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The Information-Industrial Complex

corbettreport | December 18, 2017

Half a century ago, outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term “military-industrial complex” to describe the fascistic collusion between the Pentagon and America’s burgeoning armaments industry. But in our day and age we are witnessing the rise of a new collusion, one between the Pentagon and the tech industry that it helped to seed, that is committed to waging a covert war against people the world over. Now, in the 21st century, it is time to give this new threat a name: the information-industrial complex.

TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=25128

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

The US Will Fund Research to Make Pathogens Deadlier Again

By Daniel Oberhaus | MOTHERBOARD | December 19, 2017

On Tuesday, the US National Institutes of Health, the largest biomedical research agency in the world, announced that it would be ending a three-year moratorium on research funding for projects that involve making pathogens stronger and deadlier than they are in nature.

Known as “gain-of-function” studies, this type of research is ostensibly about trying to stay one step ahead of nature. By making super-viruses that are more pathogenic and easily transmissible, scientists are able to study the way these viruses may evolve and how genetic changes affect the way a virus interacts with its host. Using this information, the scientists can try to pre-empt the natural emergence of these traits by developing antiviral medications that are capable of staving off a pandemic.

If genetically engineering viruses such as influenza, MERS, or SARS to be even stronger and more easily transmissible sounds like a recipe for some Contagion-inspired future hell, you’re not alone in your fears.

Even though the storage and use of deadly pathogens is strictly regulated, there’s always the risk they might fall into the wrong hands. In fact, last year former CIA director John Brennan cited “bio-threats” from genetically engineered biological warfare agents as one of the top existential risks facing the United States.

There’s also the more banal option that a human error could result in the release of a super-pathogen. In 2014, for instance, several different federal labs came under scrutiny by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after samples containing smallpox, anthrax, and the avian flu were mishandled by lab workers. (It turns out no one had been exposed to the agents, but 75 lab workers were monitored for exposure at the anthrax lab.) Such incidents aren’t uncommon: between 2003 and 2009, there were 395 events reported that could have resulted in exposure to toxic agents, although this resulted in just seven infections.

Facing increasing public scrutiny over gain-of-function research, in late 2014 the Obama administration put a halt on NIH funding for this type of work until a more robust assessment of its risks and rewards could be undertaken.

In 2016, a draft report was issued by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which found that most gain-of-function research didn’t pose a serious threat to public health. This assessment was largely made following the release of a massive, 1000-page risk assessment published by an independent contractor, which examined everything from the likelihood of a researcher’s glove being punctured to a criminal breaking into a lab.

The NSABB’s report also included a set of guidelines for approving gain-of-function research in the future, which was the basis for the stringent approval guidelines released by the NIH today.

After the Department of Health and Human Services has assessed a proposed gain-of-function project for the parameters outlined in the report, it can recommend that it receive funding from the NIH for the research. Beyond that, the project will continue to be the subject of review and oversight by the HHS and the institutional body (such as a university) that is hosting the research.

While nobody is disputing that more oversight is a good thing, not everyone is convinced that gain-of-function research is worth the risk. As Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch told Nature following the news of the end of the funding embargo , gain-of-function research has “done almost nothing to improve our preparedness for pandemics, yet they risked creating an accidental pandemic.”

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Palestinian teen remains in a coma after being shot in head by Israeli forces

Ma’an – December 19, 2017

RAMALLAH – Fourteen-year-old Muhammad Fadel al-Tamimi remains in a medically-induced coma as of Tuesday, days after he was hot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian teenager, a resident of the central occupied West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, was injured during clashes in his village on Friday.

According to locals, the bullet settled in the boy’s skull after it entered his face below his nose and broke his jaw.

The teenager is currently being held in the ICU of the al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah.

Al-Tamimi, a former prisoner, was detained when he was 13 years old, and was previously injured several times during weekly clashes in his village.

His cousin, 17-year-old Ahed al-Tamimi, was detained on Tuesday morning by Israeli forces for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers on the same day that Muhammad was injured.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel unveils new synagogue in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa

Israel unveils a new synagogue in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa [PeaceMakers International Motorcycle Ministries/Facebook]
MEMO | December 19, 2107

The Israeli authorities today unveiled a new Jewish synagogue under the Al-Buraq Wall – known to Jews as the Western Wall – in occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

“Following 12 years of construction, the new synagogue was opened on Monday evening,” the Heritage Foundation of the Western Wall, an Israeli governmental body, said in a statement.

“The unique design of the prayer hall combines rare art and unique lighting, creating a wonderful contrast between ancient and modern,” the statement read.

In recent years, Islamic institutions in East Jerusalem have lodged repeated protests over excavations being carried out by the Israeli authorities under the flashpoint mosque compound.

In a statement, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Islamic Council and a former Al-Aqsa imam, stressed that the Al-Buraq Wall was a component of the Al-Aqsa’s western wall.

“The wall is part of our Islamic heritage and will remain so until Judgment Day,” Sabri said.

“The Israeli occupation has no claim on Jerusalem’s heritage,” he added. “This new synagogue… doesn’t have any historical roots.”

“All new construction by the [Israeli] occupation authorities in Jerusalem is illegitimate and lacks a historical basis,” Sabri said, adding the holy city “cannot be partitioned”.

In October 2016, UNESCO voted on a resolution which denied any Jewish connection to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Buraq Wall in occupied Jerusalem.

Tension has mounted in the occupied territories since US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on 6 December, drawing condemnation from across the world. Yesterday the United Nationals Security Council voted 14 to one against Trump’s decision, however due to the US power of veto a resolution could not be passed against his unilateral move.

Read alsoIsrael to allocate $50m to explore foundations of alleged Temple

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | Leave a comment

Israeli forces detain 17-year-old Palestinian girl in overnight raid

Ma’an – December 19, 2017

RAMALLAH – Israeli forces detained a 17-year-old Palestinian girl from the Nabi Saleh village in northwestern Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Tuesday morning before dawn.

Israeli forces raided the home of the al-Tamimi family, well-known internationally for their activism against the Israeli occupation, and detained Ahed al-Tamimi, 17.

Israeli forces also confiscated computers, mobile phones and cameras from the house during the raid.

According to locals, Ahed was arrested over a video went viral on social media of her slapping an armed Israeli officer during a raid on Nabi Saleh.

Ahed Tamimi is well-known across Palestine and the Arab world for videos of her, since her childhood, defiantly resisting Israeli soldiers who clash with Palestinians in her village nearly every week.

Two years ago, her family made headlines when an Israeli soldier violently attempted to arrest her younger brother , who had one arm in a cast at the time. Ahed and her mother managed to pull the soldier of her brother and free him.

Israeli military raids into Palestinian cities, towns, and refugee camps are a near daily occurrence.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), since US President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli forces have detained 450 Palestinians, including 138 minors, and nine women.

Prisoners rights group Addameer recorded 6,198 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of October. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.

Tamimi family under attack: Bassem Tamimi seized from Ofer court as daughter Ahed’s detention extended

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – December 20, 2017

Palestinian organizer Bassem Tamimi, a prominent land defender in the village of Nabi Saleh, was seized by Israeli occupation forces – joining his wife, Nariman, and his daughter, Ahed – was also seized by Israeli occupation forces today, 20 December.

He was arrested as he attended the hearing for his daughter Ahed in Ofer military court, where her detention was extended for 10 days for further interrogation. This came one day after both Ahed and then her mother were arrested by occupation forces following attacks on them in Israeli media for protesting and defending their land from Israeli occupation soldiers who had shot another local boy, 14-year-old Mohammed Tamimi, in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet.

In overnight, violent raids, occupation forces seized a cousin of the family, Nour Tamimi, 21, from her family home in Nabi Saleh. This means that Ahed and both of her parents, Nariman and Bassem – all of whom are leading land defenders in Nabi Saleh – are currently seized by the Israeli occupation forces. … continue

Israeli forces arrest Palestinian mother hours after detaining her teenage daughter

Ma’an – December 19, 2017

BETHLEHEM – The mother of a Palestinian teenage girl, who was detained from her home by Israeli forces before dawn on Tuesday, was reportedly detained at an Israeli police station when seeking information about her daughter’s whereabouts.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that Nariman al-Tamimi was detained by Israeli officers on Tuesday morning at the Benyamin police station, north of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.

Nariman was attempting to seek information about her 17-year-old daughter Ahed, who was arrested from their home in the village of Nabi Saleh hours earlier.

The whereabouts of both Nariman and Ahed remained unknown.

The al-Tamimi family is well-known internationally for their activism against the Israeli occupation, with Ahed in particular being the subject of several viral videos in which she defiantly stands up to Israeli soldiers who regularly raid her village in the central West Bank Ramallah district.

Two years ago, the family made headlines when an Israeli soldier violently attempted to arrest Nariman’s son Muhammad , who had one arm in a cast at the time. Ahed and Nariman managed to pull the soldier off of Muhammad and free him.

Palestinian teen remains in a coma after being shot in head by Israeli forces

Ma’an – December 19, 2017

RAMALLAH – Fourteen-year-old Muhammad Fadel al-Tamimi remains in a medically-induced coma as of Tuesday, days after he was hot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian teenager, a resident of the central occupied West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, was injured during clashes in his village on Friday.

According to locals, the bullet settled in the boy’s skull after it entered his face below his nose and broke his jaw.

The teenager is currently being held in the ICU of the al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah.

Al-Tamimi, a former prisoner, was detained when he was 13 years old, and was previously injured several times during weekly clashes in his village.

His cousin, 17-year-old Ahed al-Tamimi, was detained on Tuesday morning by Israeli forces for slapping and kicking Israeli soldiers on the same day that Muhammad was injured.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian Rage will rise to the Surface in Time

By Jonathan Cook | The National | December 18, 2017

It is tempting to interpret the announcement this week of a delay until the new year in US vice-president Mike Pence’s visit to the Middle East as the ultimate travel warning. It follows an eruption of regional unrest over Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

During protests last Friday, Israeli occupation forces killed four Palestinians and injured more than 250.

US officials, however, are not worried about Pence’s safety. In fact, predictions of a third Palestinian uprising in response to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration may be premature.

After decades of flagrant US bias towards Israel, Trump has confirmed to Palestinians only what they already knew. Some even grudgingly welcomed his candour. They hope he has finally silenced US claims to being an “honest broker” in an interminable “peace process” that has simply bought time for Israel to entrench the occupation.

The Palestinians’ anger towards Israel and the US is a slow-burning fuse. It will detonate at a moment of their choosing, not of Trump’s.

Rather, the hesitation in Washington over the vice-president’s visit reflects the messy new diplomatic reality that the White House has unleashed.

Pence was due here to smooth the path to Trump’s long-promised peace plan and to highlight the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The door has now been firmly shut in his face on both counts. Palestinian officials have declared a boycott of him, as have Christian leaders in Palestine and Egypt.

Instead of cancelling Pence’s visit or exploiting the extra breathing space to try to reverse the damage, the bull-headed Trump administration has indicated it is eager to break more of the china.

Denied access to Palestinian officials, his schedule will focus on Israel. Following a diplomatic precedent set by his boss in May, Pence is due to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s occupied Old City and immediately below the Al Aqsa mosque plaza.

His visit, however, has been billed as “official”, not private. And it will be invested with far graver symbolism, given Trump’s designation of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

To add insult to injury, and in contravention of claims that Washington will not pre-determine the borders of a divided Jerusalem before peace talks, an unnamed senior US official gave Pence’s visit an even more troubling context. He noted that there was no scenario in which the US did not see the Western Wall ending up in Israel’s hands.

The US policy change on Jerusalem has been a hammer blow to the three main pillars supporting the cause of Palestinian statehood: the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and the Arab states.

The biggest loser is Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Washington stripped him of his emperor’s clothes: he now heads a Palestinian government-in-waiting that is unlikely ever to be attached to a state, viable or otherwise.

The Arab states, which assumed they were the key to a much-touted “outside-in” strategy, creating a regional framework for peace, have been deprived of the single issue – Jerusalem – that matters most to them.

Egypt scrambled to help Abbas at the weekend by drafting a UN security resolution to rescind any change of status for Jerusalem. But an inevitable US veto made the move moot.

And Europe, which has played “good cop” to the bullying US one, has been exposed as complicit in its partner’s rogue behaviour.

Europe’s predicament is underscored by its peace-making rhetoric. It has long cried wolf, warning that a moment would soon arrive when a two-state solution was no longer feasible, when a temporary occupation morphed into permanent apartheid.

Now that the heart of a Palestinian state has been publicly devoured by the wolf, what will Europe and Abbas do?

The signs are that they will pretend nothing has changed – if only out of fear of what might fill the void if peace-making were exposed as a hollow charade.

But it is precisely the pretence of a peace process that has kept Palestinians chained to an illusion. The perpetuation of false hope about statehood does not benefit Palestinians; it preserves a calm that aids Israel.

That was why the White House accused Abbas of walking away from dialogue last week. But only a fool keeps on appealing to the better nature of a deaf thug.

The burden now falls on the PA, the Arab states and Europe to accept the new reality, and assert a policy independent of the US.

Some Palestinian leaders, like Hanan Ashrawi, already understand this. “Trump’s move is a new era,” she said last week. “There’s no going back.”

Palestinian goals and strategies must be reassessed. Nonetheless, the pressures for a return to the “peace” business as usual will be intense.

Ordinary Palestinians in Jerusalem may be the first to signal the new direction of struggle – one that recognises that a Palestinian state is dead and buried.

In recent years, growing numbers have started applying, as Israeli law entitles them to, for Israeli citizenship. Israel has twisted and turned to delay honouring its commitment, even as it calls Jerusalem its “united capital”.

Palestinians will have to shame Israel, the US and the watching world by adopting the tools of an anti-apartheid struggle – of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience – to gain equal rights in a single state.

At the moment, the undercurrents of Palestinian rage chiefly swirl below the surface. But they will rise in time, and the consequences of Trump’s deed will become all too apparent.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Everyone benefits from Israeli tech companies, except the Palestinians

By Alastair Sloan | MEMO | December 17, 2107

In an op-ed for a special annual edition of The Economist, Benjamin Netanyahu calls his country “Innovation Nation”. The Israeli Prime Minister writes that “people everywhere benefit from Israeli innovations in their mobile phones, car navigation systems, life-saving drugs, medical devices – even in the cherry tomatoes in their salads”.

Ever built a website using Wix, chatted with friends abroad using Viber, found your way across town using Waze? If you have asthma you might look to SmartAir, which helps patients with warnings about air quality, preventing potentially deadly asthma attacks. If you suffer from a debilitating stutter, therapy start-up Novotalk could help. Recently bashed yourself on the head? The similarly named BrainTalk can listen to a five minute recording of your voice and see if you have brain damage.

All of these technology companies are Israeli. “We leverage government spending on military intelligence,” Netanyahu boasts, “by encouraging veterans to form thousands of civilian IT and cyber-start-ups.” Indeed, all of these companies were created by veterans of the secretive Unit 8200, Israel’s equivalent to the United States’ NSA or Britain’s GCHQ. The unit dominates Israel’s so-called Silicon Wadi with many job advertisements requiring “a degree in computer science or a graduate of a technological unit” – that unit ideally being Unit 8200.

The argument put forward in Netanyahu’s article was not rare. The British government frequently emphasises the vibrancy of Israel’s startup scene, but has never – to my knowledge – acknowledged that so much of this is owed to an Israeli intelligence outfit which is not a purely defensive or traditional military intelligence organisation.

In September 2014 three active reservists and former commanders within Unit 8200 said they no longer felt the organisation existed to protect Israel from discrete and legitimate threats, like an Iranian nuclear strike or an assault by Hamas or Hezbollah militants.

Instead, Unit 8200 is a tool of occupation. One whistleblower’s father had suffered under the Argentinian junta and his son could see parallels. However excellent the products of Israel’s Silicon Wadi, it does put its products in a different light if the skills they are built with derive from military occupation. According to Forbes, more than 1,000 companies have been founded by Unit 8200 alumni.

Naturally Israel is entitled to its own signals intelligence outfit, as is any nation. Terrorist attacks have been prevented on British soil because of it.

In general, though, when Netanyahu wrote that “people everywhere” benefit from Israeli technologies he was being misleading.

You only have to go a few kilometres into the West Bank or south into Gaza to realise “everyone but the Palestinians” is more accurate. That means that the same people who are being occupied using Unit 8200 technology are not even benefiting from the startups that have spawned from its members once they leave service.

Waze – the alternative to Google Maps founded by Unit 8200 veterans – does not give directions within the West Bank. It is not as if the political challenges are too great – a Belarus start-up, Maps.Me, has managed it. This begs the question as to why Waze won’t oblige.

Most mobile apps are impossible to use in occupied Palestine because under the terms of Israeli oversight, only 2G phone networks – painfully slow by modern standards – have been permitted. In contrast, Israel has the third best 3G and 4G availability of any country in the world.

The arguments put forward against allowing Palestinians access to modern smartphone have largely been based on security, with supporters of the occupation saying that 3G and 4G are harder to hack.

Not only is this technologically disputable and more likely being done to privilege Israeli telecoms operators, as argued in a Mondoweiss article published last week, it would be a major shortcoming of Unit 8200 if they could not hack Iranian or Lebanese telecommunications – where 3G and 4G penetration is rapidly growing.

One suspects serving Unit 8200 officers would be red-faced, rankled and rabidly keen to show off their abilities if challenged on this point.

We are left then with the commercial fruit of a fundamentally rotten occupation being popular around the world, used by Israeli premiers to whitewash their country’s controversial military strategy, praised by international allies, and lapped up by hundreds of millions of customers globally. Even BDS activists can’t seem to escape the reach of Unit 8200 success – in 2013 campaigning group Cornell Students for Justice Palestine were found to have used Wix to design their own anti-Israel web offering. Meanwhile Palestinians are left in the digital stone age.

It sounds unfair because it is.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ‘Last Martyr’: Who Killed My Neighbor, Kamal Al-Assar?

Posters of Kamal Al-Assar following his death in 2008. (Photo: Supplied)
By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | December 9, 2017

When I learned of the death of Kamal Al-Assar a few years ago, I was baffled. He was only in his 40s. I remember him in his prime, a young rebel, leading the neighborhood youth, armed with rocks and slingshots, in a hopeless battle against the Israeli army. Understandably, we lost, but we won something far more valuable than a military victory. We reclaimed our identity.

At every anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada, a popular uprising that placed the Palestinian people firmly on the map of world consciousness, I think of all the friends and neighbors I have lost, and those I have left behind. The image of Ra’ed Mu’anis, in particular, haunts me. When an Israeli sniper’s bullet plunged into his throat, he ran across the neighborhood to find help before he collapsed at the graffiti-washed walls of my house.

“Freedom. Dignity. Revolution,” was written in large red letters on the wall, a pronouncement signed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Only later I learned that Kamal was the one who carried Ra’ed out of the firing zone. But it was too late. Ra’ed, a skinny and feeble teenager, with a distinct black mark on his forehead had bled alone at the steps of my home. When he was buried, hundreds of refugees descended on the Martyrs Graveyard. They carried Palestinian flags and chanted for the Intifada and the long-coveted freedom. Ra’ed’s mother was too weakened by her grief to join the procession. His father tried to stay strong, but wept uncontrollably instead.

Kamal was revitalized by the Intifada. When the uprising broke out, he emerged from his own solitude. Life made sense once again.

For him, as for me and many of our generation, the Intifada was not a political event. It was an act of personal – as much as collective – liberation: the ability to articulate who we were at a time when all seemed lost. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) languished in Tunisia after being forced to leave Lebanon in 1982. Arab governments seemed to have lost interest in Palestine altogether. Israel emerged triumphant and invincible.

And we – those living under protracted military occupation – felt completely abandoned.

When, on December 8, 1987, thousands took to the streets of Jabaliya Refugee Camp, the Gaza Strip’s largest and poorest camp, the timing and the location of their uprising was most fitting, rational and necessary. Earlier on that day, an Israeli truck had run over a row of cars carrying Palestinian laborers, killing four young men. For Jabaliya, as with the rest of Palestine, it was the last straw.

Responding to the chants and pleas of the Jabaliya mourners, the refugees in my refugee camp – Nuseirat – marched to the Israeli military barracks, known as the “tents”, where hundreds of soldiers had tormented my camp’s residents for years.

In the morning of December 9, thousands of Nuseirat youth took to the streets and vowed to avenge the innocent blood of the Jabaliya victims of the previous day. They swung large flags made of silky fabric that swayed beautifully in Gaza’s salty air and, as the momentum grew and they became intoxicated by their own collective chants, they marched to the “tents” where the soldiers were uneasily perched on the tops of watchtowers, hiding behind their binoculars and automatic machine guns.

Within minutes, a war had started and a third generation of refugee-camp-born fellahin peasants stood fearlessly against a well-equipped army that was visibly gripped by fear and confusion. The soldiers wounded many that day and several children were killed.

Kamal was on the frontlines. He waved the largest flag, chanting the loudest, threw rocks the furthest and incessantly urged young men not to retreat.

Kamal hated school as well as his teachers. To him they seemed so docile, adhering to the rules of the occupier which decreed that Palestinians not teach their own history, so that the fellahin were denied even the right to remember who they were or where they came from. The Intifada was the paradigm shift that offered an alternative – however temporary, however chaotic – to the methodical humiliation of life under occupation.

Within hours, Kamal felt liberated. He was no longer tucked away in a dark room reading the works of Marx and Gramsci. He was in the streets of Nuseirat fashioning his own utopia.

The Intifada was that transformational period that saved a generation from being entirely lost, and Palestine from being forgotten. It offered a new world, that of solidarity, camaraderie and wild youth who needed no one to speak on their behalf.

Within weeks of bloody clashes in which hundreds of youth fell dead or wounded, the nature of the Intifada became clearer. On one hand, it was a popular struggle of civil disobedience, mass protests, commercial and labor strikes, refusal to pay taxes and so on. On the other hand, militant cells of refugee youth were beginning to organize and leave their mark, as well.

The militancy of the intifada did not become apparent until later, when the repression by the Israeli government grew more violent. Under the banner of the “Iron Fist” campaign, a new Israeli stratagem was devised, that of the “broken bones” policy. Once captured, youth had their hands and legs broken by soldiers in a systematic and heartless manner. In my neighborhood, children with casts and crutches seemed to outnumber those without.

Kamal was eventually detained from his home. He attempted to escape but the entire neighborhood was teeming with soldiers, who arrived at night as they always do. They commenced the torturous rite in his living room, as his mother – the resilient, Tamam – shoved her body between him and the ruthless men.

When Kamal regained consciousness, he found himself in a small cell, with thick, unwashed walls that felt cold and foreign. He spent most of his prison time in the torture chamber. His survival was itself nothing less than a miracle.

When the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, officially ending the Intifada, Kamal’s generation felt betrayed. Nothing good came out of that “peace”, except that a few rich Palestinians grew even richer.

Kamal died a few years ago. I learned that his revolution never ceased. He became a teacher, laboring to reconstruct the history of his people at a local Gaza university. His mother, now an old refugee in Nuseirat is still heartbroken over her son’s death. She told me that Kamal’s wounds and physical ailments from prison never healed.

Kamal was a martyr, she told me. Perhaps the last martyr in an uprising that was not meant to liberate land, but liberate people from the idea that they were meant to exist as perpetual victims; and it did.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Guardian Newspaper Pushing Fake News: ‘Putin Plotting to Cut Off UK Internet’

21WIRE | December 18, 2017

Although not as intense as the US mainstream media, the UK mainstream outlets are producing their share of fabricated narratives intended to stoke fear into the minds of the British public.

This latest fish tale comes from The Guardian newspaper, as “defense correspondent” attempts to revive a two year-old mainstream media conspiracy theory about a secret Russian plot to cut transatlantic undersea internet cables which connect Britain and the United States. MacAskil writes:

“Russia could pose a major threat to the UK and other NATO nations by cutting underwater cables essential for international commerce and the internet, the chief of the British defence staff, Sir Stuart Peach, has warned.

Russian ships have been regularly spotted close to the Atlantic cables that carry communications between the US and Europe and elsewhere around the world.”

It turns out that this latest attempt by The Guardian to stoke fear in the minds of the British public – is a recycled version of a 2015 piece of mainstream fake news, apparently stitched together by the New York Times. It reads like something out of Cold War B movie, with shades of the Hunt for Red October:

“Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.

The issue goes beyond old worries during the Cold War that the Russians would tap into the cables — a task American intelligence agencies also mastered decades ago. The alarm today is deeper: The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West’s governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent.”

It seems that in the absence of an actual threat, mainstream media outlets like The Guardian and the New York Times are left with nothing else but to fabricate various Russian subversion narratives – with no actual evidence ever presented – in order to construct a public perception that Russia is somehow undermining all aspects of British and American society.

The Guardian Lies About Syria

McKaskel’s Red October article also has a conspicuous statement where the author attempts to bracket Russia’s legal (unlike the US and Britain’s illegal covert and fly-over ops) intervention in Syria with ‘hybrid warfare’ and ‘destablising NATO’. The propaganda value here is breathtaking:

“As well as conventional military involvement in Syria, Russia has been accused of engaging in hybrid warfare, including cyberwarfare, aimed at destabilising NATO.”

Rather than investigate and publish real news, it seems that the once respected liberal standard bearer The Guardian is firmly in the mainstream media’s fake new camp – promoting the NATO member state and US-UK establishment conspiracy theory that Russia is plotting to do all manner of evil and subterfuge in Europe and the US.

Meanwhile, editors at the Guardian refuse to do an real investigation in the the full scope of the UK government’s covert slush fund in Syria. As 21WIRE reported earlier this month:

“The BBC will be carrying out a controlled journalistic “explosion” on their Panorama programme, airing tonight in the UK. Their report, dramatically titled, “Jihadis You Pay For” is about to expose UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for the funding of extremist and terrorist groups in Syria via their “Free Syrian Police” project set-up in ‘rebel-held’ areas of Syria since 2014. To referee this virtual clash of the titans, The Guardian has been drafted-in to do the honours.”

“The report, Jihadis You Pay For, will claim that Foreign Office money paid to the FSP reached people with links to the extremist group al-Nusra Front.” ~ The Guardian

In fact, it was The Guardian newspaper who actively campaigned on behalf of the UK and US government-funded pseudo “NGO” known as the White Helmets to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. This, despite the fact that this western ‘first-responder’ construct has clear links to al Qaeda terrorists affiliates in Syria.

Here is good example of how The Guardian has been spinning blatant fake news about Syria. In their Nobel Prize promotional piece for the White Helmets, they printed a number of false and misleading statements. Here is one of them:

“In Aleppo, 300,000 people are exposed to a relentless barrage of airstrikes. The Syrian government and Russia now seem intent on crushing Aleppo, the opposition’s last stronghold, before a new American president takes office.”

What the Guardian conveniently fail to mention is the fact that the terrorists brigades backed by NATO members and Gulf-states – only occupied East Aleppo with an estimated remaining population of around 160,000. In contrast, there were some 1.4 million Syrians living under government protection in the much larger West Aleppo. These residents were under siege by terrorist Hell Cannons and random mortar fire which claimed at least 11,000 innocent lives during the terrorist occupation of East Aleppo. This was a common mainstream media trick which was more or less standard practice across most mainstream corporate outlets. Unlike the fabricated and totally undocumented and very likely falsified claims by the White Helmets that they “saved 90,000 lives” between late 2013 and 2017, the 11,000+ civilians deaths in West Aleppo at the hands of NATO and Gulf-backed terrorists are all documented by the Aleppo Medical Association.

The Guardian also claim that the White Helmets are “volunteers” – when in fact they are paid a regular salary which is much higher than the national average salary in Syria – a fact conveniently left out in the Guardian’s apparent foreign office propaganda piece:

“This is the backdrop against which the White Helmets operate – a western-funded Syrian search-and-rescue organisation whose members put their lives at great risk to save civilians, receiving only a monthly stipend of $150.”

The Guardian’s “journalists” would never dare mention that the White Helmet’s ‘monthly stipend’ is far in excess of the standard salary for a Syrian Army soldier who makes far below $100 per month.

To call any this journalism would be a gross overstatement.

By this account, The Guardian are guilty of the most egregious form of propaganda throughout its shameful coverage of Syria over the last 7 years.

Read more about the White Helmets here.

SEE ALSO: The Guardian Exposed – Conning Public into Financing ‘Independent Journalism’

VIDEO: Watch this Fake rescue video filmed and released by the White Helmets

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

‘Forces deep within US deep state’ are behind Trump’s national security strategy: Scholar

Press TV – December 19, 2017

US President Donald Trump’s national security strategy has been formulated by “forces deep within the US deep state,” says Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs. It is “simply the foreign policy of US imperialism in decline.”

Etler, a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday while commenting Trump’s new strategy that envisions a world in which the United States confronts China and Russia.

“Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition,” Trump said during a speech meant to outline the 55-page document, drafted over the course of a year.

“China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” he claimed, but then added, “We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries.”

What is the deep state?

“Don’t be fooled by Trump’s national security strategy. It’s not his, it’s the consensus document of forces deep within the US deep state,” Professor Etler told Press TV.

“What is the deep state? It is none other than the continuing executive apparatus of the corporate capitalist/military industrial-congressional complex, national security state. While riven with factions they unite under one banner, the preservation of US global hegemony and the full-spectrum dominance of US imperialism,” he noted.

“As historic circumstances change so does the US national security strategy. Under the Clinton administration Russia was prostrate and China was still under developed. Neither posed a threat to US interests worldwide and it would have been chimeric to think they could influence US domestic affairs,” he stated.

“The neo-liberal Clintonian foreign policy, also pursued by the Obama/Clinton administration, envisioned a world in which the values of corporate and financial capitalism were deemed universal and the rules and regulations of international commerce were dictated by the US. Any deviation from the imperial system mandated and imposed upon the world by the US after WW2 and the end of the Cold War had to be confronted and destroyed by whatever means possible. This entailed a policy of subversion of sovereign states by infiltration and outright interference in their internal affairs to enlist fifth columnists and install subservient clients in power,” the analyst said.

US plans for Russia, China have failed

“As regards the vanquished Russians, it meant its integration into the capitalist world order under the tutelage of the US as a neutered dependency and supplier of raw materials. To ensure Russia’s acquiescence to its subservient position NATO was expanded to include former Soviet allies in eastern and central Europe, putting the US military alliance on Russia’s doorstep,” Professor Etler said.

“China was seen as ripe for the picking of US corporations who could outsource production and in turn import the goods so produced to their great profit. No thought was given to the possible negative implications of this policy for the health of the US economy or the growth of the Chinese economy,” he stated.

“It was felt that China’s integration into the global capitalist economy dominated by the US would have a corrosive effect on Chinese institutions, undermining them to the extent that a soft coup led by US influenced economists, academics and human rights NGOs would eventually prevail, turning the PRC into another US client state,” the scholar observed.

“The neo-con national security strategy, first presented to Clinton, called for a more proactive and aggressive foreign policy. A full court press to impose US hegemony throughout the world and foreclose the possibility of any resistance. Its motto could have been borrowed from Star Trek’s Borg, ‘Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated,’ into the US empire or else,” he pointed out.

‘Project for the New American Century’

“Without any real competitor after the demise of the Soviet Union and the defeat of the specter of Communism, the US had to find a new enemy to rationalize its immense military expenditures and global military occupation. As foretold in the infamous ‘Project for the New American Century’ (PNAC) manifesto that was to become the global ‘War on Terrorism,’ which had to be manufactured and nurtured in order to sustain US imperialist global domination. This entailed the more proactive and preemptive national security strategy under the Bush administration,” Professor Etler said.

“The blowback from Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the financial crisis that ensued sowed the bankruptcy of the neo-con national security strategy. Obama promised an end to foreign wars and entanglements, but his campaign rhetoric was short lived and he continued a two pronged national security strategy which incorporated both neo-liberal and neo-conservative policies, which for all intents and purposes were complementary, being flip sides of the same coin,” he stated.

“Obama’s national security strategy was thus the worst of both worlds. But it is a misnomer to call it Obama’s policy, just as it was a misnomer to call it Bush’s or Clinton’s policy. The national security strategy of their administrations was the consensus policy of US imperialism during their tenures in office,” he emphasized.

US imperialism faces existential threat

“The problem with both the neo-lib and neo-con iterations of US imperialist national security strategy was the changing global balance of power. This was led by the reestablishment and expansion of both Russian and Chinese freedom of action,” the academic said.

“Russia under Putin and China under XI began to push back against US hubris and hegemony. The resurgence of Russian military power as exemplified by its support of Syrian independence and sovereignty against the onslaught of US-Israeli-Saudi backed terrorism and the explosive growth of Chinese economic power and influence exemplified by the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) has put the US on the defensive,” he noted.

“Hence, the growth of US nationalism epitomized by Trump’s slogan of ‘America First.’ It matters little what Trump thinks and says, he is simply a useful idiot of the Imperialist interests of the deep state as it enters a new historic period in which it is more and more on the defensive and must reassert its prerogatives in order to maintain its dominance,” he said.

The Trump national security strategy is simply the foreign policy of US imperialism in decline in which it finds itself in an existential crisis brought on by the rise of China, Russia and the looming alliance of free and sovereign nations in opposition to the death culture of US imperialism,” the commentator concluded.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

A Good Year for Israel and Its Friends

A bad year for the U.S. Constitution

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • December 19, 2017

The unfortunate Donald Trump Administration decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel serves no visible American interest, in spite of what some of the always-loyal-to-Israel punditry has been suggesting. Israel is already moving to exploit the situation in its usual fashion. Immediately after the announcement was made, Israeli Ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer suggested that the decision on Jerusalem could now be extended to include other disputed areas, most particularly Syria’s Golan Heights that were occupied in 1967. And the decision on Jerusalem itself will quite likely prove elastic as the Israeli government has already prepared legislation to incorporate large chunks of settlements into the city limits, far beyond the historic boundaries.

The currently popular among Zionists argument that recognizing Jerusalem will somehow perversely accelerate a drive for a final peace settlement with Israel as it will demonstrate to the Palestinians just how hopeless their cause is has little merit as desperation is more likely to lead to increased violence than a political solution. A more intriguing reading suggests that Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia are conniving at squeezing even more Palestinians into a slightly enlarged prison-camp in Gaza, leaving the rest of the West Bank open for absorption by Israel. Again, such an outcome is not very likely as the 2.5 million Palestinians remaining in the region will likely have some say regarding the issue no matter how much pressure is exerted by the Saudis and Jared Kushner for them to submit.

Nothing good will come out of the Trump decision as the situation in the region is already starting to unravel. The Turks are talking about opening an Embassy to Palestine in East Jerusalem and the 56 other Muslim countries in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation might follow suit. Israel, which has physical control of the entire city, would use force to prevent that, creating some interesting new points of conflict in the Middle East. The U.S. would, of course, become involved given its role as Israel’s patron and protector. The evolving situation is likely to develop into Israel and the United States versus the rest of the world, with unfortunate consequences as the conflict will spill over into normally unrelated issues like trade and otherwise innocuous international agreements, while American travelers and businesses will increasingly become targets for terrorism.

If you want to understand the reason why the United States cannot pursue sensible objectives in the Middle East or anywhere else, one has to look no farther than the all too often Israel-centric neocons who have become adept at advising nearly everyone in the government from the White House on down regarding what should be done, particularly in foreign policy. The Trump Administration’s slowness in filling senior positions has meant that there are many vacancies, which has opened the door to eager neoconservative-leaning nominal Republicans to re-enter government. At the State Department Brian Hook of the neocon John Hay Initiative is now chief of policy planning, courtesy of Margaret Peterlin, Tillerson’s chief of staff. They have recently hired David Feith, the son of the infamous Pentagon Office of Special Plans head Doug Feith, to head the Asia desk. And Wes Mitchell, whose policies are largely indistinguishable from his predecessor, has replaced Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. While Elliot Abrams, Eliot Cohen, the Kagans and other prominent neocons have been blocked, second-tier activists carrying less political baggage have quietly been brought in.

And Congress is to a certain extent the source of all evil, as its numerous committee meetings gorge on advice from experts who are frequently anything but, reflecting the hardline views of many of the legislators themselves with nary a contrary opinion in sight. A recent session of the Senate Armed Services Committee featured a statement by leading neocon Eric Edelman. His presentation is hawkish in the extreme, with particular focus on Iran and Russia. It can be summarized briefly by citing some of the section headings: “Adopt a post-ISIS Strategy for Syria and Iraq,” “Develop Credible Military Leverage Against Iran,” “Recognize Russia as an obstacle, not a partner,” “Increase internal pressure against the Iranian regime,” and “Enforce nuclear restrictions on Iran.”

So it’s garbage-in and garbage-out on how much of the government gets a large percentage of its information. And given the White House track record relating to Iran and Jerusalem over the past several months, one might also reasonably come to the conclusion that Israel will get whatever it wants, including a catastrophic war with Iran, because it’s also garbage-in at the White House by way of son-in-law Jared Kushner’s view of the Middle East.

But there is a second story playing out about Israel right here in the United States which should be even more concerning as what is happening on the ground in Palestine and Syria. You see, the problem that Israel has is that it is indeed an apartheid state based on race and religion. The 320,000 Palestinians attempting to hang on in and around East Jerusalem have no rights whatsoever and are being systematically forced out by being denied building permits and through arbitrary oversight by the Israeli military and police. Christian churches and foundations are also under pressure from the Israeli authorities but you won’t hear much about that from Congress or the White House.

The truth about Israel is quite unpleasant, so it has been necessary to construct a completely untrue but compelling counter-narrative which relies psychologically on cultivation of claims of perpetual victimhood linked repeatedly to the holocaust. The false narrative usually starts with the myth about Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East, that it is a tolerant place where all religions can worship and where everyone enjoys freedom under law. But, alas, poor Israel is treated unfairly by the international community solely because it is Jewish.

The reality of life in Israel is quite different if one bothers to ask any Palestinian Christian or Muslim who has the misfortune to live there. Or if one reads about the essentially racist de-humanization of Arabs by Israelis, which has led to the killing, beating and imprisonment of children as well as an army sniper’s recent shooting dead of a legless Palestinian protester in a wheelchair.

And once you construct the false narrative you have to protect it by making sure that no one can easily pose a challenge to it. Much of the national media is on board this effort, voluntarily limiting or eliminating any coverage that is negative about Israel. And major players in the alternative media community have come around also, with increasing direct censorship and other manipulation of material appearing on sites like Facebook and Google. The ultimate objective of the Israel Lobby is to follow the example in some European countries, where criticism of Israel is equated to anti-Semitism and is therefore categorized as a hate crime, with both civil and criminal penalties attached.

I have previously reported on how 24 states are now requiring statements pledging not to boycott Israel from those citizens and organizations that receive government funding or even seek local government employment. And there is the reported progress in Congress of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which constitute two major steps forward in the same direction. Both seek to define as anti-Semitism any criticism of Israel. On December 12th the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act was approved by the House of Representatives with 402 affirmative votes and only two libertarian-leaning congressmen voting “no.” The Israel Anti-Boycott Act that is also currently making its way through the Congress would far exceed what is happening at the state level and would set a new standard for deference to Israeli interests on the part of the national government. It would criminalize any U.S. citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israel or who even goes about “requesting the furnishing of information” regarding it, with penalties enforced through amendments of two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Act of 1945, that include potential fines of between $250,000 and $1 million and up to 20 years in prison. According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Senate bill was drafted with the assistance of AIPAC.

Perhaps more dangerous than current and pending legislation, which is already being challenged in courts as a violation of First Amendment rights, are the bureaucrats being put in place by the Trump Administration to interpret and enforce laws and regulations. As we have discovered from the James Comey experience and the activities of some of his associates, senior bureaucrats have considerable freedom to interpret how they should carry out their responsibilities, making the “rule of law” standard for ethical government somewhat mythical. In that light, the recent naming of Kenneth Marcus as head of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education should be raising red flags for those who are concerned about civil liberties.

Marcus is currently head of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, which he founded in 2011. The Center has been involved in serial litigation with one objective – stopping protests staged by students at colleges and universities against Israeli policies. Marcus is focused on silencing the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which has been gaining in popularity among young Americans, and which the Israeli government sees as a major threat to its legitimacy. The Brandeis Center mission statement is clear: “The leading civil and human rights challenge facing North American Jewry is the resurgent problem of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on university campuses.”

For those who respond “So what? Marcus has a right to promote his viewpoints by whatever means,” the response might well be that his appointment is putting someone with a clear agenda in charge of an organization established to make sure there are no agendas relating to the civil rights of students. To be sure, Marcus has never won a case in court, but that is not what he is seeking to do. He is more interested in creating trouble, bad publicity and in driving up the costs due to litigation. As he describes it, “These cases – even when rejected – expose administrators to bad publicity… If a university shows a failure to treat initial complaints seriously, it hurts them with donors, faculty, political leaders and prospective students.”

Marcus will have the power and authority to deny federal funds to colleges and universities that do not meet his standards for action to quell the rising tide of Israel criticism, making him little different than the journalist who writes puff pieces on Israel or the politicians who takes PAC money and stands up twenty-nine times to applaud the monstrous Benjamin Netanyahu. Indeed, at Marcus’ confirmation hearing not one Senator asked him about his full-time advocacy for Israel.

Many universities are dependent on federal dollars and have already taken administrative steps to distance themselves from Israel criticism or to ban it altogether. Marcus will be able to move the bar even lower, putting pressure on colleges to drive the “Israel haters,” as he refers to them, out of the educational system. It is possible to foresee a future in which students will be free to criticize the United States on campus while discussing the foreign state of Israel with any candor will be forbidden.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment