serving life terms.

“The reason behind this analysis is that the Palestinians need to clearly understand the nature of this deal, especially since the Palestinian negotiators had no input in it as the names have been chosen by Israel and were kept secret”, Al-Khoffash stated, “We need to understand that the mistakes that have been made in the past, are repeated now in this deal”.

He also said that all old detainees should have been released, including those who still have many years in their terms, and all of the detainees sentenced to life terms without any exceptions.

The release is part of an agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, under direct supervision and mediation from U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, in an attempt to revive peace talks.

However, Israel was left to choose the names it wants and the criterion it wants to follow.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment