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‘Don’t demonize Israel’: Canada passes anti-boycott motion

RT | February 23, 2016

Canada has passed a motion to condemn “any and all attempts” to promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel both at home and abroad.

The motion passed on Monday by a 229-51 vote, CIJ News reports. The bill was introduced by members of the Conservative Party and won support from Liberal Party members. The motion calls on the government to condemn attempts by Canadian organizations, groups, and individuals to promote the BDS movement, claiming it “promotes the demonization and delegitimization” of Israel.

BDS is a global grassroots movement that is trying to pressure Israel to “comply with international law and Palestinian rights” through the boycott of products and companies that profit from violating Palestinian rights. It also includes Israeli cultural and academic institutions.

Inspired by the successful BDS movement that aided in ending South African apartheid, its supporters believe the movement is the only way to push for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Speaking after the vote, the National Council of Canada Arab Relations said, “At its core, the vote on the anti-BDS motion would go against the spirit of Freedom of Speech, a right enshrined in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Democratic governments do not ordinarily attempt to dictate the political views of their citizens. NCCAR Chair, Gabriel Fahel, reminds us that ‘freedom of speech and conscientious objections to buying products from countries that contravene international law are core values of a free and democratic society.’”

The CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Shimon Fogel, however insisted that the boycott movement “does not contribute to peace and is not pro-Palestinian.”

“It is discrimination based on nationality, and it harms both Israelis and Palestinians alike by driving the two sides further apart. The BDS movement is a fringe movement and is outside genuine peace efforts,” Fogel said, as quoted by The Times of Israel.

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is likely to continue former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s close ties with Israel. He is against the BDS movement, and tweeted his opinion in March of last year.

Students at McGill University in Montreal passed a pro-BDS motion on Tuesday.

In 2014, Trudeau spoke out in favor of Israel’s right to defend itself during Operation Protective Edge, acknowledging the suffering of Israelis, but not that of the Palestinians, 2,200 of whom were killed during the 50 day conflict.

Israel has pushed back against BDS efforts, accusing its promoters of “anti-semitism.” AP recently revealed that the Israeli government had allotted $26 million for a covert cyberattack on the BDS movement, which would include “flooding the internet” with pro-Israel content and monitoring Muslim activists online.

Read more:

Boris bows to Bibi: UK obeys Israel’s demand to remove pro-BDS posters from London Tube

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is sea level rise accelerating?

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | February 23, 2016

Estimates of the rate of sea level rise are diverging.

For background on the topic of sea level rise, see these previous posts:

New PNAS papers

The current buzz surrounding sea level rise is associated with two papers just published in PNAS:

Temperature driven global sea level variability in the Common Era by Kopp et al. of Rutgers University, published in PNAS.

Future sea level rise constrained by observations and long-term commitment by Mengel et al., published in PNAS

From the summary:

Global sea level rose faster in the 20th century than in any of the 27 previous centuries, according to a Rutgers University-led study published today.
Moreover, without global warming, global sea level would have risen by less than half the observed 20th century increase and might even have fallen.

Instead, global sea level rose by about 14 centimeters, or 5.5 inches, from 1900 to 2000. That’s a substantial increase, especially for vulnerable, low-lying coastal areas. “The 20th century rise was extraordinary in the context of the last three millennia – and the rise over the last two decades has been even faster,” said Robert Kopp, the lead author.

The study used a new statistical approach developed over the last two and a half years by Kopp, his postdoctoral associates Carling Hay and Eric Morrow, and Jerry Mitrovica, a professor at Harvard University.

Notably, the study found that global sea level declined by about 8 centimeters [3 inches] from 1000 to 1400, a period when the planet cooled by about 0.2 degrees Celsius [0.4 degrees Fahrenheit].

A statistical analysis can only be as good as the data it’s built upon. For this study, a team led by Andrew Kemp compiled a new database of geological sea-level indicators from marshes, coral atolls and archaeological sites that spanned the last 3,000 years.

The database included records from 24 locations around the world. The analysis also tapped 66 tide-gauge records from the last 300 years.

Kopp’s collaborators Klaus Bittermann and Stefan Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany used the study’s global sea-level reconstruction to calculate how temperatures relate to the rate of sea-level change. Based on this relationship, the study found that, without global warming, 20th century global sea-level change would very likely have been between a decrease of 3 centimeters [1.2 inches] and a rise of 7 centimeters [2.8 inches].

A companion report finds that, without the global warming-induced component of sea-level rise, more than half of the 8,000 coastal nuisance floods observed at studied U.S. tide gauge sites since 1950 would not have occurred.

Stefan Rahmstorf has a RealClimate post discussing the new papers.

Additional media reports:

An interesting angle from the NYTimes article:

One of the authors of the new paper, Dr. Rahmstorf, had previously published estimates suggesting the sea could rise as much as five or six feet by 2100. But with the improved calculations from the new paper, his latest upper estimate is three to four feet.

That means Dr. Rahmstorf’s forecast is now more consistent with calculations issued in 2013 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that periodically reviews and summarizes climate research. That body found that continued high emissions might produce a rise in the sea of 1.7 to 3.2 feet over the 21st century.

Roger Pielke Jr tweets:  Sans spin: Climate scientist known for being wrong admits error, reduces estimate of sea level rise by 50%. IPCC was right


Last August, NASA  issued two new press releases:  Warming Seas, Melting Ice Sheets and NASA Science Zeros in on Ocean Rise. How Much?  How Soon?  It seems that these press releases were triggered by a new interdisciplinary Sea Level Change Team.  Excerpts:

For thousands of years, sea level has remained relatively stable and human communities have settled along the planet’s coastlines. But now Earth’s seas are rising. Globally, sea level has risen about eight inches since the beginning of the 20th century and more than two inches in the last 20 years alone.

All signs suggest that this rise is accelerating.

NASA has been recording the height of the ocean surface from space since 1992. That year, NASA and the French space agency, CNES, launched the first of a series of spaceborne altimeters that have been making continuous measurements ever since. The first instrument, Topex/Poseidon, and its successors, Jason-1 and -2, have recorded about 2.9 inches (7.4 centimeters) of rise in sea level averaged over the globe.

Ok, some simple arithmetic.  7.4 cm over a period of 23 years equals 3.2 mm/yr.  No surprise – this is the number cited by the AR5 for satellite based sea level rise estimates.

“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of the Sea Level Change Team. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

Here is the last sea level rise plot from the NASA altimeters:


I don’t really see anything new here, but the new PNAS papers and the NASA press release serve to highlight an issue that has been nagging me.

The IPCC AR5 includes the following figure of sea level rise over the last century (Figure 3.14)

Figure 3.14 18-year trends of global mean sea level rise estimated at 1-year intervals. The time is the start date of the 18-year period, and the shading represents the 90% confidence. The estimate from satellite altimetry is also given, with the 90% confidence given as an error bar. [AR5 WGI Figure 3.14]

Global sea level has been rising for the past several thousand years, owing to the retreat of glaciers from the last ice age. The key issue is whether the rate of sea level rise is accelerating owing to anthropogenic global warming. It is seen from the figure above that the rate of sea level rise during 1930-1950 was comparable to, if not larger than, the value in recent years. The challenges to determining global sea level rise, particularly over the past 100 or 1000 years, are substantial.

Somehow, the IPCC AR5 drew this conclusion, in context of Figure 3.14:

“Since the early 1970’s, glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion from warming together explain about 75% of the observed global sea level rise (high confidence)”

Go figure.

Other recent papers

Other recent papers that I’ve collected on the topic:

Modeling sea-level change using errors-in-variable integrated Gaussian processes, by Cahill et al. (published in Journal of Applied Statistics )

“Our analysis of the global tide-gauge record shows that the rate of GMSL rise increased (accelerated) continuously from 1.13 mm/yr in 1880 AD to 1.92 mm/yr in 2009 AD.” While Cahill et all find an acceleration in sea level rise over the past century, their inferred rate of current sea level rise (< 2 mm/yr) is significantly lower than the value of 3.2 mm/yr derived from satellite altimetry measurements.

Robust reef growth in Indian Ocean kept up with sea level rise > 20X faster in past [link] …

New paper shows sea levels dropped along west coast of North & South America from 1993-2013 [link] …

Coastal planning should be based on proven sea level data, by Parker and Ollier


  • The network of tide gauges provides the only information of value for costal planning.
  • The worldwide naïve average of sea level is +0.24 mm/year with no acceleration.
  •  The climate models have crucial flaws making them useless.
  • Planning schemes must only reflect the proven local and global historical data.

JC reflections

So, what to make of all this?

Sea level rise is the main ‘danger’ from human caused climate change (any increase in extreme weather events is hypothesized rather [than] demonstrated using historical data, with possible exception of heat waves in a few regions).

At a presentation that I made earlier this year to CEOs of small electric cooperatives, one participant was surprised by what I had to say about sea level rise – he hadn’t realized that there had been sea level rise prior to 1950.  I.e., like ‘climate change’, all sea level rise has been sold as caused by humans.

Sea level has overall been rising for thousands of years; however, as the Kopp et al. paper points out, there have been century scale periods of lowering sea level in the recent millennia.  It is not clear from my cursory reading as to whether meaningful decadal and multi-decadal variations in sea level can be discerned from their data.

The key issue is whether the sea level rise during the past 50 years reflect an acceleration in sea level rise.  The IPCC figure 3.14 suggests that there is no acceleration, given the large rates of sea level rise in the first half of the 20th century.  Until we have an understanding of variations in decadal and multi-decadal sea level rise, we can’t make a convincing argument as to acceleration.

With regards to coastal planning, I absolutely agree with the paper linked to above.  Locations where sea level rise is a problem invariably have rates of sea level rise that are much greater than even the altimeter values of 3.2 mm/yr are caused by local geologic processes, land use, and or coastal/river engineering.  Global values of sea level rise have essentially no use in coastal planning; rather they seem mainly relevant in terms of motivating ‘action’ on carbon mitigation policy.

Sea level will continue to rise, no matter what we do about CO2 emissions.  We need creative solutions – one of my favorites remains the garbage solution.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Against Correctness and the Taming of People

By Joseph Hickey | Dissident Voice | February 23, 2016

Correctness is a set of rules and mores constraining the form of public discourse and social behaviour. There is no place in a democratic society for “correctness” of any sort, least of all a correctness regarding politics: political ideas, speech and other expression. Let us reject standards of form in our debates, exchanges, interventions and criticisms.

The goal of political life is to influence society and be influenced by it. This can only happen through free exchange between individuals, where the form and content of the expression is decided by the speaker, for the speaker’s own purposes as an individual. For example, if a speaker’s goal is to provoke, enrage, excite, or otherwise move his or her audience, it is the individual’s right to attempt to do so. (That such communication tactics may or may not be effective in achieving some desired influence is a separate matter.)

Individuals who hold views that are not the same as dominant views often say things that are perceived to be insensitive or “hurtful”. These individuals may then be sanctioned under the rubric of political correctness with punishments such as public shaming, banishment from social groups, loss of employment, criminal charges, or extravagant lawsuits. The notion that societal correctness must not be breached is so strong that public institutions are permitted to take part in the punishments through public condemnations, enforcement of laws that criminalize expression of ideas, and use of public resources including financing lawsuits or refusing to provide services to individuals who choose to confront or who run afoul of the dominant standard.

One effect of this widespread imposition of correctness is a taming of the people – like the trained house pet that waits at the open door, not stepping outside until the master attaches the leash, people become trained not to step out independently into the wilderness of ideas and expression. Whereas once we may have spontaneously expressed our emotions and spoken our minds in public, to the community, now we tiptoe around potential sensitivities and threats of repercussions for being incorrect. We are chilled to the bone.

Who or what is the master? Societal (including “political”) correctness appears to be directed by peer-group mobbing that gets amplified in the media and is tolerated and encouraged by employers, lawmakers, and courts. Employers respond to and encourage mobbing by firing targeted employees, lawmakers respond through the passing of new laws to sanction incorrect expression, and the courts apply these laws to convict and sentence correctness offenders, thus sending a message to the entire society informing individuals of the limits, beyond which mobbing can be sure to draw blood. In addition, special interest groups lead the development of new taboos or act to reinforce old ones, by influencing public opinion at all levels.

Individuals who would participate in this type of mobbing by enforcing correctness standards in their political interactions should have regard for the harmful response of power (employers, government, courts, etc.) to the movements of the mob. Power today is happy to enforce contemporary correctness standards, just as it was happy to impose other correctness standards at other times (e.g. Victorian, religious, racist, homophobic, etc.), because such enforcement of the evolving superficial status quo permits the maintenance of the structural status quo and all its essential features (wage slavery, class hierarchy, military capability for war and conquest in other territories, etc.). Importantly, tamed and trained pets don’t bite the master’s hand. Rather, trained pets learn to accept and love the master, and to defend him to the bitter end.

Societal “correctness” is a control mechanism that maintains unjust hierarchy and precludes democratic social organization. Acts of incorrect expression are vital to challenging this societal ordering, and reveal the degree to which powerful groups have control over individuals’ lives. No individual expression can be taboo, off limits or “incorrect” in a real democracy. Likewise, a population tamed by the enforcement of correctness cannot create democracy.

Joseph Hickey is a PhD student (Physics) and Executive Director of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA).

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans

If Americans Knew – April 12, 2013

Updated: August 8, 2014

Israel has a population of approximately 7.8 million, or a million fewer than the state of New Jersey. It is among the world’s most affluent nations, with a per capita income similar to that of the European Union.[1] Israel’s unemployment rate of 5.8% is better than America’s 7.3%,[2] and Israel’s net trade, earnings, and payments is ranked 30th in the world while the US sits in last place at a dismal 193rd.[3]

Yet, Israel receives more of America’s foreign aid budget than any other nation.[4] The US has, in fact, given more aid to Israel than it has to all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean combined—which have a total population of over a billion people.[5]

And foreign aid is just one component of the staggering cost of our alliance with Israel.

Given the tremendous costs, it is critical to examine why we lavish so much aid on Israel, and whether it is worth Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. But first, let’s take a look at what our alliance with Israel truly costs.

Before the Iraq War in 2003

Direct Foreign Aid

According to the Congressional Research Service , the amount of official US aid to Israel since its founding in 1948 tops $121 billion (adjusting for inflation, $233.7 billion as of March 2013), and in the past few decades it has been on the order of $3.1 billion per year.[6] (In 2014, for example, this amounted to $8.5 million every single day.)

But this money is only part of the story. For one thing, Israel gets all of its aid money at the start of each year, rather than in quarterly installments like other countries.[7] This is significant: It means that Israel can start earning interest on the money right away – interest paid by the US since Israel invests these funds in US Treasury notes. In addition, because the US government operates at a deficit, it must borrow money in order to give it to Israel and then pay interest on it all year. Together these cost US taxpayers more than $100 million every year.

Israel is also the only recipient of US military aid that is allowed to use a significant portion annually to purchase products made by Israeli companies instead of US companies. (The costs to Americans caused by this unique perk are discussed below.)

In addition, the US gives roughly $1.6 billion per year to Egypt and Jordan in aid packages arranged largely in exchange for peace treaties with Israel. The treaties don’t include justice for Palestinians, and are therefore deeply unpopular with the local populations.[8]

On top of this, the US gives more than $400 million to the Palestinian Authority each year,[9] much of it used to rebuild infrastructure destroyed by Israel and to bolster an economy stifled by the Israeli occupation.[10] This would be unnecessary if Israel were to end the occupation and allow the Palestinians to build a functioning and self-sustaining economy.

Yet, there’s still much more to the story, because parts of US aid to Israel are buried in the budgets of various US agencies, mostly the Department of Defense. For example, since at least 2006, the American Defense budget has included between $202 and $504 million per year for missile defense programs in Israel.[11]

In all, direct US disbursements to Israel are higher than to any other country, even though Israelis only make up 0.1% of the world’s population. On average, Israelis receive 7,000 times more US foreign aid per capita than other people throughout the world, despite the fact that Israel is one of the world’s more affluent nations.[12] And that number rises significantly when one considers disbursements to Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority and Defense spending on behalf of Israel.

Additional Ad hoc support for Israel

Dr. Thomas Stauffer, a Harvard economist and Middle East studies professor who twice served in the Executive Office of the President, wrote a comprehensive report about all components of the relationship with Israel’s cost to American taxpayers for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in 2003. He wrote:

“Another element is ad hoc support for Israel, which is not part of the formal foreign aid programs. No comprehensive compilation of US support for Israel has been publicly released. Additional known items include loan guarantees… special contracts for Israeli firms, legal and illegal[13] transfers of marketable US military technology, de facto exemption from US trade protection provisions, and discounted sales or free transfers of ‘surplus’ US military equipment. An unquantifiable element is the trade and other aid given to Romania and Russia to facilitate Jewish migration to Israel; this has accumulated to many billions of dollars.”[14]

Israel has often used its privileged access to US military technology against both the US government and US corporate interests. According to the Associated Press in 2002,

“In France, Turkey, The Netherlands and Finland, Israeli companies have edged such U.S. firms as Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics out of arms deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years. The irony, experts say, is that tens of billions of U.S. tax dollars and transfers of American military technology helped create and nurture Israel’s industry, in effect subsidizing a foreign competitor.”

The AP article quoted a vice president at the Aerospace Industries Association of America, who bluntly said, “We give them money to build stuff for themselves and the U.S. taxpayer gets nothing in return.”[15]

Meanwhile, according to the Christian Science Monitor , Israel has also “blocked some major US arms sales, such as F-15 fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s. That cost $40 billion over 10 years.”[16]

Even worse, Israeli weapons “buttress the arsenals of nations such as China that the United States considers strategic competitors, alarming US military planners,” the Associated Press article went on to report. “[In 2001] US surveillance planes flying along China’s coast were threatened by Chinese fighter jets armed with Israeli missiles… Had Chinese fighter pilots been given the order to fire, they could have brought down the US planes with Israeli Python III missiles… US defense chiefs say Israel sold China the missiles without informing the United States.”[17]

Lost jobs, trade, and standing

One of the most devastating indirect costs of the US alliance with Israel was the Arab oil boycott of 1973. The Arab states imposed the boycott in protest of U.S. support of Israel during the 1973 war, in which Arab countries attempted to reclaim lands Israel had invaded and occupied in 1967.

“Washington’s intervention triggered the Arab oil embargo which cost the U.S. doubly: first, due to the oil shortfall, the US lost about $300 billion to $600 billion in GDP; and, second, the US was saddled with another $450 billion in higher oil import costs,” wrote Stauffer in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.[18]

Then there’s the cost in lost jobs. “US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about $5 billion a year, costing 70,000 or so American jobs,” Stauffer estimates. “Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, as is usual in foreign aid, costs another 125,000 jobs.”[19]

But perhaps the most damaging cost to the US has been its loss of standing in the Arab and Muslim worlds, where US largesse towards Israel as it commits human rights violations[20] provokes deep resentment. “To many of the world’s Muslims, it places the US taxpayer on the Israeli side of its conflicts with Arabs,” observed the Associated Press article.[21]

According to Harvard professor Stephen Walt, “The 9/11 Commission reported that 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s ‘animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with US foreign policy favoring Israel.’ Other anti-American terrorists—such as Ramzi Yousef, who led the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center—have offered similar explanations for their anger toward the United States.”[22]

There are many more potential categories of costs that are even more difficult to quantify. All in all, Stauffer estimates that Israel cost the US about $1.6 trillion between 1973 and 2003 alone—more than twice the cost of the Vietnam war.[23]

Costs since Stauffer’s study in 2003

Israel’s cost to American taxpayers has remained high since Stauffer’s 2003 study. The US currently gives Israel an average of $3 billion a year in military aid, under an agreement signed by the Bush administration to transfer $30 billion to Israel over ten years, starting in 2009.[24]

All of the other extras and costs remain and in some cases have increased since 2003. For example, “Despite a tough economic climate and expected US budget cuts—including drastic cuts to the US military budget—US lawmakers will provide $236 million in fiscal 2012 for the Israeli development of three missile defense programs,” reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz.[25]

In addition, the US government “has provided $205 million to support the Iron Dome, manufactured by Israel’s state-owned Raphael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The system uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up in midair Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of 3 miles to 45 miles, as well as mortar bombs… Legislation moving through the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives would give Israel additional $680 million for the Iron Dome system through 2015.”[26]

And if, as many experts believe, the US would not have invaded Iraq without intense and sustained pressure from Washington insiders who advocate actively on behalf of Israel,[27] this adds yet another dimension of staggering cost to the equation: “hundreds of billions of dollars, 4,000-plus U.S. and allied fatalities, untold tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and many thousands of other US, allied, and Iraqi casualties,” according to retired US foreign service officer Shirl McArthur.[28]

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes put the cost of the Iraq War at over $3 trillion, and incalculably more if you take into account the opportunity costs of the resources spent on this unproductive war. For example, higher oil prices due to the war have had a devastating impact on America’s economy, and so have the surging federal debt and the servicing of that debt. Without the war, the 2008 financial crisis almost certainly would not have been as severe, and the Afghanistan war most likely would have been shorter, cheaper, and more effective.[29]

The Israel lobby and partisans are currently gunning for a war with Iran with the same zeal they showed in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[30] By all estimates, the costs of a war with Iran will be much higher than the Iraq war. In addition to the loss of life, analysts predict, for example, that if Iran’s oil production were taken out of the world market, gas prices would rise 25-70 percent.

If the Straits of Hormuz (straits adjacent to Iran through which 20% of the world’s oil production passes on a daily basis) were attacked or blockaded, the cost of oil would skyrocket to a level never seen before, and the economic recession or depression that followed would be nothing short of “apocalyptic,” according to Matthew Yglesias writing for Slate .[31]

Reasons and Consequences

So now we are back to the question of why America continues to pour money into a state that commits daily human rights violations, defies US strategic interests,[32] provokes rage and resentment among billions of people,[33] competes with and crowds out US interests using technology subsidized by US taxpayers, and sells America’s military secrets to its enemies.[34]

The answer is simple and summed up well by professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in their ground-breaking article in the London Review of Books , “The Israel Lobby,”[35] and their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy .[36]

“Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?” the article asks. “One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.

“Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby.’ Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country—in this case, Israel—are essentially identical.”[37]

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is consistently ranked in the top two most powerful lobbies in Washington.[38] And it is only one arm of the much larger, multi-faceted, and well-financed Israel lobby.[39]

According to Congressman Jim Moran, “AIPAC is very well organized. The members are willing to be very generous with their personal wealth. But it’s a two edged sword. If you cross AIPAC, AIPAC is unforgiving and will destroy you politically. Their means of communications, their ties to certain newspapers and magazines, and individuals in the media are substantial and intimidating. Every [Congress] member knows it’s the best-organized national lobbying force.”[40]

Senator Joseph Lieberman proudly stated, “Any attempt to pressure Israel, to force Israel to the negotiating table by denying Israel support, will not pass in Congress… Congress will act against any attempt to do that.”[41]

It’s true: The US Congress, along with the executive branch, overwhelmingly support virtually any action or wish of the Israeli government, no matter how at odds with US national interest or security,[42] primarily because of the power of the Israel lobby.[43]

Even when two AIPAC employees were indicted on espionage charges in 2005, and it was determined that they had obtained classified US government information illegally and passed it to Israeli agents, the charges were quietly dropped on technicalities.[44] AIPAC fired both employees and issued a statement that they were fired because their actions did not comport with AIPAC standards.[45] One of the fired employees, Steven Rosen, filed a lawsuit for defamation, claiming his actions were, in fact, common practice at AIPAC.[46]

When Israel attempted to sink a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Liberty , in 1967, killing 34 Americans and injuring over 170, it still failed to put a dent in aid to Israel.[47] Indeed, aid quadrupled the following year.[48]

Though Congressmen receive payments and support from the lobby in exchange for their loyalty, the American taxpayer is left footing the bill. As detailed above, the total cost has run from a bare minimum of $121 billion since 1948 (the cost of foreign aid alone) to $1.6 trillion or more, factoring in Defense appropriations, oil crises, the sinking of the USS Liberty , the heightened risk of terrorism, lost trade and co-opted technology, and countless other factors. If the Iraq war and the increased risk of a war with Iran are factored in, the cost skyrockets even higher.

Critics point out how much brighter our future would be if we had invested these billions or trillions in veteran rehabilitation and care, education, job creation, social security, housing, environmental clean-up and prevention, roads, bridges, health care, and scientific and health research. Or if Americans had simply held onto their tax dollars and used them as they saw fit, in our own economy. If some of the higher estimates are closer to the mark, our support for Israel could easily have covered the $700 billion TARP bailout with a great deal left over for massive stimulus spending and/or tax breaks.

If Israel were using these funds for a good purpose, one could debate whether the price was worth it. But Israel uses most of the money to prolong a 47-year military occupation (which regularly involves gross violations of international law),[49] commit egregious human rights violations,[50] and destroy billions of dollars worth of Palestinian homes and infrastructure[51] (resulting in still more U.S. tax money being sent to Palestinians to rebuild demolished homes, hospitals, and schools), while building illegal, Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.[52]

It makes the prospect of peace ever more distant, creates dangerous hostility to the US, placing Americans in peril, and puts the US Congress in violation of the Arms Export Control Act,[53] all for the sake of campaign contributions.

There is no good reason to keep throwing good money after bad in a failed, ill-founded policy. It’s long past time for a fundamental rethinking of the American government’s blank check to Israel.


This report was produced by If Americans Knew analysts, particularly Pamela Olson, a President’s Scholar at Stanford University 1998-2002 with a major in Physics, a minor in Political Science, and 1600 GRE scores. Before coming to IAK, Olson lived and worked in the West Bank; worked as a researcher in Moscow, Siberia, and China; and was a research analyst at the Institute for Defense Analysis. She is the author of Fast Times in Palestine.

This analysis updates the groundbreaking 1998 work by Richard Curtiss, The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers,published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Mr. Curtiss, following military service in World War II, served for 30 years as a career Foreign Service Officer. He received the U.S. Information Agency’s Superior Honor Award and the Edward R. Murrow award for excellence in Public Diplomacy, USIA’s highest professional recognition. Upon retirement, Mr. Curtiss co-founded and the American Educational Trust, which produces the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. He is also the author of two books on U.S.-Middle East relations. A more extensive bio can be read here.

[1] “Country Comparison: GDP Per Capita (PPP),” CIA World Factbook, 2012.

[2] “Country comparison: Unemployment rate,” CIA World Factbook, 2012.

[3] “Country comparison: Current account balance,” CIA World Factbook, 2012.

[4] US Department of State, “State and USAID – FY 2013 Budget, February 13, 2012.

[5] Richard Curtiss, “The Cost of Israel to the American People,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 1998.

[6] Ora Coren and Nadan Feldman, “U.S. aid to Israel totals over 233.6b over six decades,” Ha’aretz, March 20, 2013.

Jeremy Sharp, “US foreign aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, April 11, 2014.

[7] Clyde R. Mark, “Israel: US Foreign Assistance,” Congressional Research Service, April 26, 2005

(Particularly noteworthy is the subsection of this report entitled, “Special Benefits for Israel.)

[8] US Department of State, “State and USAID – FY 2013 Budget,” February 13, 2012. Most of this money goes to elites rather than the general population, adding to the resentment about these policies.

[9] Jim Zanotti, “US foreign aid to the Palestinians,” Congressional Research Service, September 30, 2013.

[10] “Sustaining Achievements in Palestinian Institution-building and Economic Growth,” World Bank, September 18, 2011. Quote from the report: “Ultimately, in order for the Palestinian Authority to sustain the reform momentum and its achievements in institution-building, remaining Israeli restrictions must be lifted.” See also: Dan Murphy, “Amid Palestinian statehood push, a grim World Bank report on the West Bank, Gaza,” Christian Science Monitor, September 14, 2011. Quote from the article: “The World Bank says that recent economic growth in Gaza and the West Bank has been almost entirely thanks to foreign aid, that a slowing of foreign aid delivery has presented the PA with a possible fiscal crisis, and that Israeli policies continue to stand in the way of sustainable economic improvement in the territories.”

[11] Jeremy Sharp, “US foreign aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, April 11, 2013.

[12] US Department of State, “State and USAID – FY 2013 Budget, February 13, 2012.

[13] ‘Illegal transfers’ refers to several instances in which Israel has been accused of violating the Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits the use of US military assistance for purposes other than legitimate self-defense. For example, during Israel’s invasions of Lebanon in 1982 and 2006, the Israeli air force dumped tens of thousands of cluster bomblets over wide civilian areas, resulting in horrific and long-lasting civilian casualties with dubious military utility. That’s not even to begin to touch on daily Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Despite overwhelming evidence of Israeli violations of international law using US-supplied weapons, the US Congress has done little to comply with its own laws against funding such violations.

[14] Thomas Stauffer, “The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 2003. Stauffer’s original paper, prepared for the conference: “The United States and the Arab World: Challenges and Opportunities” at the William S. Cohen Center for International Policy, University of Maine, and the US Army War College in October 2002, is posted here: (PDF) and here:

[15] Jim Krane, “U.S. Aid to Israel Subsidizes a Potent Weapons Exporter,” Associated Press, June 20, 2002.

[16] David Francis, “Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US,” Christian Science Monitor , December 9, 2002.

[17] Jim Krane, “U.S. Aid to Israel Subsidizes a Potent Weapons Exporter,” Associated Press, June 20, 2002.

[18] Thomas Stauffer, “The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 2003. Stauffer’s original paper, prepared for the conference: “The United States and the Arab World: Challenges and Opportunities” at the William S. Cohen Center for International Policy, University of Maine, and the US Army War College in October 2002, is posted here: (PDF) and here:

[19] David Francis, “Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US,” Christian Science Monitor , December 9, 2002.

[20] For a small sampling of Israeli human rights violations, see Amnesty International’s “Annual Report: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories 2013”, Human Rights Watch’s most recent reports, and the publications of B’Tselem (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories)

[21] Jim Krane, “U.S. Aid to Israel Subsidizes a Potent Weapons Exporter,” Associated Press, June 20, 2002.

[22] Stephen Walt, “Whiff of Desperation,” Foreign Policy, April 25, 2011.

[23] David Francis, “Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US,” Christian Science Monitor , December 9, 2002.

[24] Shirl McArthur, “A conservative estimate of total direct US aid to Israel: more than $130 billion,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2008.

[25] Natasha Mozgovaya, “Obama signs bill that includes added U.S. military assistance to Israel,” Haaretz, December 24, 2011.

[26] “U.S. eyes funding boost for Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ shield,” Reuters, May 17, 2012.

[27] John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby,” London Review of Books , March 23, 2006. See also: Stephen J. Sniegoski, “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel,” Ihs Press, September 1, 2008.

[28] Shirl McArthur, “A conservative estimate of total direct US aid to Israel: more than $130 billion,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2008.

[29] Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, “The true cost of the Iraq war: $3 trillion and beyond,” Washington Post , September 5, 2010.

(Update: the original article has been removed from the Washington Post website, as well as the cache.)

[30] See articles at

[31] Matthew Yglesias, “War for No Oil,” Slate, March 7, 2012. view link

[32] See, for example: Mark Landler, “Obama Presses Netanyahu to Resist Strikes on Iran,” New York Times, March 5, 2012. And: “Biden condemns new Israeli settlement plan,” USA Today, March 9, 2010.

[33] Andrew Sullivan, “Why Continue to Build the Settlements?” The Daily Beast, March 30, 2012. Excerpt: “The deliberate population of occupied lands violates the Geneva Conventions. The occupation itself enrages the Arab and Muslim world and creates a huge drag on the US’s strategic need to build up allies among emerging Arab democracies, and defuse Jihadism across the globe.” See also: Philip Weiss, “Former State Department official says Obama calls for human rights and democracy are ‘undercut’ by position on Palestinians,” Mondoweiss , April 2, 2012.

[34] Jim Krane, “U.S. Aid to Israel Subsidizes a Potent Weapons Exporter,” Associated Press, June 20, 2002.

[35] John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby,” London Review of Books , March 23, 2006.

[36] John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August 2007.

[37] John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby,” London Review of Books , March 23, 2006. An earlier book by former Congressman Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, first exposed this in 1985. Findley and others founded the Council for the National Interest to try to counter this.

[38] Jeffrey Birnbaum, “Washington’s Power 25: which pressure groups are best at manipulating the laws we live by?” CNN Money , December 8, 1997. Other top contenders include the American Association of Retired Persons, with over 40 million members, and the National Rifle Association.

[39] “Introduction to the Israel lobby,” Council for the National Interest , August 19, 2011.

[40] Michael Lerner, “The Israel Lobby,” Tikkun Magazine , September/October 2007.

[41] Jeremy Sharp, “US foreign aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, April 11, 2014.

[42] Max Fisher, “Should U.S. Veto UN Measure Condemning Israeli Settlements?” The Atlantic Wire , January 20, 2011.

[43] “Even if Democrats and Republicans bicker on every other issue, AIPAC leaders seemed constantly eager to stress that one thing on which the parties can come together is unswerving devotion to Israel.” Gregory Levey, “Inside America’s powerful Israel lobby,” Salon , March 16, 2007. Just recently has there been some high-level pushback against AIPAC’s hegemonic power in Washington. See, for example: Robert Dreyfuss, “AIPAC: Still the chosen one?” Mother Jones , September/October 2009. And: Alex Kane, “Sunlight on the lobby: AIPAC’s push for war exposed in ‘Atlantic’ magazine blog,” Mondoweiss , February 24, 2012.

[44] Wikipedia, “Steven J. Rosen.”

[45] Nathan Guttman, “AIPAC Gets Down and Dirty in Pushback vs. Defamation Suit,” The Forward, November 16, 2010.

[46] Jeff Stein, “Ex-AIPAC official got at least $670,000 from donors,” Washington Post, November 19, 2012.

[47] The findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty , the Recall of Military Rescue Support Aircraft while the Ship was Under Attack, and the Subsequent Cover-up by the United States Government can be read at

[48] Jeremy Sharp, “US foreign aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, April 11, 2014.

[49] Jeremy R. Hammond, “Rogue State: Israeli Violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions,” Foreign Policy Journal, January 27, 2010.

[50] For a small sampling of Israeli human rights violations, see Amnesty International’s “Annual Report: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories 2013”, Human Rights Watch’s most recent reports, and the publications of B’Tselem (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories)

[51] See, for example, “Frequently Asked Questions,” The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. And Rory McCarthy, “Hamas offers $52m handouts to help hardest-hit Gazans,” The Guardian, January 25, 2009.

[52] “Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Land,” If Americans Knew, May 2002.

[53] The Arms Export Control Act prohibits the use of US military assistance for purposes other than legitimate self-defense. Despite overwhelming evidence of Israeli violations of international law using US-supplied weapons (a few of them outlined in citations above), the US Congress has done little to comply with its own laws against funding these violations.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 5 Comments

Saudi, UAE Ask Their Citizens to Leave Lebanon

Al-Manar | February 23, 2016

Saudi Arabia has advised its citizens Tuesday against travel to Lebanon and urged those already in the country to leave it, citing “safety” concerns, a few days after it halted military aid to Lebanon.

“The Foreign Ministry calls on all citizens not to travel to Lebanon for their own safety,” the Saudi news agency SPA quoted a ministry official as saying.

“It also urges citizens residing in Lebanon or visiting it to leave and not to stay there unless for utmost urgency while observing vigilance and caution,” the official added.

The ministry also called on Saudis in Lebanon to contact the kingdom’s embassy in Beirut for “the necessary help and attention.”

UAE has also banned its citizens from traveling to Lebanon and decided to downsize its diplomatic mission in the country, according to AFP.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Mogherini warns of possible Turkey-Russia ‘hot war’ over Syria

Press TV – February 23, 2016

The European Union (EU) foreign policy chief has cautioned against the risk of a war with active military hostilities between Turkey and Russia over Syria, where regional powers have sided with warring sides to the conflict gripping the Arab country.

Federica Mogherini issued the warning during a debate at the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in the Belgian capital city of Brussels on Tuesday.

“We are always referring to Syria as a proxy war among regional actors,” Mogherini said, adding, however, that the current situation in Syria risks becoming “something bigger”.

“I’m not thinking of a cold war. No, we risk a hot war among different actors than the one we always think of. Not necessarily Russia and the United States, but Russia and Turkey, could be,” she said.

Russia launched its own anti-terror campaign in Syria on September 30, 2015, upon a request from the Damascus government. The airstrikes have expedited the advances of Syrian forces against militants.

On the contrary, Turkey is among the main supporters of militants fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ankara has also been accused on numerous occasions of being involved in illegal oil trade with the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

All sides to Syria conflict should respect truce

In another development on Tuesday, the Arab League urged all sides to the conflict in Syria to adhere to the terms of a ceasefire deal announced by the United States and Russia the previous day.

The 22-member body said in a statement that Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby believes that the truce will be “an important step towards a political settlement of the Syrian crisis.”

On Monday, Washington and Moscow said the ceasefire has been planned to take effect in Syria on February 27.

Over the past few weeks, Syrian government forces, backed by Russia’s air cover, have managed to gain major positions from the foreign-backed militants.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu demands anti-Zionist posters be removed from London Underground

RT | February 23, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly asked the UK government to have hundreds of posters protesting Israeli occupation of Palestine removed from the Tube.

The Haaretz newspaper reported Tuesday that the Israeli prime minister himself had asked that the posters, which may have been posted in their hundreds, be removed.

The posters appeared on Sunday as part of a mass fly-posting effort to mark the annual Israeli Apartheid Week.

The posters on the London Underground trains hit out at a number of targets, including controversial UK private military firm G4S, which is involved in the running of Israeli prisons.

Transport for London (TfL) said that the posters would be taken down.

“It is flyposting and therefore an act of vandalism, which we take extremely seriously,” A TfL spokesman told the Evening Standard.

“Our staff and contractors are working to immediately remove any found on our network,” the spokesman added.

Some Jewish community groups said that the posters amounted to “smears” against Israel.

“These posters are awful smears that do nothing to contribute to peace and dialogue, placing significant strains on inter-community relations across London,” a London Jewish Forum spokesman told Haaretz.

“They are an act of vandalism, seeking to undermine the UK’s relationship with Israel and designed to foster discomfort. We welcome Transport for London’s commitment to quickly remove them.”

The posters were reported Monday as the Palestinian envoy to the UK Manuel Hassassian told the Independent newspaper that the decision to invite Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein to address an event held in the UK Parliament risked legitimizing Israeli expansionism, given Edelstein’s background.

“Mr Edelstein lives on an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land and he publicly opposes Palestinian statehood,” Hassassian said.

Edelstein is due to address the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union in March.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

On abolishing the CIA, Sanders is in some distinguished company

RT | February 23, 2016

Washington insiders were abuzz over a revelation that Bernie Sanders had once advocated abolishing the CIA. Blasting Sanders for his ancient argument, the Clinton campaign forgot to mention that many illustrious US leaders have shared the same intention.

While campaigning for the US Senate in 1974, a 33-year-old Sanders called the Central Intelligence Agency “a dangerous institution that has got to go,” describing it as a tool of US corporate interests accountable to no one “except right-wing lunatics who use it to prop up fascist dictatorships.”

This is according to a story in Politico, which called Sanders an “extreme leftist” and prominently featured a quote from one of Hillary Clinton campaign advisers – who also happens to be the former chief of staff to a CIA director.

“Abolishing the CIA in the 1970s would have unilaterally disarmed America during the height of the Cold War and at a time when terrorist networks across the Middle East were gaining strength,” the paper quoted Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to Leon Panetta. Panetta was CIA director between 2009 and 2011 and Bill Clinton’s chief of staff in 1994-97. “If this is a window into Sanders’ thinking, it reinforces the conclusion that he’s not qualified to be commander in chief.”

Arguing that the CIA was a vital US weapon at the time does not match up with historical facts, however. The Agency was famously caught off-guard by the Cold War’s sudden and peaceful resolution – an end in which it played no part.

“We should not gloss over the enormity of this failure to forecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis,” former CIA Director Stansfield Turner wrote in Foreign Affairs in 1991. “Yet I never heard a suggestion from the CIA, or the intelligence arms of the departments of Defense or State, that numerous Soviets recognized a growing, systemic economic problem.”

One of the CIA’s many dubious Cold War activities was to support Islamist rebels in Afghanistan, among them international volunteers that included a young Osama bin Laden.

Wanting to dismantle the CIA was hardly a radical notion in 1974, Jon Schwarz of the Intercept pointed out. After the agency’s fiasco with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, President John F. Kennedy said he would like to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” At the same time, the State Department proposed stripping the agency of its covert powers.

Following JFK’s assassination in 1963, former president Harry Truman wrote that he would “like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President… and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.”

In his 1969 memoir, Present at the Creation, Truman’s Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, wrote that he had the “gravest forebodings” about the CIA when it was established, and warned the president that “as set up neither he, the National Security Council, nor anyone else would be in a position to know what it was doing or to control it.”

While that may sound like ancient history, there is the matter of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Democratic Senator from New York, who also called for abolition of the CIA and even sponsored a bill in 1995 to that effect. Hillary Clinton would be elected to Moynihan’s seat in 2000, and praised him upon his death in 2003 as a “man of passion and understanding about what really makes this country great,” Schwarz notes.

Mere months after Bernie Sanders made his “extremist” call for the elimination of the CIA, US lawmakers set up congressional committees to rein in runaway intelligence agencies. The Pike Committee on the House side and the Church Committee on the Senate side worked to tighten oversight on the CIA, NSA, and other parts of the US intelligence apparatus, which had, until then, been operating unchecked.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hillary Clinton, The Council on Foreign Relations and The Establishment


By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts | February 22, 2016

When asked by Wolf Blitzer in January if she was “the establishment,” Hillary Clinton replied: “I just don’t understand what that means. He’s been in Congress, he’s been elected to office a lot longer than I have.” Several weeks later, her Democratic primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders made the case in a debate that the issue was who had the support of more powerful elected officials, arguing that Clinton has the support of “more governors, mayors, members of the House.”

Clinton framed the notion of “the establishment” as consisting solely of political bodies of elected officials. Sanders simply argued that a better indicator of the establishment is one’s power and influence within political circles.

As part of the “two for the price of one” that Bill Clinton promised during his rise to the Presidency, Hillary is forced to hide from her role in the creation of the neoliberal New Democrats, the dominant faction of the party. During their joint reign in the White House, the Clintons steered the party far to the right with their draconian criminal justice measures, assault on welfare, liberalization of trade, and deregulation of banking. Their cronies continue to staff the highest ranks of the party and the Obama administration.

Clinton, in a desperate piece of deflection, resorted to playing the gender card: “Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment.” This fatuous identity politics is meant to distract from her decades-long tenure at the top of the political system and collusion with those who exercise control over it. Of course, as Bernie points out, Hillary most represents and enjoys the support of the Democratic faction of the political establishment.

But framing the issue as simply a matter of party politics and the electoral system misses the point. Elected officials are merely the public face of the establishment. The broader establishment is the elite class that determines economic policy.

There is no building that says “Establishment” on the door, but there is a century-old institution made up of wealthy and influential representatives of business, Wall Street, corporate law, academia and government. It is a creation of the elite ruling class to ensure their control over shaping policy for their own benefit. Their decisions result in funneling money – and, hence, power – into the hands of a small percentage of capitalists who exercise control over the political process in a positive feedback loop.

In their book Imperial Brain Trust, Laurence Shoup and William Minter write that: “The Council on Foreign Relations is a key part of a network of people and institutions usually referred to by friendly observers as ‘the establishment.’ ” [1]

The Council was founded after World War I in response to growing domestic social tensions and labor unrest. Socialism was gaining in popularity among the American public in an economic environment marred by exploitative working conditions and skyrocketing inequality.

The Council’s mission was to carry out long-term planning for a national agenda. The agenda was meant to undermine a domestic-oriented program that would involve collective decision making to achieve self-sufficiency, and thereby reduce the country’s dependence on foreign resources, trade, and other governments.

Some of the many multinationals that subscribed to the CFR’s Corporation Service included General Motors, Exxon, Ford, Mobil, United States Steel, Texaco, First National City Bank and IBM. [2]

“The Council, dominated by corporate leaders, saw expansion of American trade, investment, and population as the solution to domestic problems. It thought in terms of preservation of the status quo at home, and this involved overseas expansion,” Shoup and Minter write. [3]

This imperialist agenda was achieved through manufacturing the consent of the masses (what they called “public enlightenment”), as well as developing foreign policies and ensuring government officials supported and executed these policies.

The Council has been remarkably successful in its mission. It has achieved a monopoly over foreign policy planning, and become thoroughly integrated with the government that carries out policy prescriptions. Entire administrations have drawn their foreign policy officials from the ranks of the Council. There is a steady two-way flow of personnel between the Council and government.

Both Bill and Chelsea are current members of the CFR. While Hillary herself is not a member, she is no doubt influenced by her immediate family’s ties to the Council. Additionally, her role as Secretary of State involved close collaboration with the Council, as she made clear in a 2009 speech at the Council’s office in Washington:
“I am delighted to be here in these new headquarters. I have been often to – I guess – the mothership in New York City. But it’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as hard a go to be told what we should be doing, and how we should think about the future.” One of many people whose career was launched by his association with the Council was Henry Kissinger. In the late 1950s, he was appointed the director of a study group on nuclear weapons, in collaboration with several of the Council’s directors. The result was a book authored by Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy.

Kissinger went on to serve as possibly the most influential foreign policy official in history under Richard Nixon (and later Gerald Ford), as both Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. He helped carry out war crimes when he transmitted President Nixon’s order “anything that flies on anything that moves” to General Alexander Haig, directing a massive, secret bombing campaign of Cambodia hidden from Congress and the American public.

Kissinger’s tenure also saw him intimately involved with the military coup led by General Pinochet to overthrow and kill democratically-elected President Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973; the invasion by Indonesia of East Timor in 1975 and the subsequent genocide against the native East Timorese; the South African invasion of Angola in 1975 and attempted installation of a puppet ruler amenable to the apartheid regime; and the Dirty War in Argentina in which leftist opposition members were killed an disappeared.

Rather than being subjected to prosecution, or even suffering a loss of prestige, Kissinger has seen his reputation rise in the decades following his genocidal actions, whose strategy was in line with the designs peddled by the Council.

Clinton wrote that “Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state.”  She noted that they share “a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.”

Clinton’s abstract and idealistic rhetoric exemplifies the bipartisan, imperialist agenda formulated and propagated by the Council on Foreign Relations. The humanitarianism is a guise for the pursuit of United States political and economic hegemony across the world. The people who belong to this elite club have internalized the imperialist worldview that the U.S. is an “indispensable nation” that upholds “a just and liberal” world order, and use this belief to rationalize their Machiavellian exertions of power abroad.

The establishment is not made up of any one party, gender, or government organization. It is made up of people who are involved, directly or peripherally, in formulating and carrying out the plans of a tiny elite class – plans that ignore the 99 percent of the Americans in whose names they act, and the billions of people whose lives their decisions impact. There is no one whose social relationships and professional career typifies this more than Hillary Rodham Clinton.


[1] Shoup, Laurence H. and William Minter. Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations & United States Foreign Policy. Lincoln, NE: Authors Choice Press, 1977/2004. (pg. 9)

[2] Ibid. (pg. 50)

[3] Ibid. (pg. 23)

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Jamaica: Judge Orders ‘Death Squad’ Records Turned Over

teleSUR – February 23, 2016

Jamaica’s Police Commissioner Carl Williams has been ordered by a justice of the country’s Supreme Court to turn over the personnel records of officers accused of forming part of a “death squad,” The Gleaner reported Monday.

Jamaica’s Independent Commission of Investigations, took Commissioner Williams to the Supreme Court in order to obtain the records of 11 officers charged with murder in connection to suspicious deaths at the hands of police.

The investigation stems from homicides in the Clarendon Parrish, which had originally been reported as civilian deaths.

The commission had been trying to negotiate the release of the records but faced stiff opposition from Williams, who argued that the officers were entitled to professional privilege and protected by a constitutional right to privacy.

“Between the (national police force) and us, there was a respectful disagreement as regards what information we could get regarding the disciplinary records of their men, of reviews done of shootings, of plans for planned operations,” commission head Terrance Williams told The Gleaner.

The commission is interested in the records in order to determine if superior officers were complicit or connected to the alleged murders of civilians.

“That is, did they plan the operations properly? Did they review the operations properly? Did they select members of teams properly?” asked Terrance Williams.

Supreme Justice Bryan Sykes said Commissioner Williams has 120 days to hand over the files.

Organizations such as Jamaicans for Justice have denounced brutality and the widespread use of what has been described as “extra-judicial killings” at the hands of Jamaican police.

The Independent Commission of Investigations was established in 2010 in response to these allegations.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Obama Administration Fails to Make Progress on Reforming US Drone Program

Sputnik — February 23, 2016

US President Barack Obama’s administration has failed to implement reforms regarding the controversial drone policy to make it more transparent, accountable and consistent with national security interests, according to a report by the US think tank Stimson Center published Tuesday.

“Little progress has been made during the past year and a half to enact reforms that establish a more sensible US drone policy consistent with America’s long-term security and economic interests. The lack of a clear drone policy risks leaving a legacy on drone use that is based on secrecy and a lack of accountability that undermines efforts to support the international rule of law,” the report reads.

In 2014, the Stimson Task Force, comprising senior military and intelligence officials, recommended public disclosure of targeted drone strikes, thorough review of past and present drone strikes and their effectiveness and detailed reports explaining the legal basis of the US lethal drone program, among other recommendations.

The proposals were later backed by UN experts, including the adviser to Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Sarah Knuckey.

The US military has increasingly relied on drones to conduct operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria and Iraq. Critics have slammed the practice for resulting in a significant number of civilian deaths and the destruction of infrastructure unrelated to terrorists.

Data collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism shows that US drone strikes have killed up to 1,000 civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen over the past 10 years.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s Anti-Colonial Struggle

By Craig Murray | February 22, 2016

I have a meeting today in London with the Ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador to brief them on Scotland’s continuing struggle for Independence. These nations have been at the forefront of the international movement against colonialism, and know all about the sharp end of neo-Imperialism and the evil-doing of the CIA and other western security agencies.

The test of the Independence of a state is nothing to do with domestic or regional government, or even with bilateral arrangements with the state from which it secedes. The test of Independence is, purely and simply, whether or not you are recognised by other states as independent. That is the very clear cut position in international law. For this reason, it is essential that Scotland reaches out, not just within the EU but to the entire international community. Ultimately we need these people to vote and lobby for us in the United Nations and other international institutions.

Frankly, the SNP is rubbish at this. I am doing this meeting because the hierarchy of the SNP spurned the approach from the Ambassadors, as previously detailed on this blog. This reluctance seems part of the hierarchy’s effort to be NATO friendly and thus CIA friendly. The Ambassadors would far rather be meeting with an official SNP representative than a nobody like me. Unfortunately the SNP won’t do it. That is a disgrace.

I can increasingly foresee, as Westminster governments move ever further to the right and encroach more and more on civil liberties, a situation arising where Scotland wishes to claim its independence without the consent of Westminster. In that situation, we will need all the international support we can get, just as the Palestinians have been making headway in UN institutions. Work needs to be put now into laying the foundations for that support. Personally I would characterise Scottish Independence as an anti-colonial struggle; use of Scots as British cannon fodder and integration of the Scots elite into the Metropolitan elite does not make Scotland any less a colony. Rome had an African Emperor, but still her African possessions were colonies.

But even for those who do not accept that analysis, there is no doubt that Scottish Independence would have a highly beneficial impact on the global balance of power. The weakening of the USA’s most powerful sidekick; the lessening of the UK’s ability to participate in illegal neo-imperial invasions and to host weapons of mass destruction; the re-opening of the question of the undemocratic Security Council structure at the UN.

Then there is also the positive role Scotland can play as a major contributor to UN Peacekeeping Forces, and a voice for sanity, reason, human rights and the pre-eminence of international law. An independent Scotland as a state party will be able to request the International Criminal Court to lay war crime charges against Blair and Straw for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which would be a powerful deterrent to future aggressive war.

I am but one man and a private individual. Everything I can do, I shall.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment