Aletho News


Israel bans publication of details of report into church arson attack

MEMO | June 22, 2015

Israeli police yesterday obtained a court order banning the publication of details of the investigation into the burning of Tabgha’s Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish last week.

Large crowds participated in the Sunday mass in the church and the protest rally following it.

A Jerusalem magistrate’s court banned the publication of any details which could lead to the identification of any of the suspects.

The decision is valid until July 21st.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the General Security Service to investigate the attack on the church.

Since 2011, 17 hate crimes have been committed inside the Green Line in Jerusalem. The perpetrators of the 17 crimes, which targeted mosques and churches, have not been prosecuted.

According to a report published last week by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the early months of 2014 saw a 200 per cent increase in such crimes which were attributed to far right groups. The overwhelming majority of the criminals responsible for those attacks were not brought to trial.

Thousands of Arab Israelis protested on Sunday against the arson attack. The demonstrators called for the protection of Christian and Muslim holy sites from Jewish settlers. The former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, and Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo led a special Mass inside the church “in protest against the deliberate attack”.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing | , | 1 Comment

The CIA Can’t Keep Its Drone Propaganda Straight

By Jameel Jaffer and Brett Max Kaufman | Just Security | June 20, 2015

This week, one government intelligence agency, after patiently and methodically tracking a terrorist leader for months through precise electronic surveillance, successfully targeted him for death by drone. Also this week, a government intelligence agency eliminated a terrorist leader through a drone strike without even knowing the leader was present, basing its decision to use lethal force on sophisticated analysis of militants’ patterns of life.

Bizarrely, this was the same agency, and this was the same terrorist leader.

On Tuesday, hardly before the dust in Yemen had settled, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake and Josh Rogin, relying on information provided by anonymous sources, supplied the public with the first narrative. In this version, the CIA killed Nasir al-Wuhayshi, “general manager” of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, “by building a methodical case on his whereabouts over months from information collected through technical means.”

On Thursday, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller, also relying on information provided by anonymous officials, supplied the second narrative. In this version, al-Wuhayshi was dead not because the CIA had tracked him down but because the Obama administration had “eased” certain drone-strike guidelines in Yemen and permitted the CIA to carry out “signature strikes” — strikes that take place without the agency’s specific knowledge of the identities of the individuals marked for death. 

Rarely do the rival motives of anonymous officials come so nakedly into view, and conflict, around a single event. One faction immediately tries to capitalize on the al-Wuhayshi strike as evidence of the CIA’s other-worldly tracking abilities, even in the fog of a confusing and fraught war in Yemen. At the same time, another faction exploits the same strike to make a public case for expanding the use of a controversial targeting technique that the Obama administration earlier said, in an effort to assuage public concerns about the lawfulness of the drone program, it would retire.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that “the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function,” is the “test of a first-rate intelligence.” Here, though, the government’s conflicting stories seem something less than first-rate or intelligent — they seem amateurish and ham-handed. They also seem to suggest a total lack of concern for the possibility that anyone will ever hold officials accountable for their statements.

Lake, Rogin, and Miller work in a field in which reliance on anonymous sources is probably unavoidable and sometimes even illuminating. In this instance, though, they can’t all be right, and their competing stories serve as another reminder — in case any were needed — that the statements of anonymous intelligence officials are often efforts to mislead and manipulate, and that much of the “information” the government has provided the public about the drone program is merely propaganda.

Regrettably, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. A federal district court judge — the same judge who earlier dismissed a constitutional case relating to the government’s killing of four Americans in Yemen — ruled on Thursday that the CIA isn’t legally obliged to release any information about the drone program it hasn’t already released. For the time being at least, the CIA will continue to decide what the public knows about the CIA’s activities — even if it can’t keep its own story straight.

About the Authors

is Deputy Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy. Follow him on Twitter (@JameelJaffer).

is a teaching fellow and supervising attorney in the Technology Law & Policy Clinic at NYU School of Law. Follow him on Twitter (@brettmaxkaufman).

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

JVP and Alison Weir – A Dissident View

By Ned Rosenberg* | June 21, 2015

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has disassociated from a number of activists working for the liberation of Palestinians, including Gilad Atzmon, Greta Berlin (founder of Free Gaza) and now Alison Weir, who seeks to disseminate unbiased information about Israel/Palestine (IP) through her website If Americans and presentations.  JVP’s recent public statement concerning Weir specifically, credited to Anonymous, is a confused document.  I examine some parts of this statement.   Gilad Atzmon has commented insightfully on this public statement already and I will simply try to add to his work.

Alison’s mistake was her appearance on ‘Clay Douglas’s white supremacist radio show’ five years ago. JVP’s statement throws down the anti-racist gauntlet “… Clay Douglas is concerned primarily with the survival of the White race and sees malign Jewish influence everywhere. His racist, anti-Jewish, and anti-gay rhetoric can be found across the front pages of his multiple websites.”  Yet, transcribing this pronouncement suggests a very different racism: “JVP is concerned primarily with the survival of the Jewish race and sees malign gentile influence everywhere. JVP’s racist, anti-gentile rhetoric can be found across its website, including ideological statements condemning “Americans,” and assaults on other activists who step outside its  boundaries.” Alison is further cited for failing to defend Jews when Douglas launched into The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. As Gilad notes, Alison has no duty to defend Jews, especially given her devotion to Americans, as such. In JVP’s estimate, Alison’s error is all the more grievous since “Americans” are now the bad guys regarding IP, an important distinction in rejecting Alison’s work.

Unsurprisingly, divorce from these activists is not the end of the line. The organization continues to assault them with behind-the-scenes character assassinations and interventions to forestall their speaking engagements. Alison Weir reports several such instances of JVP interference and Atzmon documents the outspoken attempt of the Denver JVP to stop his appearance there. These efforts are disturbing to some JVP members who did not envision interfering with the free speech of other activists dedicated to Palestine at the behest of JVP’s Jewish board. JVP is now in the dirty business of judging, condemning and punishing Palestinian allies for not treating Jews or “Jewishness” with political correctness. This is probably the fate of all self-identified “Jewish” groups

As Gilad notes, JVP finds something suspicious in Alison Weir’s statement of intent for her website. This harmless statement

[Alison Weir] founded an organization to be directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public.

is identified as racist because of its exclusions, a very cheap shot, in my opinion. And what then would we think of this hypothetical version:

Anonymous founded an organization to be directed by Jews with personal and family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public.

Alison errs by insisting on diverse American researchers instead of Jews. Maybe this is just a labor dispute.

JVP’s statement proposes a progressive program which does not begin or end with IP but rather seeks continuation and long life by engaging other cases of injustices credited to, and sustained by US policies and practices across the globe. It is not happenstance that this expanded political program focused on global injustices has the virtue of placing the injustice of IP in the company of other troubling injustices credited to the craven, acquisitive very bad “American” people. The American people, after all, benefit from these abiding injustices, as in Saudi Arabia now or throughout South America routinely over the last century. JVP would like us to believe that Americans must also benefit from US support for the criminal Zionist regime in Israel, as though this support issues from the same base motives as the other instances. Were this true, then the American people are proper enablers of the oppression of Palestinians. In this schema, the American dog properly wags the American dog.

Unfortunately, the model doesn’t explain much about IP. Israel is not sustained by the American people for the sake of the benefits accruing to them because there are no such benefits. It’s an interesting game, if one has time, to try to find such a benefit. Scholars have given up in disgust while others venture that America seeks some unspecified strategic position from its support of Israel, but every such framing is really unconvincing. On net, Israel is just a very expensive adjunct to American power. American taxpayers fork over truly astonishing sums to the Zionists, directly and indirectly, and derive no benefit from so doing.

JVP’s broad attribution of cause to the bad Americans begs the question. We know why the US supports and sustains this particular injustice. The US does so because it is subjected to an army of well-heeled Zionist fellow travelers who work to influence the Congress, mostly through campaign contributions and other incentives, to provide such support. Certainly, it is very expensive to impact US legislators, media and institutions, but then again, consider the largesse of US taxpayers. The army consists of American Jews, American Jewish civil organizations, most American Jewish temples and synagogues, Zionist organizations, Christian Evangelicals and some defense contractors who have a bottomless interest in conflict. The model which attributes injustice in IP to “Americans”, their perfidy and exploitation, is disingenuous and indefensible. The proximal immediate cause for American support of Israel is the Jewish Lobby plain and simple. The pro Israel tail wags this American dog.

The effort to offload responsibility for the crimes of Zionism onto the “American people” is not just inadequate, but repugnant as well. Zionism is a creature of the Jewish people, not the American people. The Jewish people, its organizations and “helpers” are important accessories to the Zionist program and share responsibility for its dubious successes, especially its success in the obliteration of another people.  Agents of the Jewish people are responsible for US support and this is well known and well documented. JVP’s theory, however, might be construed to provide fellow American Jews relief from the onus of the “Jewish power” accusation, the mere suggestion of which is considered anti-semitic no doubt. This nifty “two step” won’t do: The American people, their legislators, their institutions have been thoroughly compromised by the Lobby and JVP will not get away with doubletalk about this.

By taking sides in the struggle in IP “as Jews”, American Jews created a political identity out of their alleged ethnicity. It is therefore fair to suggest that Jewish power and its allies continue to tie the US to Israel, continue to tie, in JVP terms attributed to Clay,  US white supremacist racism —  specifically Jewish supremacist racism  —  to Israeli supremacist racism and its unacceptable consequences. The disingenuous attempt to sidestep the relationship of Jews worldwide to Zionism in our time, to subsume this powerful dynamic under the umbrella of American interests, to undertake such a huge displacement of moral/ethical culpability, places JVP squarely in the pack of other Jewish organizations who fret about “what’s good for the Jews” first and foremost and which end up defending the Zionist “no choice” sanctimony.

As Atzmon demonstrates, JVP does not escape racism by proclamation. It does not free itself from racist taint simply by saying it is opposed to all racism, not when it continues to act according to its own racist conceits, e.g. Alison Weir somehow owes it to the Jews to defend them against Clay Douglas or when it condemns white Americans for caring about white Americans, while focusing itself so obviously on what is good for the Jews.  As currently constituted, JVP is not fit to join, much less lead, any progressive coalition because it will not face Jewish responsibility for IP forthrightly.

*The Author of this article is an American JVP activist. Ned Rosenberg isn’t his real name. Being a dissident voice within JVP is proven to be a dangerous adventure.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

Ariel University chemical waste threatens agriculture in Selfit

MEMO | June 22, 2015

Chemical waste produced by the laboratories of Ariel University, in the illegal West Bank settlement of the same name, threatens Palestinian agricultural land in Salfit, locals reported.

According to the locals, Ariel University pours its chemical waste into the settlement’s sewer network which runs into the agricultural lands owned by Palestinians in Selfit thus polluting the groundwater, soil and air.

Environmental researcher Khalid Al-Maaly said Ariel University does not take the environment in the surrounding areas into account when pouring hazardous materials into the land turning it into a dumping ground because the waste flows without treatment.

According to Al-Maaly, nearly 20,000 students are enrolled at the university.

He called on the environmental institutions to visit Salfit and witness the suffering caused by the university’s sewage.

Al-Maaly stressed that the presence of Ariel University on Selfit’s land is contrary to international law which considers this area occupied and therefore state institutions cannot be built on it.

Last month, Israeli authorities expanded the university’s campus by constructing new laboratories and student dorms over lands confiscated from Palestinians in Selfit.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt builds trench along Gaza border

Ma’an – June 22, 2015

CAIRO – The Egyptian military has constructed a trench along the border of Rafah to prevent smugglers from operating in the area, the army said.

The trench is 20 meters deep and 10 meters wide and is located two kilometers from the border with Gaza outside of Rafah city.

The new infrastructure — part of a larger buffer zone being constructed in the area — is intended to prevent smugglers from driving their vehicles to the opening of tunnels along the border.

A military official said that the army plans to expand the trench and install watchtowers along its length.

Work on the buffer zone on the Egyptian side began in February 2014, but was at the time slated to extend only about 300 meters in urban areas and 500 meters in rural areas.

After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in October 2014, however, the military stepped up a campaign to build the buffer zone amid accusations of Hamas support for the group that carried out the attack.

Hamas, which denies Egyptian accusations, has suffered poor relations with the Egyptian government ever since the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood, with whom they were closely allied, was thrown out of power in July 2013.

Deteriorating relations between Egypt and Hamas come at a high price to Gaza’s 1.8 million residents for whom the smuggling tunnels have served as a lifeline to the outside world since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

NATO plans 40,000-strong rapid response force in E. Europe

RT | June 22, 2015

NATO’s rapid response Spearhead Force in Europe might reach 40,000 troops, a tenfold growth from the initial 4,000-strong force deployed last year, the military alliance’s chief said. Most of these troops will be stationed near Russian borders.

“NATO defense ministers … [will] make a decision to further increase the strength and capacity of the 13,000-strong NATO Response Force (NRF) to 30,000 or 40,000 troops,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

The decision is to be officially announced during NATO’s defense ministers meeting on June 24-25 in Brussels.

The troops will be under the command of 6 HQs to be stationed in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. The Spearhead Force will include Special Forces and rapid response teams, enforced with marine and air components.

A new rapid reaction force ready to be deployed within 48 hours was initially intended to consist of 4,000 troops.

The Spearhead Force has already held its first military drills codenamed Noble Jump in Poland. The war games became “the biggest reinforcement” of defense since Cold War times, said Stoltenberg, adding that the alliance is facing challenges from “the behavior of a more assertive” Russia.

Last week, Stoltenberg criticized Russia for announced plans to add to its nuclear arsenal 40 newly made intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2015.

“This nuclear saber-rattling of Russia is unjustified. It’s destabilizing and it’s dangerous. This is something which we are addressing, and it’s also one of the reasons we are now increasing the readiness and preparedness of our forces,” Stoltenberg said during a news briefing in Brussels last Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement about further development of the strategic nuclear armed forces in response to a report that the US is seriously considering deployment of heavy weapons to new NATO member states on permanent basis.

The chill in Russia-US relations already resemble the worst years of the Cold War, yet experts warn that further escalation of the Ukrainian crisis could lead to an open standoff between Moscow and Washington.

If Washington opts to send armaments to Kiev authorities, as some Republicans congressmen want, Moscow would react immediately, experts quoted in US media believe.

Washington should pursue a diplomatic solution for its conflict with Russia, former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul told The New York Times.

“The US-Russia conflict is not going to be resolved in weeks or months,” McFaul said. “This challenge will take years, even decades.”

Read more

NATO conducting biggest beef up of defenses since Cold War – alliance chief

Moscow will respond to NATO approaching Russian borders ‘accordingly’ – Putin

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

There is no renewables revolution in China. Here are the numbers that show this

By Robert Wilson | Carbon Counter | June 17, 2015

Last year China installed more new wind and solar capacity than any country in history. This is a fact, and it has led some to talk of China being a “renewables powerhouse” and of there being a “renewables revolution”.

But out of context this fact can be much less impressive than it really is.

Let me put it into context using the most recent data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Over the last decade China’s primary energy consumption grew by 1398 million tonnes of equivalent (Mtoe). Though, if history is a guide this figure will eventually be revised upwards.

The annual average increase then was 140 Mtoe. For a comparison, Britain’s annual primary energy consumption was 188 Mtoe last year.

China’s growth rate was actually higher in the early 2010s, but has slowed recently (probably due to a worsening economic situation.

But that’s the context for judging the growth of wind and solar in China: 140 Mtoe of (mostly coal) energy added per year for the last decade.

How does China’s world leading wind and solar build out compare with this?

In total, China got 42.4 Mtoe from wind and solar in 2014. In other words, the total production of energy from wind and solar energy is less than one third of a year’s of growth in primary energy consumption.

When you look at annual growth things are even clearer. Wind and solar grew by 6.97 Mtoe last year. This is a mere 5% of the average total growth in primary energy.


There is no renewables revolution in China. So, as always, I recommend that people spend some time with data sources such as the BP Statistical Review of World Energy and less time reading pundits and the instant experts of Twitter.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

Tory crackdown on Freedom of Information sparks transparency fears

RT | June 22, 2015

Conservative ministers are plotting a clampdown on Britain’s Freedom of Information (FoI) laws, a move that observers warn could signal the death knell for Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to cultivate a new wave of transparency in Westminster.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove is attempting to make it considerably more difficult for citizens to seek information from state bodies, the Financial Times revealed Monday.

Sources told the newspaper that a number of proposals have been floated and Gove is currently considering how they might be implemented.

Giving ministers the power to veto the publication of certain documents has been tabled, as was attempted when Prince Charles’ notorious “black spider” letters were recently published.

Altering government officials’ method of calculating the cost of sourcing government data has also been proposed. Both measures could seriously impact on Britons’ right to know, bolstering state secrecy in the process, critics warn.

These legal changes will also serve to create “think time” and redaction costs that will considerably drive up the cost of FoI requests. Transparency advocates warn they will leave government data inaccessible for many.

The planned crackdown on citizens’ right to know contrasts starkly with Cameron’s transparency rhetoric four years ago. Writing in the Telegraph, the PM promised the electorate a far-reaching “revolution in [government] transparency.”

“Information is power,” he wrote in 2011.

“It lets people hold the powerful to account, giving them the tools they need to take on politicians and bureaucrats.”

The state’s FoI Act was implemented in 2005, under Tony Blair’s Labour government. Current plans to reform the legislation will likely receive strong opposition from Labour Party and Scottish Nationalist Party MPs.

Critics maintain Westminster’s quiet assault on Britons’ right to access government data has already begun.

A number of Downing Street practices have recently surfaced, which reduce Whitehall’s ability to uphold the public interest.

On Tuesday, it emerged that emails sent from computers in 10 Downing Street are deleted within three months as a rule. The practice was leaked to the FT by a number of ex-Downing Street employees. It was reportedly put in place 10 years ago under Blair’s government.

One former Number 10 worker told the FT the system breeds dysfunctionality in Whitehall.

Speaking to the newspaper, director of Britain’s Campaign for Freedom of Information said citizens’ right to access information freely is under threat.

He warned many of the proposals being discussed by Tory ministers “could have had severe consequences for the right to know.”

The campaign called upon Labour MPs Jenny Chapman, Dan Jarvis, and Stephen Twigg to challenge Gove’s transparency crackdown plans in parliament on Tuesday.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Former Advisor to Ukraine’s Defense Minister Defects to Donbass

Sputnik – 22.06.2015

A onetime aide to the Ukrainian defense minister has defected to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, taking along his entire family and a wealth of classified information, Russian media reported Monday.

“I am Alexander Kolomiyets, a Major-General of the Ukrainian armed forces… My latest position was that of an advisor to the Ukrainian Defense Minister and a senior defense analyst,” the General said during a news conference at the Donetsk News Agency headquarters on Monday.

Alexander Kolomiyets said that he had spent 19 years serving as the military commandant of Donetsk Region.

He also said that many of his fellow commanders were ready to join the pro-independence militia in Donbass.

The General added that Ukrainian army morale was extremely low with “all Generals and officers realizing the criminal nature of Kiev’s actions and refusing to fight any longer.”

Alexander Kolomiyets is not the first senior Ukrainian military officer to have sided with the independence supporters in Donetsk and Lugansk. Earlier, Oleh Chernousov, the onetime head of the Lugansk customs service, and brothers Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko, both Ukrainian intelligence service operatives stationed in Paris, moved to Lugansk over their opposition to the policy pursued by the Kiev authorities.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | | 2 Comments