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Israel Buys the US Congress: Sabotaging the US-Iran Peace Negotiations

By James Petras | November 2, 2013

Pro-Israel Policy groups such as AIPAC work with unlimited funding to divert US policy in the region (Middle East).

– Jack Straw, Member of Parliament and former Foreign Secretary of the British Labor Party

The United States should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran to spur the country to end its nuclear program.

– Sheldon Adelson, biggest donor to the Republican Party and major fundraiser for pro-Israel political action committees, speech at Yeshiva University, New York City, October 22, 2013

The question of war or peace with Iran rests with the policies adopted by the White House and the US Congress. The peace overtures by newly elected Iranian President Rohani have resonated favorably around the world, except with Israel and its Zionist acolytes in North America and Europe. The first negotiating session proceeded without recrimination and resulted in an optimistic assessment by both sides. Precisely because of the initial favorable response among the participants, the Israeli government escalated its propaganda war against Iran. Its agents in the US Congress, the mass media and in the Executive branch moved to undermine the peace process. What is at stake is Israel’s capacity to wage proxy wars using the US military and its NATO allies against any government challenging Israeli military supremacy in the Middle East, its violent annexation of Palestinian territory and its ability to attack any adversary with impunity.

To understand what is at stake in the current peace negotiations one must envision the consequences of failure: Under Israeli pressure, the US announced that its ‘military option’ could be activated – resulting in missile strikes and a bombing campaign against 76 million Iranians in order to destroy their government and economy. Tehran could retaliate against such aggression by targeting US military bases in the region and Gulf oil installations resulting in a global crisis. This is what Israel wants.

We will begin by examining the context of Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East. We will then proceed to analyze Israel’s incredible power over the US political process and how it shapes the negotiation process today, with special emphasis on Zionist power in the US Congress.

The Context of Israeli Military Supremacy in the Middle East

Since the end of World War II, Israel has bombed, invaded and occupied more countries in the Middle East and Africa than any previous colonial power, except the US. The list of Israel’s victims includes: Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, and Yemen. If we include countries where Israel has launched quasi-clandestine terrorist attacks and assassinations, the list would be greatly expanded to include a dozen countries in Europe and Asia – including the US through its Zionist terror network.

Israel’s projection of military power, its capacity for waging offensive wars at will, is matched by its near-total impunity. Despite their repeated violations of international law, including war crimes, Israel has never been censored at an international tribunal or subjected to economic sanctions because the US government uses its position to veto UN Security Council resolutions and pressure its NATO-EU allies.

Israel’s military supremacy has less to do with the native techno-industrial ‘brilliance’ of its war-mongers and more to do with the transfers and outright theft of nuclear, chemical, and biological technology and weapons from the US.1 Overseas Zionists in the US and France have played a strategic (and treasonous) role in stealing and illegally shipping nuclear technology and weapon components to Israel, according to an investigation by former CIA Director Richard Helms.

Israel maintains huge nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon stockpiles, refusing any access to international arms inspectors and is not obliged to abide by the non-proliferation treaty because of US diplomatic intervention. Under pressure from the local ‘Zionist power configuration’ (ZPC), the US government has blocked any action which might constrain Israel’s production of weapons of mass destruction. In fact the US continues to provide Israel with strategic weapons of mass destruction for use against its neighbors – in violation of international law.

US military aid and technology transfers to Israel exceed $100 billion dollars over the past half century. US diplomatic and military intervention was crucial in rescuing Israel from defeat during the 1973 war. US President Lyndon Johnson’s refusal to defend the unarmed intelligence ship, the USS Liberty in 1967, after it had been bombed and napalmed by Israeli fighter planes and warships in international waters, constituted a tremendous victory for Israel, thanks to Johnson’s Zionist advisers. Because of its impunity, even in killing American servicemen, Israel has been given a free hand to wage aggressive wars to dominate its neighbors, commit acts of terrorism, and assassinate its adversaries throughout the world without fear of retaliation.

Israel’s uncontested military superiority has converted several of its neighbors to quasi-client collaborators: Egypt and Jordan have served as de facto allies, along with the Gulf monarchies, helping Israel repress the region’s nationalist and pro-Palestinian movements.

The most decisive factor in the rise and consolidation of Israel’s power in the Middle East has not been its military prowess but its political reach and influence via its Zionist agents in the US. Washington’s wars against Iraq and Libya, and its current support of the mercenary assault against Syria, have destroyed three major secular nationalist opponents of Israel’s hegemonic ambitions.

As Israel accumulates more power in the region, expanding its colonization of Palestinian territory, it looks eastward toward destroying the last remaining obstacle to its colonial policies: Iran.

For at least two decades, Israel has directed its overseas agents – (the ZPC) – to destroy the government of Iran by destabilizing its society, assassinating its scientists, bombing its military establishments and laboratories, and strangling its economy.

After the ZPC successfully pushed the US into war against Iraq in 2003 – literally shredding its complex secular society and killing over a million Iraqis – it turned its sights on destroying Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the secular government of Syria as a way to isolate Iran and prepare for an attack. While thousands of Lebanese civilians were slaughtered in 2006, Israel’s attack on Lebanon failed, despite the support of the US government and the ZPC’s wild propaganda campaign. Hysterical at its failure and to ‘compensate’ for its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah and to ‘boost morale,’ Israel invaded and destroyed much of Gaza (2008/9) – the world’s largest open air prison camp.

Lacking military capacity to attack Iran on its own, Israel directed its agents to manipulate the US government to start a war with Tehran. The militarist leaders in Tel Aviv have unleashed their political assets (ZPC) throughout the US to work to destroy Iran – the last formidable adversary to Israeli supremacy in the Middle East.

The Israeli-ZPC strategy is designed to set the stage for a US confrontation with Iran, using its agents in the Executive branch as well as its ongoing corruption, bribery and control of the US Congress. ZPC control over the mass media enhances its propaganda campaign: Everyday the New York Times and the Washington Post publish articles and editorials promoting Israel’s war agenda. The ZPC uses the US State Department to force other NATO states to likewise confront Iran.

Israel’s Proxy War with Iran: US Political Pressure, Economic Sanctions and Military Threats

Alone, Israel’s ‘war’ with Iran would not amount to much more than its cyber sabotage, the periodic assassinations of Iranian scientists using its paid agents among Iranian terrorist groups and non-stop brow-beating from Israeli politicians and their ‘amen crowd’. Outside of Israel, this campaign has had little impact on public opinion. Israel’s ‘war’ on Iran depends exclusively on its capacity to manipulate US policy using its local agents and groups who dominate the US Congress and through the appointments of officials in key positions in the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Justice , and as Middle East ‘advisors’. Israel cannot organize an effective sanction campaign against Iran; nor could it influence any major power to abide by such a campaign. Only the US has that power. Israel’s dominance in the Middle East comes entirely from its capacity to mobilize its proxies in the United States who are assigned the task of securing total submission to Israel’s interests from elected and appointed government officials – especially in regard to Israel’s regional adversaries.

Strategically placed, ‘dual US-Israeli citizens’ have used their US citizenship to secure high security positions in the Government directly involved in policies affecting Israel. As Israelis, their activities are in line with the dictates of Tel Aviv. In the Bush administration (2001-2008) high placed ‘Israel Firsters’ dominated the Pentagon (Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith), Middle East Security (Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross), the Vice President’s office (‘Scooter’ Libby), Treasury (Levey) and Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff). In the Obama administration the ‘Israel Firsters’ include Dennis Ross, Rahm Emanuel, David Cohen, Secretary of Treasury Jack “Jake the Snake” Lew, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Michael Froman as Trade Representative among others.

Israel’s Proxy Power within the Executive branch is matched by its dominance of the US Congress. Contrary to some critics, Israel is neither an ‘ally’ or ‘client’ of the US. Evidence of the gross asymmetry of the relationship abounds over the past half century. Because of these powerful proxies in Congress and the Executive branch, Israel has received over a $100 billion dollar tribute from the US the past 30 years, or $3 billion plus a year. The US Pentagon has transferred the most up-to-date military technology and engaged in several wars on Israel’s behalf. The US Treasury has imposed sanctions against potentially lucrative trading and investment partners in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq and Syria) depriving US agricultural and manufacturing exporters and oil companies of over $500 billion in revenues. The White House sacrificed the lives of over 4,400 US soldiers in the Iraq War – a war promoted by Israel’s proxies at the behest of Israel’s leaders. The State Department has rejected friendly and profitable relations with over 1.5 billion Muslims by backing the illegal settlement of over half million Jewish colonists on military-occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The strategic question is how and why this one-sided relationship between the US and Israel persists for so long, even as it goes counter to so many strategic and elite US interests? The more immediate and pressing question is how this historically lopsided relationship effects contemporary US-Iran sanctions and nuclear negotiations?

Iran and the Peace Negotiations

Undoubtedly the newly elected Iranian President and his Foreign Minister are prepared to negotiate an end to hostilities with the US by making major concessions ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy. They have stated they are open to reducing or even ending the production of highly enriched uranium; reducing the number of centrifuges and even allowing intrusive, unannounced inspections, among other promising proposals. The Iranian government proposes a roadmap with end goals as part of the initial agreements. The European Union’s Foreign Secretary Lady Ashton has commented favorably on the initial meeting.

The US Administration has given conflicting signals following the Iranian overtures and the opening meeting. Some individual comments are guardedly positive; others are less encouraging and rigid. Administration Zionists like Jack ‘Jake’ Lew, the Treasury Secretary, insist sanctions will remain until Iran meets all US (read ‘Israeli’) demands. The US Congress, bought and controlled by the ZPC, rejects the promising Iranian overtures and flexibility, insisting on military ‘options’ or the total dismantling of Iran’s legal and peaceful nuclear program – ZPC positions designed to sabotage the negotiations. To that end, Congress has passed new, more extreme, economic sanctions to strangle Iran’s oil economy.

How Israel’s Political Action Committees Control the US Congress and Prepare War with Iran

The Zionist Power Configuration uses its financial firepower to dictate Congressional policy on the Middle East and to ensure that the US Congress and Senate do not stray one iota from serving Israel’s interests. The Zionist instrument used in the purchase of elected officials in the US is the political action committee (PAC).

Thanks to a 2010 US Supreme Court decision, Super PACs-linked to Israel spend enormous sums to elect or destroy candidates – depending on the candidate’s political work on behalf of Israel. As long as these funds do not go directly to the candidate, these Super PACs do not have to reveal how much they spend or how it is spent. Conservative estimates of ZPC-linked direct and indirect funds to US legislators run close to $100 million dollars over the past 30-years. The ZPC channels these funds to legislative leaders and members of Congressional committees dealing with foreign policy, especially sub-committee chairpersons dealing with the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, the largest Congressional recipients of ZPC money are those who have aggressively promoted Israel’s hard-line policies. Elsewhere around the world, such large scale payoffs for legislative votes would be considered blatant bribery and subject to felony prosecution­ and imprisonment for both parties. In the US, the purchase and sale of a politician’s vote is called ‘lobbying’ and is legal and open. The legislative branch of the US government has come to resemble a high-price brothel or white slavers’ auction – but with the lives of thousands at stake.

The ZPC has purchased the alliance of US Congress people and Senators on a massive scale: Of 435 members of the US House of Representatives (sic), 219 have received payments from the ZPC in exchange for their votes on behalf of the state of Israel. Corruption is even more rampant among the 100 US Senators, 94 of whom have accepted pro-Israel PAC and Super PAC money for their loyalty to Israel. The ZPC showers money on both Republicans and Democrats, thus securing incredible (in this era of Congressional deadlock), near unanimous (‘bipartisan’) votes in favor of the ‘Jewish State’, including its war crimes, like the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon as well as the annual $3 billion dollar plus US tax-payer tribute to Tel Aviv. At least 50 US Senators have each collected between $100 thousand and $1 million in ZPC money over the past decades. In exchange, they have voted for over $100 billion in tribute payments to Israel … in addition to other ‘services and payments’. The members of the US Congress are cheaper: 25 legislators have received between $238,000 and $50,000, while the rest got peanuts. Regardless of the amount, the net result is the same: Congressional members pick up their script from their Zionist mentors in the PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC and back all of Israel’s wars in the Middle East and promote US aggression on behalf of Israel.

The most outspoken and influential legislators get the biggest chunk of Zionist payola: Senator Mark Kirk (Bombs over Tehran!) tops the ‘pigs at the trough’ list with $925,000 in ZPC payoffs, followed by John McCain (Bombs over Damascus!) with $771,000, while Senators Mitch McConnell, Carl Levin, Robert Menendez, Richard Durban and other Zionophilic politicos are not shy about holding out their little begging bowls when the pro-Israel PAC bagmen arrive! Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tops the ‘House’ list with $238,000 for her 100% pro-Israel record as well as for being more war-mongering than even Netanyahu! Eric Cantor got $209,000 for championing ‘wars for Israel’ with American lives while cutting Social Security payments to US seniors in order to increase military aid to Tel Aviv. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, got $144,000 for ‘whipping the few wobbly’ Democrats back into Israel’s ‘camp’. House Majority Leader John Boehner was paid $130,000 to do the same among the Republicans.

The ZPC has spent huge amounts to punish and destroy a dozen or so dissident legislators who had stood up to Israel’s wars and grotesque human rights record. The ZPC has poured millions into individual campaigns, not only financing opposition candidates who pledged allegiance to the Israel but mounting scurrilous character assassinations of Israel’s critics in office. These campaigns have been mounted in the most obscure parts of the US, including in majority African-American districts, where local Zionist interests and influence are otherwise absolutely nil.

There are no comparable PACs, Super PACs, party leaders, or civic organizations that can contest the power of Israel’s Fifth Column. According to documents archived by the courageous researcher, Grant Smith of IRMEP, when it comes to Israel, the US Justice Department has adamantly refused to enforce its own federal laws requiring the prosecution of US citizens who fail to register as foreign agents while working for a foreign country – at least since 1963. On the other hand, the ZPC, through the so-call ‘Anti-Defamation League’, has successfully pressured the Justice Department, the FBI and NSA to investigate and prosecute law-abiding, patriotic US citizens critical of Israel’s land grabs in Palestine and the Zionist corruptors of the US political system on behalf of their foreign master.

The corruption and degradation of US democracy is made possible by the equally compromised and corrupted ‘respectable press’. Media critic, Steve Lendman, has pointed out the direct link between Israel and the mass media in his investigation of the New York Times. The leading (‘fair and balanced’) journalists reporting on Israel have strong family and political ties to that country and their articles have been little more than propaganda. Times reporter Ethan Bronner, whose son served in the Israel Defense Forces, is a long-time apologist for the Zionist state. Times reporter Isabel Kershner, whose ‘writing’ seems to come straight out of the Israeli Foreign Office, is married to Hirsh Goodman an adviser to the Netanyahu regime on ‘security affairs’. The Times bureau chief in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, lives comfortably in the ancestral home of a Palestinian family dispossessed from that ancient city.

The Times unflinching pro-Israel posture provides a political cover and justification for the corrupted US politicians as they beat the war drums for Israel. It is no surprise that the New York Times, like the Washington Post, is deeply engaged in disparaging and denouncing the current US-Iran negotiations – and providing ample space for the one-sided rhetoric of Israeli politicians and their US mouthpieces, while studiously excluding the more rational, pro-rapprochement voices of experienced former US diplomats, war-weary military leaders and representatives of the US business and academic communities.

To understand Congress’ hostility to the nuclear negotiations with Iran and their efforts to scuttle them through the imposition of ridiculous new sanctions, it is important to get to the source of the problem, namely the statements of key Israeli politicians, who set the line of march for their US proxies.

In late October, 2013, Former Israeli Defense Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin spoke of ‘having to choose between ‘the bomb’ or the bombing’ – a message which immediately resonated with the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations.2 On October 22, 2013, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, called for harsh new sanctions on Iran and insisted that the US use them as leverage to demand that Iran agree to entirely abandon its peaceful nuclear energy and enrichment program. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon affirmed that ‘Israel will not accept any deal that allows Iran to enrich uranium’. It is Israel’s position to threaten war (via the US) if Iran does not submit to unconditional surrender of its nuclear program. This defines the position of all the major pro-Israel PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC. They in turn proceed to dictate policy to their ‘lick-spittles’ in the US Congress. As a result, Congress passes even more extreme economic sanctions on Iran in order to sabotage the ongoing negotiations.

Those who have received the biggest Zionist pay-offs from the pro-Israel PACs are the most vociferous: Senator Mark Kirk ($925,379), author of a previous sanctions bill, demands that Iran end its entire nuclear and ballistic missile program (!) and declared that the US Senate “should immediately move forward with a new round of economic sanctions targeting all remaining Iranian government revenue and reserves.”3 The US House of Representatives (sic) has already passed a bill sharply limiting Iran’s ability to sell its main export, oil. Once again, the Israel-ZPC-Congressional axis seeks to impose Israel’s war agenda on the American people! In late October 2013, Secretary of State Kerry was ‘grilled’ for 7 hours by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with the craven Kerry promising to promote Israel’s agenda on dismantling Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

To counter the campaign to strangle Iran’s oil economy, promoted by Israel’s flunkeys in the Congress, the Iranian government has offered generous contracts to the US and EU oil companies.4 Existing nationalist provisions are being removed. Under the new terms, foreign companies book reserves or take equity stakes in Iranian projects. Iran hopes to attract at least $100 billion dollars in investments over the next three years. This stable country boasts the world’s largest gas and the fourth largest oil reserves. Because of the current US (Israel)-imposed sanctions, production has fallen from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2011 to 2.58 million barrels per day in 2013. The question is whether Big Oil and the giant US and EU companies have the power to challenge the ZPC-stranglehold over US-EU sanction policy. So far, the ZPC has dominated this critical policy and marginalized ‘Big Oil’ using threats, blackmail and coercion against US policymakers. This has effectively shut out US companies from the lucrative Iranian market.


As the US and the 5 other countries attempt to negotiate with Iran, they face enormous obstacles overcoming Israel’s power over the US Congress. Over past decades Israel’s agents have bought the loyalties of the vast majority of Congress people, training them to recognize and obey the whistles, signals and script from the war mongers in Tel Aviv.

This Axis of War, has inflicted enormous damage on the world resulting in the deaths of millions of victims of US wars in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa. The gross corruption and widely recognized bankruptcy of the US legislative system is due to its slavish submission to a foreign power. What remains in Washington is a debased vassal state despised by its own citizens. If the ZPC controlled Congress succeeds once again in destroying the negotiations between the US and Iran via new war-like resolutions, we, the American people, will have to pay an enormous price in lives and treasure.

The time to act is now. It is time to stand up and expose the role played by the Israeli PACs, Super PACs, and the 52 Major American Jewish Organization in corrupting Congress and turning our elected representatives into flunkeys for Israel’s wars. There has been a deafening silence from our noted critics – few alternative media critics have attacked Israel’s power over the US Congress. The evidence is openly available, the crimes are undeniable. The American people need real political leaders with the courage to root out the corrupted and corruptors and force their elected members in the House and Senate to represent the interest of the American people.

  1. Grant Smith “Ten Explosive US Government Secrets of Israel,” IRMEP.
  2. Daily Alert, October 24, 2013.
  3. Financial Times, 10/18/13, p. 6.
  4. Financial Times, 10/29/2013, p. 1.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel Buys the US Congress: Sabotaging the US-Iran Peace Negotiations

Pakistani minister says U.S. drone attack sabotages Taliban talks

Xinhua | November 1, 2013

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday condemned the latest U.S. drone attack and termed it as an attempt to sabotage the proposed peace talks with the Taliban.

The U.S. unmanned aircraft fired missiles on a house and vehicles of the Pakistani Taliban leaders in North Waziristan tribal region and killed six of them.

Local media said the American drone launched the strike at a time when the Taliban leaders were holding a meeting in their stronghold Dandey Darpakhel area.

Two Taliban figures, Tariq Mehsood, personal guard of the Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsood, and another commander identified as Abdullah were among those killed, local media reported.

Geo television reported that the vehicle targeted in the strike was being used by the chief of Pakistani Taliban chief, Hakimullah Mehsood. But it was not clear if Hakimullah Mehsood was in the vehicle at the time of the strike.

Dunya TV quoted security sources that Hakimullah Mehsood was killed in the strike.

Taliban and the government have not officially confirmed the reports.

The interior minister angrily reacted to the U.S. attack as it was carried out at a time when the government was set to begin talks with Taliban militants.

He said in a statement that the government has planned to send a three member delegation for initial discussion with the Taliban on Saturday. “We think that the latest drone attack was an attempt to sabotage the dialogue,” Chaudhry Nisar said.

Local media quoted security sources as saying that the American spy aircraft struck the Taliban compound when the Taliban were holding a meeting of their central council. Hakimullah Mehsood was scheduled to preside over the council’s meeting.

Some sources said the meeting was called to discuss strategy for talks with the government.

Reports suggested that the Taliban were holding the meeting when the U.S. drone rained missiles into the area.

Another report said that local Taliban chief, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, Friday asked the residents to leave North Waziristan for a week in view of the deteriorating situation in the region.

A pamphlet distributed in the region asked the people to take their precious items with them.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pakistani minister says U.S. drone attack sabotages Taliban talks

House committee endorses extra $500 million aid to Israel

Press TV – November 2, 2013

The US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has proposed a nearly half a billion dollar increase in military aid to Israel even as the United States is struggling with domestic economic issues.

The committee approved $488 million last week to fund Israel’s development of two missile systems and to finance the purchase of extra batteries for 2014.

The proposal must now be approved by the House Appropriations Committee and then submitted to the Senate.

The proposed aid is in addition to the $3.1 billion in military assistance that Washington provides to the Zionist regime annually.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel promised that the current aid would not be reduced even while significant cuts are being made to the US defense budget.

This comes as the US government has recently cut $5 billion dollars from the food assistance program, forcing nearly 48 million Americans to cut back on their food purchases.

The US government is pressured to serve Israel’s interests due to the influence of the powerful Zionist lobby in the United States. The pro-Israel pressure groups actively work to steer US foreign policy in favor of Israel.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Comments Off on House committee endorses extra $500 million aid to Israel

Professor Fires Off Lengthy Email In Defense Of Student Forbidden From Handing Out Copies Of The Constitution

By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | November 1, 2013

On Constitution Day (Sept. 17th), a student of Modesto Junior College, Robert Van Tuinen, was prevented by Modesto Junior College administration from handing out copies of the Constitution. The college apparently believes free speech is limited to a single small concrete slab on campus, generously named the “Free Speech Zone.” Contrary to the First Amendment (and the state’s laws governing public university policies), MJC restricts free speech to no more than two people per day, subject to approval of the administration.

Van Tuinen set out to challenge the stupidity of this policy and MJC administration obligingly played its part, resulting in a story that spread across blogs and news sites. As a result of its actions, the staff at MJC was “subjected” to insults, death threats, and even worse, an “unfair and negative portrayal” by the media. While no one condones death threats, one would be hard pressed to agree with Jill Stearns, the president of MJC, that the portrayal was “unfair” or that the school’s willingness to place policy above all else, including the Constitution and common sense, wasn’t deserving of a few disparaging remarks.

Shortly after MJC went into damage control, Van Tuinen sued the school for violating his First Amendment rights. Van Tuinen is seeking a permanent injunction against the school’s unconstitutional policies, as well as damages and court costs.

Now the organization that originally brought Van Tuinen’s experience to national attention (FIRE) brings news that a Modesto Junior College professor has written a lengthy email to all Modest Junior College faculty members to call attention to the college’s actions which the administration seemingly wants to let recede into the background.

Professor William J. Holly was kind enough to forward his entire email to me, as well as provide some additional info on California laws governing schools and students’ First Amendment rights, as well as this bizarre and tense interaction with school security over the supposed rule changes President Jill Stearns said were underway.

I do not know what rules are now in effect. Last week I stopped by campus security and asked what the rules now were, and he referred me to ASMJC office on the other campus. I said he must know what the rules are since he was responsible for enforcing the rules. He kept pushing the paper with the name of the office on it, saying he was referring me to that office. It got a little tense because I kept saying he must know the rules and should be able to let us know what the rules are. Finally, he said he was not allowed to discuss this with anyone because they are under litigation. Stearns says the rules are being reviewed. Does that mean there are no rules?

Stearns’ statement says the college is “evaluating its policies and procedures.” It also says this:

There is absolutely no requirement that a student register weeks in advance and hand out his literature only in a small marked area.

There may not be one now, but that requirement was certainly in place back in September.

It also says this.

To those who were offended by the appearance of censorship, we again affirm the commitment of the college and district to civil discourse.

Hilarious. Pity the poor people who took offense at Van Tuinen being accosted by a campus cop and repeatedly told he’d need to get on the waiting list for the Freedom Slab and mistakenly believed it violated his First Amendment rights.

Holly does a wonderful job in his email dismantling Stearns’ non-apology.

[I]t is unclear what she means when she addresses “those who were offended by the appearance of censorship.” Van Tuinen was not subjected to the mere “appearance of censorship.” He was silenced and he was prevented from distributing his literature. That is outright censorship, pure and simple, whether it resulted from a misunderstanding or not.

But Holly’s letter is more than just a deconstruction of Stearns’ statements and MJC’s dubious policies. It’s also a wake-up call directed at his colleagues, many of whom were either unaware of this event or simply stood by and let incident pass by not remarked on.

Dear Colleagues:

The paper attached above (Destructing Causal Deconstruction) exposes some of the absurdities that are committed in the name of “Deconstruction.” I think it is a good read — clear, amusing, imaginative, and instructive. If you ever wondered what “deconstruction” is really about, you would be hard pressed to find a better introduction. One question that I cannot answer, however, is whether or not I would be arrested by a security officer if I insisted on wandering about the quad on our campus, handing out copies of this paper and discussing it with those who might be interested in the topic. This is not a silly question…

Nearly a month ago (Sept. 17th) one of our MJC students, Robert Van Tuinen (also a veteran), was trying to pass out copies of our federal Constitution on Constitution Day. He was prevented in this exercise of free speech by an MJC security officer, and then by an official at the office of Student Services who told him he was allowed freedom of speech and the right to pass out literature only in certain tiny restricted areas on our campus, and then only after booking a reservation — which would not be available until the following month!

I am puzzled why there has been no faculty outcry over this ugly incident. Why are we not standing up for our student who only wanted to exercise his constitutional right to free speech? Do we really want to be known nationwide as the college that wouldn’t let a veteran pass out copies of our Constitution on Constitution Day?

Holly’s not being facetious about “nationwide.” The story was picked up by the Huffington Post, the Washington Times, FOX News, the L.A. Times, along with numerous other well-read sites like Reason, the Daily Caller and National Review Online. But Modesto Junior College itself? Apparently it isn’t interested in providing current or prospective students (or faculty, for that matter) with anything more than the president’s statement.

The First Amendment in pertinent part says, ” Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” Some have taken this to be a right you have against the Federal Government, but not (say) against the State of California (as though the rights you thought you had simply in virtue of being a citizen of the United States could be nullified by the particular state in which you live). Happily, the point is largely moot because the constitution of California has its own guarantees of rights that largely parallel the U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights — including separation of church and state, etc. Guarantees of freedom of expression even exist in parts of the California Code of Education, and even the University of California has a constitution that holds out these rights, and even individual campuses have their own codes regarding such things as Academic Freedom. At CSUS and at PLU, the rules that claim Academic Freedom for faculty make clear that such freedom should extend equally to students!

The most pertinent part of the California Education Code is this section.

66301. (a) Neither the Regents of the University of California, the Trustees of the California State University, the governing board of a community college district, nor an administrator of any campus of those institutions, shall make or enforce a rule subjecting a student to disciplinary sanction solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in outside a campus of those institutions, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 2 of Article I of the California Constitution.

Considering Van Tuinen’s lawsuit, the directly-following subsection is also relevant.

(b) A student enrolled in an institution, as specified in subdivision (a), at the time that the institution has made or enforced a rule in violation of subdivision (a) may commence a civil action to obtain appropriate injunctive and declaratory relief as determined by the court. Upon a motion, a court may award attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action pursuant to this section.

Given the state law governing the public college, it would appear that MJC’s free speech policies are in violation of state law, not to mention the state’s constitution, even granting a very generous reading of “time, place and manner” wording.

Holly also questions the “formal apology” extended by the school to Van Tuinen. Whatever it was (and no one has seen it but Van Tuinen and administrators), it’s clearly not sufficient.

[W[e are told that a formal apology has been provided the student. It seems to me, however, that apologies in such cases are best made in public. I think Van Tuinen would want a published apology, a public admission that MJC had no right to deny him the exercise of his liberties that they did, and a promise that no other students would have their rights similarly violated. And, since the violation of the rights of one of our fellow citizens violates us all, I believe that we all are entitled to see a copy of that apology, to see the particulars of the concessions made, and to see in what manner those liberties now are affirmed that then were denied.

As Holly points out, the fact that Van Tuinen is proceeding with his lawsuit is a good indicator that the apology offered wasn’t satisfactory.

Holly then goes further, suggesting what should be done, not only to satisfy Van Tuinen, but to make sure other students know their rights are protected and ensure this sort of restriction doesn’t make its way back into the school policies in the future.

In one interview, [Van Tuinen] has said that he is not doing this for the money. I think what he wants is a civil rights victory. That should be easy to give him, especially if President Stearns is right this all has just been a misunderstanding…

If he doesn’t really care about money, if he just wants public acknowledgement that he was wronged, perhaps we should offer this: Buy him a couple thousand copies of the Constitution or of the Bill of Rights, and offer to make the individuals he has sued do community service that is relevant. Make them each do twenty hours of community service that consist of passing out copies of the Constitution and explaining to people the importance of everyone’s right to free speech. That ought to make him whole. And, to show my sincerity, I hereby offer to do 20 hours of such community service myself. Perhaps I too bear part of the responsibility here, because this one flew under my radar too. I did not check to see if my students’ rights to free speech were properly protected. Sometimes the implications of rules just do not strike us until we see them enforced.

Summing things up, Holly asks what some famous free speakers would run into if attempting to speak on MJC’s campus.

Now, if you do not like my suggestion that we should have a policy of completely free, unfettered and unqualified freedom of thought and expression on this campus, just ask yourself this one question: Suppose that Thomas Paine, the great pamphleteer (“These are the times that try men’s souls…”) were to come to MJC. Would you make him show his ID or make an advance appointment? Would you sic campus security and Student Services on him before allowing him to distribute his literature? Hell, what would you do if Jesus came? Would you have Student services tell Him he needs an appointment in advance, that the free speech zone is booked up until next month, and that He needs to confine his speech to the designated free speech zone areas? I say, Let Freedom Reign!

Holly’s effort to light a fire under his colleagues is admirable. Many people are too willing to defer to existing policy, especially if it doesn’t apply directly to them. Van Tuinen pushed back against an unconstitutional policy and has brought the idiocy of campus “Free Speech Zones” back into the national limelight. Holly doesn’t suggest throwing away all restraints on speech (exempting classrooms and faculty offices in order to prevent disruption of educating), but his view of what a “Free Speech Zone” should actually include covers far more area than MJC’s infamous concrete slab.

Holly’s defense of students’ rights is a rarity in institutes of higher learning, many of which seem to believe the restraint of speech somehow creates better students.

Full email posted at link.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Professor Fires Off Lengthy Email In Defense Of Student Forbidden From Handing Out Copies Of The Constitution

US to supply Israel with its latest military aircraft within two years

MEMO | November 2, 2013

American defence secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that Israel would be the first US ally to receive the American V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor military aircraft.

The deal was negotiated between Hagel and Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon during the former’s last visit to Israel. According to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the estimated cost of one V-22 Osprey is $69 million.

A senior Pentagon official told NBC that the Pentagon agreed to reallocate the next group of aircraft to come off the production line, though it had been previously assigned to the Marines, to meet the order.

He justified that Israel should get the efficient military aircraft as soon as possible because it faces threats from Iran, Syria and the Sinai Peninsula.

Whilst speaking to the anti-defamation league in New York, Hagel said that delivery would be “expedited.” NBC said that he meant: “Israel will get six V-22s out of the next order to go on the assembly line, and they will be compatible with other [Israeli defence] capabilities.”

NBC said that the announcement comes less than a year after pro-Israeli activist groups in the US expressed deep reservations about Hagel’s nomination for defence secretary.

Pro-Israeli lobbies said that in 2008 Hagel criticised the “Jewish lobby” for “intimidating” US officials.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Comments Off on US to supply Israel with its latest military aircraft within two years

Ex-DHS Director Michael Chertoff: The Public Spying On Famous People With Their Smartphones Is A Bigger Issue Than NSA Spying

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | November 1, 2013

Former director of Homeland Security (and current profiteer off of any “security” scare) Michael Chertoff has penned quite an incredible op-ed for the Washington Post, in which he argues that the real threat to privacy today is not the NSA spying on everyone, but rather all you people out there in the public with your smartphones, taking photos and videos, and going to Twitter to post things you overheard more important people say. Seriously. It starts out by claiming this is a “less-debated threat”:

So it is striking that two recent news stories illustrate a less-debated threat to privacy that we as a society are inflicting on ourselves. Last week, a passenger on an Acela train decided to tweet in real time his summary of an overheard phone conversation by Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA (and my current business partner). The same day, a photo was published of Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler at a summer party where he was surrounded by underage youths who apparently were drinking.

But he then goes on to argue that this kind of thing is more troubling than the NSA revelations, which Chertoff suggests is no big deal:

Of course, the delicious irony is obvious: In one case, the former NSA chief becomes a victim of eavesdropping. In the other, a politician critical of teen drinking fails to intervene when he is surrounded by it. But both stories carry a more troubling implication. The ubiquitousness of recording devices — coupled with the ability everyone has to broadcast indiscriminately through Twitter, YouTube and other online platforms — means that virtually every act or utterance outside one’s own home (or, in Gansler’s case, inside a private home) is subject to being massively publicized. And because these outlets bypass any editorial review, there is no assurance that what is disseminated has context or news value.

It would appear that Chertoff seems to believe that there should be no expectation of privacy for the things you actually do in private — generating metadata about who you call, where you go, what websites you visit, etc. But, stuff that you actually do in public should never be “broadcast” because it might embarrass famous people.

And, yes, it’s the famous people being embarrassed that seems to most concern Chertoff:

If a well-known person has an argument with a spouse or child at a restaurant, should it be broadcast? If a business personality expresses a political opinion at a private party, should that opinion (or a distortion of it) be passed on to the rest of the world? If a politician buys a book or a magazine at an airport, should a passerby inform everyone?

See? Think of those poor well-known people, having people telling others about what they do. What a shame! Incredibly, he argues that it’s this exposing of the public actions of famous people that creates real chilling effects — and not the NSA’s spying, which he calls “exaggerated.”

Are we creating an informant society, in which every overheard conversation, cellphone photograph or other record of personal behavior is transmitted not to police but to the world at large? Do we want to chill behavior and speech with the fear that an unpopular comment or embarrassing slip will call forth vituperative criticism and perhaps even adversely affect careers or reputations? Do we need to constantly monitor what we say or do in restaurants, at sporting events, on public sidewalks or even private parties?

I don’t know what clueless PR flack thought this was a good strategy, but the clear connotation is hard to miss: Look, we the powerful people get to spy on everyone, but the second you turn the tables and spy on us and the things we do in public, what a horrible shame! Something must be done!

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ex-DHS Director Michael Chertoff: The Public Spying On Famous People With Their Smartphones Is A Bigger Issue Than NSA Spying

Britain’s GCHQ shepherding mass surveillance operations throughout Europe

RT | November 2, 2013

British intelligence agency GCHQ has helped counterpart entities in France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden develop methods of mass surveillance of internet and phone traffic in the last five years, a new report reveals.

Documents supplied by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to the Guardian show the UK Government Communications Headquarters’ (GCHQ) enormous influence throughout Europe. The documents detail how the agency developed and promoted spying processes, built relationships with telecommunication companies, and evaded national laws that constrain the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies.

In the wake of outrage expressed over the past week across Europe regarding newly exposed NSA surveillance of European countries – including intercepted communications and the monitoring of phones belonging to officials such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel – documents released Friday by the Guardian show major European countries’ culpability in mass surveillance efforts shepherded by the GCHQ.

The GCHQ is part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing partnership between Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

US intelligence officials said the monitoring that received so much indignation from powers like Germany and France was carried out by those countries’ own intelligence agencies and later shared with the US.

In June, the Guardian revealed the GCHQ’s Tempora program, in which the agency tapped into transatlantic fiber-optic cables to execute bulk surveillance. Germany’s justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said at the time that the program sounded “like a Hollywood nightmare” and warned that free societies and actions hidden under “a veil of secrecy” are not compatible.

A nation-by-nation scorecard

In a 2008 survey of European partners, the GCHQ marveled at Germany’s capabilities to produce Tempora-like surveillance. The British service said the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) had “huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the internet – they are already seeing some bearers running at 40Gbps and 100Gbps.” The term ‘bearers’ refers to the fiber-optic cables. Gigabits per second (Gbps) measures the speed at which data runs through them.

The documents also show the British were advising German counterparts on how to change or evade laws that restricted advanced surveillance efforts. “We have been assisting the BND (along with SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] and Security Service) in making the case for reform or reinterpretation of the very restrictive interception legislation in Germany,” the survey says.

The report also lauds the GCHQ’s French partner, the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), especially for its cozy relationship with an unnamed telecommunications company.

“DGSE are a highly motivated, technically competent partner, who have shown great willingness to engage on IP [internet protocol] issues, and to work with GCHQ on a ‘cooperate and share’ basis.”

The GCHQ expressed desire to benefit from the DGSE’s relationship with the company.

“We have made contact with the DGSE’s main industry partner, who has some innovative approaches to some internet challenges, raising the potential for GCHQ to make use of this company in the protocol development arena.”

The GCHQ’s work with its French counterpart led to improved capabilities to carry out bulk surveillance, despite growing commercial emphasis on encryption.

“Very friendly crypt meeting with DGSE in July,” British officials said. French intelligence officials were “clearly very keen to provide presentations on their work which included cipher detection in high-speed bearers. [GCHQ’s] challenge is to ensure that we have enough UK capability to support a longer term crypt relationship.”

New opportunities in future partnerships

GCHQ ties to Spain’s intelligence service, the National Intelligence Centre (CNI), were bolstered by Spain’s connections to an unnamed British telecom company, giving them “fresh opportunities and uncovering some surprising results.

“GCHQ has not yet engaged with CNI formally on IP exploitation, but the CNI have been making great strides through their relationship with a UK commercial partner. GCHQ and the commercial partner have been able to coordinate their approach. The commercial partner has provided the CNI some equipment whilst keeping us informed, enabling us to invite the CNI across for IP-focused discussions this autumn,” the survey said. It reported that the GCHQ “have found a very capable counterpart in CNI, particularly in the field of Covert Internet Ops.”

When Sweden passed a 2008 law allowing its National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) to execute Tempora-like surveillance via fiber-optic cables, the GCHQ said in the report that “FRA have obtained a…probe to use as a test-bed and we expect them to make rapid progress in IP exploitation following the law change.” The GCHQ went on to express delight in future partnerships with FRA after the law passed.

The survey found strong ties between the GCHQ and Dutch external and internal intelligence services MIVD and AIVD, respectively.

“Both agencies are small, by UK standards, but are technically competent and highly motivated,” British officials said.

The GCHQ also helped AIVD in handling legal constraints to spying.

“The Dutch have some legislative issues that they need to work through before their legal environment would allow them to operate in the way that GCHQ does. We are providing legal advice on how we have tackled some of these issues to Dutch lawyers.”

Contrary to the other nations’ positive marks, the GCHQ country-by-country scorecard shows Italy’s intelligence agencies to be riddled with internal strife.

“GCHQ has had some CT [counter-terrorism] and internet-focused discussions with both the foreign intelligence agency (AISE) and the security service (AISI), but has found the Italian intelligence community to be fractured and unable/unwilling to cooperate with one another,” the report said.

A follow-up six months later noted the GCHQ still saw legal constraints in Italy as hampering AISI’s ability to cooperate.

This latest disclosure calls into question how involved the countries were in the overall surveillance of global citizens and world leaders led by the NSA and GCHQ.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Britain’s GCHQ shepherding mass surveillance operations throughout Europe

The NSA Killed the Radio Star and American High Tech

By Richard Silverstein · Tikun Olam · November 2, 2013

While I don’t pretend to be a technical expert, it seems clear to me that one of the major pieces of collateral damage regarding the NSA spying scandal is the savaging that the American technology industry has taken. Though they initially denied it, it became apparent that companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others essentially rolled over and played dead in the face of Justice Department and NSA directives that they essentially unlock their data for inspection. Later it became clear that the government didn’t really need these data dumps, it could invade the company servers and sift through data at will.

Now these same companies are telling us that they’ll regain our trust by encrypting their data so that it can’t be hacked by NSA snoops. Such encryption is not going to be an effective tool if the NSA retains the same privileges it’s had to subpoena any data at any time for any person it wishes. In such cases, the only thing standing in the way of wholesale exposure of virtually every secret is a toothless FISA court which never questions a subpoena or prevents any spying.

The only benefit to encryption is that it will make it harder for the NSA to collect the reams of data which it sifts through in order to decide which individuals’ records it wants to subpoena. But given the creativity and ingenuity of NSA spooks, you can be sure they’ll discover a way to circumvent even this obstacle.

There is a certain attraction for the average NSA hacker to et everything they can; to open all possible doors; to pry into every possibly nook and cranny. That’s what spooks do. You can’t blame them for that. But you can blame the executive branch and legislators who were supposed to exercise oversight and, with a few exceptions like Marc Udall and Ron Wyden, abdicated their constitutional responsibility. 9/11 made them all go soft in the head.

Now even Rep. James Sensenbrenner, one of the chief architects of that foul piece of legislation called the USA Patriot Act, seems to have second thoughts. He’s gone so far as to call the actions of the NSA “criminal.” But is it too late? Once the NSA let the horse out of the barn, how will the U.S. technology industry get it back in?

These companies, the backbone of the U.S. economy, have shown themselves to be at the beck and call of the government. The trust we customers placed in them to protect our security has been savaged. Does anyone believe anything Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, Larry Page or Sergey Brin say on this subject?  Frankly, I think they can’t regain that trust no matter what they do.

The NSA has torn a hole in the high tech industry big enough to drive a super computer or Mack truck through. Countries like Brazil and others are already developing competing systems that will not be subject to the intrusive scrutiny of the NSA. Will any American want to maintain telecommunications accounts with U.S. companies?

If we lose the edge we’ve had in such technological development over the past 60 years, we will lose a huge sector of U.S. commercial innovation. We will hurt our economy, lose jobs, and slow the pace of development in our own country. In a strange and ironic way, NSA spying may ultimately hurt the U.S. and our national security.

An equally damaged victim of NSA spying has been our formerly warm relations with allies like Berlin, France, German, Mexico and Brazil.  One must ask: was the benefit of whatever was learned by hacking the phones of their leaders worth the years of damage and mistrust that will ensue from this mess? Further, one has to marvel at the hubris of U.S. spymasters who believed that their massive House of Spies would never be exposed. As a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations the House of Spies has become a House of Cards.

In addition to all the nations with whom we’ve had tense of even hostile nations over the last decade or so, now we have to add allies who have lost trust in us.

I am delighted to learn that attitudes in the international community toward Snowden are gradually changing. With every new insult to the national pride of these countries with further NSA spying charges, more people find Snowden’s work admirable. German legislators met with him over the past few days to determine whether he can travel to German to testify before the Bundestag about the hacking of Prime Minister Merkel’s cell phone. If they find a way to bring him to Germany, I fear the cat will be out of the bag.  As long as the U.S. could confine him to countries like China or Russia, with whom we have tense or hostile relations, Obama could dismiss Snowden as a crank.  But once he begins spilling his guts before national legislatures of U.S. allies, he becomes a technological Robin Hood.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on The NSA Killed the Radio Star and American High Tech

US preparing for $400bn nuke upgrade


Press TV – November 2, 2013

Pentagon officials have said the US nuclear arsenal needs an overhaul over the coming decade which could cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

In a meeting with US lawmakers on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Assistant Defense Secretary Madelyn Creedon said Washington has to spend at least a decade to modernize its aging nuclear weapons.

“Modernization work of this kind is expensive, but there is no doubt that the investment … is necessary,” Reuters quoted Creedon as telling US congressmen.

“There is not a cost-effective alternative that meets the military requirements and policy objectives.”

Last year, the non-partisan Stimon Center think-tank estimated that modernizing the US nuclear arsenal, including weapons, infrastructure, and delivery systems, over the next decade would cost American taxpayers up to $400 billion.

On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that nuclear weapons form an important part of Washington’s defense doctrine.

“It ensures that a strong nuclear deterrent remains the cornerstone of US national security and that of our allies and our partners,” he said during a speech at the US Institute of Peace in Washington.

In September, US Air Force tested two nuclear-capable missiles. The first one was launched on Sep. 22, one day after the International Day of Peace, and the second one was launched on Sep. 26, the same day heads of states and foreign ministers from around the world held a high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

At the UN’s high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament on Sep. 26, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that “no nation should possess nuclear weapons.”

The US is the only country in the world that has used atomic bombs in war. US atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Comments Off on US preparing for $400bn nuke upgrade