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Sugar industry blamed fat in fake studies published by New England Journal of Medicine

RT | September 13, 2016

The sugar industry paid Harvard researchers in the 1960s to bury research linking sugar intake to heart disease and to instead make fat the culprit, according to a study of archival documents.

“These internal documents show that the Sugar Research Foundation initiated coronary heart disease research in 1965 to protect market share and that its first project, a literature review, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine without disclosure of the sugar industry’s funding or role,” stated the study.

The internal sugar industry documents were found in public archives by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

UCSF researchers analyzed more than 340 documents indicating the relationship between the sugar industry and Roger Adams, then a professor of organic chemistry who served on the scientific advisory boards for the sugar industry, and Mark Hegsted, one of the Harvard researchers who produced the literature review.

The documents showed the sugar industry was aware of evidence in the 1960s that linked sugar consumption to high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels thought to be risk factors for coronary heart disease.

The sugar industry commissioned Project 226, a literature review written by researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Nutrition Department, which concluded there was “no doubt” that the only dietary intervention required to prevent coronary heart disease was to reduce dietary cholesterol and substitute polyunsaturated fat for saturated fat in the American diet.

The sugar industry paid the Harvard scientist the equivalent of $50,000 in 2016 dollars.

The study found the NEJM review served the sugar industry’s interests by arguing that studies “associating sucrose with coronary heart disease were limited” and that sugar should not be included in assessments of risk of heart disease.

Researchers found the sugar industry would spend $600,000 (the equivalent of $5.3 million in 2016 dollars) to teach “people who had never had a course in biochemistry… that sugar is what keeps every human being alive and with energy to face our daily problems,” according to a UCSF press release.

Among the documents was a speech from 1954 by Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) president Henry Hass, which showed that they recognized that if Americans adopted low-fat diets, then per-capita consumption of sugar would increase by more than one-third. The trade organization represented 30 international members.

“The literature review helped shape not only public opinion on what causes heart problems but also the scientific community’s view of how to evaluate dietary risk factors to heart disease,” said lead author Cristin Kearns, who discovered the industry documents.

Other documents showed the sugar industry became concerned in 1962 with evidence showing that a low-fat diet high in sugar could elevate serum cholesterol level. In 1964, the SRF vice president and director of research, John Hickson, said new research on coronary heart disease found that “sugar is a less desirable dietary source of calories than other carbohydrates,” and referred to the work since 1957 of British physiologist John Yudkin, who challenged population studies singling out saturated fat as the primary dietary cause of coronary heart disease “and suggested other factors, including sucrose, were at least equally important.”

“Hickson proposed that SRF ‘could embark on a major program’ to counter Yudkin and other ‘negative attitudes toward sugar,’” stated the study.

It found that Hickson recommended an opinion poll “to learn what public concepts we should reinforce and what ones we need to combat through our research and information and legislation programs,” a symposium to “bring detractors before a board of their peers where their fallacies could be unveiled,” and recommended the sugar industry fund coronary heart disease research to “see what the weak points there are in the experimentation, and replicate the studies with appropriate corrections. Then publish the data and refute our detractors.”

The analysis ‘Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents’ was published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Isn’t it time to ban the bomb?

By Lawrence Wittner | Peace and Health Blog | September 13, 2016

Although the mass media failed to report it, a landmark event occurred recently in connection with resolving the long-discussed problem of what to do about nuclear weapons. On August 19, 2016, a UN committee, the innocuously-named Open-Ended Working Group, voted to recommend to the UN General Assembly that it mandate the opening of negotiations in 2017 on a treaty to ban them.

For most people, this recommendation makes a lot of sense. Nuclear weapons are the most destructive devices ever created. If they are used―as two of them were used in 1945 to annihilate the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki―the more than 15,000 nuclear weapons currently in existence would destroy the world. Given their enormous blast, fire, and radioactivity, their explosion would bring an end to virtually all life on earth. The few human survivors would be left to wander, slowly and painfully, in a charred, radioactive wasteland. Even the explosion of a small number of nuclear weapons through war, terrorism, or accident would constitute a catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude.

Every President of the United States since 1945, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, has warned the world of the horrors of nuclear war. Even Ronald Reagan―perhaps the most military-minded among them―declared again and again: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Fortunately, there is no technical problem in disposing of nuclear weapons. Through negotiated treaties and unilateral action, nuclear disarmament, with verification, has already taken place quite successfully, eliminating roughly 55,000 nuclear weapons of the 70,000 in existence at the height of the Cold War.

Also, the world’s other agents of mass destruction, biological and chemical weapons, have already been banned by international agreements.

Naturally, then, most people think that creating a nuclear weapons-free world is a good idea. A 2008 poll in 21 nations around the globe found that 76 percent of respondents favored an international agreement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and only 16 percent opposed it. This included 77 percent of the respondents in the United States.

But government officials from the nine nuclear-armed nations are inclined to view nuclear weapons―or at least their nuclear weapons―quite differently. For centuries, competing nations have leaned heavily upon military might to secure what they consider their “national interests.” Not surprisingly, then, national leaders have gravitated toward developing powerful military forces, armed with the most powerful weaponry. The fact that, with the advent of nuclear weapons, this traditional behavior has become counter-productive has only begun to penetrate their consciousness, usually helped along on such occasions by massive public pressure.

Consequently, officials of the superpowers and assorted wannabes, while paying lip service to nuclear disarmament, continue to regard it as a risky project. They are much more comfortable with maintaining nuclear arsenals and preparing for nuclear war. Thus, by signing the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty of 1968, officials from the nuclear powers pledged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on . . . a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” And today, nearly a half-century later, they have yet to begin negotiations on such a treaty. Instead, they are currently launching yet another round in the nuclear arms race. The US government alone is planning to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to refurbish its entire nuclear weapons production complex, as well as to build new air-, sea-, and ground-launched nuclear weapons.

Of course, this enormous expenditure―plus the ongoing danger of nuclear disaster―could provide statesmen with a powerful incentive to end 71 years of playing with their doomsday weapons and, instead, get down to the business of finally ending the grim prospect of nuclear annihilation. In short, they could follow the lead of the UN committee and actually negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons as the first step toward abolishing them.

But, to judge from what happened in the UN Open-Ended Working Group, a negotiated nuclear weapons ban is not likely to occur. Uneasy about what might emerge from the committee’s deliberations, the nuclear powers pointedly boycotted them. Moreover, the final vote in that committee on pursuing negotiations for a ban was 68 in favor and 22 opposed, with 13 abstentions. The strong majority in favor of negotiations was comprised of African, Latin American, Caribbean, Southeast Asian, and Pacific nations, with several European nations joining them. The minority came primarily from nations under the nuclear umbrellas of the superpowers. Consequently, the same split seems likely to occur in the UN General Assembly, where the nuclear powers will do everything possible to head off UN action.

Overall, then, there is a growing division between the nuclear powers and their dependent allies, on the one hand, and a larger group of nations, fed up with the repeated evasions of the nuclear powers in dealing with the nuclear disaster that threatens to engulf the world. In this contest, the nuclear powers have the advantage, for, when all is said and done, they have the option of clinging to their nuclear weapons, even if that means ignoring a treaty adopted by a clear majority of nations around the world. Only an unusually firm stand by the non-nuclear nations, coupled with an uprising by an aroused public, seems likely to awaken the officials of the nuclear powers from their long sleepwalk toward catastrophe.

Dr. Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany  and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Donald Trump, After Blasting Iraq War, Picks Top Iraq Hawk as Security Adviser

By Alex Emmons and Naomi LaChance | The Intercept | September 12, 2016

Donald Trump named former CIA director and extremist neoconservative James Woolsey his senior adviser on national security issues on Monday. Woolsey, who left the CIA in 1995, went on to become one of Washington’s most outspoken promoters of U.S. war in Iraq and the Middle East.

As such, Woolsey’s selection either clashes with Trump’s noninterventionist rhetoric — or represents a pivot towards a more muscular, neoconservative approach to resolving international conflicts.

Trump has called the Iraq War “a disaster.”

Woolsey, by contrast, was a key member of the Project for the New American Century — a neoconservative think tank largely founded to encourage a second war with Iraq. Woolsey signed a letter in 1998 calling on Clinton to depose Saddam Hussein and only hours after the 9/11 attacks appeared on CNN and blamed the attacks on Iraq. Woolsey has continued to insist on such a connection despite the complete lack of evidence to support his argument. He also blames Iran.

Weeks before the invasion of Iraq, Woolsey called for broader war in the Middle East, saying “World War IV” was already underway.

Woolsey has also put himself in a position to profit from the wars he has promoted. He has served as vice president of Pentagon contracting giant Booz Allen, and as chairman of Paladin Capital Group, a private equity fund that invests in national security and cybersecurity.

He chairs the leadership council at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a hawkish national security nonprofit, and is a venture partner with Lux Capital Management, which invests in emerging technologies like drones, satellite imaging, and artificial intelligence.

Woolsey went on CNN on Monday and said that he was principally motivated to support Trump because of his plans to expand U.S. military spending.

Trump gave a speech last week in which he proposed dramatic expansions of the Army and Marines, and hundred-billion-dollar weapons systems for the Navy and Air Force. He offered no justification — aside from citing a few officials who claimed they wanted more firepower.

Woolsey stood by Trump’s proposal on Monday.

“I think the problem is her budget,” Woolsey said of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. “She is spending so much money on domestic programs — including ones that we don’t even have now, and the ones we have now are underfunded — I think there can be very little room for the improvements in defense and intelligence that have to be made.”

Woolsey has previously called for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be “hanged by the neck until he’s dead, rather than merely electrocuted.”

In the past, Woolsey has publicly disagreed with Trump on a number of national security issues — including Trump’s plan to ban Muslim immigration. On Monday, Woolsey told CNN that such a plan would raise First Amendment issues, but that he supported a temporary immigration block from certain Muslim countries.

Thus far, at least, most prominent war hawks have found they had more in common with Clinton than Trump. “I would say all Republican foreign policy professionals are anti-Trump,” leading neoconservative Robert Kagan told a group in July.

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Facebook, Israel Seal Deal to Crack Down on Palestinians Online

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teleSUR – September 12, 2016

Facebook and the Israeli government agreed to set up joint teams in order to fight what they call “incitement” posts on the social media website which officials said were meant to target Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, local media reported Monday.

“The meeting took place under the assumption that Facebook has the capability, the responsibility and the willingness to help mitigate incitement and terror from the network,” said a joint statement issued by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Interior Minister Gilad Erdan.

The Israeli ministers, who belong to the most conservative right-wing government in the history of the country, further argued that criticism and response to Israeli operations, extrajudicial killings and targeting of anti-occupation protests is “incitement and terror.”

“In the recent spate of terror it was proven that the internet has become a home to incubate terrorists and we must fight together to prevent this. The companies must and can do much more,” the statement added according to the local Times of Israel.

“Facebook and internet companies have a responsibility regarding the content they allow on their sites that encourages incitement and terror, and they should actively operate to monitor it,” Erdan said.

Justice Minister Shaked, who has previously called all Palestinians, including women and children “the enemy,” further used the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. to call for a crackdown on Palestinian “terror.”

“Particularly in the week in which we remember 9/11, an event that changed the face of the U.S., it is clear that there is a joint interest among all parties that are in a position to fight terror.”

Such a crackdown on incitement by Facebook would never be used against Israelis who suggest killing Arabs and Palestinians, according to the Intercept.

During the 2014 war on Gaza, many Israelis took to social media platforms to call for more killing of Palestinians.

Last year when an Israeli soldier was arrested for shooting and killing a wounded Palestinian point blank in the head, his fellow troops used Facebook to praise the killing, while Israeli extremists justified the killing and called for his release.

The same Shaked who is worried about online incitement, used Facebook to post the text of an article by the late Israeli writer Uri Elitzur that referred to Palestinian children as “little snakes.”

In a another example, the justice minister posted on Facebook that Palestinians are all “the enemy” and therefore all legitimate targets.

“This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people,” she said in a Facebook post in 2015. “Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy.”

Both of those posts were deleted upon her appointment to the justice ministry.

Facebook and Israel have been developing an intimate relationship over the past few years. In June, Mondoweiss reported that Jordana Cutler, current chief of staff at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. was hired as head of policy and communications at Facebook’s Israel office.

Facebook has also been very responsive when asked by Israel to delete posts it deems as inciting terror over the past year.

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli defense minister compares illegal Israeli outpost with native Palestinian villages

Ma’an – September 13, 2016

BETHLEHEM – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman compared the illegal Israeli Amona outpost to the indigenous Palestinian Bedouin village of Susiya and Palestinian land in Jerusalem on Monday in a speech at Ariel University in the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli media.

The Amona outpost was slated for demolition following a 2008 Israeli Supreme Court decision after eight Palestinians from neighboring villages — with the support of Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din — successfully petitioned the court to remove the outpost on grounds that the construction was carried out on privately-owned Palestinian land.

“There is no way that Amona can be left as it is built today, because most of the houses are built on private Palestinian land,” Lieberman reportedly said on Monday, referring to Amona, which was built in 1996.

After years of appeals from right-wing Israeli government officials, and attempts by Amona settlers to prove they had legally purchased the land, an Israeli police investigation in May 2014 found the entirety of the outpost to have been built on Private Palestinian lands, and that the documents used by Amona residents to try claim their “purchases” were in fact forged.

In December 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered again that the outpost be demolished by December 2016.

According to Haaretz, Lieberman followed up on his comments about Amona on Monday with the stipulation that “all the rules that apply to Amona apply to every other place as well.”

Claiming that “there is only one law for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Lieberman reportedly told the audience that it was unacceptable that such rulings — as in the case of Amona, which along with every other settlement and outpost in the occupied West Bank is internationally recognized as being illegal — are unfairly enforced against Israelis but not against “other trespassers.”

The “trespassers” Lieberman was referring to were the Palestinian residents of Susiya in the southern West Bank, and the Palestinians of the area known as the “E1 corridor,” a contentious zone that the Israeli government has set up to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega settlement of Maale Adumim, which would virtually cut the occupied West Bank in half, making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible.

“We are a nation based on law and we will honor court decisions in all circumstances,” Lieberman said, saying that “when it comes to enforcing rulings against other trespassers everyone stands up on their hind legs,” seemingly complaining about the international community’s harsh reactions to Israeli government attempts to demolish Susiya and replace it with an illegal Jewish settlement of the exact same name.

Susiya’s residents have been embroiled in a decades-long legal battle to legalize the village and have endured multiple demolitions enforced by Israeli authorities over the years, who say Palestinians lack the proper building permits to live on the land that lies between an Israeli settlement and Israel-controlled archaeological site.

The privately owned Palestinian land is located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control — where building permits for Palestinians are nearly impossible to obtain.

Many of the villagers have ties to the land that predate the creation of the state of Israel, and Ottoman-era land documents to prove it.

Most recently, in mid-July, authorities from Israel’s Civil Administration abruptly halted months of dialog with Susiya’s residents over the possibility of legalizing the village, telling them that a future agreement on the village would now be the responsibility of Lieberman.

Lieberman postponed the announcement of his decision twice, first until November 2016, and then until December.

According to spokesperson for Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) Yariv Mohar, who is assisting in Susiya’s legal battle, Lieberman’s decision on whether or not to continue the dialogue between the residents of Susiya and the Civil Administration is set to be announced on December 15, 2016.

Lieberman will be responsible for deciding whether to accept the state of Israel’s request to immediately and without prior notice demolish some 40 percent of the southern occupied West Bank village, where half of the some 200 village residents live according to RHR.

The lawyers of RHR have affirmed that there is no question as to whether the residents own the land they are on, also noting that “basic (Jewish) morality dictates it is wrong to demolish part of a village which has previously demolished without any plan or solution for the residents, while international law prohibits the forcible transfer of populations,” Mohar told Ma’an in August.

Though Lieberman has yet to formally announce a decision, his comments on Monday indicate that in his opinion, the residents of Susiya should be subject to the same treatment as the illegal settlers occupying privately owned Palestinian land in Amona.

Lieberman has previously advocated policies ranging from the overthrow of the Palestinian Authority to the deportation of Palestinian citizens of Israel into the occupied Palestinian territory, while promoting the transfer of towns in Israel that are heavily populated by Palestinians to a future Palestinian state in exchange for illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Lieberman himself lives in the southern occupied West Bank Israeli settlement of Nokdim, in contravention of international law.

Since appointed as defense minister by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in May, the two have teamed up to approve hundreds of new housing units in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US to sign record $38bn military aid deal with Israel – report

RT | September 13, 2016

The US has reportedly agreed a $38 billion package to deliver military aid to Israel over the next 10 years, with the pact expected to be signed “within days.” The deal will become the biggest pledge of US military assistance to another country in history.

The new aid package will see Israel receive $3.8 billion per year from Washington, an increase of $700 million from the current $3.1 billion, sources told Reuters. However, the figure fell short of the annual $4.5 billion that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been seeking.

Following the negotiations Israel says it will not seek extra funding from the US. A previous agreement that allowed Israel to spend just over a quarter of the aid given by Washington on weapons from its domestic defense industry, instead of from the US, will be also phased out.

The terms of the deal, which is classed as a memorandum of understanding (MOU), will also include money for Israel’s missile defense program. This had previously been funded by Congress on an informal basis. A source told Reuters that the pact is expected to be signed “within days.”

However the new MOU will not be signed between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu, who have had a frosty relationship due to the US leader’s support for last year’s Iranian nuclear deal, which was bitterly opposed by Israel. Lower-ranking officials will sign the paperwork, as has been the case with previous deals.

The plan for an increase in military aid to Israel has enjoyed strong support in Congress. In April, 83 US Senators – 51 Republicans and 32 Democrats – sent a letter to the White House urging an increase in financial support. The effort was spearheaded by South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons.

“In light of Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge,” the letter said.

It is believed that Netanyahu agreed to the deal before November’s US presidential election to avoid uncertainties surrounding what will happen when the new leader takes office.

Not everyone has been impressed with the military aid package set to be signed between the two allies. A Washington DC non-profit group is suing the US government, challenging its authority to provide Israel with foreign aid and arguing that its status – a nuclear power which did not sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty – means that aiding it contravenes US law.

“This lawsuit is not about foreign policy. It is about the rule of law, presidential power, the structural limits of the US Constitution, and the right of the public to understand the functions of government and informed petition of the government for redress,” stated the complaint filed by Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRmep).

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Obama’s Ungraceful Exit from Air Force One, America’s Ungraceful Exit from Asia

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By Joseph Thomas – New Eastern Outlook – 13.09.2016

When US President Barack Obama attempted to leave Air Force One upon arriving at Hangzhou, China, just southwest of Shanghai, he found that no staircase or red carpet awaited him. Instead, he and his staff were forced to use an alternative exit from the aircraft, only to find additional restrictions placed upon them on the tarmac.

The New York Times in its article, “Bumpy Beginning for Obama in China, Starting on the Tarmac,” would note:

There was no staircase for Obama to exit the plane and descend on the red carpet. Obama used an alternative exit.

On the tarmac, a quarrel broke out between a presidential aide and a Chinese official who demanded the journalists traveling with Obama be prohibited from getting anywhere near him. It was a breach of the tradition observed whenever the American president arrives in a foreign place.

When the White House official insisted the U.S. would set the rules for its own leader, her Chinese counterpart shot back.

“This is our country! This is our airport!” the Chinese official yelled.

Rather than accept and adapt to the conditions set forth by their Chinese hosts, the President’s staff quarrelled with them, marking yet another ungraceful bout of American exceptionalism where even in another’s country, America’s will is expected to be fulfilled.

Reflecting on the event, President Obama made cryptic comments seemingly both attempting to downplay the event as a mere oversight, but alluding to the fact that it was more than a mere oversight by their Chinese hosts.

And in fact, it was no oversight. It was a clear message to America that the age of American exceptionalism, particularly in Asia, is over.

America’s Ungraceful Exit from Asia  

In and of itself, President Obama’s ungraceful exit from Air Force One may seem like an insignificant event. When added together with a general decline of American influence and regarding the respect it had once commanded across Asia, it is highly symbolic of a global hegemon being pushed from an entire corner of the globe.

It was just recently that the US concluded a lengthy and costly public relations campaign, dressed up as an “international tribunal” conducted at The Hague in the Netherlands that predictably concluded that China held no legitimate claims in the South China Sea.

The “ruling” was allegedly made in favour of the Philippines, despite the legal team being headed by an American, Paul S. Reichler of Foley Hoag. Despite what Washington believed would be a crushing rhetorical blow to Beijing, not only did Beijing dismiss the entire proceeding out of hand, the Philippines itself refused to capitalise on the transparently politically-motivated and provocative ruling.

US pressure on the Philippines, until recently considered a stalwart ally, even a subordinate functionary of Washington, eventually resulted in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte directly mocking America’s ambassador to the nation, denouncing him as an effeminate meddler.

The previous year, the US had been pressuring Thailand to allow Chinese terror suspects to travel onward to Turkey despite an extradition request from China. Thailand ignored US demands and returned the suspects to face justice in China.

In both cases terrorism struck shortly after, with a bomb striking in the centre of Bangkok killing 20 and maiming many more, and just recently a bomb exploding in the Philippine city of Davao, where President Duterte had previously served as mayor.

In Cambodia, the nation’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has openly accused the US of attempting to subvert political stability around the globe. This was in reference to opposition groups the US State Department is now using to pressure the Cambodian government after its decisive shift away from US interests toward Beijing.

In essence, while the US announced its “pivot” toward Asia, Asia itself appears to be pivoting away from the US. Thus, the incident on the tarmac in Hangzhou is a microcosm of what is taking place across Asia, an unwillingness of locals to further capitulate to American exceptionalism, and an ungraceful America unable to recognise or adapt to this shifting geopolitical reality.

In the end, America with its hegemonic hubris will ensure that it is fully pushed out of Asia, missing what is perhaps a final opportunity to readjust its relationship with the region away from adversarial domination toward something more equitable, proportional and constructive.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas .

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Wins in November

It doesn’t matter who is ‘elected’

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 13, 2016

There is considerable chatter about who will win in some of the hotly contested congressional races around the country, but one thing is certain: whoever triumphs will soon be receiving a nice all expenses paid luxury trip to Israel to learn all about Benjamin Netanyahu’s views regarding what more Washington can do to support him and his government. The “educational seminars” are organized by the Israel Lobby, more specifically by a tax exempt entity referred to as the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which is a part of the hardline American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Participation in the journey by all freshman congressman is not mandatory but is advisable if one wants to stay on the right side of the Lobby. In August 2015 the class of 2014 only had three abstentions out of 53 new congressmen when it traveled to Israel along partisan lines with a Democratic group followed shortly thereafter by a GOP contingent.

These orientation trips are in addition to the frequent taxpayer funded visits made by congressmen to update themselves on Israel’s expanding list of “needs.” One such recent excursion involved Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who enthused that “in a region consumed by terrorism and oppression, Israel stands out as a shining beacon of hope and freedom.” Congressman David Rouzer, also from North Carolina, observed that “Any attack on Israel of any kind is an attack on the American people. It was an honor for us to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

My own congressman, Barbara Comstock, a Republican representing the 10th District of Virginia, made the freshman trip last year. Comstock is a supremely ambitious lawmaker who has proven herself to be a dedicated GOP apparatchik. Recently she supported the presidential candidacy of Senator Marco Rubio, the ultimate Republican establishment candidate, who has appropriately been described as an “empty suit” when it comes to any understanding of the serious issues confronting the American people.

Comstock has been involved in a number of unsavory enterprises as she climbed the GOP ladder. She once headed the defense fund for Scooter Libby, the White House aide who was eventually convicted of perjury and other crimes after outing deep cover CIA Officer Valerie Plame, a felony offense. Outing Plame not only destroyed the woman’s career, it also set back CIA efforts to find and neutralize nuclear proliferators, which is what Valerie was working on.

I do not want to appear to be picking on Comstock but she and I have had a bit of a go around on her Israel trip and regarding her statements upon returning to Virginia, which I would like to share. And I must note that she is far from unique. She in reality differs but little from the numerous other congressmen on the make who are short on principles and compassion and long on their commitment to remain on the good side of Israel. And it is completely bipartisan. If Comstock is replaced by Democratic congressional candidate LuAnn Bennett this November I am sure Bennett will make the AIPAC sponsored trip in 2017 and will grovel just as embarrassingly on the Israel-Palestine issue. After all, that is what politicians do.

Comstock commented on her travel experience in a local newspaper, the Loudoun Times-Mirror, saying that she had met with Israeli government leaders who unanimously opposed the then impending nuclear deal with Iran. She agreed, coming to the conclusion that Iran is “very much a threat, not just to Israel and the entire region, but to the United States.” She repeated the Israeli view that the agreement would make it likely that Iran would develop a nuclear weapon in 12 or 13 years. She also opposed weakening sanctions as an inducement for Iran to drop its program, observing that “I think if anything we should increase the sanctions.”

Exercising my First Amendment rights, I then wrote a letter to the newspaper:

“So Congresswoman Barbara Comstock has traveled to Israel on a trip paid for by the Israel Lobby. While there Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns her about the Iranians being a threat to America (and, of course, Israel) so she believes him rather than her own president and returns to regurgitate the propaganda she has been fed. It never occurs to Ms. Comstock that Netanyahu might be feeding her and the other congressmen a lot of rubbish. Neither Israel’s own generals nor the American ones at the Pentagon actually consider Iran to be a serious threat, no matter what it tries to do. Neither the CIA nor the Mossad believe that Iran has ever sought to build a nuclear weapon.

“Perhaps she should do her homework on this one. The Iran deal significantly reduces that country’s capability to produce a nuclear weapon and its research labs will be subject to intrusive inspection. Sure no deal is perfect, but there are plenty of safeguards built in and if Iran fails to keep its end of the bargain sanctions will be re-imposed. It is an agreement that is good for all parties involved, including for Israel.

“Ms. Comstock might also want to revisit her oath of office which pledges her to defend the Constitution of the United States, not to become an accomplice in what a foreign nation wants us to do. Our First President George Washington wisely urged Americans to maintain friendly relations with everyone, to avoid a ‘passionate attachment’ to another nation which just might be creating ‘the illusion of a common interest … where no common interest exists.’”

The newspaper would not print my letter, so I wrote directly to the congresswoman beginning with “The media is reporting that you have traveled to Israel on a trip paid for by the Israel Lobby” and then adding the points I had made in the newspaper letter.

Comstock responded, and I am quoting verbatim her first three paragraphs:

“The Obama Administration vowed this deal would dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program; provide anytime, anywhere inspections; and cut back Iran’s ballistic missile program. In March of this year, I and 367 of my colleagues signed a bipartisan letter to the president outlining what must be accomplished in the negotiations in order for Congress to support the deal, and that letter stated that the final accord must provide Iran with ‘no pathway to a bomb.’ None of the administration’s promises were kept and none of their goals were met. Therefore, this agreement is fatally flawed and I oppose this deal.

“The Obama Administration has committed to providing Iran sanctions relief from the U.S. in return for temporary, inadequate constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. It will permit Iran to launch an industrial-scale nuclear program after a little more than 10 years; to continue to block international inspectors from its secret nuclear facilities; to hide past work on its nuclear weapons program; and will allow Iran to essentially emerge from the deal as a legitimate player on the global scene with its past record of violence, oppression, and terrorism wiped clean.

“Rewarding the Iranian Regime with billions of dollars in sanctions relief and swiftly lifting the arms embargo provides Iran—a country that exports terrorism—with the means to spread violence around the region. Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and this deal only emboldens the Ayatollah and the Mullahs to continue spreading instability throughout the world.”

The response is, of course, pretty much a canned argument incorporating “facts” that may have been in part drafted by AIPAC and which is completely in line with Israel Lobby and Israeli government thinking. It includes several errors, most particularly on the efficacy of the inspections routine, is confused about the source of the money due to Tehran, and considerably overstates Iran’s role as a state sponsor of terrorism. It also errs in crediting Iran with “spreading instability around the world.” That honor belongs to the United States, ably assisted by Israel.

More to the point, the response ignores the thrust of my letter, which criticizes American legislators going off on paid trips to foreign countries and then coming back home to confuse those government’s interests with those of the United States. Making a trip where you are propagandized by one side and never speaking to representatives of those who are being belittled is a poor way to come up with a policy. Iran and the Palestinians do have legitimate points of view, believe it or not, and one has to wonder how many Arabs or even dissident Israelis Comstock spoke to when she was in Israel.

Contrary to Comstock’s response, even if Tehran’s government might not be very nice it does not in any way threaten the United States and is in fact directly fighting groups like ISIS. We should be working with Iran where we share interests, not against it. The nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries has been a success, with the inspection routine working, according to UN inspectors. If there is a fundamental problem in the Middle East it is not Iran but rather the unseemly relationship between the U.S. and Israel, which has unbalanced the region and gravely damaged genuine American interests in an important part of the world.

To appreciate the true impact of the AIEF funded trips to Israel multiply Comstock by fifty and repeat every year to make sure that everyone in congress has been subjected to the propaganda. I would bet that all Comstock’s 49 colleagues who also made the sponsored trip last year came back full of good things to say about Netanyahu and his government. One does not expect congressmen to do very much in return for their generous salaries and perks but there is something seriously wrong when they go around the world and uncritically accept what they are hearing from foreign liars and scoundrels who want the United States to do the heavy lifting after they generate regional crises that are beyond their capability to control. Unfortunately, whoever is elected, the pilgrimages to worship at the feet of Benjamin Netanyahu will continue, bringing to mind Patrick Buchanan’s apt description of a shameless and corrupted congress as “Israeli occupied territory.” Indeed.

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments