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Conceived in Israel

By Stephen J. Sniegoski ~ 2003

Excerpts:

Is there any evidence that Israel and her supporters have managed to get the United States to fight for their interests?

To unearth the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11? From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.

For some time prior to September 11, 2001, neoconservatives had publicly advocated an American war on Iraq. The 9/11 atrocities provided the pretext. The idea that neocons are the motivating force behind the U.S. movement for war has been broached by a number of commentators.

To understand why Israeli leaders would want a Middle East war, it is first necessary to take a brief look at the history of the Zionist movement and its goals. Despite public rhetoric to the contrary, the idea of expelling (or, in the accepted euphemism, “transferring”) the indigenous Palestinian population was an integral part of the Zionist effort to found a Jewish national state in Palestine. Historian Tom Segev writes:

The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings, first appearing in Theodore Herzl’s diary. In practice, the Zionists began executing a mini-transfer from the time they began purchasing the land and evacuating the Arab tenants…. “Disappearing” the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence…. With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer — or its morality.

However, Segev continues, the Zionist leaders learned not to publicly proclaim their plan of mass expulsion because “this would cause the Zionists to lose the world’s sympathy.”

The key was to find an opportune time to initiate the expulsion so it would not incur the world’s condemnation.

A clear illustration of the neoconservative thinking on war on Iraq is a 1996 paper developed by Perle, Feith, David Wurmser, and others published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, titled “A clean break: a new strategy for securing the realm.” It was intended as a political blueprint for the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper stated that Netanyahu should “make a clean break” with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel’s claim to the West Bank and Gaza. It presented a plan whereby Israel would “shape its strategic environment,” beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, to serve as a first step toward eliminating the anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

Note that these Americans — Perle, Feith, and Wurmser — were advising a foreign government and that they currently are connected to the George W. Bush administration: Perle is head of the Defense Policy Board; Feith is Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy; and Wurmser is special assistant to State Department chief arms control negotiator John Bolton. It is also remarkable that while in 1996 Israel was to “shape its strategic environment” by removing her enemies, the same individuals are now proposing that the United States shape the Middle East environment by removing Israel’s enemies. That is to say, the United States is to serve as Israel’s proxy to advance Israeli interests.

In September 2000, the neocon think tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC) issued a report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” that envisioned an expanded global posture for the United States. In regard to the Middle East, the report called for an increased American military presence in the Gulf, whether Saddam was in power or not., maintaining that “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” The project’s participants included individuals who would play leading roles in the second Bush administration: Cheney (Vice President), Rumsfeld (secretary of defense), Wolfowitz (deputy secretary of defense), and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). Weekly Standard editor William Kristol was also a co-author.

The September 11 atrocities provided the “revolutionary times” in which Israel could undertake radical measures unacceptable during normal conditions. When asked what the attack would do for U.S.-Israeli relations, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded: “It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” Netanyahu correctly predicted that the attack would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.” Sharon placed Israel in the same position as the United States, referring to the attack as an assault on “our common values” and declaring, “I believe together we can defeat these forces of evil.”

In the eyes of Israel’s leaders, the September 11 attacks had joined the United States and Israeli together against a common enemy. And that enemy was not in far-off Afghanistan but was geographically close to Israel. Israel’s traditional enemies would now become America’s as well. And Israel would have a better chance of dealing with the Palestinians under the cover of a “war on terrorism.”

In the October 29, 2002, issue of The Weekly Standard, Kagan and Kristol predict a wider Middle Eastern war:

When all is said and done, the conflict in Afghanistan will be to the war on terrorism what the North Africa campaign was to World War II: an essential beginning on the path to victory. But compared with what looms over the horizon — a wide-ranging war in locales from Central Asia to the Middle East and, unfortunately, back again to the United States — Afghanistan will prove but an opening battle…. But this war will not end in Afghanistan. It is going to spread and engulf a number of countries in conflicts of varying intensity. It could well require the use of American military power in multiple places simultaneously. It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, administration heavyweights debated the scope of the “war on terrorism.” According to Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, as early as September 12 Rumsfeld “raised the question of attacking Iraq. Why shouldn’t we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda? he asked. Rumsfeld was speaking not only for himself when he raised the question. His deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, was committed to a policy that would make Iraq a principal target of the first round in the war on terrorism.”

Woodward adds, “The terrorist attacks of September 11 gave the United States a new window to go after Hussein.” On September 15, Wolfowitz put forth military arguments to justify a U.S. attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan. Wolfowitz expressed the view that “attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain,” voicing the fear that American troops would be “bogged down in mountain fighting…. In contrast, Iraq was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable.”

Within Israel herself, however, the Arabs would not be expected to adopt a “new political culture”; they would be expected to vanish.

Even the dean of Israel’s revisionist historians, Benny Morris, explicitly endorsed the expulsion of the Palestinians in the event of war. “This land is so small,” Morris exclaimed, “that there isn’t room for two peoples. In fifty or a hundred years, there will only be one state between the sea and the Jordan. That state must be Israel.”

As is now apparent, the “war on terrorism” was never intended to be a war to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of the September 11 atrocities. September 11 simply provided a pretext for government leaders to implement long-term policy plans. As has been pointed out elsewhere, including in my own writing, oil interests and American imperialists looked upon the war as a way to incorporate oil-rich Central Asia within the American imperial orbit. While that has been achieved, the American-sponsored government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan is in a perilous situation. Karzai’s power seems to be limited to his immediate vicinity, and he must be protected by American bodyguards. The rest of Afghanistan is being fought over by various war lords and even the resurgent Taliban. Instead of putting forth the effort to help consolidate its position in Central Asia, Washington has shifted its focus to gaining control of the Middle East.

It now appears that the primary policymakers in the Bush administration have been the Likudnik neoconservatives all along. Control of Central Asia is secondary to control of the Middle East. In fact, for the leading neocons, the war on Afghanistan may simply have been an opening gambit, necessary for reaching their ultimate and crucial goal: U.S. control of the Middle East in the interests of Israel. That is analogous to what revisionist historians have presented as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “back door to war” approach to World War II. Roosevelt sought war with Japan in order to be able to fight Germany, and he provoked Japan into attacking U.S. colonial possessions in the Far East. Once the United States got into war through the back door, Roosevelt focused the American military effort on Germany.

The deductions drawn in this essay seem obvious but are rarely broached in public because Jewish power is a taboo subject. As the intrepid Joseph Sobran puts it: “It’s permissible to discuss the power of every other group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater power of the Jewish establishment is off-limits.”

So in a check for “hate” or “anti-Semitism,” let’s recapitulate the major points made in this essay. First, the initiation of a Middle East war to solve Israeli security problems has been a long-standing idea among Israeli rightist Likudniks. Next, Likudnik-oriented neoconservatives argued for American involvement in such a war prior to the atrocities of September 11, 2001. Since September 11, neocons have taken the lead in advocating such a war; and they hold influential foreign policy and national security positions in the Bush administration.

If Israel and Jews were not involved, there would be nothing extraordinary about my thesis. In the history of foreign policy, it has frequently been maintained that various leading figures were motivated by ties to business, an ideology, or a foreign country. In his Farewell Address, George Washington expressed the view that the greatest danger to American foreign relations would be the “passionate attachment” of influential Americans to a foreign power, which would orient U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of that power to the detriment of the United States. It is just such a situation that currently exists.

More – entire essay

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Scientist puts in doubt French report ruling out Arafat poisoning

Al-Akhbar | December 5, 2013

A French report ruling out poisoning in Yasser Arafat’s 2004 death has a glaring inconsistency, the co-author of a Swiss probe said Thursday, sticking by his team’s conclusion that the Palestinian leader was likely killed.

“Our data lean more towards the thesis of poisoning than in the opposite direction,” Professor François Bochud, head of the Lausanne Institute of Applied Radiophysics, told AFP.

Bochud is the co-author of a report published last month that said the high levels of polonium – a rare and highly radioactive element – found in Arafat’s remains and personal effects indicated third party involvement in his death.

An as-yet unpublished French report however rules out poisoning, a source close to the probe said this week, with an argument that the naturally occurring radioactive element radon, found in the ground, explained the high polonium levels.

Bochud, who has read the French report, stressed that the 107-page Swiss study had presented numerous arguments against that theory, the most compelling being that other remains exhumed from the same cemetery did not contain excessive levels of polonium.

Both the Swiss and the French experts thoroughly cleaned Arafat’s bones to remove external contamination before carrying out their measurements, and proceeded to find identical levels of polonium, he pointed out.

“I have a hard time understanding why they, on one side say they have thoroughly cleaned the bones and eliminated contaminations, and at the same time explain their measurements with the very contamination they supposedly eliminated,” he said.

“It’s a bit difficult to follow their reasoning,” he added.

The circumstances of Arafat’s death aged 75 at a military hospital near Paris in November 2004 after a sudden deterioration in his health have long been mired in rumor and speculation.

France opened a formal murder inquiry in August 2012, a month after an documentary by the al-Jazeera television network linked Arafat’s death to polonium poisoning.

Some 60 samples were taken from his remains in November 2012 and divided between Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team carrying out a probe at his widow’s request.

Many Palestinians believe he was poisoned by Israel – a claim denied by the Jewish state.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Case Over No-Fly List Takes Bizarre Turn As Gov’t Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | December 4, 2013

As you my have heard, there’s a trial going on here in San Francisco about the legality of the complete lack of any sort of due process concerning the US’s “no fly” list. The NY Times has a good background article on the case, which notes that somewhere around 700,000 people appear to be on the list, where there’s basically no oversight of the list and no recourse if you happen to be placed on the list. This lawsuit, by Rahinah Ibrahim (who had been a Stanford PhD student) is challenging that.

In that case, a Stanford University Ph.D. student named Rahinah Ibrahim was prevented from boarding a flight at San Francisco International Airport in 2005, and was handcuffed and detained by the police. Ultimately, she was allowed to fly to Malaysia, her home country, but she has been unable to return to the United States because the State Department revoked her student visa.

According to court filings, two agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation visited Ms. Ibrahim a week before her trip and asked about her religious activities (she is Muslim), her husband and what she might know of a Southeast Asian terrorist organization. A summary of that interview obtained by Ms. Ibrahim’s lawyer includes a code indicating that the visit was related to an international terrorism investigation, but it is not clear what other evidence — like email or phone records — was part of that inquiry.

The Identity Project blog is covering the trial, which kicked off earlier this week with a ridiculous situation, highlighted by BoingBoing. Apparently, one of the people set to testify in the case, Ibrahim’s oldest daughter, Raihan Mustafa Kamal (an American citizen, born in the US), was blocked from boarding her flight to the US to appear at the trial, and told that she was on the no fly list as well. Kamal, a lawyer, was an eye witness to her mother being blocked from boarding her flight. The US knew that Kamal was set to testify and from all indications, in a move that appears extremely petty, appears to have purposely blocked her from flying to the US. Kamal was directly told by the airline that DHS had ordered them not to let Kamal to board. The airline even gave her a phone number for a Customs and Border Patrol office in Miami, telling her to call that concerning her not being able to board.

Judge William Alsup, who is known for his rather no-nonsense approach in court (and his willingness to dig very deep into understanding the issues), quickly noted that this apparent blocking of Kamal was ridiculous, and demanded that the government explain what happened. When they insisted they knew nothing about it, Alsup wasn’t satisfied. Nor was he satisfied with the story they eventually came back with. As Edward Hasbrouck at the Identity Project reports:

Judge Alsup ordered the government defendants’ lawyers to investigate and report back. “You’ve got ten lawyers over there on your side of the courtroom. You can send one of them out in the hall to make a phone call and find out what’s going on.”

At the end of the first day’s session of the trial (more on that below), the governments’ lawyers told Judge Alsup that they had made inquiries and had been told that “the plaintiff’s daughter just missed her flight” and was rebooked on a flight tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.

Needless to say, that story strains credulity. If Ms. Mustafa Kamal had merely missed her flight, why would she have been given a CBP phone number in Miami to call for information about what had happened? The governments’ lawyers insisted that, “That’s what we have been told”, but Judge Alsup wasn’t satisfied.

“We may have to have a separate evidentiary hearing about this,” Judge Alsup said, and ordered the defendants to provide further information tomorrow… “I want to know whether the government did something to obstruct a witness, a U.S. citizen.”

That was Monday. Tuesday morning, Ibrahim’s lawyer proved that the DOJ was flat out lying the day before by presenting the “no-board” instructions that DHS had sent to Malaysia Airlines to the court:

“None of that was true,” Ms. Pipkin told the court this morning. “She didn’t miss the flight. She was there in time to check in. She has not been rebooked on another flight.” And most importantly, it was because of actions by the DHS — one of the defendants in Dr. Ibrahim’s lawsuit — that Ms. Mustafa Kamal was not allowed to board her flight to SFO to attend and testify at her mother’s trial.

Ms. Pipkin said that Ms. Mustafa Kamal had sent her a copy of the “no-board” instructions which the DHS gave to Malaysia Airlines, and which the airline gave to Ms. Mustafa Kamal to explain as much as it knew about why it was not being allowed to transport her. Ms. Pipkin handed Judge William Alsup a copy of the DHS “no-board” instructions to Malaysia Airlines regarding Ms. Mustafa Kamal.

As Hasbrouck notes, the airline deserves kudos for handing over that info. Many airlines would simply keep it a secret. Judge Alsup, however, will not consider the document yet, noting that there isn’t evidence to its authenticity and it’s not part of a sworn record. Thus, he said that when Kamal arrives in SF to testify, that can be a part of her testimony. While the lawyer pointed out that Kamal was hesitant to buy another ticket if she wouldn’t be able to board again, Judge Alsup made it clear that she needs to come, and also appears to have made it quite clear to the DHS that if she is blocked again, there will be consequences:

“Get her on an airplane and get her here,” Judge Alsup responded. “She’s a U.S. citizen. She doesn’t need a visa. I’m not going to believe that she can’t get on a plane until she tries again. ” And Mr Freeborne, with disingenuous faux-solicitude, claimed that the government is “willing to do whatever we can to facilitate” Ms. Mustafa Kamal’s ability to board a flight to the U.S.

Judge Alsup wasn’t willing to take any action today on unproven allegations or unverified documents. But he made clear that, “I am disturbed by this…. We’ll hear from her [Ms. Mustafa Kamal] when she gets here. If it turns out that the DHS has sabotaged a witness, that will go against the government’s case. I want a witness from Homeland Security who can testify to what has happened. You find a witness and get them here.”

The report from Monday also describes other ridiculous claims by the DOJ, including trying to argue that information that was publicly available could not be included in the case because it was “sensitive security information” (SSI). Once again, Judge Alsup saw through the DOJ’s bullshit and called them out on it:

That’s ridiculous. Are you saying that if the president makes a speech, TSA can retroactively make it a secret what he said? It cannot be the law that something that is publicly known later becomes hidden…

Here’s my ruling: If it’s in a document that’s SSI, but it’s also available from some other publicly available source, it’s public information, and cannot be withheld from the public in this courtroom…. The government is taking such an unreasonable position on how to run a trial. If it’s been in the public domain for years, you’re barred from making the argument that the plaintiff’s counsel cannot “disclose” it….

Trials are important. Trials are supposed to be public.

I want to categorically reject one thing: If information is publicly available in some other way, the government does not have the right to retroactively clamp it down and remove it from the public record. Even if it could have been protected as SSI within the government, if the plaintiff obtains this information independently, the government can’t clamp that down.

The plaintiff has the right to prove her case. If she can prove it through publicly available admissible evidence, she can do so even if that information is also included in internal government documents designated as SSI.

That’s the way I feel. That’s the law, that ought to be the law, and that’s the only way to run this country. That’s my ruling, and if the government disagrees, I invite you to take an emergency writ to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It would be an understatement to suggest that Judge Alsup is not impressed with the US government’s actions so far. The notes from day two in the trial provide a lot more background on what happened. It would appear that the lawyers for Ibrahim are making a (rather compelling, from the evidence) case that bumbling US law enforcement officials confused two very different Malaysian organizations with similar names: Jamaah Islamiyah Malaysia, which is a terrorist organization, and Jamaah Islah Malaysia, “a non-profit professional networking group for Muslims who have returned to Malaysia after post-secondary schooling in the U.S. and Europe.” The two organizations are, as you would imagine, quite different. Ibrahim is involved in the latter, and has no connection to the former, but it sounds like the FBI agents who interviewed her were unaware of the difference.

The further details of Ibrahim’s life, her arrest and treatment, all suggest a situation where US law enforcement totally screwed up, and seriously mucked up someone’s life — and now they seem to be doing everything possible to avoid taking responsibility for it.

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s Popularity Among the Young Falls in US

333448_Barack-Obama

Prensa Latina | December 5, 2013

Young people in the US are disappointed with President Barack Obama’s administration and disapproved of his management of the main problems in the country, a poll revealed today.

Young people were the main support to the president in his election in 2008 and reelection in 2012. That sector of the population is currently showing a marked decrease in their support.

The poll by the Institute for Politics of the University of Harvard that included people from 18 to 29 years of age revealed that 44 percent of that sector disapproves of Obama’s work, compared to 41 percent in support.

The data shows an 11-point fall compared to a poll by the same entity this past spring, and to another poll in the fall of 2009, when 58 percent of the young supported him and 39 percent voted against.

According to Trey Grayson, director of Harvard’s Institute for Politics, this is the lowest level of support for the president since he assumed office in 2009.

Of those polled, 55 percent said they had voted for Obama, 33 percent said they voted in favor of Mitt Romney and four percent chose another politician.

Being asked today about their vote intention, 46 percent said they would vote for the current White House tenant, while 35 percent would do it for Romney and 13 percent would choose someone else.

Asking opinions about health reform, 61 percent of those polled disapproved of Obama’s administration and 57 percent rejected Obamacare, and also 44 percent consider that health care will worsen, while 34 percent said it will remain the same and just 17 percent think that it will improve.

The poll also revealed that frustration is not only against Obama, because 59 percent of those polled do not support democrats in Congress, while 35 percent approved them, but also two thirds of them do not support republicans and just 19 percent support them.

The poll included 2,089 people and defining their political inclination: 41 percent of the young defined themselves as independents, 33 percent as democrats and 24 percent as republicans, and predicted a large number of non-participants in the primary elections in 2014.

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 3 Comments

Kerry Calms Tensions with Bibi: Israel Security “at Top of Agenda” in Iran Talks

Kerry_Netanyahu

Al-Manar | December 5, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Zionist entity on Thursday for talks aimed at calming tensions with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a nuclear deal sealed between Iran and world powers last month.

“I can’t emphasize enough that Israel’s security in this negotiation is at the top of our agenda,” Kerry told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem).

“And the United States will do everything in our power to make certain that Iran’s nuclear program of weaponization possibilities is terminated.”

Earlier on November 24, Iran and world powers reached a deal in Geneva on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. In which Tehran agree to roll back parts of its nuclear program in return for limited relief from Western sanctions. The deal was roundly condemned by Netanyahu, who called it a “historic mistake”.

“We agreed on what the goal of the final status agreement (with Iran) ought to be, and in the days ahead we will consult very closely and continuously with our Israeli friends in order to bring about a comprehensive agreement that can withstand everybody’s test,” Kerry said.

Kerry landed in the occupied territories late on Wednesday for a trip aimed at giving momentum to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have made little apparent headway since they began under his patronage in late July.

Source: AFP

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

US academic organization endorses boycott of Israel

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Al-Akhbar | December 5, 2013

The American Studies Association, a 60-year old US academic organization with 5,000 members, passed a resolution on Wednesday committing to the boycott movement against Israel.

Citing its commitment to “the pursuit of social justice” and to “the struggle against all forms of racism,” the ASA revealed in a statement published on its website that it had voted to support the academic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

“The American Studies Association endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” the statement read.

“The ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement.”

ASA noted the “significant role” played by the United States “in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the [apartheid] Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians.”

The BDS movement has gained traction over the past years, as a growing number of scholars and academic entities have committed to the cause.

More than 950 scholars working in American institutions have endorsed the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

The Association for Asian American Studies became the first US academic organization to officially support the boycott movement in April.

In May, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking withdrew from an Israeli conference, citing his decision to respect the Israel boycott.

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK food poverty a ‘public health emergency’, say leading experts

RT| December 4, 2013

A group of high-profile academics has written an open letter warning that food poverty has become an “emergency” in the UK. Use of food banks has tripled in the past year alone, but the government says this does not mean more people are starving.

“This has all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventive action,” said the letter, co-signed by six leading public health experts, and addressed to the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The authors, led by David Taylor-Robinson from the Medical Research Council, speculate that “the rising cost of living and increasingly austere welfare reforms” from the Conservative-Liberal government are at fault.

“The effects of these policies on nutritional status in the most vulnerable populations urgently need to be monitored… Access to an adequate food supply is the most basic of human needs and rights.”

Official statistics show that the number of those admitted to hospitals with malnutrition has risen from 3,161 in 2008/09 to 5,499 in 2012/13.

Even those who are not on the verge of starvation are suffering. The signatories cite a recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that claimed that families are spending 8.5 percent less on food than before the recession, and there has been a “reduction in quality” of produce consumed during a “substitution towards processed sweet and savoury food and away from fruit and vegetables” particularly by poorer and single-parent families.

Leading food bank charity The Trussell Trust, which operates 400 outlets, says that three times more people have asked it for help than just a year ago. Nearly 350,000 people have received at least three days’ worth of meals from it in the 12 months leading to October.

British Red Cross has also started its first food aid collection drive since World War II.

The government has not only refused to take blame for increased food poverty, but has questioned that there has been an increase at all.

“The benefits system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed and there is no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks,” said an official statement in response to the open letter.

“In fact, our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities with the universal credit making three million households better off – the majority of these from the bottom two fifths of the income scale.”

Government officials have said that the rise of food banks – which are made up from private donations – has actually been the result of greater generosity from private citizens, and charities opening new access points. Another issue is that of entitlement to receiving meals from the food banks. In order to be given a free meal, a needy individual has to be issued a voucher by a local official, policeman, or church minister. In recent months, employment office workers have begun to offer more food vouchers, whereas before, they might have handed out cash benefits.

But no definitive, non-ideological estimations of the scale of the food poverty problem are likely at least until the publication of an official Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) report on the issue commissioned last February, which has been completed but not released to the public.

The authors of the BMJ letter and The Trussel Trust have both hit out at the government for failing to publish the report – supposedly finished in July – implying that it is hiding the devastating effect of its welfare reforms, which include stricter criteria for receiving state aid and greater penalties for those who fail to comply with them.

In response Defra has said that it is simply conducting the “necessary review and quality assurance process” before publication.

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment