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Bethlehem Mayor: Netanyahu Statement on Palestinian Christians is Another Attempt at Distorting the Reality of Occupation

IMEMC News & Agencies – October 16, 2018

Mayor of Bethlehem, advocate Anton Salman said, in response to Sunday’s statements by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Bethlehem and the situation of Palestinian Christians, that such a statement “is another Israeli attempt at distorting the reality of the Israeli occupation and particularly the effects that Israeli policies have had on the Palestinian Christian community since 1948.”

“If Mr. Netanyahu was concerned about the situation of Palestinian Christians, particularly in the Bethlehem area, he would return the 22,000 dunams of Bethlehem land illegally annexed to Israel for expansion of colonial settlements. He would dismantle the annexation wall that divides Bethlehem from Jerusalem, for the first time in 2000 years of Christianity, and would stop imposing restrictions to Palestinian movement, including the thousand of Palestinian Christians living in exile and whose return is impossible due to the Israeli control over the Palestinian population registry,” said the mayor in a statement issued by the Bethlehem municipality.

He continued, according to WAFA : “For example, in Jordan alone, a few kilometers away, there are at least 20,000 Palestinian Christians from the Bethlehem area that are denied family unification and even cannot enter the city, not even to celebrate Christmas, due to the Israeli military restrictions.

“We would like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that it was himself who supported the building of one of the most damaging colonial-settlements that surround Bethlehem, Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa), and that, in 2015, he declared that by doing so he is preventing the connection between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.”

There are over 100,000 Israeli settlers surrounding Bethlehem from all sides, reducing the area of Palestinian control over Bethlehem to less than 13% of the district, and making it impossible to plan for the future of our city, said the statement.

Furthermore, it was Mr. Netanyahu who voiced objection to declaring the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route as a World Heritage site and his policies of harassment were behind the decision of the churches to close the church of the Holy Sepulcher for three days in Jerusalem in objection to church taxation policy, added the statement.

“His comment was also full of historical inaccuracies. It is shameful that while calling himself a ‘protector of Christianity’, he would use Christians as a tool for his Islamophobic talking points. The decrease in percentage of Christians in Bethlehem, as well as in the rest of Palestine, was provoked with the Nakba of 1948 and ongoing due to Israel’s colonial plans and policies that started in 1967.”

He said that this was also the case in West Jerusalem, from where a large Palestinian Christian community was expelled by Israel from Ein Karem, Talbiya, Qatamon, and other places. From 31,000 Christians in 1948, Jerusalem only has around 12,000 Christians today.

“We would like to advise Mr. Netanyahu to stop using Christians as a tool to pinkwash the occupation. The best he could do for a future of peace and coexistence, where the Christian community would thrive again, it is to respect his obligations under international law, including Security council resolutions 478 on Jerusalem and 2334 on settlements, dismantling illegal colonial-settlements and the annexation wall surrounding Bethlehem, including in the Cremisan Valley, fully end the occupation of Palestine and allow for the return of our people to their city. It is not the Palestinian government that prevents their return Mr. Netanyahu; It is your government.”

He said: “I would like to use this occasion to call upon the heads of the churches in Jerusalem as well as to the Holy See to raise their voices against the use of religion for political purposes. It cannot be tolerated anymore that the bible is used wrongfully in order to justify crimes and violations that go against the teachings of values spread by our lord Jesus Christ.”

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Angered By Saudi Plan to Purchase Russian S-400, Trump Admin Exploiting Khashoggi Disappearance to Force Saudis to “Buy American”

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | October 15, 2018

ISTANBUL — The disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi continues to strain relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, President Donald Trump warned the Saudis of “severe punishment” if the Saudi government was found to have been responsible for the journalist’s alleged murder.

The Saudi government has vocally denied any involvement even though Khashoggi disappeared within the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and responded to Trump’s threats by vowing an even “stronger” response if the Gulf monarchy is ultimately targeted by the United States. The exchange of threats caused Saudi stocks to sustain their biggest one-day loss since 2016 when trading opened and has brought the upcoming three-day Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Saudi Arabia much unwanted negative publicity.

However, there is considerable evidence pointing to the fact that the U.S.’ response to the Khashoggi affair is likely to be determined, not by any Saudi government responsibility for Khashoggi’s fate, but instead whether or not the Saudis choose to follow through with their promise to purchase the $15 billion U.S.-made THAAD missile system or its cheaper, Russia-made equivalent, the S-400. According to reports, the Saudis failed to meet the deadline for their planned THAAD purchase and had hinted in late September that they were planning to buy the S-400 from Russia instead.

While the U.S.’ response to the alleged murder of the Saudi journalist is being cast as a U.S. government effort to defend press freedom and finally hold the Saudi government to account for its long litany of human-rights abuses, there is every indication that the U.S. is not in fact seeking to punish the Saudis for their alleged role in Khashoggi’s apparent murder but instead to punish them for reneging on this $15 billion deal to U.S. weapons giant Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the THAAD system.

Khashoggi’s disappearance merely provided a convenient pretext for the U.S. to pressure the Saudis over abandoning the weapons deal by allowing the U.S. to frame its retaliation as a “human rights” issue. As a result, it seems likely that, if the Saudis move forward with the latter, the U.S. and the Trump administration  the Saudi government guilty of involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance while, if they move forward with the former, the media frenzy and controversy surrounding the Saudi national will likely fizzle out and, with it, Trump’s threats of “severe punishment.”

Ultimately, the response of the U.S. political class to the Khashoggi affair is just the latest example of a U.S. government policy being motivated by the military-industrial complex but masquerading as a policy motivated by concern for “human rights.”

Why the sudden concern over the Saudi government’s atrocious human rights record?

As the Khashoggi saga has drawn on since the Saudi journalist disappeared earlier this month, some observers have noted that the corporate media and the U.S. government’s sudden preoccupation with Saudi Arabia’s human-rights record, particularly in regards to journalists. Indeed, just last Wednesday, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced that 15 Saudi journalists and bloggers had been arrested over the past year and noted that “in most cases, their arrests have never been officially confirmed and no official has ever said where they are being held or what they are charged with.”

In addition, Saudi Arabia has helped kill tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians in the war it is leading against that country, with most of those civilian casualties resulting from the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign that routinely targets civilians. The Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of food and medicine into Yemen has also brought the country to the brink of famine, with nearly 18 million now at risk of starving to death — including over 5 million children, while thousands more are dying from preventable diseases in the country.

While murdering a journalist by “hit squad” in a diplomatic compound on foreign soil — as is alleged to have Khashoggi’s fate — would certainly set a dangerous precedent, Saudi Arabia leading the genocide against the Yemeni people is arguably a much worse precedent.  However, little concern over the Saudis’ role in this atrocity in Yemen has been raised by those pushing for action to be taken against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s “inhumane” fate. So, why the sudden concern?

Despite it being a well-known fact that the Saudi government routinely imprisons journalists and activists and is leading a genocidal war against its southern neighbor, the Trump administration has now adopted a harsh tone towards the Saudis, with concerns over Khashoggi’s disappearance serving as the “official” excuse.

Indeed, Trump told CBS’ 60 Minutes during an interview broadcast on Sunday that “there’s something really terrible and disgusting about that if that were the case [that Saudi Arabia had been involved in Khashoggi’s murder], so we’re going to have to see. We’re going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment.”

Other powerful figures in the U.S. political establishment have called for dramatic action to be taken against the Saudi government, particularly the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). For instance, John Brennan, former CIA Director under Obama and current cable news pundit, lobbied in a recent Washington Post op-ed to dethrone MBS for his alleged role in Khashoggi’s fate.

Brennan also notably called upon the U.S. to impose “immediate sanctions on all Saudis involved; a freeze on U.S. military sales to Saudi Arabia; suspension of all routine intelligence cooperation with Saudi security services; and a U.S.-sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the murder.”

Another prominent figure in Washington pushing for action to be taken against the Saudis over Khashoggi’s disappearance is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham recently stated that there would be “hell to pay” if the Saudi government was found to be responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder. Notably, the top contributor to Graham’s 2020 re-election campaign is U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Given that human-rights concerns among the U.S. power establishment have only emerged after the disappearance of this one journalist and such concerns regarding the Saudis other grave human-rights abuses continue to go unvoiced by these same individuals, something else is likely driving Washington’s sudden concern over alleged Saudi state-sanctioned murder.

So what has protected the Saudi government from U.S. retribution over its repeated human-rights abuses in the past? Though Saudi Arabia’s vast oil wealth is an obvious answer, a recently leaked State Department memo revealed that U.S. weapon sales to the Gulf Kingdom were the main and only factor in the Trump administration ’s continued support for the Saudi-led coalition’s disastrous war in Yemen. Those lucrative weapon sales, according to the memo, led Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “rubber stamp” the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen despite the fact that the coalition has continued to bomb civilian buses, homes and infrastructure in recent months.

If the Saudis were to back away from a major, lucrative deal with U.S. weapon manufacturers, such an act would likely result in retribution from Washington, given that weapons sales to the Gulf Kingdom are currently the driving factor behind Washington’s “concern” with the Saudi government’s poor human-rights record.

This is exactly what happened and it took place just two days before Khashoggi disappeared inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudis back out of a US deal and eye the rival’s wares

Last year, President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and praised its crown prince for finalizing a massive weapons deal with the United States at a value of over $110 billion. However, it emerged soon after that this “deal” was not contract-based but instead involved many “letters of interest or intent.” Over a year later, the Washington Post recently noted that many of the planned weapons deals have yet to be finalized.

One of those agreements was the planned $15 billion purchase of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD), which is manufactured by U.S. weapons giant Lockheed Martin. The deadline for the Saudis to finalize that deal passed on September 30, just two days before Khashoggi’s disappearance on October 2. However, a Saudi official told the Post that the Saudi government is still “highly interested” in the deal but “like any military purchase, there are negotiations happening which we hope will conclude in the quickest means possible.”

Yet, not only has Saudi Arabia apparently backed out of the $15 billion deal to buy Lockheed’s THAAD, it is also actively considering buying the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system instead and has also refused U.S. government requests to disavow its interest in the Russian-made system.

Indeed, on September 21, Saudi ambassador to Russia Raid bin Khalid Krimli stated:

Our cooperation with Russia continues and grows. And during King Salman’s historic visit [to Russia] we have signed 14 agreements that began to be implemented. There were four agreements in the military field; three of them began to be implemented. As for the fourth … there is discussion of the technical issues. Because the system itself is modern and complex.”

The fourth deal to which he alludes appears to be the S-400. The Saudi ambassador also stated the he hoped “nobody will impose any sanctions on us” for making the purchases with Russia — further suggesting that the system he was discussing was the S-400, given that the U.S. sanctioned China for purchasing the system soon before the Saudi ambassador’s comments.

Interestingly, soon after the Saudis’ failure to stick to the planned deal with Lockheed, Trump began to publicly criticize the Saudis for “not paying” their fair share. Speaking at a campaign rally in Mississippi on October 3 – one day after Khashoggi’s disappearance in Istanbul and three days after Saudi Arabia “missed” the Lockheed Martin deadline, Trump stated:

“I love the king [of Saudi Arabia], King Salman, but I said: ‘King, we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military, you have to pay.”‘

More recently, this past Saturday, Trump told reporters that he did not want to risk the bottom line of the U.S.’ top weapons manufacturers in determining the Saudis’ “punishment:”

I tell you what I don’t want to do. Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these companies. I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that [emphasis added]. And you know there are other ways of punishing, to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true.”

However, if the Saudis do follow through with the purchase of the S-400, Lockheed Martin will lose $15 billion as a result. It will also endanger some of other potential contracts contained within the $110 billion weapons contract that Trump has often publicly promoted. With Trump not wanting to “lose an order like that,” some analysts like Scott Creighton of the Nomadic Everyman blog have asserted that the Khashoggi scandal is being used as a “shakedown” aimed at pressuring the Saudis into “buying American” and to force them to disavow a future purchase of the Russian-made S-400.

Would the U.S. use such tactics against a close ally like the Saudis over their potential purchase of the Russian-made S-400? It would certainly fit with the U.S.’ recent efforts to threaten countries around the world with sanctions for purchasing that very missile defense system. For instance, in June, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell threatened Turkey with sanctions if Turkey purchased the S-400. Those threats were followed by the September decision made by the Trump administration to sanction China for its purchase of the S-400 system.

Notably, it was right after China was sanctioned for purchasing the S-400 that the Saudi ambassador to Russia told Russian media that “I hope nobody will impose any sanctions on us” for purchasing the S-400.

However, U.S. sanctions against the Saudis may now be in the works after all, with Khashoggi’s disappearance as the pretext. Indeed, as previously mentioned, former CIA director John Brennan, among other powerful figures in Washington, is calling for sanctions against the Saudi government and Trump himself stated on Saturday that “severe punishment” could soon be in the Saudis’ future.

Yet another piece of this puzzle that cannot be ignored is the fact that Khashoggi himself has ties to the CIA, as well as to Lockheed Martin through his uncle Adnan Khashoggi, one of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful weapons dealers.

Khashoggi’s deep connections to CIA, Saudi Intelligence suggest his “disappearance” may be something more

Following his disappearance, Khashoggi has been praised by establishment and non-establishment figures alike, from Jake Tapper to Chris Hedges, for being a “dissident” and a “courageous journalist.” However, prior to his scandalous disappearance and alleged murder, Khashoggi did not receive such accolades and was a very controversial figure.

As Federico Pieraccini recently wrote at Strategic Culture :

[Khashoggi is a] representative of the shadowy world of collaboration that sometimes exists between journalism and the intelligence agencies, in this case involving the intelligence agencies of Saudi Arabia and the United States. It has been virtually confirmed by official circles within the Al Saud family that Khashoggi was an agent in the employ of Riyadh and the CIA during the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.”

Indeed, Khashoggi doubled as a journalist and an asset for the Saudi and U.S. intelligence services and was also an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was also the protégé of Turki Faisal Al-Saud, the head of Saudi intelligence for 24 years, who also served as the Saudi ambassador to Washington and to the United Kingdom. Khashoggi was “media advisor” to Faisal Al-Saud during his two ambassadorships. Notably, Khashoggi became a regime “critic” only after internal power struggles broke out between former Saudi King Abdullah and Turki Faisal al-Saud.

Supporters of King Abdullah accused Khashoggi at the time of having recruited and paid several journalists on behalf of the CIA while he was editor of the leading English-language magazine in Saudi Arabia, Arab News, a post he held from 1999 to 2003.

More recently, Khashoggi strongly supported the Muslim Brotherhood during the “Arab Spring” and backed the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton regime-change efforts that spread throughout the Middle East, including the regime-change effort targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

However, under King Salman, the Muslim Brotherhood’s presence in Saudi Arabia came under threat and was suppressed. This led Khashoggi to leave and seek refuge in Turkey.

Perhaps most significantly, prior to his disappearance, Khashoggi was “working quietly with intellectuals, reformists and Islamists to launch a group called Democracy for the Arab World Now.” As Moon of Alabama notes, these projects that Khashoggi was involved in prior to his disappearance “reek of preparations for a CIA-controlled color revolution in Saudi Arabia.”

Not only does Khashoggi share ties to the CIA and the Saudi intelligence services (services that often collaborate), but his family is well-connected to global power structures, including Lockheed Martin.

Indeed, as previously mentioned, Khashoggi’s uncle is none other than Adnan Khashoggi, the notorious Saudi arms dealer who was an important player in the Iran-contra affair and was once Saudi Arabia’s richest man. Adnan Khashoggi was deeply connected to Lockheed Martin, as demonstrated by the fact that, between 1970 and 1975, he received $106 million in commissions from the U.S. weapons giant with his commission rate on Lockheed sales eventually rising to 15 percent. According to Lockheed’s former Vice President for International Marketing, Max Helzel, Adnan Khashoggi “became for all practical purposes a marketing arm of Lockheed. Adnan would provide not only an entry but strategy, constant advice and analysis.”

Adnan Khashoggi also had close ties to the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan White Houses, with the latter likely explaining why he was acquitted for his role in the Iran-contra scandal. Also notable is the fact that Adnan Khashoggi sold his famed yacht to none other than Donald Trump for $30 million. Trump later called Adnan Khashoggi “a great broker and a lousy businessman.”

Given Jamal Khashoggi’s past and present connections to the CIA and his family’s connections to Lockheed Martin and powerful players in the U.S. political establishment, the possibility emerges that Khashoggi’s disappearance may have in fact been a set-up in order to place pressure on the Saudi government following its decision to renege on its plan to purchase Lockheed’s THAAD system. This theory is also somewhat supported by the fact that the U.S. intelligence community had known in advance of an alleged Saudi plot to capture Khashoggi but ignored its duty (via ICD 191) to warn Khashoggi of the apparent threat against him. Furthermore, the claims that Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul have — so far — been entirely based on claims from U.S. and Turkish intelligence and no evidence to support the now prevailing narrative of murder has been made public.

If a “set-up” were the case, Khashoggi’s CIA links and his apparent efforts at pushing a CIA-controlled “color revolution” in Saudi Arabia suggest that his disappearance could also have been intended for use as a pretext, not necessarily to punish the Saudis over the S-400, but to remove MBS from his position as crown prince and replace him with former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was ousted by MBS last year and also holds close ties to the CIA. Such a possibility cannot be ignored.

However, the Trump administration’s willingness to cooperate with the faux outrage regarding Khashoggi is much more likely to be motivated by the weapons-deal drama given the administration’s close ties to MBS.

Of course, it is equally likely that this was not a set-up given that MBS is undeniably authoritarian and relentlessly pursues his critics and perhaps thought that his close relationship with Trump would allow him to act with impunity in targeting Khashoggi. However, MBS’ pursuits of his critics in the past were more readily accepted by the West — like the so-called “corruption crackdown” last December. Either way, the Saudi government’s role in the alleged murder of Khashoggi is being capitalized on by the CIA and other elements of the U.S. political scene and military-industrial complex for its own purposes, as these groups normally turn a blind eye to Saudi government atrocities.

Tracking the political typhoon

Though the U.S. tactic to strong-arm Saudi Arabia seems clear, it is a situation that could dangerously escalate as both MBS and Trump have proven over the course of their short tenure that they are stubborn and unpredictable.

Furthermore, the timing of this situation is also troubling. In early November, the Trump administration’s efforts to punish countries importing Iranian crude oil will take effect and Trump is set to lean heavily on the Saudis to prevent a dramatic oil price increase due to the supply shock the removal of Iranian oil from the market will cause. Notably, the Saudis are working closely with Russia to keep oil prices from spiking.

Is the U.S. willing to risk the dramatic jump in oil prices, which themselves could have major domestic economic consequences, in order to keep the Saudis from buying the S-400? It’s hard to say but the coming battle of wills between Trump and MBS could well have truly global consequences.

Acknowledgment: The author of this article would like to thank Scott Creighton of the Nomadic Everyman blog for his assistance in researching aspects of this investigation.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Khashoggi Was No Critic of Saudi Regime

By As`ad AbuKhalil | Consortium News | October 15, 2018

The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week has generated huge international publicity, but unsurprisingly, little in Saudi-controlled, Arab media. The Washington Post, for whom Khashoggi wrote, and other Western media, have kept the story alive, increasing the pressure on Riyadh to explain its role in the affair.

It’s been odd to read about Khashoggi in Western media. David Hirst in The Guardian claimed Khashoggi merely cared about absolutes such as “truth, democracy, and freedom”. Human Rights Watch’s director described him as representing “outspoken and critical journalism.”

But did he pursue those absolutes while working for Saudi princes?

Khashoggi was a loyal member of the Saudi propaganda apparatus. There is no journalism allowed in the kingdom: there have been courageous Saudi women and men who attempted to crack the wall of rigid political conformity and were persecuted and punished for their views. Khashoggi was not among them.

Some writers suffered while Khashoggi was their boss at Al-Watan newspaper. Khashoggi—contrary to what is being written—was never punished by the regime, except lightly two years ago, when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) banned him from tweeting and writing for Al-Hayat, the London-based, pan-Arab newspaper owned by Saudi Prince Khalid bin Sultan.

By historical contrast, Nasir As-Sa`id was a courageous secular Arab Nationalist writer who fled the kingdom in 1956 and settled in Cairo, and then Beirut. He authored a massive (though tabloid-like) volume about the history of the House of Saud. He was unrelenting in his attacks against the Saudi royal family.

For this, the Saudi regime paid a corrupt PLO leader in Beirut (Abu Az-Za`im, tied to Jordanian intelligence) to get rid of As-Sa`id. He kidnapped As-Sa`id from a crowded Beirut street in 1979 and delivered him to the Saudi embassy there. He was presumably tortured and killed (some say his body was tossed from a plane over the “empty quarter” desert in Saudi Arabia). Such is the track record of the regime.

Finding the Right Prince

Khashoggi was an ambitious young reporter who knew that to rise in Saudi journalism you don’t need professionalism, courage, or ethics. In Saudi Arabia, you need to attach yourself to the right prince. Early on, Khashoggi became close to two of them: Prince Turki Al-Faysal (who headed Saudi intelligence) and his brother, Prince Khalid Al-Faysal, who owned Al-Watan (The Motherland) where Khashoggi had his first (Arabic) editing job.

Khashoggi distinguished himself with an eagerness to please and an uncanny ability to adjust his views to those of the prevailing government. In the era of anti-Communism and the promotion of fanatical jihad in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Khashoggi was a true believer. He fought with Osama bin Laden and promoted the cause of the Mujahideen.

The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius and others want to embellish this by implying that he was an “embedded” reporter—as if bin Laden’s army would invite independent journalists to report on their war efforts. The entire project of covering the Afghan Mujahideen and promoting them in the Saudi press was the work of the chief of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki, Khashoggi’s principal patron-prince.

Western media coverage of Khashoggi’s career (by people who don’t know Arabic) presents a picture far from reality. They portray a courageous investigative journalist upsetting the Saudi regime. Nothing is further from the truth: there is no journalism in Saudi Arabia; there is only crude and naked propaganda.

Editors are trusted individuals who have demonstrated long-time loyalty. Khashoggi admitted to an Arab reporter last year in an interview from Istanbul that in Saudi Arabia he had been both editor and censor. Editors of Saudi regime papers (mouthpieces of princes and kings) enforce government rules and eliminate objectionable material.

Khashoggi never spoke out for Saudis in distress. He ran into trouble in two stints as Al-Watan editor because of articles he published by other writers, not by himself, that were mildly critical of the conservative religious establishment—which he at times supported. He was relocated to another government media job— to shield him from the religious authorities.

Khashoggi was the go-to man for Western journalists covering the kingdom, appointed to do so by the regime. He may have been pleasant in conversation with reporters but he never questioned the royal legitimacy. And that goes for his brief one-year stint in Washington writing for the Post.

A Reactionary

Khashoggi was a reactionary: he supported all monarchies and sultanates in the region and contended they were “reformable.” To him, only the secular republics, in tense relations with the Saudis, such as Iraq, Syria and Libya, defied reform and needed to be overthrown. He favored Islamization of Arab politics along Muslim Brotherhood lines.

Khashoggi’s vision was an “Arab uprising” led by the Saudi regime. In his Arabic writings he backed MbS’s “reforms” and even his “war on corruption,” derided in the region and beyond. He thought that MbS’s arrests of the princes in the Ritz were legitimate (though he mildly criticized them in a Post column) even as his last sponsoring prince, Al-Walid bin Talal, was locked up in the luxury hotel. Khashoggi even wanted to be an advisor to MbS, who did not trust him and turned him down.

Writing in the Post (with an Arabic version) Khashoggi came across as a liberal Democrat favoring democracy and reform. But he didn’t challenge Saudi regime legitimacy or Western Mideast policy. Mainstream journalists were enamored with him. They saw him as an agreeable Arab who didn’t criticize their coverage of the region, but praised it, considering the mainstream U.S. press the epitome of professional journalism. Khashoggi was essentially a token Arab writing for a paper with a regrettable record of misrepresenting Arabs.

In Arabic, his Islamist sympathies with Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) were unmistakable. Forgotten or little known in the West is that during the Cold War the Saudis sponsored, funded, and nurtured the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the progressive, secular camp led by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. Ikhwan controlled the Saudi educational system raising Saudi students to admire the Brotherhood. But Sep. 11 changed the Saudi calculus: the rulers wanted a scapegoat for their role in sponsoring Islamist fanaticism and the Ikhwan was the perfect target. That made Khashoggi suspect too.

Hints Against Him

Recent articles in the Saudi press hinted that the regime might move against him. He had lost his patrons but the notion that Khashoggi was about to launch an Arab opposition party was not credible. The real crime was that Khashoggi was backed alone by Ikhwan supporters, namely the Qatari regime and the Turkish government.

A writer in Okaz, a daily in Jeddah, accused him of meeting with the Emir of Qatar at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York and of having ties to “regional and international intelligence services.” If true it may have sealed his fate. Qatar is now the number one enemy of the Saudi regime—arguably worse than Iran.

Khashoggi was treated as a defector and one isn’t allowed to defect from the Saudi Establishment. The last senior defections were back in 1962, when Prince Talal and Prince Badr joined Nasser’s Arab nationalist movement in Egypt.

Khashoggi had to be punished in a way that would send shivers down the spine of other would-be defectors.

As’ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Lebanon (1998), Bin Laden, Islam and America’s New “War on Terrorism” (2002), and The Battle for Saudi Arabia (2004). He also runs the popular blog The Angry Arab News Service.

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Talk to the Police

Regent University School of Law | March 20, 2012

Regent Law Professor James Duane gives viewers startling reasons why they should always exercise their 5th Amendment rights when questioned by government officials.

Download his article on the topic at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf….

October 14, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 7 Comments

Undue Process: Forgotten FBI Anti-Terrorism Entrapment Debacles

By James Bovard • October 11, 2004

The train wrecks of the Justice Department’s domestic War on Terror continue to pile up. Despite the perennial victory claims by Attorney General John Ashcroft and other high officials, three recent cases vivify how federal prosecutors and FBI agents continue tripping over the evidence—or worse.

On May 7, the FBI arrested Brandon Mayfield, an Oregon lawyer, for his alleged involvement in the Madrid train bombings of March 11 that killed 191 and left 2,000 wounded. A U.S. counterterrorism official (almost certainly an FBI or Justice Department official) told Newsweek that Mayfield’s fingerprint was an “absolutely incontrovertible match” to a copy of the fingerprint found on a bag of bomb detonators near the scene of the Madrid attack. News of Mayfield’s arrest provided alarming evidence that Americans were involved in international conspiracies to slaughter civilians around the globe, and he was informed that he could face the death penalty for his crimes.

Employing Patriot Act powers, the feds, prior to the arrest, conducted secret searches of Mayfield’s home and tapped his phone and e-mail. After the arrest, they froze his bank accounts. The FBI’s arrest affidavit revealed that its agents had “observed Mayfield drive to the Bilal Mosque located at 415 160th Ave., Beaverton, Oregon, on several different occasions.” Another incriminating detail in the arrest warrant: Mayfield advertised his legal service in the Muslim Yellow Pages. (Mayfield, a former Army lieutenant, converted to Islam and has an Egyptian wife.) In early April, the Spanish police described Mayfield “as a U.S. military veteran who was already under investigation by U.S. authorities for alleged ties to Islamic terrorism,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Yet the key to the case—the fingerprint—was shakier than a George W. Bush press conference. The FBI quickly claimed to have achieved a match on the partial print, but, on April 13, Spanish government officials warned the FBI that their experts were “conclusively negative” that Mayfield’s print matched the print on the bomb detonator bag. The FBI responded by flying one of its fingerprint analysts to Madrid to explain to the Spaniards why they were wrong. But during the Madrid visit, the FBI expert never requested to see the bag or to get a better copy of the print. The arrest warrant in early May wrongly informed a federal judge that the Spaniards were “satisfied” with the FBI’s match.

Mayfield was arrested as a “material witness,” thereby permitting the feds to hold him as long as they pleased without charging him with a specific crime. The Justice Department refuses to disclose how many people have been or are being held as “material witnesses” in prisons around the country.

After Mayfield was arrested, FBI agents raided his home and office and carted off boxes of his papers and his family’s belongings. Among the items seized were “miscellaneous Spanish documents,” according to an FBI statement to the federal court. These supposedly incriminating papers turned out to be the Spanish homework of Mayfield’s son. Perhaps elite FBI investigators suspected that “Hola, Paco. Como Estas?” was a secret code.

Though the FBI never possessed anything on Mayfield aside from a misidentified fingerprint, it did not hesitate to cast him in sinister colors. The FBI informed a federal judge: “It is believed that Mayfield may have traveled under a false or fictitious name.” But Mayfield, whose passport expired the previous year, insisted he had not left the country. The FBI apparently never bothered to check whether Mayfield had been absent from the U.S. before making one of the most high-profile terrorism arrests of the year.

On May 20, after Spanish authorities announced that they had found a clean match with the fingerprint, the Justice Department acquiesced to Mayfield’s release. A few weeks later, Attorney General Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that his case vindicated the American system of justice: “As a matter of fact, the pride of our system is that people are found innocent because we adjudicate these things.” But there was effectively no adjudication in this case because Mayfield was classified as a “material witness”— which meant that the feds could hold him as long as they chose, or at least until his detention became too embarrassing. Ashcroft also testified, “When we learned that the reservations of the Spanish were so substantial, we went to the court, asked for the release of Mr. Mayfield.” In reality, the Justice Department did not acquiesce until the Spanish government announced that they had arrested the Algerian whose fingerprint matched that on the bag.

FBI director Robert Mueller visited Portland a month after Mayfield’s release and announced that FBI agents had acted appropriately. Yet, as a Portland Oregonian editorial noted, “If not for the Spanish authorities doing their own investigation, Mayfield likely would still be in jail today.” And sadly, the unfortunate Mr. Mayfield is not an isolated case.

On Aug. 5, federal agents carried out middle-of-the-night raids to nab a pizzeria owner and an ambulette driver. Deputy Attorney General James Comey announced at a Washington news conference: “Anyone engaging in terrorist planning would be very wise to consider whether their accomplice is not really one of our guys. We are working very, very hard to infiltrate the enemy.”

Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain were arrested for allegedly taking part in a plot to launder money from a government informant who claimed to be involved with a plan to use a shoulder-fired missile to kill a Pakistani diplomat in New York. The feds used the Patriot Act to sweep up Aref’s phone calls and e-mail messages. Perhaps the most decisive item they unveiled at the initial court hearing was the fact that Aref’s name was discovered in a notebook at an alleged terrorist camp in Iraq (after a night attack in which U.S. soldiers killed 80 of 82 people at the camp). Federal prosecutors brandished the fact that he was identified as “the Commander” and declared that the obliterated group was part of Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliate. The feds’ charges persuaded a federal court to lock up both defendants without bail.

A few weeks later, however, at another court hearing, the Justice Department admitted that the key word was mistranslated. Instead of Arabic, the writing was actually Kurdish; instead of “commander,” it merely said “brother.” Aref, a Kurdish refugee who was the leader of an Albany storefront mosque, had relatives back in the homeland. Even though the feds had been in possession of the notebook for more than a year, they had not bothered to verify the Defense Department’s translation before creating an elaborate sting.

The Justice Department also misrepresented where the notebook was discovered. The Defense Department did not identify the targeted group as terrorist-connected. Instead, at the time of the attack, Lt. Gen. David McKiernan declared, “I will simply tell you that it was a camp area that was confirmed with bad guys.” According to Federal Magistrate David Homer, “There is no evidence … to support the claim that Mr. Aref has any contact with any terrorist organization.”

Federal prosecutors responded quickly to the translation debacle, seeking to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act. A statement from the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section warned, “The United States believes that disclosure of this material would raise issues of national security …” It was curious how a case about a phony plot, an inoperable missile (which the informant purportedly showed the defendants), and phony claims by the government suddenly raised national security concerns. The Justice Department unsuccessfully sought to avoid turning over the transcripts of discussions between the defendants and its agent provocateur. After some of the information was released, “transcripts of the undercover tapes show how much prodding by the informant was needed to lure Hossain into the fictitious terrorist plot,” the Albany Times-Union noted.

The defendants were released on $250,000 bail each, after spending 20 days in custody. Another court hearing is scheduled in Albany for Sept. 15 on whether the Justice Department will be permitted to use the Classified Information Procedures Act to shield its case.

DOJ could use a win, for earlier this month, federal prosecutors were forced to admit that their biggest victory over a terrorist cell was in fact a sham. A week after the 9/11 attacks, federal agents nabbed three Arabs living in an apartment in Detroit. (A fourth suspect was snared in North Carolina.) Federal prosecutors described the men—arrested during a raid in which the FBI was looking for another Arab on a terrorist watch list—as a “sleeper operational combat cell.” Two of the alleged cell members were convicted in June 2003 on charges of providing material aid and support to terrorism. A third was convicted on fraud, and a fourth was acquitted. Ashcroft hailed the verdict: “Today’s convictions send a clear message: The Department of Justice will work diligently to detect, disrupt and dismantle the activities of terrorist cells in the United States and abroad.”

The Detroit bust was the only case in which the feds appeared to have nailed a group that may have actually been planning attacks. But after the courtroom victory, the case began to crumble. Federal Judge Gerald Rosen ordered the Justice Department to investigate possible misconduct by lead prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino and others in the case. The controversy mushroomed when Convertino sued Ashcroft, charging him with “gross mismanagement” in the War on Terror.

Perhaps the most decisive physical evidence in the trial was a day planner with a couple of pages of sketches. Federal prosecutors assured the jury that one drawing was an aircraft hanger at a U.S. military base in Turkey and another represented a military hospital in Jordan.

Justice Department prosecutors knew that government experts did not agree with those claims. Instead, most who analyzed one of the simple sketches concluded that it was a rough outline map of the Middle East, not an air-base target in Turkey. At the trial, defense lawyers requested photographs of the alleged Jordanian hospital. Prosecutors falsely denied possessing such photos. The Justice Department’s formal investigation, released in early September, concluded, “It is difficult, if not impossible, to compare the day planner sketches with the photos and see a correlation,” The most important witness to testify against the alleged terrorist cell was Youssef Hmimssa, who co-operated in part because he faced credit-card and other fraud charges. The Detroit News noted that Hmimssa was “a self-described scam artist and crook.” Yet, on the day after Hmimssa finished testifying, Ashcroft publicly declared his co-operation had been “a critical tool” in fighting terrorism and that “his testimony has been of value, substantial value.”

A Justice Department inquiry found that prosecutors failed to turn over more than 100 documents to defense attorneys during the trial, including a letter written by a convict who served time with Hmimissa that stated that the star witness had bragged about “how he lied to the FBI” on the terror-cell case.

Moreover, Convertino ordered FBI agents who interviewed Hmimssa for more than 20 hours to take no notes during the interview. Instead, he briefed the agents after the sessions with Hmimssa and made his own notes, which he repeatedly altered. The Justice Department report observed that there were “discrepancies between these [Convertino’s notes] versions, supporting defense counsel’s claims that Hmimssa’s testimony evolved over time.” The report noted that “Convertino’s approach caused significant controversy” and that one FBI agent was “adamantly opposed” to such a method.

Judge Rosen overturned the convictions declaring, “the prosecution materially misled the court, the jury and the defense as to the nature, character and complexion of critical evidence that provided important foundations for the prosecution’s case.”

These three instances may be only the tip of the iceberg as the government can usually rely on acquiescent federal judges or coerced plea bargains to keep most of its dirty laundry out of view. The public soundbites seek to reassure us that the Justice Department’s domestic War on Terror is going well by invoking largely meaningless numbers. In a July report on the Patriot Act, DOJ bragged, “the Department has charged 310 defendants with criminal offenses as a result of terrorism investigations since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and 179 of those defendants have already been convicted.” But the vast majority of the convictions have had nothing to do with terrorism. Instead, they are a litany of credit-card fraud, visa violations, and other offenses whose prosecution does nothing to protect America against deadly foreign threats—while the pursuit of PR victories over bogus plots diverts resources from real terrorist dangers.

As the election draws closer, the Bush administration may unveil new arrests on terrorism charges. If so, it would be wise to wait until long after the triumphant press conferences to gauge whether the government has finally got the goods—or whether the busts are simply another effort simultaneously to frighten and comfort voters.

_________________________________________________

James Bovard is the author of the just-published The Bush Betrayal (Palgrave Macmillan) and seven other books.

October 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Israeli historian thinks 1956 massacre was part of a secret plan to expel Palestinians

Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi, right, following his show trial.
If Americans Knew | October 13, 2018

Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reports that the highest Israeli officer tried for Israel’s 1956 Kafr Qasem massacre admitted before his death that his trial was staged to protect military and political elites.

Israeli historian Adam Raz believes that a secret plan to transfer Israel’s Arabs was behind the 1956 attack, in which Israeli soldiers shot dead 19 men, 6 women, and 23 children (some reports give the total killed as 51). They were allegedly killed because they had violated an Israeli imposed curfew, of which they were unaware.

Palestinian villagers killed by Israeli forces in Kafr Qasim, October 29, 1956

The Israelis who perpetrated the massacre were courtmartialed and convicted, but their sentences were soon commuted, they received presidential pardons and were released from jail. Some were awarded desirable jobs; Ben Gurion appointed the batallion commander head of security at the Dimona nuclear reactor.

The most senior defendant, Col. Issachar Shadmi, commander of the brigade in charge of the area, was fined 10 pennies for exceeding authority.

Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi, after his trial, holding the 10-prutot coin he had to pay as a fine.

Until his death last month at the age of 96, Shadmi lived in a spacious home in an upscale neighborhood of Tel Aviv.

Ha’aretz journalist Ofer Aderet interviewed Shadmi in 2017.

During the interview Shadmi said that the 1958 court case was “a show trial, staged in order to keep Israel’s security and political elite – including Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan, and GOC Central Command (and later chief of staff) Tzvi Tzur – from having to take responsibility for the massacre.”

The trial, Aderet reports, “was intended to mislead the international community with regard to Israel’s ostensible pursuit of justice.”

Shadmi said: “They explained to me that they needed to put me on trial, because if I had tried in my own country and convicted, even if I was fined only a penny, I wouldn’t go to The Hague…. If they didn’t prosecute me… I would be tried at The Hague. And that is something that neither I nor the country were interested in.”

Aderet writes that Shadmi said he was well compensated as a civilian for going along with the show trial: “I turned into a major Defense Ministry building contractor.”

Israeli historian Adam Raz has filed a lawsuit demanding that Israel declassify documents relating to the affair. He says: “Most of the material is still classified. I was surprised to discover that it’s easier to write about the history of Israel’s nuclear program than about Israel’s policies regarding its Arab citizens.”

Raz believes that another reason for the show trial was to hide a secret program called “Operation Mole.” The goal was to expel Palestinians from the area. He says: “The public is familiar with the ‘Mole’ program only as a rumor.” says Raz; much of the documentation remains classified in the IDF archive.

Aderet writes: “Raz thinks one must see the Kafr Qasem massacre in this context: ‘The massacre wasn’t perpetrated by a group of soldiers who were out of control, as has been argued until today. From their point of view they were following orders, which in essence would lead to the expulsion of the villagers,’ he says. Or, in other words, they were operating in line with the directives of Operation Mole, as they understood them.”

Raz has written a book about the massacre scheduled to be published this month, but it appears it will only be available in Hebrew.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Naomi Klein’s Patriarchal Christian Nation

By Eve Mykytyn | October 13, 2018

Naomi Klein’s piece “Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh and the Rule of Pampered Princelings,” is a thoughtful consideration of how the children of the moneyed classes propagate the ‘self made’ myth in which individual effort is lionized. In this fiction, government ‘interference’ is the enemy, and, as Klein points out, those with a lifetime of safety deride the frail safety net society allows to others. She notes that although these ‘princelings’ may include the less privileged in their rhetoric, they propagate social policies of low taxes and fewer regulations that primarily benefit the very rich.

Klein asks, “But what must it take to pour large parts of a fortune that came to you by accident of birth into a relentless campaign of further affirmative action for the rich?” Klein’s answer is that the rich attribute their riches to what Trump has called, ‘good genes,’ the corollary of which is that those without must have ‘bad genes’ and deserve their fate as ‘losers.’

To Klein, this is the basis of Trump’s bargain: native born whites, although they lack Trump’s wealth, are invited to celebrate “their own, albeit more modest, birthright entitlements as white, middle-class Americans,” and their entitlements as white citizens of a “Christian patriarchal nation.” This is where my disagreements with Klein begin.

Some of Trump’s supporters may well like to identify with (or would like to possess) Trump’s wealth. But whether or not the US is a ‘Christian patriarchal nation,’ I don’t see the evidence that Trump’s support comes from people who would like to see it as such.

First, it is unfair to put all of Trump’s supporters in one barrel. Trump won a majority of votes from all white Americans of every education level. Interestingly, while analysis of votes is broken down by race, education and income, there was no category that includes both race and income. Or to the point, we have little direct data on how whites who enjoy little of the vestiges of ‘white privilege’ voted. An analysis in Medium divides the US by region and finds Trump’s strongest support in the US’s poorest and perhaps whitest regions, Appalachia and southern Louisiana, which he won by 22% and 25% respectively. So the data we do have does not support Klein’s assertion that Trump’s voters support him to protect their white privilege; in fact, it seems that his strongest support comes from whites who have few, if any, privileges.

A glance at any Trump rally shows large numbers of women, does Ms Klein believe all these women want a patriarchy? And, according to Money magazine, women inherit 70% of the assets passed down in the United States and own more then 50% of investable assets. Not much of a patriarchy.

Further, the claim of Trump’s voters as holding on to a Christian nation seems purely speculative. While Jews voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, Orthodox Jews supported Trump by a margin of 29%. The Orthodox would seem to have little interest in preserving the United States as a Christian Nation.

If, as Klein claims, the United States has always been the province and protector of ‘propertied white men,’ wealth is no longer solely in the hands of men or of Christians.

The exclusive classes contain a large number of self-identified Jews. A Jewish newsletter counted 139 of the Forbes top 400 (richest) as Jewish. Despite the so called dog whistling (apparently heard primarily by Jews who found anti Semitic content in Trump lambasting the non Jewish Koch brothers) Trump as president has not been anti Semitic. Far from it. Trump has duly rewarded his Jewish benefactors, the Mercers and Sheldon Adelson, and has sicced his Zionist son in law on the Middle East. His appointments have contained so many of the mostly Jewish Goldman Sachs once and future anointed that Goldman’s chair, Lloyd Blankfein stated that having so many Goldman people in the Trump administration made him “a little apprehensive about it because for fear of how it might look.”

Klein’s complaint that Trump has posited himself falsely as a self made man is legitimate. His response that the New York Times report on the source of his wealth as being largely his family’s money was that the report was ‘boring.’ This is hardly a repudiation. But the wealth of Trump and other scions of the very wealthy will not enure to the non college educated whites who largely supported Trump.

If Klein’s goal is a change in the administration, her goal might be better served by finding a way to appeal to Trump’s voters rather than smearing them with condescending and unproven shibboleths.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 3 Comments

Stanford’s Hoover Institution implicated in “astroturfed” pro-Israel demonstration

If Americans Knew | October 12, 2018

A leaked clip from a censored documentary indicates that a pro-Israel, anti-Arab protest was manufactured with the help of some staff and students from the Hoover Institution.

The documentary, produced by Al Jazeera, says that the protestors at the demonstration were “on a fellowship program run by a conservative think tank called the Hoover Institution.” A student says in the clip that they were “forced” to participate.

The Hoover Institution is located at Stanford University and is funded under Stanford University’s tax-exempt status as an educational institution.  The Hoover Institution has refused to answer questions about the report.

Hoover Tower occupies a central place on the Stanford campus, one of four Hoover Institution buildings at Stanford.

The student in the clip has not yet been identified, and it is unclear which Hoover program he was on. At one point in the video he laughs and says that he and others “sold out” for $50,000 and benefits.

Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reports about the clip:

The Al Jazeera reporter joined a group of students who received a fellowship from the right-wing Hoover Institution, and they are seen telling him that their presence in a small pro-Israeli demonstration has been declared mandatory by their supervisors.

“’his is actually the first foot-soldier activity that we’ve been forced to do,” one of the students says. Another describes it as “a chance to shout at Arabs” who will protest against Israel at the same location.

The students also describe their presence at the demonstration as “astroturfing” – a political term that describes inauthentic political activism, which pretends to be grass-roots based activism. “It’s when you set up fake protests,” one student says. The same students are later seen holding “pro-Israel” signs at the demonstration.

The clip is from an Al Jazeera documentary about the Israel lobby in the U.S. that has not yet been broadcast. Ha’aretz reports that the film was pulled in a bid “to appease the U.S. Jewish community.”

Two sources from pro-Israeli organizations confirmed that the video excerpts were indeed filmed by the Al Jazeera reporter.

Hoover officials have refused to comment on the actions by Hoover staff members reported in the documentary, and it is unclear whether the institution approves of their behavior.

Stanford officials also failed to respond to inquiries about the report.

Hoover’s director is Thomas W. Gilligan, 650-723-1198, and its associate director is Eryn Witcher Tillman (also listed as a media contact for Stanford), 650-725-3076.

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

Russia says Iran’s presence in Syria none of Israel’s business

Press TV – October 12, 2018

A senior Russian official has dismissed the Israeli regime’s demand that Iran be forced out of Syria, saying that the issue is none of Tel Aviv’s business as it is Syria’s sovereign right to authorize Iranian forces on its soil.

“Syria is a member of the United Nations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, adding that the Arab country “has equal rights” over its self-determination with Russia, the US and any other member of the UN.

“This is a sovereign country led by a legitimate government. It can agree on cooperation with any other country, including Iran, Russia, Israel,” he noted in an interview with the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS released Thursday night.

“That’s Syria’s sovereign right, and it’s not the business of a third party to intervene in these subjects of politics or policy of a sovereign country,” said Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East.

He went on to say that Moscow had already explained to Israel and the US that “this is a sovereign decision for Syria who should be on their territory.”

“They asked us and the Iranians to be there. The Iranians have said repeatedly on many levels that Syria asked them to help them in the fight against terrorists, and when Mr. Assad tells them that their mission is accomplished and they are no longer needed, they will leave Syria, just like us.”

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against terror outfits.

However, over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

In the latest Israeli airstrikes on Syria a few weeks ago, a Russian Il-20 plane was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses in Latakia Province, northwestern Syria. The Syrian S-200 missile defense system was responding to a wave of strikes by four Israeli warplanes.

Moscow blamed Tel Aviv for the incident, which killed all 15 people on board, saying the Israeli warplanes had deliberately “created a dangerous situation” that led to the crash.

Shortly after the attack, Russia delivered a modern version of its S-300 missile defense system to Syria in a bid to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Plane crash changed rules of the game

In his interview with i24NEWS, Bogdanov underlined that the Israeli pilots’ fault in that incident totally changed the rules of the game.

“The rules of the game were violated when Israeli pilots used a Russian aircraft for cover, knowing how it threatened the Russian crew,” he noted.

“You can imagine what would have happened if 15 Israeli officers had been killed through our fault,” he said.

Netanyahu’s UN theatricals on Iran nuclear site

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bogdanov mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrical performance at the United Nations, in which he used placards with satellite pictures to make claims about a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran.

“It’s naive to think that only one country and only one secret service knows something that nobody else knows,” Bogdanov told i24NEWS, refuting allegations leveled by the Israeli PM about an atomic warehouse in Turquzabad, a village close to Tehran.

“It’s the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is supposed to check this. It is a professional and serious organisation. It has authority and legitimacy,” he said, adding that the IAEA can inspect any site at any time under the agreement it has with Iran.

“To tell the whole world they have something, and show pictures, maybe some people like this and it helps him, maybe it’s intended to score points and for internal consumption,” Bogdanov noted.

“Speaking seriously… Israel should have taken a different approach and not worked with journalists and with what we call ‘megaphone diplomacy’,” he noted.

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Co-founder of Steele dossier firm Fusion GPS refuses to testify before House committee

RT | October 12, 2018

Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, a research firm that commissioned the notorious anti-Trump Steele dossier while funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign money, has refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

In a scathing letter*, unusually strong-worded for legal communication, lawyers for Simpson argued that the House Judiciary Committee is not seeking the truth but is aiming to “discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.”

The subpoena, issued to Simpson by the committee, is thus only a smokescreen that will be used by the panel to further tarnish Simpson’s reputation with “selective” leaks from a closed-door deposition, the letter claims.

Those who have already suffered from the committee’s actions, according to the letter, are former British spy and author of the notorious Trump dossier – Christopher Steele – and former  associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr.

Simpson, who was set to testify on October 16, was thereby invoking his First and Fifth Amendment rights, and would not appear before the lawmakers, the letter says.

Any attempt to shed light on the ties between Fusion GPS and the Obama officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice are no more than “an effort to protect a president who has sought to placate and curry favor with a hostile foreign power,” it continues.

Proving a supposed connection between Trump and Russia had been the whole point of the Steele dossier – however, a protracted investigation has so far not produced any proof to back up the collusion claim, while racking up a bill of over $17 million in taxpayers’ money.

Trump and his Republican supporters, meanwhile, maintain that the dossier’s entire premise is illegal: funded by Clinton campaign money, it was used by the FBI as grounds to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The dossier includes some salacious allegations against Trump, including him hiring prostitutes in Moscow to urinate on the hotel bed Barack Obama had used.

Trump ordered “immediate declassification” of all the documents related the FBI’s surveillance of his campaign in late September but backed down on his decision after consulting with the DOJ. Trump said that the documents would still be published upon a review by the Department’s Inspector General, noting that he could declassify them at any minute. The materials would have also included the FBI interviews with Bruce Ohr – whose wife used to work for Fusion GPS – and the FISA warrant applications to spy on Page.

Simpson’s refusal to testify drew anger from Republicans.

* Letter on Scribd

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Awareness The CDC’s Influenza Math Doesn’t Add Up: Exaggerating the Death Toll to Sell Flu Shots

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr. | Collective Evolution | October 10, 2018

Every year at about this time, public health officials and their media megaphones start up the drumbeat to encourage everyone (including half-year-old infants, pregnant women and the invalid elderly) to get a flu shot. Never mind that more often than not the vaccines don’t work, and sometimes even increase the risk of getting sick.

To buttress their alarmist message for 2018-2019, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies held a press conference and issued a press release on September 27, citing a particularly “record-breaking” (though unsubstantiated) 80,000 flu deaths last year. Having “medical experts and public health authorities publicly… state concern and alarm (and predict dire outcomes)” is part and parcel of the CDC’s documented playbook for “fostering public interest and high… demand” for flu shots. CDC’s media relations experts frankly admit that “framing” the current flu season as “more severe than last or past years” or more “deadly” is a highly effective strategy for garnering strong interest and attention from both the media and the public.

Peter Doshi (associate editor at The BMJ and a MIT graduate) has criticized the CDC’s “aggressive” promotion of flu shots, noting that although the annual public health campaigns deliver a “who-in-their-right-mind-could-possibly-disagree message,” the “rhetoric of science” trotted out each year by public health officials has a “shaky scientific basis.” Viewed within the context of Doshi’s remarks, the CDC’s high-flying flu numbers for 2017-2018 raise a number of questions. If accurate, 80,000 deaths would represent an enormous (and mystifying) one-year jump—tens of thousands more flu deaths compared to the already inflated numbers presented for 2016 (and every prior year). Moreover, assuming a roughly six-month season for peak flu activity, the 80,000 figure would translate to an average of over 13,300 deaths per month—something that no newspaper last year came close to reporting.

The CDC’s statistics are impervious to independent verification because they remain, thus far, unpublished—despite the agency’s pledge on its website to base its public health pronouncements on high-quality data derived openly and objectively. Could the CDC’s disappointment with influenza vaccination coverage—which lags far behind the agency’s target of 80%—have anything to do with the opacity of the flu data being used to peddle the unpopular and ineffective vaccines?

Fudging facts

There are a variety of reasons to question the precision with which the CDC likes to imbue its flu statistics. First, although the CDC states that it conducts influenza mortality surveillance with its partner agencies, there is no actual requirement for U.S. states to report adult flu deaths to the CDC. (In public health parlance, adult influenza deaths are not “reportable” or “nationally notifiable.”) In fact, the only “flu-associated deaths” that the CDC requires states and other jurisdictions to report are deaths in children—180 last year.

How did the CDC reach its as-yet-unpublished conclusion—widely shared with the media—that 79,820 American adults in addition to 180 children died from the flu in 2017-2018? The agency states that it relies on death certificate data. However, members of the Cochrane research community have observed that “when actual death certificates are tallied, influenza deaths on average are little more than 1,000 yearly.”

Other knowledgeable individuals have also noted that the death records system in the U.S. is subjective, incomplete and politicized, and have suggested that citizens should adopt a “healthy skepticism about even the most accepted, mainstream, nationally reported CDC or other ‘scientific’ statistics.” This skepticism may be especially warranted for the influenza stats, which are so inextricably intertwined with the CDC’s vaccination agenda that the statistical techniques and assumptions that the agency uses focus specifically on “project[ing] the burden of influenza that would have occurred in the absence of vaccination.”

Notwithstanding its incessant use of influenza statistics to justify its flu vaccine policies, the CDC tries to have it both ways, cautioning that because “influenza activity reporting… is voluntary,” influenza surveillance in the U.S. “cannot be used to ascertain how many people have become ill with influenza during the influenza season.” A larger problem is that the vital statistics that form the basis of the CDC’s surveillance data conflate deaths from pneumonia and influenza (P&I). The CDC concedes that this conflation complicates the challenge of specifically estimating flu deaths:

The system “tracks the proportion of death certificates processed that list pneumonia or influenza as the underlying or contributing cause of death. This system… does not provide an exact number of how many people died from flu” [emphasis added].

Curiously, the CDC presented its cause-of-death data slightly differently prior to 2015. Through 2014, the agency’s annual National Vital Statistics Reports included tables showing influenza deaths and pneumonia deaths as separate line items. Those reports made it abundantly clear that pneumonia deaths (at least as transmitted by death certificates) consistently and dramatically outstripped influenza deaths. The table below illustrates this pattern for 2012-2014.

Starting in 2015, the annual vital statistics reports began displaying P&I together and eliminated the distinct line items. At present, only one tool remains to examine mortality associated with influenza as distinct from pneumonia—the CDC’s interactive FluView dashboard—which provides weekly national breakdowns. The dashboard shows the same general pattern as in the annual reports—that is, lower numbers of influenza deaths and much higher numbers of pneumonia deaths. Bearing in mind all the shortcomings and potential biases of death certificate data, dashboard reports for the first week of March (week 9) for the past three years show 257 influenza deaths versus 4,250 pneumonia deaths in 2016, and 534 and 736 flu deaths (versus over 4,000 annual pneumonia deaths) in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Semantic shenanigans

Semantics also play a key role in the CDC’s slippery communications about “flu.” For example, CDC’s outpatient surveillance focuses on the broad category of “influenza-like illness” (ILI)—an almost meaningless term describing general symptoms (fever, cough and/or sore throat) that any number of non-influenza viruses are equally capable of triggering. Cochrane lists several problems with the reliance on ILI to make inferences about influenza:

  • There is “no reliable system to monitor and quantify the epidemiology and impact of ILI” and no way of knowing what proportion of ILI is caused by influenza.
  • There are almost no reliable data on the number of ILI-related physician contacts or hospitalizations—and no one knows what proportion of ILI doctor visits and hospitalizations are due to influenza.

“Pneumonia,” too, is a catch-all diagnosis covering lung infections caused by a variety of different agents: viruses (non-influenza as well as influenza), bacteriafungiair pollutants and many others. Interestingly, hospitalization is a common route of exposure to pneumonia-causing pathogens, and mortality from hospital-acquired pneumonia exceeds 60%. In a plausible scenario, an adult hospitalized for suspected (but unconfirmed) “flu” could acquire a lethal pneumonia bug in the hospital, and their death might be chalked up to “flu” regardless of the actual facts, particularly because clinicians do not necessarily order influenza testing. When clinicians in outpatient settings do order testing, relatively few of the “flu” specimens—sometimes as low as 1%—actually test positive for influenza. Over the past couple of decades, the proportion of specimens testing positive has averaged around 15%—meaning that about 85% of suspected “flu” specimens are not, in fact, influenza.

Propaganda with a purpose

It takes little subtlety to recognize that the principal reason for flu hyperbole is to sell more vaccines. However, more and more people—even infectious disease specialists—are realizing that flu shots are fraught with problems. Roughly four-fifths of the vaccine injury and death cases settled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are flu-vaccine-related. A University of Toronto-based expert recently stated, “We have kind of hyped this vaccine so much for so long we are starting to believe our own hype.”

Pro-flu-vaccination studies—through their skillful placement in prestigious journals—tend to drown out other influenza studies that should be ringing warning bells. Published peer-reviewed studies show that:

  • Previous influenza vaccination, particularly in those who get a flu shot every year, diminishes or “blunts” the already low effectiveness of flu shots.
  • Getting vaccinated against influenza increases susceptibility to other severe respiratory viruses and also to other strains of influenza.
  • Mothers who receive influenza vaccines during pregnancy face an increased risk of miscarriages and their offspring face elevated risks of birth defects and autism.

A systematic review of influenza vaccine trials by Cochrane in 2010 urges the utmost caution. Noting that “studies funded from public sources [have been] significantly less likely [than industry-funded studies] to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines,” and citing evidence of “widespread manipulation of conclusions,” the Cochrane reviewers’ bottom line is that “reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin.” We should all keep those words in mind the next time the CDC and the media try to mischaracterize flu facts and science.

CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured.  Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission. Please visit our crowdfunding page.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment