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Saying “No” to Netanyahu

Israel’s demands are not good for Americans

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Report • February 3, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be visiting Washington during the first week in March. His annual visit coincides with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) summit in Washington, at which he is expected to speak. He will also be addressing a joint session of Congress on March 3 rd as a guest of the new Republican majority. Per Speaker of the House John Boehner, Netanyahu will be providing additional insights regarding the threats posed by Iran and by Islamic terrorism, which the president had “papered over” in his State of the Union address. Boehner has in mind promotion of policies that would be contrary to those embraced by the White House, most particularly President Barack Obama’s intention to continue negotiations to come to an understanding over Iran’s nuclear program. That would mean Congress’s imposing new and intentionally deal breaking sanctions on Iran just to show it we are serious and a possible demand that any agreement with Tehran be subject to legislative approval.

Netanyahu has frequently warned that Iran’s construction of a nuclear arsenal is just around the corner. He has been making that claim regularly since 1996 and apparently is not particularly bothered that his warning has proven to be inaccurate since the Mullahs have yet to develop the long anticipated weapon of mass destruction. He will no doubt again express his view that there is a secret Iranian weapons program that imminently threatens both Israel and the United States. It is not clear if he will produce a cartoon showing a ticking bomb as he famously did at the United Nations in 2012.

Concerning the terrorist threat, Netanyahu will undoubtedly play the Charlie Hebdo card, insisting that it is the duty of the West united with Israel to oppose Islamic barbarism. It will be convenient dodge as it allows him to avoid answering for what Israel is doing to the Palestinians and it conveniently conflates all believers in a specific religion with political violence. No matter what Netanyahu says he will undoubtedly be cheered both when he speaks to Congress and also by the 1,500 attendees at AIPAC, which will include many Congressmen, journalists, and even Supreme Court justices. He will be treated like visiting royalty even though his message is essentially one of hate.

It is my understanding that a number of groups are organizing to protest both AIPAC and the Netanyahu visit. I hope they will be highly visible and noisy as hell, possibly forcing some of the summit attendees to think about just what they are supporting. I also urge the demonstrators to focus on Netanyahu’s actual message because everything that he has come to Washington to sell is essentially false.

Starting with Iran, the entire narrative of Iran as a nuclear threat is bogus, largely invented in Israel and the United States and in part based on manufactured evidence. I am not suggesting for a moment that Iran is a friend to the American people, but its malignancy has been much overstated by the Israel Lobby and its friends. It does not threaten the United States in any way and it hardly impacts on the security of countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which should be worrying about their viability based on their own behavior rather than due to an exaggerated Iranian menace. The reality is that the United States government has twice in 2007 and 2011 confirmed that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Even Israel’s Mossad agrees and both governments admit that Tehran has not made the essentially political decision to proceed with such a program.

Not only has Iran neither developed nor tested a nuclear device, she has never enriched her uranium stocks to anything approaching weapons-grade. Her Fordow “secret” plant and other nuclear sites now have IAEA inspectors in place, the heavy-water reactor at Arak is not operational and many centrifuges are not operating. Most Iranians and many Americans understand that a negotiated settlement over the program as an alternative to a major regional war is highly desirable.

Netanyahu’s second point will be that the world is threatened by Islamic terrorism, requiring democratic nations to stand by Israel. But standing by Israel and adopting the Israeli standards for dealing with terrorism are precisely the problem. The only places in the world where Islamists have the remotest ability to take power are in those countries where the United States adhered to the Israeli model and intervened militarily, leaving chaos in its wake. Today that would include Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria. Highly publicized terrorist attacks in Europe and in the United States have killed relatively few people and produced a predictably panicked response but do not threaten either a national security crisis or the stability of any government. In the U.S. since 9/11 there have been 69 deaths, either terrorist or criminal, that can plausibly be linked to Muslims or Islamic sensibilities, less than five a year. During the same time period 200,000 Americans have been murdered, making terrorism by local Muslims pretty much a statistical anomaly. For what it’s worth, the policies being pursued overseas by Washington during the same time period directly or indirectly contributed to the killing of as many as half a million Muslims while turning at least three million more into refugees, which inevitably fuels terrorism.

A third point that Netanyahu will not be making as he is a beneficiary of it is the astonishing power of the Israel Lobby in the United States. As John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt demonstrated in their book, the Lobby is in reality a loose aggregation that is bound together to promote what are perceived to be Israeli interests. It includes think tanks, PACS and other lobbying groups, journalists and media outlets, Christian evangelicals, leading figures in academia and it is all backed up by deep pocket donors who both fund political candidates and provide the fuel to keep everything moving. Pat Buchanan once described Congress as “Israeli occupied territory,” but to be sure he was being too kind and Tom Friedman’s observation that it is bought and paid for by the Lobby might actually be closer to the mark. In an actual occupation there would characteristically be at least some resistance but in the United States Congress there is virtually none now that Ron Paul is retired. If any daring congressmen stay home sick when Netanyahu speaks it will be a surprise and the only real question regarding the impending joint session address is how many standing ovations the Israeli leader will receive. Will it exceed the 29 he recorded last time around?

So there are three good reasons for saying “no” to Benjamin Netanyahu, or, even better, telling him to go away and stay away. First, he is striving mightily to involve the United States in a war with Iran for which there is no compelling national interest and which will cost Americans heavily in both lives and treasure. Second, he has poisoned Washington’s relationship with the Muslim world through the largely successful selling of his message that all believers in Islam are essentially terrorists. And third, he and his associates in the Israel Lobby are a cancer in our political system, using money and even coercion to bring about a “special relationship” that is hardly a relationship at all but is instead a mechanism to impel U.S. subordination to Israeli interests.

It is shameful that Netanyahu will be in Washington at all on a mission to tell the U.S. Congress what to do, but one can always hope that both he and Speaker Boehner have finally gone too far. Will this be a wake-up call for the American public, aware at last that it is being led by the nose by a foreign country aided by its own venal and corrupted quislings? One can always hope, and it might just be that Netanyahu will finally pay a price for his hubris with his own voters next month and be turned out of office. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say that we have seen the last of Benjamin Netanyahu?

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

230 Egyptian Activists, Including Ahmed Douma, Get Life Sentences


Leading Egyptian opposition campaigner Ahmed Douma
Al-Akhbar | February 4, 2015

An Egyptian court sentenced prominent activist Ahmed Douma along with 229 other anti-Mubarak activists to life in prison on Wednesday after the court held hearings for 269 people connected to “the cabinet headquarters events” of December 2011, judicial sources said.

Douma and 268 others were accused of staging “riots” outside central Cairo’s cabinet headquarters and assaulting policemen during a sit-in back in December 2011 against a decision by Egypt’s then-ruling military council to appoint as prime minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, who had served in this position under ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

In addition to “rioting,” the activists were accused of possessing white arms like knives, attacking police officers and armed forces, burning the al-Majmaa al-Alami and attacking other government buildings including the cabinet headquarters.

Thirty-nine other defendants, all minors, were sentenced to 10 years in prison. All 269 defendants were found guilty of taking part in clashes with security forces near Cairo’s Tahrir Square in December 2011, the sources said.

In April, Douma along with two other prominent activists, were sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a 10,000 Egyptian pound (around $1,300) fine. The fine was raised on Wednesday to 17 million Egyptian pounds (around $2 million).

In December an Egyptian court dismissed charges against Mubarak for ordering security forces to kill protesters during the 2011 uprising.

That verdict, and others handed down to Mubarak-era figures, has led some to conclude that the old regime that existed before the uprising has been reestablished under a different name.

Wednesday’s ruling, which can be appealed, is the harshest court order delivered so far against non-Islamist activists, amid a government crackdown on dissent overseen by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Authorities banned the Muslim Brotherhood following Mursi’s ouster and launched a heavy crackdown on its members, leaving at least 1,400 dead and 15,000 jailed, including hundreds sentenced to death for allegedly taking part in deadly riots in August 2013.

Egypt was brought in November in front of the UN’s top human rights body for a litany of rights abuses, including its crackdown, mass arrests and unfair trials targeting Mursi supporters, journalists and activists, described as “unprecedented in recent history.”

Besides the heavy crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters, many of the leading secular activists behind the 2011 uprising have also found themselves on the wrong side of the new political leadership, getting locked up for taking part in peaceful demonstrations following the recent ban on unlicensed protests.

Critics accuse Sisi of taking Egypt back to authoritarian rule. Sisi says he is committed to democracy in Egypt, a strategic US ally with influence across the Arab world.

(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Donetsk Authorities Claim NATO Ammunition Found in Ukraine

Sputnik 03.02.2015

DONETSK — The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) forces have found ammunition used exclusively in NATO countries that the Ukrainian Army is not usually equipped with, Deputy Donetsk Militia Commander Eduard Basurin said Tuesday.

“These types of ammunition are designed for NATO countries. One of them [devices] is equipped with a base fuse. For instance, when this type of ammunition hits the wall, it blasts and destroys it [wall]. The Ukrainian forces do not have this type of ammunition,” Basurin said, demonstrating the ammunition to journalists.

DPR authorities have repeatedly claimed finding US-made weapons in the Donetsk Airport, previously occupied by the Ukrainian military. On January 19, Basurin said that DPR forces had found large quantities of US-made weapons, including M16-A5 assault rifles, grenades and communication devices. Prior to Basurin’s remarks, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that US-made weapons had been found in the airport.

On January 21, 2015 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov harshly criticized the deliveries of weapons by a number of NATO members and European Union countries, saying this move went against EU and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) norms.

On Thursday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that no lethal weapons had been delivered to Kiev by the West, despite an announcement made by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in September that a number of NATO countries had agreed to supply the country with modern weapons. Presidential adviser Yuri Lutsenko later claimed that an agreement on the supply of weapons from the United States, France, Poland, Norway and Italy had been reached at the NATO summit in Wales. However these countries denied the statement.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Cops Are Scanning Social Media to Assign You a “Threat Rating”

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | December 16, 2014

Police State, USA — Imagine the following scenario: You are on your way home from work, driving down the road, when you notice police lights in your rear view mirror. You are being pulled over.

As you sit there, on the shoulder, adrenaline rushing, simultaneously angry and nervous, the police officer, in his patrol car behind you, is sizing you up based on an algorithm that determines your “threat rating.”

Online activity, purchases, and “comments that could be construed as offensive,” all contribute to your threat score.

The officer enters your license plate into a mobile application on his laptop. In a matter of seconds, this application crawls over billions of records in commercial and public databases, including all available social media engagement, recent purchases and “any comments that could be construed as offensive.” The application then determines if your “threat rating” is green, yellow, or red.

Imagine that you are one of our informed and frequent readers and understand the importance of police accountability and are unafraid to voice your completely peaceful, yet strong opinion about police misconduct. Imagine that you left a comment on facebook this morning about a particular officer’s misconduct; imagine that it is this particular officer who just pulled you over.

Your rating just came back red.

Up until this point, you have never committed a crime, you have never been violent, you have never even so much as run a stop sign. However, this police officer now knows that you made a comment about him punching the (insert handcuffed and helpless victim example here) on facebook, and he literally sees red (your threat rating).

What happens next? Does a routine traffic stop for driving 10 miles over the speed limit morph into a situation in which you now have a Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm pistol with Streamlight TLR-2s laser site being aimed just above your left ear?

Do you receive multiple erroneous citations because this officer now has access to your personal life? Do you get cited where the officer would have otherwise let someone else go?

Or, maybe you are a cop or a judge, or the mayor, but this application confuses you with someone else and marks you as “red,” then what? What if you are driving someone else’s car?

The reality is, that any number of unimaginable things can and would happen next. And now, thanks to a particularly ominous product, by a company named Intrado, and the Orwellian nature of police in this country, those unimaginable situations are now a reality.

Intrado is one of many corporations thriving here in the US, from the creation and growth of the police industrial complex. The hypothetical “application” mentioned in the above scenario is a real product of Intrado, called Beware. Police departments nationwide have been purchasing and using this application since 2012.

Intrado is one of many companies who cater to the police state, giving police these ostensibly helpful tools which actually erode civil rights and leave a huge opening for corruption and abuse.

Private companies are currently, and have been acquiring large portions of your tax dollars from federal grants. These funds are in return being used to build and implement actual “Pre-crime” technologies.

No, not the psychic-based sci-fi pre-crime like in Minority Report, but actuary based mathematical and statistical assessments designed with the explicit goal to reduce future instances of criminality. This means that instead of sentencing people for crime already committed, sentences based on these risk assessments are instead sentencing people for crimes that they, or people like them, might commit.

In a society that claims justice to be blind, how does judging someone on what they might do fit in to the idea of freedom? The answer to that question is simple, it doesn’t.

Even if these “threat ratings” showed a statistical correlation to actually lower some instances of crime, which we have not seen, it’s not the right way to go about policing a people. Reason Magazine’s Peter Suderman sums this logic up quite eloquently:

By a roughly similar logic, we could lock up everyone—or even just everyone with the right risk profile, regardless of what crimes they have or have not already committed—from a high crime neighborhood, and call it a success when crime goes down.

The notion that this “surveillance grid” approach by police and their higher-ups, is for the safety of the people, is a total farce. It does little to nothing to protect society from a rogue criminal. What it does do, however, is protect the government by deeming large groups of people enemies of the state; regardless of whether or not the individuals in these arbitrary groups are peaceful or have committed a crime.

The bright side of this Orwellian nightmare of a total police state that locks us up for crimes we didn’t commit, is that it’s preventable. All we have to do is show this information to those who have yet to see the encroaching blue leviathan that is Orwell’s proverbial “boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

In fact we’ve already seen well informed communities stop their police departments from obtaining such equipment. The city council of Bellingham, Washington, recently rejected a proposed purchase of the Beware “threat rating” system.

Despsite the Bellingham police department receiving a $25,000 federal grant to cover most of the $36,000 annual cost of Beware, the citizens still said “nay.” At a mandatory hearing about the purchase from Intrado, Bellingham citizens discovered how Beware worked and opposed the purchase. … Full article

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 3 Comments