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U.S. Human Radiation Experiments Covered up by Public Broadcasting

NuclearSavage3

By William Boardman |  Reader Supported News | January 8, 2014

The bomb will not start a chain reaction in the water, converting it all to gas and letting all the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy.

– Vice Admiral William P. Blandy, Bikini bomb test commander, July 25, 1946

When the military scientists of an advanced technological nation deliberately explode their largest nuclear bomb (and 66 others) over Pacific islands and use the opportunities to study the effects of radiation on nearby native people, which group is best described as “savage”?  And what should you call the people who prevent a documentary about these American post-war crimes from reaching a wide audience in the United States?

Nuclear Savage is a recent documentary film that explores American nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, 1946-1958, and particularly the secret Project 4.1: an American experiment in exposing Pacific Islanders to overdoses of radiation – deliberate human radiation poisoning – just to get better data on this method of maiming and killing people. The public broadcasting establishment has spent more that two years keeping this story off the air.

The preview reel of Nuclear Savage includes a clip with a stentorian newsreel announcer reporting on the American treatment of Marshall Islanders in April 1957, and explaining to his predominantly American audience:

The Marshallese caught by fallout got 175 roentgens of radiation. These are fishing people, savages by our standards, so a cross-section was brought to Chicago for testing. The first was John, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll…. John, as we said, is a savage, but a happy, amenable savage.

So how serious is 175 roentgens (assuming the measurement is accurate)? In 1950, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommended that human radiation contact should not exceed 0.3 roentgen per week for whole-body exposure [“roentgen” as a measure of radiation dose has since been replaced by “rem” (for “roentgen equivalent man”)]. It’s not clear how long the Marshallese were exposed to radiation levels of 175 roentgens – or on how many occasions – but that amount was more than 580 times what was then considered a safe weekly exposure.

Public broadcasting paid for this film – and is now suppressing it 

In 2005, director Adam Horowitz started work on Nuclear Savage, his second documentary about the American military use and abuse of the Marshall Islands. Horowitz has a contract with Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), which describes itself as “a national non-profit media arts organization” whose mission “is to support, advance and develop programming that enhances public recognition of and appreciation for Pacific Islander history, culture, and society. In keeping with the mission, PIC provides funding for new programs primarily for public television. We work with independent producers to create and distribute programs about Pacific Islanders that bring new audiences to public television, advance issues and represent diverse voices and points of view not usually seen on public or commercial television.”

Among its efforts to carry out this mission, PIC supported the production of Nuclear Savage with $100,000 passed through to Horowitz from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Horowitz delivered a completed, 87-minute version of Nuclear Savage in October 2011 – the same month it was nominated for Best Environmental Film at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival. That was also the same month various public broadcasting officials started putting up roadblocks to keep the movie off the air, a delaying tactic that continues into 2014. FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) reported the story in detail as “Nuclear Stalemate” in Extra!

One of the first requests, from Leanne Ferrer at PIC, was for a shorter version at 60 minutes. Rather than have Horowitz cut his film by 27 minutes, PIC hired its own editor and controlled the editing process. Part of Ferrer’s concern reportedly was a sort of politically correct reverse racism, her objection that there was too much of Horowitz in the film and he’s not a Pacific Islander. The shorter version has less of Horowitz. And the PIC web site pitches Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1 as a “portrait of Pacific Islanders struggling for dignity and survival after decades of intentional radiation poisoning by the U.S. government.”

PIC summarizes the film this way:

Some use the term ‘savage’ to refer to people from primitive cultures, but nuclear experimentation pushed savagery to new levels. In the 1950s, the U.S. conducted 67 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, vaporizing islands and exposing entire populations to fallout. The islanders on Rongelap received near fatal doses of radiation from one test, and were then moved onto a highly contaminated island to serve as human guinea pigs for 30 years. Filmmaker Adam Jonas Horowitz spent 25 years collecting material – including original footage, archival clips, and unpublished secret documents – to create this unforgettable and ironic portrait of American cynicism, arrogance, and racism. Winner of festival awards in Paris, Chicago and Mexico City.

PBS canceled scheduled broadcasts without public explanation  

In 2013, PBS World Channel scheduled Nuclear Savage for four showings on May 28 and 29 – and PBS executive Tom Davison emailed Horowitz in advance, saying “Congratulations on this airing.” When the airing failed to take place, without explanation from PBS, Horowitz was unable to get a straight answer from Davison, Ferrer, or anyone else in the public broadcasting food chain, although PIC executive Amber McClure wrote with Orwellian deceit: “Your program has not been declined by PBS.”

Outright rejection by PBS is required by Horowitz’s contract in order for him to regain independent control of his film. In December 2013, in his original letter to the editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, Horowitz summed up his experience to date this way:

PBS ‘World Channel’ executives accepted, scheduled and advertised the show nationally, only to reverse their decision and cancel the show at the last minute. The show was originally accepted and then later rejected by two different branches of PBS, on three different occasions. PBS executives promised to deliver to me, a list of the precise points in the film that they felt represented ‘bias,’ or questions of ‘fact,’ and I promised to work with them to fix any problems. But PBS has still never delivered any specifics whatsoever of their complaints about the film, a film by the way that they have already completely reworked with their own editors.

The project has also had support from private foundations, including the Kindle Project, where:

We support whistleblowers and rabble-rousers. We give grants to peacemakers and seed savers. We make awards to artists and activists. We support people and projects working towards solutions and alternatives to systems in transition. We seek out the strange, the bizarre, the unpolished, the less likely to receive funding. We fund individuals and initiatives that may seem risky or radical to mainstream funding sources….

Public information is not always well known by the public 

The unsigned Notes on Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1 on the Kindle Project web site from April 2012 talks about the ways the film was succeeding, despite unofficial quasi-government censorship and beyond “the glamorous festival circuit”:

Heartbreaking is the most poignant word that could be used to describe this film, and in my conversations with Adam this word has been uttered more than once. I’ve often wondered how he has the stamina for this subject matter; the stamina to expose himself to the worst kinds of atrocities that humans inflict on one another. The people of the Marshall Islands have faced similar catastrophic fates as the victims who underwent Nazi medical tests during WWII. Adam was there to tell the world about it. These days, his perseverance comes from the success of the film – not just from the attention it’s getting from the international circuit, but from what’s happening in the Islands themselves.

What was happening in the islands was that Nuclear Savage was being shown again and again on local and national television channels. It was shown at the Pacific Island conference of Presidents. People were copying and bootlegging the film across the region, with bootleg copies sometimes turning up on television. And Marshallese activists were using the film to resist U.S. government efforts to re-re-settle some populations back to their home islands that were still dangerously radioactive.

“As of now, no one has moved back,” Horowitz told an audience after showing Nuclear Savage at the International Uranium Film Festival in Window Rock, Arizona, last December. Despite the American effort to re-re-settle the forced Marshallese refugees on their former home islands, Horowitz said the effort had amounted to “just a bunch of empty houses.”

Horowitz has been angry about American treatment of the Marshall Islands for a long time. In late 2013 he told a reporter the U.S. “destroyed an entire country that we were not at war with, that we were at peace with. Not only did they blow up all these islands, but they purposely contaminated all these people as human experiments. It’s a very unknown story here.”

The story was classified top secret until the 1990s, when the Clinton administration declassified documents related to nuclear testing that included previously unknown information on the Project 4.1 program to use Pacific Islanders as human guinea pigs for assessing the impact of ionizing radiation. Even the official historian of U.C. nuclear testing, Barton Hacker, who tries to minimize the criminality of Project 4.1, ended up writing in 1994 that an “unfortunate choice of terminology may help explain later charges that the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] had deliberately exposed the Marshallese to observe the effects. Like the American radium dial painters of the 1920s and the Japanese of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the Marshallese of 1954 inadvertently were to provide otherwise unobtainable data on the human consequences of high radiation exposures.”

The U.S. was an occupying power, and effectively still is 

Europeans “discovered” these Pacific Islands in the 1520s (they were named the Marshall Islands after the British explorer John Marshall). In 1874 they became part of the Spanish East Indies. In 1884 Germany bought them as part of German New Guinea. During World War I, the Japanese occupied the islands and later ruled them under a League of Nations mandate. During World War II, the United States took the islands from the Japanese and has effectively occupied them ever since.

In 1946, the U.S. evacuated the entire population of Bikini Atoll (167 people) and logged the first of 23 atomic weapons explosions that have made what’s left of the atoll (part of it was vaporized) a largely uninhabitable radioactive tourist destination [one report says 4-6 “caretakers” live there]. Most of the 167 original residents have died, but their descendants number more than 4,000. A 1975 federal lawsuit (seeking roughly $750 million in compensation promised but not paid by the U.S.) was denied review by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2010, but the effort to make the U.S. provide just compensation continues.

Later in 2010, UNESCO named Bikini a “world heritage site” as a symbol of the “dawn of the nuclear age.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that Bikini is close to the “safe” radiation level of 15 millirems – but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the “safe” level is really 100 millirems, and the contradiction remains unreconciled.

In 1947, the United Nations included the Marshall Islands in a Trust Territory controlled by the U.S., whose obligations included the duty to “protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources.” Later in the year the U.S. evacuated the entire population of Enewetak Atoll, where it would explode another 44 atomic weapons, the last series in 1958.

On March 1, 1954, the U.S. exploded its first deliverable hydrogen bomb that, at 15 megatons, was more than 1,000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb of 1945. The official story, which the U.S. government still defends, is that it was an “accident” that the bomb dumped so much radiation on downwind populations, and that Project 4.1 was initiated after the blast in order to help the victims as well as study them.

The record includes one reference to Project 4.1 prior to March 1 [the government says someone put it there after the fact]. More troubling is the undisputed evidence that the U.S. was aware that the weather had changed, that the wind was blowing toward populated areas, but they went ahead with the test anyway. After the radiation came down like “snow” on Rongelap and other islands, the Navy evacuated American personnel quickly, but left the “happy, amenable savages” to absorb more radiation for another two days.

As early as 1956, the Atomic Energy Commission had characterized the Marshall Islands as “by far the most contaminated place in the world.”

For the victor, justice is only optional, not enforceable  

In 1979, the U.S. allowed the Marshall Islands to become “self-governing,” while the U.S. reserved the sole control of military use and defense of the territory. In 1986 the U.S. granted the Republic of the Marshall Islands “sovereignty” under the Orwellian-named Compact of Free Association, which left the U.S. in military control and free to use Kwajalein Atoll as a missile testing range. Four years later the U.N. ended the “nation’s” Trusteeship status. The CIA estimates that the Marshall Islands’ GDP is $182 million, of which the U.S. provides $70 million in aid payments, according to the State Department. Both the CIA and State Department omit unpaid compensation from their public summaries of the Marshall Islands.

Nuclear Savage includes U.S. Ambassador Greta Morris making a wooden public statement of “deep regrets” for the “hardships” the Marshallese have suffered “as a result of the testing program, as well as the accidental downwind injuries caused by one test, Bravo” – which is the official version of the 1954 H-bomb Castle Bravo. Later Greta Morris is asked at a public event to discuss U.S. “government policy” – the ambassador refuses to talk on camera.

In March 2012, at an event commemorating the anniversary of the H-bomb test, Marshall Islands foreign minister Phillip Muller called on the U.S. to pay more than $2 billion in awards already made by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, which was created and underwritten by the U.S. The U.S. moral and financial obligation continues to grow, as the Marshall Islands are reportedly seeing a continually rising cancer rate more than half a century later. An the same event, according to Overseas Territories Review:

U.S. Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell told the event in Majuro Thursday evening that ‘the United States has provided nearly $600 million in compensation and assistance to the Republic of the Marshall Islands to help the affected communities overcome the effects of nuclear testing,’ and noted that the U.S. and Marshall Islands governments had agreed to ‘a full and final settlement of all nuclear-related claims’ in 1983 [an apparent reference to the Compact of Free Association and its side agreements].

In 1998, staff from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a comparison study to compare the amount of radioactive Iodine-131 at four different radiation-polluted sites, measured in curies (1,000 curies of Cesium-137, as found in a radiation therapy machine, could produce serious health effects in a direct exposure of just a few minutes). The CDC team reported its finding that the atmospheric release of curies of Iodine-137 at the Hanford nuclear processing plant was 739,000 curies; at Chernobyl the release was 40 million curies; at the Nevada bomb test site, 150 million curies; and in the Marshall Islands, 6.3 billion curies (more that 30 times as much radiation as the other three sites combined).

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is ranked #5 in the world among countries with the highest health costs as a percentage of GDP – behind Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tuvalu, and the United States.

The history of the treatment of the radiation victims of the Marshall Islands is essentially a paradigm for the treatment of radiation victims everywhere. The perpetrators of radiation-exposure lose patience with the seemingly endless  effects of their acts and so they tend to abandon all responsibility for them.  So far at least, the Marshall Islands history appears to be foreshadowing Fukushima’s future.

Given the unpalatibility this story might have for an American television audience, it’s little wonder that public broadcasting executives are content to spend public money to keep the public under-informed.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Is Obama Trying to Resolve or Prolong the Conflict in Syria?

By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett | Going to Tehran | January 10, 2014

Suppose a great power declares that it supports a peace process aimed at finding a political solution to a terrible, ongoing conflict.  Then suppose that this great power makes such declarations after it has already proclaimed its strong interest in the defeat of one of the main parties to said conflict.  And then suppose that this great power insists on preconditions for a peace process—preconditions effectively boiling down to a demand for pre-emptive surrender by the party whose defeat the great power has already identified as its major goal—which render such a process impossible.  Is it not reasonable to conclude that the great power in question is (how to put this gently) lying about its purported support for peace?

That, in a nutshell, is the Obama administration’s posture toward the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Earlier this week, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon began sending out invitations for the Geneva II conference on Syria scheduled for January 22.  And, as Ban’s spokesperson acknowledged, the Islamic Republic of Iran was not among the “first round” of nations asked to take part.

According to the spokesperson, invitations to the talks are subject to the approval—or veto—of the two “initiating states,” Russia and the United States.  The Islamic Republic has said repeatedly that it is prepared to attend and to contribute constructively to the search for a political settlement.  Of course, Russia supports Iran’s participation in Geneva II—as does China, Germany, Turkey, every other state seriously interested in resolving the conflict in Syria, and the United Nations itself.  (Ban’s spokesperson publicly stated this week, “The secretary-general is in favor of inviting Iran.”)

It is the United States—whose leader, President Obama has demanded for more than two years that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad relinquish his position—that is blocking Iranian participation in Geneva II.  And it is attempting to justify this position by continuing to insist on Assad’s pre-emptive surrender as part of the Geneva II agenda.  Moreover, Washington is couching its demand for Assad’s pre-emptive surrender in a shamelessly dishonest reading of the 2012 Geneva I communique, which is supposed to set the terms of reference for Geneva II.

On this last point, Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this week (before Ban started sending out invitations) reiterated the Obama administration’s opposition to Iran’s participation in Geneva II as a “ministerial partner.”  In the administration’s view, Iran can’t come to the meeting because it has not signed on to the Geneva I document—in particular, the passage positing that a “transitional governing body” for Syria “shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent” among “the present government and the opposition and other groups.”

Since Iran (at Washington’s insistence) was not invited to Geneva I, it is not clear exactly how or why Tehran should sign up to a communique it had no part in producing.  But the most shamelessly dishonest aspect of the Obama administration’s posturing on the matter is its insistence that Iran accept the administration’s warped reading of the passage from Geneva I just cited, which Team Obama (including Kerry) interprets as a requirement that Assad leave office and play no future political role—whether as part of a transitional government or as Syria’s first president elected after a settlement is negotiated.

We suspect that Assad would, in all likelihood, win another national mandate—even in the “free and fair multi-party elections” envisioned in Geneva I.  But Washington doesn’t want Syrians to have the chance to make that choice.  And so Washington continues to block Iranian participation in Geneva II—save perhaps, as Kerry pompously suggested earlier this week, “from the sidelines” (a proposition that Iran has roundly rejected).

What is so appallingly arrogant about the Obama administration’s position is that it was explicitly rejected at Geneva I.  Then-UN envoy Kofi Annan’s draft communique originally contained U.S.-backed language barring figures from the  conflict resolution process whose participation would block creation of a national unity government—language that the United States, Britain, and France crafted to exclude Assad.  Russia and China insisted that this language be removed from the final communique.  But the Obama administration has disingenuously continued asserting that the language in Geneva I bans Assad from any future political role—even though it is as clear as day that Geneva I, as actually adopted, does not do any such thing.

Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are supposed to discuss the question of Iranian participation in Geneva II on January 13.  Let’s see if the Obama administration can actually decide that it wants to resolve the conflict in Syria, rather than prolonging it further.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Posting Of NYPD Officers Around The World Found To Be A Waste, Embarrassment

By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | January 10, 2014

As we mentioned recently, NYPD Chief Ray Kelly took a shot at the FBI on his way out of office, claiming the agency was unable to protect New York (and presumably lesser cities) from terrorist attacks. The problem, according to Kelly, is that the agency failed to share intelligence with his department, at least not enough to satisfy his counterterrorism officers. To that end, he formed the so-called Demographics Unit to violate the rights of surveil Muslims, mosques and anything else deemed potentially “terrorist-related” and placed it under the command of a former CIA official.

Not only that, but Ray Kelly figured his department could beat the FBI at its own intelligence-gathering game overseas. It sent out NYPD officers as uninvited guests to cities around the world. Again, this was done to fight the good fight against global terrorism. In reality, it was a waste of money that failed to produce useful intelligence, and the officers stationed overseas spent a lot of their time treading on the toes of the locals.

[F]ormer federal officials who served overseas told “On The Inside” the NYPD detectives are ineffective, often angering and confusing the foreign law enforcement officials they are trying to work with, and are usually relegated to the sidelines because they lack national security clearance.

For example, when bombs exploded at resorts in Bali in 2005, killing 20 and injuring hundreds, the Indonesian National Police “were astonished and irritated that the NYPD showed up,” a federal source explained.

Yes, even on an international scale, there’s never an NYPD officer around when you need one — just plenty of “help” no one asked for. (Presumably, the Bali police informed the bumptious interlopers that no one’s rights needed violating at the moment… ) Not only did the NYPD’s ad hoc diplomats show up at the worst possible time, but they weren’t even in their (very loosely defined) “jurisdiction.”

That’s because those NYPD Intelligence Division detectives were based in Singapore, and were sent into a chaotic terrorism scene where they had no previous relationship with local law enforcement.

And even in Singapore, those detectives had no security clearance and no standing with the Singapore Internal Security Department, which is the agency tasked with combating terrorism.

The end result of all this bumbling? The NYPD’s overseas officers declared that the Bali bombing had “no nexus” with the bombing in New York — something US federal agents had already determined and passed along to other agencies in the pipeline, including the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force.

But the bumbling wasn’t limited to offending Bali police or Singapore security forces.

Another source said that NYPD detectives showed up at the funerals of victims of the Madrid rail bombings in 2004, angering local officials and victims’ families.

So, in addition to further damaging international relations, the NYPD’s forcible insertion of itself into tragedies occurring in other nations failed to produce anything useful in the way of terrorist plots disrupted. This falls directly in line with its domestic efforts — casually stomping on civil liberties and civilian sensibilities in order to chalk up another zero in the “plots prevented” column.

Remember, the impetus for this program was Kelly’s belief the FBI didn’t share enough info with the department… or share it fast enough. But FBI agents who worked with the NYPD task force remember this a bit differently.

The NYPD already has more than 100 detectives on the FBI-Joint Terrorist Task Force with access to all the cutting-edge terror data available to the intelligence community. But apparently that’s not enough.

“The police brass always complained we were holding back information,” a top FBI official complained to me. “It bothered the s— out of me. We shared everything and never held back. Sometimes, they thought we were. But sometimes, we just did not know!”

Kelly trusted his own men more than he trusted the feds. There’s nothing specifically wrong with having confidence in your underlings. But when it results in the baffling decision to place NYPD eyes and ears around the world without seeking the permission or cooperation of local officials, it’s a problem. Kelly’s time at the helm of the NYPD has been marked by an insularity verging on paranoia.

Now that he’s leaving, it will be up to Commissioner Bill Bratton to decide whether the program, as useless (and expensive — $100k per officer per year) as it is, is allowed to continue. And, unfortunately, Bratton seems to believe the NYPD’s attempt to out-think the feds still has some merit.

He said he “understands Commissioner Kelly was very strongly supportive of it” and “I’ve heard nothing negative about it, quite frankly.”

That’s hardly a shocker. Maybe Bratton should consider asking someone not so heavily invested in obstinately pursuing useless programs to futile ends.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Harsh Prosecution for the Little People and the Big Guys Skate

By Dave Lindorff | This Can’t Be Happening! | January 9, 2014

The US Department of “Justice” has a distinctly nuanced concept of that term, taking a tough, no-holds-barred stance when it comes to individuals — especially little people without much power or influence — and trying at all costs to avoid prosecution when it comes to the powerful, and to big corporations — especially big financial corporations. That schizoid approach to prosecution is personified in the recent actions–and inaction–of the DOJ’s man in Manhattan, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.

You remember Preet. He’s the guy who came down so hard on a deputy consul general of the Indian Consulate in New York who was accused by his office of “human trafficking.” Specifically, 39-year-old Devyani Khobragade stands accused of lying to US visa officials in New Delhi when she applied for a visa to bring an Indian maid to the US to work in her home, allegedly claiming to them that she would be paying the woman some $4500 a month, when the maid, who left the job, claimed she was paid just $573 monthly. The US prosecutor (himself a naturalized citizen and native of India who grew up in the US) had Khobragade arrested as she dropped her two children off at school, brought her to the federal lock-up in Manhattan, where she claims she was strip searched and cavity searched several times, and finally released her on $250,000 bond, to face felony charges that could potentially result in 10 years’ jail time. (Khobragade has denied the charges and claims that the maid in question was extorting her family.)

Explaining his tough approach to the case, Bharara has stated that Khobragade’s treatment under arrest was not harsh, and that she was simply subjected to “routine procedures of the US Marshal’s Service” for persons being placed in detention following arrest. In fact, he claimed she had been extended “special courtesies” such as being allowed to make multiple phone calls to assure that her children would be cared for in her absence, and being offered coffee by her arresting officers. Bharara also defended his department’s tough approach in this case saying that human trafficking is a serious crime and that “Foreign nationals brought to the United States to serve as domestic workers are entitled to the same protections against exploitation as those afforded to United States citizens.” He went on to declare that the alleged lying to visa officials and the alleged “exploitation of an individual” were something that “will not be tolerated.”

Some might immediately point out that exploitation of low-paid American workers is rampant — including in Bharara’s jurisdiction of New York–and that the Justice Department largely ignores it. (US workers routinely are defrauded out of overtime, get paid below minimum wage, are denied unemployment benefits they are owed, are forced to work in dangerous conditions, and are abused on the job and the “Justice” Department does nothing.) But even putting that huge hypocrisy aside, there’s the matter of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase.

This past week, Preet Bharara also announced that his office had reached an agreement with the nation’s largest “too-big-to-fail” bank on a fine and penalties of $2.5 billion for violating the Bank Secrecy Act. Specifically, JPMorganChase was accused of turning a blind eye to the record-breaking pyramid scheme of Wall Street scammer extraordinaire Bernie Madoff, who bilked clients out of a staggering $65 billion over two decades, largely working through one account he had at JPMorganChase.

Now, you’d think that for a crime that large and egregious, someone — and ideally it would be bank head Jamie Dimon — ought to have been frog-marched in cuffs out of JPMorganChase headquarters, and then brought down to the same lock-up Bharara had Khobragade taken to, there to be similarly given the “routine” treatment of strip searches and cavity searches that she got. (After all, Dimon became the bank’s president and chief operating officer back in July 2004, later becoming chairman and CEO too, and over that period the bank concedes there had been plenty of internal warnings about Madoff, who was essentially using the bank to execute his massive fraud.)

Nope. Didn’t happen.

In fact, while the the US Attorney’s Office claims Bharara and his prosecution team technically “filed” criminal charges against the bank (though not against any bank officials), when they met in a “congenial” setting with Dimon and his attorneys, it was agreed that there would be no criminal prosecution at all. Instead, the bank agrees to a fine of $1.7 million plus a payment of $350 million to the Comptroller of the Currency as well as some $500 million in compensation to victims, and said it would accept a “deferred prosecution agreement,” giving the bank two years to “overhaul its controls against money laundering.” After that time, all is to be forgotten, and the charges will be dropped. Under this sweetheart agreement, the bank did not have to plead guilty to anything as part of this deal, but was allowed instead to “stipulate to the facts of the case.” This is even though JPMorganChase admitted that its own office in the UK, in 2008, sent a detailed warning explaining to senior managers that Madoff’s whole operation appeared to be a scam. (Wouldn’t you get a deal like that after an arrest for pot possession or for DWI!)

Bharara insisted, at a press conference announcing the settlement and the agreement to drop any criminal prosecution against the bank, that it was a good deal. He went to great lengths to insist that the bank’s failure was “institutional,” implying that it would not be appropriate to prosecute individuals. He refused to comment on the suitability of Dimon to continue running the bank, though his office could easily have insisted on Dimon’s departure as part of any non-prosecution settlement. He also several times repeated that there were “concerns” about possible “collateral consequences” of a criminal prosecution. At one point, when questioned by a reporter, he explained that those “consequences” might include “employees being laid off, the bank failing, or shareholders losing money.” Of course, JPMorganChase failing would merely mean that the institution would be broken up, with the pieces being taken over by other institutions under supervision of the Office of Comptroller. Lost jobs? What about all the jobs lost because of Madoff’s scams? And as for shareholders, aren’t they the owners of the bank, who are supposed to be insisting that it is well run and acting in accordance with the law, not to mention looking out for fraud? If they weren’t doing that, then they deserve to lose money!

What’s really going on, though Bharara struggled mightily to avoid having to admit it, is that if you’re big enough and powerful enough, you don’t get criminally prosecuted by the DOJ.

Remember that phrase “Equal justice under the law”? It’s engraved on the front facade of the US Supreme Court an is supposed to be a fundamental American principle. Apparently it’s just a slogan though. If you’re the nation’s largest bank, or the boss of that bank, it doesn’t apply to you. Just ask US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.

Maybe we should just change the name of Bharara’s parent agency to US Department of Injustice. At least that would be honest.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Glenn Greenwald Gets It Wrong

Jonathan Pollard Is No Victim

By Philip Giraldi • The Unz Review • January 10, 2014

In many predominantly progressive and libertarian circles journalist Glenn Greenwald is regularly praised and even called a hero for his courageous and unflinching criticism of the developing national security state and for his custodianship of what might be described as the Snowden papers. Through the years I too have generally found his insights both informative and refreshing and, while I have believed Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning’s theft of huge masses of classified information to be a considerable overreach, I do think that after twelve years of government autarky it is now time for the White House to come clean on what it has been doing to its own citizenry, something that would not be taking place without the intelligence leaks.

But all of that conceded, I often find that people on the left of the political equation are frequently trapped by the terms of their own orthodoxy which is every bit as conducive to tunnel vision as would be a tea party pronouncement made by a Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz. Greenwald is now calling for the release from prison of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina and he is appearing on the Israeli media to make his case.

Greenwald’s logic goes something like this: as the Snowden papers demonstrate that the United States has been spying on Israel Washington has no right to judge others engaged in the same behavior and is therefore hypocritical when it continues to hold an Israeli spy engaging in espionage against the United States. He states that Snowden and Pollard are connected, “When the US government goes around the world criticizing other countries for spying on allies and prosecuting them, are they going to maintain that with a straight face when they’re doing exactly that?” Greenwald calls the double standard governmental hypocrisy and insists that no country has the right to tell other countries not to do something that it itself is secretly engaging in. He rejects the argument that the NSA spying has been carried out to protect against terrorism and asks rhetorically if the US, revealed to be spying on Israeli officials, really believes that “democratically elected” Israelis are involved in terror?

Greenwald goes on in his interview with Israeli television Channel 10 to assert that the leak of the Snowden documents has “defended the values of American democracy.”

I, perhaps not surprisingly, see the issue differently. There is a certain amount of smugness and self -justification in what Greenwald is trying to sell about Snowden (and Pollard). Does he claim that stealing great masses of documents is intrinsically a defense of democracy or is he only referring to those documents that reveal illegal or unconstitutional behavior that should be halted and condemned? If stopping illegal activity by the United States government is his actual objective why is he releasing documents on spying on foreign officials, an action that is neither illegal in the US nor unconstitutional? Or is he designating himself as arbiter of acceptable behavior for the entire world? So I am not quite sure what to make of his logic and fail to understand what exactly he is condemning. Nor is it clear to me if there are any limits to what he might reveal.

I believe that spying is essential for every country that needs information relating to its legitimate foreign interests that is not available through public records or open sources. I at the same time concede that United States intelligence post 9/11 has become an out-of-control monster pursuing its own agendas and believe espionage should only be employed when it is a last option and only in a situation where a vital interest is at stake, limitations that have not been much in evidence over the past twelve years.

One can believe that the government’s spying on its own people in a fashion that is arguably both illegal and unconstitutional should be subject to the scrutiny that it is now receiving and should be stopped immediately, but spying on foreign countries is another issue altogether as is the spying carried out by other nations directed against the United States. Every nation in the world that engages in espionage, which means nearly all nations, denies that it is engaging in such activity and is certainly hypocritical in its professed attitudes towards spying, as Greenwald notes, but that does not mean that spies cannot do serious damage and should not be arrested and punished as a consequence. The Greenwald line of argument does not recognize that distinction and his comments suggest that all spying is wrong and indefensible so therefore those involved in it at any level or in any place should be judged by the same standard.

Sometimes spying is the only option for learning about foreign government activity that might do genuine damage to one’s country. And Greenwald should know better than to ask whether the “democratically elected” officials in Israel are carrying out terrorism. Of course they are, and all he has to do is refer to the murder of nine unarmed Turks on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ in 2010, the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010 and the assassinations of Iranian scientists over the past three years.

Might it be in the interest of Washington to know exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up to, particularly as he described 9/11 as “good for Israel” while much of the world will blame any outrage carried out by Israel on the United States particularly as the Israelis have frequently used foreign passports to carry out their assassinations? And would it be a good idea for the United States to have prior knowledge if Israel were about to bomb Iran to get American ships in the Persian Gulf out of the way if for no other reason? And Greenwald might also consider the proportionality issue relative to the espionage that goes on between Israel and the US. It is largely a one way street with Israel doing most of the spying. Among nations friendly to the United States Israel is the most aggressive in its espionage activity, largely because it knows it can get away with it given the Justice Department’s all too convenient unwillingness to prosecute Israelis.

Greenwald also does not appear to appreciate the damage that Pollard did. Pollard was undoubtedly motivated to help Israel because he was Jewish but he also tried to sell information to several other countries and might even have been involved in trying to set up arms deals that could have placed sophisticated weapons in the hands of terrorists. Ultimately, he spied for Tel Aviv because he was paid for his services. He violated his oath to protect the information he had access to and gave the Israelis an entire room full of highly classified information. Some of that intelligence wound up in the Soviet Union in exchange for increased Jewish emigration. Greenwald might recall that the Soviets were (and still are) fully capable of destroying the United States in a nuclear exchange, so the provision of information that revealed US technical intelligence capabilities was potentially a serious matter. It has also been alleged that American intelligence sources were executed as a result of the information obtained in Moscow from Pollard by way of Israel.

It is not clear to me where Greenwald is likely to go next but employing logic similar to that which he uses with Pollard he might well conclude that because the US criminal justice system is flawed and sometimes convicts people who are innocent all people who have been judged guilty and sent to prison should be set free. The suggestion is appropriate applied to Pollard as he is, apart from anything else, a criminal. He stole something that did not belong to him and sold it. He betrayed his country. To claim that government hypocrisy is good grounds for freeing him is ludicrous.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

70 NEOCONS PETITION CONGRESS TO EFFECTIVELY ALLOW ISRAEL TO SAY WHEN THE U.S. SHOULD ATTACK IRAN

By Damian Lataan | January 10, 2014

Seventy senior Israeli-centric neoconservatives have written an open letter to Congress imploring them to do more to ensure Iran complies with the conditions of any agreement finally reached with the P5+1 over Iran’s nuclear program.

While the neocons are ostensibly asking Congress to ensure compliance, it is clear that their real aim is to convince members of Congress to support the bill currently passing through the Senate which calls for tighter sanctions against Iran in the event of any waywardness on Iran’s part.

The neocons are eager to see the bill currently passing through the Senate with enough support to make it veto-proof, not so much because they are concerned about Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program – there’s still not a skerrick of hard evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program – but, rather, because embedded within the bill is this clause:

…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…

Essentially, the clause is an automatic trigger for the US to attack Iran at any time the Israelis choose to launch a first strike – regardless of whether President Obama is in favour or not.

Partial list:

Elliott Abrams

James Kirchick

Dr. Fouad AjamiIrina Krasovskaya

Dr. Michael Auslin

Dr. William Kristol

Congresswoman Shelley Berkley

Dr. Robert J. Lieber

Josh Block

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman

Dan Blumenthal

Tod Lindberg

Max Boot

Mary Beth Long

Ellen Bork

Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer

Dr. Michael Makovsky

Dr. Eliot A. Cohen

Ann Marlowe

Senator Norm Coleman

Clifford D. May

Ambassador William Courtney

Robert C. McFarlane

Seth Cropsey

David A. Merkel

Jack David

Thomas C. Moore

James S. Denton

Dr. Joshua Muravchik

Dr. Paula J. Dobriansky

Governor Tim Pawlenty

Dr. Michael Doran

Dr. Martin Peretz

Mark Dubowitz

Danielle Pletka

Dr. Colin Dueck

John Podhoretz

Dr. Nicholas N. Eberstadt

Arch Puddington

Ambassador Eric S. Edelman

Stephen G. Rademaker

Douglas J. Feith

Dr. Michael Rubin

Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin

Randy Scheunemann

Reuel Marc Gerecht

Dr. Gary J. Schmitt

Abe Greenwald

Dan Senor

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Lexicon of Resistance

By Gilad Atzmon • March 30, 2009

The following is an attempt to present my own personal dictionary of what seems to be the most charged terminology and concepts attached to the Palestinian solidarity and anti-war discourse.

Palestine- a piece of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. For many years Palestine was the home of the Palestinian people: Muslims, Christians and Jews who lived in peace and harmony for hundred of years. In the late 19th century, in the light of emerging European nationalism, a few Jews had decided that Jews should not be left out. They then invented the notions of: ”Jewish people”, ”Jewish history” and ”Jewish nationalism”. They decided to settle the majority of world Jewry in Palestine. Throughout the years the Jewish national project, i.e., Zionism, had become more and more sinister and ruthless. In 1949 70% of the indigenous Palestinian population had already been ethnically cleansed. Nowadays the majority of Palestinians are living behind barbed wire in a state of terror guarded by Israeli soldiers.

Jews- the people who happen to identify themselves as Jews. Jews are not a race, they do not follow a single belief system either. I made myself a rule. I categorically refrain from dealing with ”the Jews” as a collective or an ethnic group. Instead I restrict myself to criticism of Jewish politics, Jewish ideology and Jewish identity.

Judaism- one of the many religions practiced by the Jewish people (Jews for Jesus, Jews For Buddha, Jews For Allah and so on). Though Judaism contains some non-ethical aspects and teachings, the one and only peace-seeking collective amongst the Jewish people is actually a religious orthodox sect, namely Torah Jews. This fact is enough to make me very careful when criticising Judaism as a religion. When dealing with Judaism, I would restrict myself to criticism of interpretations of Talmudic racism and the biblically orientated Zionist genocidal plunder of Palestine.

Jewishness- Jewish ideology, the interpretations of the meaning of being a Jew by those who regard themselves as Jews. Jewishness is the core of Jewish identity, it is a dynamic notion. It is hard to pin down. While refraining from criticising Jews (the people) and Judaism (the religion), elaborating on Jewishness is a must, especially considering the crimes committed by the Jewish state in the name of Jewish people. As long as the Jewish state is shelling civilians with white phosphorous, it is our ethical duty to question: Who are the Jews? What does Judaism stand for? What is Jewishness all about?

Palestine vs Israel- Palestine is a country, Israel is a state.

Palestinians- currently the longest lasting sufferers of racist colonial abuse and state terrorism. Palestinians are the only true indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. 4,300,000 Palestinian refugees are scattered in the Middle East. There are Palestinians who managed to hold onto their land yet are denied equal civil rights, others live under military occupation. The Palestinian cause is largely the ethically grounded demand of the Palestinian people to return to their own land. The land that belongs to them and to them alone. The Palestinian cause is the demand to dismantle the Jewish state and to form a State of its Citizens instead.

Zionism- the national colonial practical interpretation of Jewish ideology. It asserts that Jews are entitled to a national home in Zion (Palestine) at the expense of the Palestinian people. Zionism is a colonial racist philosophy that practices genocidal tactics. It is a biblically orientated precept. Although Zionism portrayed itself initially as a secular movement, from the very beginning it transformed the Bible from a religious text into a land registry.

Israel- the Jewish state is a racist political concept. It is a place where Jewish supremacy is celebrated in an institutional manner. Israel is a place where 94% of the population supports dropping white phosphorus on innocent civilians. Israel is the place where Jews can pour their vengeance on the Goyim.

Palestinian resistance- the exercise of the ethical right to resist an invader, an ethnic cleanser and a racist.

Demographic bomb- Israel possesses many bombs, cluster bombs, petrol bombs, atomic bombs, WMD bombs, etc. The Palestinians have only one bomb, the demographic bomb. The Palestinians are the majority of the people between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This fact itself defines the temporal quality of the Idea of Jewish state in Palestine.

Zionism vs Jewishness- it is difficult or maybe even impossible to determine where Zionism stops and Jewishness begins. Zionism and Jewishness establish a continuum. As it seems, Zionism has become the symbolic identifier of the contemporary Jew. Every Jew is identified by himself and others in reference to the Zionist compass (Zionist, anti-Zionist, oblivious to Zionism, love Zionism but hate Israel, love Israel but hate falafel and so on).

Secular Judaism and Jewish Secular Fundamentalism- secularity has been a very popular precept amongst Jews in the last two centuries. The Jewish form of secularity is very similar to rabbinical Judaism. It is fundamentally monotheistic, it believes in one truth (God is dead until further notice). It is supremacist, it is extremely intolerant of others in general and Muslims in particular, it even promotes wars in the name of enlightenment, liberalism, democracy and even in the name of the victims to come.

Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder- the kind of mental state that leads 94% of the Israeli population to support air raids against civilians. Within the condition of the Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre-TSD), the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic event, an imaginary episode set in the future; an event that has never taken place. Within Pre-TSD, an illusion pre-empts reality and the condition in which the fantasy of terror is itself becoming grave reality. If it is taken to extremes, even an agenda of total war against the rest of the world is not an unthinkable reaction. Unlike the case of paranoia, wherein the sufferer is subject to his own symptoms, in the case of Pre-TSD the sufferer actually celebrates his symptoms while others are left with the role of the audience or even victim. The sufferers of Pre-TSD within the press and media lobby for global conflict. Once they are in power they just spread death around. They manage to see a threat in almost anything. The Pre-TSD sufferer would call to flatten Iran, he would defend the IDF military campaign in Gaza for his own existential fears. The Pre-TSD sufferer is rather predictable and for one reason or other always to be found in the non-ethical cause.

Jihad- the struggle to improve one’s self and society. Jihad is the attempt to reach a harmony between the self and the world. It is there to bridge the gap between self loving, loving self and the love towards others. Jihad is the answer to chosenness.

Holocaust- an overwhelmingly devastating chapter in recent Jewish past. It would be difficult to imagine the formation of the Jewish state without the effect of the holocaust. Yet, it is impossible to deny the fact that Palestinians ended up paying the ultimate price for crimes that were committed against the Jews by other people (Europeans). Hence, it would make sense to argue that if Europeans feel guilty about the Holocaust, they better take extra care of its last victims, i.e., the Palestinians.

It must be mentioned that due to some legislation that restricts the scrutiny of the holocaust in an open academic manner, the holocaust is no longer treated as an historical chapter. Instead it is regarded by many scholars as a religious narrative (namely, Holocaust Religion). Those who do not obey the religion or follow its restrictions are chased, excluded and jailed. The failure to maintain the holocaust as a vivid historic chapter turned Jewish history into a Pandora’s box sealed by prohibitions, legal restrictions and different forms of threats. In an ideal ”free world”, we would be able to look into the holocaust, to regard it as an historical chapter and to draw some lessons out of it. That would mean also questioning its meaning. In an ideal (free) world, we may as well be allowed to wonder how come, time after time, Jews ended up despised and detested by their neighbours. In an ideal (free) world Jews may have a chance to learn from their mistakes in the past. For the time being, as long as we want to keep free, we better avoid questioning the past.

The Meaning of the Holocaust- the Holocaust provides the Jews and others with two obvious lessons. One is universal and almost simplistic, it says: ”NO to racism”. As some Jewish intellectuals predicted after the war, Jews were supposed to lead the fight against racism. Seemingly, it didn’t happen. Not only did it fail to happen, but the Jewish state had become the ultimate form of racist practice. Three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the newly formed Jewish state brutally ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. As time goes by, the Jewish state doesn’t try to disguise its racist agenda, i.e., Jews only state.

The second lesson that can be drawn out of the holocaust is far less abstract, it is actually very pragmatic. It suggests to Jews ”to be aware of their deed”. It suggests to Jews ”to act ethically, or at least to pretend to do so”. Seemingly, this lesson is totally ignored. In the Jewish state young IDF soldiers wear T-shirts depicting pregnant Palestinian women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption “1 shot 2 kills”. In the Jewish state, civilians had been caught picnicking watching their army dropping unconventional weapons on their Palestinian neighbours. The Israeli reality and the forceful Jewish lobbying around the world portray a complete dismissal of any ethical judgment or moral conduct. Whether it is the genocidal practice against the Palestinian people or the lobbying for more and more global conflicts. If the meaning of the holocaust would have been internalised, different appearances of such inhuman behaviour would have been addressed and tackled.

However, within the prohibition to re-visit our history we may still be entitled to reflect over Nazi brutality towards Jews in the light of the Jewish state’s crimes in Palestine. Seemingly, there is no legislation that prohibits us from doing that as yet.

Hamas- political party that was elected in 2006 by the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Since then Israel has withheld payments owed to Gaza, causing the Palestinian economy to collapse. It has blockaded Gaza for months, starving the civilian population. And yet, Hamas proved once again that the Palestinian people are resilient. In spite of Israel’s genocidal tactics, in spite of the IDF targeting children, women and the elderly, Hamas’ popularity increases by the day and more so especially after the last Gaza conflict. It has now become clear that Israel does not possess the means of combating Islamic resistance. In other words. Israel’s days are numbered.

Gatekeepers- for many years the Palestinian solidarity discourse had been shattered by those who claimed to know what is right and what is wrong. They also claimed to know what should be discussed and what subject must be dropped. Initially, gatekeepers tried to recruit the Palestinian movement to fight antisemitism. Another bizarre agenda was to use the Palestinian people as another Guinea pig in a dogmatic socialist exercise.

Due to the growing success of Palestinian and Islamic resistance, the power of Gatekeepers is now reduced to none. Though gatekeeping operators still insist upon exercising their powers, their influence is totally restricted to primarily Jewish cells.

Antisemites- in the old days, antisemites were those who didn’t like Jews, nowadays, antisemites are those the Jews don’t like. Considering the growing chasm between the Jewish state and its lobbies and the rest of humanity, we have good reason to believe that before not too long, the entirety of humanity will be denounced as antisemitic by one Jewish lobby or another.

Antisemitism- a misleading signifier. Though it refers largely to anti-Jewish feelings, it gives the impression that these feelings are racially motivated or orientated. It must be clear that Jews are not a race and do not establish a racial continuum. Thus, no one hates the Jews for their race or their racial identity.

Bearing in mind Israeli crimes and Jewish lobbying around the world, anti-Jewish feeling should be realised as a political, ideological and ethical reaction. It is a response to a criminal state and its institutional support amongst world Jewry. Though resentment to Zionism, Israel and Jewish lobbying is rather rational, the failure to distinguish between the ”Jew”, and Zionism is indeed very problematic and dangerous especially considering the fact that many Jews have nothing to do with the Zionist crime. However, due to the extensive Jewish institutional support of Israel, it is far from easy to determine where the ”Jew” ends and the Zionist starts. In fact, there is no such demarcation line or spot of transition. The outcome is clear, Jews are implicated collectively by the crimes of their national project. One obvious solution for the Jew is to oppose Zionism as an individual, another option is to oppose Zionism in the name of the Torah, it is also possible for the Jew to shun the tribal ideologist in himself.

Self loving- the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally right, moral and unique. This is the secular interpretation of being chosen.

Self Hatred- the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally wrong, immoral and ordinary. This state of being may also be a point of departure of a spiritual ethical quest.

Chicken Soup- is what is left once you strip Jewish identity of Judaism, racism, chauvinism, White Phosphorous, supremacy, cluster bombs, secularity, Zionism, Israel, intolerance, Nuclear reactor in Dimona, cosmopolitanism, genocidal tendency, etc. The Jew can always revert to chicken soup, the iconic symbolic identifier of Jewish cultural affiliation. The Jew is always more than welcome to say: ”I am not religious nor am I a Zionist, I am not a banker, nor is my name Madoff. I am not a ”Labour friend of Israel” nor I am a Lord or look like a cash machine. I am just a little innocent Jew because my mama’le used to feed me with chicken soup when I was slightly unwell.” Let’s face it once and for all, chicken soup is not that dangerous (unless you are a chicken). My grandmother taught me that it was very healthy. In fact I tried it once in winter 1978, I had the flu then. It helped, I feel better now.

Source

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment