Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

US, France playing good cop-bad cop in Iran talks

RT | November 9, 2013

America and France are playing ‘good cop-bad cop’ in the P5 + 1 talks with Iran over its nuclear program, so that Washington’s position would sound more reasonable, Robert Harneis, a journalist and political analyst has told RT.

Six major world powers and Iran are holding negotiations in Geneva over Tehran’s highly-disputed nuclear program.

RT: France seems to be the most skeptical of the negotiating nations about the outcome of the talks. What’s behind its skepticism?

Robert Harneis: It is always a little difficult to understand the position of the French here. They seem to take an extreme position all the time. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that they are playing ‘good cop-bad cop’ with the Americans. Obama is suddenly being much more reasonable in his attitude with the Iranians, and the French are out there on the flank saying “Oh, you mustn’t agree too easily, Israel must be protected,” and so on. In a sense that’s, if you like, playing the game of the Americans so that they can sound more reasonable, the French sound more unreasonable.

There is another factor, which is that everybody knows the enormous pressure of the Israeli lobby in America. It’s not quite so well-known that it’s pretty considerable in France as well.

RT: The French Foreign Minister said Israel’s position must be taken into consideration. Why such concern for Israel when even Washington called Netanyahu’s condemnation of the deal ‘premature’?

RH: Yes, it’s interesting, isn’t it, that Mr. Netanyahu has said that the deal had been concluded. Everybody else is saying it hasn’t. At any rate, the position of the French, I think, is to say things that the Americans don’t want to say at the moment. I think that’s at the bottom of it, because frankly this posturing by the French President and the French Foreign Minister makes France look pretty ridiculous on the domestic front. There is a great deal of mockery of Laurent Fabius and his very aggressive statements internally in France.

RT: We’re used to the US being one of Tehran’s harshest opponents. Do you feel that Washington’s stance is genuinely changing?

RH: Well, one would like to hope – let’s put it this way – that this is a real diplomatic revolution. The Americans ever since 1979, when the embassy drama took place in Iran, have had this slightly ridiculous, slightly vengeful obsession about dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.

As far as anybody can tell and as far as the American security services themselves say, there is no Iranian nuclear threat. The Israelis, on the other hand, have 300 nuclear weapons. So the situation is a trifle absurd as it often is with western foreign policies.

And there are signs Obama is trying to put American foreign policy on a more sensible track. Why not have sensible relations with Iran – this is being asked in the US after all. For years, with the threat of the Soviet Union, they had no difficulty negotiating with [Mikhail] Gorbachev and men a lot more difficult than him. So, why can’t we negotiate with Iranians? Why do we have to take this ridiculous attitude that they cannot have what France, Britain, the US have – which is nuclear protection. And the Iranians say they don’t want it anyway.

So, it’s a difficult one to quite work out. But it could be that there is a real revolution taking place and the Americans are going to change their stance because they need to do business with Iran really.

RT:  Finally, what are your personal predictions? Will the sides involved manage to overcome their disagreements and strike a deal in the near future?

RH: Well, if I had to take my reputation as profit on the line, I would say that there is going to be a deal. Because they are, after all, talking only about a six-month deal, as far as we can understand it. A suspended sentence, so to speak. With the problems of gas pipelines from Iran to Europe, which Europe needs badly for its Nabucco pipeline – which has no gas without the Iranians – I think there is a very strong probability. And they’d just love to get in there and have all the contracts for rebuilding Iran. So, I hope it’s a real revolution.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Snapshot into the foundation of Beinart’s “democratic Israel”

By Yaniv Reich on April 1, 2012

Peter Beinart’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism, tries hard—really, really hard—to distinguish between what he calls “non-democratic Israel”, i.e. the occupation and settlements, and “democratic Israel”, which seems somehow in his and other liberal Zionists’ brains as immune from the theft, murder, and grinding ethnic cleansing of the big-o Occupation.

It’s a charming but silly, ahistorical attitude. The fiction of “democratic Israel”, based on a solid Jewish demographic majority, was artificially constructed via violent as well as legalistic ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Consider this story, as recounted by a Jewish soldier present at the time of the massacres in al-Duwayima, Palestine, 1948:

“I wish to submit to you an eyewitness report given to me by a soldier who was in al-Duwayma on the day following its occupation… The man is one of us [member of the United Workers’ Party (MAPAM)]…

“He opened his heart to me because there are not many hearts these days that are willing to listen. He arrived in al-Duwayma immediately after its occupation. The conquering army was the 89th battalion… They killed some 80–100 Arabs, women and children. The children were killed by smashing their skulls with clubs. There was not a single house without dead. The second wave of the army consisted of the battalion of the soldier who gave this eyewitness report… In the village there remained Arab women and men who were put in houses without food or drink. Then the sappers came to blow up the houses. One officer order a sapper to put the two old women into the house he was about to blow up. The sapper refused, and said that he would obey only such orders as were handed down to him by his immediate commander. So the officer ordered his own soldiers to put the women in, and the atrocity was carried out. Another soldier boasted he had raped an Arab women and then shot her. Another Arab woman with a day-old baby was employed in cleaning jobs in the yard… She worked for one or two days in the service, and then she was shot, together with her baby…

Cultured and well-mannered commanders who are considered good fellows… have turned into low murderers, and this happened not on the storm of the battle and blind passion, but because of a system of expulsion and annihilation. The fewer Arabs that remain the better.”

Quoted by Eyal Kafkafi, ‘A Ghetto Attitude in the Jewish State’, Davar, 6 September 1979, as cited by Uri Davis in Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within.

This is why when Israeli right-wingers flyer Jerusalem with ads saying “All of Israel is a settlement”, they are way more precise and honest than is Beinart about the brutal history of Zionism. The difference between the land-obsessed colonialism, ethnic cleansing and violence of “democratic” and “non-democratic” Israel is merely the pace at which the crime is committed.

This is why the artificial distinction between “democratic” and “nondemocratic” Israel can only exist through a historical amnesia that “liberal Zionists” seem far more willing to make—surprise!—than Palestinians.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shady Ties Between de Blasio and the Clintons

The New Democrats, Same as the Old

By RICHARD KREITNER |  October 25, 2013

Last Monday, Hillary Clinton headlined a fundraiser at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan for Bill de Blasio, the man who managed her successful 2000 Senate campaign and last month declared himself “proud to come from the Clinton family.” Topping the list of co-chairs for the event—those who have promised to bundle $25,000 for de Blasio—was one Paul Adler, a Democratic power-broker in Rockland County, and a convicted felon.

Adler has long been a devoted supporter of de Blasio, whom he first met in 1996 when de Blasio ran the president’s re-election operation in New York. When Clinton named de Blasio her campaign manager in 1999, Adler told the Associated Press she would “benefit enormously” from such “a hands-on professional.”

In 2000, Rockland County was one of the most heavily contested swing districts in New York State, and Clinton faced tough opposition in former Rep. Rick Lazio, a social conservative well-liked by leaders in the ultra-Orthodox community. As chairman of the Rockland County Democratic Party, Adler was valuable enough to the Clintons that he was invited to spend a night at the White House, which he reciprocated by hosting Hillary at his home during her listening tours of the state. Serving as a delegate to Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in August 2000, Adler was profiled by CNN as one of the “the folks who are the heart and soul of American politics.” He proudly told the camera:

My Rolodex is my most prized possession. It is a 25-year work in progress. It is the tool that enables me to do what I need to do: to get somebody at an embassy to get a donor who allows me to get the superintendent of highways. If the building was on fire, I would run in to get that first.

His main task was cultivating Jewish support in the county, especially among the various Hasidic sects, which often deliver votes in blocs on the strong recommendation of rabbinic leadership. Adler was especially close to New Square, a Skverer Hasidic village of about 7,000 people that may have the most political power per capita of any community in the United States. Its leader, Rabbi David Twersky is seen as infallible by his followers: on Shabbat, hundreds or even thousands of worshippers watch the rabbi eat precisely specified portions of food—so much whitefish, so much egg salad—and eagerly await the honor of consuming his leftovers. The village was most recently in the news in 2011 when a young goon allied with Twersky—the nephew of his top political aide, Deputy Mayor Israel Spitzer—set fire to a 43-year old plumber and father-of-four named Aron Rottenberg, who had dared attend services at an outside shul.

In the 2000 Senate election, New Square voted 1400-12 in favor of Clinton, while nearby communities voted just as overwhelmingly for the pro-life Lazio. In December of that year, the senator-elect welcomed Twersky and other New Square leaders to the White House, where they asked the president to review the case of four Skverers who had been convicted two years earlier of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from federal education and housing programs. On his last day of office in January 2001, President Clinton commuted the sentences of the four men. The appearance of a possibly illegal quid pro quo involving New Square’s votes, as well as other suspicious Clinton pardons, prompted the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mary Jo White (now head of the SEC), to launch an investigation the following month.

A March 2001 article in the New York Times about the case noted the government would have to prove that New Square’s votes represented a “thing of value” which could be traded illegally for commutations. Otherwise, however unseemly the appearance of a deal, nothing illegal could be proven to have occurred. That line would only have been crossed, experts said, had a monetary donation been specifically tied to a certain promised outcome, and no New Square leaders had contributed financially to Clinton’s campaign.

By the time the commutations were granted, de Blasio was already running for a spot on the New York City Council. On December 7th, 2000, just a month after Hillary’s election and two weeks before his and Twersky’s White House visit, New Square Deputy Mayor Israel Spitzer—the rebbe’s political liason to outsiders—attended a fundraiser in Manhattan for de Blasio’s council race, donating $2,500, the legal limit at the time. In August 2001, when the Village Voice asked de Blasio whether he had been questioned in White’s pardons investigation, he refused to say yes or no, only adding, “I’m waiting to hear what’s going to happen with that.”

Whether or not de Blasio ever did, the public never has. But given his leadership of Clinton’s campaign (with a specific portfolio, as one former Clinton aide recently told The Times, of soothing “many of the prickly political factions in New York State,” not a reference to cabdrivers), the timely Spitzer donation, and his relationship with Adler, it is almost impossible to conceive of the possibility that de Blasio did not at least know about New Square’s strategy for obtaining presidential pardons by showering Clinton with symbolically significant Jewish support—or, at most, participate in that strategy by helping procure for Twersky and Spitzer a much-desired visit to the White House to plead their case. Spitzer’s and, more recently and more extensively, Adler’s continued patronage of de Blasio’s political career at least gives the impression that the central figures of the New Square pardons episode remain deeply grateful toward Clinton’s former campaign manager, as they are towards this year’s Democratic candidate for Rockland County Executive, David Fried, another former Clinton aide who helped orchestrate the relationship between the village and the campaign at the time and has been endorsed by the ex-president. Either Spitzer and Adler are rewarding Fried and de Blasio for services rendered or they just happen to be supporting, financially and otherwise, the candidates who thirteen years ago were perfectly positioned to have helped them accomplish what was then their most urgent political—and for the New Square leaders, religious—goal.

In response to a series of questions about New Square and Paul Adler, de Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan wrote: “Bill is proud of his time working for the Clinton Administration and on Hillary’s Senate campaign. The facts clearly show he had no involvement in this matter.”

***

In 1997, when four Skverers—three from New Square and one from Brooklyn—were arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government, the village refused to participate in the investigation. At one point a mob surrounded  federal agents trying to serve subpoenas. Three other men, including a founder of the village and the mayor’s son, fled to Israel, though those two were later caught and convicted. According to the Talmud, “pidyon shvuyim”—releasing Jewish captives held by gentiles—is one of the most important mitzvahs in Jewish law, and by the summer of 2000, the Skverer community was desperate to spring the men from prison.

Meanwhile, Clinton was struggling in her race against Lazio, having a hard time defeating the “carpet-bagger” label in her newly adopted home state, as well as a general Clinton fatigue. Worse, the Jewish community was apoplectic over the news that the First Lady embraced and kissed Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, just after she slurred Israel, and a new book was out claiming that as a 26-year-old, Clinton had allegedly yelled “You fucking Jew bastard!” at the manager of her then-boyfriend Bill’s unsuccessful 1974 congressional campaign in Arkansas. It became de Blasio’s job to make sure Jewish leaders like Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a longtime Brooklyn macher, at the very least didn’t publicly endorse Lazio.

But for Rockland County there was Adler, who knew the soft spot in the ordinarily Republican-voting Hasidic front. On August 8th, Adler coordinated the candidate’s visit to New Square. Clinton, wearing a head covering and a long black skirt, met with Twersky, Spitzer, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and assorted Rockland County leaders at the rabbi’s home. The community “embraced her with a warmth that surprised and delighted her campaign team,” The Daily News reported the following year.

As Clinton’s efforts to woo Twersky intensified, the rabbi hatched a strategy to achieve his one goal: winning the release of his four followers from prison. On August 25th, two weeks after Clinton’s visit, a Manhattan appeals court rejected a motion to overturn the convictions. With Adler, Clinton visited New Square again in mid-September, and according to two different accounts, one given to the News and one to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, it was either that month or the next when Twersky told Nathan Lewin, the Orthodox Washington lawyer representing the convicted villagers, of his plan to deliver overwhelming support in New Square for Clinton’s Senate bid in order to convince her husband to grant pardons—or at least commutations—to the four men. “I thought he was out of his mind,” Lewin recalled to the News at the time. (In a phone call, Lewin denied having had any knowledge of the rabbi’s plan.)

But sure enough, commutations of the men’s sentences were among the nearly 177 pardons and other remissions Bill Clinton granted during his final days in office. Newly installed as a senator, Hillary Clinton denied reports that she had attended a meeting before the election at which Twersky’s request for pardons was discussed. “Sen. Clinton doesn’t recall ever being present during any discussion of clemency for the New Square people prior to December 2000,” Clinton’s lawyer in the case, David Kendall, told the Daily News. In March 2001, FBI investigators visited the New Square Village Hall and Israel Spitzer’s home. Silver, several Rockland officials, and numerous Clinton staffers—some of whom launched legal defense funds for themselves—testified before a grand jury with lawyers provided and paid for by an unidentified source. But White’s successor as U.S. Attorney, James Comey (now head of the FBI), closed the investigation in 2002, without filing any charges, after 9/11 prompted a redistribution of resources and George W. Bush decided it was bad karma to go after his predecessor.

***

Meanwhile, on September 12th, 2000, just a day after being mentioned by The New York Post’s Fred Dicker as a possible replacement for the outgoing state party chair, Adler had been arrested and charged with embezzling at least $375,000 in corrupt real estate deals through bribery, extortion, and mail fraud, including $135,500 for “public relations consulting work” from the developer of the massive Palisades Center mall in West Nyack, which he then funneled through a shell company. According to the complaint, Adler told associates, “If you can’t help your friends, then why get into some of these positions?’” He added that he had not become chairman of the county party to “lose money.” The schemes were similar to the one that in 1987 led to charges against Adler and two associates of bribery and conspiracy to defraud the state government of $20 million in a complicated real estate deal involving a business partner of Governor Mario Cuomo’s son, Andrew; Adler was acquitted on all charges. This time, he was represented by the Bronx-based lawyer Murray Richman, who has made an illustrious career of defending mobsters. (In 2009, Richman bragged to filmmaker Errol Morris: “I had a trial in which my client stabbed the guy in the back four times—uh, no, uh, seven times—and my defense was he kept backing into the knife. And the jury bought it!”)

Responding to demands from Lazio that Clinton return Adler’s donations, a spokeswoman for the First Lady said, “Hillary knows that this is a difficult time for Paul and his family and she wishes them well.” Though the two inquiries were kept separate, as part of the Southern District investigation into Clinton’s pardons the FBI seized two boxes of documents from the Rockland County Democratic Party headquarters, dated 1996-2000: the exact years of Adler’s term as party chair. He faced up to 60 years in prison, but was sentenced to only 19 months in medium-security Otisville penitentiary in a plea bargain his lawyers were careful to assure the Times did not include cooperation with the pardons investigation. In the Post Jack Newfield reported that it was the non-Orthodox Adler who, on that Shabbat morning in January, delivered the news about the commutations to New Square, which Adler’s lawyer denied.

It isn’t clear how much of the New Square portfolio fell to de Blasio in Adler’s absence during the final months of Clinton’s Senate campaign. But it was clearly de Blasio who benefited most from the financial largesse of the community, when Twersky’s aide Spitzer donated $2,500 to what was widely seen as a long-shot run for an open City Council seat in Brooklyn. The district—Brooklyn’s 39th—straddled Park Slope and Borough Park, the urban stronghold of ultra-Orthodox leaders. But the Skverers represent a vanishingly small part of the Borough Park community, and participate almost not at all in its power structure. While Spitzer’s father, Avraham Chaim Spitzer, is a rabbi whose shul is in Borough Park, the synagogue is not in de Blasio’s district. Besides his $2,500 donation to de Blasio’s 2001 council race; a $250 donation to de Blasio’s 2005 re-election bid; and a $3,850 donation to his 2009 public advocate campaign, Spitzer has never before or since donated to a New York City political candidate. Not in Borough Park, not anywhere, not ever: Spitzer’s financial interest in city politics is wholly restricted to de Blasio’s career.

If you are Israel Spitzer, why donate to the nascent, long-shot bid for city council—a city, of course, which you don’t live in—by the guy who just ran the Senate campaign of a woman whose husband is President of the United States and therefore has the unilateral power to grant your most dire political wish? Was he buying access to the Clintons through de Blasio?

“There is no connection whatsoever,” Spitzer said when reached by phone last week. “My relationship to Bill de Blasio is as a councilman and public advocate. We have institutions all over, in Borough Park, in Williamsburg. New Square is not just New Square.”

Did you meet de Blasio when he was working on Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign?

“It has nothing to do with the Senate campaign or Hillary. We know him through various activities over the years.”

Your first donation to de Blasio came just a month after the end of Hillary’s campaign, and two weeks before your meeting at the White House with the Clintons.

“I was introduced to him when he decided to run for office, and I thought he was the right candidate.”

“What people may see is obvious,” says Alexander Rapoport, a de Blasio supporter who runs Masbia, a network of kosher soup kitchens that cater to the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn. “Obviously, they did vote for her and they were pardoned. They don’t need for explanation. The eye sees what it sees.”

***

“We are supporting him 100%,” Spitzer says of de Blasio’s current campaign. “Not with financial support, but with access support, other support. We’re helping get communities to endorse him.”

Indeed, though he has given $2,500 to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 re-election bid, Spitzer has not yet contributed money to de Blasio’s mayoral race.

But Paul Adler has.

For a while after his release, in 2004, Adler kept a low-profile, but as the Rockland County Times noted in March, he has been staging a major comeback in the past three years, winning awards for philanthropy from the Rockland Development Council and for service to the Rockland Business Association, and serving on the boards of several Jewish community organizations. Adler has also regained his real estate license—impossible for a convicted felon in many states—and was hired in 2010 as a vice-president of Rockland-based Rand Commercial, where he tends to blend economic and political boosterism in equal parts. While Adler’s interests may be tangled, they rarely seem to conflict.

Rand Commercial is the leading firm invested in properties adjacent to the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement—Gov. Cuomo’s signature infrastructure project—and Adler has served as chief promoter for the project in local media. “It is pretty clear that when we build it, they will come,” Adler has said—a revealing use of the personal plural. “Business creates more business.” Rand has an entire website devoted to the new bridge, listing newly valuable properties for lease near the site, trumpeting Cuomo’s declarations of its necessity, and promising an economic windfall for adjacent communities. Any information Adler may have been privy to related to the bridge’s construction could have been easily and lucratively parlayed into business for Rand Commercial, but perhaps it is only attributable to coincidence or a keen sense for timing that Adler brokered the deal that will move the state police and New York State Thruway Authority facilities to a vacant warehouse owned by a Rand client in West Nyack.

Adler has also championed a projected desalination plant on the Hudson River proposed by United Water, serving the company as an advocate, pressing Rockland officials and community groups like the NAACP to support the plant over the objections of environmentalists, while encouraging the Cuomo administration to approve it. He was also recently admitted to the bar, which requires letters of recommendation vouching that the candidate possesses “the necessary character to justify the trust and confidence that clients, the public and the legal system will place in them.” Bar applications are sealed and confidential under state law.

This summer, when former state senator Nicholas Spano—who worked at Rand before being convicted of tax fraud in 2012—sought a judge’s permission to communicate with his fellow ex-con, a local paper quoted Adler advising Spano to think of redemption as “really a journey, not a destination.”

Adler’s journey has included a sharp spike in political fundraising activities—an activity the Adlers never seem to have taken much interest in before his arrest, and is perhaps an attempt to buy back the influence he lost. Since 2005, the Adler household has sprinkled more than $50,000 among dozens of local, state, and federal campaigns—including to Andrew Cuomo. He has held events at his home for Rep. Nita Lowey, a Westchester Democrat, and earlier this month hosted a major fundraiser for David Fried, the Democratic candidate for Rockland County Executive and a former White House advance aide for the Clintons who grew up in nearby Spring Valley, adjacent to New Square. A person who was involved in Rockland politics at the time said that in the fall of 2000, with Adler in prison, Fried pressed those who controlled the president’s schedule to fit in a visit to New Square, just across the Hudson from Chappaqua, where the Clintons had bought a home to facilitate Hillary’s Senate bid. According to the person, who is backing Fried in his current campaign, Fried was on the phone with Spitzer constantly at the time. Bill Clinton endorsed Fried earlier this year, saying he “worked closely” with the advance aide, and in the September primary New Square took the extraordinary step of splitting their usual bloc vote, throwing enough votes to Fried to defeat his opponent Ilan Schoenberger, the village’s long-time political patron who also attended the August 2000 meeting with Hillary Clinton.

The Facebook page for last Sunday’s “Democratic Unity Event” for Fried at Adler’s palatial home in New City, a secular community a few minutes’ drive from New Square, said “Everyone is welcome,” and the open door on a drizzly Sunday morning seemed to emphasize the point. In her rousing speech (“We need someone who’s gonna take us out of this darkness and into the light!”), Kristen Stavisky, Adler’s successor as Democratic county chair, named and drew applause for all the “electeds” in the room—all the public officials, that is, including sitting judges, willing to attend a fundraiser in a disgraced ex-convict’s home: David Carlucci, state senator; James Skoufis, assemblyman; Ellen Jaffee, assemblywoman; Christopher St. Lawrence, Mayor of Ramapo (whose town hall was raided in May by the FBI, investigating the construction of a widely-scorned baseball stadium midwifed, according to Skriloff and others, by Adler); Louis Falco, Rockland County Sherriff; and many more. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent a staffer. When Adler took the floor he especially called out New Square’s Spitzer, standing just to the side, for recognition. I can tell you that I’ve personally spoken with the governor,” Adler told a captivated room. “The governor will be in to campaign on this. Senator Schumer will be in. Senator Gillibrand will be in. The entire state delegation is going to be down here.”

“I don’t think candidates for political office should actively seek and obtain support, including financial, from a convicted federal felon,” says Michael Bongiorno, who as Rockland County District Attorney in 2000 helped put Adler behind bars. “I think it shows extremely poor judgment on the part of anyone who does so.”

“He is very involved with the community,” Fried says, explaining his willingness to accept Adler’s support. “He was recently admitted as an attorney, which required passage of the ‘Character and Fitness’ test. He is one of the largest donors to community programs and agencies including the JCC, and he is very involved with numerous organizations that are important to me.”

Last week, as Hillary Clinton hosted the Roosevelt Hotel event for de Blasio, her husband attended a fundraiser for Fried. Despite his $25,000 co-chairmanship of the de Blasio fundraiser, rumor has it Adler attended Fried’s. Through a spokesman, Fried declined a follow-up request for comment about his role in obtaining the New Square commutations.

“Adler is part of a small cabal that controls Rockland County,” says Robert Rhodes, a self-described left-wing Democrat who is president of the anti-developers group Preserve Ramapo, which has endorsed Fried’s Republican opponent Ed Day in the county executive race. “He’s a guy who goes to prison, then comes back here raising money for the county Democratic machine.”

***

And not only for the county machine.

Last January, the day before formally declaring his candidacy for the mayoral race, de Blasio wrote on Facebook, “My family is making a very important announcement at our home in Park Slope tomorrow.” Adler’s comment, the very first on the page, was simple: “Good luck.”

But Adler knew it would take more than luck to elect the long-shot de Blasio, having already hosted a Rockland County meet-and-greet for the candidate at his home and, along with Clinton alum Harold Ickes, co-chaired a high-dollar fundraiser for de Blasio at the Waldorf Astoria in 2010, widely seen as the first public hint of de Blasio’s mayoral aspirations and of Clintonian support. Adler has donated $1,500 so far to the mayoral campaign, while his wife Mary and son Samuel, who both also happen to work for Rand Commercial, have donated $4,950 and $250 to de Blasio, respectively, and their daughter, who was hired by Gov. Cuomo as a press officer for the state’s economic development agency, has donated $425. Adler attended de Blasio’s victory party in Gowanus on primary night last month.

Written by Adler and graced with his visage, the official Twitter feed of Rand Commercial—which does not handle city-based properties—spends a lot of time concerned with the New York City mayoral campaign:

Reached by phone, Adler praised de Blasio’s “very progressive mindset” and declared his belief that “the winds are blowing for change.” When asked whether de Blasio played any role in the New Square pardons, Adler said Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager “didn’t have anything to do with that, he had nothing to do with anything.” Asked whether he recalled de Blasio attending any meetings between Clinton and the village leaders, Adler said no, called this reporter “sleazebag” twice, and hung up.

The response de Blasio spokesman Dan Levitan e-mailed did not address questions concerning Paul Adler—including whether the candidate has ever discussed New Square with him. A subsequent request for comment has not been returned.

But on Monday, when Adler sent his announcement about chairing the Clinton/de Blasio fundraiser—from his Rand Commercial e-mail account—he wrote:

We are all inextricably linked together, so let’s be active participants in making history once again.

I know I am always asking to you to support this cause or that candidate, but, we always seem to in the right place at the right time, and this time is no exception.

Richard Kreitner is a writer and researcher in New York City. He is on Twitter at @richardkreitner and can be reached at richard.kreitner [at] gmail.com.

Source

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

After Gaza Power Plant Forced off, Humanitarian Conditions in the Gaza Strip Deteriorate

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights | November 9, 2013

Occupied Palestine – The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses deep concern over the deterioration of humanitarian conditions of the civilian population due to the aggravation of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.

On Friday morning, 01 November 2013, the operation of the Gaza power plant was totally stopped due to the lack of fuel required for its operation.  PCHR is deeply concerned that the current crisis may impact the access of 1.7 million Palestinians to vital services, including the supply of drinking water, and that this crisis may result in the suspension of work in some vital sectors, such as health, sanitation and education.

According to PCHR’s follow-up of the chronic power crisis in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Energy Authority in Gaza announced that the operation of the Gaza Power plant was totally stopped on Friday morning, 01 November 2012. The Energy Authority claimed that its counterpart in Ramallah stopped the fuel supplies required to operate the power plant and its requested taxes on the price of fuel.  However, the Energy Authority in Gaza announced its inability to pay taxes on the price of the industrial fuel.  On the other hand, the Energy Authority in Ramallah refused to provide any new fuel supplies required for operating the power plant resulting in the total lack of fuel and the shutdown of the plant.

The shutdown of the Gaza plant power has left serious consequences on the humanitarian conditions of the Gaza Strip’s population due to the deficit in daily needs of power in Gaza.  The Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) in Gaza was forced to increase the hours of power outages on houses and vital facilities from 8 to 12 hours daily.  Thus, the schedule, which is applied, based on which power will be distributed for six hours and then cut off for 12 hours resulting in further deterioration in humanitarian conditions of the Gaza Strip’s population.  It should be mentioned that the power plant was providing around 65 megawatts during the years of its reparation and rehabilitation after being targeted and destroyed by Israeli forces in June 2006.  The power plant had worked since June 2012 to produce around 100 megawatts.  The Gaza Energy Authority stated that the electricity is provided to the Gaza Strip as follows: 120 megawatts from Israel and 27 megawatts supplied by Egypt.

The Gaza power plant has been suffering from a significant decrease in fuel supplies required for its operation coming from Egypt through tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border, as the supplies have almost completely stopped for around 2 months.  As a result, the Energy Authority in Gaza purchased fuel from Israel through its counterpart in Ramallah.  At that time, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah exempted fuel purchases from taxes.  However, the Energy Authority in Ramallah demanded its counterpart in Gaza to pay the taxes on the fuel supplies due to the PA’s current financial crisis.  The Energy Authority in Gaza refused to pay those taxes claiming that it cannot afford paying them.

PCHR has been following the power crisis consequences in the Gaza strip since the power plant stopped operating after Israeli forces targeted and destroyed it in June 2006 resulting in catastrophic impacts on the power supplies in the Gaza Strip.  PCHR has been also following the impacts of the ongoing Palestinian political split, whose two parties failed to find solutions that take into account the best interests of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and stop the deterioration of humanitarian conditions and provide of their electrical power needs and fuel required to operate the Gaza plant power.  PCHR is deeply concerned over further deterioration of civilians’ humanitarian conditions as the power crisis has affected all civilians’ daily life needs and violated their right to access to basic and necessary services, including access to health facilities and to treatment, access to educational institutions, including schools and universities, and access to water services, including drinking water in homes and all other vital services.

Through continuous follow-up of the effects of the aggravation of the power crisis, PCHR has observed serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation from which the residents of Gaza are suffering:

·         About 1, 7 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are facing deficiencies in all walks of their daily life, which have affected their basic needs, including health services, access to water, environmental health services and ability to meet the educational needs of school and university students.

·         The deterioration of health conditions in the health facilities of the Gaza Strip due to inability to compensate the shortage of electricity for long hours on one hand, and their inability to provide fuel needed to run the alternative generators in these facilities on the other hand, in addition to breakdown of many machines and medical equipment at hospitals and health facilities of the Gaza Strip.

·         Hundreds of patients in the hospitals of the Gaza Strip face serious health risks as the medical equipment are not run regularly, especially in the intensive care units and other medical units like heart and kidney units.

·         Local bodies, including municipalities and village councils, are unable to provide alternative fuel to ensure the workflow of their vital facilities serving the population of the Gaza Strip, including water and sanitation facilities. Citizens’ complaints started to resound because of their inability to get water in their houses, especially in high buildings.

·         Different bakeries in the Gaza Strip said that they partially stopped working due to the long hours of power outage and the shortage of the fuel needed to run the machines. One can notice overcrowding for long hours in front of bakeries in order to get the basic needs.

·         Educational facilities in universities and educational institutions are suffering serious disorder, which led to the inactivity of many educational laboratories and the postponement of some educational assignments due to electricity shortage and lack of alternative power sources. The aggravation of electricity crisis has coincided with the mid-term exams that started about a week ago in the schools and universities of the Gaza Strip. The majority of governmental schools is still without electricity and cannot provide the students with alternatives.

·         Hundreds of institutions and associations in the Gaza Strip had to postpone their activities and programs due to the electricity shortage all day and their inability to provide alternative power sources to run their machines and equipment.

·         The suffering of the population of the Gaza Strip has seriously aggravated, especially those living in high buildings and who depend on elevators in the ascending and descending from their apartments. Dozens of residents, including elderly people and patients with chronic diseases have been greatly affected.

PCHR is following the power crisis in the Gaza Strip with grave concern and:

1.       Calls on all concerned parties, including the Palestinian government in Ramallah, the Palestinian government in Gaza and the Electricity Distribution Company in Gaza to make efforts to provide the fuel needed to run the power plant and ensure its workflow with no cessation;

2.       Warns of the serious consequences of the stoppage of the power plant on all vital sectors, including the basic services for about 1, 7 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, like drinking water supplies, disruption of health facilities, including hospitals and medical centers, in addition to the sewage plants and educational sectors.

3.       Calls on the international community to pressure Israel, the occupying power according to international humanitarian law, to lift the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip since June 2007, to fulfill their legal commitments towards the civilian population of the Gaza Strip and to ensure access to all the medicines, food, and basic services, including fuel supplies needed to run the Gaza Power Plant.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shin Bet Arrests Palestinian Journalist Returning from Egypt

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | November 9, 2013

mohammed abu khdeir

Palestinian journalist, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, secretly arrested by Shabak

Israel’s security services arrested Palestinian journalist, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, after he returned from a reporting trip to Egypt two days ago. Abu Khdeir, who reports for the Palestinian Al Quds and the Kuwaiti Al-Rai, was arrested at Ben Gurion airport when he arrived on a flight from Egypt.

News of his arrest is under Israeli gag.  Abu Khdeir, as is common in security cases, has been denied any contact with his attorney. During this period, the Shabak commonly “works over” suspects for information, using abusive techniques like sleep deprivation and hours-long stress-inducing interrogation techniques. That is why it’s critical to spread word of his arrest.

The Israeli court system is complicit in this abuse and in this case a Beersheva court has granted the Shabak request for a gag and ordered him detained without charge until November 13th. It’s also usual in these cases for remand to be extended without any real oversight by the court. You can expect the suspect to be detained as long as the Shabak wants him there.

After examples of behavior like this, it should be no surprise that Israel’s rankings on world press freedom indexes are quite low. Unfortunately, one of the few ways to fight such outrageous violations of freedom of the press is to report them here.

It’s entirely possible that this arrest is based on sheer spite, and is certainly entirely arbitrary. A year ago, the Palestinian journalist embarrassed the Shabak by refusing to cover a Hillary Clinton press conference to which he’d been invited. The Shabak agents who provide “security” for such events, demanded only Palestinian journalists pull down their pants before entering the press venue. Abu Khdeir refused along with several others.

An unnamed Israeli official told FoxNews, apparently with a straight face:

…Israel is trying to provide the best possible security for Clinton and that similar procedures are used at Western airports and in secure facilities in Western capitals.

Last I checked, no Israeli reporters were forced to disrobe before entering the White House to cover Bibi’s press conferences. This is a clear case of Reporting While Palestinian.  His recent arrest seems like a good example of payback.

The other possibility is that Abu Khdeir may’ve annoyed the Egyptian military junta during his visit by contacting figures from the Muslim Brotherhood. If he did so, Israel too would want to warn him that such contact with Islamists is considered an offense against Israeli state interests. Not that this is, or should be against the law.  But when you’re Palestinian there doesn’t have to be a law. Shabak is the law. You may’ve done something wrong, you may’ve gazed a moment too long into the eyes of the security official at Ben Gurion. There doesn’t have to be a reason.

The only thing we can be thankful for is that Shabak didn’t kidnap him inside Egypt as they did recently in the case of a Gazan who disappeared there and turned up in an Israeli jail, where he presumably still sits. But they knew they didn’t need to since he was returning via Ben Gurion, where they could nab him.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Palestinians have died since the resumption of negotiations

Palestine Information Center – 09/11/2013

AL-KHALIL — A statistics report prepared by Quds Press International news agency showed that fifteen Palestinians died since the resumption of the negotiations, three months ago.

The negotiation between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli occupation was resumed in Washington on July 30, for the first time after it had been frozen for three years. Yet the Israeli violations and attacks against Palestinian civilians and their properties and sanctuaries have continued.

The statistical report said that three Palestinians from the Jenin refugee camp died a few days after the resumption of the negotiating sessions, after being shot by Israeli forces.

The Israeli occupation forces have continued killing and attacking citizens and destroying Palestinian properties, indifferent to the ongoing negotiating sessions. On August 26, the IOF special forces committed a massacre in the Qalandiya refugee camp in Ramallah, wounding about 20 Palestinians and killing 3 others.

After the resumption of the negotiations, the Israeli army assassinated 4 Palestinian resistance fighters from the Qassam Brigades.

Quds Press’ report also pointed out that 3 Palestinian youths were killed during the last three months: Ahmed Tzazaah from the town of Qabatiya in Jenin after clashes with the occupation army, and Anas al-Atrash and Bashir Hababin after being shot by Israeli soldiers at Container and Za’atara checkpoints

The deliberate policy of medical neglect has also continued in the occupation jails and recently led to the death of patient captive Hassan al-Turabi from Nablus.

The PA has ignored Palestinian factions’ calls for ending the negotiations, in response to the occupation’s persistent crimes which have led in the past three months to the death of 15 Palestinians, detention of hundreds and displacement of large numbers of residents from their homes that had been confiscated or demolished, not to mention the Judaization projects that continue in Jerusalem unabated and the settlement plans which include the construction of more than 1,700 new housing units.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Kerry Opposes Draft Plan on Iran in Geneva – Source

RIA Novosti | November 9, 2013

GENEVA – US State Secretary John Kerry opposed a draft deal on Iran’s nuclear program during high-profile talks in Geneva, a source at the negotiations told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

Kerry held a snap meeting late Friday with representatives of Iran and the 5+1 group of international negotiators, which includes lower-ranking US diplomats.

Iran and the 5+1, which also comprises Russia, Britain, China, France and Germany, earlier drafted a step-by-step deal to lift sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a partial freeze of the Iranian nuclear program.

Kerry was to discuss the matter further on Saturday with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

The talks in Geneva were expected to break the lengthy stalemate on Iran’s nuclear program, whose peaceful nature is questioned by Western powers and Israel.

But the head of the French Foreign Ministry, Laurent Fabius, said Saturday that the Geneva talks may not end in a deal.

Iranian diplomats said earlier Tehran was ready for another round of talks in case the ongoing meeting yields no result.

Iran proposed last month to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent in exchange for lifting of sanctions starting with its banking industry and oil exports.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment