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US using Khashoggi’s assassination to lessen influence of Muhammad bin Salman: Analyst

Press TV – November 15, 2018

American writer and academic James Petras says the United States is using journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination to create an environment that can lessen the influence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

James Petras, author and political commentator, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on a report which says the US Senate is expected to vote on legislation aimed at punishing Saudi Arabia over its brutal war on Yemen as well as the murder of the Saudi dissident journalist at its consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday that the upper chamber could vote on the resolution within weeks prior to the end of the year.

Corker said that the legislation seeks to stop all assistance to the Kingdom, adding measures to end arms sales to Riyadh would also be discussed at the Senate.

Petras said that it’s “very clear that there is a great deal of indignation in the US about the behavior of the so-called crown prince in Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman, who has been involved in a number of assassinations, including of someone very close to the US government, and a very prominent participant in the Washington Post.”

“Some observers think he was collaborating with the CIA on keeping them informed on the inside struggles inside Saudi Arabia, and that was one of the reasons that Prince Salman murdered him,” he added.

“Now the fact the US felt that the Saudis were undermining US operations in Saudi-underlined region. The Yemen invasion by the Saudis has been going on for three years. The US has supplied the Saudis with arms, advisors, and signing of a major agreement with the support of President Trump,” he noted.

“This is all part of the background. I think the feeling is with Khashoggi’s assassination that Washington can create an environment that can lessen the influence of Prince Salman,” he argued.

“And I think that his purge inside Saudi Arabia has caused too much instability. They think that the Yemen war can be used against him even though Washington has continued to support the Saudis in decimating the population,” the analyst said.

“So I think the Senate will be fighting the pro-Saudi element in the government, particularly President Trump. President Trump wants to punish the Saudis but not too much, maybe a slap in the wrist and perhaps creates countervailing powers,” he said.

“I don’t expect the US to force the Saudis to withdraw from Yemen. I think that that’s what they want, to open up some negotiations between the Saudis and the Houthis and the pro-Saudi Yemenites who have been operating on the periphery,” he observed.

Saudi Arabia has come under fierce criticism after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Khashoggi, a prominent commentator on Saudi affairs who wrote for The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, had lived in self-imposed exile in the US since September 2017, when he left Saudi Arabia over fears of the Riyadh regime’s crackdown on critical voices.

Crown Prince Salman is a prime suspect in the murder plot.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

A New Body On Nuclear Disarmament?

By Vladimir KOZIN – Oriental Review – 15/11/2018

In October 2018, Senior Adjunct Fellow of the Federation of American Scientists and former safeguards inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Thomas Shea, unveiled his book Verifying Nuclear Disarmament at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

A key element of his publication is the establishment of a new international control mechanism for the phased and complete elimination of nuclear weapons by all nuclear powers, which will simultaneously monitor any attempts to re-create such weapons of mass destruction again.

In his book, the 78-year-old author, who began his military career on a US aircraft carrier fitting carrier-based aircraft with nuclear bombs, builds on the provisions of the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted in July 2017 by suggesting that a special implementing body be set up, which he calls the International Nuclear Disarmament Agency (INDA), to complement the IAEA should the treaty ever enter into force.

According to the US expert, the INDA would be a key body for controlling the entire process of global nuclear disarmament, it would oversee the dismantling of nuclear warheads and the equipment needed to make them at nuclear weapons facilities, and it would also ensure that nuclear weapons are never made again. The agency would operate in accordance with the principles set out in the text of the TPNW.

Thomas Shea has worked out the organisational structure of the INDA and sets this out in his book, along with the principles of its interaction with nuclear states and the IAEA.

The American researcher believes that the INDA should be headed by a Nuclear Disarmament Council made up of 24 members (one from each country party to the TPNW). The council would have nine permanent committees that would control the process of eliminating nuclear weapons, safeguard weapon-sensitive information, ensure the safety and security of nuclear weapons, and carry out inspections to verify nuclear disarmament agreements, so perform certain supranational functions, in other words. The council would also oversee the day-to-day activities of the new disarmament control agency and help implement all the provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The INDA’s research work will be provided by its staffed Research Institute and its Center for Research and Development related to the verification of nuclear disarmament.

The book’s author has developed key principles for preventing rearmament following the total elimination of nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals, including the introduction of a strict inspection regime and the international control of fissile material that could be used to make nuclear warheads. He also suggests converting highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium as soon as possible, which could then only be used in nuclear power plants.

The American researcher proposes starting the nuclear disarmament process by determining for each nuclear state the minimum amount of fissile material that could be used to made nuclear warheads. He believes it would then be possible to embark on a reciprocal exchange of information about operationally deployed nuclear warheads, which should be eliminated first, and then information about non-deployed warheads, which should be disposed of second. The next step in the nuclear disarmament process would be an agreement to reduce the amount of fissile material intended for nuclear weapons and place all remaining stocks of fissile material under special international control to rule out future rearmament.

Thomas Shea suggests that nuclear states take ten confidence-building nuclear disarmament measures. In particular, he believes that an important measure to increase the level of trust between nuclear states in the nuclear missile sphere would be their mutual commitment not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other or not to use them at all, whether first, second, or third, and he also calls for the signing of bilateral agreements on the gradual reduction of nuclear arsenals.

Referring to the Nuclear Posture Review approved by the Trump administration in February 2018, Thomas Shea criticises Russia, China and North Korea for modernising their nuclear weapons, while ignoring the fact that the nuclear arsenals of the West’s “nuclear troika” (Great Britain, the US and France) have been upgraded, as have those of the de facto nuclear powers – Israel, India and Pakistan.

Thomas Shea expresses support for the eventual entry into force of the international TPNW. This contradicts Washington’s official negative position on general nuclear disarmament, which is the most strongly opposed to the idea being implemented in comparison with the other nuclear-armed states. It is well known that the US has already started making plans to create a completely new strategic nuclear triad over the next seven to eight years, which America’s current military and political leaders envisage will exist right up to the 2080s.

The US researcher does not mention any deadlines in his book for reaching global nuclear zero, recognising that the process for complete nuclear disarmament could take many years due to existing disagreements on the issue between nuclear-armed states. He simply notes more generally that nuclear disarmament can only take place when every legal nuclear power – which is to say the “nuclear five” represented by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – and the four de facto nuclear powers that are not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty – namely Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan – understand that they will not be able to fully safeguard their security with nuclear weapons alone and so will switch to non-nuclear means to protect their defence interests. Thomas Shea believes that “disarmament won’t come quickly, quietly or cheaply”.

It is likely that the book will arouse some interest among those in the field as an example of the author’s development of a global mechanism for verifying complete nuclear disarmament at some point in the future. It is unlikely to become a catalyst for discussions on how to create a world completely free of nuclear weapons, however, given that the level of nuclear missile confrontation in the world has grown significantly thanks to the biggest nuclear power – America – while the threshold for using nuclear weapons has been lowered, particularly given the Pentagon’s readiness to use low-yield nuclear warheads, which is to say nuclear warheads with an explosive power of less than 5 kilotons.

The real situation in the world today shows that there are too many doctrinal and military-technical obstacles preventing the complete and irreversible elimination of all nuclear weapons. Their elimination is also made more complicated by the lack of a global consensus. There has also been no noticeable increase in the level of trust between nuclear-armed states, which all have different views on nuclear arms control and the doctrinal basis for their actual use.

It is important to bear in mind that only two-thirds of UN member states voted in favour of adopting the TPNW and it did not have the support of every nuclear power. The process of joining it is even worse: only a third of UN member states have actually signed it. The ratification process is moving along just as slowly. As of November 2018, it had been ratified by less than half of the 50 countries required.

The difficulties in implementing the TPNW are also reflected in the fact that a large proportion of the global community does not want to retain the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in its current form. This is clearly shown by the results of a UN vote. In October 2018, the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which debates disarmament and international security, unfortunately voted against a draft resolution in support of the INF Treaty. Thirty-one countries voted in favour, 54 countries abstained, and 55 countries, including the US, Great Britain, Canada, France and Ukraine, voted against.

In other words, there is a lack of a global consensus on nuclear disarmament. In fact, it is possible that America’s targeted efforts to unilaterally withdraw from the INF Treaty and its refusal to extend START III could undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime that has existed for many decades, as well as the entire international legal system for nuclear and conventional arms control that has been established with such difficulty over a long period of time.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NATO Calls GPS Jamming ‘Dangerous, Disruptive’, Joins Norway in Accusing Russia

Sputnik – November 15, 2018

NATO has decided to throw its weight behind Helsinki’s and Oslo’s claims of GPS disruption during the recent alliance drill in Norway. Meanwhile, unsubstantiated allegations of Russian involvement are gaining momentum in the Nordic countries.

Unfounded accusations by Norway and Finland that Russia was responsible for the recent GPS malfunction experienced during the Trident Juncture drill, the largest in decades, have now been perpetuated by NATO headquarters.

“Norway has determined that Russia was responsible for jamming GPS signals in the Kola Peninsula during exercise Trident Juncture,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said. “In view of the civilian usage of GPS, jamming of this sort is dangerous, disruptive and irresponsible.”

Previously, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed in a more evasive way that electronic warfare was on the rise, stressing that the alliance “takes all these issues very seriously.” Nevertheless, he specifically refused to pinpoint any particular nation responsible for the disturbance.

The Norwegian short-haul carrier Widerøe admitted to cockpit crews experiencing unusually weak GPS signals (or none at all), but declined to speculate on the reason for their disappearance.

Following claims by the Norwegian Defence Ministry that it had traced the source of jamming in Norway and Finnish Lapland “to a Russian military base on the Kola Peninsula,” Matti Vanhanen, former Finnish prime minister and current chair of the parliament’s foreign committee said that while Norwegian authorities are unlikely to present any proof, there still was “every reason to trust them”, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

Foreign Minister Timo Soini and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto called for a thorough investigation of the incident, while Prime Minister Juha Sipila highlighting Russia, which “has the means to do it,” as the likely culprit. The Finnish Defence Ministry is yet to provide its commentary.

Neither Norway nor Finland recorded any incidents related to alleged GPS jamming. Russia has denied any involvement in the location signal disturbances.

“We know nothing about Russia’s possible involvement in those GPS failures,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Moscow will respond to possible questions related to the alleged jamming of the GPS signals by Russia during the recent NATO exercises in Scandinavia after Helsinki and Oslo use diplomatic channels, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the police in Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark are now issuing warnings that ‘Russian’ GPS jamming can threaten security and emergency preparedness in Norway. They noted that disturbances of GPS signals in Finnmark have occurred at least three times since last September, and can also interfere with police response to emergency situations. Furthermore, GPS coordinates are often used to determine locations when police are out on the job.

The alleged disturbance occurred amid NATO’s Trident Juncture, two-week military drills involving 50,000 soldiers from 31 countries.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

America Has No Peace Movement – Blame the ‘White Supremacists’

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 15.11.2018

The United States of America has no peace movement even though the country has been mired in unwinnable wars since 2001 and opinion polls suggest that there is only lukewarm support among the public for what is taking place in Afghanistan and Syria. This is in part due to the fact that today’s corporate media virtually functions as a branch of government, which some might refer to as the Ministry of Lies, and it is disinclined to report on just how dystopic American foreign and national security policy has become. This leaves the public in the dark and allows the continued worldwide blundering by the US military to fly under the radar.

The irony is that America’s last three presidents quite plausibly can be regarded as having their margins of victory attributed to a peace vote. George W. Bush promised a more moderate foreign policy in his 2000 campaign, Obama pledged to undo much of the harsh response to 9/11 promulgated by Bush, and Donald Trump was seen as the less warlike candidate when compared to Hillary Clinton. So the public wants less war but the politicians’ promises to deliver have been little more than campaign chatter, meaning that the United States continues to be locked into the same cycle of seeking change through force of arms.

Just last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to a BBC journalist and said Iran must do what Washington demands “if they want their people to eat.” Pompeo’s comments should have shocked the public, but they were not widely reported. If Pompeo spoke for the Administration, that means that Washington is now ready, willing and often able to starve civilians and deny them medicines as a foreign policy tool. Iran is now on the receiving end, but the US has also been supporting similar action by the Saudi Arabians in Yemen, which has resulted in widespread starvation, particularly among children. The current policy recalls former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s infamous comment that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to sanctions had been “worth it.”

It is hard to believe that most Americans support Pompeo. To be sure, there are a number of groups in the United States that have the word “peace” or “antiwar” somewhere in their titles. Most would describe themselves as “progressive,” wherein lies the problem in pulling together a more broadly-based coalition that would make America’s warfare state a key target in the national election in 2020. Progressives, or, as they used to be called, liberals, are not like everyone else. Some commentators observing their antics describe them scathingly as “social justice warriors” or SJWs. That means that they have a mandate to oppose all the evils in the world, to include racism, sexism, limits on immigration and capitalism to name only a few. War is somewhere on the list but nowhere near the top.

SJWs have no comfort zone for dealing with anyone who does not fully buy into their blueprint for global rejuvenation. This means in turn that the antiwar movement, such as it is, is fragmented into a gaggle of groups with grievances that have little ability to establish cohesion with other organizations that might agree completely with their worldview. Folks like me, who are socially and politically conservative but antiwar, do not fit well with their priorities and would prefer to focus on the wars, but that option is not on offer without accepting a lot of sanctimonious garbage.

recent email from the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights illustrates precisely what is wrong. I would support the group based on my concern for justice for the Palestinians but have no interest in its ridiculous stereotyping of who is the enemy, i.e. the omnipresent evil “white supremacists” who are also male, Gentile and heterosexual. The email, sent by one Nusayba Hammad, Communications Director, begins: “In the past week, white supremacist gunmen murdered 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and two Black people in Louisville, and Trump announced his intention to try to erase trans, non-binary, and intersex folks… Our struggles for justice are inextricably linked: rejecting white supremacy means rejecting antisemitism, anti-Black racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, transphobia, and all forms of oppression. This is especially important knowing that many, many people carry overlapping identities and thus are marginalized at the intersection of overlapping oppressions.”

Yes, I know, it is impossible to understand what she is going on about unless one is educated in the progressive codewords. And also yes, the text could have been written by Monty Python. After that introduction the email goes on to provide some resources to “expand [one’s] knowledge,” including this gem:

Palestine as a Queer Struggle (video)
This webinar with Nada Elia, Falastine Dwikat, and Izzy Mustafa covers the intersecting struggles against heteropatriarchy and Zionism. With Trump’s most recent attack on trans, non-binary, and intersex folks, it’s imperative that we understand the importance of standing with queer and trans people in the US and in Palestine as they face multiple layers of oppression.”

As war, in this case the slaughter of the Palestinians by the Jewish state, is the ultimate evil and it brings with it many other forms of suffering, it would seemingly not be asking too much to worry about it as a first priority before getting into the “multiple layers of oppression” that seem to bother lefties so much. But, alas, they cannot jettison that baggage and for that reason many “normal” people who want the wars to stop will not be participating in their protests. It’s a shame really, as joining together and fighting to stop the next war is well worth doing for every human being on this planet.

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take

Photo Source U.S. Embassy Jerusalem | CC BY 2.0
By Sam Bahour | CounterPunch | November 14, 2018

Israel has made a colossal mockery of the concept of security.

In debating an Israeli friend from Jerusalem, I challenged him that Israel consciously plans and uses its military might to damage the Palestinian’s national project to build a state and free itself from Israeli control. Avner, my Israeli friend, argued otherwise, buying into the Israeli state narrative that Israel is “forced” to take measures which negatively affect Palestinians because Israeli security requires it. My knee-jerk reaction as someone living and working under Israeli military occupation for over two decades, was that this was hogwash and, short of ending its illegal (note: legal occupations are temporary by definition) occupation of Palestinians, I claimed that Israel—the occupying power—could immediately take 101 measures to reduce tensions on the ground, without jeopardizing any true and rational security needs. He shrugged and said, “tell me”?

In the years to follow, I have given numerous talks on the state of affairs under Israeli occupation to groups visiting Palestine from all corners of the world. A large number of those talks were to Jewish-American groups—many participants being rabbinical students and mainstream Jewish influencers hosted by the U.S. not-for-profit Encounter—who traveled to Palestine for an Encounter Program. In a recent Encounter talk, one rabbi attentively listened as I made the same claim, Israel can take 101 actions tomorrow morning without jeopardizing security. He raised his hand and asked, where can we get that list?

So, here it is. A quick compilation, with the generous assistance of several friends here in Palestine, and with a few items selected from the umpteen reports being published about the rapidly deteriorating state of affairs. This list is not intended to be comprehensive by any means, but rather a look beyond the daily headlines to give readers, especially those who have bought into the Israeli propaganda—hook, line and sinker—that this military occupation is all about “security”.

I attempted to place a few subtitles to categorize the list, although many items are multifaceted. Space does not allow for a full explanation of each proposed action, so if anyone wants to be directed to a more in-depth explanation of any listed action, or otherwise, please feel free to reach out at the email listed below.

Before offering the list, I must state upfront and clearly, my goal in presenting these ideas is not to assist the powers-that-be to design an embellished military occupation intended as permanent. Rather, my purpose is to reveal Israel’s underlying intentions, its indefinite time frame for continued domination, and the cornucopia of diverse types of actions carefully calculated to humiliate each and every Palestinian, while structurally blocking a path to Palestinian statehood, otherwise known as the two-state solution. That noted, for those who simply cannot fathom the notion of a Palestinian state free from Israeli occupation, I welcome all efforts to get my list addressed while the occupation continues, which would align Israel’s actions somewhat better with the law of occupation, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention, 12 August 1949).

101 actions Israel could take

Gaza

1) Allow for free movement of goods to/from Gaza

2) Open the Erez [Passenger] Crossing to the West Bank 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the nearly 2 million Palestinian residents of Gaza

3) Permit Palestinians to tap their natural gas wells discovered in the sea of Gaza in 2000

4) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s land

5) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s territorial waters, expanding Gaza’s fishing zone: The Government of Israel halved Gaza’s fishing zone from 6 nautical miles to 3 nautical miles; compare that to the twenty-nautical mile limit set by the Oslo Accords. (World Bank)

6) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s air space, releasing 3G frequencies for wireless internet access for Gaza

7) Keep the Karm Abu Salem cargo crossing open (World Bank)

8) Allow solar panels into Gaza (World Bank)

Jerusalem

9) Stop stripping Jerusalemites of their Jerusalem residency status

10) Eliminate arbitrary taxation regime being applied to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially those in the Old City

11) Increase public services to East Jerusalem to align with the level of taxation paid by East Jerusalem residents and with their proportion of the entire city’s population

12) Allow daily mechanism for Palestinians’ freedom of religion, not only on the occasional holidays (entry to Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, e.g.)

Education

13) Remove barriers inside the West Bank between children and their schools

14) Stop soldiers at checkpoints from harassing school age students, stop the delaying and excessive searching of students (and teachers) coming to/from Jerusalem through the Qalandia checkpoint, especially of those who are unaccompanied by parents

15) Provide teachers open access to their workplaces, i.e. crossing checkpoints, etc.

16) Eliminate routine Israeli military forces incursions into schools

17) Allow academic/educational institutions to operate comfortably and freely within Palestinian communities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including East Jerusalem

18) Recognize/accredit the degrees granted by all Palestinian higher educational institution as legitimate credentials for continuing education in Israel or for professional work permits

19) Stop delaying release of textbook shipments

20) Stop delaying release of, and desist from tampering with, examination papers and answer sheets coming from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)

21) Stop banning basic laboratory supplies for students’ laboratory experiments

22) Grant permits for school education/recreational trips: an entire generation has never seen the sea

23) Stop systematically targeting schools in marginalized areas like Khan al-Ahmar in the Jordan Valley

24) Allow importing of educational accessories and tools: During the Microsoft International Student Competition, smart pens, circuits, and other similar materials required by participants were discarded at the Israeli border on the pretext that these educational materials were a threat to Israel’s security

25) Allow student travel. During the Microsoft International Student Competition, the Palestinian team won first place over 23 Arab countries in the innovation category and were qualified to compete in the US. One of the students, despite the student having no security issues, and with an official invitation from Microsoft and the US consulate in hand, was unable to get Israeli permission to enter Jerusalem to process his US visa.

Humanitarian

26) Stop the arrests, especially of children: Number of Palestinians who have been held in Israeli jails for periods ranging from 1 week to life, 1967-1988: 600,000; number of Palestinians arrested during the first intifada (1987-94): 175,000

27) Stop the torture: Documented percentage of Palestinian detainees who have been tortured during interrogation: 85%

28) Stop the deportations: Documented number of Palestinians deported between 1967 and 1992: 1,522; between 1970 and 1973: 785; in 1992: 415; number deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, 2002-2004: 32

29) Stop the house demolitions: Documented number of Palestinian homes in the oPt demolished by Israeli authorities, June 1967-March 2009: 24,145

30) Stop the killings: Killings during the two Intifadas: Number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces and civilians, December 9, 1987 to September 28, 2000: in the oPt: 1,489; within the Green Line: 60. Number killed, September 28, 2000 – September 28, 2004: 3,234

31) Release the bodies of killed Palestinians to their families

32) Stop ripping apart bicultural families: Provide clear and easy access via family re-unification for foreign nationals married to Palestinians

33) Stop arbitrary denial of entries and restrictions on visiting foreign nationals, allowing Palestinian firms to recruit Palestinian and international talent abroad by issuance of work visas/permits for any such person who does not have a Palestinian identity card.

34) Respect Palestinian water rights as defined under international law and honor applicable, signed bilateral water-related agreements

35) Stop spraying of herbicides intended to destroy crops, especially on outskirts of the Gaza Strip

36) Respect the Bedouin community’s way of life, stop the displacement of Bedouin communities

Municipalities

37) Reclassify areas currently classified as Area C if they are within defined city boundaries

38) Expedite landfill approvals: The regional landfill in Rammun (center of West Bank) took about 15 years for the Israeli side to approve

39) Expedite cemetery approvals: The new Ramallah cemetery project took about 12 years for the Israeli side to approve

40) Expedite water/sanitation approvals: The project for a central purification plant in Ein Griot has been waiting for Israeli approval for years now

41) Expedite approvals for new or improved transportation routes: The desperately needed Ramallah ring road project, a case in point, has submitted all required details and continues to await Israeli approval

Economic

42) Stop the illegal dumping of Israeli goods and services into the Palestinian markets, Stop unlicensed Israeli firms, such as Israeli telecommunications firms, from illegally selling their services to the Palestinian Authority (PA) areas

43) Stop the arbitrary delays in importation of technology products

44) Release 4G frequencies for West Bank and Gaza

45) Allow for free movement of goods within the oPt

46) Allow for unfettered imports

47) Allow for unfettered exports

48) Allow the entry of Palestinian goods into the Israeli market, as the Paris Protocol (4/94) provided for in a unique economic and trade regime named the Customs Envelope

49) Stop using an Israeli-specific “Dual Use List” for Palestinians, causing unjustified additional restrictions to importation of goods into Gaza and considerable delays and difficulties for West Bank economic projects, such as the Bethlehem Industrial Estate (BMIP)

50) Stop the extensive security checks within the West Bank which pose an economic obstacle to trade

51) Allow for delivery of large machinery/equipment/vehicles related to PA and international projects, especially for agriculture and construction

52) Eliminate all military checkpoints between Palestinian cities/villages inside the oPt

53) Provide humane/non-segregated access to Palestinians via air, sea and land ports

54) Provide PA security forces full access to all oPt areas

55) Provide PA police full control of all oPt roads

56) Stop issuing licenses to Israeli firms quarrying of Palestinian lands in the oPt

57) Remove closures to all entrances to villages and cities in the oPt, as some residents travel 90-120 additional minutes to reach destinations literally minutes away

58) Allow Palestinians full privileges on “Israeli-only” roads

59) Allow 24/7 access on Israeli-issued travel permits

60) Allow Palestinians with multi-day Israeli travel permits to lawfully stay overnight in Jerusalem and Israel

61) Eliminate the recent requirement of a so called “Magnetic Card” required to apply for an Israeli travel permit to Jerusalem or Israel

62) Eliminate the so called “BMC – Businessman’s Card” required to apply for a multi month Israeli travel permit to Jerusalem or Israel, which artificially segments Palestinian society

63) Allow ease of rehabilitation of deteriorating old cities, especially in Hebron and Jerusalem

64) De-monopolize the Israeli/Jerusalem tourism sector (tourism operators, guides, licenses, etc.), ending the demand to adhere to the “Israeli narrative”

65) Apply and enforce the laws and adjudicate violations equally with respect to all residents/citizens under Israeli jurisdiction as an occupying power

66) De-legitimize “open carry” of weapons for Israeli settlers or accord Palestinian farmers the same privileges

67) Secure Palestinian farmers yearlong access to their farm land, not only partial harvesting seasons

68) Maximize allowed farming area, especially near settlements

69) Expedite issuance of land deeds (Tabu), especially in Area C

70) Allow legal building in Areas B and C

71) Allow access to natural water sources in Area C

72) Allow postal mail and packages to reach the Palestinian Post in a timely manner: In August 2018 Israel dumped 10 tons of mail they held up from 2010

Israeli Crossings and Ports

Border Crossings with Jordan / Allenby/King Hussein Bridge (KHB)

73) Open this sole passenger crossing to Jordan 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the nearly 3 million Palestinian residents of West Bank

74) Increase the number of vehicles, load capacity of cargo loading and unloading, and operating hours at the KHB

75) Streamline the logistics for imports entering the oPt: For example, cement silos could be constructed to store bulk cement until transferred by Palestinian trucks into the Palestinian territory.

Border Crossings with Israel

76) Stop restrictions on shipments through cargo crossings from the oPt into Israel, such as limited number and capacity of cargo crossings, limited working hours, and strict security restrictions: This encourages tax evasion and unfair competition in the form of goods smuggled into the oPt by Israeli trucks that freely enter the Palestinian areas via the crossings and need not unload their cargos, unlike the Palestinian trucks. Moreover, Israeli cargo trucks are not subject to inspection by the Palestinian Authorities.

77) Stop random sampling security checks of cargo which cause cargo damage, as well as, long security checks of perishable cargo which is damaged when delayed for a long period for security inspection purposes.

78) Logistical arrangements for the entrance of goods into the Gaza Strip is an ultra-complicated and troublesome task. In addition to the very long waiting hours at Erez Crossing, the facility has unsystematic working hours with the constant possibility of sudden closure for “security” reasons.

Container Ports

79) Allow direct imports to the oPt via a Palestinian clearing agent. Currently, all kinds of raw materials and goods need to be imported through an Israeli agent. Such a procedural requirement incurs high costs for the Palestinian importer for security and customs inspection. Additionally, the Palestinian importer incurs fees of relevant bonded Israeli warehouses and storage facilities as long as the cargo is withheld in the Israeli ports for inspection purposes, sometimes weeks, months or years on end.

80) Allow Palestinians to define their own import needs. Currently the quantity, quality, destination of imported goods and materials are determined according to the outdated Paris Protocol, which provides the annual ceiling of imports per country of origin.

Area C

81) Stop the prohibition of construction in Area C: Obtaining a permit to construct any factory or plant in Area C is made unbearably difficult and the process should be streamlined, simplified, and not subject to arbitrary regulations and delays.

82) As things stand, permits issued for Area C are time-bound and must be renewed on an annual basis, causing significant delays and a barrier to investment; revise these regulations to streamline the process.

83) Streamline the exhausting “security”-driven bureaucratic procedures to establish land titles, especially in Area

84) Expand spatial plans for Palestinian villages in Area C (World Bank)

85) Grant approval to Palestinian business projects in Area C (World Bank)

Constraints on Movement and Permits

86) Issue and abide by clear and lawful policies and procedures for obtaining all types of visas for foreign visitors, including granting visas to international faculty as they return for a new academic year and eliminating denial of long-term visas to international and regional experts working in the oPt

87) Lift the military ban on Palestinian commercial drivers’ entering Israel with a Palestinian-registered vehicle: This ban is enormously expensive for Palestinian employers, who bear the added logistical costs to rent an Israeli truck for the Israeli side of the route travelled, incurring more than double the rental cost of the Palestinian truck alone.

88) Allow for permits to manage commercial operations within Israeli areas, such as the management of warehouses in these areas. Currently, the limitations on permits issued shackle Palestinian firms’ ability to manage their internal affairs.

89) Allow Palestinian clearing agents access to Israeli ports at Ashdod, Haifa or Eilat. Currently, an Israeli agent needs to be hired as a go-between with the Palestinian importer.

90) Many Palestinian companies are active in both the West Bank and Gaza. Allow permits for West Bank company staff to enter the Gaza Strip and vice versa. At present, absent such permits, staff is unable to follow up on work in progress, attend meetings, or participate in training courses.

91) Permit Palestinian firms’ shareholders to travel to/from the West Bank/Gaza Strip to attend the annual general meetings of firms they are invested in. At present, to work around this, firms incur the extra expense of arranging two venues for a meeting; one in the West Bank and the other in the Gaza Strip, to ensure an equal opportunity for all the shareholders in Palestine to attend the meetings, which are connected by video conferencing.

Legal Issues

92) Streamline legal actions for Palestinian firms having issues with Israeli citizens/cheques; currently, the problem of the Israeli citizen/firm’s being subject to another jurisdiction creates manifold obstacles to prompt resolution.

93) Recognize a third country arbitration between Israeli and Palestinian businesses. If a commercial dispute arises between Palestinian and Israeli parties, Israeli laws requires that arbitration be made in Israeli areas for security purposes and for the safety of the Israeli party. This practice is a clear violation of customary international practices and norms that the seat of arbitration should be in a third and neutral country.

94) Stop the military ban on a large number of Gazan traders who have been commercially banned by Israel without due process, rendering them unable to sell or purchase goods and materials.

Quality inspection

95) Stop the discrimination in dealing with standards certificates. The required Israeli quality inspection of imports transshipped through Israel and acquiring of the Israeli Standards Certificate require a lot of time that might extend up to six months with high costs. Currently, Israeli shipments require one certificate for every product being imported, despite the number of times imported, whereas the Palestinian importer must get a new certificate for every shipment of the same product, adding time and cost to every importation of goods.

96) Allow Israeli products entering the Palestinian market to get a Palestinian Standards Certificate. Currently, the Palestinian market is flooded with Israeli products that bypass Palestinian standards certification.

Financial

97) Stop withholding/delaying the various monetary transfers to the Gaza Strip, imposing extra costs to cover transfers

98) Pay the Palestinian Authority seigniorage for their use of Israeli currency

99) Stop delays in transferring payments to Palestinian government, further indebting the PA: VAT and Import duties collected by the Government of Israel (GoI) on behalf of the PA and should be transferred monthly based on an arrangement instituted by the Paris protocol. (World Bank)

100) Stop unilateral deductions from Palestinian funds, further indebting the PA: These are deductions made by the GoI from clearance revenues to settle utility bills owed by Palestinian Local Government Units (LGUs), utilities and distribution companies to Israeli suppliers. (World Bank)

101) Transfer to the Palestinian Authority fiscal losses accumulated over the years. The signed agreements defined specific arrangements through which the GoI collects VAT, import duties and other income, or the so-called clearance revenues, on behalf of the PA and shares it with the latter on a monthly basis. Some of these arrangements have become outdated and others have not been implemented as envisaged by the agreements, resulting in fiscal losses for the PA. The quantified annual loss (excluding revenues collected by the GoI in Area C that could not be quantified due to data constraints) amounts to USD 285 million, or 2.2 percent of Palestinian GDP. (World Bank)

So, here you have it, a detailed sampling of what the Israeli military occupation means from ground zero. These and dozens of other Israeli restrictions are what mainly underlie the inability of Palestinians, individually and collectively, to create a different reality on the ground, let alone properly prepare for a free and independent state.

A longtime Jewish-American attorney friend with whom I shared this list as a draft in process responded unequivocally: These issues, he said, are not Israeli security threats; on the contrary. If they were rationally addressed, the results would serve Israeli security needs. With that, one must step back a bit and reflect on what Israel’s real intentions might be in sustaining its 50-year military occupation through the use of this vast web of “security” regulations.

Sam Bahour is managing partner of Applied Information Management (AIM), a policy analyst with Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, a secretariat member of the Palestine Strategy Group, and chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. He blogs at http://www.epalestine.com. Twitter: @SamBahour

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Is Israel turning a blind eye as Israeli scammers swindle victims in France, US, elsewhere?

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | November 14, 2018

French and Israeli media report that a group largely made up of Israelis scammed 3,000 French citizens out of approximately $20 million.  Most of the stolen money is in Israel, but Israeli authorities are reportedly failing to cooperate with France in prosecuting the scammers and retrieving the money.

This is the latest of numerous examples of Israeli officials stone-walling international efforts against the perpetrators of massive financial swindles around the world, according to Israeli investigative journalists and others. These scams have brought estimated billions into the Israeli economy, propping up a regime widely condemned for human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing against indigenous Palestinians. Together, the stories paint a picture of a government that seems to be turning a blind eye to – and even protecting – scammers.

Finance Magnates analysis reports that one of the swindles alone has brought in over a billion dollars and employs 5,000 people. And a new scam, described below, may help what is predicted to be “the next major driver of the Israeli economy.”

A former IRS expert on international crime notes that “fraudulent industries are often major economic drivers, and that can translate into political clout.”

Some Israeli journalists have been working to expose the situation in Israeli newspapers, publishing exposés like “As Israel turns blind eye to vast binary options fraud, French investigators step in” and “Are French Jewish criminals using Israel as a get-out-of-jail card?” (Short answer: yes.)

Victimizing French business owners & churches

The victims of the recent scam against French citizens included churches and the owners of small businesses – delicatessens, car repair shops, hair salons, plumbers, etc. Some lost their life savings and describe being threatened and intimidated by the scammers.

The masterminds of the scam reportedly were Antoine Ilan Frau (aka Ilan Frau) and Michael Nedjar, both of whom resided in Israel at the time. French police arrested the two at the Paris airport in 2016 as they were about to return to Israel. While they and 25 others were subsequently found guilty in a French court, other alleged co-conspirators have not yet been arrested and are believed to be in Israel.

The Times of Israel (TOI) reports that most of the money was channeled to Israel and has not yet been recovered. The newspaper reports that Israeli law enforcement authorities “have been unhelpful in enabling further investigation of the scam and in recovering the stolen funds.”

TOI, which obtained the full French verdict statement, reports: “In 200 pages of matter-of-fact legal prose, the verdict paints a picture of Israeli authorities unwilling to cooperate with their French counterparts.”

Another Times of Israel article reports: “The exact number of French citizens thought to be evading authorities in Israel is unknown, but France has sent to Israel at least 70 formal requests for judicial assistance with cases involving suspected fraud by dual nationals residing in the Jewish state.”

Below are some of the other Israeli-connected scams victimizing people around the world that observers accuse the Israeli government of largely ignoring.

Gilbert Chikli, “the world’s greatest con artist”

In 2016 Ha’aretz reported on an Israeli con artist named Gilbert Chikli, who boasts of pioneering a multi-million dollar scam that also targeted people in France. The New York Post has called him “the world’s greatest con artist.”

The scam targeted banks and business, cost French companies an estimated 7.9 million euros. Approximately 52 employees of the companies taken in by him were subsequently fired.

Despite French extradition requests, Ha’aretz reported in 2016 that Chikli “mysteriously remains a free man, living in luxury in his villa in a seaside Israeli city as French authorities try to bring him to justice over a massive con for which he was previously convicted.”

Although a French court sentenced Chikli to a seven-year prison sentence, Ha’aretz reported that instead of being incarcerated, Chikli was “hanging out at his private swimming pool.” Israeli officials refused to explain why Chikli was allowed to live freely in Israel.

Far from disputing the French conviction, Chikli bragged on Israeli TV about his technique: “You get off on it. Because you’re 5,000 kilometers from Paris with a telephone and a 100-euro calling card and you can make 10 million euros” [over $11 million].

Chikli boasted that he had a good life in Israel, where he dealt in real estate (in addition, it appears, to continuing his scams). He also made an estimated several thousand euros for “consultancy services” to a director who made a film based on Chikli’s story.

The film generated unprecedented attention in France, as it depicted “an Israeli-French underworld out of reach of French authorities,” in the words of TOI, “because of the complications in extraditing suspects from Israel.”

Chikli remained free in Israel from 2009 until he traveled to the Ukraine in 2017, where he and another Israeli (also wanted by French authorities) were finally arrested, and Chikli was extradited to France. He was jailed and indicted for an additional scam perpetrated while he was at large.

French report states that during his time in Ukrainian detention, Chikli was “filmed drinking vodka in his cell, toasting his wealth, swearing never to return to France, and abusing the French judicial system.” … continue reading

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Austrian Ex-Colonel Accused of Espionage ‘Doesn’t Feel Like a Spy’ – Lawyer

Sputnik – November 14, 2018

The lawyer of the retired Austrian colonel, who is suspected of having passed secret information to Russia for 25 years, insists that his client could have never betrayed state secrets as he had no access to the classified data. According to the local outlet Kronen Zeitung, defender Michael Hofer welcomed the decision of the Salzburg State Court not to arrest the retired colonel.

“My client has assured me that he has not revealed any state secrets. He is very pleased with the decision of the court. He does not feel like a spy,” the lawyer told the media.

The judge dismissed the application for pre-trial detention, citing there’s no danger that the suspect flees. He is said to be optimally socially integrated and has an irreproachable profile. Court spokesman Peter Egger also stated that the accused man has no access to sensitive information anyway since he is retired. Besides, his communications are restricted.

According to the Salzburg prosecutor’s office, the suspect may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. The case against the retired officer, who is said to have spied for Moscow between the 1990s and the end of his careers, was made public last week following Kronen Zeitung’s report.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz confirmed that a 70-year-old retired Austrian colonel was suspected of spying for Moscow and demanded that Russia provide “transparent” information on the issue. The incident prompted the cancellation of an official visit of Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl to Russia.

Addressing the espionage case, Moscow protested to the Austrian Ambassador to Russia, calling the accusations baseless. In response, General-Secretary of the Austrian Interior Ministry Peter Goldgruber expressed hope that the incident would not undermine Austrian-Russian relations.

READ MORE:

UK Gave Austria Info on Ex-Colonel Suspected of Spying for Russia – Reports

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

‘Tangible Evidence’: UK Funding ‘Killer Robot’ Drone Project – Leaked Report

Sputnik – November 14, 2018

In 2017, hundreds of academics in Canada and Australia called for a pre-emptive ban on the development and use of lethal autonomous robotics, a move that became part of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

The development of “killer robot” drones has actively been funded by the British government, which is making public statements that it has no plans to create such unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a leaked report by a UK anti-drone campaign group.

The group, called Drone Wars, published a survey called ‘Off the Leash: The Development of Autonomous Military Drones in the UK’. It specifically claims that Britain’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is specifically injecting money into the creation of the Taranis drone, as well as dozens of other similar research programmes.

Developed by BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), Taranis is capable of autonomously flying, plotting routes and locating targets. The project has cost more than 200 million GBP (259 million USD) so far, according to the Drone Wars report.

Peter Burt, author of the report, referred to “tangible evidence” that the UK MoD is actively engaged in development of “the underpinning technology with the aim of using it in military applications.”

In this vein, Burt cited Taranis as an example of a drone with “advanced autonomous capabilities”, arguing that the development of a “truly autonomous lethal drone” in the foreseeable future was now a “real possibility”.

“The government should be supporting international initiatives to prevent the development and use of fully autonomous weapons, and should be investigating the enormous potential of artificial intelligence to identify potential conflict areas and prevent wars before they start,” Brunt underscored.

The Independent cited an unnamed MoD spokesperson as rejecting reports about the UK government’s plans to create any weapons systems which would operate without input from humans.

The spokesperson pointed out that the MoD’s weapons will “always be under human control as an absolute guarantee of oversight, authority and accountability.”

Last week, The Times reported that during its Saif Sareea-3 military exercise, which wrapped up on November 3, the UK military for the first time engaged in wargames where it practiced fighting countries with more powerful armed forces, including Russia, using unmanned flying drones.Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon in 2017, prominent UK  physicist Stephen Hawking specifically cited the advent of powerful autonomous weapons, warning that if it is not used properly, artificial intelligence “could be the worst event in the history of our civilization”.

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Phil Ochs and the Crucifixion of President John F. Kennedy

By Edward Curtin | November 13, 2018

“They say they can’t believe it, it’s a sacrilegious shame
Now, who would want to hurt such a hero of the game?
But you know I predicted it; I knew he had to fall
How did it happen? I hope his suffering was small.
Tell me every detail, I’ve got to know it all,
And do you have a picture of the pain?”              – Phil Ochs, The Crucifixion

“You are aware of only one unrest;
Oh, never learn to know the other!
Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast,
And one is striving to forsake its brother.”          – Goethe, Faust

President John Kennedy was assassinated by the U.S. national-security state, led by the C.I.A., on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. That is a fact beyond dispute, except for those who wish to engage in pseudo-debates to deny the obvious. I prefer not to, since there is nothing to debate.

But there is everything to mourn, even after fifty-five years, first of course for the man himself, then for those who have suffered and died for bearing witness to the truth about his assassination, and finally for the consequences of his murder, because it cut savagely into any pretense of American innocence and set the stage for the nihilistic tragedies that have followed, including the murders of Malcolm X, MLK, RFK, the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the ongoing “war on terror.”

Today, JFK’s killers have tightened their chokehold on the country and on the throats of those wishing to tell the truth. Their penetration of the corporate mass media is wide and deep, and the narratives they spin can make an innocent soul’s head spin.  Everything is twisted to serve their interests. With a click of a finger, truth and falsehood rotate like spokes on a rapidly turning wheel – spooks turning spokes in a game of hide and seek meant to confuse and derange the public.

It’s a melancholy task to contemplate the parts played, consciously or unconsciously, by various actors in this deadly game, not least because one’s own naiveté prompts one sometimes to question or abandon those one once admired and to dive deeply into the twisted minds and hearts of fellow humans. What follows concerns one such man’s strange story and what his relationship with U.S. intelligence might suggest about our situation today.

Oh I am just a student, Sir, and only want to learn
But it’s hard to read through the risin’ smoke of the books that you like to burn
So I’d like to make a promise and I’d like to make a vow
That when I got something to say, Sir, I’m gonna say it now

Those are the words of the folk singer, Phil Ochs, from his 1966 song “I’m Going To Say It Now.” Ochs wrote and performed passionate protest songs during the 1960s that inspired many to speak and act in opposition to the Vietnam War and many other injustices. He was a fiery, sardonic activist whose music, such as “I Ain’t Marching Any More,” induced many to refuse military induction and to burn their draft cards. He, not Bob Dylan, was the committed voice of the 1960s radical anti-war folk music world, singing at events and rallies across the country, culminating at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago when the Chicago police rioted and savagely beat anti-war protesters, and Yippies and Hippies and protesters gathered in Lincoln Park to listen to Ochs sing defiant songs to keep up their spirits. But Ochs’s own spirit was broken that terrible year of so many deaths, which started his long descent into alcoholism and mental chaos that ended with his suicide in 1976.

I was one of those who was inspired by his music. I still am. Soulful and satiric, biting and beautiful, stirring and inspiriting, it has a power few can equal. But I have come to a point where I find it necessary to broach a strange mystery involving Ochs, something that when I first heard it in passing shocked me terribly. No, I thought, that can’t be true; it’s impossible.

But the more I have researched it, the truer it seems, and I have come to see it as emblematic of the treachery and confusion sown by the CIA, its Operation Mockingbird, and its so-called Mighty Wurlitzer that have played so many for fools through its control of the corporate mass media and the production of narratives that run like little movies too perfect to be true, but too true to be false – even when they are.  Screens within screens within screens. Efforts to fuck up as many people as possible in operation chaos, to derange and cleave them into split personalities within and without, and to mystify as many minds as possible.

I think Phil Ochs was one so mystified. I think he was used and abused by radically evil forces.

According to Phil’s best friend from college at Ohio State, the man who taught him to play guitar, his singing partner, best man at his wedding, constant pal in their days in Greenwich Village, and life-long friend, Jim Glover, Ochs was in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, standing outside the Dal-Tex building in Dealey Plaza when JFK was driven by to be killed. He was there, he told Glover, as a “national security observer.”

I had read about this on some off-beat websites, but never in biographies of Ochs, or in the latest documentary about him, There But for Fortune. There seems to be an “official” ban on mentioning it, even though Glover appears in the books and the documentary, has been interviewed by the authors and filmmaker, and is considered, as Phil’s old and close friend, to be a most reliable source. Jim Glover, who was one half of the well-known folk duo, Jim and Jean, back in the 1960s, and is now an anti-war activist in Florida, says that he has told Ochs’s siblings and biographers all the details and that he has also reported it as far back as the early 1990s to the FBI, all of which disclosures have resulted in silence, not even efforts to refute it. It seems like another example of what Thomas Merton called “the unspeakable” – “the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said.”

So I contacted Glover and asked him about it. He told me that Phil had told him months before the assassination that he was “working for National Security, something like the C.I.A.” Then, he later told him he had gone to Dallas with one of the Gambino boys as “a national security observer” and had been standing in Dealey Plaza outside the Dal-Tex building where he was filmed when JFK was shot. Jim Glover has sent me photos that he discovered decades later that he says are photos of Phil in Dealey Plaza at the exact spot he mentioned and also in the movie theatre where Oswald was arrested.  He thinks they are very conclusive, especially because of the Dealey Plaza location, despite their blurriness. While I think they are not dispositive, they do look like Ochs.

The first two photos are outside the Dal-Tex building, after and before the assassination.

The third is inside the movie theatre where Oswald was captured and taken out the front door, while the second Oswald was led out the back door.

And the smaller one is a photo of Ochs at Ohio State in 1961 for comparison purposes.

 

 

 

 

Whatever you think of the photos, they are one piece of a larger mystery, a tale stranger than fiction. They may or may not show Ochs, as Jim Glover feels certain they do, but there is no reason to doubt and every reason to believe Glover when he says Phil went to Dallas that fateful day.

So the question is this: If Phil Ochs was in Dallas that day, what was he doing there?

Let me reiterate: The murder of President Kennedy is not a mystery, and I am not exploring it.  We know he was killed in a coup carried out by the national security state led by the CIA. If you want to know why, and if you want to know why this Thanksgiving, November 22, we should give thanks for John Kennedy’s life and witness, read JFK and the Unspeakable by James Douglass. It’s the only book you need to read on the assassination.

Phil Ochs is the mystery, and I am wondering about him, what he thought he was doing getting tangled up with shadowy intelligence operatives, how that awakening knowledge subsequently affected him, how he responded, and what place guilt and fear played in his post-1963 life and death. I am proceeding as if Ochs went to Dallas at the naïve age of 22 not to harm Kennedy, but as he told Glover, to investigate the threats against Kennedy that he had heard of in NYC through V. T. Lee of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) and others. (This is the same V.T. Lee who received a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald, who was proposing a FPCC chapter for New Orleans in May 1963, where he was performing his theatrical stunts. Lee warned Oswald not to provoke “unnecessary incidents which frighten away prospective supporters” in a place so hostile to Castro. But Oswald, of course, did the opposite to establish his fake support for Castro.)

Glover says he also knew of the plots against Kennedy that were widely circulating in leftist circles, and afterwards felt Phil and he were being set up to be implicated in the assassination in case the official cover story fell apart since he and Glover were sympathetic to Castro and Cuba. Their phones were tapped and they were being surveilled. At this time Glover and his partner Jean were persuaded, against Ochs’s advice, to go on a Hollywood Hootenanny Tour of southern college campuses, a surreal trip that made stops in Dallas and Houston and seemed clearly connected to the Kennedy assassination as strange people got off and on the multi-bus caravan, talking about Kennedy being killed. Glover says these included George and Barbara Bush and J. Edgar Hoover, who were picked up by the bus at the Houston airport late in the day of November 22.

You would have to have a fantastic imagination to make this stuff up, and I have no doubt that Jim Glover is not doing that. Yet his tale is truly bizarre, revealing the intricate nature of the government conspiracy to kill Kennedy.

He told me that he doesn’t know who told Phil to go to Dallas, but he is unequivocal that he did.  He said:

I don’t have all the answers.  All I know is what Phil told me to keep us both as safe as possible.  He told me I’ll never lie to you but there are things I can’t tell you. Knowing I had a big mouth if he told me things you [me] are asking, I might not be alive. His purpose as I see it was to observe, and being set up if Oswald lived, he could have been used as, ‘See a Castro sympathizer knew and was involved.’ And that would apply to me also [learning what he did on the Hootenanny Tour] and they would stop at nothing to have us both silenced permanently if Oswald or Kennedy lived because we knew too much.

Once, he said, as an example of his big mouth, he was performing at the Gaslight in Greenwich Village and told the audience that Phil had been in Dallas as a national security observer. He thinks Ochs’s manager, Al Grossman, and Bob Dylan heard it, “because Phil came over and said, ‘Are you trying to get me killed?’”

Phil, he said, was a super patriot and would never have done anything to harm Kennedy, but was tricked into going to Dallas under the assumption that he was working with those trying to prevent the assassination and was investigating the plot or might be able to infiltrate it and perhaps stop it. But when Ochs returned to NYC later that day, he was devastated by Kennedy’s assassination and at the realization that he had been used and was now compromised. That is why he cried so terribly that night and wanted to die. His youthful innocence had died.

Phil Ochs was a man of two minds and inclinations, not unusual for that era. He was a conservative rebel. He attended Staunton Military Academy and was in the ROTC at Ohio State; he idolized John Wayne, James Dean, Marlon Brando and the American western film mythology of the cowboy and soldier; he loved John Kennedy; he sang powerful anti-war songs and would jokingly say to his audience that now that they had listened to his anti-government songs he was turning them in to the government; he was a drama king who loved heroes and wanted to be one; he was a left-winger who mocked liberals; he was a folk singer who loved Elvis. In short, he was a man of many contradictions, of highs and lows, hope and despair, driven to stop war and injustice and to become a star in the superficial entertainment culture, etc. As he fell apart in his last years, it became easy to categorize him with the facile term “manic-depressive.”

I think that misses the heart of the matter, as if a term explains its reality, as if his paranoia had no basis in reality.

My guess is that he was driven by guilt and fear and that his suicide at age 35 was connected to being in Dallas on the day JFK was assassinated. I think he died that day too, and that the next 13 years of his life were courageous attempts to quell his guilt for being gulled into going to Dallas and fear that he might be killed for doing so by singing out his rebellious songs in the face of his ghosts. He was a haunted man, and produced haunting songs in response to exorcise his demons, including the songs The Crucifixion and That Was the President, both about John Kennedy.

In his last years he said he was John Train (sometimes John Butler Train), not Phil Ochs, and that John Train had killed Phil Ochs in the Chelsea Hotel on the summer solstice in 1975, the solstice being a significant turning point. His biographers give various explanations for his adoption of this pseudonym, all of which, I believe, miss the mark. To say he took the name from his heroes John Wayne, John Ford, John Kennedy, and William Butler Yeats, avoids the key word: Train. It’s as if the word is unimportant or unspeakable, or the name John Train is a common name that “crazy” Phil just made up.

As he was unravelling in fear and trembling, I believe he was referring to a real John Train, a CIA operative, when he metaphorically said “on the first day of summer 1975, Phil Ochs was murdered in the Chelsea Hotel by John Train…. For the good of societies, public and secret, he needed to be gotten rid of.” Train assassinates Ochs. Then the following spring Ochs assassinates Ochs by hanging himself.

Could it just be a coincidence that there is a real John Train who from the early 1950s onward was connected to the CIA and the covert state in various activities as an asset or an agent? This John Train, who was one of the founders and funders of The Paris Review, its first managing editor, who together with the CIA’s Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton started the magazine for the CIA under its propaganda front, The Congress for Cultural Freedom. This John Train, who ran cover corporations for the CIA and was connected to George Herbert Walker Bush through the CIA’s Thomas Devine, who was involved in setting up Bush’s company Zapata Offshore. This John Train, who was deeply involved with the CIA’s activities in the early 1980s backing the CIA-supported mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. This John Train who…. [i]

It is farfetched in the extreme to think that Phil Ochs just plucked the name John Train out of thin air. But the fact that this is asserted by his biographers makes sense when we realize that Jim Glover’s claims are ignored by Ochs’s family, the biographers, and the makers of the documentary about him. That there is a real CIA-affiliated John Train and that Glover insists Phil told him he was in Dallas on November 22, 1963 seem clearly connected. But these facts are unspeakable.

Like Jim Glover, I don’t have all the answers about Phil Ochs. My guess and my hope is that Phil was used and was not complicit, that he naively thought by going to Dallas he was working with the good guys to protect the president from the killers, and when he witnessed the brutal murder, he felt compromised, and felt so overwhelmed with guilt and fear that life eventually became too unbearable for him.

I think his story is a parable for our times. Whenever you think you’re getting the straight scoop, think again, and then again. The CIA’s Operation Mockingbird is still singing its siren song to convince us that the crucifixion was a one-time event, when Phil knew otherwise, right from the start and right to the end. I think he tried to warn us and wouldn’t be silenced, even in death.

When I’m Gone

[1]  See Joel Whitney’s Finks, Russ Baker’s Family of Secrets, David McGowan’s Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon, and Bill Kelly’s http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2013/05/phil-ochs-at-dealey-plaza.html

***

Correction

The other day an unfinished and uncorrected draft of an article with the title, Phil Ochs and the Crucifixion of President John Kennedy, was erroneously published here. It was my technical mistake. When I saw it, I took it down. Please disregard it if you read it. The draft may or may not end up as a finished article. Thanks.

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | November 13, 2018

On the evening of November 7, administration officials suspended CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s “hard pass.” A hard pass allows its holder “access to areas designated for journalists in the West Wing, on Air Force One, and in other secured areas during presidential trips, which are routinely covered by the White House press corps.”

The suspension followed a combative press conference during which US president Donald Trump repeatedly slammed reporters, referring to Acosta as “an enemy of the people,” and during which Acosta  refused to hand a White House mic back to the intern who came to collect it when his haranguing — er, questioning — time ran out and either (depending on who you ask) accidentally brushed, or intentionally struck, the intern.

On November 13, CNN sued Trump and several other White House officials, accusing them of violating Acosta’s First Amendment (freedom of the press) and Fifth Amendment (due process) rights.

Insofar as the White House has specific and supposedly objective standards for granting hard passes to reporters, Acosta might indeed have a due process claim if yanking his pass didn’t conform to those standards. The First Amendment claim, on the other hand, seems pretty sketchy.

The First Amendment protects not only a free press but freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of peaceable assembly to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Does this mean that anyone who wants to report, speak, pray or just have a non-violent political get-together must be allowed to do so at the White House, on demand?

Well, maybe so. In Thomas Jefferson’s time, Americans could stroll the White House grounds at will and even visit with the president and first lady at lunchtime or after each day. Of course, things have changed since then, but I have no problem with the principle of the thing. The White House supposedly belongs to “the public.” Why shouldn’t we drop in any time we please?

That, however, is not what CNN contends.  They’re not upset that you and I can’t plop ourselves down in White House press room chairs and start firing off questions at the president any time the spirit moves. Their lawsuit argues, rather, that because CNN is a popular cable channel and its White House correspondent is very special and important, Jim Acosta is entitled to a chair, a desk, and face time with Donald Trump.

I suspect a lawsuit on similar supposed First Amendment claims from, say,  Caitlin Johnstone, Alex Jones, Chris Hedges, or the “White House Correspondent” of a small-town Kentucky newspaper  would get laughed right out of court (and out of the “mainstream press”), even if they all agreed to hand the microphones back over when their time ran out.

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment