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Little Hala and the Herods of Israel

gaza_girl_hala

By Vacy Vlazna | Palestine Chronicle | December 28, 2013

On Christmas Eve, while Christians knelt in churches to honour the birth of the eternal light of the Child of Bethlehem — the Child of peace, Israeli Herods struck Gaza and the life-light of little Hala haemorrhaged into eternal death.

Hala Ahmed Abu Sbaikha, all of 3 years old, was, like all toddlers, both vivacious and shy, playful, affectionate with bright curious eyes and with a so soft cheek to rest a bedtime kiss.

Why did the Herods of Israel attack Gaza?

There are three possible answers — one false, one truly appalling, one heinous.

Ostensibly, reports in western pro-Israel media, that devoted one sentence to Hala’s death, garbled on and on with the usual Herod hasbara (propaganda); the attack was Israel’s divine right to excessively inflict collective punishment for the shooting, by a Gaza sniper, of an Israeli civilian labourer, Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, 22, working on the border fence. Salah was airlifted to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No mention, of course, that four days previously, Odeh Jihad Hamad in Beit Hanoun, 29, was a kilometre away from the border collecting scrap metal when Israeli soldiers fatally shot him in the head. Israeli forces did not allow ambulances to attend to Odeh for an hour and a half after the shooting.

Or that since November 2012, when Israel’s Pillar of Cloud assault (weapons testing operation) that killed 171 Palestinians had ended in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Israel has committed over 300 ceasefire violations encompassing aerial attacks, military incursions, the levelling of agricultural land, gunship attacks on fishermen, harassing, targeting and wounding farmers, unlawful kidnappings, and the killing of ten Gazan civilians.

Definitely suppressed was the fact that for seven years, the people of Gaza have been held captive by the illegal Israeli siege and in the last two months Israel’s blockade of fuel has caused a disastrous humanitarian crisis with severe shortages of critical supplies and electricity for health services. In freezing temperatures blasted by a winter storm of unprecedented proportions, vulnerable Gazan families and their children have had no electricity, heat, or light, and when the waste water pumping system collapsed pouring sewerage into the streets, shockingly, Israel opened two dams close-by causing the flooding, devastation and misery to soar.

So why did the Herods of Israel truly attack Gaza?

They attack because they can. They attack because, for 65 years, have been granted impunity by democratic western nations. They attack to test their weaponry on Gazan families to sell to said western democratic nations. They attack because they don’t want peace. They attack because they want Palestinians to leave Eretz Israel (the whole of Historic Palestine). They attack to to drive Palestinians from their ancestral lands into the sea.

On the first Sunday after Christmas, Catholics and Copts commemorate the Feast of the Holy Family recalling Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus’ flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s ordering of the Massacre of the Innocents; the infanticide of male babies and toddlers in the Bethlehem region.

But Hala’s family had no escape. For seven years, Israel and the US-supported Egyptian military government have sealed Gaza’s borders so that it’s 1.7 million refugee population, half of whom are children, has no recourse to refuge from Herod’s war crimes.

Herod the Great (i.e., Herod the Deranged) was a vassal of the Roman Empire. Today there is political twist. The US empire (and its client states, UK, EU, Australia) is Israel’s vassal. The US pays an annual tribute of 3 billion dollars even though Israel publicly insults and leads US presidents by the nose on a merry dance to the tune of incompetency played by Herod’s fool, the UN.

The UN has the the legal duty and responsibility to protect all children. On the website of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, it informs us that “the Security Council recognised early on the need for robust action including sanctions against individuals persistently committing violations against children in armed conflict. These sanctions include arms embargoes, asset freezes, and travel bans.

The readiness of the Security Council to impose sanctions against violators of the rights of children in armed conflict has developed over time. In Security Council resolution 1539 (2004), the Council expressed for the first time its intention to consider imposing targeted and graduated measures against parties to conflict violating the rights of children. This commitment was reaffirmed in resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), and 1998 (2011).

Israel’s Herods have slaughtered 1,400 children since 2000. Has the UN or any state robustly imposed sanctions on Israel’s child-killers? NO.

Let’s look more closely at why Zionist Herods attack Gaza?

Impunity aside, ultimately, they attack because they are depraved Untermenschen, not just the military but every Zionist who supports Israel’s illegal occupation, warmongering and apartheid policies. They attack because a three year old Palestinian child’s life, its delightful vitality, its laughter, its wonder, its tears, its fun and its fears means nothing to these inhuman thugs and nothing to the UN and nothing to the leaders and citizens of western democratic nations who look away from Israel’s war crimes and daily crimes against humanity.

On Christmas Eve, the songs of Christmas angels were muted by explosions when Herods’ tanks and warplanes “forcefully” bombed Gaza for two hours hitting Hala’s home in Al-Maghazi refugee camp,massacring her innocence and injuring her mother Buthaina, and brothers Mohammed 6 and Bilal, 4.

Little Hala should be alive now. It was her sacred right.

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Aceh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Letter to Boeing’s Boss: Squeezing workers for corporate welfare

December 26, 2013

Jim McNerney, CEO
The Boeing Company
100 North Riverside
Chicago, IL 60606

Dear Mr. McNerney:

The squeeze that you and Boeing are putting on your machinist workers’ pensions, pay scales and your stance on other labor issues regarding the assembling of the new 777X airliners is unseemly for several reasons.

First, consider your pay this year of $21.1 million, a 15 percent increase from the previous year, and much higher than your predecessors. That sum does not demonstrate a moral authority to require sacrifices from your workers at a time of rising Boeing sales and profits, dividend increases, cash hoard, and another notorious $10 billion stock buyback. I say notorious because stock buybacks per se do little for shareholder values and a lot for the enlarged stock options of top executives.

Second, you’re holding an auction for your long-time workers jobs in other states, inciting a bidding war whereby states are giving away taxpayer assets to lure your 777X assembly factory with huge tax holidays and other subsidies. Washington state outdid itself with a new law, signed by Governor Jay Inslee with the largest state business tax break package for Boeing in history. The tax escape law “will give Boeing and its suppliers about $8.7 billion in tax breaks between now and 2040,” according to the Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) calculations. CTJ adds that “Boeing has managed to avoid paying even a dime of state income taxes nationwide on $35 billion in pretax U.S. profits.” Boeing also received tax advantages from the federal government, including $1.8 billion in federal income tax rebates on its $35 billion in U.S. profits between 2003 and 2012.

Third, in 1997 the Justice Department allowed Boeing to merge with McDonnell Douglas, making Boeing the only manufacturer of commercial jet planes in the United States – a domestic monopoly, justified by the only other foreign competitor – Airbus Industries in Europe. Another valuable gift by Uncle Sam brought about by your company’s Washington lobbyists.

Fourth, recall Boeing’s contract with the Department of Defense for the initial phase of Air Force’s KC-46 aerial tanker program that provoked sharp criticism by Senator John McCain in July 2011 for the excessive burdens on American taxpayers from cost over-runs in a supposed “fixed price” contract. In a letter to Department of Defense Undersecretary Ashton B. Carter, Senator McCain wondered “why under a fixed-price, relatively low-risk contract, taxpayers may have to pay 60 percent of any overrun within that band – up to $600 million.”

A book could be written about the Boeing company’s strategy for externalization of a variety of its costs onto innocent, defensely people – whether workers or taxpayers. Boeing’s systemic campaigns for corporate welfare are shameful. Your company is one of the major corporate welfare kings in America, running a close race with the champion – General Electric. As CTJ wrote: Boeing “employs an army of site location and tax consultants, whose job has been to blackmail states into giving Boeing lavish tax breaks.” These include sales and property tax breaks which drain communities’ ability to provide for school and other public facilities (http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/corporate-subsidy-watch/boeing).

Fifth, there is the gigantic subject of your outsourcing to foreign suppliers, in particular Japan where your technology transfers, damaging the longer term viability of U.S. competitiveness in the aerospace sector for short term gains favoring Boeing, merit thorough examination by the Congress. As you know Boeing’s foreign outsourcing brought your company considerable quality control and delay troubles with the Dreamliner.

You need to read the 2005 report by the Defense Science Board about the hollowing out of domestic capability in the electronics industry from this kind of overseas outsourcing migration by U.S. companies.

For starters read the current copy of The American Conservative magazine’s cover story titled “Japan’s Plan to Unmake Boeing,” describing the full assistance of Boeing. No doubt, if your further cruel downward pressure on your machinists culminates in your destroying their union local and their jobs by leaving the state of Washington and going for example to the anti-union state of South Carolina, there will be further public inquiries. Such as how perverse incentives provided by your suppliers in Japan and elsewhere have furthered job losses here and accelerated your company’s technology transfers perhaps beyond the tipping point against the U.S. national interest.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader
http://nader.org/2013/12/26/letter-boeings-boss-squeezing-workers-corporate-welfare/

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Boeing’s Union Workers in the Crosshairs

By David Macaray | Dissident Voice | December 26, 2013

A brief summary of what’s been happening in Seattle between the Boeing Corporation and its union workforce, the IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers).  Aware they have the upper hand, and that thousands of relatively well-paying jobs hang in the balance, Boeing has resorted to an unsubtle form of carrot-and-stick extortion.

The carrot:  If the IAM agrees to re-open the existing contract and give the company several gut-wrenching concessions involving pensions, health care and future wages, Boeing will stay put, the jobs will remain in Seattle, Boeing, as planned, will allow the IAM to build its new 777X jet airliner, and the future will be rosy.  As the seminar creatures like to say, it’s a win-win.

The stick:  However, if the IAM doesn’t agree to the concessions, the Boeing Corporation will move its 777X operation out of the state of Washington and allow other, more reasonable and dependable states to bid on the job.  According to Boeing, who gleefully leaked the news to the media, 22 states have already shown interest.

More stick:  Realizing it has enormous leverage, and unwilling to let that advantage go unexploited, Boeing issued an ultimatum to the state of Washington.  Unless it gave the company a huge tax break, they would pack up and leave.  In a special legislative session, the state assembly, at the urging of the governor, granted Boeing more than $8 billion in tax breaks, the largest corporate subsidy in U.S. history.

So far, so good.  Everything was coming up roses for Boeing.  It had a state government eating out of its hand, it had the union back on its heels, playing defense, and it had the media doing its bidding. Then a startling and horrific event occurred.  Godzilla ate the carrot and stick.

By a whopping 2-1 margin, the union local, District 751, voted down the offer.  To be clear, this was specifically a vote on the company’s re-opener.  With the contract still in effect, it wasn’t a prelude to a strike.  What the membership was saying with their “no” vote was that the current contract must remain in force until it expires, in 2016, at which time the parties would negotiate a new one, just as they always have.

After that, things got ugly.  Boeing closed ranks and renewed its threat to leave, the state assembly had a cow, and the IAM International demanded that another vote be taken, a move that, understandably, created heartburn at the local.  District 751 doesn’t want another vote on an inferior contract.  Yet, with so much at stake, a very nervous International is insisting that the membership take another look at it.

There’s an old axiom in contract negotiations called the “two vote rule.”  It states that a membership will vote down a contract no more than twice.  They’ll vote it down once, to show their disapproval, they’ll vote it down twice, to show their defiance, but the third time around—partly from fatigue, partly from the realization that it’s likely the best offer they’re going to get—they’ll vote to ratify (unless they move to strike).

Thus, the union leadership’s fears are not unfounded.  Rather than buying into the company’s rhetoric, they see the Boeing move for the audacious and naked power play it is.  The IAM International may be too scared to call Boeing’s bluff, but District 751 isn’t.  In their view, all this talk about moving the 777X out of Seattle is just that….talk.

Not only are Boeing’s profits at a record high, the union believes if Boeing truly thought that uprooting its Seattle operation and moving to another state made the best business sense, they would have done it.  What’s to prevent them?  If moving was the “right” thing to do, they would have already moved.  This is a bluff, plain and simple.

Per the International’s demand, another vote is scheduled for January 3.  Unlike the bad old days, when certain unnamed unions (okay, the Teamsters) could unilaterally ratify a contract on behalf of the members, today’s unions are wildly democratic.  The members have the final say, and votes are conducted by secret ballot.

If District 751’s leadership can maintain discipline and keep the membership’s eye on the ball, this re-opener will be voted down.  And if there’s another vote following this one, we can only hope that the union is able to disprove that old “two vote rule.”  After all, weren’t rules meant to be broken? Onward!

David Macaray can be reached at: dmacaray@earthlink.net.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington’s Real Aims in Colombia

Mythmaking in the Washington Post

By Nick Alexandov | CounterPunch | December 27, 2013

Last Sunday’s Washington Post carried a front-page article by Dana Priest, in which she revealed “a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders.”  Thanks to “a multibillion-dollar black budget”—“not a part of the public $9 billion package of mostly U.S. military aid called Plan Colombia”—as well as “substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency,” the initiative has been successful, in Priest’s assessment, decimating the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, as the country’s “vibrant economy” and “swanky Bogota social scene” flourish.

The lengthy piece offers a smorgasbord of propagandistic assertions, pertaining both to Washington’s Colombia policies, and to its foreign conduct in general.  For a sampling of the latter, consider one of the core assumptions underlying Priest’s report—namely, that our noble leaders despise drugs.  The FARC’s “links with the narcotics trade” and “drug trafficking” motivated U.S. officials to destroy their organization, we’re supposed to believe.  True, CIA informants in Burma (1950s), Laos (1970s), and Afghanistan (1980s) exploited their Agency ties “to become major drug lords, expanding local opium production and shipping heroin to international markets, the United States included,” Alfred W. McCoy’s research demonstrates.  True, a few decades ago the Office of the United States Trade Representative joined “with the Departments of Commerce and State as well as leaders in Congress” for the purpose of “promoting tobacco use abroad,” the New York Times reported in 1988, quoting health official Judith L. Mackay, who described the resulting “tobacco epidemic” devastating the Philippines, Malaysia, and other countries: “smoking-related illnesses, like cancer and heart disease” had surpassed “communicable diseases as the leading cause of death in parts of Asia.”  True, the DEA shut down its Honduran office in June 1983, apparently because agent Thomas Zepeda was too scrupulous, amassing evidence implicating top-level military officials in drug smuggling—an inconvenient finding, given Honduras’ crucial role in Washington’s anti-Sandinista assault, underway at the time.

But these events are not part of History, as the subject has been constructed in U.S. schools.  It’s common to read, every year or so, an article in one of the major papers lamenting the fact that “American students are less proficient in their nation’s history than in any other subject,” as Sam Dillon wrote in a 2011 piece for the Times.  The charge is no doubt true, as far as it goes: Dillon explained that only a “few high school seniors” tested were “able to identify China as the North Korean ally that fought American troops during the Korean War,” for example.  But the accusation is usually leveled to highlight schools’ inadequacies, with little examination of the roles these institutions are meant to serve.  And the indictments are hardly novel: in 1915, a Times story on New York City’s public schools complained their graduates “can not spell simple words,” were incapable of finding “cities and States” on a map, and so on.  That piece explicitly critiqued graduates’ abilities to function as disciplined wage-earners, and so was more honest than the majority of today’s education coverage.  The simple fact is “that the public schools are social institutions dedicated not to meeting the self-perceived needs of their students [e.g., by providing an understanding of how the world works] but to preserving social peace and prosperity within the context of private property and the governmental structures that safeguard it,” David Nasaw concludes in his fascinating history of the subject.  Private schools, to be sure, are similar in essential respects.  And one result of this schooling is that well-educated journalists can repeat myths about U.S. foreign policy, as their well-educated readers nod in blind assent.

The notion that U.S. officials have a coherent counterdrug policy is, again, one of these myths.  In addition to the historical examples of U.S. support for drug traffickers cited above, we can note that the slur “narco-guerrilla,” which Washington uses to imply that the FARC is somehow unique for its involvement in the narcotics trade, ought to be at least supplemented by—if not abandoned in favor of—“narco-paramilitary.”  Commentators tend to discuss the paramilitaries and the Colombian state separately, presupposing the former are “rogue” entities—another myth—when it would be better to view them, with Human Rights Watch, as the Colombian Army’s unofficial “Sixth Division,” acting in close conformity with governmental aims.  Paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño admitted in March 2000 that some 70% of the armed groups’ funding came from drug trafficking, and U.S. intelligence agencies took no issue with his estimate—and “have consistently reported over a number of years that the paramilitaries are far more heavily involved than the FARC in drug cultivation, refinement and transshipment to the U.S.,” International Security specialist Doug Stokes emphasizes.

When these substances enter our country, they become a key pretext for the skyrocketing incarceration rate, which has more people imprisoned for drug offenses today than were incarcerated for all offenses in 1980, criminologist Randall Shelden has pointed out, with rates of arrest and sentencing durations especially severe for blacks.  “Every criminal prohibition has that same touch to it, doesn’t it?” legal historian Charles Whitebread once asked.  “It is enacted by US,” he stressed, “and it always regulates the conduct of THEM”—“you know, them criminals, them crazy people, them young people, them minority group members,” he added sardonically.  Reviewing the history of marijuana prohibition, Whitebread noted that, at the Marihuana Tax Act hearings in 1937, two men spoke regarding the drug’s medical effects.  One was Dr. William C. Woodward, Chief Counsel to the American Medical Association, who explained his organization had found “no evidence that marihuana is a dangerous drug.”  “Doctor,” a Congressman complained, “if you can’t say something good about what we are trying to do, why don’t you go home?”  The second was a Temple University pharmacologist, “who claimed that he had injected the active ingredient in marihuana into the brains of 300 dogs, and two of those dogs had died.”  When one Congressman asked him whether he had experimented on dogs because of some similarity they bore to humans, the pharmacologist professed ignorance: “I wouldn’t know, I am not a dog psychologist.”

That was the extent of the medical basis for outlawing marijuana in the U.S., as threadbare as the anti-drug pretexts of Washington’s Colombia policies.  Nearly four years after Plan Colombia’s 1999 announcement, for example, the U.S. General Accounting Office reported that “the Departments of State and Defense [had] still not developed estimates of future program costs, defined their future roles in Colombia, identified a proposed end state, or determined how they plan[ned] to achieve it.”  But while efforts to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production were poorly articulated—and failed consistently—other endeavors met with great success.  For example, aerial fumigation displaced some 17,000 people from the Putumayo Department, where the FARC had a major presence, in 2001 alone.  The fumigation effectively converted the land from a means of subsistence into a profit source: journalist Garry Leech pointed out that, from 2003-2004, there was “a slew of new contracts signed between multinational companies and the Colombian government,” and the events in Putumayo and elsewhere suggest that Colombia’s herbicide-spraying campaign was never really aimed at illicit crops, typically described as the main target.  It seems that if the point were to eradicate, say, coca, the solution would be relatively simple: let coca growers harvest something else.  But Plan Colombia has consistently devoted only minimal funding for alternative development schemes, indicating the peasants’ sin isn’t growing coca, but living as subsistence farmers.  That kind of activity is an inappropriate use of the land in an oil-rich region, where there are profits to be made.

A Guatemalan peasant made a similar point to author-activist Kevin Danaher, when he visited her country in 1984—shortly after School of the Americas alumnus Ríos Montt had completed his genocidal tear through the countryside.  The woman, Danaher writes, “told us that soldiers had come to her home one night and hacked her husband to death, right in front of her and her three children;” the man “was a subversive,” in the military’s eyes, “because he was helping other peasants learn how to raise rabbits as a source of food and money.”  Danaher struggled to understand the connection between this effort at self-sufficiency, and the brutal end its advocate met.  “Look,” the widow explained, “the plantations down along the coast that grow export crops are owned by generals and rich men who control the government.  A big part of their profit comes from the fact that we peasants are so poor we are forced to migrate to the plantations each year and work for miserable wages in order to survive.”  Were she and other Guatemalan peasants to become self-reliant, they “would never work on the plantations again”—an indication of the severe threat rabbit-raising posed.

This woman’s remarks indicated who Washington’s real enemy was in Guatemala, and throughout the world.  The U.S. government was not opposed merely to “Communists,” real or imagined, during the Cold War, and in Colombia its policies have helped ruin—or end—the lives of millions of destitute individuals beyond the FARC’s top officials.  Of course, Sunday’s Post article ignores this fact, portraying the struggle as one between the U.S. government and its Colombian allies on one side, and aggressive guerrillas on the other.  But we can expect little else from this mythmaker of record.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama regime underestimated cost of maintaining nuclear weapons by $140 Billion

By Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman | AllGov | December 27, 2013

Defense officials in the Obama administration were more than a little off when they told Congress the cost of maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal over the next 10 years.

They missed the mark by at least $140 billion.

Two years ago, the Pentagon informed lawmakers that they would need to allocate $214 billion over the coming decade to operate and upgrade the stockpile of nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) looked at the Defense Department’s future plans and found that nuclear weapons-related costs were more likely to reach $355 billion by 2023.

That’s 66% higher than the 2011 estimate.

The $355 billion includes $136 billion to modernize and operate submarines, bombers and missiles that deliver warheads, $105 billion to run weapons labs, weapons and naval reactors, $56 billion for command and control systems, and $59 billion for unforeseen technical problems or mismanagement.

And that’s just the direct costs related to the nuclear arsenal.

CBO officials point out there are other, very costly programs that exist because of the nuclear weapons program, such as cleaning up shuttered nuclear fuel facilities or the nation’s missile defense systems for shooting down other nation’s nuclear missiles.

These other costs will likely cost the government another $215 billion over the next decade.

“Nuclear weapons aren’t cheap as some high-ranking Pentagon officials have suggested,” Kingston Reif, director of nuclear non-proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, an advocacy group in Washington, told the Center for Public Integrity.

Last year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that nuclear weapons are “just not that expensive,” a remark that triggered controversy and a Congressional request that the CBO nail down accurate costs.

Reif added that the Obama administration should consider scaling back its plans due to mounting costs, otherwise the result will be “nuclear disarmament by financial default.”

Apart from making the weapons more secure, the purpose of the nuclear modernization program, according to President Barack Obama, is “to give U.S. military and political leaders the confidence they need to negotiate further reductions in the nuclear arsenal,” wrote Reuters’ David Alexander.

Aspects of the modernization program are misguided and in violation of the spirit of the administration’s pledge to develop no new nuclear arms, the Union of Concerned Scientists said in its own October report.

To Learn More:

Obama Administration Understated Nuclear Weapons Costs (by R. Jeffrey Smith, Center for Public Integrity)

U.S. Nuclear Weapon Plans To Cost $355 Billion over a Decade: CBO Report (by David Alexander, Reuters)

Document: CBO Report on Cost of U.S. Nuclear Forces from 2014 to 2023 (USNI News)

Obama Pledges $11 Billion to Upgrade U.S. Nuclear Weapons (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Vladimir Vladimirovich and the Grey Lady

By Robert Bonomo | The Cactus Land | December 26, 2013

Bill Keller, editorialist for the NY Times and former executive editor of the paper, has recently penned a strong attack on Vladimir Putin arguing that Putin’s leadership “deliberately distances Russia from the socially and culturally liberal West”, describing the Kremlin’s policies as “laws giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians, the jailing of members of a punk protest group for offenses against the Russian Orthodox Church, the demonizing of Western-backed pro-democracy organizations as ‘foreign agents’, expansive new laws on treason, limits on foreign adoptions.”

Keller, who during his tenure as executive editor of the NY Times argued for the invasion of Iraq and wrote glowingly of Paul Wolfowitz, makes no mention of Moscow’s diplomatic maneuvers that successfully avoided a US military intervention in Syria or the Russian asylum given to Eric Snowden. Keller, who had supported the US intervention in Syria by writing, “but in Syria, I fear prudence has become fatalism, and our caution has been the father of missed opportunities, diminished credibility and enlarged tragedy,” also made no mention of Seymour Hersh’s stinging dissection of the Obama administration’s misinformation campaign regarding the sarin attacks in Syria. Hersh’s piece, which drives grave doubts into the case against Assad actually having carried out the attacks, was not published in the New Yorker or in the Washington Post, publications that regularly run his work.

Keller focuses on a Russian law that bans the promotion of gay lifestyles in Russia, a far cry from “giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians”, while failing to mention that according to his own paper, 88% of Russians support the law.

Putin did expel the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from Russia, cutting off the $50 million in aid, most of which went to pro-democracy and anti-corruption groups. The Kremlin believed that much of this money wound up supporting the protest movement against Putin that emerged in 2011. If Russian funding had been suspected in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, would the New York Times have supported Putin for promoting social equality in the US? If the punk band Pussy Riot had broken into a prominent Jewish temple in New York, instead of a Moscow cathedral, and defamed it to call attention to the millions of Palestinians living in refugee camps, would the young ladies have done some time? And if so, would they have received support from all corners of stardom?

The European Model

Quoting Dmitri Trenin, Keller argues that Putin sees Europe in decline, “it’s national sovereignty… is superseded by supranational institutions.” Is Putin mistaken in his assumption? Maybe ask the people of Greece, Spain, or Ireland. Keller also mentions “limits on foreign adoptions” but fails to mention the cause, the Magnitsky Act, which imposed “visa and banking restrictions on Russian officials implicated in human rights abuses.” The Kremlin saw this law as the perfect example of US meddling in internal Russian affairs.

The heart of the Magnistsky saga was the death in Russia, while under custody, of an attorney for Hermitage Capital, a hedge fund run by a British citizen William Browder, who renounced his US citizenship. Browder made billions in Russia before running afoul of Russian authorities. His Hermitage Capital was funded by the Lebanese national Edmond Safra and eventually claimed to have lost $300 million after having moved billions out of Russia. Browder lobbied hard in Washington to have the Magnitsky Act passed. Why was the US involved in passing a law to protect Lebanese and British capital and a Russian prisoner? America hasn’t enough trouble with its own prison system that it needs to legislate on the Russian penal system? Are there no American politicians who have been implicated in human rights abuses?

Keller’s final point is that Putin is being heavy handed over the Ukrainian/EU integration crisis, but Keller avoids discussing the deep historic and ethnic links between Russia and Ukraine. Most Americans would agree that Russia should stay out of NAFTA negotiations, seeing North America as clearly not within the Russian sphere of influence. Ukrainians are deeply divided over the integration with Europe, so why not let the Ukrainians and Russians work out their trade relations without the American government getting involved?

Khodorkovsky

Probably more than any other topic, the NY Times has repeatedly published articles in defense of the long imprisoned and recently freed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a man whose rise to power was filled with unsavory schemes to appropriate businesses which were once the property of the Russian people. The NY Times Sabrina Tavernese wrote in 2001 that he had “orchestrated a series a flagrant corporate abuses of minority shareholders unparalleled in the short history of modern Russian capitalism.”

Khdorkovsky eventually wound up the billionaire owner of Yukos Oil, which he planned to sell to Exxon Mobil. Khdorkovsky also had political ambitions, creating the Open Russian Foundation and putting Henry Kissinger and Lord Jacob Rothschild on the board of directors. He was clearly eyeing political power by making close ties with the West, even being named to the Advisory Board of the Carlyle Group, all of which made him a potential threat to the Kremlin.

The Khodorovsky affair was a complex battle for power in Russia with Khodorkovsky playing the Western powers against the strongly nationalistic Putin. But at the NY Times editorialist Joe Nocera in four pieces on Khodorkovsky never delves into the complexities of Putin’s strategy to keep Western interests at bay, preferring to present a black and white scenario of ‘western liberal’ rule of law against the ‘authoritarian’ Putin.

Curiously, the NY Times doesn’t seem so interested in Harvard’s Russia Project which ended in disgrace and professor Andrei Shleifer, Larry Summers protege, being forced to pay a $2 million fine for enriching himself under the guise of a USAID program where he was to ‘teach’ Russians about capitalism. He gave them an interesting lesson, yet was not forced to resign his post at Harvard, possibly due to his close relationship with Summers. Nocera hasn’t written one article on that scandal which is much more relevant to Americans and their iconic institutions, but which also might make him a few enemies closer to home.

Putin and American Values

Most Americans see Eric Snowden as whistleblower and not a traitor, yet the NY Times star editorialist, Thomas Friedman, isn’t so sure, “The fact is, he dumped his data and fled to countries that are hostile to us,” though he doesn’t elaborate on why Russia is a ‘hostile’ nation and he advises Snowden to come home and face the music if he’s truly a patriot, “It would mean risking a lengthy jail term, but also trusting the fair-mindedness of the American people.”

Putin is a social conservative and a fierce patriot who, like many Americans, opposes regime change in the name of democracy. The American people, after failed interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, agree with him — both Putin and Americans, unlike the NY Times, vehemently opposed a US intervention in Syria. It seems Putin has more in common with the opinions of Americans than does the NY Times, which begs the question, why is the NY Times so hell bent on demonizing the President of the Russian Federation when he’s supported by more than 60% of the Russian people?

The New York Times has written extensively about the gay rights issue in Russia but 45% of Americans still think that homosexuality is a sin and as the ‘Duck Dynasty’ controversy has revealed, homosexuality in America is still a very divisive issue. Is the prohibition against publicly speaking in favor of gay lifestyles in Russia such an important stumbling block to ties between the two nations when the vast majority of Russians support the law?

Americans probably don’t approve of roads where members of one religion can drive while members of another religion must walk, as occurs in Hebron and reported on by Ynet, “Jewish residents are allowed to cross the road by vehicle, but Palestinians are now only permitted to cross by foot or by bicycle.” They probably wouldn’t look fondly on back of the bus seating for women, yet in spite of this type of segregation in a country that claims to be democratic, the NY Times doesn’t feel compelled to demonize Mr. Netanyahu and his ‘socially conservative’ Likud party.

The Interests of the American People

Just as the NY Times despises Putin and Russia, it’s equally enamored with Israel. Imagine if the millions of Palestinian refugees were not in camps because of their mother’s religion but instead because they were LGBT? What if Netanyahu were held to the same standard as Mr. Putin? How many millions of Palestinian Khodorkovsky’s are languishing in refugee camps in their own country? It seems that Mr. Keller, Mr. Friedman and Mr. Nocera are much more interested in the rights of Khodorkovsky and William Browder than they are in the rights of Palestinian children living in squalor under an Israeli blockade in Gaza.

Saudi Arabia and Israel, the latter through its surrogate AIPAC, lobbied hard for war in Syria and both supposed allies are furiously attempting to undermine peace talks with Iran. The government Putin leads brokered the deal to avoid US involvement in Syria, played an important role in the Iranian peace initiative and also allowed Americans a glimpse into the massive surveillance program the NSA has hoisted upon them by giving refuge to Eric Snowden.

Just as Americans would not look fondly at the Kremlin interfering in domestic American politics, so the Kremlin pushes back when it see US interference in it’s internal affairs, a good example being American aid to opposition groups during the 2011 Moscow protests against Putin. If the US can accept serious human rights violations by supposed allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, can’t it also accept that Russia has its own way of governing itself, based on its own history and culture?

The NY Times does not represent the best interests of most Americans, nor does it use its powerful voice to protect the millions persecuted within the realms of so called allies. The NY Times represents a small sector of US power, bent on propagating special interests at the expense of the vast majority of Americans.

Mr. Putin certainly acts in the best interests of Russia, but curiously enough, by working in his own interest, he has done more to protect the 4th Amendment than the constitutional law professor currently occupying the White House. In Syria he was protecting Russian interests, but by doing so he kept the US out of an intervention that could have easily developed into a major war. If it had been up to the NY Times, we would have intervened in Syria and Snowden would be behind bars awaiting the mercy of the Obama Administration.

So who is a better friend of the American people? There are no doubts that the NY Times is a better friend of the Khodorkovsky’s and William Browder’s of the world but Americans might actually be better off if their government listened more to Putin and less to the Grey Lady.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Congress Must Not Cede Its War Power to Israel

By Sheldon Richman | FFF | December 26, 2013

The American people should know that pending right now in Congress is a bipartisan bill that would virtually commit the United States to go to war against Iran if Israel attacks the Islamic Republic. “The bill outsources any decision about resort to military action to the government of Israel,” Columbia University Iran expert Gary Sick wrote to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in protest, one of the bill’s principal sponsors.

The mind boggles at the thought that Congress would let a foreign government decide when America goes to war, so here is the language (PDF):

If the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people and existence.

This section is legally nonbinding, but given the clout of the bill’s chief supporter outside of Congress — the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC [PDF]), leader of the pro-Israel lobby — that is a mere formality.

Since AIPAC wants this bill passed, it follows that so does the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposes American negotiations with Iran and has repeatedly threatened to attack the Islamic Republic. Against all evidence, Netanyahu insists the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program is to build a weapon with which to attack Israel. Iran says its facilities, which are routinely inspected, are for peaceful civilian purposes: the generation of electricity and the production of medical isotopes.

The bill, whose other principal sponsors are Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), has a total of 26 Senate cosponsors. If it passes when the Senate reconvenes in January, it could provoke a historic conflict between Congress and President Obama, whose administration is engaged in negotiations with Iran at this time. Aside from declaring that the U.S. government should assist Israel if it attacks Iran, the bill would also impose new economic sanctions on the Iranian people. Obama has asked the Senate not to impose additional sanctions while his administration and five other governments are negotiating with Iran on a permanent settlement of the nuclear issue.

A six-month interim agreement is now in force, one provision of which prohibits new sanctions on Iran. “The [Menendez-Schumer-Kirk] bill allows Obama to waive the new sanctions during the current talks by certifying every 30 days that Iran is complying with the Geneva deal and negotiating in good faith on a final agreement,” Ali Gharib writes at Foreign Policy magazine. That would effectively give Congress the power to undermine negotiations. As Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, told Time magazine, if Congress imposes new sanctions, even if they are delayed for six months, “The entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress.”

Clearly, the bill is designed to destroy the talks with Iran, which is bending over backward to demonstrate that its nuclear program has no military aims.

Netanyahu and Israel’s American supporters in and out of Congress loathe the prospect of an American-Iranian rapprochement after 34 years of U.S.-Israeli covert and proxy war against Iran, whose 1979 Islamic revolution followed a quarter-century of brutality at the hands of a U.S.-backed monarch. The Israeli government, AIPAC, and the Republicans and Democrats who do their bidding in Congress are on record opposing any agreement that would leave intact Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, even at low levels for peaceful civilian purposes. But insisting that Iran cease all enrichment of uranium is equivalent to obliterating any chance of a peaceful settlement with Iran and making war more likely. That’s what this bill is all about.

Americans should refuse to let Congress give Israel the power to drag the United States into war. American and Israeli intelligence agencies say repeatedly that Iran has no nuclear-weapons program. Though Iran champions the Palestinians, who live under Israeli occupation, it has not threatened Israel, which, remember, is itself a nuclear power.

But even if Iran were a threat to Israel, that would not warrant letting any foreign government dictate when we go to war.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New York Times DC correspondent covers up 9/11

By Kevin Barrett | Press TV | December 27, 2013

With some people – the really bad liars – it’s easy to spot what criminologists call “guilty demeanor.”

When George W. Bush sat reading to schoolchildren on the morning of 9/11, remaining in the classroom for almost ten minutes after supposedly learning that America was under attack, the guilty look on his face was palpable.

At 9:03 that morning, as schoolchildren chanted “kite plane must hit steel,” Chief of Staff Andrew Card supposedly whispered in Bush’s ear: “A second plane has hit the World Trade Center, America is under attack.” But in reality, Card could not possibly have told Bush that. Whatever Card said required only two seconds. That was not enough time to explain a novel situation outside the President’s usual frame of reference.

In fact, Card must have said something like: “The operation is under way, await further instructions.”

If the Secret Service had really learned that America was under surprise attack, its agents would have immediately grabbed Bush and rushed him – at full speed – to a safe location. Instead, Bush just sat there looking guilty as the children read the book “My Pet Goat” for eight or nine minutes while the Secret Service did nothing.

When the reading session finally ended, Bush remained at the school for another twenty minutes.

After Bush had dawdled nearly half an hour in the classroom, the presidential motorcade took its time following the pre-announced route to the airport. Bush’s plane unhurriedly took off around 10 a.m. – almost an hour after Bush supposedly learned of the 9/11 “surprise attack.”

The whole world knew exactly where Bush was; the school event had been widely publicized in advance. If hijacked planes had really been used as missiles that day, the President would have been considered their number one target. But apparently the Secret Service knew Bush wasn’t in danger. The Secret Service’s complete lack of interest in the safety of the Commander-in-Chief (and in their own safety) proves, all by itself, that 9/11 was an inside job.

New York Times “embedded White House journalist” David Sanger was in the Florida classroom that day. He saw with his own eyes that the Secret Service knew Bush wasn’t a target.

In the twelve-and-a-half years that followed, Sanger never breathed a word about the obvious Secret Service foreknowledge.

That raises the term “embedded journalist” to a whole new level.

A few days ago, Sanger followed in the footsteps of the “Pet Goat President,” and gave the world another lesson in “guilty demeanor.”

During a C-Span interview, Sanger was asked by a 9/11 survivor why the New York Times has refused to cover the obvious controlled demolition of World Trade Center Building 7. Sanger’s response was evasive, obfuscatory, and mendacious.

The C-Span caller asked Sanger:

“Across the street from the New York Times building there’s a billboard asking where your paper’s coverage is of the over 2,000 architects and engineers who are demanding a new investigation of Building 7’s destruction on 9/11, and the overwhelming evidence that pre-planted explosives destroyed it. Since this has everything to do with our national security, can you explain what rational and scientific basis your paper has for failing to fairly and objectively cover this crucial issue?”

Sanger’s demeanor suggested he knew he was lying as he gave this circuitous answer:

“Trust me, the people who work at the New York Times have as much of a critical interest in what happened on 9/11 as anybody else. Because not only are they reporters there, but they live and work within the city. And we’ve devoted a fairly considerable amount of repertorial time over the past number of years to the question of all the different theories – conspiracy theories, regular theories, non-conspiracy theories – about what happened on that day. And you’ve heard the huge variety of them. We have not yet found any convincing evidence to suggest that there was a plot …that there was a plot that the President knew about in advance, which was one of the issues that came up. I was with the President on 9/11 at the school in Florida. I can tell you that he looked pretty shocked by what had happened, and shell-shocked by what had happened. And we have not found any evidence so far. That doesn’t mean that there’s none there. But we have not found any evidence so far to suggest that the building collapses were caused by anything other than the two airplanes that flew into them.”

Sanger blatantly evaded the caller’s question about Building 7. When he blamed the explosive destruction of the Twin Towers, and the smooth free-fall drop of Building 7, on “the two airplanes that flew into them” he was lying in two ways.

First, no airplane flew into Building 7.

Second, Sanger must know that the US government agency NIST admits that the planes and their jet fuel did very little damage to the Twin Towers. NIST blames office fires fueled by burning paper and carpets, not plane crashes or jet fuel, for the explosive pulverization of most of the Towers and their contents.

But whatever happened to the Towers, the destruction of Building 7 was the most obvious – and most perfect – controlled demolition in history. No smoother and more symmetrical near-free-fall implosion of a tall building has ever been recorded. Even Canadian scientist Frank Greening, the most prominent defender of NIST’s account of the destruction of the Twin Towers, has been forced to admit that NIST’s claim that Building 7 “just fell down from office fires” is ludicrous.

If David Sanger is really unaware of any evidence that Building 7 was destroyed by controlled demolition, he should just call up Frank Greening, the most-cited defender of the US government’s position on the destruction of the World Trade Center. Or he could try any of the more than 2000 Architects and Engineers.

Sanger’s bad faith – or his guilt-induced brain-freeze – is obvious when he divides the “different theories” about 9/11 into three categories: “Conspiracy theories, regular theories, and non-conspiracy theories.”

What can this possibly mean?

A “conspiracy” is a plan by a group of two or more people to commit a crime. How could there possibly be a “regular theory” or a “non-conspiracy theory” of 9/11? Is Sanger suggesting that a single individual may have acted alone?

As an embedded national security journalist, Sanger knows that the CIA was responsible for putting the weaponized term “conspiracy theorist” into circulation. The terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” were virtually unheard-of until the mid-1960s, when the CIA issued a memorandum to its thousands of Operation Mockingbird media assets telling them to attack JFK assassination researchers using those words. That memo is preserved as CIA Document 1035-960, released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by none other than the New York Times.

Apparently the CIA put out a similar memo after 9/11. And Sanger apparently got the memo.

Or maybe he didn’t need to.

Sanger has been a speaker at Foundation for Defense of Democracies – the neocon-Zionist successor to Project for a New American Century, which openly called for a “new Pearl Harbor” exactly one year before 9/11.

Former New York Times journalist Phillip Weiss calls Sanger a “complete insider” and a proponent of the Zionist notion that Iran is a threat to America.

Weiss has elsewhere alluded to another of Sanger’s possible motives for complicity in 9/11: Zionist sympathies. In his article “Do Jews dominate in American media? And so what if we do?” Weiss points out that the majority of his former colleagues and bosses at the New York Times are, in effect, Israeli propagandists: “The Jewish cohort of which I am a part has largely accepted the duty … of supporting Israel.”

David Sanger must know that Zionist billionaire Larry Silverstein, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, bought the condemned-for-asbestos World Trade Center just six weeks before 9/11, doubled the insurance, then collected double-indemnity due to the “two unrelated terror attacks” (the two planes). Silverstein has confessed twice on television to the controlled demolition of World Trade Center Building 7.

Sanger must know that Netanyahu’s first reaction to 9/11 was “It’s very good!” He must know that Israeli spies were arrested in New York filming and celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center. He must know about the New York Police Department radio recording describing Israelis being arrested on 9/11 near the George Washington Bridge with a truck full of explosives.

Sanger apparently has plenty of reasons for parsing “conspiracy theories” from “non-conspiracy theories” and pretending he doesn’t know that 9/11 was an inside job.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The shadowy Zionist ‘advisor’ behind ‘Thatcherism’

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | December 27, 2013

Not many tears were shed when The Rt Hon. Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS — or Maggie Thatcher, as she is irreverently remembered by the Irish and numerous other aggrieved parties in Britain and beyond — passed away this April. But how many of Mrs. Thatcher’s many haters around the world are aware of “the shadowy ‘advisory’ role played throughout her premiership” by the nephew and heir of the man to whom the Zionist-drafted, deliberately conflict-catalyzing Balfour Declaration was addressed?

In an important April 16 Russia Today op-ed piece, British investigative radio journalist Tony Gosling finally broached the media taboo against identifying the Iron Lady’s influential behind-the-scenes pro-Israel “advisor” dubbed “the man in the shadows”:

The taboo not a single commentator has broached though is the shadowy ‘advisory’ role played throughout her premiership by European banking fraternity’s Labour peer Lord Victor Rothschild. He was revealed in the book the Thatcher government tried to suppress, Peter Wright’s Spycatcher, to be behind London’s top secret service appointments. In 1986 Rothschild penned ‘Paying for Local Government’ the policy paper that led to the notorious Poll Tax that fell hardest on the poorest, and which brought Britons onto the streets of London in their hundreds of thousands in 1990, riots echoing London’s Poll Tax revolt of 1381.

And according to the then BBC Chairman Marmaduke Hussey, Lord Victor also initiated the sacking in 1987 of the last independent-minded Director General of the BBC, a castration from which the corporation never quite recovered.

One word captures the essence of the Thatcher legacy; ‘privatisation‘. As an exasperated former Tory Prime Minster Harold Macmillan put it “she’s selling off the family silver!”. And so tens of mind-boggling billions of pounds of silver were auctioned off to the highest bidders, mostly to Rothschild’s kith and kin. From shipyards and public housing to telephones, steel, oil, gas and water, anyone in the world was free to own the infrastructure and manufacturing heart of Britain that was once collectively ‘ours’. [emphasis added]

So, the next time you hear someone bemoan the consequences of “Thatcherism,” just tell them that the predictably oligarch-benefiting ideology should more accurately be called “Rothschildism.” Or if, like me, you’re in Japan, you could explain that the much-touted “Abenomics” — a deferential reference to Thatcherism’s “Chicago model” -based American counterpart “Reaganomics” — is simply the latest disastrous reincarnation of “Zionomics.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , | Leave a comment