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Meet Pierre Omidyar, billionaire patron of US regime change operations, neocons & activist media

Pierre Omidyar speaks at a ‘Technology For Citizen Empowerment and Human Rights’ panel at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, September 23, 2010 © AFP / Brian Harkin
RT | February 22, 2019

Amid the US push for regime change in Venezuela, RT speaks with investigative journalists who looked into the eBay founder and self-described “progressive” billionaire Pierre Omidyar, a major patron of regime-change operations.

An ongoing series in MintPress News, written by Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal, is a rare look into the projects undertaken by the “progressive philanthropreneur,” who has been praised by the liberal interventionist establishment for following in the footsteps of George Soros but attracts far less media attention.

“Part of the reason for doing this investigation was to inspire more scrutiny of Pierre Omidyar,” Rubinstein told RT. “There are mountains of newsworthy bits of information about many of the organizations he funds, but the sad reality is that it would require a team of at least half a dozen journalists working overtime to fully make sense of it all.”

Detail of a chart showing the connections between Pierre Omidyar and various media outlets, foundations, activists and outfits. ©  MintPress News

The second part in Blumenthal and Rubinstein’s series, published Wednesday, took a particular interest in Omidyar’s ties to organizations promoting “regime change.” In Ukraine, it was a TV station (Hromadske) that backed what turned into a violent 2014 coup against the government in Kiev. In Zimbabwe, Omidyar money funded a “cultural activist network” that campaigned for the ouster of President Robert Mugabe in 2017. And in the Philippines Omidyar is backing The Rappler, a news site opposed to President Rodrigo Duterte that is developing surveillance technologies like a “mood meter” of the audience to capture – and channel? – “non-rational reactions.”

Not progressivism but power

Omidyar is not doing this on his own, either, working hand in hand with US Agency for International Aid and Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

“He has the money and – for one reason or another– the desire to participate in such destabilizing policies,” Rubinstein told RT, noting that the billionaire’s embrace of such projects makes him “the perfect private partner for the US government” in seeking regime change abroad.

How does a self-described progressive find himself riding the horse of regime change? This is one of the questions Rubinstein and Blumenthal hope further research will answer. Their digging has found Omidyar’s money behind the Alliance for Securing Democracy and The Bulwark – projects led by NeverTrump neoconservative Bill Kristol that push “Russiagate” and carry the torch of interventionism.

“If partnering with the neocon think tank guru who was a main conduit for US government messaging in the lead-up to the Iraq War is ‘progressive’ then I think it’s time we retire the term,” Rubinstein told RT.

He believes that Omidyar is not driving the regime-change agenda, but going along with it in “the perfect alliance of convenience.”

“If you’re looking for a coherent ideology that permeates through each of Omidyar’s investments, it’s not progressivism: it’s power… and power lies with empire,” Rubinstein said.

More specifically, Omidyar is looking to manage all areas of modern life, from journalism and transportation to banking and finance and government administration, journalist Yasha Levine, author of ‘Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet,’ told MintPress.

To him it’s not just about running a single service, but integrating things together to give technocrats, business executives and government officials a God’s-eye view of the world – to manage and control society more efficiently.

The role of Omidyar and other billionaires – who would be called ‘oligarchs’ if they were Russian but keep being presented as ‘philanthropists’ in the West – in influencing media and politics around the world is woefully under-examined, Rubinstein and Blumenthal argue.

Controlled or ‘responsible’ opposition?

Part of the problem is that Omidyar funds a wide range of media outlets through foundations, nonprofits and other cutouts, and many journalists who consider themselves independent or progressive aspire to work at Omidyar-backed Intercept, famous for publishing (some of) the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

“All of the media ventures funded by Omidyar have one thing in common: their slickness,” Rubinstein said, noting that the “cutting edge design, high production values, and the esoteric portrayal of the process of reporting” all contribute to creating the image of Omidyar-backed outlets as the “responsible opposition” in contrast to outlets with a more shoestring budget.

While Intercept editor Glenn Greenwald has been sharply critical of US foreign policy and the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory, other writers at the outlet have “carried water for al-Qaeda in Syria” and pushed Russiagate, said Rubinstein.

He described as “incredibly troubling” the fact that The Intercept has rolled out only a portion of the Snowden documents, de facto making them serve the agenda of Omidyar and his First Look Media rather than be responsibly released to the public, as Snowden intended.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Crisis of Science

The Corbett Report • 02/23/2019

In recent years, the public has gradually discovered that there is a crisis in science. But what is the problem? And how bad is it, really? Today on The Corbett Report we shine a spotlight on the series of interrelated crises that are exposing the way institutional science is practiced today, and what it means for an increasingly science-dependent society.

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TRANSCRIPT

In 2015 a study from the Institute of Diet and Health with some surprising results launched a slew of click bait articles with explosive headlines:

“Chocolate accelerates weight loss” insisted one such headline.

“Scientists say eating chocolate can help you lose weight” declared another.

“Lose 10% More Weight By Eating A Chocolate Bar Every Day… No Joke!” promised yet another.

There was just one problem: This was a joke.

The head researcher of the study, “Johannes Bohannon,” took to io9 in May of that year to reveal that his name was actually John Bohannon, the “Institute of Diet and Health” was in fact nothing more than a website, and the study showing the magical weight loss effects of chocolate consumption was bogus. The hoax was the brainchild of a German television reporter who wanted to “demonstrate just how easy it is to turn bad science into the big headlines behind diet fads.”

Given how widely the study’s surprising conclusion was publicized—from the pages of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper to the TV sets of viewers in Texas and Australia—that demonstration was remarkably successful. But although it’s tempting to write this story off as a demonstration about gullible journalists and the scientific illiteracy of the press, the hoax serves as a window into a much larger, much more troubling story.

That story is The Crisis of Science.

This is The Corbett Report.

What makes the chocolate weight loss study so revealing isn’t that it was completely fake; it’s that in an important sense it wasn’t fake. Bohannes really did conduct a weight loss study and the data really does support the conclusion that subjects who ate chocolate on a low-carb diet lose weight faster than those on a non-chocolate diet. In fact, the chocolate dieters even had better cholesterol readings. The trick was all in how the data was interpreted and reported.

As Bohannes explained in his post-hoax confession:

“Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a ‘statistically significant’ result. Our study included 18 different measurements—weight, cholesterol, sodium, blood protein levels, sleep quality, well-being, etc.—from 15 people. (One subject was dropped.) That study design is a recipe for false positives.”

You see, finding a “statistically significant result” sounds impressive and helps scientists to get their paper published in high-impact journals, but “statistical significance” is in fact easy to fake. If, like Bohannes, you use a small sample size and measure for 18 different variables, it’s almost impossible not to find some “statistically significant” result. Scientists know this, and the process of sifting through data to find “statistically significant” (but ultimately meaningless) results is so common that it has its own name: “p-hacking” or “data dredging.”

But p-hacking only scrapes the surface of the problem. From confounding factors to normalcy bias to publication pressures to outright fraud, the once-pristine image of science and scientists as an impartial font of knowledge about the world has been seriously undermined over the past decade.

Although these types of problems are by no means new, they came into vogue when John Ioannidis, a physician, researcher and writer at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, rocked the scientific community with his landmark paper “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” The 2005 paper addresses head on the concern that “most current published research findings are false,” asserting that “for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.” The paper has achieved iconic status, becoming the most downloaded paper in the Public Library of Science and launching a conversation about false results, fake data, bias, manipulation and fraud in science that continues to this day.

JOHN IOANNIDIS: This is a paper that is practically presenting a mathematical modeling of what are the chances that a research finding that is published in the literature would be true. And it uses different parameters, different aspects, in terms of: What we know before; how likely it is for something to be true in a field; how much bias are maybe in the field; what kind of results we get; and what are the statistics that are presented for the specific result.

I have been humbled that this work has drawn so much attention and people from very different scientific fields—ranging not just bio-medicine, but also psychological science, social science, even astrophysics and the other more remote disciplines—have been attracted to what that paper was trying to do.

SOURCE: John Ioannidis on Moving Toward Truth in Scientific Research

Since Ioannidis’ paper took off, the “crisis of science” has become a mainstream concern, generating headlines in the mainstream press like The Washington Post, The Economist and The Times Higher Education Supplement. It has even been picked up by mainstream science publications like Scientific American, Nature and phys.org.

So what is the problem? And how bad is it, really? And what does it mean for an increasingly tech-dependent society that something is rotten in the state of science?

To get a handle on the scope of this dilemma, we have to realize that the “crisis” of science isn’t a crisis at all, but a series of interrelated crises that get to the heart of the way institutional science is practiced today.

First, there is the Replication Crisis.

This is the canary in the coalmine of the scientific crisis in general because it tells us that a surprising percentage of scientific studies, even ones published in top-tier academic journals that are often thought of as the gold standard for experimental research, cannot be reliably reproduced. This is a symptom of a larger crisis because reproducibility is considered to be a bedrock of the scientific process.

In a nutshell, an experiment is reproducible if independent researchers can run the same experiment and get the same results at a later date. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why this is important. If an experiment is truly revealing some fundamental truth about the world then that experiment should yield the same results under the same conditions anywhere and at any time (all other things being equal).

Well, not all things are equal.

In the opening years of this decade, the Center for Open Science led a team of 240 volunteer researchers in a quest to reproduce the results of 100 psychological experiments. These experiments had all been published in three of the most prestigious psychology journals. The results of this attempt to replicate these experiments, published in 2015 in a paper on “Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science,” were abysmal. Only 39 of the experimental results could be reproduced.

Worse yet for those who would defend institutional science from its critics, these results are not confined to the realm of psychology. In 2011, Nature published a paper showing that researchers were only able to reproduce between 20 and 25 per cent of 67 published preclinical drug studies. They published another paper the next year with an even worse result: researchers could only reproduce six of a total of 53 “landmark” cancer studies. That’s a reproducibility rate of 11%.

These studies alone are persuasive, but the cherry on top came in May 2016 when Nature published the results of a survey of over 1,500 scientists finding fully 70% of them had tried and failed to reproduce published experimental results at some point. The poll covered researchers from a range of disciplines, from physicists and chemists to earth and environmental scientists to medical researchers and assorted others.

So why is there such a widespread inability to reproduce experimental results? There are a number of reasons, each of which give us another window into the greater crisis of science.

The simplest answer is the one that most fundamentally shakes the widespread belief that scientists are disinterested truthseekers who would never dream of publishing a false result or deliberately mislead others.

JAMES EVAN PILATO: Survey sheds light on the ‘crisis’ rocking research.

More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature’s survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

The data reveal sometimes-contradictory attitudes towards reproducibility. Although 52% of those surveyed agree that there is a significant ‘crisis’ of reproducibility, less than 31% think that failure to reproduce published results means that the result is probably wrong, and most say that they still trust the published literature.

Data on how much of the scientific literature is reproducible are rare and generally bleak. The best-known analyses, from psychology1 and cancer biology2, found rates of around 40% and 10%, respectively.

So the headline of this article, James, that we grabbed from our buddy Doug at BlackListed News: “40 percent of scientists admit that fraud is always or often a factor that contributes to irreproducible research.”

SOURCE: Scientists Say Fraud Causing Crisis of Science – #NewWorldNextWeek

In fact, the data shows that the Crisis of Fraud in scientific circles is even worse than scientists will admit. A study published in 2012 found that fraud or suspected fraud was responsible for 43% of scientific paper retractions, by far the single leading cause of retraction. The study demonstrated a 1000% increase in (reported) scientific fraud since 1975. Together with “duplicate publication” and “plagiarism,” misconduct of one form or another accounted for two-thirds of all retractions.

So much for scientists as disinterested truth-tellers.

Indeed, instances of scientific fraud are cropping up more and more in the headlines these days.

Last year, Kohei Yamamizu of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application was found to have completely fabricated the data for his 2017 paper in the journal Stem Cell Reports, and earlier this year it was found that Yamamizu’s data fabrication was more extensive than previously thought, with a paper from 2012 also being retracted due to doubtful data.

Another Japanese researcher, Haruko Obokata, was found to have manipulated images to get her landmark study on stem cell creation published in Nature. The study was retracted and one of Obokata’s co-authors committed suicide when the fraud was discovered.

Similar stories of fraud behind retracted stem cell papers, molecular-scale transistor breakthroughs, psychological studies and a host of other research calls into question the very foundations of the modern system of peer-reviewed, reproducible science, which is supposed to mitigate fraudulent activity by carefully checking and, where appropriate, repeating important research.

There are a number of reasons why fraud and misconduct is on the rise, and these relate to more structural problems that unveil yet more crises in science.

Like the Crisis of Publication.

We’ve all heard of “publish or perish” by now. It means that only researchers who have a steady flow of published papers to their name are considered for the plush positions in modern-day academia.

This pressure isn’t some abstract or unstated force; it is direct and explicit. Until recently the medical department at London’s Imperial College told researchers that their target was to “publish three papers per annum including one in a prestigious journal with an impact factor of at least five.” Similar guidelines and quotas are enacted in departments throughout academia.

And so, like any quota-based system, people will find a way to cheat their way to the goal. Some attach their names to work they have little to do with. Others publish in pay-to-play journals that will publish anything for a small fee. And others simply fudge their data until they get a result that will grab headlines and earn a spot in a high-profile journal.

It’s easy to see how fraudulent or irreproducible data results from this pressure. The pressure to publish in turn puts pressure on researchers to produce data that will be “new” and “unexpected.” A study finding that drinking 5 cups of coffee a day increases your chance of urinary tract cancer (or decreases your chance of stroke) is infinitely more interesting (and thus publishable) than a study finding mixed results, or no discernible effect. So studies finding a surprising result (or ones that can be manipulated into showing surprising results) will be published and those with negative results will not. This makes it much harder for future scientists to get an accurate assessment of the state of research in any given field, since untold numbers of experiments with negative results never get published, and thus never see the light of day.

But the pressure to publish in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals itself raises the specter of another crisis: The Crisis of Peer Review.

The peer review process is designed as a check against fraud, sloppy research and other problems that arise when journal editors are determining whether to publish a paper. In theory, the editor of the journal passes the paper to another researcher in the same field who can then check that the research is factual, relevant, novel and sufficient for publication.

In practice, the process is never quite so straightforward.

The peer review system is in fact rife with abuse, but few cases are as flagrant as that of Hyung-In Moon. Moon was a medicinal-plant researcher at Dongguk University in Gyeongju, South Korea, who aroused suspicions by the ease with which his papers were reviewed. Most researchers are too busy to review other papers at all, but the editor of The Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry noticed that the reviewers for Moon’s papers were not only always available, but that they usually submitted their review notes within 24 hours. When confronted by the editor about this suspiciously quick work, Moon admitted that he had written most of the reviews himself. He had simply gamed the system, where most journals ask researchers to submit names of potential reviewers for their papers, by creating fake names and email addresses and then submitting “reviews” of his own work.

Beyond the incentivization of fraud and opportunities for gaming the system, however, the peer review process has other, more structural problems. In certain specialized fields there are only a handful of scientists qualified to review new research in the discipline, meaning that this clique effectively forms a team of gatekeepers over an entire branch of science. They often know each other personally, meaning any new research they conduct is certain to be reviewed by one of their close associates (or their direct rivals). This “pal review” system also helps to solidify dogma in echo chambers where the same few people who go to the same conferences and pursue research along the same lines can prevent outsiders with novel approaches from entering the field of study.

In the most egregious cases, as with researchers in the orbit of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, groups of scientists have been caught conspiring to oust an editor from a journal that published papers that challenged their own research and even conspiring to “redefine what the peer-review literature is” in order to stop rival researchers from being published at all.

So, in short: Yes, there is a Replication Crisis in science. And yes, it is caused by a Crisis of Fraud. And yes, the fraud is motivated by a Crisis of Publication. And yes, those crises are further compounded by a Crisis of Peer Review.

But what creates this environment in the first place? What is the driving factor that keeps this whole system going in the face of all these crises? The answer isn’t difficult to understand. It’s the same thing that puts pressure on every other aspect of the economy: funding.

Modern laboratories investigating cutting edge questions involve expensive technology and large teams of researchers. The types of labs producing truly breakthrough results in today’s environment are the ones that are well funded. And there are only two ways for scientists to get big grants in our current system: big business or big government. So it should be no surprise that “scientific” results, so suspectible to the biases, frauds and manipulations that constitute the crises of science, are up for sale by scientists who are willing to provide dodgy data for dirty dollars to large corporations and politically-motivated government agencies.

RFK JR.: “Simpsonwood” was the transcripts of a secret meeting that was held between CDC and 75 representatives of the vaccine industry in which they reviewed a report that CDC had ordered—the Verstraeten study—of a hundred thousand children in the United States vaccine safety database. And when they looked at it themselves, they said, quote: “It is impossible to massage this data to make the signal go away. There is no denying that there is a connection between autism and thimerosal in the vaccines.” And this is what they said. I didn’t say this. This is what their own scientists [said] and their own conclusion of the best doctors, the top people at CDC, the top people at the pharmaceutical injury industry.

And you know, when they had this meeting they had it not in Atlanta—which was the headquarters of the CDC—but in Simpsonwood at a private conference center, because they believed that that would make them able to insulate themselves from a court request under the Freedom of Information Law and they would not have to disclose the transcripts of these meetings to the public. Somebody transcribed the meetings and we were able to get a hold of it. You have them talking about the Verstraeten study and saying there’s a clear link, not just with autism but with the whole range of neurological disorders—speech delay, language delay, all kinds of learning disorders, ADD, hyperactivity disorder—and the injection of these vaccines.

[. . .]and at the end of that meeting they make a few decisions. One is Verstraeten, the man who designed who conducted the study, is hired the next day by GlaxoSmithKline and shipped off to switzerland, and six months later he sends in a redesigned study that includes cohorts who are too young to have been diagnosed as autistic. So he loads the study down, the data down, and they tell the public that they’ve lost all the original data. This is what CDC says till this day: That it does not know what happened to the original data in the Verstraeten study. And they published this other study that is a corrupt and crooked—what we call tobacco science done by a bunch of bio-stitutes, crooked scientists who are trying to fool the American public.

Then Kathleen Stratton from CDC and IOM says “What we need is we need some studies that will disprove the
link.” So they work with the vaccine industry to gin up these four phony European studies that are done by vaccine industry employees, funded by the vaccine industry and published in the American Academy of Pediatrics magazine, which receives 80% of its revenue from the vaccine industry. And none of these scientists disclose any of their myriad conflicts which conventional ethics rules require them to do. It’s not disclosed.

SOURCE: RFK JR. Vaccine Cover Up SIMPSONWOOD MEMO

TOM CLARKE: 64,000 people dead. Tens of thousands hospitalized. A country crippled by a virus.

The predictions of the impact of swine flu on Britain were grim. The government’s response: Spending hundreds of millions of pounds on antiviral drugs and vaccines adverts and leaflets. But ten months into the pandemic, only 355 Britons have died and globally the virus hasn’t lived up to our fears.

Were government’s misled into preparing for the worst? Politicians in Brussels are now asking for an investigation into the role pharmaceutical companies played in influencing political decisions that led to a swine flu spending spree.

WOLFGANG WODARG: There must be a process to to get more transparency [about] how the decisions in the WHO function and who is influencing the decisions of the WHO and what is the role of pharmaceutical industry there. I’m very suspicious about the processes which are behind this pandemic.

TOM CLARKE: The Council of Europe Committee want the investigation to focus on the World Health Organization’s decision to lower the threshold required for a pandemic to be formally declared.

MARGARET CHAN: The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.

REPORTER: When this happened in June last year, government’s had to activate huge, pre-prepared contracts for drugs and vaccines with manufacturers. They also want to probe ties between key WHO advisors and drug companies.

PAUL FLYNN: Who is deciding what the risk is? Is it the pharmaceutical companies who want to sell drugs, or is it someone making a decision based on the perceived danger? In this case it appears that the danger was vastly exaggerated. And was it exaggerated by the pharmaceutical companies in order to make money?

SOURCE: Channel 4 News Exposes Swine Flu Scandal

JAMES CORBETT: And a perfect example of that came out just in the past month where it was discovered, revealed—”Oh my God! Who would have thought it?”—people who consume artificial sweeteners like aspartame are three times more likely to suffer from a common form of stroke than others. Who would have thought it (except everyone who’s been worming warning about aspartame for decades and decades)?

And if you want to know more about aspartame and how it got approved in the first place you can go back and listen to my earlier podcast on “Meet Donald Rumsfeld” where we talked about his role in getting aspartame approved for human consumption in the first place. But yes, now decades later they come out with a study that shows “Well guys, we had no idea, but guess what? It does apparently cause strokes!”

And this is particularly galling, I suppose, because if you go back even a couple of years ago the paper of record, the “Old Gray Lady,” the New York Times (and every other publication, to be fair) that ever tried to address this would always talk about sweeteners as being better than sugar for you. And they would point to a handful of studies. The same studies every time, including—I mean, just as one example this 2007 study which was a peer review study [that went] through various different studies that had been published, and this was done by a “panel of experts” as it was said at the time. And it was cited in all of these different reports by the New York Times and others as showing that aspartame was even safer than sugar and blah blah blah. And when you actually looked at the study itself you found that—lo and behold!—the “panel of experts” was put together by something called “the burdock group” which was a consulting firm that worked for the food industry amongst others and was in that particular instance hired by ajinomoto, who people might know as a producer of aspartame.

So, yes, you have the aspartame manufacturers hiring consultants to put together panels of scientific scientific experts that then come out with the conclusion that, “Yes! Aspartame is sweet as honey and good for you like breathing oxygen. It’s just so wonderful! Oh, it’s like manna from heaven!” And lo and behold they were lying. Who would have thought it? Who would have imagined that the scientific process could be so thoroughly corrupted?

SOURCE: The Weaponization of “Science”

Sadly, there is no lack of examples of how commercial interests have skewed research in a range of disciplines.

In some cases, inconvenient data is simply hidden from the public. This was what happened with “Project 259,” a feeding experiment in which lab rats were separated into two groups: One was given a high-sugar diet and the other was given a so-called “basic PRM diet” of cereal meals, soybean meals, whitefish meal, and dried yeast. The results were astounding. Not only did the study provide the first experimental evidence that sugar and starch are actually metabolized differently, but it also found that “sucrose [. . .] may have a role in the pathogenesis of bladder cancer.” But Project 259 was being funded by something called the “Sugar Research Foundation,” which has organizational ties to the trade association of the US sugar industry. As a result, the study was shelved, the results were kept from the public and it took 51 years for the experiment to be dug up by researchers and published.  But this was too late for the generation of victims that The Sugar Conspiracy created, raised on a low-fat, high sugar diet that is now known to be toxic.

In other cases, industry secretly sponsors and even covertly promotes questionable research that bolsters claims to their product’s safety. This is the case of Johnson & Johnson, which was facing a potential scandal over revelations that its baby powder contained asbestos.  They hired an Italian physician to conduct a study on the health of talc miners in the Italian Alps, and even told him what the study should find: data that “would show that the incidence of cancer in these subjects is no different from that of the Italian population or the rural control group.” When the physician came back with the data as instructed, J&J were unhappy with the form and style of the study’s write up, so they handed it to a scientific ghostwriter to prepare it for publication.  The ghostwritten paper was then published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and the research was cited by a review article in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine later that year, which concluded that there is no evidence suggesting that the “normal use” of cosmetic talc poses a health hazard. That review article was written by Gavin Hildick-Smith, the Johnson & Johnson physician executive who had commissioned the Italian study, dictated its findings and sent it out for ghostwriting. Dr. Hildick-Smith failed to disclose this conflict in his review article, however.

The list of such egregious abuses of “scientific” institutions and processes is seemingly endless, with more stories surfacing on a weekly basis. Websites like Retraction Watch attempt to document fraud and misconduct in science as it is revealed, but stories about the corporate hand behind key research studies or conspiracies to cover up inconvenient research are reported in a haphazard fashion and generally receive little traction with the public.

But these are not new issues. There have been those warning us about the dangerous confluence of money, government power and science since the birth of the modern era.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

SOURCE: Eisenhower Farewell Address

In his prescient warning, Eisenhower not only gave a name to the “military-industrial complex” that has been working to steer American foreign policy since the end of the second World War, but he also warned how the government can shape the course of scientific research with its funding. Is it any wonder, then, that military contractors like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are among the leading funders in cutting edge research in nanotechnology, quantum computing, “human systems optimization” and other important scientific endeavors? Or that the Pentagon’s own Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency provides billions of dollars per year to help find military applications for breakthroughs in computer science, molecular biology, robotics and other high-cost scientific research?

And what does this mean for researchers who are looking to innovate in areas that do not have military or commercial use?

Yes, there is not just one crisis of science, but multiple crises. And, like many other crises, they find a common root in the pressures that come from funding large-scale, capital-intensive, industrial research.

But this is not simply a problem of money, and it will not be solved by money. There are deeper social, political and structural roots of this crisis that will need to be addressed before we understand how to truly mitigate these problems and harness the transformative power of scientific research to improve our lives. In the next edition of The Corbett Report, we will examine and dissect the various proposals for solving the crisis of science.

Solving this crisis—these crises—is important. The scientific method is valuable. We should not throw out the baby of scientific knowledge with the bathwater of scientific  corruption. But we need to stop treating science as a magic 8-ball that can solve all of our societal and political problems. And we need to stop venerating scientists as a quasi-priest class whose dictates are beyond question by the unwashed masses.

After all, when an Ipsos MORI poll found that nine out of ten British people would trust scientists to “follow the rules,” even Nature‘s editorial board was compelled to ask: “How many scientists would say the same?”

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

J’Accuse!

By Eugene Schulman | CounterPunch | February 22, 2019

A short essay on my thoughts about the Yellow Vest movement in France (now spreading to other parts of the world) and the coincidental (alleged) rise of anti-Semitism. I use the term ‘essay’ in its French meaning of the verb ‘essayer’: to try out, or try on, i.e., I am trying my theory on you.

I accuse the Macron government, in its frustration over failure to bring an end to the Yellow Vest uprising, of raising the issue of anti-Semitism in order to discredit the movement. By accusing the movement of stirring up anti-Semitism and blaming it for the recent desecration of Jewish cemeteries and shops and other iconic symbols suddenly appearing in Paris and other cities around France where the movement has been most active, the government hopes to instill fear in the public, who until now, polls show, has been by a large margin, favorable to the movement.

It seems not to be a coincidence that, until this moment, incidents and accusations of anti-Semitism in France have been barely noticeable or non-existant for quite some time. It would seem the Zionist community and its lobbies such as Crif, feel neglected, so they have sent out reconnaissance soldiers such as Daniel Cohen Bendit, Bernard Henry-Levy, and Alain Finkielkraut to stir up the masses. All of these soldiers, and many others of their ilk are solidly in line with the ruling elite represented by the new ‘Jupiter’, Emanuel Macron, and his cronies who are following the leadership of U.S. dictate to make the 1% even smaller. I don’t have to go into detail to justify this claim. There have been many articles in both mainstream and alternative (such as this site) media, explaining in detail this case. Thus, all the more reason for the Yellow Vests to protest. That this protest seems to be working is what has got the Macronistas so upset and induced them to begin to get dirty by playing the anti-Semitism card.

It is time to recognize that if anti-Semitism is increasing in our societies, the Zionist are as much to blame for its rise as Jew hatred. This latest incidence has been manufactured by the ruling powers, including the Jewish/Israel lobbies, themselves, to distract us from the real causes of today’s societal breakdown in France.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Does Facebook Advocate a System of Global Digital Apartheid?

Strategic Culture Foundation | February 22, 2019

Are we witnessing a move towards global censorship of the internet? In particular, are we seeing the gradual attempt to shut off Russia and its news media from a normal free-flow of international communications?

A kind of global apartheid system whereby nations are excommunicated from internet contact with the rest of the world?

The concept may seem an outrageous, impossible idea. Imagine, say, the analogy of the international aviation system being policed by certain nations to the exclusion of others being able to fly civilian airliners to any destination.

Imagine, say, old-fashioned telephone global networks being blacked out for certain countries.

The whole notion of large areas of the world being made off-limits to transport and communications for certain nations seems on the face of it to be unimaginable in terms of violation against internationalism.

Yet, are we not already seeing this nefarious development underway? The US-dominated global system of financial banking transactions is already being suborned to the political determination of Washington.

Russia, Iran, Venezuela and other nations are steadily being excluded by American political decisions to conduct what one would define as normal conduct of financial business under the rubric of “economic sanctions”.

It is therefore only a step-change for the same process of blackballing by Washington in the realm of global communications, specifically the internet.

This week saw another notch towards this reprehensible situation. The US-owned internet company Facebook made a determination to ban a media company affiliated with the Russian-based RT news network.

The decision came on the back of US news media claims that the Russian-affiliated news service was “Kremlin-linked”. Consequently, hundreds of internet pages and millions of citizens who subscribe to the service have had their means of communication terminated. All on the politically based claim that said services were somehow acting to extend “Russian influence”, which by prejudice is deemed to be “bad”.

When the worldwide web, or internet, was conceived decades ago by a British scientist it was intended to be a global forum for all ideas, discussion and exchange. It so happens that much of the internet has come to be based in and controlled by Western states, primarily the US. Analogous to the international financial system.

Facebook, the social media platform, claims to conduct communications for two billion users – or nearly a quarter of the world’s population. For a US-based company to take the decision to shut off its network to parts of a Russian news network is a hugely political act. All the more so because the decision was based on the claims of a US-based news company that made dubious pejorative allegations against the Russian news network.

What is at issue here is freedom of information. That is supposed to be a bedrock principle of democracy and human rights. By what right has a US-based internet company to determine that large swathes of the global communication system is to be made off-limits, or in a word “censored”?

There is a reasonable suspicion that the real problem is simply that the American political system and the US media companies have a political problem dealing with news and information that happens to contest their view of the world, and the view that they would prefer global citizens to adhere to. The RT-affiliated news network banned this week by Facebook claims that the ban was motivated because of its recent critical views on US attempts to destabilize Venezuela for regime change.

Criticism, freedom of speech and alternative viewpoints are supposed to be a pillar of any democracy. Yet here seems to be a case of a media service performing its democratic function, and then being blackballed for doing so.

“Information warfare” is a term most often cited by American and Western allies to describe Russian news media. The reality is it is the US and its allies who have for decades gotten away with information warfare directed at their own citizens to keep them in a state of fear and paranoia against designated external enemies, such as the Soviet Union. That was the Cold War. Nothing, it seems, has changed.

In an open world of communications, news and information, all citizens regardless of nationality should be free to decide for themselves what is accurate and reliable in terms of describing the world around them and major developments. It betrays the Orwellian, insecure nature of so-called democratic Western countries when their self-appointed authorities decide that their citizens are prone to “Russian influence”. It so happens that Russian news media organizations like RT are well respected by international audiences, including Western populations, for providing critical and accurate reportage and analysis.

To shut off Russian news media services on the tendentious claim that they are “Kremlin propaganda” is a sign of deep distrust among Western authorities of their own people and their own political rationales.

The upshot? Closing down the internet and imposing bans on Russian-based news networks operating in Western states. It is as reprehensible as closing down aviation to Russian airlines or those of any other nation deemed to be “pariah”. It is as reprehensible as closing down international financial systems to same countries. Oh wait, that’s already happening.

Russian President Vladimir Putin averred this week that the political agenda of American and allied anti-Russian ideologues is to eventually cut Russia off from the internet. We may consider that such a move – an affront to international communications and free speech – is well underway.

But such an abuse of power can only be temporary. Humanity will always find a way to overcome political-technological fetters. And when it does, the would-be tyrants will be left powerless and viewed with contempt. Human freedom is something American and Western institutions proclaim to eulogize. They are finding out the hard way because of their suppression of the very thing they supposedly uphold.

Global communications, like “democracy”, is a rhetorical chimera that Western ruling classes have no notion of respecting in practice. All their efforts at control are self-indicting of their own fraudulent pretenses. The world is awakening with collective consciousness, and there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle. Let present Western authorities try to censor all they like, for their self-defeating contradictions just come back to bite.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Putin’s Self-Defense Warning Twisted as ‘Unacceptable Threat’ to US

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 22.02.2019

With stupendous double-think, Western news media claimed this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “threatening” the United States and its NATO allies with nuclear missiles.

The New York Times accused the Russian leader of “nuclear saber-rattling” while Radio Free Europe headlined: ‘Putin threatens to target the US with missiles’. Many other news outlets conveyed the same depiction of Russia somehow escalating bellicose tensions, based on Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation address this week.

Buried beneath the sensational headlines was a little more context that hints at the gross distortion being propagated by the Western media.

The New York Times disdained Putin was speaking with an “aggressive tone” and “doubling down on threats against the United States”.

The Times then went on to report: “President Vladimir Putin used his state-of-the-nation address to make some of his most explicit threats yet to start a nuclear arms race with the US after [sic] the Trump administration said this month that America was withdrawing from a landmark arms control treaty.”

Obliquely, but crucially, what the Western media coyly admit is that Putin’s remarks this week on deploying new missiles systems are in response to Washington’s decision to unilaterally abandon the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

In other words, decisions have consequences. But for the Western media, they seem to be only preoccupied by consequences.

Furthermore, the Washington Post added somewhere lurking in the bowels of its coverage: “Putin emphasized that Russia will only respond if the United States makes the first move.”

That is, if the US installs short- and medium-range missiles in Europe then Russia will take symmetrical measures to target America territory and that of its NATO allies.

Radio Free Europe even breezily reported Putin as saying, “we don’t want confrontation” and added: “Putin said Russia wanted friendly relations with the United States and remained open for arms control talks with Washington.”

So, Western media are correctly – albeit coyly – noting that the Russian leader is acting in response to actions taken by Washington, and that he is explicitly appealing for friendly relations instead of confrontation. And yet the headlines were all screaming that Putin was “threatening the US”.

This willful distortion is reprehensibly adding to already dangerous international tensions. It is also a baleful failure to accurately determine which party is actually responsible for the brooding confrontational climate. Russia is being blamed for “threatening” the US and its allies when the reality is the reverse: it is the US that is unleashing the dangers of nuclear conflict, as even the Western media obliquely admit.

The Trump administration’s decision to walk away – unilaterally – from the 1987 INF Treaty is the key here. The US side claims that Russia has violated the treaty with its development of a land-launched cruise missile within the banned range of 500-5,500 kilometers. Moscow counters that the 9M729 (also known as SSC-8) missile has an operating range below the lower limit banned by the INF. Last month, in an unprecedented move, the Russian ministry of defense publicly disclosed the missile’s flight specifications at a press conference. Moscow points out that the US has not provided substantiating details to back up its claims that Russia is in breach of the treaty.

For its part, Russia accuses the US side of violating the INF treaty by already installing missile systems in Romania and Poland which can deploy offensive cruise warheads as well as performing as anti-missile systems. The US says its Aegis Ashore system is solely defensive.

However, rather than negotiating through the claims and counter-claims, it is the US side which decided to terminate its participation in the INF Treaty – just like it did with the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty back in 2002 under President GW Bush.

The abandonment of a second major arms control accord is solely the responsibility of the US. The third remaining treaty, New START, is also at risk from redundancy by Washington.

With the INF now being trashed, the US has freed itself to potentially deploy additional missile systems in Europe right on Russia’s borders. The eastward expansion of NATO over the past three decades means that US nuclear weapons could be deployed with a strike capability on Moscow within 10-12 minutes, not hours as with strategic warheads.

President Putin this week noted that Washington has not indicated if it will refrain from installing medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe.

But the Russian leader emphatically specified the condition that “if” the US does embark on such a threatening deployment then Russia will take “symmetrical measures”. He warned that new hypersonic and submarine-launched missiles will be deployed to match the 10-12 minute flight time that the US could poise against Moscow. The Russian weapons will target European launch sites for the US missiles as well as “decision-making centers” in American territory.

Of course, such a dramatic proximity of nuclear capability is extremely alarming and deplorable. The risk of error is manifold greater in such a scenario in a way that far exceeds the Cold War decades. Putin noted that the scenario recalls the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 when the world almost witnessed a nuclear war. The reference point is apt for today’s predicament. The Soviet Union deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 after the US installed ballistic missiles in Turkey the year before in 1961. Again, as now, it is the US side that is initiating the dynamics of provocation.

Any objective observer can see that it is the US that is continually upping the ante for nuclear war. The jettisoning of the ABM is now followed by the US discarding the INF based on dubious, unverified claims. Russia in fact views the ulterior rationale of the US as covertly wanting to free itself from the arms controls restriction in order to exert threatening pressure on Moscow for geopolitical goals: those goals may include forcing Russia to be compliant with American foreign policy interests, or opening up Russia’s natural resources to American capital exploitation, and so on.

Putin’s remarks this week are clearly consistent with Russia’s defensive doctrine for using nuclear forces. Moscow is patently stating that it will take “reciprocal steps” if Washington follows through on its offensive trajectory. Yet Western media invert the situation to portray Russia as “threatening” the US.

This is analogous to a gang marauding outside a home. Then the mob ringleader announces that projectiles are to be readied to lob over the garden wall. The homeowner shouts out: just try it and we’ll shoot your henchmen. Nobody in their right mind could fault the homeowner. It’s called self-defense.

But in Russia’s case, self-defense is twisted by dutiful, brainwashed Western news media as “unacceptable threat”.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

ISIS and Oswald

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | February 22, 2019

How ironic that the U.S. government’s war on ISIS, the group brought into existence by the U.S. national-security establishment’s war of aggression on Iraq, would provide insight into the U.S. national-security’s establishment’s relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy some 55 years ago.

As I emphasized in my 29-part video series on the JFK assassination and as I am emphasizing in my multipart series on the same subject in FFF’s monthly journal Future of Freedom, circumstantial evidence is just as valid as direct evidence. Equally important, sometimes we can glean just as much from what government officials fail to do as from what they do.

Consider the case of Hoda Muthana, a 23-year-old American citizen who traveled to Syria four years ago and became the wife of a member of ISIS. She had a baby and now wants to return to the United States.

It’s not going to happen if President Trump gets his way. He is steadfastly refusing to permit Muthana to return to the United States. As far as he is concerned, she is a traitor for having left the United States to join up with ISIS, which became an official enemy of the U.S. Empire after the U.S. conquest of Iraq.

What about Muthana’s American citizenry? Don’t citizens have a right to return to their home country regardless of what they have done abroad, even if they face the prospect of criminal charges? U.S. officials are questioning her citizenship, claiming that her father was a foreign diplomat residing in the United States when she was born, which would disqualify her from U.S. citizenship even though she was born in the United States. Her father denies that, saying that he had resigned his diplomatic position by the time she was born. According to an article in the New York Times, Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of George Washington Program on Extremism, “said the United States had an obligation to bring her home — ‘albeit in handcuffs.’”

The citizenship issue is now in court, but that issue is besides the point for purposes of this article. The point is that Trump and his national-security cohorts do not want this woman back in the United States. They want her to stay away. And they are fighting as hard as they can to keep her away. Moreover, if she is permitted back, she will undoubtedly return “in handcuffs.”

Muthana isn’t the only one in this situation. 19-year-old Shamima Begum is a British citizen who also traveled to Syria and joined up with ISIS. She has a baby boy and now wants to return to Britain.

The British government, which partnered with the U.S. government’s war of aggression on Iraq, is opposing Begum’s return to her home country as ferociously as the U.S. government is opposing Muthana’s return. Why, the British government has even stripped her of her British citizenship.

Some 59 Americans are believed to have joined ISIS. Even if any of them are permitted to return to the United States, they will almost certainly face criminal charges, either in U.S. district court or the military’s criminal “justice” system at Guantanamo Bay. According to an article on CNN.com, thirteen of them, “including a Texas man just last month, have faced terror-related charges after being returned to the US, according to research from the George Washington University Program on Extremism.”

None of this should surprise us. That’s how we would expect U.S. officials to behave given these facts and circumstances. We would be surprised if they instead took the opposite approach — one of forgiveness and red-carpet reentry into the United States.

Which brings us to Lee Harvey Oswald, the former U.S. Marine who U.S. officials have always said was a “lone nut” communist who killed President Kennedy.

How does Oswald’s case relate to those of the Americans who joined up with ISIS? The U.S. government’s treatment of Oswald, whose conduct was arguably as bad if not worse than that of the ISIS Americans, was exactly the opposite of how they are treating the ISIS Americans.

In fact, as I have noted in my two series, there are but two reasonable possibilities: Either Oswald was a Cold War miracle story or he was what many assassination researchers have long contended: a U.S. intelligence agent whose official cover was a communist.

Don’t forget the official narrative. It begins with a supposed communist joining the U.S. Marine Corps. How many communists have you ever heard of who have joined the U.S. Marines? Why would a genuine communist join the Marines? The Marines hate communists. They kill communists.

When Oswald joined the Marines, the Marines had just helped kill millions of communists in the U.S. intervention into the Korean War. The war was never ended, only suspended. The war could have resumed on a moment’s notice. Why would a genuine communist join an organization in which he might suddenly be called upon to kill more of his fellow communists? Does that make any sense?

Moreover, why would the Marines permit a communist to join their ranks? Couldn’t he be spying on them and reporting their movements and actions to what the national-security establishment said was a worldwide communist conspiracy based in Moscow, Russia (yes, that Russia!).

Oswald learned fluent Russian while he was in the Marines. How did he do that without help, especially since his study would presumably be limited to evenings and weekends? He was also studying Marxism, even to the point that his military colleagues were calling him “Osvaldovitch.”

Would the Marines really have permitted a Russian-learning, Marxism-studying “Osvaldovitch” to remain in their ranks? Not a chance. The circumstantial evidence points in only one reasonable direction: Oswald was recruited and being trained to be a communist infiltrator, one who would later infiltrate not only the Soviet Union but also communist organizations here in the United States that the CIA, the Pentagon, and the FBI had targeted for infiltration and destruction, such as the U.S. Communist Party and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Then Oswald walked into the U.S. embassy in Russia and loudly announced that he is renouncing his U.S. citizenship—loud enough to ensure that Russian monitoring devices could pick up what he was saying. He handed over his passport to a U.S. official in the embassy and loudly declared that he intends to divulge all the secrets he learned in the U.S. military to the Russians. It was not an idle threat because the U.S. military had stationed this ostensible communist at Atsugi Air Base in Japan, which was where the CIA’s top-secret U-2 spy plane was based.

While in Russia, Oswald married a communist woman, one whose uncle had close ties to Soviet intelligence.

After a couple of years, Oswald suddenly had a change of heart, just like those ISIS wives. He decided that he now wanted to come home, along with his Red wife.

Now, how do you think that request would be handled by U.S. officials. Before you answer, remember: This was the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. That was the time when the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI had convinced Americans that the communists were coming to get us as part of their worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow. The fear of this conspiracy was about 1000 times greater than the fear that ISIS was going to come and get us and establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate that was going to force every American to learn Sharia law.

In fact, take the current animus that U.S. officials have toward both Russia and ISIS and multiply it by 1,000. That’s how they felt about commies during the Cold War.

So what did they do when Oswald, the purported communist ex-Marine who had renounced his American citizenship, joined up with America’s official enemy that was trying to conquer the United States, married a Red wife, and promised to violate his oath of secrecy by divulging U.S. military secrets to the Russians?

Did they tell him he wasn’t welcome to come back? Did they tell him to stay away? Did they threaten to prosecute him, torture him, or threaten to send him to Guantanamo Bay? Did they tell him he could come back in handcuffs?

Nope. None of those of things. In fact, in what can only be described as a Cold War miracle story, Oswald was given a red-carpet treatment during a period of time in which the U.S. national-security establishment was doing everything it could to ferret out, smear, and destroy any American suspected to be a communist. A U.S. group called Traveler’s Aid even advanced Oswald the money to return with his Red wife. Upon his return, he wasn’t arrested, investigated, harangued, abused, or interrogated. Why, he wasn’t even summoned to appear before a federal grand jury, much less criminally indicted. And no handcuffs.

Instead, he found himself being mentored in Dallas by a right-wing elderly man who had U.S. intelligence stamped all over him. He also somehow secured a job with a photography company that did top-secret work for the U.S. government.

After he moved to New Orleans, Oswald somehow had the good fortune of securing a job with a coffee company whose owner was a fiercely right-wing anti-communist. Moreover, while Oswald was distributing pamphlets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which the U.S. national-security establishment was trying to destroy, he was associating with a former FBI agent whose office was located squarely within the U.S. intelligence establishment in New Orleans. Why, even some of Oswald’s FPCC pamphlets had the FBI agent’s address stamped on the pamphlets as the return address.

The attitude and treatment of Americans who joined ISIS by President Trump and the national-security establishment is precisely what we would expect. The U.S national-security establishment’s treatment of Lee Harvey Oswald is also how we would expect they would treat a U.S intelligence operative trained to pose as a communist.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Telling Only Part of the Story of Jihad

By Daniel LAZARE | Consortium News | February 21, 2019

A recent CNN report about U.S. military materiel finding its way into Al Qaeda hands in Yemen might have been a valuable addition to Americans’ knowledge of terrorism.

Entitled “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” the 10-minute segment, broadcast on Feb. 4, featured rising CNN star Nima Elbagir cruising past sand-colored “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” armored vehicles, or MRAPs, lining a Yemeni highway.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” she says. “And this is not under the control of [Saudi-led] coalition forces. This is in the command of militias, which is expressly forbidden by the arms sales agreements with the U.S.”

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she adds. “CNN was told by coalition sources that a deadlier U.S. weapons system, the TOW missile, was airdropped in 2015 by Saudi Arabia to Yemeni fighters, an air drop that was proudly proclaimed across Saudi backed media channels.” The TOWs were dropped into Al Qaeda-controlled territory, according to CNN. But when Elbagir tries to find out more, the local coalition-backed government chases her and her crew out of town.

U.S.-made TOWs in the hands of Al Qaeda? Elbagir is an effective on-screen presence. But this is an old story, which the cable network has long soft-pedaled.

In the early days of the Syrian War, Western media was reluctant to acknowledge that the forces arrayed against the Assad regime included Al Qaeda. In those days, the opposition was widely portrayed as a belated ripple effect of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings elsewhere in the region.

However, in April-May 2015, right around the time that the Saudis were air-dropping TOWs into Yemen, they were also supplying the same optically-guided, high-tech missiles to pro-Al Qaeda forces in Syria’s northern Idlib province. Rebel leaders were exultant as they drove back Syrian government troops. TOWs “flipped the balance,” one said, while another declared: “I would put the advances down to one word – TOW.”

CNN reported that story very differently. From rebel-held territory, CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh described the missiles as a “possible game-changer … that may finally be wearing down the less popular side of the Shia-Sunni divide.” He conceded it wasn’t all good news: “A major downside for Washington at least, is that the often-victorious rebels, the Nusra Front, are Al Qaeda. But while the winners for now are America’s enemies, the fast-changing ground in Syria may cause to happen what the Obama administration has long sought and preached, and that’s changing the calculus of the Assad regime.”

Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times all reacted the same way, furrowing their brows at the news that Al Qaeda was gaining, but expressing measured relief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was at last on the ropes.

But now that Elbagir is sounding the alarm about TOWs in Yemen, CNN would do well to acknowledge that it has been distinctly more blasé in the past about TOWs in the hands of al Qaeda.

The network appears unwilling to go where Washington’s pro-war foreign-policy establishment doesn’t want it to go. Elbagir shouldn’t be shocked to learn that U.S. allies are consorting with Yemeni terrorists.

U.S. History with Holy Warriors

What CNN producers and correspondents either don’t know or fail to mention is that Washington has a long history of supporting jihad. As Ian Johnson notes in “A Mosque in Munich” (2010), the policy was mentioned by President Dwight Eisenhower, who was eager, according to White House memos, “to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect” in his talks with Muslim leaders about the Cold War Communist menace.” [See “How U.S. Allies Aid Al Qaeda in Syria,” Consortium News, Aug. 4, 2015.]

Britain had been involved with Islamists at least as far back as 1925 when it helped establish the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and both the U.S. and Britain worked with Islamists in the 1953 coup in Iran, according to Robert Dreyfus in “Devil’s Game” (2006).

By the 1980s a growing Islamist revolt against a left-leaning, pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan brought U.S. support. In mid-1979, President Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, armed the Afghan mujahideen — not at first to drive the Soviets out, but to lure them in. Brzezinski intended to deal Moscow a Vietnam-sized blow, as he put it in a 1998 interview.

Meanwhile, a few months after the U.S. armed the mujahideen, the Saudis were deeply shaken when Islamist extremists seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca and called for the overthrow of the royal family. While Saudi Arabia has been keen to repress jihadism at home, it has been a major supporter of Sunni extremists in the region, particularly to battle the Shi‘ite regime that came to power in Tehran, also in 1979.

Since then, the U.S. has made use of jihad, either directly or indirectly, with the Gulf oil monarchies or Pakistan’s notoriously pro-Islamist Inter-Services Intelligence agency. U.S. backing for the Afghan mujahideen helped turn Osama bin Laden into a hero for some young Saudis and other Sunnis, while the training camp he established in the Afghan countryside drew jihadists from across the region.

U.S. backing for Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamist government in Bosnia-Herzegovina brought al-Qaeda to the Balkans, while U.S.-Saudi support for Islamist militants in the Second Chechen War of 1999-2000 enabled it to establish a base of operations there.

Downplaying Al Qaeda

Just six years after 9/11, according to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the U.S. downplayed the fight against Al Qaeda to rein in Iran  – a policy, Hersh wrote, that had the effect of “bolstering … Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

Under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, policy toward Al-Qaeda turned even more curious. In March 2011, she devoted nearly two weeks to persuading Qatar, the UAE and Jordan to join the air war against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, only to stand by and watch as Qatar then poured hundreds of millions of dollars of aid into the hands of Islamist militias that were spreading anarchy from one end of the country to the other.  The Obama administration thought of remonstrating with Qatar, but didn’t in the end.

Much the same happened in Syria where, by early 2012, Clinton was organizing a “Friends of Syria” group that soon began channeling military aid to Islamist forces waging war against Christians, Alawites, secularists and others backing Assad. By August 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the [anti-Assad] insurgency”; that the West, Turkey, and the Gulf states supported it regardless; that the rebels’ goal was to establish “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria,” and that “this is exactly what the supporting powers want in order to isolate the Syrian regime….”

Biden Speaks Out

Two years after that, Vice President Joe Biden declared at Harvard’s Kennedy School:

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria… The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” (Quote starts at 53:25.)

The fact that Obama ordered the vice president to apologize to the Saudis, the UAE and Turkey for his comments provided back-handed confirmation that they were true. When TOWs turned up in the hands of pro-Qaeda rebels in Syria the following spring, all a senior administration official would say was: “It’s not something we would refrain from raising with our partners.”

It was obvious that Al Qaeda would be a prime beneficiary of Saudi intervention in Yemen from the start. Tying down the Houthis — “Al Qaeda’s most determined foe,” according to the Times — gave it space to blossom and grow. Where the State Department said it had up to 4,000 members as of 2015, a UN report put its membership at between 6,000 and 7,000 three years later, an increase of 50 to 75 percent or more.

In early 2017, the International Crisis Group found that Al Qaeda was “thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy.”

In Yemen, Al Qaeda “has regularly fought alongside Saudi-led coalition forces in … Aden and other parts of the south, including Taiz, indirectly obtaining weapons from them,” the ICG added. “… In northern Yemen … the [Saudi-led] coalition has engaged in tacit alliances with AQAP fighters, or at least turned a blind eye to them, as long as they have assisted in attacking the common enemy.”

In May 2016, a PBS documentary showed Al Qaeda members fighting side by side with UAE forces near Taiz. (See “The Secret Behind the Yemen War,” Consortium News, May 7, 2016.)

Last August, an Associated Press investigative team found that the Saudi-led coalition had cut secret deals with Al Qaeda fighters, “paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment, and wads of looted cash.” Saudi-backed militias “actively recruit Al Qaeda militants,” the AP team added, “… because they’re considered exceptional fighters” and also supply them with armored trucks.

If it’s not news that U.S. allies are providing pro-Al Qaeda forces with U.S.-made equipment, why is CNN pretending that it is? One reason is that it feels free to criticize the war and all that goes with it now that the growing human catastrophe in Yemen is turning into a major embarrassment for the U.S. Another is that criticizing the U.S. for failing to rein in its allies earns it points with viewers by making it seem tough and independent, even though the opposite is the case.

Then there’s Trump, with whom CNN has been at war since the moment he was elected. Trump’s Dec. 19 decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria thus presented the network with a double win because it allowed it to rail against the pullout as “bizarre” and a “win for Moscow” while complaining at the same time about administration policy in Yemen. Trump is at fault, it seems, when he pulls out and when he stays in.

In either instance, CNN gets to ride the high horse as it blasts away at the chief executive that corporate outlets most love to hate. Maybe Elbagir should have given her exposé a different title: “Why arming homicidal maniacs is bad news in one country but OK in another.”

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Samidoun calls for the freedom of political prisoners in Egyptian jails

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – February 22, 2019

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemned the executions carried out by the Egyptian regime against 9 Egyptian youths, calling for an end to the “systematic and continuous repression and killings by the fascist regime of General Abdel-Fattah Sisi.”

“What is happening in Egyptian prisons is systematic and documented torture. While this is widely known, it does not receive sufficient attention from international human rights bodies and legal institutions,” said Mohammed Khatib, the Europe coordinator of Samidoun. He referred to the “disgraceful collaboration between the so-called international community and the generals in Cairo.”

Khatib launched a scathing attack on the Egyptian regime and what he called “the silence of the Egyptian and Arab parties who describe themselves as standing with the people. They say with words that they oppose the Camp David regime, but remain silent on the daily violations of the rights of tens of thousands of Egyptian prisoners in Egyptian jails by that same Camp David regime.”

He pointed out “the perpetrators of torture and killings that took place in the prison known as ‘Scorpio’ (the Tora prison complex) and other jails and prisons have not been held accountable for their crimes. As a result, this only encouraged further repression and organized state terror on the part of the generals.”

The steadfastness of political prisoners in the jails of the Arab reactionary, dictatorial regimes stems from the deep and absolute conviction and reality in the interdependence and linking of the struggle of the national and social movements in the Arab world with the struggle of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian prisoners, which is the spearhead of the liberation cause,” said Khatib. “The crimes perpetrated by the Camp David regime against the poor and the oppressed in Egypt cannot be separated from the crimes of the Zionist enemy and imperialist powers in the world, because of the Egyptian state’s dependence on these same imperialist forces. These powers see these regimes as a tool to destroy popular movements in order to further plunder and steal the resources of the Arab peoples.”

He called on activists and friends of the Samidoun Network internationally to stand with political prisoners in Egyptian jails and advocate and organize against the executions while working for the release of all Egyptian prisoners.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Jussie Smollett and Jewish Hoaxes

By Israel Shamir • Unz Review • February 22, 2019

The Jussie Smollett hoax and its debunking may yet change the trend of baseless accusations. God knows, the hoaxers went too far, and it’s high time for correction. The concise list of hoaxes would be too long for this essay, but here is a small list of very recent ones. They were met by public outrage and media indignation, for very little reason, and now we may expect a downward market correction, due to overpriced stock.

Some unlikely persons already attempt to capitalise on the expected reaction in order to channel it to the preferred direction – in a very unlikely medium. Mr Noah Rothman, an editor of Commentary magazine, condemned in The New York Times the imprudent haste of media falling for the hoax. Come on, really! The NY Times is a leading propagator of similar hoaxes. Whenever there is a story of a suffering diversity person, The New York Times usually takes it and plays it to its full extent. And when the hoax is revealed, usually the newspaper mentions it on page 46, at the bottom. So why is this night different, as the Jews ask on Passover night?

Mr Rothman is all against hoaxes by coloured and gay persons, that’s why. He mentions a few of them and adds his complaint: “There have been no similar national paroxysms amid a sharp uptick in violence targeting New York City’s Jewish population… The real tragedy … that hate crimes are, in fact, on the rise in the Trump era, particularly against Jews”. He does not mind hoaxes, he minds blacks arousing paroxysms of anguish at the expense of the Jews. The Americans and Europeans should feel sorry for Jews and anger for their adversaries, and every cry and tear for a black is a waste of a good cry and tear.

Among hoaxes he mentions, there is not a single one by a Jew, yet Jews are the leading perpetrators of hoaxes. Michael Kader of Ashkelon, Israel with over two thousand hoaxes to his account claiming attacks on Jewish community centres and synagogues is the shining example, but there are plenty of them. A Jewish woman had made a hoax bomb threat to a synagogue. A Jewish man spray-painted swastikas on his own house.

For Rothman, Jews are always innocent victims, as opposed to uppity blacks, who are guilty. This bias is a hallmark of Commentary Magazine, flagship of the Neocons, and the Neocon movement was established with a highly prejudiced attitude towards the blacks. Their open anti-black racism has been their entry card into white society.

The very word ‘racism’ has been grossly devalued, like the word ‘rape’. Nowadays having mutually consensual sex amounts to rape in case of buyers’ remorse, like in the case of Julian Assange, while standing still in front of a Native American drummer is defined as ‘racism’ (BTW, Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic student, is suing the perpetrator of this hoax, the Washington Post ). When everything is ‘racism’, nothing is. However, racism (and rape) could be a real thing. The most racist anti-black rant you can find on an American internet site is not on a KKK nor a Stormfront nor a Hollywood Nazi page, but on the Commentary site. It was written by Norman Podhoretz, its editor-in-chief, and published in 1963, that is, 55 years ago.

Norman Podhoretz

In the article My Negro Problem—And Ours the founder of the Neocon movement admits of “hating the Negroes with all my heart”. He tells of his mother who “in Yiddish cursed the goyim and the Schwartzes, the Schwartzes and the goyim.” All American whites are sick in their feelings about Negroes, he asserts. He admits that he “grew up fearing and envying and hating Negroes” and this feeling hasn’t gone. “Now do I fear them and envy them and hate them still? The answer is yes, but not in the same proportions and certainly not in the same way… I know it from the disgusting prurience that can stir in me at the sight of a mixed couple; If I were to be asked today whether I would like a daughter of mine ’to marry one,’ I would have to answer: ’No, I wouldn’t like it at all. I would rail and rave and rant and tear my hair.’”

Disgusting prurience – neither more, nor less! David Duke’s views are moderate compared to Norman Podhoretz’s, but Duke is ostracized while Podhoretz was a leading light of his generation. Podhoretz nursed a special hatred of Black Muslims, while Duke was friendly with them. Despite his admitted hate of the blacks, Podhoretz felt “the insane rage … at the thought of Negro anti-Semitism”. It is fine for him to hate them, but if they hate him, it is a reason for ‘insane rage’.

Podhoretz’s views, obnoxious as they were, derive from the traditional Jewish view as stated by Maimonides (Guide for the Perplexed, 3:51), namely “the Blacks are like dumb animals; they are not fully human; they are positioned below humans, but they are above monkeys for their appearance is like human and their mind is better than that of monkeys”.

With such views, you understand why some Jewish scribes like Mr Rothman hate Black hoaxes – and here they find an echo chamber within some White groups. They just do not mention Jewish hoaxes.

However, black and gay hoaxes are annoying, that’s all. Jewish hoaxes are very dangerous and expensive. Michael Kader’s hoaxes cost the American taxpayer a great deal, for his bomb threats were translated into hundreds of millions of dollars of grants for Jewish NGOs. These funds were given by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “because the Jews are the most commonly targeted religious group in the United States.” Now we know that the Jews were targeted by their coreligionist from Ashkelon, but the funds have not been returned, with apologies. There are no statistics for the total Jewish share in the DHS’s $50 billion annual budget, but my guess it is a large one.

Presenting a frivolous remark of the freshman senator Ilhan Omar as an “antisemitic attack” is another kind of Jewish hoax, or “The Growing Anti-Semitism Scam”, in words of our colleague Philip Giraldi.

Similar scams were practiced this week in England and France with powerful results. In England, seven (now eight) Jewish and Judeophile MPs have stormed out of the Labour Party claiming Labour has been ‘infected’ with ‘anti-Jewish racism’. Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected to lead the party, it became the most numerous one in Western Europe. It became popular because it regained its ties with the British worker. And immediately its philosemitic Blairite wing began to campaign against the new leader.

Their campaign is based on the Jewish hoax of Corbyn’s alleged antisemitism and racism. This hoax is as baseless as that of Jussie Smollett’s but far more dangerous. You can watch the Al Jazeera film The Lobby Part 3 and see how an encounter between an elderly lady pro-Palestinian Labour-supporter and the head of Labour Friends of Israel was misrepresented as an “antisemitic onslaught”. Actually, Smollett is a rather innocent bloke; he bayed for sympathy, while Joan Ryan, an MP and the chair of Labour Friends of Israel has collected over million dollars from Israel Embassy’s slush fund.

The scammers want to sabotage the British people’s desire to throw off the shackles of Brussels. Their “Independent [from Brits, not from Israel] Group” is against Brexit, for NATO, for nuclear weapons, for wars overseas, for neoliberalism, and that is quite aside from the Jewish and Israeli issues. They are being joined by a few ex-Tories of similar persuasion. (My British friend heartily approved of this step, for “all the rotten apples should be in one basket”).

A Labour MP said it was “possible” that Israel is a financial backer of the breakaway Independent Group of MPs, but almost immediately recanted and apologised for the suggestion.

Many reviews of the British Labour split explain it by Corbyn’s pro-Palestinian views. Corbyn and his allies also prefer this explanation.

Another, more plausible explanation crosses the bounds of the permissible in civilised society. What the heck, let us cross it.

The British Jews overwhelmingly vote for Tories; the Jews are for Remain in the EU; Jews are for banks and international institutions. Corbyn’s Labour stands for its direct opposite. These are words of Jeremy Corbyn just before his election: They, the world’s bankers, International Monetary Fund, European Union, they are utterly united in what they want. Utterly united in deflation, suppressing the economy, and creating unemployment. The word “Jew” or “Israel” wasn’t mentioned even once, but British and American Jews think that ‘bankers’, ‘IMF’ and ‘EU’ are them. They are what they are, in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The State of Israel is important for them, perhaps the Bible, Talmud and talith are precious, but only on Saturdays. While their identification with banks, globalism, neoliberal practice is their daily routine. Marx advised to pay attention to the Weekday Jew, rather than to the Saturday Jew. This advice is still valid.

Corbyn has no problem with Jews qua Jews; everybody in the Socialist movement is used to Jews. He is against Israeli anti-Palestinian policies, and there are Jews of such views, too (though we take a lot of beating). But being against Israeli policies AND against bankers, IMF and EU means threatening the Weekday Jew’s bread and butter.

Thirty years ago, in the formative years of Jeremy Corbyn, Jews were more to the left, and then such a policy had been possible. But now the Jews have moved to the right, or to the moneyed centre for bankers, and they would have a problem with Corbyn even if he were studying Talmud daily.

The struggle of the Seven against ‘antisemitism’ has nothing to do with their alleged anti-racism. Angela Smith, a UK MP who quit the Labour Party over alleged racism, next day was caught on live TV appearing to refer to people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as having a “funny tinge”.

Our colleague and friend Jonathan Cook of Nazareth noticed that the departing MPs are united not only by their uncritical attitude to Israel, but also by “their enthusiasm for foreign wars, for the enrichment of a narrow neo-liberal elite; [they] are ambivalent about austerity policies, and are reticent at returning key utilities to public ownership”. In other words, they are for neo-liberalism, and complaints of antisemitism serve as a cover for it.

You can read my piece Love Labours Lost explaining this rightwards shift of Jews and dismay of British Labour at the loss of erstwhile allies.

In France, the Jews greatly improved on Smollett. A French Jewish scribe Alain Finkielkraut (let us call him f-Kraut for short) had been insulted by a kuffiyeh-wearing Palestinian who marched with other brave Gilets Jaunes along a Parisian street. It was a minor event; the scribe was not beaten or roughly handled in any way; he was called ‘a dirty Zionist’, not a big deal. He is a Zionist, no doubt. Other people in the street even invited f-Kraut to join them. Pretty much a non-event. If I was writing about every occasion I was called an ‘enemy of Israel’ or ‘enemy of the Jewish people’, I’d write of nothing else for lack of time. But the reaction in France was like a million Smolletts.

“A few insults directed against a certain essayist called “philosopher” by the media are infinitely more serious than the loss of an eye by a young student in philosophy of twenty years who had done absolutely nothing wrong” – acerbically commented our friend Jean Bricmont (a partner and co-author of the columnist Diana Johnstone).

Indeed, the same day Macron’s henchmen knocked out an eye of a young Gilet Jaune; they had left another one lacking an arm; thousands were attacked by gas in what was perhaps the biggest gas assault in Europe since Ypres. But the MSM took up the case of Finkielkraut and made a Kristallnacht out of it. They claimed f-Kraut was called a “dirty Jew” and that he was almost lynched, but saved by police. (Both claims are not true; though there were cases of journalists being roughed up at the demos, and calling someone a Jew is not an offence at all, but in this case it didn’t even happen).

While doing a full Smollett, the media and President Macron went after the Gilets Jaunes, describing them as antisemites and Nazis. Thus a non-event was turned into a huge affaire; and the first real popular movement in France since 1968 was besmirched. On the same occasion, Macron explicitly equalled anti-Zionism with antisemitism and made it a criminal offence.

In addition, some unknown Smolletts painted swastikas on the Jewish cemetery, as is their wont whenever Jews wish to show they are being persecuted. I have little doubt these swastikas are painted by persons hired by this or that Jewish organisation, or by Macron’s men who wanted to amplify the f-kraut non-event.

Tens of thousands of gullible French attended a rally for f-Kraut and against antisemitism. “The fawning eagerness of the political class rushing to demonstrate against something that hardly exists”, – noted a French writer. The French political class paid no attention when a church was desecrated. But for a Jew whom somebody dissed on a street – they all marched. Media published denunciations of Yellow Vests, and Macron made a lot of political capital out of it. In purely political terms, the fallout of the f-Kraut affair could be compared to Trump’s impeachment in the wake of the Smollett shenanigans.

Mind you, this f-kraut deserved to be insulted all right. He is a French Norman (“I hate Niggers!”) Podhoretz. He spoke of “Black hatred for France”, said that “Gaza has too many children, and they have no place in the world”; ridiculed Black football players of France for being black; he is an enemy of Palestinians and of Muslims, and he does not care much for the French people either. He is known for his claim “What is good for the Jews is good for France”, for his call for segregation between Jews and Palestinians. It is amazing that a Jew with such views is considered to be “on the left”, and he is invited to TV and newspaper interviews, though he is more racist than French nationalists like Le Pen or Soral. He also wrote a nasty piece against the Gilets Jaunes, but the GJs have insulted him far less than he deserves.

In England and in France, as well as in the US, the Jews became a symbol of the present neo-liberal regime, as the scams and hoaxes make it apparent. This is more important for people here than the issue of Palestine, and unavoidable reaction to neo-liberalism will cause collapse of this Jewish role and incidentally will bring equality of Jew and Gentile to Israel/Palestine.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Labour: anti-Semitic or just resisting occupation?

The war on Corbyn heats up

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | February 21, 2019

Today there’s an important addition to the group of MPs defecting from the UK Labour Party: Joan Ryan.

Important because Ryan is Chair of Labour Friends of Israel. She recently lost a no-confidence vote in her constituency so her days as an MP are probably numbered anyway.

Are we beginning to see an orchestrated drip-drip of resignations following the departure of ‘The Insignificant Seven’, as the Morning Star called them, at the start of the week? Their destructive intent is clear for all to see from their dizzy remarks.

In a statement Labour Friends of Israel said:

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Jewish hatred and demonisation of the world’s only Jewish state has been allowed to flourish. The politics of the hard left represent a threat to the security of the UK, to our traditional alliances and to the stability of the Middle East and its only democracy, the state of Israel.

We will continue to work both within the Labour party and with like-minded, independent MPs on the left and centre left to promote a two-state solution, to combat anti-Zionist antisemitism and counter the delegitimisation of Israel. Joan Ryan MP will remain in her position as our Parliamentary Chair.

Israel, of course, is no Western-style democracy. It’s an ethnocracy, that is a deeply ethnic power structure behind a thin democratic veneer.

Joan Ryan leaves with a long, ranting attack on the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn in particular. Over the past three years, she says, the Labour party under Corbyn “has become infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism. This problem simply did not exist in the party before his election as leader…. I have been horrified, appalled and angered to see the Labour leadership’s dereliction of duty in the face of this evil….

“I cannot remain a member of the Labour party while its leadership allows Jews to be abused with impunity and the victims of such abuse to be ridiculed, have their motives questioned, and their integrity called into doubt.

“I cannot remain a member of the Labour party while its leadership singles out for demonization and delegitimization the world’s only Jewish state.

“And I cannot remain a member of the Labour party while this requires me to suggest that I believe Jeremy Corbyn – a man who has presided over the culture of anti-Jewish racism and hatred for Israel which now afflicts my former party – is fit to be Prime Minister of this country. He is not.”

This “singling out” of Israel for criticism is an old refrain. Israel does a good job of delegitmizing itself by its contempt for international law and cruel subjugation of Palestinians whose lands they have stolen – and continue to steal. And people of conscience single out Israel because these unforgivable crimes are going on in the Holy Land, territory which is sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. It was also a British mandate and in 1948 we abandoned it in an unholy mess. We have a responsibility to make amends.

Ms Ryan complains about “a revolving door disciplinary policy with those accused of antisemitism briefly suspended and then quietly readmitted to the party”. Ken Livingstone will be interested to hear that. He was suspended “indefinitely” from the party nearly 3 years ago. Those accused of anti-Semitism are typically subjected to administrative suspension for around 6 months during which their reputation and public standing are shattered and they are hampered in their work if councillors or MPs. Life is made hell. And if the disciplinary hearing finds the charges baseless there are no consequences for the vexatious accuser.

And she grumbles about the party’s refusal to adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. “Jeremy Corbyn had but one priority: to preserve the right of antisemites to label Israel a ‘racist endeavour’. That priority tells me all I need to know about his fitness to lead the Labour party and our country.” This remark is particularly stupid. Several legal experts have pointed out how the IHRA definition contradicts existing laws and conventions guaranteeing freedom of expression and would cause endless trouble if used in an attempt to punish.

Furthermore the Israel project was from the start – before Balfour even – unashamedly racist in purpose as demonstrated yet again only a few months ago when Israel enacted nation state laws that make its non-Jewish citizens distinctly second-class.

The Ryan rant goes on to include remarks like these:

  • “The Jewish community has made clear that it believes a Jeremy Corbyn government would be an existential threat to it. I will not campaign to put such a government into office.”
  • The mindset that tolerates antisemitism “is one that would ostracise the Middle East’s only democracy in favour of the Ayatollahs in Tehran: a regime which tramples on human rights, has the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians on its hands, and seeks to dominate and subjugate the region and impose its theocratic brutal rule.”
  • “And it is one that would abandon our friends in Europe in favour of appeasing Vladimir Putin….”
  • “Nine years of Tory government have caused enormous damage to my constituency and the country. Held hostage by the hard right of her party, the Prime Minister is now preparing to inflict a crippling hard Brexit – one that will rob the young of their future. Jeremy Corbyn and the Stalinist clique that surrounds him offers no real opposition to any of this.”

Under the influence

So, of the eight ex-Labour MPs now huddled together in the Independence Group six are signed up Friends of Israel. Why would any politician in receipt of a salary from the British taxpayer wish to promote the interests of a foreign military power – and a belligerent, racist one at that? Why are they allowed to? After all, doesn’t that breach the second of the Seven Principles of Public Life, namely Integrity – “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”?

But put that to the watchdog, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and you’ll get nowhere. Eleven years ago twenty senior professionals wrote to the CSPL about the undue influence of the Israel lobby at the heart of British government. They reminded the Standards Committee how Friends of Israel had embedded itself in the British political establishment with the stated purpose of promoting Israel’s interests in our Parliament and bending British policy.  The various Friends of Israel groups had gone to great lengths to influence those in power a good many of whom, it seemed, had reached their high positions with FoI help. The network acted as a sort of parliamentary freemasonry. The political director of Conservative Friends of Israel at the time claimed that with over 2,000 members and registered supporters alongside 80 percent of the Conservative MPs, it was the largest affiliated group in the party.

Its website stated that the CFI “strives to support the Conservative Party at all available opportunities. In the run up to the 2005 General Election… CFI supported candidates up and down the country. As candidates are now being continuously selected for target seats, CFI has developed a special programme of weekly briefings, events with speakers and a chance to participate in delegations to Israel.” It also had a ‘Fast Track’ group for Conservative parliamentary candidates fighting target marginal seats. The political director himself was seeking election to Parliament. If successful where would his loyalty lie?

Senior Conservatives tried to justify these activities by insisting that Israel was “a force for good in the world” and “in the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together” [my emphasis].

Eleven years on, we can see what “good” Israel has been in the world and what impact the British government’s “viewpoint” ever had on the Israeli government’s criminal conduct.

The best thing Corbyn could do is shut down the Labour Party’s Friends of Israel operation. If people want to form such associations let them do it outside Westminster. They should not be allowed to flourish within any parliamentary party.

As for the Conservative Party’s flag-waving for Israel, words fail.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Libya jails 4 Palestinians over alleged Hamas links

MEMO | February 22, 2019

A court in Tripoli on Wednesday sentenced four Palestinians to prison terms ranging from 17 to 22 years over their alleged links to Hamas.

The four defendants were accused of “setting up a secret foreign organisation on Libyan territory, arms possession and conspiring against state security.”

The Palestinians were arrested on 6 October 2016 from their homes in the capital, Tripoli, and were taken to an unknown destination.

Family sources told Arabi21 news site that they had been denied family visits for two months before their prison sentences were announced.

According to the sources, the detainees suffered daily abuses resulted in one of them losing one of his eyes. One detainee named Marwan who suffers from hypertension and diabetes has been denied his medication.

The four Palestinians used to work for a technology company in the capital, Tripoli.

The detainees’ families expressed their “fear that they would be handed over to Israel via a third party” appealing to all concerned bodies to help release them.

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment