Aletho News


Russian Ties in Central Asia Threaten US Interests – CENTCOM Chief Nominee


Sputnik – 09.03.2016

WASHINGTON — CENTCOM commander nominee General Joseph Votel said that Russia’s trade and military relationships with neighboring Central Asian states threaten US interests in the region.

Russia’s trade and military relationships with neighboring Central Asian states threaten US interests in the region, US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander nominee General Joseph Votel said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

“Russia has moved to assert itself in Central Asia through a combination of military, economic and informational means in an effort to resurrect its great power status and hedge against perceived instability emanating from Afghanistan,” Votel stated.

After 14 years, the United States has reduced its military presence in Afghanistan to 9,800 troops, with plans to reduce troop levels to 5,500 by 2017. In the past year, Taliban militants and Daesh terrorist fighters have been on the rise in Afghanistan, prompting US commander of operations there, General John Nicholson, to describe the conditions in the country as “deteriorating.”

Votel further argued that Russian security partnerships with former Soviet states in Central Asia “make it difficult for the United States” to deepen defense ties in the region, which he described as a “key US interest.”

Since 1992, Russia has partnered with neighboring nations in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Russia also founded the Eurasian Economic Union in 2014, to further regional economic development among member nations including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Inside the twisted, racist, anti-Semitic mind of the Jewish Daily Forward

Another classic example of the perp posing as victim

By Kevin Barrett | Veterans Today | March 10, 2016

The Forward tries to silence critics of Jewish-Zionist power by name-calling. Don't expect them to debate the facts.

The Forward tries to silence critics of Jewish-Zionist power by name-calling and denigration. Don’t expect them to debate the facts.

The Jewish Daily Forward is sometimes called America’s leading Jewish newspaper. But that is not, strictly speaking, true.

America’s leading Jewish newspaper is the New York Times. Runners-up include most of the other big newspapers, including the former WASP bastions the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

They’re all “Jewish newspapers” in the sense that that a disproportionate number of their key positions are filled by Jews, many if not most of whom consciously or unconsciously support Jewish tribal interests.

It is just a simple fact, not an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory,” that Jews “Dominate in American Media – and So What if We Do?” It is a simple fact that Jews totally control Hollywood. It is a simple fact that Jews, who make up less than 2% of the population, are wildly over-represented in big finance in general, and the bribery-based system of political finance in particular.

And it is a simple fact that virtually all wealthy, powerful Jews are pro-Zionist…and that many  are fanatically dedicated to using their wealth and power to support the Zionist entity occupying and genociding Palestine. (Yes, there are many Jews who are not Zionist, but few of them are wealthy or powerful.)

If you don’t believe me, please consult sociologist James Petras’s The Power of Israel in the United States. Additional required reading includes Petras’s essay in Another French False Flag, which explains how “the Zionist faction” of the US militarist elite has been responsible for America’s catastrophic wars in the Middle East.

But anyone who notices any of this, and recognizes that Jewish-Zionist power is what dragged the US into the quagmire in the Middle East — notably by way of the 9/11 inside/outside job — is setting themselves up for a witch-hunt.

The latest victim is professor Joy Karega of Oberlin College, who is being inundated with insults because she has dared to breathe a word or two of truth via social media. In a classic case of Zionist blame-the-victim-for-precisely-what-we-perpetrators-are-doing tactics, the racists at the Forward are accusing their victim, Karega, of racism.

The Jewish Daily Forward’s article “Inside the Twisted Anti-Semitic Mind of Professor Joy Karega” inadvertently exposes the twisted, racist, anti-Semitic minds of its author and publishers. These people simply take it for granted that the truth is an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” and that anyone who defends it is a lesser being who deserves to be insulted, but needs not be rationally or empirically refuted.

The anti-Karega lynch mob, led by Jewish Zionists, is trying to assassinate her professionally. Yet they deny that they are trying to silence her! From The Forward : “… of course the question here is not whether Karega should be ‘silenced,’ but rather whether she should be funded as a professor at one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the U.S.”

So The Forward insists that working to get Karega fired and destroy her ability to make a living is not an attempt to silence her! Such arrogance is well-nigh unbelievable.

The Forward’s anti-conspiracy-theory tropes are drenched in racism. As a white guy who has brought up conspiracy issues with fellow white folks, I have heard more times than I can count some variation on “So what if 80% of Muslims are 9/11 conspiracy theorists? Who cares what those paranoid wogs think?”  Or: “So what if black people believe these conspiracy theories, they’re just not as smart and educated as us white people.”

Pakistanis know “al-Qaeda” better than anyone, and only 3% of them believe the official story of 9/11. But whenever I bring that up with white Americans, their superiority complex kicks in and they dismiss the far-more-informed perspective from Pakistan… for no particular reason, except maybe that the people over there have a bit too much skin pigmentation.

The Forward article fairly drips with that kind of implicitly racist condescension toward proud African-American intellectual Joy Karega. It begins by describing Jewish anti-conspiracist Isabel Sherrel contacting Karega in an arrogant attempt to bully her back into line – not by citing any evidence against Karega’s position, but by calling Karega “not educated” and saying Karega’s views stem from “ignorance.”

To an unconscious exponent of Jewish superiority like Sherrel, her own 100%-evidence-free name-calling is “honest, respectful, and open-hearted.” She is so permeated by her own sense of tribal and/or racial superiority that she cannot even entertain the idea that she ought to be arguing with Karega as an equal, using logic and evidence, rather than bullying her and calling her names.

The Jewish Daily Forward article, citing Karl Popper, suggests that we “demand evidence for the conspiracy theory.” Yet it buries Popper’s legitimate call for a debate based on logic and evidence beneath an avalanche of implicit and explicit ad hominems.

The Jewish Daily Forward’s article attacking Karega is not just arrogantly, condescendingly racist, but anti-Semitic as well. Its rhetorical purpose is to cover up the truth about the so-called “war on terror” and thereby perpetuate that war, which has mainly targeted Arabs, the only major group of Semites on earth.

As I wrote to Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov:

You write that you are similarly nonplussed by “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” Are you referring to the theory that 19 young Semites, led by an older Semite on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan, blew up the World Trade Center by using box-cutters to kindle minor office fires?

I, too, am outraged by anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Today virtually all of the world’s Semites are the speakers of Arabic. (“Semite” is a linguistic category, not a racial one.) And I am outraged by the way Arabic Semites have been falsely blamed for the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, the murders of innocents by large white paramilitary professionals  in Paris and San Bernadino, and many similar false flag incidents. These false flag public relations stunts have triggered the murder of more than 1.5 million people and the destruction of the homes and lives of tens of millions more. THIS is the real, indisputable and ongoing Holocaust; you and your colleagues are perpetrating it right now with your tax money, your silences and your lies. The blood of more than a million innocents is on your hands.

So while I appreciate your support for academic freedom, I respectfully request that you take the next step and sponsor a debate or symposium on false flags in general and 9/11 and the 2015 Paris attacks in particular. If you or anyone else believes they can defend the 9/11 Commission Report, or the official versions of the Paris attacks, in a debate, they should be not just willing but actually eager to put the “conspiracy theories” to rest.

I will be happy to travel to Oberlin at my own expense to participate in any such debate. Meanwhile, I am sending my three books Questioning the War on TerrorWe Are NOT Charlie Hebdo, and ANOTHER French False Flag as a gift to the Oberlin College Library, where faculty and students can refer to them to understand the positions of Professor Karega and the hundreds of millions of people around the world who share her interpretations of current events.


Dr. Kevin Barrett

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Zionist Desperation and the Coming Societal Pivot

Israel’s Attempt to Put Up a ‘Firewall’ Around Itself…

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | March 10, 2016

We are approaching a pivotal time in America. With the aging of the older generation–that is to say those who grew up prior to the age of the Internet–the percentage of the population relying mainly upon mainstream media for its news will slowly diminish. A younger generation, consisting of those accustomed to getting most of their news and information off the Internet, will gradually begin to outnumber them.

What this means in practical terms is that Israel and its supporters will find it increasingly harder to dominate mainstream political discourse.

If we take 1990 as the base year or starting point of the information age, those who today are 26 years of age or younger will have grown up in households where computers, for the most part, are/were as commonplace as were TV sets in the 1960s.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America’s population at the time of the last census, in 2010, stood at 308,745,538. Those aged 29 or younger comprised 125,955,404, or roughly 40.8% of the population. And that was in 2010. Today the US population is estimated at some 323,000,000–meaning those in the post-1990 age group are likely to make up an even higher percentage of the population. At some point in the near future, their numbers are going to top the 50% mark. That this has been discussed with a sense of gravity by Israeli lobbyists and strategists is almost certain.

Certainly we have seen a proliferation of disinformation websites, but truth has a way of resonating in a way that lies do not–and even when people don’t immediately recognize it as truth per se, the resonance is still there. What the Internet offers, then, is a means by which truth can be viewed on an equal footing with lies, much as it once was in the centuries before mass media began to play such a dominant role in society. And this is obviously having its impact upon the public.

According to a poll conducted last year, 70 percent of Americans disagree with the statement that the media “tries to report the news without bias.” The poll was conducted by the Newseum Institute, which found that trust in the media had dropped by 17 percentage points from a similar poll conducted just the year previous, and by 22 points since 2013. “In fact, the 24% who now say the media try to report news without bias is the lowest since we began asking this question in 2004,” the study states. Perhaps most significant of all, confidence in the media was lowest among those ages 18 to 29–only 7 percent.

A sense of desperation clearly is overtaking Israel and its supporters in the West these days. This is most visible in the multitude of attacks we have seen recently on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS movement. And there are indications now that the Jewish state may be about to carry these attacks to a higher level.

According to a report here, Israel will pour $26 million this year into covert cyber operations aimed at combating BDS, with Israeli tech companies planning to introduce, among other things, “sly algorithms to restrict these online activists circle of influence.” The initiative will be accompanied simultaneously with distribution of a flood of “content that puts a positive face on Israel,” a nonprofit called Firewall Israel being the main spearhead of this latter. Presumably Israel’s already-considerable force of paid Internet trolls is about to be increased–perhaps substantially. Firewall Israel, by the way, is sponsored by the Israeli think tank, the Reut Institute.

“The delegitimization challenge and the BDS Movement are global and require a global response,” Reut asserts on its website. The site goes on to add:

Victory will be achieved when there is a political firewall around Israel and the right of the Jewish People to self-determination, meaning that delegitimization of Israel brings with it a heavy political, societal, and personal price due to its being seen and framed as an act of prejudice and anti-Semitism. Because of its anti-Semitic foundations, delegitimization cannot be eliminated, but it can be contained and kept at bay. As mentioned, because of the network architecture of the BDS Movement, there is no silver bullet against it, and victory will be achieved incrementally through countless of small wins.

In other words, BDS will be “framed” as anti-Semitic, a tour de force that will be achieved through cyber attacks as well as mainstream media power, with BDS supporters paying a heavy “personal price” by result. The final victory, Reut believes, will be achieved not all at once but through “countless small wins” racked up by the Zionists, wins that will erect a “political firewall” around the apartheid paradise, making it immune or insulated from global criticism.

That’s the theory at any rate. How it all plays out in reality remains to be seen, but clearly new BDS battles are cropping up virtually everyday. One of these is a movement at Vassar College, whose student body association, the VSA, just this past Sunday voted to approve a resolution expressing support for the BDS movement. The resolution was accompanied by an amendment that would also have prohibited purchases from 11 companies that profit from or explicitly support the occupation. While the resolution itself passed by a wide majority, 15 to 7, the amendment, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, failed by a vote of 12 in favor to 10 opposed. Were you to take a wild guess that the amendment’s failure was due to pressure by the college administration, you would be right.

“The VSA could stand to lose all funding if the student body votes to pass the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Amendment, the center of an ongoing campus-wide debate,” the student newspaper reported on March 5, one day before the scheduled vote.

The article reports on a meeting between the college president and the VSA’s Executive Board, with members of the latter being specifically warned of the cutoff in funding. After the meeting, the president and one of the college deans issued a joint statement clarifying their position on the matter.

“All along, we have said that the VSA has the right to endorse the BDS proposal, given our commitment to free speech.  But the college cannot use its resources in support of a boycott of companies,” they wrote. “Were the VSA to adopt the amendment currently proposing such a policy, the college would have to intervene in some way.”

Vassar College is located in Poughkeepsie, New York. Last year in June, the New York State Legislature passed an anti-BDS measure, and then in November a second measure, creating in effect a blacklist of BDS supporters, was also introduced and is now in committee. The language of the measure passed in June is Orwellian, citing BDS– rather than Israel’s occupation–as being “damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.” And similar measures are making their way through legislatures in other states as well.

Obviously, the Vassar College administration has seen the writing on the wall, but at the same time, Vassar faculty members are summoning the courage to push back in a show of support for the BDS movement and the vote taken by the VSA. Forty-one of them have signed onto a statement of support that reads in part, “We emphatically condemn any form of intimidation tactics from all individuals or parties who have threatened students supporting BDS or any other form of conscientious objection.”

While BDS quite obviously is high on the Zionist list of priorities, what’s also emerging now is a drive to clamp down on any criticism at all of Israel or voicing of support for Palestinian rights–and colleges and universities dependent upon wealthy private donors seem especially vulnerable to this.

A case in point is Harvard Law School, which recently saw $250,000 yanked by a funder who took exception to a panel discussion entitled “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack,” sponsored by the campus Justice for Palestine group. The program reportedly began with a “3-minute video of students and professors discussing how they were censored, punished or falsely accused of anti-Semitism for taking a principled stance for Palestinian rights.”

But it isn’t only speech that can arouse Zionist ire. The public display of a piece of art can also result in loss of funding. Such happened at York University in Toronto when Canadian TV and film  industry executive Paul Bronfman took exception to a painting hanging in the university’s student center. The painting depicts a Palestinian holding rocks in his hand as an Israeli bulldozer is about to destroy an olive tree.


The text at the bottom of the painting features the words “justice” and “peace” written in various languages. Bronfman complained about the artwork to the university’s president, and, after failing to win a commitment to have it removed, accused the school of “allowing hate propaganda to be displayed” and pulled all assistance to its Cinema and Media Arts department.

“The upshot is that if that poster is not gone by the end of day today,” fumed the media mogul, “then William F. White (Bronfman’s film company) is out of York. York is going to lose thousands of dollars of television production equipment used for emerging student filmmakers…”

But much like at Vassar, the faculty at York has come out in favor of freedom of expression, noting–in a statement signed by 91 full-time faculty and nine retired faculty–that the painting depicts “one artist’s response to the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians under Israeli occupation and the feeling that there is no end in sight.”

Roger Waters has also waded into the controversy with an open letter sent to the York University Graduate Students Association in which the musician accuses Bronfman of “trying to use his economic muscle” to have the painting removed. He also observes:

 The figure in the foreground appears to be a protester considering throwing a stone or stones at a bulldozer about to destroy an olive tree. The protester may be Palestinian. If the scene depicted is anywhere in the territories occupied since 1967, this person has a legal and moral right, under the terms of article 4 of the Geneva conventions to resist the occupation of his homeland.

As may be expected, a concerted effort appears underway in some media outlets to exact the aforementioned “heavy political, societal, and personal price” upon York, with the Toronto Sun, for one, publishing charges that the university “has  been infiltrated with anti-Semitism” and has become one of the “most hostile campuses” in North America.

But in the attack on academic freedom, universities aren’t the only entities being hit with smear campaigns. Individual professors are also being singled out. Attacks on professors who criticize Israel of course are not new. Steven Salaita lost his job at the University of Illinois after posting tweets against Israel’s Gaza onslaught in the summer of 2014, and other professors have faced similar repercussions over the years. But what seems to be emerging now is an intensification of the character assaults, with Jewish and mainstream media ganging up en masse on targeted academics.

One such academic is Oberlin College Professor Joy Karega, who, like Salaita, has taken heat over social media postings. But the hostilities directed at Karega have incorporated a level of volume and viciousness not formerly seen in the Salaita case. This in part is because Karega’s criticisms of Israel have been stronger. She has accused the Zionist state of being behind 9/11. She has also discussed the Rothschild banking empire, depicted ISIS as a CIA/Mossad front group, suggested the Charlie Hebdo attack was a false flag, and she has even, courageously, taken on the issue of Zionist control of the mainstream media.

But her comments on 9/11 are probably the ones that have set off the most alarm bells, or at least seem to be among the most consistently cited. Accusations that her views are “anti-Semitic and abhorrent” have been aired by the New York Times, while Fox News posted an article referring to her, in the headline no less, as a “crackpot prof.” The Washington Post, Slate Magazine, the Times of Israel, and others have also piled on.

Karega has her defenders, however, and one of them is Kevin Barrett, author of the book We Are Not Charlie Hebdo. In two articles published at Veterans Today (see here and here ) Barrett accused the Oberlin professor’s detractors of hurling ad hominem insults at her rather than “using logic and evidence.” In one article he particularly took to task the Jewish newspaper, The Forward, which published a singularly virulent attack piece entitled, “Inside the Twisted Anti-Semitic Mind of Oberlin Professor Joy Karega.” The piece quotes an Oberlin alumna who says, patronizingly, that she thought Karega had perhaps expressed her views out of “ignorance” and that maybe she was “not educated on the history of anti-Semitism.” Barrett’s response was that The Forward article itself “drips” with a certain amount of  “implicitly racist condescension toward proud African-American intellectual Joy Karega.”

The piece also accuses Karega of spreading “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” which leads us to wonder: Is it really possible The Forward’s writers haven’t heard of the 5 dancing Israelis or that their virgin eyes never saw a controlled demolition video on the Internet? Is it conceivable their suspicions were not aroused in the slightest by Larry Silverstein’s $4.5 billion pay-out bonanza on a property filled with asbestos and worth not nearly what it was insured for? If so, then the editorial staff at The Forward must surely be among the most credulously uninformed in the province of professional journalism.

Barrett also sent an email to a number of recipients at Oberlin, including the president and key faculty and administrators, defending Karega and offering to meet any one or more of her slanderers in an on-campus debate on “these critically important issues.” The email was sent February 29. Barrett says he still has not received a response. His defense of the embattled professor has, however, led to an attack–on both him and Veterans Today–in a Jewish media outlet, The Tower Magazine.

“Kevin Barrett, a writer for Veterans Today, a website that prominently features anti-Israel conspiracy theories, offered his support for Karega and her 9/11 theories last week,” Tower said in an article that makes no mention of Barrett’s debate challenge but which attempts to link him to “the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.”

And so the ad hominem attacks flow like lava down the side of a spewing volcano while the Zionist defamers and detractors don surgical masks to avoid any and all dangerous contact with “logic and evidence.” Meanwhile the societal pivot draws closer.

Creating a “firewall” around Israel in effect means a concerted assault upon free speech, or at least upon the freedom to speak freely, if we might phrase it that way. It means making sure a “heavy personal price” is paid by anyone who criticizes Israel.  As Voltaire said, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you’re not allowed to criticize,” and as more and more Americans learn who they’re not allowed to criticize (many of course already know), the inevitable result will be an increasing spread of “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” about Jewish power.  Has the Reut Institute thought of this? Or was that maybe the general ideal all along?

At any rate, by publicly aligning themselves with politicians widely viewed as corrupt, Israel is probably speeding up the process of its own “delegitimization.” What after all is the net effect when Americans watch their Congress members routinely expressing their fervent support for Israel, extolling its putative “shared democratic values”–the same Congress members who day after day go on capitulating to Wall Street and other big-moneyed interests? Does this result in Israel’s gaining support among the public… or losing it? I would say probably more of the latter. And the fact that the very same state–which people like Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton voice their adoration for–engages in relentless war crimes and extrajudicial executions while spitting on international law with impunity only serves to aggravate the situation even further.

Yet in spite of all this, Israeli strategists somehow believe, or at least are hoping against hope, they can put a “firewall” around the Jewish state by attacking BDS, flooding the Internet with “content that puts a positive face on Israel,” and exacting a “heavy personal price” from outspoken critics like Karega. It is either, a) a naive hope, or, b) a vastly overblown confidence in the extent and reach of their own power.

Or maybe it’s a little of both. Yes, they may achieve some “small wins” in the short term. But one fact cannot be hidden, no matter how much hasbara you try to bury it under, and that is that Israel stole the land upon which its state was founded in 1948. And not only did it not pay reparations to the land’s rightful owners, but it has gone on stealing more and more from them, bit by bit, piece by piece, settlement by settlement, up until this very day. And if support for Palestine is growing, it probably, at least in part, has to do with the fact that most of us have little trouble imagining a scenario in which we, ourselves, could be forced out of our homes and end up in the streets homeless.

As for the allegations about 9/11, the evidence that the buildings were brought down by controlled demolition, and that one of them never was even hit by an airplane, is irrefutable, and the more people become aware of this (which is happening because of the Internet), the harder it’s going to be for Israel to keep the lid on everything. And the more stridently and vociferously the media gang up to attack scholars and academics for simply talking about the matter, the more  it’s ultimately going to serve only to raise public consciousness even further.

Perhaps it’s time for Israel’s supporters to take some anti-anxiety medication and to start looking at reality. And maybe, too, they should keep in mind the words of P.T. Barnum: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Britain sets ‘bad example’ on surveillance, says UN privacy rapporteur

RT | March 10, 2016

Britain is setting a bad example by legitimizing rather than outlawing mass surveillance, according to the UN’s privacy rapporteur, Joseph Cannataci.

The criticism comes in a report to the UN Human Rights Council examining mass surveillance around the world.

Britain is singled out as setting a bad example because of the government’s attempt to bring into law a number of new spying measures.

Cannataci claims the Investigatory Powers Bill, which will be debated for a second time in parliament next week, legitimizes mass surveillance when bulk collection should in fact be outlawed.

He argues the British security state should stop “setting a bad example to other states” by pursuing measures like “bulk interception and bulk hacking.”

He said that enshrining such surveillance into law undermined “the spirit of the very right to privacy.”

Cannataci has been an outspoken critic of UK surveillance measures for some time. In 2015 he called for a Geneva Convention for the internet, while arguing UK oversight was “a joke.”

On the lack of proper scrutiny on intelligence agencies, he told the Guardian: “That is precisely one of the problems we have to tackle. That if your oversight mechanism’s a joke, and a rather bad joke at its citizens’ expense, for how long can you laugh it off as a joke?”

The Investigatory Powers Bill was partially informed by the revelations of mass surveillance by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In his 2015 interview, Cannataci put aside the hero/traitor debate on the former contractor, telling the paper “his revelations confirmed to many of us who have been working in this field for a long time what has been going on, and the extent to which it has gone out of control.”

Cannataci’s concerns are shared by some civil liberties groups.
Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group, said the report showed that the “bill does not comply with recent human rights rulings” and that the negative impact of the legislation would “be felt around the world, and copied by other countries.”

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

G4S says it will exit Israeli market, following high-profile BDS campaign


MEMO – March 10, 2016

British private security giant G4S has announced plans to sell its entire Israeli business within the next 12 to 24 months. The news has been welcomed by activists in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, for whom G4S has been a long-standing target.

The decision to leave Israel was revealed in the company’s full-year results released Wednesday, when the company reported a 40 per cent fall in its pre-tax profits.

The company said its plans to exit Israel were part of a “continuing portfolio management programme” designed to “materially improve our strategic focus.” The Israeli business employs 8,000 people with a turnover of £100 million.

According to the Financial Times, G4S “is extracting itself from reputationally damaging work, including its entire Israeli business”, noting that human rights campaigners and BDS activists “have repeatedly attacked G4S’s work in [Israel].”

G4S provides equipment and services to Israeli prisons and detention centres, in which thousands of Palestinian prisoners are tortured and held – including without charge or trial. Israel also violates international law by jailing Palestinians outside of the occupied territory.

The company also has contracts with the Israeli authorities to provide equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints in the Occupied West Bank that form part of illegal Apartheid Wall.

In 2012, Palestinian groups “called for action to hold G4S accountable for its role in Israel’s prisons”, and since then, the campaign has inflicted growing economic and PR damage on the company. Activists say that G4S has since lost contracts worth millions of dollars around the world, with lost clients including private businesses, universities, trade unions, and United Nations bodies.

In 2014, the Bill Gates Foundation divested its $170m stake in the company following international protests. In the UK, at least five student unions voted to cancel contracts with G4S, and students successfully pressured two other universities not to renew contracts with the company.

The United Methodist Church, the largest protestant church in the USA, divested from G4S after coalition campaigning brought the issue to a vote. Just recently, as reported by Middle East Monitor, G4S lost a major contract in Colombia and a contract with UNICEF in Jordan, in both cases following campaigns by BDS activists.

Responding to the news of G4S’s planned withdrawal from Israel, Palestinian BDS National Committee spokesperson Mahmoud Nawajaa compared the pressure being felt by Israel to the boycott of Apartheid South Africa, and stated that BDS “is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israeli apartheid and colonialism is bad for business.”

He added: “investment fund managers are increasingly recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from Israeli banks and companies that are implicated in Israel’s serious human rights violations, such as G4S and HP, because of the high risk entailed. We are starting to notice a domino effect.”

Nawajaa said the BNC was grateful “to all of the dedicated grassroots organizers around the world who are working in solidarity with Palestinians seeking freedom, justice, and equality”, but noted that the boycott of G4S “will remain among the BDS movement’s top priorities until we actually see its back out of the door of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”

The caution is well-founded; G4S announced in 2013 that it would end its role in illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints and one Israeli prison by 2015, but did not follow through. In 2014, G4S announced it “did not intend to renew” its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it expired in 2017 but is yet to implement that decision.

In addition, Nawajaa claimed that owing to G4S’s involvement in the “racist mass incarceration business” in countries such as South Africa, UK, and USA, the BNC is “determined to work closely with partners to hold G4S to account for its participation in human rights abuses.”

In the last eight months, French multinationals Veolia and Orange and CRH, Ireland’s biggest company, have all exited the Israeli market. In January, the United Methodist Church put five Israeli banks from Israel on a “blacklist” due to their complicity in human rights violations, including the financing of illegal Israeli settlements.

Nawajaa said Israel is unable to “stop the impressive growth of BDS”, despite its efforts “to smear and delegitimize our nonviolent movement, including with anti-democratic laws in Europe and the US aimed at silencing dissent and suppressing our freedom of speech.”

“We believe strongly that our ethical approach and just cause will prevail, as this latest G4S announcement shows.”

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

White House: US Continues National Emergency Over Iran

Sputnik — 09.03.2016

The United States extended the national emergency vis-a-vis Tehran despite the recent lifting of nuclear-related sanctions stipulated in Iran’s agreement with the P5+1 group of countries, President Barack Obama told the Speaker of the US House of Representatives in a letter on Wednesday.

On July 14, 2015, Iran and the P5+1 group of negotiators, comprising China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States plus Germany, signed a historic accord to guarantee the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

“The national emergency with respect to Iran that was declared on March 15, 1995, is to continue in effect beyond March 15, 2016,” Obama stated.

“Though lifting of nuclear-related sanctions constitutes a significant change in our sanctions posture [with Iran], non-nuclear related sanctions remain in place.”

The United States, Obama explained, lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Iran after the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report in January verifying that Iran implemented key nuclear-related steps specified in the JCPOA.

“Nevertheless, certain actions and policies of the government of Iran are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States,” Obama claimed.

Earlier this week, according to reports, Iran carried out ballistic missile tests that Washington vowed to raise with the UN Security Council if confirmed.

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Two Corrupt Establishments

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | March 9, 2016

The United States is led by two corrupt establishments, one Democratic and one Republican, both deeply dependent on special-interest money, both sharing a similar perspective on world affairs, and both disdainful toward the American people who are treated as objects to be manipulated, not citizens to be respected.

There are, of course, differences. The Democrats are more liberal on social policy and favor a somewhat larger role of government in addressing the nation’s domestic problems. The Republicans embrace Ronald Reagan’s motto, “government is the problem,” except when they want the government to intervene on “moral” issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

But these two corrupt establishments are intertwined when it comes to important issues of trade, economics and foreign policy. Both are true believers in neo-liberal “free trade”; both coddle Wall Street (albeit seeking slightly different levels of regulation); and both favor interventionist foreign policies (only varying modestly in how the wars are sold to the public).

Because the two establishments have a chokehold on the mainstream media, they escape any meaningful accountability when they are wrong. Thus, their corruption is not just defined by the billions of special-interest dollars that they take in but in their deviations from the real world. The two establishments have created a fantasyland that all the Important People treat as real.

Which is why it has been somewhat amusing to watch establishment pundits pontificate about what must be done in their make-believe world – stopping “Russian aggression,” establishing “safe zones” in Syria, and fawning over noble “allies” like Saudi Arabia and Turkey – while growing legions of Americans have begun to see through these transparent fictions.

Though the candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have many flaws, there is still something encouraging about Americans listening to some of straight talk from both Trump and Sanders – and to watch the flailing reactions of their establishment rivals.

While it’s true Trump has made comments that are offensive and stupid, he also has dished out some truths that the GOP establishment simply won’t abide, such as noting President George W. Bush’s failure to protect the country from the 9/11 attacks and Bush’s deceptive case for invading Iraq. Trump’s rivals were flummoxed by his audacity, sputtering about his apostasy, but rank-and-file Republicans were up to handling the truth.

Trump violated another Republican taboo when he advocated that the U.S. government take an evenhanded position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and even told pro-Israeli donors that they could not buy his support with donations. By contrast, other Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, were groveling for the handouts and advocating a U.S. foreign policy that could have been written by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump’s Israel heresy brought the Republican foreign-policy elite, the likes of William Kristol and other neoconservatives, to full battle stations. Kristol’s fellow co-founder of the neocon Project for the New American Century, Robert Kagan, was so apoplectic over Trump’s progress toward the GOP nomination that he announced that he would vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Clinton’s Struggles

Clinton, however, has had her own struggles toward the nomination. Though her imposing war chest and machine-driven sense of inevitability scared off several potential big-name rivals, she has had her hands full with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old “democratic socialist” from Vermont. Sanders pulled off a stunning upset on Tuesday by narrowly winning Michigan.

While Sanders has largely finessed foreign policy issues – beyond noting that he opposed the Iraq War and Clinton voted for it – Sanders apparently found a winning issue in Michigan when he emphasized his rejection of trade deals while Clinton has mostly supported them. The same issue has worked well for Trump as he lambastes U.S. establishment leaders for negotiating bad deals.

What is notable about the “free trade” issue is that it has long been a consensus position of both the Republican and Democratic establishments. For years, anyone who questioned these deals was mocked as a know-nothing or a protectionist. All the smart money was on “free trade,” a signature issue of both the Bushes and the Clintons, praised by editorialists from The Wall Street Journal through The New York Times.

The fact that “free trade” – over the past two decades – has become a major factor in hollowing out of the middle class, especially across the industrial heartland of Middle America, was of little concern to the financial and other elites concentrated on the coasts. At election time, those “loser” Americans could be kept in line with appeals to social issues and patriotism, even as many faced borderline poverty, growing heroin addiction rates and shorter life spans.

Despite that suffering, the twin Republican/Democratic establishments romped merrily along. The GOP elite called for evermore tax cuts to benefit the rich; demanded “reform” of Social Security and Medicare, meaning reductions in benefits; and proposed more military spending on more interventions overseas. The Democrats were only slightly less unrealistic, negotiating a new trade deal with Asia and seeking a new Cold War with Russia.

Early in Campaign 2016, the expectations were that Republican voters would again get behind an establishment candidate like former Florida Jeb Bush or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, while the Democrats would get in line behind Hillary Clinton’s coronation march.

TV pundits declared that there was no way that Donald Trump could win the GOP race, that his high early poll numbers would fade like a summer romance. Bernie Sanders was laughed at as a fringe “issue” candidate. But then something expected happened.

On the Republican side, blue-collar whites finally recognized how the GOP establishment had played them for suckers; they weren’t going to take it anymore. On the Democratic side, young voters, in particular, recognized how they had been dealt an extremely bad hand, stuck with massive student debt and unappealing job prospects.

So, on the GOP side, disaffected blue-collar whites rallied to Trump’s self-financed campaign and to his promises to renegotiate the trade deals and shut down illegal immigration; on the Democratic side, young voters joined Sanders’s call for a “political revolution.”

The two corrupt establishments were staggered. Yet, whether the populist anti-establishment insurrections can continue moving forward remains in doubt.

On the Democratic side, Clinton’s candidacy appears to have been saved because African-American voters know her better than Sanders and associate her with President Barack Obama. They’ve given her key support, especially in Southern states, but the Michigan result suggests that Clinton may have to delay her long-expected “pivot to the center” a bit longer.

On the Republican side, Trump’s brash style has driven many establishment favorites out of the race and has put Rubio on the ropes. If Rubio is knocked out – and if Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains an also-ran – then the establishment’s only alternative would be Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a thoroughly disliked figure in the U.S. Senate. It’s become increasingly plausible that Trump could win the Republican nomination.

What a Trump victory would mean for the Republican Party is hard to assess. Is it even possible for the GOP establishment with its laissez-faire orthodoxy of tax cuts for the rich and trickle-down economics for everyone else to reconcile with Trump’s populist agenda of protecting Social Security and demanding revamped trade deals to restore American manufacturing?

Further, what would the neocons do? They now control the Republican Party’s foreign policy apparatus, which is tied to unconditional support for Israel and interventionism against Israel’s perceived enemies, from Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, to Iran, to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Would they join Kagan in backing Hillary Clinton and trusting that she would be a reliable vessel for neocon desires?

And, if Clinton prevails against Sanders and does become the neocon “vessel,” where might the growing ranks of Democratic and Independent non-interventionists go? Will some side with Trump despite his ugly remarks about Mexicans and Muslims? Or will they reject both major parties, either voting for a third party or staying home?

Whatever happens, Official Washington’s twin corrupt establishments have been dealt an unexpected and potentially lasting punch.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Disarmament or Bust

Nations Meet to Discuss International Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons

By Lesley Docksey | Dissident Voice | March 9, 2016

With the debate going on about whether the UK should renew the Trident missile programme or get rid of it, hardly anything is said about what is happening internationally to rid the world of nuclear weapons – which shows how inward-looking Britain can be, despite claiming a prime position on the world stage.

While national media reported on the Stop Trident demonstration in London, it ignored the discussions taking place in Geneva, or their background including:

  • three international, government-level conferences, the last in Vienna, on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which produced
  • the signing and endorsing of the Humanitarian Pledge by a majority of nations
  • a vote in the UN General Assembly (voted against by nuclear-armed states which called the Resolution ‘divisive’) but passed by 135 states, to establish an Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations
  • the first meeting of which took place in Geneva in February

You’d think that deserved a headline or two, the attention of more than some MPs and loud trumpeting from anti-nuclear campaigners, but no. At the London demonstration, organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Labour’s Leader Jeremy Corbyn did speak about the Vienna conference and the humanitarian issues.

And the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas mentioned the OEWG talks in Geneva. In a New Statesman article she also urged the UK government to take part in those meetings. Take part? They are boycotting them.

But no one mentions that.

Yet the wit, wisdom and yes, the whingeing, displayed in statements from Ambassadors and delegates, the depth of the debates, were in many ways far more worthy of our attention than another march to Trafalgar Square.

The aim was to identify the legal gaps in the nuclear weapons treaties and agreements that prevented genuine progress towards disarmament. Naturally some states insisted that there were no legal gaps and the old ‘step-by-step’ process was working even though the world is no nearer to disarmament.

Delegates from 90 nations were there, as was civil society.  In a statement delivered by Beatrice Fihn on behalf of ICAN and its 440 partner organisations, she listed all the legal gaps needing to be filled. And she reminded all those there that “Non-nuclear-weapon states are not merely encouraged to take positive steps towards nuclear disarmament; they are required to do so – regardless of the continued failure of nuclear-weapon states to act.”

From the start, a treaty banning nuclear weapons was mentioned more than any other legal instrument as a path towards disarmament, even by nuclear-alliance states begging for ‘caution’ and ‘we can’t do this without the input of nuclear states’. They can; and a ban treaty seems the best way forward.

“States that ‘rely on nuclear weapons in their security doctrines remain reluctant to consider moving ahead without the nuclear-armed states” reported the daily updates from Reaching Critical Will.

So what are the nuclear-alliance states?  They are those states (such as NATO members) which, although they have no nuclear weapons of their own, claim that they base their ‘security’ on those that do.  To quote Reaching Critical Will:

“While many states called for urgent action, others, including Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Canada speaking on behalf of a group of states, and Finland, cautioned that security considerations of states must be taken into account… Bangladesh asked what could be a bigger security concern than being the victim of a nuclear attack.” Good question.

Does this second-hand security mean that these states are depending on someone else to blow up the world? Would they not be equally guilty under international humanitarian law?

Still, give these states their due. They are at least taking part. The nuclear-armed states are determinedly boycotting the OEWG. Not being able to control what’s happening, they are relying on their alliance to fling a few spanners into the works for them.

The Netherlands tried. It argued that the nuclear-armed states should take part in the discussions. The majority of the world somehow cannot move forward without their willingness to take part. The OEWG should use its time thinking of ways to tempt the armed states into giving up their toys. And how was this for a circular argument:

… the Netherlands is not against a ‘ban’. We see it as a final element towards a world without nuclear weapons, when nuclear weapons no longer fulfil a function in the security of states. It is clear that we have not reached this stage yet and that starting negotiations on a ‘ban’ would therefore be premature.

So we should only have a ban when nuclear weapons are deemed useless anyway.

But as the Irish Ambassador said, in a very quotable speech:

This is a small planet, getting smaller every day… In such a world, questions of security impact us all… And in such a world there is no place for nuclear weapons… In any area of life, work or governance, if something wasn’t working for 20 years, or indeed for over 70, we would try to fix it.

As all those taking part in the OEWG wanted a world free of nuclear weapons; that, having signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), they seemed to know how to get there; that they were even more aware now of the terrible humanitarian consequences of using such weapons and the inability of any nation to cope with such an event; despite all that, said Ireland:

… the problem is that we are no nearer multilateral nuclear disarmament now than we were 20 years ago, when the NPT was indefinitely extended.

Ah, but look at how the non-proliferation part of the NPT has succeeded, was the reply. South Africa, among those nations that got rid of their nuclear arsenals, made a telling point: “nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing processes — the disregard of one has a direct impact on the advancement of the other.”

Delegates were coming to realise that working for a ban treaty does not exclude other legal processes towards disarmament. They can work together, but the big gap is the lack of a ban treaty. By the second day they were agreeing that, given the refusal of nuclear-armed states to take part in the discussions, a ban treaty was perhaps the most sensible way forward.

Malaysia explained that as most legal measures proposed are currently blocked by the nuclear-armed states, three not mutually exclusive options remain: a treaty banning nuclear weapons, a framework convention, and increasing verification capacity. They also pointed out that a ban treaty could be negotiated now and be part of a wider framework later, something the nuclear alliance has difficulty accepting, perhaps because they know their ‘security blanket’ will not approve.

New Zealand’s delegate was quite clear:

I have heard some recent suggestion that while a legally-binding prohibition may be necessary for maintaining a nuclear weapon-free world, it is not in fact necessary in order to attain one. However, no clear explanation for why, as a matter of international law, this might be the case has yet to be put forward.

This is surely part of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ game played by nuclear-armed states.

We see no reason why the pathway adopted for the elimination of other weapon systems, including the elimination of both other types of WMD – that of a legally binding prohibition – should not equally be applicable as a pathway for the elimination of nuclear weapons… There is no need to reinvent the wheel…

Indeed no. But we can make it very, very ornate. Australia delivered a fascinating working paper on behalf of itself and 17 other countries – fascinating because nowhere does it mention a ban treaty. Instead it talks of ‘no quick fixes’, ‘addressing the legitimate security concerns’ of nuclear-armed states and ‘incremental but necessary steps that will enhance security for all’.

It is all about ‘means and sequencing’ and identifying “concrete and practical building blocks”. The NPT is brought into play, as is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. There are lists of all the tiny steps we might take, or consider taking, along with a), b), c) and so on to m).  There absolutely must be transparency and… well, think of it all as a trust-building exercise.

Mexico took up the challenge of the ‘legitimate security concerns’. This concept was not elaborated enough, Mexico argued, as it is not clear whose security these concerns focus on and if states are for or against collective security.  As Austria pointed out, collective security is a very different thing to the security of individual nations.

As for the lack of trust, Austria argued this is due to the failures of states to implement various agreements and commitments that had been agreed to by consensus. The onus is on those countries that have nuclear weapons or rely on them as part of nuclear alliances to diminish that mistrust.

Unable to resist a tiny dig at the pro-nuclear states Mexico pointed out that nuclear-armed states boycotting the meeting would not increase trust. Rather the reverse, one would think.

Austria, a leading light in these discussions, reminded delegates that in the Humanitarian (Pledge now adopted by the UN) it says:

We call on all states parties to the NPT to renew their commitment to the urgent and full implementation of existing obligations under Article VI, and to this end, to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons…

A large number of states share the belief that such a legal gap exists, something pro-nuclear states try to deny. Austria’s working paper on this issue is masterly, laying out all the arguments and exposing the legal gaps. The very structure of the NPT requires additional legal (and non-legal) measures for its full implementation. This applies to Article VI just as much as it applies to the non-proliferation obligations.

(Article VI commits the nuclear armed states to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control,” (emphasis added).

All approaches to implementing Article VI should be followed. The ‘step-by-step’ method can sit alongside a comprehensive ban treaty. They are, argues Austria, complementary, and the humanitarian issue is now so serious that all available steps should be taken. Brazil reminded delegates that provisions under the NPT allowed the Nuclear Weapon States only to hold those weapons temporarily, something constantly ignored.

Austria also ripped up the ‘security’ and ‘deterrence’ arguments used by the USA et al. Deterrence rests on the threat of readiness to inflict mass destruction on a global scale, and on the awareness this would be suicidal. Thus, explains Austria:

Ultimately, it is difficult to reconcile this with the underlying foundation of nuclear deterrence that it leads to rational behaviour of all actors involved.  The threat is either credible, which requires – in light of the new evidence – readiness to act entirely irrationally. Alternatively, the threat is non-credible since rational analysis cannot lead to the conclusion of risking the use of nuclear weapons.

Not for nothing was Mutually-Assured-Destruction considered MAD.

During 5 days of presentations and debate, many states called for a ban treaty. And key supporters of the Humanitarian Pledge – Mexico, Austria, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia – stressed the time has now come to start the negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons.

The OEWG reconvenes in May for another session. Dare we hope that we will see them start negotiating and putting together the text for a treaty that bans these weapons? It’s beginning to look that way.

• (With grateful thanks to Reaching Critical Will)

• See here for an overview of civil society’s campaign which led, finally, to the disarmament talks in Geneva

Lesley Docksey is the former editor of Abolish War.

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Docs reveal Obama regime tried to ‘kill transparency’ – advocacy group

RT | March 10, 2016

President Barack Obama has touted his administration as the “most transparent ever,” but the Freedom of the Press Foundation says documents released under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show an effort to “kill transparency.”

The non-profit Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) for documents detailing its correspondence with Congress regarding the reform of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that failed to pass Congress last year despite strong support from legislators. The lawsuit itself was filed in compliance with the FOIA, a law enacted to improve openness in government.

In 2014, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act (FOIA Act) sought to make receiving information faster and easier. The FOIA Act breezed through the House of Representatives with unanimous support, and a similar bill, The Freedom of Information Improvements Act, was passed by the Senate. However, the legislation failed in Congress after members failed to reconcile the differences between the two bills.

With both bills receiving bipartisan support, it seemed odd for them to die on the vine. The Senate version was modeled after the DOJ’s own policy of transparency set in 2009 by a memo from Attorney General Eric Holder.

“[T]he Department of Justice will defend a denial of a FOIA request only if (1) the agency reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the statutory exemptions, or (2) disclosure is prohibited by law,” the 2009 Holder memo read.

However, the Freedom of the Press Foundation published a memo from the DOJ showing that it had lobbied against almost all aspects of the bills – despite the fact that its own guidelines were the basis for one. The DOJ, speaking on behalf of the entire Obama administration, wrote “The Administration strongly opposes passage of [the FOIA Act].”

Specifically, the DOJ’s talking points against similar provisions in the FOIA reform bills run counter to the part of Holder’s 2009 memo stating that when “disclosure would [do] harm,” the DOJ would defend its decision to deny a FOIA request in court.

In the 2014 memo from the DOJ, the first major concern surrounds “foreseeable harm,” but the concern this time was that the language had been included in the legislation at all, because it opened up the DOJ to more potential lawsuits, in which the “foreseeable harm” case would have to be made to a judge.

“This addition would vastly increase FOIA litigation and would undermine the policy behind each of the existing exemptions,” the 2014 memo read.

Ironically, this memo was only released following three months of lawsuits from the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The 2014 memo goes on to say that including foreseeable harm would “require judges to determine, on a document-by-document basis, whether disclosure of a record protected by an exemption would cause ‘identifiable harm,’” meaning, a judge would determine whether or not the administration’s claims of foreseeable harm were true – much like what a judge does in any other case.

Efforts to expedite requests through a singular website were also met with resistance from the DOJ, despite the fact that “the Administration believes that it is beneficial to study the feasibility of establishing a single website for the making of FOIA requests… and has already committed to doing so.”

Despite the administration’s stated intention to create such a site, the memo concluded that it “would be counterproductive to mandate establishment of a pilot program, with required participation by multiple agencies.”

Obama started off his presidency by instructing all federal agencies to operate under the “presumption of openness,” but five years later, his administration lobbied to keep the public in the dark.

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Pluto-Zionists Support for Hillary Clinton

By James Petras | March 9, 2016

Pluto-Zionism is the three-way marriage of plutocracy, right-wing Zionism and US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a serial war criminal, racist and servant of Wall Street. How did this deadly ménage-a-trois come about? The answer is that a stratospherically wealthy donor group, dedicated to promoting Israel’s dominance in the Middle East and deepening US military intervention in the region, has secured Clinton’s unconditional support for Tel Aviv’s ambitions and, in exchange, Hilary receives scores of millions to finance her Democratic Party foot soldiers and voters for her campaign.

Pluto-Zionism and Clinton

Pluto-Zionists comprise the leading financial backers of Clinton. Her million-dollar backers, among the most powerful financiers and media moguls in America, include: George Soros ($6 million), Marc Benioff, Roger Altman, Steven Spielberg, Haim and Cheryl Saban ($3 million and counting), Jeffrey Katzenberg, Donald Sussman, Herb Sandler, Jay and Mark Pritzker, S. Daniel Abraham ($1 million), Bernard Schwartz, Marc Lasry, Paul Singer, David Geffen, Fred Eychaner, Norman Braman and Bernie Marcus. Waiting in the wings are the Republican billionaire ‘king-makers’, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, the Koch brothers as well as the ‘liberal’ multi-billionaire, Michael Bloomberg who had contributed $11 million in 2012 elections. These erstwhile Republican funders are increasing frightened by the anti-‘free trade and anti-intervention’ rhetoric of their party’s front-runner, Donald Trump, and are approaching the solidly pro-Israel, pro-war and pro-Wall Street candidate, Madame Clinton.

Israeli-First Ideologues and Clinton

In addition to the powerful Pluto-Zionists, a vast army of Israel-First ideologues is behind Clinton, including ‘veteran’ arm-chair war mongers like Victoria Nuland Kagan, Donald and Robert Kagan, Robert Zoellick, Michael Chertoff, Dov Zakheim among so many other promoters of Washington’s continuous wars on many fronts. Ms Nuland-Kagan, as US Undersecretary of State for East European Affairs, openly bragged about using hundreds of millions of dollars of US taxpayer money to finance the right-wing Ukrainian coup. Michael Chertoff, as head of Homeland Security after 9/11, jailed thousands of innocent Muslims while freeing five Israeli-Mossad agents arrested by the FBI for suspected involvement or pre-knowledge of the attacks in New York after they were seen filming the collapse of the towers and celebrating the event from a warehouse rooftop in New Jersey!).

Pluto-Zionists and the Israel-First ideologues support Ms Clinton as a reward for her extraordinary military and economic activities on behalf of Tel Aviv’s quest for regional dominance. Her accomplishments for the Jewish State include the promotion of full-scale wars, which have destroyed Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan; economic sanctions and blockade against Iran (she threatened to ‘obliterate Iran’ in 2007; and her own repeatedly stated unconditional support for Israel’s devastation against the people imprisoned in Gaza, which has cost thousands of civilian lives and rendered hundreds of thousands homeless. (In a letter to her ‘banker’, Haim Saban, Hillary stated: “Israel didn’t teach Hamas (the people of Gaza) a harsh enough lesson last year”).

Clinton versus Trump: ‘Moderation’ is in the Eyes of the Deceiver

The Pluto-Zionists, Israel-First ideologues, the US mass media and their acolytes on Wall Street and the Republican and Democratic Party elite are all on a rampage against the wildly popular Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, labeling him as ‘a danger to everything America stands for. (sic)’ Apart from savaging his persona, the anti-Trump chorus contrast his ‘extremism’ with warmonger Clinton’s ‘pragmatism’.

A careful examination of the facts reveals who is the ultra-extremist and who deals with reality:


Madame Clinton’s much touted wars against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of women and children and uprooted millions of households. This bloody and undeniable record of mayhem was cited by Donald Trump when he argued that his policies would be much better for women than the Feminist Clinton’s had been.

So far, Trump’s worst offenses against women are his crude rhetorical misogynist quips, which pale before Hillary’s bloody record of devastation.


Clinton is backed by the leading black politicians who have long fed out of the Democratic Party patronage trough while selling the Clintons to the black electorate as ardent protectors of civil rights. In fact, as Steve Lendman has written, Hillary had referred to marginalized black youth as “super predators (with) no conscience, no empathy”. During her husband Bill’s presidency, she was on record supporting his draconian ‘three strikes’ crime laws, leading to the mass incarceration of hundreds of thousands of young blacks; and she backed his ‘welfare reform’ program, which shredded the social safety net for the poor and forced millions of impoverished mothers to work for sub-poverty wages, further eroding the stability of black female-headed households. On the African front, ‘Sister’ Secretary of State Hillary’s war on Libya led to the displacement, rape and murder of tens of thousands of black women of sub-Saharan origin at the hands of her jihadi war-lord allies. Millions of black sub-Saharan migrants had lived and worked in Gadhafi’s Libya for years, tens of thousands becoming Libyan citizens. They endured the horror of rampant ethnic cleansing in Clinton’s ‘liberated’ Libya.

Trump, at worst, has done nothing of direct harm to African Americans and remains an enigma on black issues. He opposes Clinton’s war on Libya and has vividly blamed her policies as responsible for the chaos and human misery in post-NATO bombing Libya.


Under the Obama-Clinton administration almost 2 million Latino immigrants have been seized from their homes and workplaces, separated from their families and summarily expelled. As Madame Secretary of State, Clinton backed the Honduran military coup that overthrew the elected government of President Zelaya and led directly to assassination of over three hundred activists, including feminist, indigenous, human rights and environmental leaders, like Berta Caceres. Clinton actively backed unsuccessful coups against the democratically elected Bolivian and Venezuelan governments.

Trump has verbally threatened to extend and deepen the Obama-Clinton expulsion of whatever remains of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrant Latino workers after Obama’s expulsion of the 2 million and the hundreds of thousands who have voluntarily gone home. His ‘extremist’ vision is completely in line with that of his allegedly ‘pragmatic’ opponent whose State Department promoted the destruction of so many Latino families in the US.

Foreign Policy

Clinton has launched or promoted more simultaneous wars than any Secretary of State in US history. She was the leading force behind the US bombing of Libya and the brutal ‘regime change’ that has fractured that nation. She promoted the military escalation in Iraq, backed the violent seizure of power in Ukraine, ‘engineered’ the military build-up (pivot to Asia) against China and negotiated the continued presence of thousands of US troops in Afghanistan.

Clinton has repeatedly pledged to her supporter Haim Saban and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Victoria Nuland Kagan, Donald and Robert Kagan, Robert Zoellick, Michael Chertoff, Dov Zakheim that she will give Israel with “all the necessary military, diplomatic, economic and moral support it needs to vanquish Hamas” regardless of the many thousands of Palestinian civilian casualties. The ‘pragmatic feminist’ Hillary is a fervent supporter of the Saudi despotism and its genocide war against the popular forces in Yemen. Hillary tried to pressure President Obama to send US ground troops into Syria. She promotes the continuation of harsh trade sanctions against Russia.

Trump opposes any further direct US intervention in the Middle East. During his debate in South Carolina, he repeatedly denounced President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq – as based on ‘deliberate lies to the American people’, to the shock and horror of the Republican Party elite. He has rejected Pluto-Zionist financing, arguing that only as an independent ‘honest broker’, who doesn’t take the side of Israel in its conflict with Palestinians, can he be effective in brokering a ‘deal’. He opposes sending ground troops overseas to Europe or Asia, which imposes a huge financial burden on the US taxpayers. He has gone on to suggest that European and Asian powers can and should pay for their own defense. Trump argues that the US could work with Putin against radical Islamist terrorism and he regards Russia as a potential trading partner. His anti-interventionism has been labeled as ‘isolationist’ by the Pluto-Zionist ideologues and militarist warlords holed up in their Washington think tanks, but Trump’s ‘America First’ resonates profoundly with the war-weary and economically devastated US electorate.


Clinton has totally and unconditionally pledged to widen and deepen US subordination to Israel’s war aims in the Middle East and to defend Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and within apartheid Israel. As a result, Clinton has built a coalition made-up of unsavory mafia-linked, gambling, media and speculator billionaires, whose first loyalty is not to America but Israel. She denounces all critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites’.

Trump has never been a critic of Israel but he has called for greater ‘evenhandedness’, which is anathema within Zionist circles. For that reason he has not secured a single Pluto-Zionist supporter. So far, he has not been labelled an anti-Semite…. perhaps because his own daughter converted to Judaism following her marriage, but his lack of effusive philo-Zionism has him marked as ‘unreliable’ to the Jewish State. As a subterfuge for his lack of servility to Tel Aviv, Democratic Party Zionist hacks emphasize his ‘racism’ and ‘fascist’ tendencies…

The Democratic Elections: The Real Muck

Clinton currently leads Sanders for the Democratic nomination mostly on the basis of non-elected delegates, the so-called ‘super delegates’, who are party loyalists appointed by the bosses and elite politicians. Sanders’ call for a “political revolution in America” has no traction unless there is first a political revolution within the Democratic Party. But the Democratic Party is like the Augean Stable – a clean up requiring a Herculean effort and a loud pugnacious leader with a big broom. Senator Sanders is no Hercules.

As a positive beginning, Sanders has mobilized grass roots support, raised progressive health, education and tax policies that adversely affect Clinton’s billionaire Wall Street backers (Big financier Jaime Diamond called Sanders ‘the most dangerous man in America’), and secured millions of contributions from small donors. But he has failed to target and demand the exit of the Pluto-Zionists, the Wall Street bankers and speculators and venal black politicians controlling the Democratic Party. They run the elections of US presidents and will make sure Hillary Clinton secures the nomination by hook or (more likely) crook.

Clinton is backed by this formidable authoritarian (profoundly anti-democratic) electoral machine. She is totally embedded in the process. Clinton has a track record of enthusiastic support for the barbarism of torture – laughing at and cheering on the torture-death of the wounded Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. In the pursuit of wars and war crimes, Hillary Clinton knows no limit and has borne no accountability. What makes Hillary so terrifyingly dangerous is that she could be ‘Commander in Chief’ of a great military power. While Clinton may be no Hitler, the US is vastly more engaged in world politics than Weimer Germany ever was. Her dictate would bring on global destruction.

If the Democratic primaries are as profoundly undemocratic as they have been in the past, the Republicans and their plutocrat partners are openly planning and plotting to ‘Dump the Donald’ and prevent Trump from obtaining an electoral victory. They have been discussing ways to use convention procedures to undermine a majority vote, and set up a ‘brokered convention’, where the ‘big-wigs’ jigger the delegates, rules and voting procedures behind closed doors robbing the populist front-runner of his party candidacy.


The US presidential primaries reveal in all their facets the decay and corruption of democracy in an era of imperial decline. The ascendancy of a financial oligarchy in the Democratic Party, backing a psychopathic militarist, like Hillary, cannot disguise her track record by labeling their candidate a ‘pragmatist’; the majority of Sanders supporters have no illusions about Madame Clinton. Panic and hysteria among an unsavory elite in the Republican Party and its efforts to block a sui-generis conservative Republican isolationist speaks to the fragility of imperial rule.

If the psychopathic war-monger Clinton is crowned the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, there is no way she can be considered the pragmatic ‘lesser evil’ to Donald Trump or any Republican – their bosses decide to spew out. At best, she might be the ‘equal evil’. In this case, more than 50% of the electorate will not vote. If, after being robbed of his growing movement for the Democratic Party candidacy, ‘Bernie’ Sanders does not break out with an independent bid for the White House, I will join the minuscule 1% who vote for Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein.

James Petras is author of The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East.

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Have We Witnessed a Dramatic Change in the Military Doctrine of the DPRK?

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 08.03.2016

As it was reported on Friday by the KCNA, during a visit to a closed firing range where advanced multiple rocket launchers were tested, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced that the country should be prepared to use its nuclear weapons at any moment to ensure its self-defense. The North Korean supreme leader has also underlined that he perceives the upcoming South Korean-US maneuvers as a dangerous gamble that could lead to disastrous consequences, so he ordered the North Korean army to raise all forces to high alert. The KCNA has also noted that “hostile forces led by the United States,” adopted a resolution that is “undermining the rights of the DPRK as a sovereign state.”

The part that one can consider to be crucial in all this information warfare is the fact that in the same speech, Kim Jong-un announced that Pyongyang would reconsider its military doctrine to allow the possibility of preemptive strikes being launched in connection with the dangerous situation on the Korean Peninsula. On March 4, a statement issued by the DPRK government stated that in circumstances when the United States and its satellites have openly challenged North Korea’s sovereignty and have endangered its right to existence, any hostile actions would lead to a decisive response. The statement has also added that should some disastrous event occur on the Korean Peninsula or in the region adjacent to it, the entire responsibility will lie on the United States and its collaborators.

Later, the same notion was repeated in an official statement of the DPRK National Defense Commission that was released by the KCNA on March 7. The statement announced that due to the joint military exercises of the United States and South Korea labeled as “training for a nuclear war,” any hostile military act would lead to a preemptive nuclear strike launched in accordance with the procedure established by the high command of the Korean People’s Army.

It’s only natural that such statements aroused suspicion. Moscow has expressed serious concern over the entire situation. On March 4, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed the hope that all the parties involved will exercise restraint. The United States urged North Korean leaders to refrain from provocative statements and actions and focus on the fulfillment of DPRK’s international obligations. A Pentagon spokesman said the US is prepared to destroy North Korea’s nuclear arsenals if North Korea poses a threat to the US, while noting that he had no evidence that the DPRK conducted test launches of intercontinental ballistic missile armed with nuclear warheads. In turn, the press secretary of the South Korean Ministry of Defence announced that North Korea must put an end to its defiant and destructive comments and actions, noting that Seoul will mercilessly respond to any provocation made by North Korea.

Such crises are truly alarming for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is necessary to take into account the context in which that decision is taken. While traditional news coverage of North Korea’s actions has been reduced long ago to suggesting Pyongyang’s actions are irrational and unprovoked, in fact we are witnessing a response to  upcoming US-South Korean exercises “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle,” which will be held on the peninsula in the next two months. It’s reported that more than 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 US troops, including US nuclear aircraft carrier USS John Stennis will be participating in these exercises. And there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that those will mimic an  invasion of North Korea, especially when it’s stated as an official goal.

Each military exercise in the immediate vicinity of DPRK’s border understandably affects the nerves of North Korea’s military commanders. There is absolutely no certainty that during such exercises due to some mysterious incident, they will not transform into a full-scale invasion. This can happen as a result of a deliberate provocation by the South, or when some North Korean officer loses his nerve. Yet, there’s a possibility that we will witness the repetition of the situation that occurred back in 2015, when South Korean officers were reluctant to investigate their own criminal carelessness so they decided to push all blame instead on the North for an accident that occurred with their own soldiers.

In such a situation, Pyongyang is trying to look as vicious and dangerous as it possibly can. It doesn’t stand a chance in a fight against South Korea, supported by the United States. However, the North could inflict so much damage on the South that a military victory against it will become meaningless. Such a threat works like a tub of cold water on hot heads: understanding that the North will “die singing” doesn’t make anyone all too willing to fight.

A similar situation occurred during the previous round of nuclear crisis on the peninsula back in 2013. At that time the sitting President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, just came to power, and there was a possibility that supporters of the former president or young officers bewildered with revanchist ideas might try to escalate the situation. They were consumed by the idea that if politicians did not interfere with their actions, they could destroy the Pyongyang government in 90 hours. Then, in 2013, the DPRK also made a number of  risky statements against the background of the upcoming exercise. Although the headlines once again shouted that the Korean peninsula is on the brink of war, no one decided to jump the gun. However, the situation today is somewhat more complicated. Park Geun-hye has deviated from her initially moderate positions becoming conservative, and former young majors have now become colonels. In this situation, Pyongyang raises the stakes higher than three years ago.

However, this leads to a new round amid the ongoing security dilemma of North Korea, since the statements made by Kim Jong-un can be interpreted as changes in North Korean military doctrine. Until recently, Pyongyang has positioned its missile and nuclear program solely as a self-defense option, and all the promises of drowning Seoul in a sea of fire were made in the wake of possible provocations. And now the DPRK is talking about America’s all time favorite ‘preemptive strikes’ that can be unleashed by somewhat more uncertain provocations. That’s a truly dangerous dilemma. Firstly, this level of military readiness can not but be seen with concern by others in the region, a readiness to take action in response to a possibility of such a strike being launched against them, which clearly raises tensions. Secondly, in the fight of the weak against the strong, the weak striking first is a good way to increase one’s chances of prevailing. But this can only be said about an inevitable fight, while a preemptive strike destroys all chances for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Three years ago I noted in one of my articles that the path chosen by the DPRK provides it a tactical advantage, but may lead it to a dead end on the strategic level. In response to ever increasing pressure of new sanctions, North Korea will become more heavily involved in the arms race, and the vicious circle will be tightening at every turn with ever increasing speed. Yet, North Korea’s problems, like its security dilemma or the tensions between Pyongyang on one side and Beijing and Moscow on the other, are not going anywhere. At the same time Washington keeps exploiting the North Korean threat for its own ends.

This vicious circle has yet another drawback, since there’s few exit strategies one can find in it. Although North Korea believes that its nuclear program provides it with independence, in fact it makes the actions of its government more predictable.The DPRK has now lost any strategic initiative and is now acting “reactively,” which makes it even more dependent on external factors. So it’s not rocket science at this point to get a certain reaction from the government of North Korea once one has applied pressure from a certain angle. Let’s hope no one will take advantage of this fact to launch additional provocations.

Konstantin Asmolov, Ph.D, Chief Research Fellow of the Center for Korean Studies, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment