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Top CIA analyst: Israel partisans push US to war

If Americans Knew | April 30, 2019

Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years, from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s five most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985. He received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement.

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Florida cites Poway shooting to pass controversial anti-Semitism bill

RT | April 30, 2019

Just days after the fatal shooting at a California synagogue, the Florida Senate passed an anti-Semitism bill that critics say will criminalize any criticism of Israel.

The bill prohibits anti-Semitism in Florida public schools and universities, and defines it broadly as any speech that makes stereotypical depictions of Jews, Holocaust denial, inciting of violence or explicit expressions of racial hatred – as well as “criticizing the collective power of the Jewish community.”

Such a broad definition could be used to outlaw the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, critics have pointed out, arguing that the bill violates the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

BDS campaigns for businesses to desist from enterprise with Israeli companies until certain demands are met by the Israeli government in regards to rights and territories for Palestinians.

The Senate bill has been sent to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican who was elected in the 2018 mid-terms.

One woman was killed and three other people injured in the Saturday attack at the Chabad of Poway, a suburb of San Diego, California. The 19-year-old gunman targeted the synagogue during the week of Passover, and was arrested after his AR-15 jammed during the attack.

The shooting came six months after the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that killed 11 and injured seven.

Both attacks have been cited by gun control advocates and pro-Israel activists in support of their respective causes. Last week, a federal judge blocked a 2017 Texas law that would have prohibited state employees and contractors to engage in BDS, saying it “threatens to suppress unpopular ideas” and would “manipulate the public debate through coercion rather than persuasion.”

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 3 Comments

Attacks on Samidoun: PayPal’s complicity in silencing Palestinian prisoners

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | April 30, 2019

The Israeli state and the Zionist movement are continuing their attacks on the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestine solidarity movement. One of the most recent effects of these attacks was the closing of Samidoun’s PayPal account. On its face, this is nothing new: PayPal has shut down the accounts of numerous groups supporting Palestinian rights around the world, including BDS campaign organizations, political parties and even media organizations at the behest of demands from various pro-apartheid politicians and agencies.

On the other hand, the sensationalistic attacks posted in pro-Zionist, pro-apartheid media on anyone who struggles for the rights of the Palestinian people and especially the Palestinian prisoners reflect an ongoing effort to isolate the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails by cutting off international moral and political support for their freedom struggle. As a grassroots, unfunded organization, Samidoun very much relies on the small and generous donations provided by contributors, people of conscience who want to ensure that Palestinian prisoners – and the Palestinian people – are not silenced.

On 23 April, we were suddenly told that our account had been “permanently limited,” due to the “nature of our activities.” This is word-for-word the same message that numerous other global Palestine advocacy organizations have received over the years to block them from receiving donations via PayPal. No appeal mechanism is permitted. This cannot be separated from the company’s ongoing refusal to provide services to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while continuing to make its products available to illegal Israeli settlements.

Closing our PayPal account is another method designed to make it more difficult for us to continue to do our work. We are committed to do so, however. So long as Palestinian women and men, children and elders, are held behind colonial bars because they struggle for freedom, we are determined to work alongside them to achieve that goal – for the prisoners and all of Palestine.

Your contribution can help to push back against these attacks. You can donate online to Samidoun here, and if you are interested in donating another way or giving your time to help us, please email us at samidoun@samidoun.net.

An entire Israeli state ministry, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, has been granted an undisclosed budget that reportedly numbers in the tens of millions of dollars to fight back against the growing popular movement around the world in solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people. In particular, this ministry has directed its efforts against supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. It has also taken a special interest in attacking Palestinian human rights defenders and solidarity organizations working to expose Israeli repression against Palestinian political prisoners and campaign for their freedom, including Samidoun.

This ministry is headed by Gilad Erdan, a far-right Likud politician who also heads the Ministry of Internal Security in Netanyahu’s government – overseeing the Israel Prison Service itself. It was the “Erdan commission” that promulgated the recent repressive attacks against Palestinian prisoners that led to the collective hunger strike of April 2019 – ending in a victory for the prisoners. It comes as no surprise that the same institutions responsible for confiscating the rights gained by Palestinian prisoners through years of struggle also want to silence, criminalize and suppress all activists and organizations who work to support those prisoners’ rights on an international level.

Most recently, this ministry published a report, “Terrorists in Suits.” Full of misinformation, deception and outright false information, the report aims to cast support for Palestinian prisoners, the boycott of Israel and human rights defense as “terrorism.” Samidoun was attacked alongside many other Palestinian and international organizations for one simple reason – because we defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners.

The Ministry is also heavily involved in interfering in campaigns for justice around the world. It was referred to repeatedly in the US “The Lobby” Al-Jazeera documentary series, censored and then revealed by the Electronic Intifada, working to pass anti-BDS laws and attack student groups and community organizers in the United States. It claimed credit for prohibiting a speech by former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor Rasmea Odeh in Germany, as well as the stripping of her Schengen visa.

Via its social media accounts, it continues to attack Belgian artist, worker and activist Mustapha Awad after he returned home from being released after 253 days of unjust Israeli imprisonment. The ministry’s social media page has hosted death threats against Mustapha from various far-right, racist commenters – after even the notoriously biased Israeli court system released him early from Israeli imprisonment. It is difficult to see these ongoing attacks as anything other than an attempt to silence him from telling his story, including his experiences of cruel and inhumane treatment, and that of his fellow Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian people are facing conditions of siege nearly everywhere, of course most notably in the Gaza Strip and in the Israeli occupation prisons. These arbitrary attacks – and PayPal’s acquiescence to these groundless threats over and over again – are but one small part of that larger siege which we are struggling to break, on the road to victory and liberation for Palestine.

To donate to Samidoun, please click here.

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel government to fund hotels in illegal West Bank settlements

MEMO | April 30, 2019

The Israeli government will subsidise hotels in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, as part of a plan to attract more tourists to the area.

According to an article in Arutz Sheva, citing a report by Israel Hayom, Israel’s Tourism Ministry “will aid entrepreneurs who want to invest in building or expanding hotels in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank]”.

The entrepreneurs can now apply for a grant of up to 20 per cent of their intended investment.

Israel Hayom reported that a meeting held earlier this year between senior settler officials and the managers of Israeli travel agencies in the occupied West Bank “showed that the number of guest units is insufficient, causing tourists to avoid staying in the area for more than a day”.

According to the report, the government grants “are intended to encourage investors to open additional guest units in [illegal settlements in] Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley [the occupied West Bank]”.

Settler leader (Yesha Council chair) Hananel Dorani stated: “We thank [Tourism] Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) for his important work on the issue of tourism in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.”

“Building hotels and guest houses in the area is an important step which shows the deepening of our roots in the ground and paves the way for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria,” he added.

“Giving grants for the creation of hotels is another supplemental step which will help solve the problem of where to sleep and will strengthen settlements and our hold on Judea and Samaria.”

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Asch Experiment

Question Everything | Apr 11, 2013

During the 1950s Solomon Asch conducted and published a series of experiments that demonstrated the degree to which an individual’s own opinions are influenced by those of a majority group.

Demonstrating how a “normal” human being can be pressured into unusual behavior by people they deem as authority figures, or by the consensus of opinion around them.

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Coup Attempt In Venezuela

Venezuelanalysis | April 30, 2019

Caracas – A military coup attempt is underway in Venezuela on Tuesday, April 30, with imprisoned right wing leader Leopoldo Lopez, and self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaido and some members of the armed forces blocking a highway in Caracas and calling on the military to rise up

According to reports, a group from Venezuela’s Sebin intelligence service freed Leopoldo Lopez from house arrest early Tuesday morning. Lopez then joined Guaido and a handful of members from different branches of the armed forces in the Altamira highway in eastern Caracas close to La Carlota airbase. Lopez and Guaido published videos on social media calling on other elements of the armed forces to join the uprising and on their supporters to take to the streets. Guaido vowed that this was the “final phase” in ousting the Maduro government.

The Venezuelan government promptly reacted, condemning the coup attempt and vowing that it would be defeated.

“We inform the Venezuelan people that right now we are facing and deactivating a small group of traitor soldiers who have positioned themselves on the Altamira overpass to attempt a coup against the state and the constitution,” Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted.

The President of the National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, spoke on state television, vowing that the uprising would be defeated and that those responsible would have to “assume their responsibilities.” He also called on the people and the Bolivarian militia to go out on the streets and defend Miraflores Palace.

For his part, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López reported that military units throughout the country reported total normalcy, and that the military remain loyal to President Maduro.

At the time of writing, Guaido’s followers are taking to the streets both in Caracas and other parts of the country, blocking roads in support of his new call for a coup. Minor confrontations with tear gas have been reported outside La Carlota air base in Caracas.

Guaido had previously called for the “largest march in Venezuela’s history” scheduled for Wednesday May 1, while a Chavista march celebrating workers’ day was also expected to take place.

teleSUR update:

Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino rejected the coup attempt and said that the country’s legitimate military forces would respond to any attempt to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro.

“We reject this coup movement that aims to fill the country with violence. The pseudo-political leaders who have placed themselves at the forefront of this subversive movement have used troops and police with weapons of war on a public road in the city to create anxiety and terror.”

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment

Terrifying predictions about the melting North Pole!

By Larry Kummer | Watts Up With That? | April 30, 2019

Summary: We have had 30 years of bold but false predictions by climate scientists, met by silence from their peers. These make skeptics, and are one reason why the public does not support radical public policy actions. Here are 20 years of predictions about the melting North Pole.

A stream of predictions about an ice-free arctic ocean

Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge, is famous for his predictions – and his amazing record of being wrong. Journalists report each prediction as if made by Einstein, not telling readers about Wadhams’ dismal record. That is how they report climate science and keep their readers misinformed.

“Within a decade we can expect regular summer trade there {across the arctic ocean}.” — “Arctic Meltdown,” a NASA press release on 27 February 2001.

Eighteen years later, no regular cargo crossing the arctic ocean. There are small numbers of specially built ships making the passage on the northern coasts (e.g., here, here, and here).

“By 2013, we will see a much smaller area in summertime than now; and certainly by about 2020, I can imagine that only one area will remain in summer.” — BBC, 13 May 2009.

Twice wrong. The 2013 average and minimum ice extent was roughly unchanged from that in 2009. In 2018, the minimum was 4.6 million square kilometers, only 12% down from 2009. I doubt 2020 will be much different.

“The entire ice cover is now on the point of collapse. …The extra open water already created by the retreating ice allows bigger waves to be generated by storms, which are sweeping away the surviving ice. It is truly the case that it will be all gone by 2015. The consequences are enormous and represent a huge boost to global warming.” — The Scotsman, 29 August 2012.

Not only was it not “all gone by 2015” but that quote appeared three weeks from the record low point on September 17.

“I have been predicting [the collapse of sea ice in summer months] for many years. The main cause is simply global warming …This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates.” — The Guardian, 17 September 2012.

Ditto. There was a great deal of excitement among alarmists about the 2012 low, and the usual linear extrapolation to a disaster coming really soon. Wadhams presented at the September 2014 Royal Society conference “Arctic sea ice reduction: the evidence, models, and global impacts.” A few climate scientists made mildly critical tweets about his presentation. Gavin Schmidt (Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) was the most critical. He is, to the best of my knowledge, exceptional in his willingness to speak out about alarmist claims by his peers. See the tweets. But there is no evidence they called friendly journalists to protest journalists’ uncritical publication of Wadham’s predictions. But skeptical climate scientists often receive barrages of criticism from their peers, sometimes for repeating material in the IPCC’s reports and peer-review literature (e.g., Roger Pielke Jr. by scientists such as Gavin Schmidt – details here).

“Most people expect this year will see a record low in the Arctic’s summer sea-ice cover. Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer and by that I mean the central Arctic will be ice-free. You will be able to cross over the north pole by ship. …Ice-free means the central basin of the Arctic will be ice-free and I think that that is going to happen in summer 2017 or 2018. — The Guardian, 21 August 2016.

Twice wrong, again. The 2016 minimum was 23% above the 2012 minimum. The arctic was not ice-free in 2017 or 2018. Not even icebreakers cross over the North Pole.

“{T}he planet is swiftly heading toward a largely ice-free Arctic in the warmer months, possibly as early as 2020.” — Yale Environment 360, 26 September 2016.

The record minimum extent was in 2012. The previous minimum was 4.16 million km in 2007. The 2018 minimum was 4.95 million km. That is a 19% increase over 12 years. Wadhams had lots of headline-loving company among climate scientists. For example, Wieslaw Maslowsk – a research professor at the Navy Postgraduate School.

“Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years. …Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss. …’Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,’ the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC. ‘So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.’” — BBC, 12 December 2007.

The “projection” of an ice-free summer in 2013 was not “too conservative.” It was too aggressive. The Atlantic: the melting North Pole That is an example of successful clickbait by Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic on 29 December 2015. This is the alarmists’ usual trick of describing weather as “extraordinary” based on our brief instrument record, when it probably is not.

“It’s really hard to predict when we could see ice-free summers in the Arctic, but it could be as soon as in 20 to 40 years, Francis says.” — Jennifer Francis was then a professor at Rutgers, now a senior scientist at Woods Hole. Quoted in The Verge, 10 May 2018.

Now that is a safe prediction. If accurate, it will become famous in 2040 or 2060. If wrong, it will go down the memory hole with all the other wrong predictions about climate.

The real story

See the three lines in color showing the sea ice extents of 2007 (blue, middle), 2012 (dotted, bottom), and 2018 (thin grey, top), and the thick grey line of the 1981 – 2010 mean. Sea ice extent has been flattish for twelve years. For another perspective, the PIOMAS model shows that Arctic sea ice volume has been flattish for nine years. Click graph to enlarge.

Arctic sea Ice Extent

From the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Full article

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment

‘Too much money invested in war’: US defense industry drives global military spending spree

RT | April 30, 2019

Global military expenditures reached their peak in 2018, and the driving force behind this increase is the growing appetite of the US military-industrial complex rather than real threats, analysts say.

The world spent $1.8 trillion on its military in 2018, the latest report by the acclaimed Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The US and its NATO allies – the self-proclaimed defenders of freedom and democracy – account for more than half of this whopping amount.

Washington’s other close friend Saudi Arabia is the third largest military spender, coming ahead of India.

“A lot of this spending, particularly in the case of Saudi Arabia and India, is for political reasons,” Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst at the Pentagon, told RT. New Delhi and Riyadh seek to “curry favor” with Washington by purchasing the US weapons in hope for concessions in other areas, he explained.

Washington’s NATO allies have seen pressure from the US related to their military spending ever since Donald Trump came to power in the White House. Maloof believes it has less to do with security of the alliance and more with the interests of the US arms manufacturers.

“A lot of that is aimed at trying to help the US defense industry to stay ahead [of their competitors] and hire more people,” he explained, adding that the issue of the military expenditures has a “clear economic dimension.”

In its desire to sate the always-hungry domestic military industrial complex, the US risks escalating tensions on the international arena, analysts warn. Washington’s hawks typically justify the need for ever-increasing military expenditures with some perceived threats from Russia or China, portraying them as war mongers.

“There is no good reason” for larger defense budgets, Ted Seay, a former US diplomat and senior policy consultant with the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), told RT. It is the West’s fear of the perceived ‘Russian threat’ that has in fact led to destabilization on the European continent, he noted.

“There are military provocations taking place between NATO and Russia where there should not be any far in the 21th century when there is no logical reason for any confrontation between Europe and Russia,” Seay said.

The former US diplomat also denounced as senseless the NATO “formula” demanding that member states spend two percent of their GDP on defense.

There is not a military situation that necessitates [the likes of] Latvia or Poland to find a solution in greater military spending. It simply does not exist in this age. But there are people who seem to be intent on creating confrontation and encouraging the NATO countries to spend more money with no good reason.

Yet, it is precisely Poland and the Baltic States that top the list of nations with the highest annual defense spending increases in Europe over the recent years.

Poland’s military budget rose by 8.9 per cent in 2018 to $11.6 billion, according to SIPRI, while Latvia upped its military expenditures by staggering 24 percent over the same period. Bulgaria and Ukraine – which is not in NATO – followed closely, increasing their spending by 23 and 21 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, the US and its allies grossly outspend all the nations they perceive as alleged threats. The US expenditures alone accounted for 36 percent of global defense spending while exceeding the expenditures of the next eight largest-spending countries combined in 2018. NATO’s total military spending accounted for 53 percent of the global defense expenditures.

China was the only Washington’s perceived rival that made it into top 5 military spenders in 2018. However, Beijing’s defense budget amounted to only a fraction of the US one and accounted for 14 percent of the global military spending.

Russia, meanwhile, came it at number six by spending some $61.4 billion on the military in 2018, following consecutive defense budget cuts in the last two years. However, these facts do not stop the biggest military spender in the world to accuse Moscow of somehow initiating an “arms race.”

Anyway, the latest trends show that the world is unlikely to see easing of tensions on the international arena anytime soon, Seay warns.

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Blame Palestinians for Gaza

Israel is the perpetual victim

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • April 30, 2019

If you have read a recent New York Times op-ed entitled “Care about Gaza? Blame Hamas” written by none other than the White House “special representative for international negotiations” Jason Greenblatt you would understand that the misery being experienced by Palestinians in Gaza is all their own fault. Greenblatt, who is Jewish of the Orthodox persuasion, just happens to be a strong supporter of Israel’s settlements, which he claims are “not an obstacle to peace.” He is very upset because some naysayers are actually putting some of the blame for the human catastrophe in Gaza on Israel, which we Americans all know is our best friend in the whole world and our most loyal ally. If that were not so, the New York Times and those fine people in Congress and the White House would surely inform us otherwise. And anyway, what are a few lies and war crimes between friends?

Greenblatt, who knows nothing about foreign policy and diplomacy apart from advising Donald Trump on Israel while serving as the Trump Organization chief legal officer, is supposed to be working hard with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner negotiating “deal of the century” peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Betting is that the arrangement on offer in June will consist of American acquiescence in Israel declaring sovereignty over nearly all of land that the Arabs still hold on the West Bank with the remaining local population being bribed heavily to either move to Jordan or stay in designated non-Jewish sectors and stop complaining.

Jason Greenblatt is a perfect example of the type of “dual” loyalist who cannot appreciate that his overriding religious and ethnic allegiances are incompatible with genuine loyalty to the United States. Willingness to subordinate actual American interests to a those of a foreign nation means that he and others like him are contributing to the decline and fall of the country he was born in and which has made him wealthy. If he had any real integrity, when presented by Trump with the opportunity to benefit Israel at the expense of the United States he should have declined the offer knowing that he would inevitably be biased, making it impossible for him to fairly consider either American interests or those of the Palestinians.

Greenblatt knows that whatever lies he tells it will not matter in the least because no one will ever hold him accountable and it is all done for a great cause, which is Israel, to include anything that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants. And what could be better than to hold down a job that pays in the neighborhood of $200,000 a year plus a full benefits package for doing nothing but “creating facts on the ground” for the country that one loves best?

The Greenblatt op-ed includes some really choice “analysis” that does not correspond with the reality of what is going on in what remains of Palestine. He begins immediately with a heavy dose of Israeli propaganda, asserting that “Hamas has left Gaza in shambles,” before providing a partially accurate but morally neutral assessment of the sorry state of the enclave: “Life there is difficult, sad and abnormal. Only buildings with generators actually maintain steady power. The lack of power affects everything from preserving fresh food to treating sewage. If a person in Gaza falls ill, he is likely to find trained medical professionals unable to help because of the lack of equipment and medicines. The people there — even the talented and educated — can’t find jobs. The store shelves are empty. The shoreline, which in many other places in the Mediterranean would be filled with beach resorts, is covered in the raw sewage and debris from successive wars. The cost of conflict is seen in all aspects of life in Gaza.”

The dismal picture of conditions in Gaza, largely true, does not admit to any Israeli role in the suffering, or, at least, Greenblatt is blind to it. Israel controls both the land border and the seafront. It manages the enclave as if it were an outdoor concentration camp and military free-fire zone for its 2 million Arab inhabitants. Lack of power is caused by Israeli bombing of power plants, which also makes it impossible to treat sewage. Proliferating sewage appears to be a preferred weapon for Israelis as settlers on the West Bank are also fond of letting it flow onto Palestinians farms and villages.

Food in Gaza is limited only to what can be grown locally or to what the Israelis allow in. Likewise medicines are only available when Israel permits. Gazans cannot leave without Israeli permission and on the seafront, fisherman who are brave enough to go out are frequently shot dead by Israeli gunboats if they go too far.

Israel bombs hospitals, schools and places of worship indiscriminately, always claiming that they are being used by terrorists even when United Nations observers are on site and declare that the allegations are palpably untrue. And then there are isolated incidents , to include the deliberate murder by naval gunfire of four young boys innocently playing soccer on a beach and the killing by missiles of nine other children who were watching television. An American military attache stationed in Israel once observed soldiers on the Israel side engaging in target practice by shooting at women hanging out their laundry on the Gaza side of the fence and Israeli snipers have proudly worn t-shirts showing a graphic of a pregnant Arab woman in a gunsight with the text “two for one” underneath.

Currently, protests by unarmed Gazans along the Israel-Gaza fence have resulted in 260 Palestinian deaths, mostly by Israeli sniper fire. Nearly 7,000 others have been shot and wounded. Those killed include 32 medical workers and 50 children. Twenty-one children have had their limbs amputated and many more have been permanently disabled.

Thousands more Palestinians have died from Israeli bombs, rockets and artillery shelling since 2009. In 2014 alone, more than 2,000 Gazans were killed and more than 10,000 were wounded, including 3,374 children, of whom over 1,000 were left permanently disabled. More than 7,000 homes were destroyed. The grossly disproportionate carnage in Gaza initiated by Israel was so outrageous that even many Americans began to wake up to what their tax dollars were buying. After 2014’s death toll, support for Israel began to wane. Currently 51% of Americans view the Israeli government unfavorably in spite of relentless pro-Israel propaganda by the U.S. media.

Jason Greenblatt goes on to claim that “The Arabs in Israel generally live normal lives and, in many cases, thrive. In fact, Arab citizens of Israel live freely compared with Arabs in many other countries in the region… Why are others moving forward while Gaza sinks further into despair and disrepair? Because Hamas, the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip, has made choices… Hamas is to blame for Gaza’s situation.”

Greenblatt is wrong about the claimed happy lot of Palestinians living in Israel. Israel has recently declared itself a Jewish State. In practice, there are more than fifty laws and regulations that make Christians and Muslims second class citizens. Churches and Mosques are regularly vandalized and Christian and Muslim holy sites are regularly destroyed by the authorities while a prominent Rabbi has recently declared in the wake of Sri Lanka that proposals that all churches should be destroyed inside Israel should be considered but are “complicated.” Arab Israelis cannot get building permits, their schools are underfunded and they are discriminated against or ignored in nearly all their interactions with the government. Local communities can declare themselves Arab-free zones and they can refuse to sell houses to Palestinians.

The fundamental problem with Greenblatt and others like him is that they have a very selective moral compass and choose not to recognize apartheid even when it is right in front of them. Israel is a fundamentally racist occupying power with a colonial-settler mindset, which sees the Arabs as ignorant savages that have to be ideally removed, but if not, restrained by force or even killed if necessary. And, like all purveyors of war crimes, the Israelis and their diaspora cheerleaders blame the victims for their plight. Greenblatt will have an excuse for any atrocity committed by Israel. The Israel Defense Force is shooting Palestinians individually now but if it starts doing them in groups he would no doubt come up with a good rationalization justifying the practice.

Israel is a Middle Eastern superpower, heavily armed and unconcerned over the consequences for starting wars and killing Arabs. To argue as Greenblatt does that there is some kind of “fighting” going on with Hamas “instigating” wars against Israel is ludicrous given the disparity in power between the two sides. It is largely retaliatory Hamas homemade bottle rockets, which kill or injure very few, against fighter jets, snipers and artillery barrages that kill thousands. And the really sad part for Americans is that the United States is deeply complicit in what goes on, sending “special representatives” like Greenblatt into the region on the taxpayer’s dime to argue Israel’s case.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

50,000 Palestinian Children Imprisoned by Israeli Kangaroo Courts Since 1967

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | April 29, 2019

JERUSALEM — According to figures released by the Prisoners’ and Freed Prisoners’ Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Sunday, the state of Israel has imprisoned more than 50,000 children since the occupation of Palestine’s West Bank began in 1967. The PLO report, which was cited by Middle East Monitor, also noted that around 17,000 of those child arrests had occurred since the year 2000. The report used the UN definition that states that a child is any person younger than 18 years of age. However, Israel’s government has defined children younger than 16 as children, while applying the UN definition to Israeli children.

The PLO report — titled “Child Detention… Facts and Statistics… Effects on the Reality and Future of Palestinian Childhood” — was made public as the head of the PLO Prisoner committee, Abdul Nasser Ferwaneh, gave testimony to the 5th European Union conference in support of prisoners. In delivering his report and testimony, Ferwaneh noted that the rate of child imprisonment by the Israeli state had nearly doubled, averaging around 700 children imprisoned annually from 2000 to 2010 but rising to around 1,250 between 2011 and 2018.

Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), citing data from the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and Israeli army temporary detention facilities, recently reported that 414 Palestinian children were imprisoned by Israeli military courts in just the first two months of 2019.

An apartheid system with kangaroo courts

Since 1967, Palestinian children have been subjected to Israeli military law while Israeli settlers living in illegal West Bank settlements are governed by Israel’s civilian criminal legal system. Aside from the fact that subjecting two different populaces in the same area to two different legal systems is a clear manifestation of apartheid, Israel is the only country in the world that automatically tries children in military courts, courts that lack basic fair trial guarantees and have a near-automatic conviction rate. In addition, many Palestinian children are arbitrarily detained, or imprisoned without charge.

Most Palestinian children tried in military court are accused of throwing stones — which, as of 2015, can carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. No Israeli child has ever been tried in an Israeli military court.

Children in detention in Israeli jails are often subjected to various forms of abuse, including “slapping, beating, kicking and violent pushing” as well as verbal abuse, according to prisoner-rights group Adameer. Adameer has also noted that Palestinian children are sometimes threatened with rape in order to extract confessions, which are often written in Hebrew — a language most Palestinian children can’t read or understand.

Obaida Akram Jawabra, a 15-year-old who has already been arrested twice by Israel, told DCIP that in prison “[Israeli] soldiers would beat me in places that would leave no marks so there wouldn’t be evidence on my body that I could use to testify against them.” Figures released by DCIP claim that 75 percent of Palestinian child prisoners report being subjected to physical violence while in prison and 62 percent report being subjected to verbal violence.

The majority of Palestinian children in detention are unable to receive family visits, since nearly 60 percent of all child detainees are transferred from the West Bank to Israeli prisons upon conviction. This practice, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention — coupled with restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in the West Bank and the long delays in issuing permits for entry to Israel — prevents the vast majority of West Bank Palestinian families from visiting their imprisoned children.

While Israel’s government often touts itself as the “only democracy” in the Middle East, it is also the only government in the entire world that detains children through military courts with a near 100 percent conviction rate, something that even Saudi Arabia does not do. Israel’s practice of imprisoning Palestinian children is a clear violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Israel in 1991, as it routinely robs thousands of children of their right to a safe childhood.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , | 3 Comments

Why is Maria Butina in Prison?

By Ron Paul | April 29, 2019

Russian gun rights activist and graduate exchange student Maria Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison last week for “conspiracy to act as a foreign agent without registering.” Her “crime” was to work to make connections among American gun rights activists in hopes of building up her organization, the Right to Bear Arms, when she returned to Russia.

She was not employed by the Russian government nor was she a lobbyist on Putin’s behalf. In fact the Putin Administration is hostile to Russian gun rights groups. Nevertheless the US mainstream media and Trump’s Justice Department are treating her as public enemy number one in a case that will no doubt set the dangerous precedent of criminalizing person-to-person diplomacy in the United States.

The Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) was passed in 1938 under pressure from the FDR Administration partly to silence opposition to the US entry into World War II. While a handful of cases were prosecuted during the war, between 1966 and 2015 the Justice Department only brought seven FARA cases for prosecution.

Though very few cases have been brought on FARA violations, one of them was against Samir Vincent, who was paid millions of dollars by Saddam Hussein to lobby for sanctions relief without registering. He got off with a fine and “community service.”

Millions of dollars in unregistered payments from Saddam Hussein gets no jail time, while Butina gets 18 months in prison for privately promoting a cause most Americans support! How is this justice? The US Justice Department is not even as tough on illegals who commit capital crimes in the US!

Unfortunately Maria Butina was in the wrong place at the wrong time. With the rise of the “Russiagate” hysteria, Butina’s case was seen as a useful tool by Democrats to push the idea that President Trump was put into office by the Russians. Plus, many of them are also hostile to our Second Amendment and to the National Rifle Association. So it was a perfect storm for Butina.

Sadly, conservatives are mostly silent on this miscarriage of justice. They are also caught up in the idea that America can only be great if it goes abroad seeking monsters to destroy.

Also, a new Cold War is very profitable to the military industrial complex and Butina serves an important propaganda purpose. The media is an all-to-willing participant in this farce.

Even though Trump has been exonerated by a Mueller investigation that didn’t even view the Butina case as worth investigating, the President has been silent on her persecution. This is similar to his sudden silence on Wikileaks now that Julian Assange may be facing an eternity in a US supermax prison.

As author James Bamford wrote recently in an excellent New Republic article on the Butina case, the national security agencies are also eager to get another notch in their belts and the Russian gun activist was low-hanging fruit for their ambitions.

Non-interventionists believe strongly in citizen-to-citizen diplomacy as a way of avoiding war and conflict overseas. Exchange students, international business ventures, tourism, and just communicating with others is such an important way to thwart the plotting of the warmongers who lurk in all governments.

I am saddened to see that the United States has made such a hostile move toward peaceful foreign citizens seeking friendship with Americans. When citizens are no longer allowed to engage in diplomacy we are left with only the state. And the state loves war.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments