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Wall Street Journal Columnist Repeatedly Gets His Facts Wrong About NSA Surveillance

By Trevor Timm | EFF | November 27, 2013

Wall Street Journal columnist L. Gordon Crovitz wrote a misleading and error-filled column on NSA surveillance Monday, based on documents obtained by EFF through our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Since we’ve been poring over the documents for the last week, we felt it was important to set the record straight about what they actually reveal.


Edward Snowden thought he was exposing the National Security Agency’s lawless spying on Americans. But the more information emerges about how the NSA conducts surveillance, the clearer it becomes that this is an agency obsessed with complying with the complex rules limiting its authority.

That’s an interesting interpretation of the recently released documents, given that one of the two main FISA court opinions released says the NSA was engaged in “systemic overcollection” of American Internet data for years, and committed “longstanding and pervasive violations of the prior orders in this matter.” The court summarized what it called the government’s “frequent failures to comply with the [surveillance program’s] terms” and their “apparent widespread disregard of [FISA court imposed] restrictions.”


[The documents] portray an agency acting under the watchful eye of hundreds of lawyers and compliance officers.

Again, this is not what the actual FISA court opinions portray. “NSA’s record of compliance with these rules has been poor,” and “those responsible for conducting oversight failed to do so effectively,” FISA court Judge Bates wrote in the key opinion released last week. In another FISA court opinion from 2009, released two months ago, the NSA admitted that not a single person in the entire agency accurately understood or could describe the NSA’s whole surveillance system to the court.

It’s true that the number of compliance officers at the NSA has increased in recent years, but as the Washington Post reported, so has the number of privacy violations.


These documents disprove one of Mr. Snowden’s central claims: “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal email,” he told the Guardian, a British newspaper.

Here, Crovitz is setting up a strawman. Snowden wasn’t talking about the NSA’s legal authority, but their technical authority to conduct such searches. Snowden was likely referring to XKeyScore, which the Guardian reported allowed NSA analysts to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”

We actually have a specific example that proves Snowden’s point. As the New York Times reported in 2009, an NSA analyst “improperly accessed” former President Bill Clinton’s personal email. More recently, we’ve learned that the NSA analysts abused the agency vast surveillance powers to spying on ex-spouses or former lovers.


The NSA also released the legal arguments the Justice Department used in 2006 to justify collection of phone metadata-the telephone number of the calling and called parties and the date, time and duration of the call.

Metadata collection is about connecting the dots linking potential terrorist accomplices. The Clinton administration created barriers to the use of metadata, which the 9/11 Commission concluded let the terrorists avoid detection. Since then, metadata has helped stop dozens of plots, including an Islamist plan to blow up the New York Stock Exchange in 2008.

Again, not true. As Intelligence Committee members Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall have continually emphasized, there is “no evidence” that the phone metadata program is effective at stopping terrorists. Independent analyses have come to the same conclusion. When called out on that number in a Congressional hearing, even NSA Director Keith Alexander admitted the number was exaggerated.

The only “disrupted plot” the NSA can point to that was solely the work of the phone metadata program was a case where a man from San Diego sent a few thousand dollars to the al-Shabaab organization in Africa in 2008. In other words, the metadata did not disrupt an active terrorist plot inside the US at all.


The declassified brief from 2006 made clear that such metadata “would never even be seen by any human being unless a terrorist connection were first established,” estimating that “0.000025% or one in four million” of the call records “actually would be seen by a trained analyst.”

The major 2009 FISA court opinion released in September, that apparently Mr. Crovitz either didn’t read or conveniently left out of his piece, showed that the NSA had been systematically querying part of this phone records database for years for numbers that the agency did not have a “reasonable articulable suspicion” were involved in terrorism—as they were required to have by the FISA court. Of the more than 17,000 numbers that the NSA was querying everyday, the agency only had “reasonable articulable suspicion” for approximately 1,800 of them.

The FISA court concluded, five years after the metadata program was brought under a legal framework, that it had been “so frequently and systematically violated that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall…regime has never functioned effectively.”

These documents clearly do not paint a picture of an agency with a clean privacy record and a reputation for following court rules, as Mr. Crovitz claims, and in fact, they show why it is vital Congress passes substantive NSA reform immediately. You can go here to take action.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Comments Off on Wall Street Journal Columnist Repeatedly Gets His Facts Wrong About NSA Surveillance

Echoing Dirty Past, NSA Sought to Reveal Porn Habits to Discredit Targets

By Brett Max Kaufman | ACLU | November 27, 2013

In the five months since the world first learned of Edward Snowden, story after story based on documents disclosed by the young whistleblower have filled out a picture of the National Security Agency (NSA) as an organization with a limitless — and almost indiscriminate — hunger for information. Today, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim add a startling new dimension to that portrait by revealing that the agency has contemplated ways to use its troves of data to discredit and undermine individuals who the agency believes are “radicalizing others through incendiary speeches” but who lack any ties to actual criminality. The government is apparently seeking out “personal vulnerabilities” of these individuals, including their online sexual activity, hoping to expose them as hypocrites to their followers. While all of the targets are outside the United States, at least one of them is a U.S. person — meaning, either a citizen or a permanent resident.

As Greenwald notes, it’s a story that’s eerily reminiscent of past abuses of government surveillance authority. Greenwald’s new report does not provide evidence of the NSA marshaling its vast databases to influence individuals or events within the United States. But you need not be a conspiracy theorist or a novelist with a knack for bending history to imagine how granting the NSA the power to “collect it all” might have seriously chilling and destructive repercussions here at home.

In fact, the NSA appears to be taking this effort right out of the shameful playbook of our not-so-distant history. Most infamously, as part of the COINTELPRO program, J. Edgar Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obsessively monitored the activities of Martin Luther King, Jr., picking and choosing from the results to produce a report chock full of insinuations about King’s role in an evolving Communist conspiracy against the United States. Never mind that King unwaveringly espoused non-violence. It was King’s rising public stature and broadly influential political ideas that led the government to see him as a threat.

The FBI viewed no space as off limits. The agency consistently bugged King’s hotel rooms to monitor his planning of the 1963 March on Washington and to keep tabs on his strategic partnerships with other civil-rights leaders. But it also sought to compile a dossier of embarrassing information about King’s private sex life that the government could (and did) employ to discredit King and obstruct his political efforts.

King was not alone on the government’s long list of targets; he shared marquee billing with boxer Muhammed Ali, humorist Art Buchwald, author Norman Mailer, and even Senator Howard Baker. But the greater scandal was that — as the Church Committee revealed in 1976 — these big names appeared alongside more than one million other Americans, including half a million so-called “subversives.”

That is why, as disturbing as it is to read about the FBI’s sordid history of targeting domestic political “enemies,” the potential of the NSA to revive those tactics today (as exposed by Greenwald’s article) is alarming on a profoundly different scale. In the age of mass call-tracking and XKeyScore, hotel-room bugs seem almost quaint.

Indeed, Greenwald’s new story is a warning shot to those of us who have thus far ignored the Snowden revelations on the basis of having “nothing to hide.” As Greenwald makes clear, the subjects of the NSA’s newly exposed effort to target individuals with influence on social media have tangential (if any) ties to real terrorists or violent extremists. And as the ACLU has explained, the entire premise of the NSA’s focus on so-called “radicalizers” — the theory that a person’s adoption of what the government views as “radical” ideas is a step to terrorism — has been debunked. Intelligence programs based on that discredited theory are not just wrong, they’re ineffective. But they do very real damage to belief communities and political activists singled out for surveillance based on their views.

The efforts reported by Greenwald cut to the heart of the zone of expression and association that must remain free from intrusive, dragnet surveillance, both abroad and at home. In his very first public words, Snowden himself addressed the alarming consequences of the NSA’s hunger for obtaining and storing an incomprehensibly vast record of our lives:

Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded…[T]hey can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrong-doer.

In the months since the first Snowden revelations, few have managed to evoke the existential threat presented by unhinged NSA surveillance with such plain, direct force. In an instant, Greenwald’s new story has brought this surveillance nightmare— “collect it all” meets COINTELPRO — jarringly close to the here and now.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on Echoing Dirty Past, NSA Sought to Reveal Porn Habits to Discredit Targets

Can Right and Left Rally Against Walmart?

337112_protest against Wal-Mart

By Ralph Nader | November 28, 2013

One of the most profitable corporations in America is having a holiday food drive. Sounds good — it’s the least Corporate America can do for those struggling to make ends meet while big companies rake in record profits and give so little back. But wait… there’s a catch. The food drive is for the company’s own underpaid, poverty-stricken workers. You really can’t make this stuff up.

Last week, it was reported that a Walmart store in Canton, Ohio is asking for food donations for its own employees. Photos of the food donation bins circulated online showing signs that read: “Please donate food items here so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.” (That’s if they even have a chance to — Walmart stores are open on Thanksgiving and are beginning their “Black Friday” deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump on the holiday shopping madness.)

Walmart is America’s largest employer with a workforce consisting of 1.3 million “associates.” The company made nearly $17 billion in profit last year. So why can’t Walmart afford to pay its own store workers enough for them to enjoy a holiday meal with their families? The answer is Walmart doesn’t really care about its workers.

If the Walmart food donation drive doesn’t get you properly steamed, then consider that Walmart CEO, Mike Duke, makes approximately $11,000 an hour — he took home about $20.7 million last year, plus ample benefits. Still not mad? It has also recently been reported that Duke has a retirement package worth more than $113 million! That is 6,200 times larger than the average 401k savings of a non-executive level Walmart employee! (Check out this recent report which charts other massive CEO pensions in relation to those of average workers)

One final fact to really get your dander up — The Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, have accumulated more financial wealth than the entire bottom 40 percent of the population of the United States or 313 million Americans. That’s six Waltons worth a combined $102.7 billion!

No matter what one’s political leanings may be, the problem of massive income inequality and insatiable corporate greed is worsening year-by-year as CEO salaries rise, overall corporate profits soar and worker salaries stagnate. Liberal or conservative–all Americans should be outraged by this trend.

I recently wrote to conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist to bring both sides of the political spectrum together on this troubling issue. In the past, Mr. Norquist and I have backed popular, reasonable policies, such as putting the full text of government contracts online, rolling back corporate welfare and opposing the civil liberties restrictive Patriot Act. As someone who claims to care about taxpayer protection, the issue of poverty-level wages and their major effect on taxpayers should be an important issue for Mr. Norquist.

Here’s why — low wages at the 10 largest fast food chains cost taxpayers $3.8 billion per year. Fifty-two percent of families of fast food workers have to rely on government assistance. McDonald’s’ “McResource” help line goes so far as to advise workers who cannot make ends meet from their poverty-level wages to sign up for government food stamps and home heating assistance. Is it fair that taxpayers have to shell out $1.2 billion a year to subsidize McDonald’s paying its workers while the fast food giant rakes in $5.5 billion in profit?

Walmart is even worse — according to a study from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce study, a single Walmart Supercenter store in Wisconsin can cost taxpayers upwards of $1.75 million in public assistance programs. If taxpayers have to cover over $1 million for just one 300-employee superstore, consider how much Walmart is costing taxpayers each year at their 4,135 stores in the United States. According to the 2012 “Walmart Associate Benefits Book”, which is distributed to employees, the company also advises its workers about getting on public assistance. Is this a fair or reasonable burden on taxpayers as Walmart reports $17 billion in profits?

Over the past five years, Walmart has had enough excess funds to buy back billions in its own stock. Walmart reportedly spent $7.6 billion last year buying back its shares. These funds are enough to raise the salaries of the lowest paid workers by $5.83 an hour. Catherine Ruetschlin, policy analyst at Demos, stated in a recent release: “These share repurchases benefit an increasingly narrow group of people, including the six Walton family heirs. But buybacks do not improve the fundamentals of the firm. If the funds were used to raise the pay of Walmart’s 825,000 low paid workers, it would not harm the retailer’s competitive ability and would add no cost to the consumer.”

(See the recent report from Demos titled: “A Higher Wage is Possible”)

The quickest way to lessen reliance on food stamp, EITC and Medicaid outlays is to raise the federal minimum wage. Raising the wage has the backing of 80 percent of Americans, 69 percent of Republicans, and even writers from The National Review and The American Conservative magazines. So why isn’t there more rage from the other end of the political spectrum? Even Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney supported raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation — at least until Mitt Romney flip-flopped on the issue during the 2012 election.

The support of Grover Norquist and the Congressional followers of his no-tax pledge would be a significant boost for 30 million struggling workers who make less today than workers made in 1968, inflation adjusted. With a doubling in both worker productivity and the cost of living, there is no excuse for such a decline in their livelihoods.

Mr. Norquist, join this fight to protect taxpayers. Underpaid workers (who are also taxpayers) and their families need your support.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Can Right and Left Rally Against Walmart?

The Plot Thickens: Gaza is Flooded with Sewage and Conspiracies

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | November 27, 2013

The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the military-controlled Egyptian government. But something far more sinister is brewing.

This time, the collective punishment of Gaza arrives in the form of raw sewage that is flooding many neighborhoods across the impoverished and energy-chocked region of 360 km2 (139 sq mi) and 1.8 million inhabitants. Even before the latest crisis resulting from a severe shortage of electricity and diesel fuel that is usually smuggled through Egypt, Gaza was rendered gradually uninhabitable. A comprehensive UN report last year said that if no urgent action were taken, Gaza would be ‘unlivable’ by 2020. Since the report was issued in August 2012, the situation has grown much worse.

Over the years, especially since the tightening by Israel of the Gaza siege in 2007, the world has become accustomed to two realities: the ongoing multiparty scheme to weaken and defeat Hamas in Gaza, and Gaza’s astonishing ability to withstand the inhumane punishment of an ongoing siege, blockade and war.

Two infamous wars illustrate this idea: The first is Israel’s 22-day war of 2008-9 (killing over 1,400 Palestinians and wounding over 5,500 more) and the second is its more recent war of Nov 2012 – eight days of fighting that killed 167 Palestinians and six Israelis. In the second war, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi was still in power. For the first time in many years, Egypt sided with Palestinians. Because of this and stiff Palestinian resistance in Gaza, the strip miraculously prevailed. Gaza celebrated its victory, and Israel remained somewhat at bay – while of course, mostly failing to honor its side of the Cairo-brokered agreement of easing Gaza’s economic hardship.

In relative terms, things seemed to be looking up for Gaza. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was largely opened, and both Egypt and the Hamas governments were in constant discussions regarding finding a sustainable economic solution to Gaza’s many woes. But the ousting by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of President Morsi on July 3 changed all of that. The Egyptian military cracked down with vengeance by shutting down the border crossing and destroying 90-95 percent of all tunnels, which served as Gaza’s main lifeline and allowed it to withstand the Israeli siege.

Hopes were shattered quickly, and Gaza’s situation worsened like never before. Naturally, Cairo found in Ramallah a willing ally who never ceased colluding with Israel in order to ensure that their Hamas rivals were punished, along with the population of the strip.

Citing Gaza officials, the New York Times reported on Nov 21 that 13 sewerage stations in the Gaza Strip have either overflowed or are close to overflowing, and 3.5 million cubic feet of raw sewage find their way to the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. “The sanitation department may soon no longer be able to pump drinking water to Gaza homes,” it reported.

Farid Ashour, the Director of sanitation at the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities, told the Times that the situation is ‘disastrous’. “We haven’t faced a situation as dangerous as this time,” he said. But the situation doesn’t have to be as dangerous or disastrous as it currently is. It has in fact been engineered to be that way.

Gaza’s only power plant has been a top priority target for Israeli warplanes for years. In 2006 it was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, to be opened a year later, only to be destroyed again. And although it was barely at full capacity when it operated last, it continued to supply Gaza with 30 percent of its electricity needs of 400 megawatts. 120 megawatts came through Israel, and nearly 30 megawatts came through Egypt. The total fell short from Gaza’s basic needs, but somehow Gaza subsisted. Following the ousting of Morsi and the Egyptian military crackdown, the shortage now stands at 65 percent of the total.

In an interview with the UN humanitarian news agency, IRIN, James W. Rawley, the humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, depicted a disturbing scene in which the impact of the crisis has reached “all essential services, including hospitals, clinics, sewage and water pumping stations.”

Israelis on the other hand, have been doing just fine since the last military encounter with Hamas. “The past year was a great one,” the Economist quoted the commander of Israel’s division that ‘watches’ Gaza, Brigadier Michael Edelstein. Due to the massive drop in the number of rockets fired from Gaza in retaliation to Israeli attacks and continued siege (50 rockets this year, compared to 1,500 last year), “children in Israel’s border towns can sleep in their beds, not in shelters, and no longer go to school in armored buses,” according to the Economist on Nov 16.

“But Israel’s reciprocal promise to help revive Gaza’s economy has not been kept,” it reported. Israel has done everything it its power to keep Gaza in a crisis mode, from denying the strip solar panels so that they may generate their own electricity to blocking Gaza exports. “In the meantime, Gaza is rotting away.”

Desperate to find immediate remedies, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh issued new calls to Mahmoud Abbas for a unity government. “Let’s have one government, one parliament and one president,” Haniyeh said in a recent speech, as quoted by Reuters. A Fatah spokesman, Ahmed Assaf, dismissed the call for it “included nothing new.” Meanwhile, the PA decided to end its subsidy on any fuel shipped to Gaza via Israel, increasing the price to $1.62 per liter from 79 cents. According to Ihab Bessisso of the PA, the decision to rescind Gaza’s tax exemption on fuel was taken because sending cheap fuel to Gaza “was unfair to West Bank residents,” according to the Times.

But fairness has little to with it. Reports by the Economist, Al Monitor and other media speak of Egyptian efforts to reintroduce Gaza’s former security chief and Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan to speed-up the anticipated collapse of the Hamas government. Al Monitor reported on Nov 21 that Dahlan, a notorious Fatah commander who was defeated by Hamas in 2007 because of, among other reasons, his close ties with Israeli intelligence, had met with General al-Sisi in Cairo. Evidently, the purpose is to oust Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But the question is how? Some “suggest that a Palestinian brigade mustered in al-Arish could march on Gaza and, with Egyptian support, defeat the broad array of Hamas forces created in the last decade.”

With Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood out of the picture, at least for now, Gaza is more vulnerable than ever. Some of Abbas’s supporters and certainly Dahlan’s may believe that the moment to defeat their brethren in Gaza is now.

Ramzy Baroud ( is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of His latest book is: My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Plot Thickens: Gaza is Flooded with Sewage and Conspiracies

In A World of Chaos: Gaza’s Watar Band Seeking Love, Peace and Freedom

By Samah Sabawi | Palestine Chronicle | November 27, 2013

Gaza’s new music sensation Watar Band has just released their latest song and it is making a lot of noise! The song Dawsha which literally translates to noise is a reminder to the world that creative rhythm and harmony still exist in Gaza despite the chaos and the depressive realities that prevail not only within the tiny strip but in the region as a whole.

I interviewed Watar Band’s lyricist Hassan Nigim about the song, the band and the triumphs and tribulations of making music in Gaza:

Samah Sabawi: Thanks Hassan for talking with me. I understand this is a very busy time for you as you prepare to release your video clip for Dawsha. Tell me how important is this work for you?

Hassan Nigim: Thanks for the interview Samah, we appreciate your support. I believe this work is very important even though it started as a hobby, I have worked hard to improve my skills and have been blessed with the support of my friends especially the Egyptian poet ( lyricist) Khaled Tag Al Deen who wrote many songs for super star singers like Amr diab, samira saed, Nawal Alzoghbi, Hamaki, and others. His support has been instrumental and we’d like to thank him for being the first to share our song on his FB fans page.

SS: What inspired you to write Dawsha?

HN: I got my inspiration from people’s experiences and from my own personal experiences as well. I wrote the lyrics for Dawsha when I came home to Gaza this year after completing my university degree in Egypt. I wanted to describe how we live and what we feel and do in a few simple words. The song is not just about us in Gaza but it is also about how we in most of the Arab World live these days…

SS: I noticed the song express both hope and despair at the same time. Was this contradiction deliberate?

HN: Yes. It’s important to give people hope that one day they can find love and freedom and that they can reach their dreams.

SS: There are no women in your band. What is it like for female artists in Gaza especially within the music scene?

HN: True, there are no women in our band but there is a female artist who sang with our band at the Centre Culturel Français (CCF) concert, Sara abu Ramadan, she sang a French song. We also had five young girls singing a part of the song Dawsha and you can see them in the video clip. There are more and more talented girls in Gaza who have started to learn music, but for sure there are still some people who hold on to old traditions and who are not supportive of women in music.

SS: What would you say is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of making music in Gaza?

HN: The biggest obstacles that stand in our way at a personal level as well as an artistic one are daily problems everyone else encounters in Gaza like electricity shortages… but on top of that, I would say we don’t have much support from the media and we need that in order to publicize our work. As it stands, we do our own publicity. We also don’t have professional producers here, we don’t have enough instruments for our band, and we don’t have advanced studios to do the recordings in.

SS: Describe how an average week in your life looks?

HN: All of us in Watar Band are well educated. I’m a Biomedical Engineer, we have 2 doctors, an IT engineer and music teachers. We all have jobs even though as you know in Gaza it is hard to find employment, but we are hard workers and most of us have lived in different countries and were educated outside Gaza. An average day in a week is usually full. First we go to work, then we play sport and after that we meet for coffee and discuss our plans, projects and music. We would like to practice daily, but unfortunately we often face hurdles that get in the way. Some are personal problems with work and family commitments … etc. But the biggest hurdle is usually finding a place to practice. So whenever we get a chance to practice at the music school here in Gaza we make sure we don’t miss that chance. Sometimes we have to wait a long time for the opportunity to come. For example, when we worked on Dawsha, the melody came to us while we were sitting in a restaurant but we waited a long time to get access to the studio before we could record it.

SS: What message does your band want to send to the world?

HN: We want to say to the world that love, peace and freedom are in our thoughts and in our dreams. We want the world to see the positive side of our people the beautiful side of our country and culture. We want them to know that we have the right as human beings to live in peace, love and freedom. We also want to give hope to our people and to the whole world that this dream is possible.

Dawsha was composed by Alaa Shuplaq and Khamis Abushaban, arranged by Anas Alnajar, with lead singer Alaa Shuplaq on vocals. Solo Classic Guitar was performed by Dr. Mohanad El Hadad, solo Electric Guitar performed by Mohammed Lomani with Eyad Abulila on drums. The video clip was directed by Ahmed Nasr.

Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian writer, playwright and commentator currently residing in Australia.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

The War of Narratives: Bringing Truth to Middle East Crisis


If Joshua did not conquer Jericho, was there any conquest?
By Dan Lieberman | Palestine Chronicle | November 27, 2013

The Narrative Challenge

The war of narratives shaped as a “slam dunk” win for the Palestinian people, and had the potential to change the lineup of forces in the struggle for a just solution to the Middle East crisis. After all, unlike the Zionists, the Palestinians are a singular people, speak a common language, have common customs, and lived a shared history. They inhabited the area for centuries, if not for millennia, and tilled and watered the land to which they had legal title. Western nations restructured the Middle East, denied the Palestinians a country, and placed them in a British Mandate. Refusal to agree to surrendering any of their lands to the UN Partition Plan led to the catastrophe in 1948 (Al-Nakba), which left them stateless and subject to Israeli occupation and oppression. As a community, the Palestinians are now headed toward destruction. Can they prevent that destruction by winning the war of narratives?

A Palestinian Negligence

Despite their more compelling narrative, the Palestinians have been unable to successfully articulate their experiences or implement a powerful rebuttal to Israel’s narrations, and Israel has prevailed in the war of narratives, a feat that defies the possible. Adding to the failure is the perplexing manner by which Palestinian institutions and persons unknowingly validate portions of the Zionist narrative and its falsifications of history. As an example, this excerpt appears on the website of the Palestine center, the foremost Palestinian “think tank” in Washington, DC:

The Canaanites were the earliest known inhabitants of Palestine. They became urbanized and lived in city-states, one of which was Jericho. Thus Jericho is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth.

“The Israelites, a confederation of Hebrew tribes, defeated the Canaanites, but found the struggle with the Philistines more difficult. The Philistines had established an independent state on the southern coast of Palestine and controlled the Canaanite town of Jerusalem. The Philistines were superior in military organization to the Israelites [and] severely defeated them about 1050 BCE.

“David, Israel’s king, united the Hebrew tribes and eventually defeated the Philistines. The three groups assimilated with each other over the years. The unity of Israelite tribes enabled David to establish a large independent state, with its capital at Jerusalem. However, that did not last long as that state split into two: Israel in the north and Judea in the south.

Unknowingly, The Palestine Center has published a dubious biblical history, which Israel’s propagandists use to advantage. History and archaeology contest the presentation:

(1) Jericho, one of the earliest cities, no longer existed at the time of the later Canaanites (it eventually recovered), which means it was not continually inhabited, and there was no Jericho for Joshua, and probably no conquest by a Joshua of other tribes.

(2) The Exodus, Conquest and lives of David and Solomon are myths. If a David and/or Solomon existed, they were minor chieftains and not leaders with a capital in Jerusalem.

Exodus and Lack of Proof

Although the ancient Egyptians kept meticulous records, no manuscripts, drawings or documents describe Hebrew slaves in Egypt or an exodus. Besides, Egypt was not, as Rome, a slave state and only kept foreigners captured in war as slaves. If they wandered 40 years in the desert, would not the 100,000 plus Hebrews have left some traces for future collaboration – pottery shards, implements, shreds of garments, or weapons? If they had the latter, which they needed for conquest, how were they obtained or forged? Lastly, because the earliest examples of written Hebrew date from the 10th century B.C. would not the Hebrews, after being captive in Egypt for centuries, have spoken and written a Middle Egyptian language? What language did they speak?

Did Joshua Assault Jericho?

Archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, in her book Digging up Jericho: The Results of the Jericho Excavations, 1952-1956, Praeger, New York, estimated the city was destroyed before 1550 BC, 150 years prior to Joshua’s supposed arrival, and remained dormant until the 11th century B.C.  Radiocarbon tests by Hendrink J. Burns, Tell es-Sultan (Jericho): Radiocarbon results of short-lived cereal and multiyear charcoal samples from the end of the middle Bronze age, Jacob Blaustein, Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, confirmed Ms. Kenyon’s conclusions.

Jericho: Was There any Conquest?

The most definitive rebuttal to biblical history before the 9th century B.C. comes from recognized Tel Aviv University archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, who documented their explorations in The Bible Unearthed : Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Their archaeological diggings demonstrated that “the Israelites were simply Canaanites who developed into a distinct culture. Recent surveys of long-term settlement patterns in the Israelite heartlands show no sign of violent invasion or even peaceful infiltration, but rather a sudden demographic transformation about 1200 BCE in which villages appear.”

Finkelstein and Silberman continue with discoveries, which “suggest that Jerusalem was sparsely populated and only a village during the time of David and of Solomon. During the time of Solomon, the northern kingdom of Israel had an insignificant existence, too poor to be able to pay for a vast army, and with too little bureaucracy to be able to administer a kingdom, certainly not an empire.” It was not until the eighth century B.C., 200 years after David, that Jerusalem began to grow.

Control of Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s status is furiously debated in “balanced” discussions. Israel demands total control of a “united city,” which it claims is essential to its heritage, and Palestinians are willing to defer to Jerusalem becoming a shared city. In these “balanced” meetings, the Palestinians cannot gain the offensive, and are unable to obtain a reply to a simple question: Why are Jews allowed to settle in East Jerusalem and reclaim a few dubious properties, while Palestinians are not allowed to settle in West Jerusalem and regain multitudes of usurped properties?

Examine the Holy Basin. The Holy Basin contains well-marked Christian and Muslim institutions and holy places that have had historical placement for more than a millennium – Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Al Asqua Mosque, Dome of the Rock, and Mosque of Omar.

Although Hebrews had major presence in Jerusalem during the centuries of biblical Jerusalem, which included rule by several kingdoms and control by the Hasmonean dynasties, their control and major presence were interrupted between the kingdom and dynasty and became insignificant after 70 A.D. Commentary has enabled the more than two thousand years of lack of control and presence to seem as if they never happened, and that today is only a short interval from the ancient years of King Hezekiah. Centuries of Christian and Crusader rule and more than one thousand years of Muslim rule are less noted, and their tremendous constructions and creations in Jerusalem are downplayed. The Christian and Muslim everythings become nothing and a minor Hebrew something becomes everything. Myth replaces reality. Ethereal spirituality replaces physical presence.

Some remains of Jewish dwellings, burial grounds and ritual baths can be found, but few, if any, major Jewish monuments, buildings or institutions from the Biblical era exist within the “Old City” of today’s Jerusalem. The oft cited Western Wall is the supporting wall for Herod’s platform and is not directly related to the Second Temple. No remains of that Temple have been located.

The Western Wall, which erroneously entered the vernacular as the Wailing Wall by someone during the 19th century, is considered to be close to the “holiest of the holies,” the most revered site in Judaism. According to historian Karen Armstrong, in her book Jerusalem, Ballantine Books; April 29, 1997, Jews did not pray at this part of the Western Wall until the Mamluks in the 15th century allowed them to move their congregations from a dangerous Mount of Olives and pray daily at the Wall. At that time, she estimates that there may have been no more than 70 Jewish families in Jerusalem.

This portion of the Western Wall lacks absolute proof of its being close to the “holiest of the holies,” and therefore has religious significance by default – there is no other readily apparent religious construction from the ancient Hebrew’s Jerusalem. Or, is it significant because Israel wants control of part of the wall that surrounds the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, a site it hopes to control one day?

In an attempt to connect ancient Israel to present day Jerusalem, Israeli authorities apply spurious labels to Holy Basin landmarks.

•    Neither King David’s Tower nor King David’s Citadel relate to the time of King David.
•    Neither the Pools of Solomon nor the Stables of Solomon relate to the time or life of King Solomon.
•    Absalom’s Tomb is an obvious Greek sculptured edifice and therefore cannot be the tomb of David’s son.

Why should anyone acquiesce to Israel’s demand for incorporating all of a Jerusalem that has no ancient religious institution standing? The answer is conditioning – the constant repetitions of “If I forsake thee Jerusalem,” and “Jerusalem is indivisible” – internalization of a dubious argument and done for covert reasons.

Israel is a physically small and new country with an eager population and big ambitions. It needs more prestige and wants to be viewed as a power broker on the world stage. To gain those perspectives, Israel needs a capital city that commands respect, contains ancient traditions and is recognized as one of the world’s most important and leading municipalities. To assure the objectives, there can be only one Jerusalem and it must be the one that contains the Holy City. A united Jerusalem with a single tourist and business authority is worth a lot of Shekels.

It is distressing to witness “balanced” discussions characterize Jewish identity in Jerusalem as the same, if not of greater intensity, than that of the Palestinians (Muslim and Christian), not have this “balance’ politely refuted, and be tacitly approved by audiences.

And not only is Jewish identity in Jerusalem questioned; modern Judaism’s roots also deserve to be questioned.

Modern Judaism and the Holy Land

In a posted interview on Nov 18, 2008 of an American PBS program Archeology of the Hebrew Bible, William Dever, Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, who has investigated the archeology of the ancient Near East for more than 30 years, exclaimed, “This is awkward for some people, the notion that Israelite religion was not exclusively monotheistic. But we know now that it wasn’t. Monotheism was a late development. Not until the Babylonian Exile and beyond does Israelite and Judean religion—Judaism—become monotheistic.”

The last sentence is significant.

After the prophets returned from Babylonian exile, possibly influenced by Zoroastrianism, a religion whose God of good and light fought evil and dark, the Hebrews became Jews, instilled with a change in belief from monolatry, exclusive worship of one God without excluding foreigners to worship other Gods, to monotheism, exclusive worship of one universal God. David Danzig in an article Evidence for Survivals of Mesopotamian Civilization in the Babylonian Talmud: clarifies the reason: “The concept of a single God whom all nations would eventually worship evolved among a conquered and exiled people no longer assured of their divinely protected status.”

Many Jews remained in the regions of their exile. Later, hundreds of thousands of Jews arrived in Mesopotamia and Persia during the Persian Parthian and Sassasian Empires, (248 B.C. to 641 A.D.) In this area, schools of Judaism flourished, eventually codifying the oral and written laws and producing the Babylonian Talmud, which, rather then the Jerusalem Talmud, became the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the basis for all Jewish law. In Iraq and Persia, from 500 B.C. and through the Middle Ages, the Jews from Judah shed themselves from the restraints of arid lands and a controlling priestly class, achieved almost total male literacy, developed intellectual prowess, and by 650 A.D., had changed their occupations from artisans, and struggling farmers to those of agriculturists, merchants, and traders, many becoming wealthy from the silk trade.

The biblical “Exodus” story did not free the Jews. Just the opposite, it has been used to keep Jews in perpetual bondage to a spurious history and to promote an attitude of constant victim hood, while distracting them from realizing they might also play a role in the injustices done to others.

The Jewish exodus from their birth lands to Babylonia and Persia (and throughout the Roman Empire), during the centuries before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. and several centuries after its occurrence, freed the Jews from a pastoral life, arid conditions, and restricted economics. The already weakened and dispersed Israelite tribes completely disintegrated, and the Hebrews lost a place in an ongoing history. As in the hypothesis of punctured equilibrium, where new species suddenly arise to replace a dying species, new communities of Mesopotamian Jews, knowledgeable and worldly, quickly appeared in the Fertile Crescent. In that region, which soon housed the three great Jewish universities of Surah, Pumbadita and Nehardea, the legacy and heritage of modern Jews and Judaism are best expressed. In The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship, by Maristella Botticini, Zvi Eckstein, Princeton University press, 2012, the authors claim that “Judaism reached its Golden Age in 800 -1200 A.D. During that time, Mesopotamia and Persia contained 75% of world Jewry with the rest in North Africa and Western Europe.”

Battle between Dead and Dying

The World War II Holocaust, which cost the lives of several million Jews, is firmly established in the Israeli conscience and its history is continually circulated throughout the world. The Palestinian catastrophe, Al-Nakba, hides in the shadows of the World War II onslaught. Why is it not more revealed?

Because the Zionist movement to Palestine started decades before World War II and almost all refugees from the conflagration had been relocated before establishment of the state of Israel, the relationship between the state of Israel and the European Holocaust is tenuous. Nevertheless, Israel makes full use of the Jewish tragedy to secure sympathy, periodically reminding the world of previous era horrors, repeating them daily to its children, as if they are being threatened, and convincing a world they need to define their own security in order to prevent the next genocidal attack against them.

The Palestinians have not been alert in changing the direction of the dispute, still regarding it as a conflict between them and the Israelis, when it is now only a crisis for them. The initial disputes between the Zionists and the Palestinians erupted into a conflict. After Israel achieved military victory in 1967, the conflict essentially ended; the Palestinian allies had been defeated and the Palestinians were subjected to Israeli occupation. From then on it has been a growing crisis, which could lead to total destruction of the Palestinian community. This is not semantics; it focuses on the real problem and prevents resources and attention from being diverted to useless activities. As a matter of fact, the attacks on the Palestine community resemble the UN definition of genocide:

Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Israeli forces have been continuously guilty of the first four acts. Without assistance from international organizations, Arab countries, philanthropies, individuals and private fund raisers, all of whom have supplied the Palestinians with food, energy, training, funds, education and resources that counter Israeli oppression, the precarious plight of the Palestinians would have reached a critical level a long time ago.

Genocide is not necessarily broadcasted; it can be silent and stealth – breaking bones and imprisoning males to deny children of working fathers, preventing expansion of food, water and housing supplies so a population is economically deprived and exists at subsistence levels, confining families to limited areas to stifle education, knowledge and community interaction, restricting travel so that people are not able to contact others and learn the new tools and mechanisms for adaptation to a modern world, planting harassment and sowing fear to create psychological disturbances. Recipients of these policies applied by the Israeli government in the West Bank and Gaza have no recourse to reply, except to leave the area or suffer until death.

The World War II Holocaust is over, the dead cannot be reclaimed and yet their lives are continually discussed. In Palestine, the destruction continues, lives can be reclaimed and yet the threat to their existence is insufficiently discussed. The crisis started with Al-Nakba and the Palestinians have not been able to make the world react to the seriousness of the growing catastrophe.

War of Narratives

What have Jews accomplished by in-gathering and becoming citizens of the state of Israel? They have bolstered a spurious interpretation of history, and identified themselves with twelve tribes who established some states and administration, but apparently vanished from history and left little imprint of having been a strong or extensive civilization for a long period of time. By incorporating biblical history into its ‘reason to be,’ Israel has exalted Joshua the warrior, guilty of nine genocides, David, a bandit, suspected murderer of those who barred his route to kingship, and philanderer who coveted the wives of others, and Solomon, who used forced labor and exorbitant taxes to build huge construction projects (For this, Moses took them out of Egypt?), and kept a harem of 700 wives. Evidently, the Israelis intend to accomplish in real life what a mythical Joshua and his Israelites accomplished – conquer the city of Jericho, lay the entire West Bank to waste and “let the people be hewers of wood and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.”

It seems strange that Jews embrace the dubious connection with wandering tribes and errant kings and reject the well established memories of their most precious epochs and proud moments of history – their centuries of sojourn in Mesopotamia and Persia. Readily absorbing the new wisdom they encountered after their exodus to ancient Iraq and Persia, the Jews compiled the Talmud, and moved rapidly into achieving almost total male literacy, obtaining economic advancement, and becoming leaders for progress and modernity. Hopefully, Jews who absorb actual history will awaken other Jews to the destructive impulses generating from Israel, which prevents them from recognizing the roots of modern Judaism and instead reverts them to become atavistic and reactionary relics of the ancient Hebrew world.

The Palestinians have found themselves thrust in an unenviable role with specific challenges – expose the contrived narrative of the Israelis and impress the world with their narrative of continuous transitory life as Canaanites, or possibly Hebrews, to Christians, to Muslims, to Arabs, to citizens of the Ottoman Empire and finally to suffering the Al-Nakba, which started their route to being oppressed. Despite decades of mental, physical and emotional fatigue, they owe this task to themselves, to their communities in Diasporas, to Jews who don’t want to be involved in the injustices, to a Middle East that suffers from the expansion of the crisis, and to a world that might soon face a related catastrophe. They owe it and should show it.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Probing US intentions in nuclear agreement with Iran

By Kaveh Afrasiabi | Press TV | November 27, 2013

Last Saturday, the ink on the historic “interim agreement” signed in Geneva had not dried yet when the early signs of trouble with the deal and its roadmap for a comprehensive final agreement emerged in the form of US Secretary of State’s explicit denial that the deal had recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

Since then, John Kerry has repeated this claim, flatly contradicted by his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on a half dozen occasions, thus raising questions regarding US’s sincerity.

Not only that, within hours of the late night breakthrough in Geneva, the White House published a “fact sheet” about the content of the agreement, which has now been contested by Iran’s Foreign Ministry as inaccurate, misleading and “one-sided interpretation.” As expected, there is absolutely no reference in this “fact-sheet” to Iran’s nuclear rights, including the right to enrich uranium, an important step in manufacturing fuel for the country’s reactors, which is enshrined in the articles of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Indeed, one of the main problems with the US’s approach toward the Iran nuclear issue is, and always has been, its complete obliviousness toward and lack of respect for Iran’s inalienable nuclear rights, which are the centerpieces of Iran’s negotiation strategy.

Little wonder, then, that US President Barack Obama in his post-Geneva outreach to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly emphasized the “shared goals” vis-à-vis Iran’s nuclear program, namely, the dismantling of Iran’s “nuclear weapons capability” that stems from its uranium enrichment program.

Israel has now dispatched a technical team to Washington to coordinate the US’s effort with respect to the final status agreement with Iran. This will probably mean even less of a “tactical difference” between US and Israel in the coming months with respect to Iran.

There is now even a shared US and Israeli linguistic (and policy) emphasis on “dismantling” the Iranian nuclear program. The word “dismantle” has seeped in the public statements of John Kerry, in contrast to his earlier hints at respecting Iran’s right to enrich uranium, e.g. in Financial Times in 2009.

Case in point, in his interview with ABC network on November 24th, Kerry stated, “While we are negotiating for the dismantling, they will not grow their program.” This echoed Kerry’s earlier admission, on November 10, 2013, that the US “is aiming to get Tehran to halt further nuclear development as a first step toward a complete dismantling of the program.”

By all indications, the US is pursuing this objective through a phased “roll back strategy,” whereby the Iranian nuclear energy program would be targeted for a gradual dismantling, in light of the statement by Tony Blinken, the US Deputy National Security Adviser, that “if we could have gotten an entire freeze of their program right away in one fell swoop, we would have done that.” This recalls Kerry’s other interview, with CBS’s Face the Nation on November 24, when he responded to the question of whether the agreement calls for the dismantling of some of Iran’s programs by saying “Not yet. That’s correct. Not yet. But you don’t get everything at first step. You have to go down the process here.”

The interim agreement is thus viewed by the US as a milestone in achieving the initial objectives of this “roll-back” strategy – by destroying Iran’s 20-percent enriched uranium, halting the completion of Arak heavy water reactor and the installation of new centrifuges, freezing the number of centrifuges and imposing a low-ceiling on enrichment – according to Kerry “3.5 percent,” even though the agreement specifically says 5 percent, and subjecting Iran’s program to unprecedented intrusive inspection, including “a number of facilities we have never been in before,” to paraphrase Kerry.

Since collecting information on Iran’s nuclear energy program is a must for the “roll-back” strategy, the US hopes that the implementation of the interim agreement will prove vital, given the American persistence on keeping the “military option on the table.” Equally important is “reversing key aspects of the Iranian program” via this deal, which Kerry has been fond of repeating since co-signing the deal in Geneva.

As for the agreement’s concluding statements that refer to Iran’s enrichment program in a final agreement, Kerry has put the emphasis on the sentence that subjects this to “mutual agreement.” In other words, Iran’s NPT right is now threatened with a contractual atrophy that subjects this right to the prerogatives of a select few governments and thus shrinks and compromises it.

The full text of that important paragraph is as follows: “Involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on scope and level of enrichment activities, capacity, where it is carried out, and stocks of enriched uranium, for a period to be agreed upon.”

In addition, Kerry has repeatedly turned attention to the agreement’s reference to the UN sanctions resolutions on Iran, which call for the suspension of Iran’s enrichment and reprocessing activities. In other words, as far as the US is concerned, the inclusion of the passage on UN resolutions is yet another stab at Iran’s defense of its right to enrich.

Notwithstanding the above-said, there is very little doubt that the US’s intention of the “first step” interim agreement is to downgrade the Iranian nuclear energy program and move steadily along the path of complete dismantling and dispossession of Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle.

Another point: the agreement places some of Iran’s centrifuges in standby, i.e. spinning without enriching, which can be hazardous to the equipment after a while, causing equipment decay and failure. Both the standby and shut down options have clear consequences for the physical condition of the centrifuges, which is why it is important not to extend this agreement beyond the six months. On this account alone, the US will likely drag its feet on a final deal, hoping that Iranian centrifuge program will increasingly suffer as a result of a lengthy state of ‘limbo.’

Consequently, it is important from Iran’s vantage to correctly tabulate what a “win” for the other side entails, and whether or not the “win-win” is balanced and evenly distributed, rather than triggering a process whereby the other side’s “win” would accumulate over time at Iran’s expense. In that case, it would simply culminate in a “lose-win,” to the detriment of Iran’s interests.

Of course, this is not even to mention the “psychological warfare” behind the White House “fact-sheets” hoopla about allowing the release of measly 4.2 billion of Iran’s oil proceeds in the next six months, while keeping the rest in an escrow. Clearly, the US’s intention is to weaken not only Iran’s resolve but also the spirit of resistance and national dignity, as part and parcel of its nuclear “roll-back.”

Yet, despite all the US’s clever “smart power” maneuvers mentioned above, what is rather remarkable about Iran’s counter-strategy, based on deft, skillful negotiation strategy, is how those maneuvers are neutralized and a broader anti-sanctions, pro-Iran momentum has been generated that is bound to grow stronger and introduce greater fissures between US and its Western partners, who happen to have greater vested economic interests with Iran. And this is precisely why Iran’s “win” in this stage of the nuclear game is irrefutable.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Comments Off on Probing US intentions in nuclear agreement with Iran

Activist Group Issues Statement on Mother Agnes and the Campaign Against Her

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | November 26, 2013

The Solidarity Collective, a group of activists endeavoring to promote greater unity among the various alignments and groupings that make up the political left, has released a statement on the smear campaign being waged against Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. Taken to task in the statement are leftwing journalists Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones over their threat to back out of a London antiwar conference this weekend should they have to share a platform with Mother Agnes. Calling their “no platform” position “totally unacceptable,” the Collective deplores the attacks upon the Syrian nun and says it fully supports her right to be heard.

“We fully support the brave move by the London Catholic Worker group based at Guiseppe Conlon House who have invited Mother Agnes to a meeting during their retreat,” the statement reads. “It is only when we are fully informed on the Syrian conflict by those who live daily with the consequences that we will be be in a position to make decisions.”

Back in early September, when a US attack on Syria appeared imminent, I published an article entitled US Jews Back War on Syria But ‘Downplay’ Israel Angle. At that time AIPAC, the ADL, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations had all issued statements supporting a military strike on Syria, but as I noted—and as a Jewish media outlet also noted—none of the statements mentioned Israel. It was as if Israel’s role in all this were being deliberately downplayed. I posted that article on September 5. One day later, on September 6, RT published an interview with Mother Agnes in which she discussed her belief that videos uploaded to the Internet in the immediate wake of the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria had been fabricated. Three days after that, on September 9, came the formal release of the ISTEAMS report providing convincing evidence this was indeed the case.

Just as it has been clear for a long time that prominent Jews would like to see the US go to war in Syria, so also has it been obvious to me for a while now that the attacks on Mother Agnes are Zionist motivated. And apparently this is growing obvious to others as well. The Solidarity Collective’s statement in fact discusses the role played by one Zionist in particular:

A marvellous smear campaign as designed by Michael D Weiss has done much to further the cause of promoting her [Mother Agnes] as an Assad apologist and all round devious character. Incidentally some of the highlights of his CV are as follows: former director of Zionist pressure group Just Journalism whose stated concerns included ‘how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in UK media’, former fellow at Neo-Conservative war lobby think-tank  Henry Jackson Society, he is a lead rebel advocate with Now Lebanon and also the author of proposals for US intervention for the Syrian opposition.

Weiss’ loathsome attack on Mother Agnes, in which he refers to her sarcastically as a “humble, pot-smoking emissary of God,” can be found here.

A little bit more from the Solidarity Collective’s statement is also instructive:

Much of the slander is sustained by her self proclaimed mission to provide what she believes are the true narratives of the conflict which are routinely, she says, misrepresented in global media. One such incident is the August 21st 2013 chemical attack in Damascus. The accepted truth as ‘assessed’ by the US government is that the attack was carried out by the Assad Regime. There was a threat of mass-resignation of CIA workers who refused to have their names attached to the document published pertaining to this ‘fact’. Mother Agnes as well as some credible impartial sources insist that it is much more likely that this was a rebel attack.

You can access the full statement here. A few days ago I wrote an article in which I commented that Mother Agnes “has considerably undermined the Western narrative on events in Syria,” and that obviously this has “upset a lot of plans and made a lot of people mad.” Judging from the timing of the events of early September, as I related above, this would seem to be the case.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Activist Group Issues Statement on Mother Agnes and the Campaign Against Her

Iran: White House gave false details of nuclear agreement

RT | November 27, 2013

Tehran has strongly rejected Washington’s interpretation of the long-awaited interim nuclear agreement reached by the P5+1 nations in Geneva, as Iran’s Foreign Ministry labeled the factsheet released by the US a “one-sided interpretation.”

The agreement, reached over the weekend in Geneva, outlines a framework for continued negotiations with Tehran, including a deal which is yet to be finalized. However, Iran now claims that the American factsheet, posted a few hours after the deal was announced on the website of the White House, has omitted some key points and is misleading the public by adjusting the language of the original agreement.

A spokeswoman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Marziyeh Afkham, came out with the following statement published by the Fars news agency on Tuesday:

“What has been released by the website of the White House as a factsheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action [the title of the Iran-powers deal], and this factsheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true.”

The spokeswoman gave no further details.

Iran, together with the P5+1 nations – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany – agreed on Sunday that the former will curb a substantial portion of its nuclear activities for a period of six months, which will be spent finalizing the conditions of the deal.

In light of the recent crippling economic sanctions against Iran, Western parties agreed to lift some, including those on gold, precious minerals, the auto sector and petrochemical exports. According to the American factsheet, this is a potential $1.5 billion in revenue for Iran. Additionally, it could also be getting an additional $4.2 billion in oil revenues.

Furthermore, “$400 million in governmental tuition assistance [may also be] transferred from restricted Iranian funds directly to recognized educational institutions in third countries to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students,” DC officials told the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on the story.

However, a key aspect in Iran’s nuclear program – its ability to enrich uranium – was claimed by the Foreign Ministry to differ in nature from the US interpretation.

Some key points from Tehran’s version, which was published by Fars, are as follows:

“This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein.”

“This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program,” it also says.

And finally, the draft stipulates that “this comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

Afkham went on to explain that the above Joint Plan of Action, which is four pages in length, includes terminology chosen in collaboration by all the parties to the Geneva agreement. The spokeswoman added that the accuracy and choice of words is the precise reason the P5+1 agreement took such time to finalize, with particular emphasis given to the importance of its phrasing by Tehran.

Early Sunday morning, however, saw the release of a markedly different text, prompting the Iranian Foreign Ministry to release what is says is the real version of the agreement.

The Washington Free Beacon spoke to White House officials, who said that the “P5+1 and Iran are working on what the timeframe is” adding that the final details of the draft agreement are still being ironed out. They declined to elaborate on what this means.

One thing that remains certain is while those details are being worked out, Iran retains the right to continue enriching uranium. Its right to do so has been the hottest subject of debate and is what landed it in hot water with the US, leading to Western sanctions.

Israeli leader Benyamin Netanyahu called the agreement a flat-out “mistake,” while US President Barack Obama, despite welcoming the deal, said the toughest sanctions will remain in place, while other offers listed in the agreement could easily be retracted.

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , | 1 Comment