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Russia slaps Israel in the face

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By Said Gafurov | Pravda | June 10, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Moscow and his negotiations with President Putin, for the fourth time this year, has created the impression of failure. Russia and Israel have been developing active cooperation recently in the field of culture, trade and customs and education.

However, Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow does look like a failure from the point of view of foreign policy. In an official statement for the press, President Putin spoke about the “open” and “constructive” nature of the talks with the Israeli PM. In the diplomatic world, though, when negotiations are held in a friendly and even neutral fashion, they usually say that the talks were held “in a friendly atmosphere.” This is something that we have not heard from the Kremlin this time. In other words, there is no understanding between Russian and Israeli leaders.

The main purpose of Netanyahu’s visit to Russia was clearly focused on foreign policy issues, such as the regulation of the crisis in Syria and a possible solution to the Palestinian conflict. Israel sees clearly that the civil war in Syria is ending. Netanyahu’s visit coincided with a remarkable speech that Bashar al-Assad delivered at the opening session of the newly elected parliament. It is obvious that the question of the end of the war and national reconciliation in Syria is a matter of time. What happens afterwards?

The conflict in Syria has created an alliance between Russia, Iran, Syria, and units of Lebanese resistance. As for the latter, it is not only Hezbollah fighters, but also a large number of volunteers from Lebanese secular parties that struggle against Islamic State militants in Syria.

Netanyahu seems to be concerned about the prospect for the new, reunited Syria to appear near Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister is also concerned about the strong influence of Iran in the post-war Syria.

What does President Putin say to all this? Putin delivers a long speech, in which he talks about culture, economy, trade and economic relations, tourism and everything else. As for the Syrian problem, Putin said only two phrases: “We have paid great attention to international issues, and of course, we talked about the complicated situation in the Middle East region, including in Syria.” That’s all.

One shall assume that there is no understanding between Russia and Israel. Russia has ignored Netanyahu’s requirements, for example, to restrict supplies of weapons to Lebanon that Hezbollah fighters could get their hands on. Russia views Hezbollah as one of the most important political parties in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a member of the ruling coalition. Russia follows its principle to supply arms only to legitimate governments. Hezbollah is an important element of the legitimate government of Lebanon. Moscow sees Hezbollah as an essential element of structure of the Middle East.

In addition, Putin reaffirmed Russia’s position for a comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and stressed that Russia was ready to act as a mediator. This came as another slap in the face of Israel, because it is the Palestinians who demand the Palestinian issue should be solved by the international community, while Israel insists on bilateral negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

NATO to deploy troops to Romania as part of eastward expansion

Press TV – June 14, 2016

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) says it will send units to Romania as part of plans to expand its presence in Eastern Europe, a source of controversy with Russia.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the decision on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of the Western military alliance’s defense ministers in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Tuesday.

Stoltenberg told reporters that NATO would take up an offer by Romania to deploy forces in the eastern European country, without elaborating on the number of troops.

The development comes a month after the alliance formally opened a missile shield base in Romania, prompting Russia to say that it will take counter-measures against what it denounced as a threat to its security.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the NATO chief noted that despite the build-up of troops, the military bloc avoids tensions with Russia.

“We convey a very strong message about that we don’t seek confrontation with Russia. We don’t want a new cold war and we will continue to strive for a more constructive and cooperative relationship with Russia,” he said.

Stoltenberg further emphasized that the alliance will formally approve the deployment of four “robust” multinational battalions in Poland as well as the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia.

“We will take decisions on a tailored presence for the southeast region, with a land element built around a multinational framework brigade in Romania,” he said.

This unit will “organize and facilitate NATO activities in the region related to exercises and also assurance measures,” he added.

The four battalions, which would tour through Eastern Europe and conduct drills with national troops, are likely to number 2,500-3,000 troops combined with the small force designed to act as a tripwire, according to diplomatic sources.

NATO has stepped up its military build-up near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014 after the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.

Moscow has repeatedly repudiated NATO’s expansion near its borders, saying such a move poses a threat to both regional and international peace.

Last month, NATO formally invited Montenegro to become its 29th member, forcing the Kremlin to warn that the decision risked fueling geopolitical tensions across Europe.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

A new definition of academic misconduct

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | June 13, 2016

Ridd was punished by James Cook University for “not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues.” The university even warned that if he does this again, he’ll be tried for serious misconduct.

The latest perversion in research ethics comes to us from James Cook University in Australia. The Australian has the scoop, but it is behind paywall. Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller has an article on this University Censures Science Prof For Fact-Checking Global Warming Claim. Excerpts:

An Australian university recently censured marine scientist Paul Ridd for “failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution,” because he questioned popular claims among environmentalists about coral reefs and global warming.

What was Ridd’s crime? He found out two of the world’s leading organizations studying coral reefs were using misleading photographs to make the case that global warming was causing a mass reef die-off. Ridd wasn’t rewarded for checking the facts and blowing the whistle on misleading science. Instead, James Cook University censured Ridd and threatened to fire him for questioning global warming orthodoxy.

Ridd’s not alone in criticizing some institutions and environmental groups for over-hyping the impacts global warming will have on coral reefs.

In fact, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s own chairman had to come out and dispel notions the reef was almost completely gone.

“We’ve seen headlines stating that 93 percent of the reef is prac­tic­ally dead,” Reichelt said. “We’ve also seen reports that 35 percent, or even 50 percent, of the entire reef is now gone.”

“However, based on our ­combined results so far, the overall mortality rate is 22 percent — and about 85 percent of that die-off has occurred in the far north between the tip of Cape York and just north of Lizard Island, 250 kilometers north of Cairns,” he said. “Seventy-five per cent of the reef will come out in a few months time as recovered.”

The group’s former chairman Ian McPhail even accused environmentalists of “exaggerating the impact of coral bleaching for political and financial gain.”

Despite the campaign to tamp down on reef alarmism, Ridd was punished by James Cook University for “not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues.” The university even warned that if he does this again, he’ll be tried for serious misconduct.

JC reflections

I just love this statement: “not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues.” Folks, we have a new definition of serious academic misconduct. Watch out, Michael Mann.

If this seems like a joke, it isn’t.  I was ostracized from the ‘community’ for criticizing my colleagues overconfidence and failure to adequately account for uncertainty (see the infamous article Climate Heretic Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues).  I thought that, in the midst of all the important issues at play in the climate debate, ‘turning on my colleagues’ was the least of them.

In my previous post Scientists and Motivated Reasoning, I identified a major ethical conflict for scientists between the microethics  of your conscience in adhering to the norms of science, versus the macroethics of your perceived duty to the public, which may be colored by your politics and values.

Also included in the discussion of microethics versus macro ethics is responsibility to your colleagues.  In my previous post, I wrote:

I am particularly concerned about microethical conflicts involving colleagues and scientific institutions that apparently justify self-serving irresponsible professional behavior, both by individuals and institutions. This seems much worse to me than politically motivated reasoning by members of the public. Personally, I have felt the need to break loose of the shackles of loyalty to colleagues and institutions if it comes at the expense of integrity in science and professional conduct.

Why even bother with loyalty/responsibility to colleagues – beyond giving them credit for their research?  Do I really have any responsibility to any and all scientists just because they are members of the same professional society?  I would say no, but upon further reflection I can see a tiny point here – it isn’t just a joke.

The importance of ‘collegiality’ among elite academic researchers seems to be perceived as more important than I have credited.  In Michael Polanyi’s Republic of Science, the self-coordination of scientists is of paramount importance.

Going back to my previous discussion on microethics versus macroethics, I wrote:

As a researcher, what kinds of responsibilities do you have to

  • your conscience (micro)

  • your colleagues (micro)

  • institutions (micro/macro)

  • the public (macro)

  • the environment (macro)

My previous post illustrated numerous ethical conflicts that can arise for researchers.  But when it comes to conflicts between your conscience and your colleagues, or the public and your colleagues, any perceived responsibility to your colleagues has to take a back seat.

But it seems that in academic science, responsibility to your colleagues and their opinions, their declarations of consensus, their reputations, is apparently regarded by many researchers as the paramount consideration, viz. the circling of the wagons that occurred in Climategate.

This concern about ‘responsibility’ to your colleagues seems only to extend to colleagues who happen to agree with you.

In Science on the Verge, and in postnormal science more generally, the importance of extended peer review is emphasized, which is very much needed to break down the clubby, exclusionary academic collegiality that is used as a club to marginalize dissenting voices.

The sickness of the clubby academic collegiality is absurdly highlighted by this latest episode from James Cook University.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Meet the Banker Brothers Who Destroyed Ecuador’s Economy

Ecuadorean fugitive bankers Roberto and William Isaias, who are currently in the U.S

Ecuadorean fugitive bankers Roberto and William Isaias, who are currently in the U.S | Photo: El Telegrafo
teleSUR – June 13, 2016

The Isaias brothers are the among the most wanted criminals, convicted for the financial meltdown in Ecuador 16 years ago.

Ecuador is seeking the extradition of banking brothers Roberto and William Isaias from the United States on charges that they embezzled funds and are largely responsible for the country’s financial crisis in 1999—but the United States has spent the last 13 years ignoring the request.

The Isaias brothers have both been found guilty of fraud and the Ecuadorean government says they need to pay back millions of dollars they stole from the savings of average Ecuadorans. So why are they being protected?

History

Brothers Roberto and William Isaias were the owners of one of the biggest banks in Ecuador, Filanbanco, that was part of the economic meltdown that lasted from 1999 until 2001.

This crisis led to the end of the Ecuadorean currency, the Sucre, and its replacement by the U.S. dollar, which eliminated currency autonomy in the Andean country.

The Isaias brothers were charged with embezzlement but fled the country before their trial with over US$100 million in government bailout funds that were given to Filanbanco during the country’s banking crisis.

The brothers were found guilty in absentia for a fraud worth US$600 million, and sentenced to eight years in prison in 2012 by the Ecuadorean National Court, which determined that the brothers had falsified Filanbanco’s financial statements.

Appeals

William and Roberto Isaias have lost two appeals against Ecuador.

In 2014, a U.S. court ruled against the fugitives, and allowed Ecuadorean authorities to seize properties belonging to the brothers in Florida to recover a portion of the US$200 million the government of Ecuador says they owe.

For the seizure of their assets, the brothers sought to sue Ecuador for US$1 billion claiming it was illegitimate and a political prosecution, but a New York court ruled they did not have enough evidence to substantiate their claims.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee also rejected the allegations of the Isaias brothers that their conviction in Ecuador for the crime of bank embezzlement amounted to political persecution.

Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry says it is currently working with the U.S. to reach an agreement that would have a number of fugitives, including the bankers, return to face justice.

Connections

A 2005 leaked diplomatic cable from the U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador, made public by Wikileaks, said the brothers “used their ill-gotten wealth to buy safe passage from Ecuador and later pressured prosecutors to reduce criminal charges against them.”

According to The New York Times, the Isaias brothers donated US$90,000 for the re-election campaign of current U.S. President Barack Obama, and have invested at least US$320,000 in other politicians.

The Times explained that the brothers appeared to receive preferential treatment due to their connections to Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. The senator from New Jersey attempted to influence immigration officials in exchange for donations from the fugitive brothers to prevent their deportation, according to the Times. Menendez has himself been under investigation for corruption.

In a related case, Menendez lobbied to lift a ban against Estefania Isaias, daughter of Roberto Isaias, from entering the U.S. She was charged with fraudulent actions to obtain visas for her domestic employees, but after Menendez’s help high-ranking officials in the U.S. State Department lifted the ban.

Linda Jewell, former U.S. ambassador to Ecuador, said that “such close and detailed involvement by a congressional office in an individual visa case would be quite unusual, especially for an applicant who is not a constituent of the member of Congress.”

Menendez, who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stepped down from his post after being the subject of a corruption investigation. He faces 14 charges ranging from fraud to bribery for having allegedly offered political favors in exchange for expensive gifts and donations to his political campaigns.

Media Control

The convicted Isaias brothers also used their money and political influence in international media against a leading supporter of their extradition: current leftist President Rafael Correa.

Alberto Padilla, CNN’s former news host, said the bankers have been financing an active opposition campaign against the Correa government since they arrived in the U.S.

The brothers have set up interviews with Ecuadorean opposition lawmakers and journalists, financing their trips to the U.S. to visit with several leading news outlets, such as the Miami Herald and CNN, according to El Ciudadano,

The Isaias Group is also one of the investors in CNN Latino and have funded books, magazines, articles and even other media outlets to criticize Correa’s administration.


ANALYSIS:

NGOs: A New Face of Destabilization in Latin America

RELATED:

Money Buys Influence in US for Fugitive Ecuadorean Bankers

US Public Funding Anti-Government Media, Journalists in Ecuador

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MH-17 Probe Trusts Torture-Implicated Ukraine

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | June 13, 2016

The Ukrainian intelligence service that has been guiding the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down of July 2014 recently blocked a United Nations inquiry into alleged torture sites under Ukrainian government control.

The U.N. inspectors called off their torture investigation late last month because Ukraine’s domestic intelligence service, the SBU, denied the team access to detention facilities where human rights groups have found evidence of torture.

“The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has suspended its visit to Ukraine after being denied access to places in several parts of the country where it suspects people are being deprived of their liberty by the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU,” a U.N. statement said, with Sir Malcolm Evans, head of the four-member delegation, adding:

“This denial of access is in breach of Ukraine’s obligations as a State party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. It has meant that we have not been able to visit some places where we have heard numerous and serious allegations that people have been detained and where torture or ill-treatment may have occurred.”

Ukraine’s deputy justice minister Natalya Sevostyanova said the U.N. team was denied access to SBU centers in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, frontline towns in the simmering civil war between the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and Russian-supported eastern Ukrainian rebels.

SBU director Vasyl Hrytsak said the reason for barring the U.N. team was to protect Ukrainian government secrets, adding: “If you arrive, for example, in the United States and ask to come to the C.I.A. or the F.B.I., to visit a basement or an office, do you think they will ever let you do it?”

But the relevance of this SBU secrecy to the MH-17 case, in which the airliner carrying 298 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, is that the SBU is an integral part of the Dutch-led multinational Joint Investigation Team that is trying to determine who was responsible for the attack.

The obstruction of the torture inquiry suggests that the SBU also would steer the JIT away from any evidence that might implicate a unit of the Ukrainian military in the shoot-down, a situation that would be regarded as a state secret which could severely undermine international support for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev. Among the SBU’s official duties is the protection of Ukrainian government secrets.

A Breezy Report

Earlier this month, the JIT investigators published a breezy, notebook-style report on their progress, revealing how dependent they have become on information provided by the SBU and how they have grown to trust the Ukrainian intelligence service.

According to the report, the SBU helped shape the MH-17 investigation by supplying a selection of phone intercepts and other material. But the JIT seemed oblivious to the potentially grave conflict of interest, saying:

“Since the first week of September 2014, investigating officers from The Netherlands and Australia have worked here [in Kiev]. They work in close cooperation here with the Security and Investigation Service of the Ukraine (SBU). Immediately after the crash, the SBU provided access to large numbers of tapped telephone conversations and other data. …

“At first rather formal, cooperation with the SBU became more and more flexible. ‘In particular because of the data analysis, we were able to prove our added value’, says [Dutch police official Gert] Van Doorn. ‘Since then, we notice in all kinds of ways that they deal with us in an open way. They share their questions with us and think along as much as they can.’”

The JIT report continued: “With the tapped telephone conversations from SBU, there are millions of printed lines with metadata, for example, about the cell tower used, the duration of the call and the corresponding telephone numbers. The investigating officers sort out this data and connect it to validate the reliability of the material.

“When, for example, person A calls person B, it must be possible to also find this conversation on the line from person B to person A. When somebody mentions a location, that should also correlate with the cell tower location that picked up the signal. If these cross-checks do not tally, then further research is necessary.

“By now, the investigators are certain about the reliability of the material. ‘After intensive investigation, the material seems to be very sound’, says Van Doorn, ‘that also contributed to the mutual trust.’”

But would SBU turn over data that might reveal the role of a Ukrainian military unit in the shoot-down? Under the security agency’s secrecy mandate, could it even do so?

Further, the collegial dependence on the SBU has not led to a quick resolution of the MH-17 mystery, with the JIT’s investigative report now not expected until after the summer, i.e., more than two years after the shoot-down, and even then the report is to be kept secret.

In this month’s update, the JIT would not even endorse last fall’s finding by the Dutch Safety Board that MH-17 was likely brought down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system fired somewhere in a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine, territory that was then partly controlled by the rebels and partly by the government.

Nor does the JIT update address last October’s findings of Dutch (i.e., NATO) intelligence that the only operational anti-aircraft missile batteries capable of bringing down a plane at 33,000 feet on July 17, 2014, were in the possession of the Ukrainian military.

“For the investigation into the weapon system that was used, the well known seven questions need to be answered are: who, what, where, when, which, how and why,” the update said. “In this investigation only the question of ‘when’ has been established irrefutably: flight MH17 crashed on 17 July 2014. The remaining questions require intensive investigation, according to Gerrit Thiry (team leader) and Susanne Huiberts (operational specialist) of the National Criminal Investigation Service.”

Punishing Russia

The MH-17 case also has relevance to the decision later this month by the European Union on whether to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months as the U.S. government wants. The E.U. imposed the sanctions amid a frenzied rush-to-judgment in late July 2014 blaming the Russians and the rebels for the deaths of the 298 people on MH-17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Immediately after the shoot-down, the U.S. government sought to pin the blame on ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and their Russian government backers. However, after CIA analysts had time to evaluate U.S. satellite, electronic and other intelligence data, the U.S. government went curiously silent about what it had discovered, including the possible identity of the people who were responsible. The U.S. reticence, after the initial haste to blame Russia, suggested that the more detailed findings undercut the original claims.

A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the CIA’s conclusion pointed toward a rogue Ukrainian operation involving a hard-line oligarch with the possible motive of shooting down Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official plane returning from South America that day, with similar markings as MH-17. The source said a Ukrainian warplane ascertained that the plane was not Putin’s but the attack went ahead anyway, with the assumption that the tragedy would be blamed on the pro-Russian rebels or on Russia directly.

Officially, however, the U.S. government has not revised its initial claims that were made within five days of the shoot-down, fingering the rebels and the Russians. I have been unable to determine if the assessment of Ukrainian responsibility represented a dissident or consensus view inside the U.S. intelligence community.

Although Ukraine would have been an obvious suspect in the attack, the Ukrainian SBU was invited to play a key role in the investigation along with investigators from Australia and the Netherlands. Under the JIT agreement, participating governments, which also include Belgium and Malaysia, have the right to block the release of information to the public.

The recent JIT report hails the comradeship between the Australian and Dutch investigators and their Ukrainian hosts, despite some early difficulties.

“An incredible amount of research material; differing legal systems and initial unfamiliarity with each other. Despite this, both Australian and Dutch members working in the Field Office in Kiev have managed to build good relations with each other and with the Ukraine to effectively conduct the investigation into the MH17 crash,” the report said.

“They are professionals who recognize each other’s love for the police work. They understand each other’s circumstances. And they are, regardless of their country of origin, motivated to do their utmost to uncover the truth. …

“‘The thing is to see how you can keep it workable”, says Van Doorn, ‘we like practical solutions. That means ‘poldering’ [the Dutch practice of policy-making by consensus].’”

Yet, the idea of “poldering” – or reaching consensus – with Ukraine’s SBU, an agency that has just thwarted a United Nations investigation into allegations that the SBU engages in the torture of ethnic Russian rebels, raises further questions about the objectivity and reliability of the MH-17 probe.

[For more background on this controversy, see Consortiumnews.com’sMore Game-Playing on MH-17.”]


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 barnesandnoble.com).

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Iraqi minister: 3.6 million people displaced from Daesh controlled areas

MEMO | June 14, 2016

The number of displaced people from areas controlled by Daesh in Iraq has increased to 3.6 million over the past two years, the Iraqi Minister of Immigration and Displacement Jassim Mohammed said on Monday.

The minister pointed out in a statement that 600,000 displaced people have returned to their original home areas during the past two years.

Chairman of the Parliament Committee on Displacement and Migration Raed Duhluki warned on Monday of a humanitarian catastrophe potentially facing those displaced due to a lack of funding from the government.

The official called on the Iraqi government, the international community and human rights organizations to form government and political delegations in order to bring the necessary funds from donor countries to provide aid to displaced Iraqis.

The minister warned that the authority’s indifference towards the suffering of those displaced will cause a catastrophe.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Oh the Joys of Dimona!

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | June 14, 2016

dimona website

Happy shiny Dimona’s website home page

The subtitle of this post might be the same as the subtitle of the film, Dr. Strangelove: “How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.” Dimona’s bombs, that is.

In the past year, the Israeli Atomic Energy Agency launched a website dedicated to extolling the virtues of its Dimona. Not the place itself, which is a bit of a backwater company town devoted to the community’s main (perhaps only) industry. But to Israel’s plutonium reactor around which the town coalesced. That’s the reactor that churned out its first nuclear weapon around 1970 just in time for Moshe Dayan to suggest it should be used as a warning shot during the 1973 War when the fighting was going badly for Israel in the initial stages. It’s the same reactor which churned out another 200 or so nuclear weapons since then, making Israel the most dangerous–and so far, the only–nuclear power in the region.

This report on the world nuclear arsenal indicates Israel has only 80 nuclear weapons. But it adds that Israel is testing a new generation of ballistic missile, which is a substantial escalation of the regional nuclear arms race.

Dimona is also the same reactor which has poisoned hundreds or even thousands of workers who’ve died of various cancers. The same one which has poisoned the water in the plant’s vicinity. None of which may be reported openly by the Israeli press.

But if you examine the website you wouldn’t know any of this. From the “History” page, you wouldn’t know Dimona produced nuclear weapons at all; which is the main, indeed only reason it exists.  You’d see bright shiny faces; the pretty blond locks of a female white-coated scientist presumably seeking a cure for cancer.  Or the delicate toes of a baby held in the firm, supporting hands of an adult under the caption: “a secure, responsible place of work.” You’d see flowers. You’d see copy that reads like a Hallmark greeting card.  Copy which extols Dimona’s mission as a “matter of national social responsibility.” That is, the authors of this tripe would have you believe that the production of nuclear weapons in Dimona is done in a manner that is environmentally responsible. This is real Alice in Wonderland stuff. Where words mean what the liar speaking them wants them to mean, “nothing more, nothing less.” It’s something like extolling Alamagordo or Auschwitz as environmental sanctuaries.

The website’s About page is titled: “Vision and Values, a Social Responsibility.” It continues: “In recent years the values of the Negev Center for Nuclear Have Been Articulated Anew.” Those values include the reactor staff volunteering in various projects to make their communities better places. Not a single word about the mass destruction Dimona’s products are capable or raining down on the world.

The launch of the website is in itself interesting. It indicates that some bureaucrats running the nuclear program felt it was important to join the modern age and feature a website to promote Dimona. That’s a break from six decades of total opacity regarding the nuclear program. Six decades of lies and denial regarding the purpose of the reactor. Avner Cohen notes in his recent Haaretz op-ed that Israel’s nuclear program isn’t even ratified under law. Rather, it exists in a netherworld called “residual powers.” This means the government may engage in any activity which the law doesn’t preclude it from doing.

Though on the surface, the new website does mark a break from the past, in reality the change is little more than cosmetic. Little has changed. Israel and the website still live in a state of denial. Israel can’t even admit in its website what the real purpose of this place is. … Full article

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Muslim world angered by Israel election as UN committee chair

Press TV – June 14, 2016

Palestinians along with a group of Muslim countries have lashed out at a UN decision to elect Israel as the chairman of one of its permanent committees for the first time in the history of Israeli occupation.

Danny Danon, Israel’s representative at the United Nations, was elected Monday to head the world body’s Legal Committee also called the Sixth Committee, which oversees issues related to international law.

It is first time that Tel Aviv will head one of the world body’s six permanent committees since joining the United Nations in 1949.

His election, however, elicited angry reactions from Muslim countries, including those in the Arab League and 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The chief Palestinian delegate at the UN, Riyad Mansour, strongly denounced the results of the election, which according to him was “threatening the work of the Sixth Committee.”

Mansour said the Israeli regime has long been “the biggest violator of international law.”

The General Assembly has six standing committees that report to it on several issues, including human rights, decolonization, disarmament, economic and financial issues, as well as the UN budget and legal issues.

Danon was nominated for the position by the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in the UN. Israel has been a temporary member of the WEOG since 2000, but joined the group permanently in December 2013.

The chairmanship of assembly is allocated on a rotational basis and is usually confirmed without a vote.

Deputy US Ambassador to the UN David Pressman, however, reacted angrily to the opponents of Danon’s election.

“We need a United Nations that includes Israel, that brings Israel closer, not one that systematically pushes Israel away.”

However, the UN warned Israel of unspecified action over its failure to cooperate with its reporters.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein slammed Tel Aviv for denying UN special rapporteurs access to the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“I must emphasize that non-cooperation by governments will not result in my office remaining silent,” he said.

He said investigators from his office had an important role in providing factual information that could prevent further violence.

Zeid also touched on the issue of the Palestinians held in Israel’s prisons, saying; “Over 400 Palestinian children are currently detained in Israeli prisons.”

He warned that violence could would break out again between Israeli forces and the Palestinian people unless the regime lifts the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Gaza, one of the most densely-populated areas in the world, has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Remembering the U.S.S. Liberty

The power of the Israel Lobby

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 14, 2016

Last Wednesday at noon at Arlington National Cemetery I attended the annual commemorative gathering of the survivors and friends of the U.S.S. Liberty. The moving service included the ringing of a ship’s bell for each one of the thirty-four American sailors, Marines and civilians that were killed in the deliberate Israeli attack that sought to sink the intelligence gathering ship and kill all its crew. Present were a number of surviving crewmembers as well as veterans like myself and other Americans who are committed to ensuring that the story of the Liberty will not die in hopes that someday the United States government will have the courage to acknowledge what actually happened on that fateful day.

It was the forty-ninth anniversary of the attack. In truth the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967, has almost faded from memory, with a younger generation completely unaware that a United States naval vessel was once deliberately attacked and nearly sunk by America’s “greatest friend and ally” Israel. The attack was followed by a cover-up that demonstrated clearly that at least one president of the United States even back nearly fifty years ago valued his relationship with the state of Israel above his loyalty to his own country.

It was in truth the worst attack ever carried out on a U.S. Naval vessel in peace time. In addition to the death toll, 171 more of the crew were wounded in the two-hour assault, which was clearly intended to destroy the intelligence gathering vessel operating in international waters collecting information on the ongoing Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The Israelis, whose planes had their Star of David markings covered up so Egypt could be blamed, attacked the ship repeatedly from the air and with gunboats from the sea.

The incredible courage and determination of the surviving crew was the only thing that kept the Liberty from sinking. The ship’s commanding officer Captain William McGonagle was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic role in keeping the ship afloat, though President Lyndon Baines Johnson broke with tradition and refused to hold the medal ceremony in the White House, also declining to award it personally, delegating that task to the Secretary of the Navy in a closed to the public presentation made at the Washington Navy Yard. The additional medals given to other crew members in the aftermath of the attack made the U.S.S. Liberty the most decorated ship based on a single engagement with hostile forces in the history of the United States Navy.

The cover-up of the attack began immediately. The Liberty crew was sworn to secrecy over the incident, as were the Naval dockyard workers in Malta and even the men of the U.S.S. Davis, which had assisted the badly damaged Liberty to port. A hastily convened and conducted court of inquiry headed by Admiral John McCain acted under orders from Washington to declare the attack a case of mistaken identity. The inquiry’s senior legal counsel Captain Ward Boston, who subsequently declared the attack to be a “deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew,” also described how “President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.” The court’s findings were rewritten and sections relating to Israeli war crimes, to include the machine gunning of life rafts, were excised. Following in his father’s footsteps, Senator John McCain of Arizona has used his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to effectively block any reconvening of a board of inquiry to reexamine the evidence. Most of the documents relating to the Liberty incident have never been released to the public in spite of the 49 years that have passed since the attack took place.

The faux court of inquiry and the medals awarded in secret were only the first steps in the cover-up, which has persisted to this day, orchestrated by politicians and a media that seem to place Israel’s interests ahead of those of the United States. Liberty survivors have been finding it difficult even to make their case in public. In early April a billboard that read “Help the USS Liberty Survivors – Attacked by Israel” was taken down in New Bedford Massachusetts. The billboard had been placed by the Honor Liberty Vets Organization and, as is normal practice, was paid for through a contractual arrangement that would require the billboard company to post the image for a fixed length of time. It was one of a number of billboards placed in different states. Inevitably, Israel’s well connected friends began to complain. One Jewish businessman threatened to take his business elsewhere, so the advertising company obligingly removed the billboard two weeks early.

After forty-nine years, the dwindling number of survivors of the Liberty are not looking for punishment or revenge. When asked, they will tell you that they only ask for accountability, that an impartial inquiry into the attack be convened and that the true story of what took place finally be revealed to the public.

That Congress is deaf to the pleas of the Liberty crew should surprise no one as the nation’s legislative body has been for years, as Pat Buchanan once put it, “Israeli occupied territory.” The Lobby’s ability to force Congress and even the presidency to submit to its will has been spelled out in some detail by critics, first by Paul Findley in They Dare to Speak Out, later by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in The Israel Lobby, in Alison Weir’s Against Our Better Judgment, and most recently in Kirk Beattie’s excellent Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East.

Congressional willingness to protect Israel even when it is killing Americans is remarkable, but it is symptom of the legislative body’s willingness to go to bat for Israel reflexively, even when it is damaging to U.S. interests and to the rights that American citizens are supposed to enjoy. I note particularly legislation currently working its way through Congress that will make it illegal for any federal funding to go to any entity that supports the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, better known as BDS. BDS is a way to put pressure on the Israeli government over its human rights abuses that is both non-violent and potentially effective. As the federal government has its hooks all over the economy and at various levels in education as well as state and local government its threat to force the delegitimization of BDS is far from an empty one.

Existing laws in more than twenty states with more on the way, including most recently New York, punishing entities that support the peaceful BDS movement by labeling BDS as anti-Semitic and making it illegal or sanctionable to support it are direct attacks on free speech. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated “We want Israel to know we are on its side.” And it doesn’t stop with BDS. Recently signed trade agreements with Europe were drafted to be conditional on European acceptance of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank while Israel is also pushing to censor the internet to make material that constitutes “incitement” banned. Incitement would, of course, include anything critical of Israel or its government on the grounds that it is anti-Semitic.

Democratic candidate presumptive Hillary Clinton has explicitly promised to do all in her power to oppose BDS, telling an adoring American Israel Public Affairs Committee audience in March that “Many of the young people here today are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS. Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people. I’ve been sounding the alarm for a while now. As I wrote last year in a letter to the heads of major American Jewish organizations, we have to be united in fighting back against BDS.”

So the treatment of the U.S.S. Liberty should surprise no one in a country whose governing class has been for decades doing the bidding of the powerful lobby of a tiny client state that has been nothing but trouble and expense for the United States of America. Will it ever end? As the Israel Lobby currently controls the relevant parts of the federal government and much of the media change is not likely to happen overnight, but there are some positive signs. If the Democratic Party platform committee under the influence of Bernie Sanders is successful in toning down the usual extravagant praise of Israel – against the wishes of Hillary, one might add – that would be a sign that change is difficult but not necessarily impossible. If Donald Trump wins and holds to his promise to be neutral between Israel and Palestine in negotiations that too would be a marked shift in perception of the conflict. And if the American people finally wake up and realize that they are tired of the entire farce and decide to wash their hands of the Middle East that would change everything. Just imagine picking up the morning newspaper and not reading a front page story about the warnings and threats coming from that great world leader Benjamin Netanyahu. That would be quite remarkable.

June 14, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments