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Israeli supporters financing Clinton’s campaign: James Petras

Press TV – March 8, 2016

“We must remember that the plutocrats dominated by the Israeli supporters [have] been extremely generous in financing Hillary’s campaign for president,” Professor James Petras says.

An American scholar says that “the plutocrats dominated by the Israeli supporters” are financing Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president of the United States.

Professor James Petras, who has written dozens of books on the Latin America and Middle East, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday.

He was commenting on US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel to discuss a new military aid package.

Washington and Tel Aviv are discussing details of a 10-year military aid package that will be larger than the $3.1 billion US package Israel received this year.

According to reports, Israeli officials have asked the US to increase its annual military assistance by 60 percent to an average of $5 billion a year over the 2018-2028 period.

Biden’s visit comes as the relationship between US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu took a new setback over the Israeli premier’s decision not to accept an invitation for talks in Washington later this month.

Netanyahu cancelled the meeting with Obama, US National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Monday.

“This visit by Biden fits in with the Obama administration, which has at times had personal conflicts between Obama and Netanyahu, but on the substance of military and economic aid to Israel, [the US] has been exceedingly generous,” Professor Petras said.

“This despite the fact that Israel has been engaged in a war against the Palestinians, in particular the savage invasions of Gaza which seem not be of importance either to Biden, Obama or Hillary Clinton,” he added.

“We must remember that the plutocrats dominated by the Israeli supporters [have] been extremely generous in financing Hillary’s campaign for president and this new visit by Biden fits in with the attempt by the rightwing of the Democratic Party to undermine the challenge from Bernie Sanders,” the analyst stated.

Professor Petras said “an increase in military support for Israel is a destabilizing element not only because of Israel’s threat to the Palestinians and the land-grabbing but also because it could invite Israel to become more aggressive and threatening to Iran.”

“And I think it is a very foolish move by Obama and Biden and Clinton to destabilize the agreement that was reached with Iran regarding the nuclear understanding. I think it’s a very a bad omen for peace in the Middle East,” he concluded.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been a vocal critic of the P5+1 group’s nuclear deal with Iran and has focused on derailing it, causing great resentment within the White House.

Ties between Obama and Netanyahu have been further strained over the Israeli premier’s resistance to the creation of a Palestinian state, which has been a key element of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

See also:

Clinton calls for sanctions on Tehran over test-firing missiles

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clinton calls for sanctions on Tehran over test-firing missiles

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Press TV – March 9, 2016

US Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton has called for sanctions against Iran over the country’s test-firing of ballistic missiles.

“Iran should face sanctions for these activities and the international community must demonstrate that Iran’s threats toward Israel will not be tolerated,” claimed the former first lady, who is running for the 2016 presidential election, in a statement on Wednesday.

Her remarks run contrary to the Obama administration’s statement that the move is “not a violation of the Iran deal.”

Earlier in the day, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired two ballistic missiles in line with the country’s defense doctrine.

The missiles were fired from East Alborz heights in northern Iran and could hit targets 1,400 kilometers away in Makran Coasts southeast of the country.

Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Islamic Republic would continue to develop its missile program and that Tehran would need “no permission” to enhance the country’s defense capabilities.

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby has expressed concerns over the move but made it clear that it does not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) singed between Tehran and the world powers last year.

“We’re not going to turn a blind eye to this… I’m just trying to get to a technical point here, which is that it’s not a violation of the Iran deal itself,” Kirby said earlier.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and manufactured different types of military equipment.

Iran has repeatedly assured other countries that its military might poses no threat to other states, insisting that its defense doctrine is entirely based on deterrence.

In her new statement, Clinton repeated her pro-Israeli rhetoric, calling Iran a “threat.”

“As President, I will continue to stand with Israel against such threats,” she said, adding she was “deeply concerned.”

She stated that it was possible to “address Iran’s destabilizing activities across the region, while vigorously enforcing the nuclear deal.”

The former secretary of state had heartily supported President Barack Obama for his efforts in reaching a deal with Tehran, which she had described as “the path of diplomacy.”

According to Barry Grossman, an international lawyer based in Indonesia, voting for Hillary means voting for “the Israeli hard right and the US war machine.”

“By making prior unqualified commitments on US policy in return for large sums of money and media support, Hillary Clinton is now incapable of honoring the oath of office which any president must take before stepping into the oval office,” he said in an interview with Press TV in July 2015.

See also:

Israeli supporters financing Clinton’s campaign: James Petras

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

Democrats cover up role of Obama administration in Flint water crisis

By James Brewer | WSWS | March 9, 2016

Democratic Party politicians and operatives descended on Flint before Tuesday’s Michigan primary hoping to exploit public anger over the water crisis to boost their electoral chances. The selection of the city as the venue for the March 6 debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton was designed to give the appearance that the Democrats were concerned with, and would seriously address, the disaster inflicted on the people of Flint over the last two years.

Both candidates sought to lay blame solely on the Republican governor, Rick Snyder, while concealing the role of state and local Democrats, including the state treasurer, the mayor, the emergency manager and the city council. They also said nothing about federal officials from Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who knowingly concealed the fact that the city was not treating its water supply with anti-corrosive agents and that lead levels in the water had made it toxic.

While making various demagogic statements, neither candidate offers any serious proposal to provide relief to the beleaguered residents. During the debate, LeeAnne Walters from Flint asked both candidates if they would require public water systems to replace lead pipes throughout the US if they were elected. Neither candidate would give a direct answer to the question.

Clinton replied, “We will commit to a priority to change the water systems and we will commit within five years to remove lead from everywhere,” referring to all lead sources, including paint and dust.

Walters, a key figure in exposing the consistent cover-up by water quality officials, told the Huffington Post on Monday, “I hated Clinton’s answer. To tell a Flint resident that we’ll handle this in five years is no different than what the city was telling us and what the state was telling us.”

The Flint mother noted that federal agencies, particularly the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have been downplaying the importance of lead in drinking water for decades, focusing almost exclusively on lead in paint and dust. This attitude toward public water systems was a significant factor in the lead poisoning of Washington, DC from 2001 to 2005 and contributed to the culture within agencies tasked to protect drinking water safety that has been exposed in the Flint events.

“If you look at the numbers, most of the grants and funding go to lead paint, so to lump it all together is unacceptable,” Walters said.

Walters said Sanders’ response to her question—that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under his administration would monitor water safety—was “lame,” adding that this is what the EPA is already supposed to do.

Thousands of emails have emerged exposing the role of top employees at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in covering up the lack of proper treatment in Flint’s water leading to the spike in lead levels. A spate of resignations and firings in the department have occurred as a result.

While the Democrats denounced the Snyder administration, they have consistently given a pass to the EPA, with US Congressman Dan Kildee from Flint, for example, saying that claims that the EPA is equally as responsible as the MDEQ is a “false equivalency.”

In fact, the EPA played a key role in aiding and abetting the efforts by MDEQ and the Snyder administration to conceal the danger to the public. A March 5 article in the Detroit Free Press examines emails between MDEQ and EPA officials from February 25, 2015 through the end of 2015. The emails reveal that the EPA was well informed that Flint was in violation of federal safe drinking water regulations, and that the MDEQ was not only aware, but itself instigating Flint officials to falsify water testing.

The article dates exchanges starting on February 25, when LeeAnne Walters’ home tap water tested at 104 parts per billion (ppb)—7 times more than the EPA action level of 15 ppb. Her child developed skin rashes. The next day, EPA program manager for Region 5 (the Midwest region), Jennifer Crooks, relates this to MDEQ’s Lansing District Coordinator for Drinking Water, Steve Busch, and Mike Prysby, MDEQ district engineer, with a note that says: “WOW!!!! Did he find the LEAD! 104 ppb. She has 2 children under the age of 3… Big worries here.”

This message was forwarded to EPA Region 5 Ground Water and Drinking Water Branch Chief Tom Poy, and Regulations Manager Miguel Del Toral, who is a leading expert on lead in water.

Del Toral, alarmed by the test results followed up with visits to Walters’ home to do further testing. Further emails corroborated Walters’ testimony at the February 3 US Congressional hearing, where she described Del Toral’s work in Flint, which culminated in a June memorandum to the EPA and the MDEQ, after which he was silenced by the federal agency.

Walters testified that she had made that report public. “So when he called me and asked me if he could use my information for this report, I said yes, and I asked for a copy. When I saw it in black and white—there is a difference living it and seeing it in black and white—that is why it was given to the ACLU and made public, because people did have a right to know. From that point, he was then no longer allowed to have association with me or anybody else in Flint. By the EPA.”

Del Toral and Walters had uncovered that there had been no corrosion control treatment of the water in Flint since the water source was switched to the Flint River in April 2014. For decades, the water supplied to Flint from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s treatment plant near Lake Huron had been treated for corrosives, in line with federal law, in order to prevent lead and other chemicals from leaching from Flint’s pipelines into its drinking water.

The long-mothballed Flint treatment plant neither had the technical capacity or the manpower to treat the water, but this did not stop state and local officials from both parties from approving the switch. The officials essentially rolled the dice hoping there would be no public outcry until a new pipeline that would connect Flint directly to Lake Huron was completed.

In his June memorandum, Del Toral also revealed that sampling of the water in Flint homes was done improperly, making the high lead levels less like to be revealed.

EPA Region 5 head, Susan Hedman, since resigned, told Flint’s Mayor Dayne Walling and others who raised concerns about the Del Toral memo, that she wished it had never been produced and that after she edited and vetted it, it would tell a different story—that Flint’s water was in compliance with lead and copper standards established by the federal government.

In early July, Walling asked Hedman to make a public statement to the ACLU to justify the city’s actions and she replied, “I’m not inclined to have any further communications with the ACLU representative.”

Dr. Marc Edwards, the leader of the Virginia Tech University team that performed an extensive testing of Flint’s water in August, told the February 3 Congressional hearing. “I did not know what happened for quite some time until MDEQ bragged to Ms. Walters and laughed at her and she reported back to me that ‘Mr. Del Toral had been handled’ and it was very clear that an agreement had been reached of some sort between EPA and MDEQ that would let MDEQ have their way with Flint’s children.

“That they were not going to install corrosion control. They had no intention to do it. There’s many emails that show that they were waiting for this new pipeline to come on next year and they thought it was a waste of time to do anything to treat the water. When we got involved, in August as a matter of fact, an MDEQ email said ‘Shouldn’t someone tell those folks from Virginia Tech that we’re switching to the pipeline next year so they don’t bother wasting their time on this issue?’”

National EPA Director Gina McCarthy, an Obama appointee, appeared for the first time in Flint at a February 2 EPA press conference. When a World Socialist Web Site reporter asked her directly about the quashing of the Del Toral memo, she lied, insisting the lead-in-water expert had not been silenced.

The significance of the cover-up for the EPA by the Democratic Party establishment is vast. Over the last weeks, it has emerged that lead poisoning of the population through the water systems is not isolated to Flint, but is a national phenomenon. In the state of Ohio, lead levels in the blood of children are high in many areas of the state. In the village of Sebring, Ohio, near the deindustrialized city of Youngstown, it has recently been made public that state water quality officials kept quiet for months when they knew that residents had lead-tainted water flowing through their taps.

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Map showing recorded blood-lead levels in the US

The map above shows the extent to which children’s blood levels exceed the 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) level considered high by the CDC across the country in 2014. Even more disturbing is the number of states that are not required to submit those levels to the federal government.

Food and Water Watch, the Washington DC-based advocate for public water, reports that federal water infrastructure spending has been cut by 74 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1977. Obama’s latest budget calls for another 11 percent cut.

Neither Democratic Party candidate has any intention of investing in desperately needed infrastructure. They dare not cut across the agenda of the financial elite to amass greater and greater profits at the expense of the working class, and to dedicate obscene sums to the endless pursuit of technology and weapons for war.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Witch-hunting for Israel

By Michael Lesher | American Herald Tribune | March 9 ,2016

If you feel guilty, you invent a plot, many plots. And to counter them, you have to organize your own plot. – Umberto Eco

Who knew what secret evils have threatened the beleaguered Jewish State?

Actually, a lot of people – or so it would seem. Here in the United States, the professional plot-hunters who can sniff out the faintest hint of honesty about Israel are so numerous, and so creative, that hardly a day goes by without the detection of one more nefarious scheme to treat Israel like any other country, or to hold it accountable to international law.

Theirs is no easy task; Israel’s crimes have swollen to such proportions that its critics are invulnerable to anything resembling truthful debate. But no matter. Each day the plot-hunters roll up their sleeves and do what they must: attacking democracy, subverting American foreign policy, even encouraging anti-Semitism – all to save Israel.

Take President Barack Obama – yes, the same Barack Obama who egged Israel on in its murderous assault against Gaza in 2014. Late last month, Obama announced that his administration is “aggressively opposed” to any and all boycotts of Israel by U.S. trading partners, even if such boycotts are mandated by democratically enacted law.

Or take the ranking legislators from Obama’s own Democratic Party, who joined with their Republican opponents (you know, the fellows who are incubating Donald Trump as a presidential nominee) to insist that the President must punish not only boycotts of Israel but boycotts of products issuing from Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank. Those Democratic senators went so far as to stigmatize such attempts to enforce international law as “anti-Semitic.”

You’ve got to admire the zeal of a political culture that can sacrifice so many principles to the Jewish State. If a boycott of Israeli settlement products were enacted by, say, France or Germany, it would be the product of a democratic process – which means the new anti-boycott bill, championed by both major U.S. parties, runs counter to democracy. Official U.S. policy opposes Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory; that pits Congress’ initiative against the President’s constitutionally-mandated power to conduct foreign affairs. And if the bill condemns as anti-Semitic any attempt to enforce international law against Israel’s illegal settlements, then the law has the effect of making anti-Semitism respectable – thus encouraging bigotry while purporting to fight it.

But what’s democracy, or the U.S. Constitution, against a witch hunt?

And it isn’t only American lawmakers who are tearing down their ideals to silence any discussion of Israeli crimes. American rabbis have done the same. In June 2014, the Rabbinical Alliance of America – described in the Orthodox Jewish Press as “a major American mainstream rabbinic organization” – declared that anyone who supports the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel is an accessory to Biblically-defined theft and murder.

Here the logic of witch-hunting trumps reason itself: it’s not Israel’s occupying army that is stealing other people’s land and regularly killing off civilians, including children – no, it only looks that way. The real trouble is those cunning BDSers who seem to be defending two great values of Jewish law by exposing Israeli theft and murder. But the obvious can’t be true, so the rabbis obligingly turn Jewish law on its head: BDS is condemned, and the sins of the Holy State are abetted. Judaism goes the way of the Constitution under Israeli tank treads.

The witch-hunters’ intellectual gymnastics can be as breathtaking as their moral absurdities. When Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti was about to deliver a keynote address at a BDS conference in Nazareth, Israeli legislator Nava Boker called on Israel’s Interior Minister to boot him from the country. After all, claimed schlock-Jewish-writer-turned-plagiarist Naomi Ragen in Boker’s support, Barghouti can’t really be Palestinian in the first place, because his parents were expelled from their West Bank home and he himself was born in Qatar. Well, Ragen should know: she was born in New York City, of Eastern European extraction – but somehow she manages to qualify as Israeli. Barghouti’s long family history in Palestine (not to mention his truth-telling) makes him a troublemaker who deserves to be expelled. Ragen’s virulent Islamophobia makes her – well, just one of the gang.

Or how about National Lawyer’s Guild attorney Jordan Kushner, who faces criminal charges in Minneapolis for questioning a police officer who arbitrarily expelled a woman from a lecture given by an Israeli apologist, Moshe Halbertal? Kushner – who was bound, jailed until 2 in the morning, and now charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process – is being called an enemy of “free speech” by officials at the University of Minnesota Law School, where Halbertal’s lecture took place.

And Halbertal? Although he is a co-author of the IDF’s most recent “ethics” code, and a defender of Israel’s vicious assaults on Gaza, he’s just an “outstanding scholar,” according to the law school’s dean. It takes real mental discipline to find a threat to “free speech” in an arbitrarily jailed civil rights lawyer, while an apologist for mass murder stands undisturbed at the speaker’s dais. But the witch-hunters can manage even that.

In fact, their hypocrisy can border on the delusional. When I posted a few words on a Jewish newspaper’s website to mention Israel’s 2014 slaughter of some 1,600 civilians in Gaza, a woman reproached me for ignoring “The REAL victims, JEWISH innocent men, women & children.” And to prove Jewish superiority to Palestinian barbarism, she offered me a piece of practical advice: “please cut off your fingers.”

Umberto Eco had it right. When you’ve got a guilty conscience, you need to invent a plot. The guiltier Israel’s conscience, the more witches its apologists will have to find – until they finally look at themselves in a mirror.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Women’s Day: High Profile Activist, Mother of 6, Kidnapped by Israeli Forces

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IMEMC News & Agencies – March 9, 2016

Israeli forces, on Tuesday night, have kidnapped iconic activist against the apartheid wall and settlements, and mother of six, Manal Tamimi, aged 43, from her home in Al-Nabi Saleh village, near Ramallah.

On International Women’s Day, 8th of March, at 1:30 AM, dozens of soldiers stormed Manal’s home, raided it and detained her family in one room, while female Israeli soldiers have taken Manal to another room in the house, thoroughly inspected her, then abducted her.

Manal’s husband, Bilal Tamimi, 50, said that, a few hours following the arrest, the family knew that Manal was taken to Benyamin Israeli police center near Ramallah, calling it “the Israeli gift to the Palestinian women on women’s day.”

Manal’s lawyer, Gabi Lasky, said, according to the PNN, that Tamimi underwent interrogation at the police center, and he has asked for a hearing session to take place as soon as possible, to know the charges held against her.

Manal and her family have maintained a high-profile in nonviolent popular resistance.

She was also part of Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, which presents community-based resistance rooted in a belief in the power of nonviolent struggle, taking various forms, such as strikes, protests, and legal campaigns, as well as supporting the call to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), Munther Amira strongly denounced the kidnapping, calling it a new Israeli crime against women, especially taking place on international women’s day.

Amira said that this act displays the Israeli brutality against all values of freedom and democracy, and against all women, and Palestinian women in particular.

PSCC demanded all women’s associations and human rights organizations to expose Israeli crimes against women and focus on Manal’s case, at the moment.

Two close relatives from the family, Ahed and Wa’ad Al-Tamimi have repeatedly stood up for Israeli soldiers during demonstrations.

In September of 2015, a story about an Israeli soldier that attacked Mohammad Tamimi, brother of Ahed and Wa’ad, while his arm was broken and in a cast, went viral. Manal’s close relative, Nariman, and her daughters saved the child from the soldier and defended him.

For the past six years, the village of Al-Nabi Saleh held a peaceful demonstration every week, against the Israeli wall and settlements that are engorging the village.

Bilal Tamimi said that Manal was unable to participate in the demonstrations during the past three weeks, because she developed a bad allergy towards teargas, which was fired intensely during protests.

Manal was shot and injured in her legs twice before, in 2013 and 2015.


Women in Struggle: Manal Tamimi – Nabi Saleh

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Officer killed in ‘Friendly Fire’ During Invasion of Gaza

By Celine Hagbard | IMEMC News | March 9, 2016

An Israeli intelligence officer with the Shin Bet covert intelligence service of the Israeli armed forces was killed on Tuesday by other Israeli troops while carrying out an operation in the Gaza Strip.

The man was apparently ‘undercover’ and pretending to be a Palestinian when his fellow soldiers saw him near the border fence and opened fire on him.

Israeli authorities report that the incident is under investigation, but have not released any details, including the name of the officer who was killed.

Israeli forces stationed on the Gaza border are instructed by their superior officers to fire live ammunition at any person they see near the border fence. Israel has established a ‘kill zone’ of hundreds of meters along the fence, effectively seizing that land from the Palestinians who owned it and ‘shooting to kill’ anyone who enters the zone.

It is not yet known what Israeli Shin Bet agents were doing in Gaza, and what kind of ‘operation’ they were attempting to carry out.

The agency has faced international condemnation in recent months when surveillance videos showed Shin Bet officers infiltrating hospitals disguised as patients – even one dressed as a pregnant Palestinian woman – in order to carry out extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinian hospital patients, in direct contravention of international law.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Half of Jews in Israel are in favour of expelling Arabs

MEMO | March 9, 2016

2-armed-settlerOver half the Jews in Israel support the expulsion of Arabs from the country, a new survey has revealed.

Conducted by the Pew Research Centre between October 2014 and May 2015, the study included 5,601 Israeli citizens, including Arabs, and showed that 48 per cent of Jews and 71 per cent of religious Jews support the expulsion of Arabs from the country. With regards to secular Jews, 58 per cent opposed the idea of expelling Arabs, with one-third in favour of the idea.

Seventy-nine per cent of Arabs asserted that there is “a lot of discrimination in Israeli society”, while 74 per cent of Jews claimed that they do not see such discrimination.

The vast majority of Jews said they saw Israel as both a Jewish and a democratic state, while 89 per cent of secular Jews said that there should be a preference for democratic principles over religious laws. But 89 per cent of ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews believe religious laws should take precedence.

The majority of secular Jews said that they identify as Israelis first and as Jews second, while Haredi and religious people identify thought the opposite.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

How Most Aid to the Palestinians Ends up in Israel’s Coffers

By Jonathan Cook | CounterPunch | March 9, 2016

Diplomats may have a reputation for grayness, obfuscation, even hypocrisy, but few have found themselves compared to a serial killer, let alone one who devours human flesh.

That honour befell Laars Faaborg-Andersen, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel, last week when Jewish settlers launched a social media campaign casting him as Hannibal Lecter, the terrifying character from the film Silence of the Lambs.

An image of the Danish diplomat wearing Lecter’s prison face-mask was supposed to suggest that Europe needs similar muzzling.

The settlers’ grievance relates to European aid, which has provided temporary shelter to Palestinian Bedouin families after the Israeli army demolished their homes in the occupied territories near Jerusalem. The emergency housing has helped them remain on land coveted by Israel and the settlers.

European officials, outraged by the Lecter comparison, have reminded Tel Aviv that, were it to abide by international law, Israel – not the EU – would be taking responsibility for these families’ welfare.

While Europe may think of itself as part of an enlightened West, using aid to defend Palestinians’ rights, the reality is less reassuring. The aid may actually be making things significantly worse.

Shir Hever, an Israeli economist who has spent years piecing together the murky economics of the occupation, recently published a report that makes shocking reading.

Like others, he believes international aid has allowed Israel to avoid footing the bill for its decades-old occupation. But he goes further.

His astonishing conclusion – one that may surprise Israel’s settlers – is that at least 78 per cent of humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians ends up in Israel’s coffers.

The sums involved are huge. The Palestinians under occupation are among the most aid-dependent in the world, receiving more than $2bn from the international community a year. According to Hever, donors could be directly subsidising up to a third of the occupation’s costs.

Other forms of Israeli profiteering have been identified in previous studies.

In 2013 the World Bank very conservatively estimated that the Palestinians lose at least $3.4bn a year in resources plundered by Israel.

Further, Israel’s refusal to make peace with the Palestinians, and as a consequence the rest of the region, is used to justify Washington’s annual $3bn in military aid.

Israel also uses the occupied territories as laboratories for testing weapons and surveillance systems on Palestinians – and then exports its expertise. Israel’s military and cyber industries are hugely profitable, generating many billions of dollars of income each year.

A survey published last week found tiny Israel to be the eighth most powerful country in the world.

But whereas these income streams are a recognisable, if troubling, windfall from Israel’s occupation, western humanitarian aid to the Palestinians is clearly intended for the victims, not the victors.

So how is Israel creaming off so much?

The problem, says Hever, is Israel’s self-imposed role as mediator. To reach the Palestinians, donors have no choice but to go through Israel. This provides ripe opportunities for what he terms “aid subversion” and “aid diversion”.

The first results from the Palestinians being a captive market. They have access to few goods and services that are not Israeli.

Who Profits?, an Israeli organisation monitoring the economic benefits for Israel in the occupation, assesses that dairy firm Tnuva enjoys a monopoly in the West Bank worth $60 million annually.

Aid diversion, meanwhile, occurs because Israel controls all movement of people and goods. Israeli restrictions mean it gets to charge for transportation and storage, and levy “security” fees.

Other studies have identified additional profits from “aid destruction”. When Israel wrecks foreign-funded aid projects, Palestinians lose – but Israel often benefits.

Cement-maker Nesher, for example, is reported to control 85 per cent of all construction by Israelis and Palestinians, including the supplies for rebuilding efforts in Gaza after Israel’s repeated rampages.

Significant segments of Israeli society, aside from those in the security industries, are lining their pockets from the occupation. Paradoxically, the label “the most aid-dependent people in the world” – usually affixed to the Palestinians – might be better used to describe Israelis.

What can be done? International law expert Richard Falk notes that Israel is exploiting an aid oversight vacuum: there are no requirements on donors to ensure their money reaches the intended recipients.

What the international community has done over the past 20 years of the Oslo process – inadvertently or otherwise – is offer Israel financial incentives to stabilise and entrench its rule over the Palestinians. It can do so relatively cost-free.

While Europe and Washington have tried to beat Israel with a small diplomatic stick to release its hold on the occupied territories, at the same time they dangle juicy financial carrots to encourage Israel to tighten its grip.

There is a small ray of hope. Western aid policy does not have to be self-sabotaging. Hever’s study indicates that Israel has grown as reliant on Palestinian aid as the Palestinians themselves.

The EU noted last week that Israel not Brussels should be caring for the Bedouin it has left homeless. Europe could take its own advice to heart and start shifting the true costs of the occupation back on to Israel.

That may happen soon enough whatever the west decides, if – as even Israel is predicting will occur soon – the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas collapses.


Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

US Claims 150 ‘Fighters’ Killed in Somalia Airstrike, Nobody Believes Them

Deadliest strike in America’s drone war calls into question how US defines “combatants”

Sputnik – 09.03.2016

US airstrikes targeting what the Pentagon is calling an al-Shabaab training facility in Somalia killed over 150 people on Saturday. In an announcement Monday, the Pentagon classified the dead as “militant fighters” who were allegedly preparing a large-scale attack against US and African diplomatic personnel.

International human rights groups quickly contested the Pentagon’s official narrative, however, asking how a strike killing in excess of 150 people could be anything but the product of widespread collateral damage.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism scoffed at US assertions calling the death toll from the strike “unprecedented.” The Saturday strike was the deadliest single US counterterrorism action since the group began monitoring drone strike reports in 2010.

The Pentagon countered that not only were the dead only al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists, but also that the “fighters” were scheduled to carry out an imminent attack against US interests.

Controversial drone program likely resulting in massive, unreported civilian deaths

The US drone program, a lynchpin in America’s global war on terrorism, has faced widening condemnation by the international community in recent years. Legal experts argue that the strikes cannot be legal without a proper congressional war authorization or the presence of ongoing hostilities, or a “hot war,” within the targeted territories.

More concerning to human rights advocates, however, are reports in recent years that many of those killed in drone strikes are civilians, who are then reported by White House officials as having been combatants. One report on Nevada-based drone operators observed that they “often do not know who they are killing, they are making a guess.”

Furthermore, investigations by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and other advocacy groups, who are backtracking news reports on drone strikes to the locations, indicated they have found startlingly different results than those suggested by the White House.

Repeatedly, when traced to the scene of strikes in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Libya, family members and witnesses on the ground decry the attacks as collateral damage, and claim that their slain family members were civilians.

Washington defines away collateral damage by use of “kill-boxes”

The death misreporting may be legal sleight-of-hand, as anyone who is present in a so-called “kill-box” is a legitimate target. Kill boxes are areas defined as small geographic spaces of hostility in which those present are automatically defined as a combatant.

This notion of a kill box made sense in conventional wars – civilians had notice and would stay away from battlefields. Today, however, a kill zone is defined as a perimeter around a high-level target or targets that actually moves with the target. In effect, US lawyers have simply defined away collateral damage.

Obama’s pledge of more transparency over legally dubious drone wars not likely to pan out

News of the attack comes as the White House announced Monday that it will disclose the death count of its controversial drone operations under President Barack Obama.

Obama’s counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, told reporters that the death count will be released “in the coming weeks” as part of the administration’s transparency commitment. In subsequent years, the US is scheduled to report death counts associated with drone warfare annually.

The report is limited to only Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and North Africa, but will not include death totals for strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria where hot wars continue.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated, “There will obviously be some limitations on where we can be transparent, given a variety of sensitivities – including diplomatic.”

Nonetheless, the increased reporting by the Obama Administration is welcomed by the human rights community and will include both official combatant and civilian death totals. It is all too likely, however, that official combatants are unofficial civilians, as America’s deadly game of international domination is sanitized with legal jargon.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gulf states to take legal action against Hezbollah affiliated TV channels

MEMO | March 9, 2016

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) information ministers agreed on Tuesday to take legal action against TV channels affiliated to Hezbollah, Anadolu reported.

This decision came as part of the conclusion statement of the 24th meeting of the GCC information ministers, which was held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

“The legal measures stipulated in the decision will apply to all production companies, producers and all matters related to media,” the statement said.

“They are based on the GCC laws and on international laws related to the fight against terrorism,” it said, noting that Hezbollah is considered a terrorist entity.

According to the statement, the GCC described Hezbollah as a group that “incited hatred, chaos and violence” in “blatant violation of the sovereignty, security and stability of GCC and Arab countries”.

On 2 March, the GCC and the council of Arab interior ministers designated Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon’s War on the Earth

By Tom H. Hastings | CounterPunch | March 9, 2016

We are waging war. We are the Nation of War. We destroy. We kill. Everyone fears us.

Fewer and fewer admire us.

But our fighting forces—and their attendant industries which manufacture the bombs, bullets, and ballistic delivery devices—also wage a war on the clean air, clean water, and clean soil many Americans falsely regard as protected by legislation fought for by those trying to protect our environment.

Recent reports from around the country show the party most likely to toxify our land is our own military. These are just a small fraction of the reports from the past couple of weeks:

* California: New model homes are open for viewing in a beautiful canyon west of Los Angeles despite the land there being “stained with radioactive and toxic chemical waste.”

* New Hampshire: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stepping in to monitor the health and toxic exposure of those living near or on the Portsmouth, New Hampshire former US Pease Air Force base after tests showed terrible contamination.

* Kentucky: There is an ongoing effort to clean up the site of the uranium enrichment facility in Kentucky, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. It is costing hundreds of millions of dollars and the feds are slowly trying to get back a bit of it from responsible parties with settlements, the most recent a $5 million deal with Lockheed Martin for its contamination of the site.

* Maryland: The Army is claiming immunity from its killer pollution from Fort Detrick, with the Army as defendant in a class action law suit claiming numerous wrongful deaths from the site where toxins, biological weapons, radiological materials and hazardous waste contaminated the area for decades. US Attorney U.S. Attorney “Rod Rosenstein, representing the Army’s interests, asked Monday that the case be dismissed. In online court documents, Rosenstein argued that the government has no particular duty to respond to hazardous substances and the Army can use its own judgment to decide whether to clean up.”

* Louisiana: A private contractor will burn 16 million pounds of M-6 propellent, the largest burn of explosives in the history of the world, at Camp Minden in April and May.

* New York: Fort Drum is contaminated. Proposed remedies would inject other chemicals into the groundwater to try to neutralize the “chlorinated volatile organic chemical (CVOC) groundwater plume.”

The Pentagon is relentless in seeking immunity from federal environmental protection laws. One wonders, since the list of environmental disasters created by the military and its contracting producers would extend to multiple current issues in every single US state and dozens of foreign countries with US bases, with friends and protectors like these, who needs enemies?

Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Warrant for Location Tracking? DOJ Says No Need

By Nathaniel Turner | ACLU | March 8, 2016

The government needs a warrant based on probable cause to enter your house and search your cell phone, but what about when they collect 6 months of historical location data from your cell phone company? According to the Department of Justice: No warrant necessary.

During a March 3 House Oversight Committee hearing, the DOJ doubled down on this position and even refused to publicly release more information about how it’s interpreting a Supreme Court ruling on cell phone location tracking. ACLU Legislative Counsel Neema Guliani testified before the committee and made it clear that DOJ is out of touch with reality—and with the Supreme Court—calling on the committee to pass legislation requiring a probable cause warrant to obtain location information.

In U.S. v. Jones, the Court ruled that placing a GPS tracker on a suspect’s car and monitoring him for 28 days was a search under the Fourth Amendment. A majority of the justices said that long-term GPS monitoring of a car “impinges on expectations of privacy.”

But DOJ’s policy requires a probable cause warrant only when collecting cell phone location information in real-time, not historical data (even though in a least two instances revealed by an ACLU FOIA, real-time GPS data from a phone was collected without a warrant). The DOJ witness explained that, while historical data could contain private information, a lower standard to obtain it was acceptable under the department’s current policy—even when pressed by committee members who were understandably unable to see why one type of data was less invasive than the other. In her testimony Guliani argued that real-time and historical location data should be treated the same under the law, as both can reveal intimate details about a person’s daily life.

Throughout the hearing, DOJ also refused to commit to publicly releasing information on how it’s interpreting Jones. After a FOIA request by the ACLU, DOJ released two of its Jones memos, but they were almost entirely redacted. Even the Oversight Committee itself called on DOJ at least four times to see the memos. During the hearing, Chairman Chaffetz announced that he and Ranking Member Cummings would finally be given access to read the memos — but would not even be permitted to take notes. Meanwhile the public and others members of Congress would continue to be left in the dark on this crucial question of how our government is applying the law.

DOJ’s position doesn’t match up with the reality of historical location tracking. Guliani’s testimony explained just why the government’s position is so problematic for privacy:

  1. Location information is precise. Cell phones regularly communicate with cell towers in the area, and as tower technology advances and more towers are built, the ability to triangulate or otherwise log where a phone is over time is becoming increasingly precise — often at the level of a single block or house.
  2. Location information is incredibly revealing. Over 90% of Americans have a cell phone, and about three-quarters are within about 5 feet of those phones most of time (and a little over 10% admit to even using them in the shower). This means that almost every American is generating data about their movements. Data that could reveal how many nights a person sleeps at their home each night, how often they visit a bar, HIV clinic, church, or AA meeting.
  3. Location information is being routinely collected. In just 2015, AT&T received around 58,000 requests for historical cell phone location data from law enforcement. For example, there have been cases in Baltimore and Michigan where police collected over 6 months of location data without a probable cause warrant.

Some jurisdictions have recognized just how invasive historical location information can be, but there is little uniformity. Several states have passed laws requiring a probable cause warrant for all cell phone location information, and others have laws protecting real-time but not historical location information. But, the majority of states have no protections in place, and court rulings are inconsistent across jurisdictions.

And as if this all weren’t enough, DOJ’s guidance on Stingrays—devices that can trick all cell phones within range into connecting to them, allowing police to track movements in real-time—has significant gaps, as we have explained here.

It’s time for Congress to step in and protect location data. They can start by passing the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (H.R. 491), which would require probable cause warrants for all cell location data. In the meantime, DOJ must release a policy requiring a probable cause warrant for all location data and publicly release its Jones memos.

Cellphones are an integral part of American’s lives and can reveal incredibly intimate details about our daily lives. Our laws must reflect the importance of keeping that information private.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment