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Goldman Sachs faces criminal charges in Malaysia for helping billions vanish from state fund

RT | December 18, 2018

Malaysia filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two ex-bankers over the multi-billion dollar looting of state fund, 1MDB. The US bank denies the accusation, claiming it was deceived by the previous Malaysian government.

The subsidiaries of the Wall Street banking giant and its former key employees, ex-chairman of Goldman’s South East Asia, Tim Leissner, and ex-managing director, Roger Ng, are accused of giving false statements when helping to arrange bonds for 1MDB, Malaysia’s Attorney General Tommy Thomas announced on Monday.

Malaysia says the accused wanted to misappropriate $2.7 billion from $6.5 billion in bonds, issued by 1MDB and underwritten by Goldman Sachs, in three separate offerings between 2012 and 2013.

Malaysia also filed charges against former employee of 1MDB Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and local financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, who maintains his innocence. The prosecution believes the duo conspired with Leissner and Ng to bribe officials in order to procure the selection, involvement and participation of Goldman Sachs in these bond issuances.

Now Kuala Lumpur is seeking to take back the misappropriated $2.7 billion from Goldman Sachs as well as $600 million in fees received by the bank. The prosecution is demanding fines and up to 10 years behind bars for each of the accused. The fines may amount to at least 1 million ringgit ($240,000), according to the charge sheets, seen by Reuters.

Billions of dollars from the Malaysian fund were reportedly used to buy everything from Beverly hills mansions, yachts and a private jet to artworks among other things in a fraud that allegedly involved former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

As Malaysia brought the charges, the bank hit back, claiming that it was the victim of deceptive Malaysian officials. The long-running scandal has already rocked the bank’s shares this year, which dropped more than 30 percent.

“Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions,” Goldman said in a statement cited by media. It added that the charges have no effect on its “ability to conduct our current business globally.”

Analysts warn that the scandal is just the tip of the iceberg of the bank’s “criminal” deeds. Despite being investigated in several countries, including in the US, no matter the crimes, Goldman chiefs will never go to jail as they are too close to both sides of the US political aisle, Jack Rasmus, professor of political economy at St. Mary’s College told RT. He also warned that the bank is driving the world to the next financial crisis.

“They just haven’t been caught in the other places,” Rasmus said in an interview to RT. “We’re on the verge of another financial crisis that will make the last one pale in comparison and Goldman Sachs and businesses like them are at the center of the cause of this.”

December 18, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , | 1 Comment

Colorado energy company Xcel goes crazy green

One starts to suspect there is a lot of hype, and maybe securities fraud, going on here

By David Wojick, PhD | Watts Up With That? | December 14, 2018

Awhile back, I wrote an article about how the radical Colorado Energy Plan is actually designed to serve the gigantic Colorado utility company Xcel – not Colorado families and businesses – by beefing up Xcel’s asset base … and bottom line … with $2.5 billion worth of new generating capacity.

The kicker is that the Plan substitutes expensive, unreliable wind power for affordable, reliable coal-generated electricity, and thus is really part of a clever corporate strategy designed by Xcel.

Xcel’s plan was to get past 50% renewable. But now it has doubled down on that. The company just announced that it plans to become 100% “emissions free” by 2050. Xcel serves eight states from Colorado to Michigan, so a lot of people should be grabbing their wallets at this point.

Of course this is all based on the bogus “dangerous manmade climate change” scare, but Xcel stands to make huge profits from it. Being a regulated utility, the more it spends, the more it makes (and the more its customers pay) – while the utility gets to strut its supposed ecological virtues.

Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO, Xcel Energy puts it this way: “We’re accelerating our carbon reduction goals because we’re encouraged by advances in technology, motivated by customers who are asking for it, and committed to working with partners to make it happen.

I doubt the customers asking for it have any idea what it will cost them.

The Greens love it, of course. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund, says it is all about “carbon dioxide pollution,” which is a hoax. Here is Krupp’s claim:

“Ambitious efforts to slash carbon dioxide pollution are urgently needed. Xcel Energy’s vision will help speed the day when the United States eliminates all such pollution from its power sector, which is necessary to seize the environmental and economic opportunity of powering cars, trucks, homes and businesses with cost-effective, zero-emitting electricity.”

Keep in mind, this “carbon dioxide pollution” is what you exhale every time you breathe. It’s what animals exhale. It’s what plants inhale – and the more carbon dioxide (CO2) there is in the air, the faster and better crop, forest and grassland plants grow, using less water in the process.

Colorado’s radical green Governor-elect Jared Polis is politically ecstatic, saying: “When I launched my campaign back in 2017, we had a bold agenda for our state – to get to 100% renewable by 2040. Xcel Energy’s exciting announcement today, along with the strong climate goals communities like Pueblo, Summit County, Ft. Collins, Denver and others across the state have embraced, shows we are leading the way forward right here in Colorado – by committing to a renewable and clean energy future.”

Polis and the others are deeply mistaken in thinking Xcel means 100% renewables. That is actually impossible, because wind and solar generation are highly intermittent, as I explain here. Xcel knows this too, but hides it with the following vague statements:

Achieving the long-term vision of zero-carbon electricity requires technologies that are not cost effective or commercially available today. That is why Xcel Energy is committed to ongoing work to develop advanced technologies while putting the necessary policies in place to achieve this transition.” (Emphasis added)

Zero emissions and 100% renewables are two very different things, as I explain here in my article “100% Renewable Deception.” In fact, Xcel is planning to use enormous numbers of batteries, plus fossil-fuel generation with carbon (CO2) capture and storage. That is, both chemical and carbon-based energy.

In particular, fossil fueled generation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) means immensely more fossil fuels must be used to create and operate all of this hi-tech and largely unproven technology. And that means hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars in additional costs for Colorado businesses and families. All to capture and store the trace gas (0.04% or 400 parts per million of Earth’s atmosphere) that we exhale.

Note too that the supposed battery and carbon-capture-and-storage technologies do not even exist in usable form. How then does Xcel know they will be cost effective? Clearly they cannot know this. I have seen no hint of an engineering plan or cost estimate for bringing this scheme off – and doubt one exists.

Increased reliance on intermittent, weather-dependent wind power also increases grid instability and the likelihood of blackouts, brownouts and rolling outages. Customers more and more often get power when it’s available, instead of when they need it.

Also keep in mind that “emissions free” really means no emissions from electricity sources located in Colorado. The misleading claim completely ignores the massive emissions elsewhere in the world – of very real pollution, as well as emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide – in the process of mining and processing the enormous amounts of metals, hydrocarbons and other materials required to make those turbines, manufacturing the 600-foot-tall windmills, transporting and installing them, and so on.

Enormous amounts of metals and other materials are also needed for the backup fossil fuel power plants, CCS equipment, extra-long transmission lines – or massive battery arrays, if Xcel decides it’s going to use “clean, green” batteries instead of coal- or gas-fired backup power plants. Those backup systems, by the way, actually do 70-85% of the electricity generation, because the wind turbines only work 15-30% of the time. And it all impacts millions of acres of once pristine land, in Colorado and elsewhere.

One more important point, while we’re on the topic of corporate ethics and environmental virtue: A lot of those metals and minerals – especially the rare earths, lithium, cobalt, cadmium and other specialty items required in all this high-tech equipment – come from China, Mongolia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other faraway, out-of-sight-and-mind places. Places where child labor is common, and health, safety and environmental standards are all but non-existent.

You could think of them as the renewable energy equivalent of “Blood Diamonds,” like the ones Leonardo DiCaprio dislikes so intensely that he made a movie about them – when he wasn’t driving his heavily subsidized Tesla, which also uses extensive “blood battery” technology.

(Xcel and its lawyers and environmental and political friends didn’t mention any of that? That’s really surprising, considering how often they emphasize their ethics and planet-saving virtues.)

A lot of people who buy into the climate scare invest on the basis of “greenness.” Given that Xcel is a publicly traded, stockholder owned corporation, one wonders if this “we are the greenest in the land” hype – or any of the lofty but specific promises Xcel has been making – amount to securities fraud.

Perhaps this potential fraud is something the SEC and FTC should look into.

David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy.

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

US sanctions ex-Israeli general over South Sudan

MEMO | December 14, 2018

The United States on Friday sanctioned three individuals, including former Israeli major general Israel Ziv, for their roles in South Sudan’s civil war, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said Ziv and Obac William Olawo, a South Sudanese businessman, were being sanctioned for extending the conflict in the country.

Gregory Vasili, a South Sudanese national, was sanctioned for undermining “peace, stability, and security in South Sudan.”

“Ziv used an agricultural company that was nominally present in South Sudan to carry out agricultural and housing projects for the Government of South Sudan as a cover for the sale of approximately $150 million worth of weapons to the government, including rifles, grenade launchers, and shoulder-fired rockets,” read the statement.

The department said that Ziv had been paid through the oil industry and has been in close contact with a multi-national oil firm.

“While Ziv maintained the loyalty of senior Government of South Sudan officials through bribery and promises of security support, he has also reportedly planned to organize attacks by mercenaries on South Sudanese oil fields and infrastructure, in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve.”

The U.S. designated that the ex-general owns or controls the entities Global N.T.M Ltd, Global Law Enforcement and Security Ltd, and Global IZ Group Ltd.

The U.S. said it is targeting individuals who “provided soldiers, armored vehicles, and weapons used to fuel the conflict in South Sudan.”

South Sudan became the youngest nation in the world when it declared independence from Sudan following a referendum in 2011.

The country slid into civil war in mid-December 2013, when there was a fallout between incumbent President Salva Kiir and his then deputy-turned-rebel-leader Riek Machar.

The conflict in South Sudan has led to nearly 400,000 deaths.

According to the UN, 1.74 million South Sudanese have been internally displaced by the conflict, while 2.47 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

While a peace deal was signed in 2015, it was short-lived when Machar fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and fighting quickly spread across the nascent nation.

December 14, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 5 Comments

U.S. Muslim Leaders Headline UAE Conference at Expense of American Muslim and Palestinian Rights

American Muslims for Palestine | December 12, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last Wednesday, a group of prominent and select American Muslim leaders traveled to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the fifth annual conference of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (FPPMS), which is sponsored by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed, and headed by Mauritanian Islamic scholar, Abdullah bin Bayyah. Despite the country’s appalling human rights record, U.S. Muslim leaders present praised  the country for being “committed to tolerance […] and civil society.”

During the conference, the same Muslim figures were photographed in a meeting with several leading members of the Zionist-Jewish American community including representatives of the American Jewish Committee  (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a powerful pro-Israel lobby organization whose dark history of domestic spying and investment of millions of dollars to extinguish all criticism of Israel is documented in a 2014 report  by AMP. The photo, which was widely tweeted  on Friday by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, features Sh. Hamza Yusuf, a California-based scholar who has been described by the Guardian as “arguably the West’s most influential Islamic scholar,” and Imam Mohamed Magid, the former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), who serves as the Executive Imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Virginia.

It is worth noting that the UAE “Promoting Peace Forum” was founded in 2014, the same year that the UAE government designated  CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in America, a terrorist organization. Several critics have denounced this forum as part of a series of counter-revolutionary measures carried out in the wake of the Arab Spring to crush pro-democracy efforts in the region and promote obedience toward autocratic rulers. It’s been previously exposed  that conferences such as these are part of a sophisticated PR campaign by the Emirati government to pursue its own political agenda in the name of “moderate Islam”. AMP is disturbed by the continuous participation of some American Muslim leaders in these propaganda conferences that whitewash the nefarious agenda of the UAE government.

“Given the UAE’s dismal record on human rights and its catastrophic policies in the region, as in Yemen and the staging of counter-revolutions, it is the last country to allege the promotion of peace in Muslim societies. The American Muslim leaders and scholars who participated in the conference should not have lent their names to an event aimed at legitimizing a regime that has brought much harm to their own communities and other nations,” said AMP National Policy Director Osama Abuirshaid. If “promoting peace” in Muslim societies is the purported objective of this forum then it should have called for the immediate ceasefire and end to the armed intervention in Yemen, and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians living under Apartheid conditions and occupation.

Not only has the UAE labeled the most prominent American Muslim civic group as a terrorist organization, it also has elevated virulently Islamophobic and pro-Israel organizations such as the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), whose senior researcher Jonathan Schanzer has waged a longstanding smear campaign against AMP and was recently captured maligning Palestine activists in the censored Al Jazeera documentary on the Israel Lobby . The film sheds light on the operations directed at demonizing Muslims and Palestine activists in the U.S. The hosting of the ADL at this year’s conference is especially disconcerting given the group’s sinister history of instigating political prosecutions against prominent American Muslim and Palestinian leaders and institutions, as detailed in Israeli author Miko Peled’s recent book Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. Peled recently commented to AMP that the ADL “is an organization dedicated to protecting Israel from criticism. They conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism. The ADL supports the racism, ethnic cleansing, genocide and apartheid regime to which Israel has subjected the Palestinians. ADL does not represent Jewish people and must be shunned by people of conscience.” Rather than invite the ADL and AJC to the stage, the primary purveyors of Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian discourses, the “Peace Forum” should have expressed support for the peaceful and nonviolent BDS movement and highlight the global success of the Palestinian struggle.

Since the Arab Spring, the UAE government has exposed itself as an enemy of human rights and democracy. From intervening in Libya and Egypt to aiding and abetting Saudi crimes in Yemen, supporting its blockade of Qatar, and helping cover up its recent murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi, it is clear that the country is willing to secure its regional strategic interests at all costs and on the backs of millions of Muslims and Arabs. Meanwhile, it continues to openly tighten its relationship with Israel, working with lobby groups in the U.S. and purchasing Israeli spyware  to target civil society both locally and abroad. No conference or publicity stunt can change these critical facts or boost this country’s corrupt image.

“This was a conference to normalize Islamophobia, bigotry against Muslims in the West, in addition to normalizing relations and engagement with apologists for Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people. The participation of these Muslim leaders and scholars make us wonder whether they are involved in last year’s revealed attempts of UAE’s ambassador in Washington to hijack the representation of Islam in the U.S. under the pretext of promoting ‘moderate’ Islam which is in essence a distorted complacent form of Islam that aligns itself with Zionists and Islamophobes in the U.S. through trojan horses within the American Muslim community,” Abuirshaid added.

The active participation of some American Muslim leaders in these dubious initiatives with a deeply troubling agenda demands serious and urgent accountability.

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Colombian police arrest 6 Israelis over running child sex network

Press TV – December 10, 2018

Colombian police have detained six Israelis accused of running a sex ring that exploited underage girls and forced them to have sex with Israeli tourists in the Latin American country.

Following a two-year investigation, Colombian security police managed to break up “an Israeli mafia that exploited and used girls, adolescents and women as sex slaves in Colombia,” said Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez in a press conference on Sunday, adding that two Colombian nationals were also nabbed in the sweep.

The chief prosecutor further said that the “mafia” had been selling tour packages to Israeli settlers with a destination to several cities in Colombia, but in reality they had been used as a front for sex services with minor females.

Among the detainees was Israeli alleged ring leader Mor Zohar as well as an unnamed Colombian police officer, who is accused of helping protect the criminal gang.

Martinez added that arrest warrants had been issued for eight other Israelis accused of the same crimes in the case.

According to a statement by the office of the attorney general of Colombia, all the arrested Israelis have Interpol Red Notices, the closest thing to an international arrest warrant. It added that the whole criminal network was allegedly led by Israeli Benyamin Mush, who has traveled in and out of Colombia and Central American countries.

Officials confiscated assets belonging to the suspects worth $45 million.

The testimony obtained from the victims revealed that the girls received between $65 and $126, and were forced to join a WhatsApp group code-named after the Jewish holiday Purim.

According to Colombian authorities, Israeli tourists would stay at hotels and take yacht trips and go to drug and alcohol-fueled private parties where women and minor females were offered as “sex slaves.”

The suspects, who are to stand before a judge in the northwestern city of Medellin, are facing multiple charges, including pimping minors, aggravated homicide, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Back in July, Israeli website Ynetnews reported that the Colombian police had arrested three Israelis as well as 15 others accused of being involved in sex trafficking in the tourist city of Cartagena that included the sexual exploitation of more than 250 women and girls as young as 14 years old.

The attorney general’s office at the time described the victims as “real slaves of the 21st century”.

December 10, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

Israel propaganda trips target ‘Pacific Progressive Leaders’ – no one will say who’s going

The Israel lobby is working to woo people like Andrea Beth Damsky, second from right. Damsky, active in numerous progressive causes, is a member of the La Mesa, California Environmental Sustainability Commission and on the California Democratic Party Executive Board. She was taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel.
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | December 8, 2018

An Israel lobby organization is taking “Pacific Northwest Progressive Leaders” to Israel today on an all expense-paid propaganda trip to Israel. Another group just returned on December 2nd from a similar trip, officially billed as an “Educational Seminar in Israel for Southern Pacific Progressive Leaders.” No one will divulge the rosters.

The sponsoring organization is the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), a tax-exempt organization that serves as an arm of the powerful Israel lobbying organization AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

Roll Call reports that the AIPAC and AIEF “share leaders, employees and money.” They also share the same address and phone number.

AIPAC used to sponsor such tours itself until it became illegal for lobbying organizations to organize these. A “charitable” arm, AIEF, was then formed to continue the practice. While such trips are now “legal,” they appear to violate the spirit of the law.

Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen told Roll Call: “The purpose of the 2007 travel restrictions was to remove these types of sponsored trips. Most of these trips tend to be nothing but an extension of lobbying. “ Unfortunately, Holman explains, “When it came to negotiating the travel rules regarding privately funding trips, a huge gaping loophole was written in to exempt nonprofits. … I call it the ‘AIPAC loophole.’”

Israel advocacy organizations have exploited this loophole intensively.

Tailored trips

AIEF is an $85 million operation that takes thousands of American officials and opinion makers on all expense paid trips. It pays for their international flights, hotel accommodations, tourist excursions, meals, drinks, etc. Roll Call estimates the cost of a trip for one Congressional representative to be $10,000.

And AIEF is just one of the many pro-Israel organizations that do this; some others are the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, Passages Israel, (backed by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer), the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of Northern California (JPAC), and the American-Israel Friendship League, which has been operating since 1971 and largely targets young people. Last year it gave a special award to potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. A fundraising video featured former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, Elie Wiesel, and others (see below).

A fundraising gala for the American-Israel Friendship League

These and other groups organize tours for every sector of American society, tailoring the trips carefully for each group. There are trips for military veterans, business leaders of all races and ethnicities, educators, athletes, students, etc, and every level of political office.

They treat each chosen group to an exotic, extravagant tour replete with visits to historic sites, exciting night life, beaches, religious sites, official offices, academics; whatever will appeal to the group members. There are meetings with congenial, impressive Israeli hosts of the political and social category that will best fit the visiting delegation, and the meetings even include a few hand-picked “Palestinian representatives” and Druze Israelis who play their role in the skillfully crafted tours.

And through it all those with political, professional, and/or economic ambitions will pick up something more: this is a group that has the money and power to further their careers. The particularly astute trip members will also pick up the converse: this is not a group to alienate.

Such trips are oddly public and secretive at the same time.

On the one hand, there are numerous videos extolling the sponsoring groups’ power and the trips’ effectiveness; diverse, wide-eyed Americans are seen being shown around Israel, and then, on cue, these American visitors describe how much they’ve learned and how wonderful Israel is (see below).

At the same time, however, the trips are sometimes run with extraordinary secrecy. AIEF’S website contains only one paragraph and an email address to contact for information. When we wrote asking who was going on the upcoming delegation for progressive leaders, the response was: “We don’t publicize our trip rosters.” Phone calls were unreturned.

The progressive participants were also unforthcoming about the delegations’ composition; some refused to provide this information, others pled ignorance. None of the participants seem to have publicly announced their trips ahead of time, perhaps aware that many progressive voters today are aware of Israel’s record of brutality against Palestinians, as described by former Israeli soldiers, documented in videos, and reported by human rights organizations.

The California participants

So far we’ve only identified three of the participants on the current progressive trips.

Andrea Beth Damsky – a member of the La Mesa Environmental Sustainability Commission and member of the California Democratic Party executive board and credentials committee – went on the November 24-December 2, 2018 trip for “Southern Pacific Progressive Leaders.” Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and Santa Clara Supervisor Joseph Simitian are going on the December 8-16 trip.

(Simitian also went on a lobby sponsored trip to Israel in 2005, when he was a Democratic state legislator. He is already in Israel, apparently having departed on Wednesday. It is unknown why Simitian left early and whether AIEF is paying for the extra days, or whether Simitian is paying his own way.)

John Gioia – backrow, glasses blue suit jacket & jeans. From his Facebook page

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian with farmworkers – photo on his campaign page

While it seems implausible that public elected officials would go on a trip without knowing the names of any other participants, staff members at both offices say they “have no idea” who’s going on the delegation. Damsky would not reveal which public officials were on her trip.

While not everyone is taken in by tours organized by advocacy organizations, the probability is that many will be influenced by them, some significantly.  That, of course, is why groups like IEAF shell out millions of dollars for them.

Damsky herself says: “I feel more educated on the issue than I did before.”

When asked if she would go on a trip organized by a group without a pro-Israel agenda, she said she would. However, she said she couldn’t afford to pay for such a trip herself and that the trip would have to be paid for by others.

And that’s the stumbling block.

Palestine solidarity groups don’t have anywhere near the astronomical budgets of the multi-billion dollar Israel lobby.

Therefore, it would seem, those with the most money will provide the free trips, and call the shots on this, as in so many other issues – unless Americans do four things:

Actions to take

(1) Prohibit public officials from going on trips paid for by others. Congress tried this before; now it’s time to close the loophole.  If government officials are going to take trips, let them pay for them out of their own pockets. Until such legislation is forthcoming, there are additional steps that can be taken:

(2) Require transparency from our public officials. They should be required to announce these trips publicly and divulge the details. American tax-exempt corporations should be required to reveal the details of the free tours they provide, including the names of those going on them.

(3) Require fairness. Voters should demand that officials who have gone on such lobby funded junkets afterward meet with people beyond the Israel advocacy crowd, so that they can learn facts the pro-Israel tours may have left out.

For example, some of the reports that came out while the southern delegation was in Israel included the fact that Doctors Without Borders reported that more than1,000 Gazans shot by Israel are at risk of infection, which could lead to permanent disabilities or death; Israel’s Shin Bet admitted the use of torture, and a number of human rights groups have documented the “routine use of torture” by Israeli forces; a report found that Israeli settlers, with IDF complicity, have destroyed 800,000 Palestinian olive trees since 1967.

Such post-trip meetings could inform these progressive officials that Israel was founded – in the words of an Israeli historian – by ethnic cleansing, that its settlements are illegal under international law, and that a typical day for Palestinians looks like this. Officials could be shown a list of those killed and learn about the victims:

Given that the Israel trips last a week or longer, the post-trip meetings should take place over a similar time frame and be accorded equal attention.

It seems possible that Damsky, Simitian, and Gioia would be willing to take part in such meetings, especially if they are invited publicly. These are individuals with a record of caring about human rights and indigenous peoples, and who oppose discrimination and oppression; if so, they will not refuse to learn about the plight of Palestinians.

Damsky, who is Jewish, has already suggested that she would meet with other groups, and Supervisor Gioia has stated that he wishes to learn the full facts. In an email response to questions for this article, he wrote: “My goal in this trip is to hear from many individuals, ask hard questions and critically learn. My learning will not end when the trip is done. I intend to continue to read and speak with those who hold positions on the issue.” Their contact information is below.

Trip participants’ contact info:
Supervisor John Gioia: 510-231-8686 / John.Gioia@bos.cccounty.us
Supervisor Joe Simitian: 408-299-5050 / 650-289-9038 Twitter
Andrea Beth Damsky: 619-884-7918 / abdamsky@yahoo.com

Finally, there is a fourth action that Americans can do about these influence buying trips, and this one is probably the most important:

(4) Support politicians who do not give in to Israel lobby pressure.

Many politicians go on these tours because they feel they have no choice – and they may be right. If they fail to dance to the Israel tune, there is a large likelihood that their opponent will get the money, organization, and media support that is usually required to win an American election.

Until and unless Americans who desire fairness, peace, and justice in Israel-Palestine help on political campaigns and make their wishes known at the ballot box, politicians of all backgrounds will continue to go on these trips, Israel will continue to get American tax money and support, and the tragedy will continue.

Ultimately, it’s up to all of us.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

After Soros Flees Turkey, Will He Flee The Rest Of The “Global South” Too?

By Andrew KORYBKO – Oriental Review – 03/12/2018

Soros’ “Open Society Foundation” decided to leave Turkey.

The organization’s representatives said that it was due to the recent accusations that they’ve meddled in the country’s internal affairs, which is an allusion to President Erdogan’s claims last week about their involvement in the 2013 Gezi Park Color Revolution attempt and is ironically the group’s raison d’etre. Truth be told, they’re making a responsible move after seeing the writing on the wall and calculating that a crackdown would be imminent if they don’t leave on their own volition, which works out to be a win-win for both their organization and the government. The “Open Society Foundation” can evacuate its foreign assets from the country and disband its public network, while the state doesn’t have to endure the weaponized infowar campaign that the Mainstream Media would predictably launch if Turkey undertook Russian-like measures to kick this organization out of the country.

This quid-pro-quo is pragmatic for both parties because the “Open Society Foundation’s” domestic Hybrid War operatives get off scot-free, though the state is already likely aware of who they are and won’t hesitate to detain them if they ever pose a future threat to security in the event that they decide to “go underground” to continue their destabilizing activities. At the same time, however, some of the most zealous among them might more safely relocate abroad instead, which would allow them to continue their work remotely through social media and other channels. Still, seeing as how the Turkish state retains strong control over the internet, this threat is conceivably manageable and isn’t seen as being anywhere near as dangerous as if the “Open Society Foundation” and its employees continued their activities in the country unchecked.

Soros’ retreat from Turkey might be a harbinger of what’s to come because President Erdogan commands tremendous respect among the international Muslim community or “Ummah”, so other Muslim governments might be inspired by his leadership in fearlessly calling out the “Open Society Foundation” and seek to emulate his example in the hopes that this will prompt the Color Revolution fifth column to preemptively flee from their countries too. Soros and his organization might try to push back against any similar state pressure if they feel that the authorities there aren’t as strong as their Turkish counterparts and could be influenced by any infowar smear campaign against them, but that’s nevertheless still a fight that they’d be choosing to wage and one which might ultimately be unsuccessful, especially if those governments round up the group’s domestic employees on the pretext that they’re security threats.

It’s still too early to say, but the tide might finally be turning against Soros in the “Global South”.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

FBI raids home of whistleblower who had ‘dirt’ on Clinton Foundation, Mueller

RT | December 1, 2018

More than a dozen FBI agents searched for six hours the house of a contractor who had given Congress and the DOJ documents about the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One scandal, implicating then-FBI director Robert Mueller.

Sixteen agents showed up at the Maryland home of Dennis Nathan Cain on November 19, the Daily Caller reported this week, citing Cain’s attorney Michael Socarras. They demanded to see the documents Cain had already turned over to the Department of Justice inspector-general and the House and Senate intelligence committee.

“I cannot believe the Bureau informed the federal magistrate who approved the search warrant that they wanted to search the home of an FBI whistleblower to seize the information that he confidentially disclosed to the IG and Congress,” said Socarras. He also objected to the fact that the FBI at no point reached out to him, even though Cain provided the agents with his contact information, calling that “serious misconduct.”

FBI spokesman Dave Fitz confirmed to the Daily Caller that the bureau had conducted “court authorized law enforcement activity,” declining to comment further.

The search warrant, signed by federal magistrate Stephanie A. Gallagher in the US District Court for Baltimore, said that Cain possessed “stolen federal property.”

Cain informed the agents that he was a federally protected whistleblower, but gave them the documents at their insistence, Socarras said. Even so, they searched his house for hours afterward.

What were the agents looking for? According to the Daily Caller, they were after the document suggesting that Robert Mueller – now special counsel in charge of the “Russiagate” probe targeting President Donald Trump, but FBI director back in 2001-2013 – failed to investigate allegations of criminal misconduct in the case of Uranium One.

The Canadian-based mining company controls over 20 percent of the US uranium supply, and was sold to the Russian conglomerate Rosatom in 2010. The sale needed to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), which was chaired by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Since then, multiple whistleblowers have revealed claims of misconduct, bribery and fraud on part of the people involved in the sale, even suggesting a “pay for play” scheme in which the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations in exchange for greenlighting the deal. Republicans have also pointed to Bill Clinton’s $500,000 fee for a speech in Moscow in 2010 as evidence the Clintons were peddling influence for Russian money.

Democrats have dismissed the apparent scandal as a right-wing conspiracy theory, and Clinton herself called the accusations of wrongdoing “baloney.

In April this year, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the Utah-based US Attorney John Huber to investigate both the Uranium One probe and the FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. That second probe was the subject of a scathing report in June by the DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, the same official to whom Cain gave the documents as a whistleblower. The status of that investigation is currently unknown.

Also on rt.com:

FBI documents detail Clinton and Mueller’s own ‘Russiagate’ – but they’re classified

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 2 Comments

Failed Oregon Solar Equipment Plant Leaves Behind Millions in Taxpayer Losses

By Bonner R. Cohen | The Heartland Institute | November 26, 2018

A multi-year effort by federal, state, and local agencies to prop up an Oregon solar-panel manufacturer has ended in a shuttered factory, millions of taxpayer dollars down the drain, and a heavily polluted manufacturing site.

In 2010 SoloPower Systems (SoloPower) claimed it could manufacture “flexible” solar PV cells and modules that were light and thin enough to be installed on buildings that couldn’t support regular solar panels. Promising to employ hundreds of people at its 225,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, SoloPower attracted millions of dollars in loans and tax credits from government agencies.

Governments Provide Funding

In 2010 the U.S. Department of Energy loaned SoloPower $10 million. Business Oregon, a state agency, granted SoloPower $20 million in tax credits. The City of Portland agreed to cover half of SoloPower’s debt to the state, provided the solar-panel factory was located within the city’s limits, while Multnomah County, where Portland is located, declared the company’s factory site was in an enterprise zone, freeing the company from paying property taxes as long as it met certain job creation requirements.

By August 2011, the Obama administration increased is commitment to the project, furnishing $197 million in DOE loan guarantees to the company, and the California Energy Commission loaned the company nearly $5 million.

Company Falters

SoloPower’s prospects yielded relatively quickly to marketplace realities with the company’s largely untested technologies proving unreliable and more expensive than those offered by its competitors.

In April 2013, the company shut down its factory and laid off most of its workforce. By July 2013 it stopped making payments on its state loans and shortly thereafter, California sued the company for failing to make payments on its loan.

Subsequently, the U.S. Energy Department withdrew its $197 million in loan guarantees, and in the fall of 2017, the Trump Energy Department declared SoloPower in default of its original $10 million loan.

Also in 2017, Multnomah County sued the company for $1.8 million in back property taxes the county says the company owes for failing to meet the job commitments necessary to qualify for the property tax breaks it received, and SoloPower ceased making to the state of Oregon, saddling Portland with repaying the company’s entire $5 million loan guarantee from the state.

Toxic Waste Site

In an audit of the company Oregon’s Secretary of State pointed out although “Multnomah County had the legal right to seize the borrower’s equipment for delinquent taxes,” it was unlikely to do so because the plant was heavily polluted with cadmium and hydrochloric acid.

Seizing the equipment may not be an option given the level of pollution at the plant.

This stuff is very caustic,” Michael Vaughn, Multnomah County accessor told Oregon Live. “And there’s lots of it. It’s one big mess.”

Cleaning up the plant is estimated to cost more than $500,000.

Read the rest of the story here.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Pushback Against Israel Is Beginning

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2018

The Anglophone Israel Lobby benefits from its ability to mold the media narrative while at the same time using financial incentives to corrupt the political class. For those who do not succumb to the corruption, there is always the option of direct pressure, which in the United States and Britain consists of targeted interference in the political system to remove critics either through promotion of scandal or by supporting well-funded alternative candidates in the following election. In the United States, this has led to the removal of a number of congressmen who had dared to criticize the Jewish state, terrifying the remainder into silence. All of this goes on with little or no debate in the media or in congress itself.

There are signs, however, that the general tolerance of Israeli misbehavior might be ending. The election of at least three Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who might be willing to discuss Israel in something less than worshipful ways is a minuscule shift in the alignment of the Democratic party, where Jewish money dominates, but it reflects the views of the party’s grass roots where a recent poll demonstrates that surveyed Democrats favor Israel over Palestine by a margin of only 2%, twenty-seven per cent versus twenty-five per cent with the remainder of responders favoring neither side.

Much more significant is last week’s announcement by Senator Rand Paul that he intends to place a “hold” on the current package of $38 billion in military aid to Israel, which means he can filibuster the issue in the Senate to delay its passage. Paul, who, like his father, is a skeptic regarding foreign aid in general, did not cite any specific issues connected to the aid package, but critics have long noted that Israel is in fact ineligible for any foreign aid from the United States because it has an undeclared nuclear arsenal consisting of at least 200 weapons. For that reason, providing aid to Israel is illegal under the Symington Amendment of 1961 as well as due to the fact that Tel Aviv has rejected signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT.

Paul’s action is extremely courageous as he is the first Senator since William Fulbright to dare to say anything negative about the Jewish state. Fulbright was, of course, punished by the Israel Lobby, which committed major resources to defeating him when he next came up for reelection. Another U.S. Senator Charles Percy was so bold as to maintain that Palestinian Arabs might actually have “rights” also found himself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who defeated him for reelection, so Paul’s action is far from risk free. In fact, the Israel Lobby is already reacting hysterically to the “hold,” as is the Israeli government, and one can be sure that all their massive resources will be used to punish the senator.

Another area where one might have expected more pushback from Americans is the lack of any serious resistance from Christian groups to the process whereby the conservative Likud dominated Netanyahu government is seeking to turn Israel into a purely Jewish state. That too is changing due to Israeli behavior. Even though Israel boasts that it provides a safe haven for Christians to practice their religion, reports occasionally surface suggesting something quite different. Jewish Zealots spit on Christian clergy and curse them out in the streets without any fear of repercussions. Some clergy have been harassed and even assaulted by Jewish extremists. Churches and religious foundations are frequently vandalized or defaced with obscene graffiti and the Israeli government has also confiscated or destroyed church property.

America’s Presbyterian Church has led the charge in criticizing Israeli brutality. At its June General Assembly it passed a resolution condemning Israeli apartheid. Its Office of Public Witness has been in the forefront in calling on Israel to cease and desist. An Action Alert issued this summer entitled “Tell Congress: 70 years of suffering is enough! Stop the killing, hold Israel accountable, and support human rights for all” denounced the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by the Israeli Army.

Now it is the turn of the Quakers in Britain, who have banned any investment by the church in companies that exploit the “military occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government.”, prompting a furious response from Jewish leaders. It is the first British Church to do so and leaders of the group have compared their action to taking steps against apartheid and the slave trade.

It is certainly a turnabout to see anyone taking on Israel and its all too often invincible lobby. What is significant is that Christian churches and even some congressmen have begun to speak out in spite of the knowledge that immense Jewish power in the United States and Britain will make them pay a price for doing so. May the realization that Israel’s interference in friendly countries damages their democracy finally reach a point where some people in Congress, the media and even in the White House will begin to listen.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Academic Journals: High Stakes, Few Safeguards

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | November 28, 2018

If a journal’s decision can make or break your career, its employees wield extraordinary power.

A week ago I discussed a paper that comes right out and says what everyone knows: most academic research eventually gets published in a peer-reviewed journal of some description. After all, there are 34,000 journals out there.

Because universities need criteria by which to award promotions and fast-track careers, it has become accepted wisdom that the most dazzling discoveries are the ones that get published in the most fashionable places. This is a hierarchy, with everyone scrambling for a spot in the high prestige journals at the top of the pyramid.

In the words of a former editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal, “For an academic, publication in a major journal like Nature or Cell is to win the jackpot.”

As neurobiologist Bjorn Brembs observes, the “underlying assumption is that only the best scientists manage to publish in a highly selective tier of the most prestigious journals.” Where their research appears is “one of the most crucial factors determining their career.”

Government grants get distributed along exactly the same lines. Everyone knows that a scientist whose work has just been accepted by Science has a bright future.

This is an alarming state of affairs. Brilliant minds shouldn’t be sidelined by subjective, unsophisticated snobbery. For his part, Brembs demonstrates that “several lines of evidence” suggest high prestige journals may actually be publishing lower quality research than less prestigious ones.

But there’s actually an entire minefield lurking here. If a journal’s decision can make or break your career, it then follows that the people who work at these journals wield extraordinary power. They exercise that no-fooling power every day. They hold, in their hands, the lives of real people.

We all know power corrupts. We also know the stakes are incredibly high. So what safeguards are in place? What checks and balances prevent journal employees from abusing their power? What mechanisms discourage blatant corruption?

Let us not be naive. As Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, explains:

Whenever the following three conditions are met, you always have rampant cheating:

1. Cheating is easy

2. The payoff is huge.

3. The odds of getting caught are low

Western, affluent societies have placed tremendous trust in institutions of higher learning, in the scholarly publishing industry, and in entities that spend our tax dollars on scientific research.

It takes one’s breath away to comprehend the wobbly foundations on which all three of those now stand.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment